back to article Computerised stock management? Nah, let’s use walkie-talkies

I’d like to try these in a size nine-and-a-half or size 10, please. “A size nine... and-a-half?” the shop assistant asks incredulously. Yes. Or a 10. “Which size do you want – the nine-and-a-half or the 10?” I’d like the size that fits my feet. “So... are your feet size nine-and-a-half or size 10?” Ah now, I can’t say for …

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  1. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Despite having a nationwide presence, owning several major brands and itself close to becoming a household name, this retailer has managed to push 16 years into the millennium apparently without any kind of computerised shop-floor stock management whatsoever. Indeed, I learn that stocktake checks take place three times a year, manually, like in t’old days.

    Cheap zero-hours labour stock-checking cheap stock works out cheaper than SAP.

    1. TheOtherHobbes

      SAP - the company that sells the invoicing system that demands that suppliers and freelancers have to pay to use it.

      At least you only have to pay over a certain turnover threshold.

      But still.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        SAP? ..for Inventory Control? Are you mad?

        Once upon a time, there was a Canada-wide chain of stores called 'The Sony Store'. When they implemented SAP, they couldn't put a box into a truck even if their life depended on it. This went on and on for about a year. Their stores across Canada had empty shelves.

        It seems reasonable to question the intelligence or sanity of anyone that somehow still fails to comprehend and appreciate the 'interesting' history of SAP. It seems to be a too-common form of madness. Perhaps wilful blindness. Inexplicable.

        1. Mark York 3
          Thumb Up

          Re: SAP? ..for Inventory Control? Are you mad?

          Picked up about a load of PS3 controllers though on the last trading day at $10 a piece.

        2. 404 Silver badge

          Re: SAP? ..for Inventory Control? Are you mad?

          'When they implemented SAP, they couldn't put a box into a truck even if their life depended on it'

          Staples... Order online and pick up in store next day... One day whatever the fuck I ordered didn't make the truck and thus didn't get to the store - I didn't know this so I showed up anyway, thinking whatever the fuck it was I ordered would be there, nope.

          Me: Ok, how about I take that one there on the shelf?

          Staples: nope, we can't give it to you for the online price.

          Me: What? Why not?

          Staples: The numbers wouldn't match in the system and then we'd have to call those bastards at online Staples and we don't like them. Huge problem, can't be done.

          Me: Seriously?

          Staples: Yep, whatever the fuck you ordered will be in tomorrow..

          Me: Let's just cancel it then.

          Staples: We can't until whatever the fuck you ordered comes in, then we can run a return..........

          Me:................

          I order through Amazon mostly now.

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: SAP? ..for Inventory Control? Are you mad?

            Then you're supposed to say, "The Customer Is Always Right. If you don't make this right by the time a policeman shows up, you're going to have a lot more than just F'n Staples Online to worry about, or are you aware of the crime of False Advertising?"

    2. Buzzword

      Despite having a nationwide presence, owning several major brands and itself close to becoming a household name...

      Are they also famous for their large mugs emblazoned with the company name in huge letters?

      1. phils

        And for the large mug who owns the company?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: works out cheaper than SAP.

      Judging from what I hear about projects at work - using the CEO to do it would work out cheaper and quicker than implementing SAP

  2. Rande Knight

    9 1/2 shoes

    Yes, I've got very wide feet too - probably something to do with going barefoot a lot as a child.

    It's rare that there will be shoes available in size 9.5, so I either have to go with size 9, which are only bearable for a few hours, or feel like I'm wearing clown shoes in a size 10, with my feet slipping backwards and forwards (and getting blisters if walking for any significant distance).

    1. Yugguy

      Re: 9 1/2 shoes

      As far as I can tell most people have wider feet than the average shoe is made for. Basically the "standard" shoe size needs to be wider.

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: 9 1/2 shoes

        As far as I can tell most people have wider feet than the average shoe is made for.

        Go for a decent brand like Barker, they cost a fortune but they come in wide sizes, last for ages, and can be returned to the factory for resoling for much less than buying a new pair. Well worth it.

