Is it Just Me Or Do Michigan Plato’s Closet Employees Deserve More Credit?
You've seen the posts before on social media where someone takes a photo of something that is "out of style" that has somehow made it out onto the sales floor at Plato's Closet. Usually the photo is paired with a caption saying something about "Plato's Closet won't take MY items but they'll take this?"
I get it, sometimes things do slip through the cracks but you try sifting through hundreds of items of clothing a day, having people yell at you for not taking certain items while also trying to tend to a sales floor and then tell me you could do better.
The point of this post is not to chastise anyone, but rather shine a light on all the things Plato's Closet employees do, especially here in Michigan, and try to help shoppers and sellers understand a bit more.
How "The Process" Works
If you have gone in to sell your clothes at Plato's Closet before, you know how it goes. For those who are not aware, maybe have never been, or just need a refresher, we'll help break it down for you.
I will preface this by saying I used to be the assistant store manager at Plato's Closet's sister store in Grandville, Michigan, Style Encore which follows the same procedures but serves a more professional/mature demographic. I did, however, fill in when needed at our neighboring Plato's location.
How it works is, you bring in your (freshly laundered) clothes. The employees will then put your containers (AKA your "buy") in line until it can be sorted.
Now, employees are trained and consistently watching what is trending and what is selling best for them. Sometimes, those items you are hoping to get rid of don't fall into the styles that sell well for them. It's nothing personal.
There are also certain brands they keep an eye out for, as you have to bear in mind, Plato's Closet specializes in "Teen casual" styles. Your blazers and professional styles won't go over as well as you think.
Then there are ways employees are trained to know what falls into their very specific, two-year date range. Yes, fashion is cyclical and styles do come back but you have to time it right.
Responsibilities on Top of Buying In Items
While employees who are trained on buying in items to the store, there are others making sure the racks are stocked up enough as selling the items they buy is a key part of the Plato's (and other related businesses) model.
Then, there are employees ringing others up, double-checking to make sure the styles about to brought in are a good fit, tagging new items, running fitting rooms, putting clothes back on the racks from the fitting rooms as well as explaining to customers as nicely as they possibly can why some items are going back home with them.
Employees often have to explain how the selling process works, in great detail, to every customer who asks either at the buy counter or over the phone because you never know when Winmark will be sending those secret shoppers and you want zero confusion on the customer's end.
There is also planning fun displays, keeping up with current trends and upcoming holidays/events and using social media accordingly to show off especially great items and getting your messaging across.
It's all so much more than just "judging" your clothes.
Yes, It's a Job, There Are Expectations
Of course, all the things listed above are expectations of the job.
However, outside of all that, clothing is very personal to some people and there are some other people within that group that get very offended either by what Plato's employees choose not to take, the monetary offer that is placed before them, etc.
Those people will let you know they are not happy and absolutely not hold back. Often, employees at Plato's closet are a younger-looking crowd and it's almost as if people take that as their opportunity to take advantage or bully their way into feeling better about themselves.
Then, Michigan Plato's employees also have to keep in mind that we experience all FOUR seasons. That means you are constantly looking for various, specific clothing items for seasonal inventory as well as making sure the sales floor reflects that...all year round.
It's More Than Just Reselling Clothes
Trust me, dear Plato's Closet employees, I absolutely get it...there are some people out there who truly have no idea.
You absolutely do not get the credit and shine you deserve. Thank you for all you do.
From working in a store that is helping people bring new life to the clothes they aren't interested in anymore, to helping the environment, to giving people some cash for cleaning out their closets, to helping them find the unique, trendy items they want for less, and MORE.
Keep shining, friends, you've got this! You are some of the hardest-working, kindest people I've ever had the pleasure of doing business with. Keep doing you.
*Special shoutout to the wonderful employees at both the East Lansing and Jackson locations for always being so helpful, sweet and all-around doing a great job*
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