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03 January 2010 @ 08:04 pm
Comment from bismarn's thread.  
-----Original Message-----
From: Mike Steele (Zone VP)
Sent: Sat 1/2/2010 11:23 PM
To: Mike Steele (Zone VP); Zone 5 DMs; Zone 5 GMs
Cc: Zone #5 Leadership Team; Art Keeney (Store Operations)
Subject: RE: Piano Teacher Update

10:53:01 PST - 16 stores at ZERO.

To the GMs of these 16 stores, thanks for nothing. Had you managed your inventory, processed your freight and/or effectively executed a simple expectation (SELL at least one Make/Key ITEM EVERY DAY), your team (Zone 5) would have won. The same message applies to any store that posted a ZERO on Piano Teacher any of the past 6 weeks.

As it stands we need ANY and ALL stores still open (Hawaii and late closers), we need you to step up and sell 18 units. Please do so with integrity because cheaters never win. If you can deliver we will finish one, one-hundreth of a percent ahead of Zone 3 for PTD sales of Piano Teacher. If not, we lose…again.

To ALL GMs - Please understand this clearly, HANDSELLING KEY AND MAKE ITEMS DOES MATTER! Every unit your teams sell matter. When you or your fellow store leaders coast, take one day off, take one hour off, take one Service Manager shift off, you prevent OUR TEAM from winning. We all have to work together with discipline, integrity, and leadership. That has been my message from day one. We can accomplish anything we desire but not without effort.

In 2010, Zone 5 WILL win. Be a part of the winning team. That is within your control.

Good night,

msteele



From: Mike Steele (Zone VP)
Sent: Saturday, January 02, 2010 8:59 PM
To: Mike Steele (Zone VP); Zone 5 DMs
Cc: Zone #5 Leadership Team
Subject: RE: Piano Teacher Update
Importance: High

Well, it’s 8:43pm PST and we still have 18 ZERO stores. Ridiculous.


We NEED 40+ units sold in the closing hour or two to finish #1 for the period. Zone 3 is in the clubhouse at 111.88%. We are at 111.66%. WE NEED 40 UNITS! Let’s get there!

Gervin – You have the most time left on the clock. Copy me on your communication to your team to get them pumped about getting us there in the final minutes.

I would love to have bragging rights for Zone 5 on my calls Monday.

Thanks,

msteele

From: Mike Steele (Zone VP)
Sent: Saturday, January 02, 2010 7:27 PM
To: Mike Steele (Zone VP); Zone 5 DMs
Cc: Zone #5 Leadership Team
Subject: RE: Piano Teacher Update
Importance: High

As of 6:42pm PST, we have sold 383 units and are at 104.4% to goal. We will finish at least in second place since the Zone 2 stores are all but closed and in the clubhouse at 102.6%.

22 stores still are not on the board. Art, Steve and Linda are all in. Lots of districts with one or two zeros.

Brian/Gervin – your scoreboard looks like a box score of a baseball game….lots of zeros and not enough runs.

We need a TON more to take first for the week (we snooze and therefore will likely lose) however, a strong finish WILL give us the win for the entire period on Piano Teacher. We are neck and neck with Zone 3. Right now, Zone 3 is at 111.65% and we are at 111.39% with 2 to 3 hours left of business. Another 200 units sold should get us there.

Thanks,

msteele

From: Mike Steele (Zone VP)
Sent: Saturday, January 02, 2010 4:51 PM
To: Zone 5 DMs
Subject: Piano Teacher Update

As of 4:43, we are up to 294 units sold. We made our goal…thanks.

206 more to sell to get to the stretch target for the day.

Linda still the only DM with all stores on the board. Several of you are close but not there yet. Let’s get there!

MIKE STEELE | zone 5 vice president | BORDERS |
(Reply to this)
 
 
 
(Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 01:17 am (UTC)

***Brian/Gervin – your scoreboard looks like a box score of a baseball game….lots of zeros and not enough runs.***
--------------------------


Perhaps he ought to consider that the ownership record looks like the Cubs...
(Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 01:30 am (UTC)
I'm a Cubs fan.

I still laughed.
(no subject) - marlowe1977 on January 4th, 2010 04:20 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - (Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 01:33 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - (Anonymous) on January 5th, 2010 02:58 am (UTC) (Expand)
(Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 01:20 am (UTC)
A Message From AA Management:
THE BEATINGS WILL CONTINUE UNTIL MORALE IMPROVES!!!!!
widehollow on January 4th, 2010 01:53 am (UTC)
Re: A Message From AA Management:
You can take your morale and shove it up your ass. After what we went through today with no staff! You have some serious fucking balls.

Here are a few other things that AA can shove up their ass:

Make titles
GREAT
Payroll cuts
Threats
No raises in two years
Sending tons of freight, with no IPT hours
Re: A Message From AA Management: - (Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 02:41 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: A Message From AA Management: - widehollow on January 4th, 2010 05:08 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: A Message From AA Management: - meiran on January 6th, 2010 07:15 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: A Message From AA Management: - aliasheist on January 4th, 2010 05:17 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: A Message From AA Management: - (Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 05:33 am (UTC) (Expand)
(Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 01:25 am (UTC)
Yeah well I'm from Zone 5 and I say kiss my fucking ass. I'll even spread the cheeks out a little more so you can get right in there. Die, Borders, just fucking die already. Fucking animated corpse.
(Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 06:45 am (UTC)
I also am from Zone 5 and wish Borders would just die. Many of my coworkers feel the same way. It's nice to feel a sense of belonging again at Borders, no?

