Work, Work, and More Work

This week I’ve been working on an OSR for work. It’s internal parlance for Overstock Recall, where the store receives an e-mail detailing what products to return to the warehouse for reclamation (in other words, boxing game cartridges or resurfacing game discs if scratched) and reprocessing for shipment to other stores. Generally stores receive these e-mail directives from corporate twice monthly on a Sunday and have through end of business Wednesday to process the transfer through the system. Piece count may vary, anywhere from a dozen pieces to two or three hundred.

Reviewing the cases I had logged out through the computer, by the time I left work this evening I had sent out almost a thousand games, and as a rough estimate I may be forty percent complete.

The instructions come broken down into several categories, usually four.

The first lists games by SKU of which all I have must be sent back. This list usually isn’t very long, perhaps a hundred titles at most. The August OSR listed fifty PlayStation games. This week’s lists maybe twenty each of GameBoy, GameBoy Advance, and PlayStation 2 games. This work can be tedious and involving. If there is a challenge here, it may be in finding the cases for some of the more obscure games on the list.

The second category is pre-played systems to be returned. This lists five or six types of systems I may or may not have on hand, and a quantity is given for the number of each I am to keep with the rest being sent back to the warehouse. Some of the systems listed here, such as the various GameBoys, are sent back to the warehouse routinely anyway.

The third category lists games by SKU of which I am to keep a set quantity and return the balance. This week’s list was of fifteen games spread across the PlayStation 2, XBox, and GameCube platforms–keep eight and return the rest to the warehouse.

The fourth category isn’t really a category but a set of additional instructions. Return defectives. Return recalls. Things that maybe don’t need to be said, but are worth saying.

This week’s instructions had two additional categories.

The first new category was pre-played systems. But instead of returning all but one or two, this one asked for all of a particular type of system not normally returned to the warehouse. On the other hand, this isn’t a type of system normally on hand in the stores, so it’s not an issue. I consider this part of the instructions complete. 🙂

The second new category takes the first and third categories mentioned above to another level. Instead of taking a pre-set list of SKUs and sending a certain number back to the warehouse, on all pre-played video games of specified platforms, such as PlayStation 2, XBox, GameCube, and GameBoy, we are to keep three copies on hand, except for the fifteen games mentioned above, and return the balance to the warehouse.

I had to read the instructions three times just to make sure I was reading them correctly, because when the scope of this return of product to the warehouse registered the only rational response was “Oh my fucking god.” Had the OSR taken product in this manner from one or two departments–say, XBox and GameBoy Advance–the argument could be made that corporate inventory planning was thinning out the forest by reducing inventory levels going into the fourth quarter gradually. It isn’t the process I object to. If asked, I am sure corporate could provide the reasoning behind why this, why now–anything from remove slow-moving product for reallocation to other (and new) stores to reducing the store’s inventory level. But by doing ten departments in a single week, in the span of four days, the product forest isn’t being thinned–it’s being clear-cut.

I may need to do some dumpster diving–I need shipping boxes badly, and what I’ll receive in the next day or two won’t be enough to see this project through to completion. Because of the Labor Day holiday (though it’s really not a holiday in retail) this return to the warehouse needs to be done by Thursday instead of the usual Wednesday. Suffice to say, it’s all a little bewildering.

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