      2. Kubla Cant Silver badge

        Re: 9 1/2 shoes

        most people have wider feet than the average shoe is made for

        Clothing and footwear manufacturers seem blind to the actual dimensions of real people. Try buying a casual shirt. Most are so tight they constrict my breathing. I may not be as svelte as I used to be, but I don't think the size of my rib-cage has changed. And I find it hard to believe that skinny twenty-somethings have the financial resources to be the target market for Thomas Pink, Gant, Ted Baker et al.

    2. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: 9 1/2 shoes

      I have the opposite; long, narrow feet, and it's just as much of a pain to find shoes that fit right. A normal sized shoe will have my toes jammed up at the end, whilst my foot is free to slide from side to side.

      1. chrisf1

        Re: 9 1/2 shoes

        Same here. For what it's worth go shoe shopping in Canada and the US as their standard last is a lot slimmer.

    3. 2+2=5 Silver badge

      Re: 9 1/2 shoes

      Tried some M&S formal shoes a short while back and the 9 1/2 was bigger than the 10. I couldn't decide whether it was a mis-labelled 10 1/2 or they decide that quality controls on that particular supplier could be dispensed with.

      1. getHandle

        Re: 9 1/2 shoes

        I've had M&S staff tell me that sizing depends on which country the factory that made the item was based in. I guess centimetres and the like vary from country to country??

        1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: 9 1/2 shoes

          I guess centimetres and the like vary from country to country??

          cm? How very modern. I thought shoe sizes were measured in barleycorns?

          1. Alien8n Silver badge

            Re: 9 1/2 shoes

            Barleycorns? Thought you got the corns after wearing the shoes?

            1. jonathanb Silver badge

              Re: 9 1/2 shoes

              A barleycorn is 1/3 of an inch, and shoe sizes do theoretically go up in increments on 1/3 of an inch. However, Euro sizes are paris points, which is 2/3 of a cm, and in China / Japan, shoe sizes are the length in cm. A lot of shoes are made in either Euro or China/Japan sizes and rounded to the nearest British size and US size.

              I always go by the China/Japan sizes where possible because a cm is a less subjective unit of measurement that the others.

          2. Vinyl-Junkie
            Coat

            Re: I thought shoe sizes were measured in barleycorns

            No, just in corns....

            Apparently Alien8n had the same idea.... :)

          3. m0rt Silver badge

            Re: 9 1/2 shoes

            I have exactly the same problem.

            What I *can* tell you is that if you have wide feet, and usually buy a UK 10, or 10.5 (I also cycle, cycling shoes are a PITA for anyone who isn't an elf), but the Red Wing moc-toe style boots in a UK 9 *Wide* fit a treat. There is no way I would get in a 9, yet alone a 9.5 in any other size. They aren't easy to come by in a wide, but there is a Red Wing supplier in London who I source my own from who do stock them.

            On the downside, you will look like a hipster wannabee. On the plus side, you will have comfortable feet.

            1. DropBear Silver badge
              Facepalm

              Re: 9 1/2 shoes

              In my experience, the only thing changing with shoe size is the length of those accursed things. Width? No! Height? Hell no! And that's a rather large issue, literally, as my feet are, uh, overall thicker than usual - but the only thing different sizes change is how far the shoes continue past my toes, not whether I can actually put them on (I can't. Any of them. And then I find a model that I miraculously can. And then they stop making it the next week. AAAAARGH!)...

        2. Adam 1 Silver badge

          Re: 9 1/2 shoes

          > I guess centimetres and the like vary from country to country??

          Would that be African or European centimetres?

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: 9 1/2 shoes

      "probably something to do with going barefoot a lot as a child."

      Warning - four Yorkshiremen quotes incoming.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 9 1/2 shoes

      I have wide feet. Clarks. I have been buying them steadily since 1972, when they turned me down for a job but I had an interesting talk with Matthew Clark.

