Thursday, 2 August 2012

My Pets at Home interview

I turned up early and when everyone had arrived I saw that most of the others were 16 year olds starting college. Put off immediately as they were all dressed fashionable and looked young and fresh, and there I was in my purple floral blouse, cropped jeans, and posh sandals. About 6 staff members, and 8 interviewees.

We had three tasks:

Task one -

This was one I was prepared for through doing research. We had to put a rotastak cage together without the instructions. I found this task rather difficult as 1 - I can't STAND rotastak, and 2 - In my group were three of the 16 year old girls who would pick up a piece and intentionally put it in the wrong place, then giggle. So I just sat there putting the pieces together myself, all the while thinking "Christ, you realise this is a test?"

Task two -

We had to line up, and each given a random product from the shop, we had a minute to look at it. We then had to put it down and each take it in turns to present, or 'sell' the product to the group. I had some sensitive cat treats. (Felt sorry for the bloke behind me, who had some form of chicken medicine) So when it got to my turn I used my experience in presenting to a group and confidently presented the product, explaining the bits I knew. I got asked afterwards whether It's suitable for kittens, and I said "I think so". I glanced at it to see it said "for adult cats". So I said "Oh nope, It says for adult cats". They responded saying it's fine for kittens unless it says it's not. I thought... But... It states "for adult cats"! You shouldn't be giving that kind of advice.

Task three -

I REALLY came out of my shell here. I'm a natural leader, and It was nice to be given a task I could do well in. We had to split into groups again, and go round the shop to list positive things, and negative things. I eagerly took the clipboard for this one, as I wanted to be the one to present for the group. So I went round with the girls and the bloke with the chicken medicine. I listened to their small observations, and I'll list some here:
"I like the signs. They're big."
"You can choose how much dog treats you want"
"I'm short, I can't see that"
"There might be dead fish"

So I wrote them down and stepped in to teach the others the more 'important' ones I had observed. I said how the cat carry cases are high up and there aren't any signs to ask for staff assistance. I pointed out the misplaced animal signs. And I jotted down another negative I was saving for when we had to present. We continued like this, then It was time.

We presented first. So I yet again, confidently stepped forward to recite our findings. I told them about the "Ask staff" signs, and they said it's common sense to ask. I was shocked at the response when I said the labelling is wrong, as the fish are in different places and there are Roborovskis in the tank that states "Chinese dwarves" (There is also no such species as a Chinese dwarf, the Chinese hamster is not part of the dwarf hamster family). They said "Well if you know what you're looking for you'll know what it is"... What did I save for last? Yes, I mentioned my fluffy bedding campaign. When the task was mentioned this immediately sprang to mind, as I really wanted to understand how the actual employees feel on the matter. I explained all the reasons it's dangerous, the better alternatives, and how it's personal to me. One of them even wanted to know the name of my group. One of the employees said that he had got into an argument with a customer about it. Apparently a woman had gone in and explained it to him, and expected him personally to go and take them off the shelves. (I felt the animal equivalent of "girl power" when I was imagining this woman giving him a hard time) Obviously an employee doesn't have the power to do this, but it was their attitude that shocked me. As if it doesn't matter.

After the third task was the personal interview stage. I felt a tad excited, as I'm good at this part. The thought of going to a room and being interrogated about my skills and passions releases adrenaline. I'm familiar with it, and have had a lot of training on it when I was at college.

While waiting for my name to be called, I jumped at the opportunity to ask whether I could hold an animal. Having never touched one before, I chose a rabbit. We stood round as one staff member went to get one out, while the other was talking to us about the rabbits. He said "Does anyone know what type of rabbit this one is?" And as I've always done, I stood back to allow others to answer first. Actually stunned that nobody knew (They're applying for a pet shop!), I said "It's a lionhead."

The lionhead hopped off and the other employee grabbed a gorgeous white rabbit with a brown eyepatch. She wriggled and I took her like a baby. As soon as I had her on my chest she settled, and I stood there stroking her. (And I'll admit, whispering cute things to her) I felt so maternal, she was so lovely. I could have stood there all day but I was called for my interview. Excited, I put her back and hobbled off to be interviewed. Slightly disappointed when I saw it was just two plastic chairs by the tills out in the open shop, I tried to maintain enthusiasm. Prepared for anything, she said "This is just to get to know your availability". Oh. You don't want to know what an asset I am to the company? What great interpersonal skills I can portray? Or test me on breeds and illnesses?! I panicked. This was the worst question they could have possibly asked me, as I can no longer portray myself in great light. I have two holidays booked! She flinched when I told her. But there's no way I'd give up my 21st celebrations in November, or going to Sussex 4 days after this interview. I went back to see the rabbit and called a taxi.

I've found out a lot about Pets at Home last night. They seem to care more about the fancy dress occasions they have (4 times a year) than the actual welfare and knowledge of the animals. But did I gain anything from this?

I've gained two things:

-The confirmation that I'm right to start this campaign against fluffy bedding, It's worse than I thought.
-I. Held. A. Bunny.

Read some of my other popular blogs here:
How to Get Over a Break Up
Confessions of a Tinder Girl
Borderline Personality Disorder
Working in Retail
How to Care For a Hamster