You are Only as Good as Your Last Flash – Blog #134

You are Only as Good as Your Last Flash – Blog #134

You are Only as Good as Your Last Flash

So, in Blog #133, I talked about Our First Family Dog was Muttley. In this blog  I want to talk about how you are only as good as your last flash


At Nordstrom you would start your day by looking at your numbers. The previous closer would usually write out the floor watcher pad for the next day. This document we would attach to a small clipboard and carry it with us as we watched the floor.


Floor watcher pad


On the document we would have the sales figures for each hour from last year. This would give us a gauge on how our day was going. We would also have everyones schedule on it so we knew when people would arrive to the floor and when they would take lunches.

The floor watcher that opened in the morning would write out the stock assignments for each salesperson to get stuff done. It was always either the Buyer/Manager or an Asst. Tasks could be taking size ups, Mark-ups/Mark downs, transfers, sections shifts to get a shipment in and much more. The floor watcher could make notes on the pad for closers too.




During the course of the day things come up. Someone might call for a trade of merchandise,  or the Wood pile might grow. Usually we would say do 10 sticks. This meant put away 10 pairs of shoes from the wood pile. Wood could be returns that came back or shoes people would leave out and not own up to.


This made us pretty organized and the day would be great as long as you were beating last years numbers. If not, you could expect a call from your RMM… All  of them did it too so they were probably getting a call from Jack. “Is everyone bringing out 4 pairs?” was the typical line. Rob would be a smart ass usually and say “Did you forgot what I taught you?”


The new RMM would start off with “Mr Normart…” then end with something obvious that would “fix the hourly decline”. They never worked. We made sure our people were doing the right thing, usually it was just traffic.


Call Personals


“You can’t use bad traffic as an excuse” they would say. Typical…But if there was no traffic there wasn’t too much you could do. We would have our salespeople call personals to drum up some sales, or I’d look at the floor to see if our best items were up front. Solutions driven. 




I’d see how many people were “walking” too. A walk is when a salesperson doesn’t sell the customer and they walk out without buying anything. This would inspire stock walks and size ups to see if we were missing anything.


If business would go south, I’d also look at hot sellers around women’s shoe floors to see if I had all the hot sellers. This is how I discovered the “Reseda” in Brass Plum shoes.


You are only as good as your last flash


This was a common Nordstrom phrase. It kept us on our toes. Some RMM’s were better than others on motivating you or not. Some just passed you off. The quote from Christopher McDougall hit the nail on the head:


“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up, it knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa a Lion wakes up.  It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle or it will starve. It doesn’t matter whether you are a Gazelle or the Lion, when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.”

…just sharing my story and tips from my footwear career. 

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This post has one comment

15 Dec 2020

These systems are what made Nordstrom such a great company. I always admired their attention to detail and desire to drive volume one transaction at a time. Great article. Thanks!


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