      The problem is that some years ago they went through a period of size changing. I had been 9 1/2 for over 30 years when I suddenly became 8, and the 8 was as long as my old shoes. Then I wobbled between 8 and 9 for a bit. I'm still on 9, but it means I can't buy on line. I have to plan my purchases in advance and then wait till I go near a big Clarks and stock up. Last time I had to buy three pairs. But at least I only have to go through this every few years.

      1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge

        Re: 9 1/2 shoes

        Also have wide feet and love Clark's. Bonus is that they seem to last forever. As do Rockport and Timberland which are also wide enough.

    6. Triggerfish

      Re: 9 1/2 shoes

      I always wonder if being barefoot, or living in plimsols were the reason my feet are wide. I find shoes so uncomfotable because of this and the fact the soles are all wrong for how I walk.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: 9 1/2 shoes

        "I always wonder if being barefoot, or living in plimsols were the reason my feet are wide."

        No.

        Try Eccos.

    7. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: 9 1/2 shoes

      I can remember that in the not too distant past, one could find shoes in "narrow", "regular", and "wide"... I think the designators (if memory servers right) was something like A, AA, AAA. And then the cost cutting, profit climbing began.. If we're not in the majority for whom the shoe is made, tough...our business isn't wanted.

      Long sleeve shirts used to come in different sleeve lengths also...

      <Sigh> Sometimes I miss those days.

      1. Triggerfish

        Re: 9 1/2 shoes

        I tend to buy approach shoes nowadays instead of trainers because trainers are often narrow as well, some of the brands can be quite comfy for the wider footed. Plus a good pair though expensive can last for ever, get goretex and also nice and waterproof. My last Salamons* must have walked thousands of miles, had them for about 8 yrs before they finally went, wore them almost every day.

        *I have since heard the quality has dropped so YMMV.

        1. PhilipN Silver badge

          Foot-shaped shoes

          Do not know of any - go figure - except Joe Nimble from Baer :

          http://www.baer-shoes.com/men/style/joe-nimble

      2. Dave Bell

        Re: 9 1/2 shoes

        Shirt sleeves and trouser legs, I learned to use a sewing machine.

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 9 1/2 shoes

      Got feet measured recently - right 8 1/2 width H, left 8 width G.Tried on numerous shoes - currently wearing size 9 from the "plus" range, with size 10 insoles. Paid over £100 for this privilege.

      Still things have improved, last time I bought shoes there were two very expensive pairs that might fit me in the shop (the times before there had only been one), this time - perhaps seven or eight pairs, of which perhaps three weren't completely hideous.

      I remember the worried look on the shop assistant's faces when, as a kid, I put my foot in that machine, then them disappearing out the back of the shop before reappearing with some completely hideous pair of clod-hoppers that looked like they were designed specifically to humiliate me as part of the price for using up so much leather.

      Anonymous because I'm still ashamed of my deformity.

      Never mind - it toughened me up and made the man I am today...

  3. Josco

    Do you have any tea?

    I was in a very good bread shop recently, they had a huge range of home made bespoke bread along with the usual white & brown stuff. In comes a customer, "May I help?" asked the assistant. "Some bread please." replied the customer.....

    1. Joe Harrison Silver badge

      Re: Do you have any tea?

      My daughter also worked in (Waitrose) coffee shop and she assured me that although there was a menu of 15 "different" coffees they were all more or less the same stuff. Two of them contained literally identical ingredients but presented slightly differently.

      I don't think asking for bread in a Bread Shoppe is unreasonable. I hate it when I ask for a coffee but they read out a list of Italian nouns (a language I don't speak) and ask which one I want.

      1. lglethal Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: Do you have any tea?

        Joe most coffees have exactly the same ingredients - coffee water, and milk. but there's a hell of a lot of difference in the way you brew it and prepare it!

        Just because all beer is made from hops, water, yeast and barley does not mean all beers are the same!!!

        1. Adam 1 Silver badge

          Re: Do you have any tea?

          > Just because all beer is made from hops, water, yeast and barley does not mean all beers are the same!!!

          Certain American versions seem to contain exceptional quantities of the second. Other Aussie brands mix them so terribly that they have to export them cause they're is no way WE'D actually drink that crap.

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: Do you have any tea?

            "Certain American versions seem to contain exceptional quantities of the second."

            And many Americans WANT it that way because they want to quench their thirst first WITHOUT drinking water, get buzzed second. It tells you something when the #1 beer in America is a LIGHT beer.

        2. Yugguy

          Re: Do you have any tea?

          I always refuse to speak cafe-ese.

          I want a filter coffee with milk. No, not a fucking latte, or a fucking Americano or any other bollocks.

          Coffee. With milk.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Do you have any tea?

        Oh, my (Merkin) wife has the same problem getting coffee in the UK.

        Already upset that she can't get cream in her coffee (she's taken to carrying creamer with her), with every visit Britain seems to have become increasingly espressoified, and so finding "a coffee" (i.e. filter coffee) has become an adventure.

        PS to my wife Americano means "bad coffee diluted".

        1. MrXavia

          Re: Do you have any tea?

          I think almost every location I have tried in the UK can be said to serve bad coffee (with the exception of a nice little bike barista I occasionally use when I forget to bring my own from home)

          The main problem is horrid beans badly roasted....

          1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

            Re: Do you have any tea?

            "I think almost every location I have tried in the UK can be said to serve bad coffee"

            You must just be unfortunate. In our small town there are four places where you can get decent coffee, two where it's acceptable, and two chains which I can't tell you about because, of course, I've never been in either. Even our local Italian restaurant knows better than to over-roast the beans (often a problem in Italy where they use robusta and overcook it.)

            1. psychonaut

              Re: Do you have any tea?

              "she's taken to carrying creamer with her"

              is that euphemism for ....oh ,. never mind.

          2. Triggerfish

            Re: Do you have any tea?

            The main problem is horrid beans badly roasted....

            Yeah holidayed earlier in the year in a country known for nice coffee, never used to mind Starbucks or Costa before (I mean I never understood the fuss over decent coffee either). That was an eye opener on what good coffee tastes like, has completely ruined Starbucks and Costa for me though.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Do you have any tea?

              "Yeah holidayed earlier in the year in a country known for nice coffee, never used to mind Starbucks or Costa before (I mean I never understood the fuss over decent coffee either). That was an eye opener on what good coffee tastes like, has completely ruined Starbucks and Costa for me though."

              That's a problem most people have with most things. If all you've ever had in your life is crap, getting something made properly can be a revelation. We've all heard the stories of kids growing up with a complete disconnect from where things come from or how they made. eg chips come the freezer aisle and they don;t know what a potato is. A friends child brought a school friend home and on being offered an orange didn't know what to do with it and had to be shown how to peel and eat it. The problem in much of the developed world is we have been trained over many years to think we don't have the time or the money to get the good stuff. We have to hurry everywhere with a branded cardboard cup of lukewarm brown milky stuff clutched in our hands because if we don't hurry and eat/drink on the go then we can't be productive and successful.

              1. Triggerfish

                Re: Do you have any tea?

                Well to be fair price can very well have something to do with it, brought a kilo of coffee back for about £15. It's about £40-50 a kilo over here, I figure the stuff Starbucks use is not of that quality, dunno what they would charge for a cup, specially if it's done in a way that isn't using a barista machine, like dripping through a phin or a cold brew which can take some time.

                Plus being British I was mainly brought up on tea we didn't really do coffee in the house except when the peculator was brought out for guests, and takeaway tea is often manky, so coffee on the go is a sort of better alternative. We will not talk of the anathema that is vending machine tea.

                1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

                  Re: Do you have any tea?

                  "we didn't really do coffee in the house except when the peculator was brought out for guests,"

                  That must have been some expensive coffee if you needed an embezzler to help pay for it.

                  [peculator and percolator are a bit different. Sorry, couldn't resist.]

                  1. Triggerfish

                    Re: Do you have any tea?

                    Guess that shows how much we used it. :D Hey learnt a new word as well have an upvote..

                2. Dave Lawton

                  Re: Do you have any tea?

                  Would you enlighten us on the location please ?

                  What is the name of the brand on sale in the UK please ?

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