Seriously, how long can a company last when most of its employees just want it to die already?
(Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 01:49 am (UTC)
Why Does He Think We Would Care?
I'm lost as to why he thinks ANYONE at the store level--the level that has to do act to implement what he cares about--cares about "winning". There's absolutely no reward for making him look good, there's no punishment for making him look bad, and no one sees any value in the measures he wants to excel in so there's no intrinsic motivation to do the right thing. I would really like to see what Gervin did to pump up the team.

You can use peoples' competitive spirit to motivate desired bahaviors--but only if people care about winning the competition, believe the competition is meaningful and that there is truly competition. If you miss on all three it doesn't work. Also--sent to the GMs on Saturday--the day when GMs usually aren't in the store. Nice move--I'm sure they'll all react appropriately Monday when they get to work, login, and see these messages.

His cluebag is empty.
(Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 02:12 am (UTC)
Re: Why Does He Think We Would Care?
I was a GM for 13 years and was never out of a store on a Saturday unless I was on vacation.

That said, how can anyone be selling books when they have to keep checking email?
bookish123 on January 4th, 2010 01:51 am (UTC)
... wow...
I really thought this was a joke the first time I read it. Is this guy serious? "The clubhouse"? What company is he working for? My email would have gone something like this: "Thanks everyone so much for your hard work during the holiday season, for doing more with less, for grace in the face of diversity, for your devotion to our customers. Keep up the good work." Or something along those lines. What a douche.
(Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 01:57 am (UTC)
Jack ass
Mike Steele is a ass and a simpleton checks the stores book and signage charts with his fancy 3 ring full color binder and he cant even tell what book lights and bkmarks are from a picture and a list of product. Has to ask us pitiful creatures sweating our asses off just to try and get him his zone VP bonus. Well let me tell you something Mike Steele no one wins the bonus round its fixed our sales plans were raised from the previous years and the economy is shit.

Feels like we are working for Pelosi and Reid spend, spend, spend. The profits what profits? (+16.5%).
My fault, no its not. It's all your fault you didnt do enough.
widehollow on January 4th, 2010 02:03 am (UTC)
Cheaters
Hey Mikey,

We are going to return all of the Piano Teachers we bought over the "holidays" this week. I'm returning 5 copies.

If you got a bonus, enjoy it. It's called blood money, and it's cursed.
(Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 06:05 pm (UTC)
Re: Cheaters
Seems to me cheaters get . . . where Mike Steele is.
(Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 02:09 am (UTC)
First off, I LOVE the fact his e-mails were published and challenge EVERYONE to publish similar company e-mails. (shows what a dick some of our ZVP's and DM's really are)

Second, just like here in Zone 2, no amount of "come on guys, we need to come through" e-mails are going to motivate me or my team. I haven't gotten a raise in 2 years, neither has anyone on my staff, and as GM (and not as one of the ones you've been hearing about who do NOTHING) am now doing the job of several managers and supervisors with the threat of one more manager position going away in Q1 of 2010. At our store, we do the best that we can. We REALLY try to greet, REALLY try to answer the phones, REALLY try to sell and push items, even key items, although we were forced to push The Piano Teacher for SO long, there were days where we did only sell 1 for the ENTIRE day.

Here's my advice, AA. Get a plan. A real plan. And let us "peons" who work for you and drive the results in on it sometime. I know my store, my staff, and my customers better than you ever will. And although it's not my name on the building, there is a certain "way" I run the store that yes, maximizes what money we ARE making. Ok, so I'm not making forecast or comp results; but like I said, we're doing the best that we can. From selling at every opportunity to fixing things myself, to shutting off the lights when I leave a room to save you a few precious extra cents a year, we're doing it all. How about a little realistic direction and respect? Respect's a two way street, AA.
(Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 02:45 am (UTC)
This post is exactly why were are where we are. Just read it, and by that I mean all of you at corporate, especially the big cheese. Remember we can't keep out heads above water just doing the day to day routine, and you are sending crap to us like this. Gotta laugh... Take your make books and recommend them to YOUR friends. We are
all very fed up with it all.
(no subject) - meiran on January 6th, 2010 07:19 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 02:41 am (UTC)
Aw, he is such a cutie!
I met him last walk-through and he looks like Jason Bateman. Such a cutie.
However, I will never see him again as I QUIT!!!! I grew to totally hate my job due to all the harassment, the lack of leadership, those damn make titles, never knowing if I would have hours the next week, never having time to complete my job. No stress, no stomach problems, no pain in my shoulders from being so damn tense... And no Gervin to deal with.
There IS life after Borders.
(Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 07:43 pm (UTC)
Re: Aw, he is such a cutie!
Jason Bateman is really good at playing clueless assholes. Couple of examples come to mind. The husband adopting the baby in "Juno" and the color commentator in "Dodgeball".

Thanks for the visual image of this douchebag. Before, I had the image of Michael Steele, the president of the Republican National Committee.
Re: Aw, he is such a cutie! - (Anonymous) on January 6th, 2010 05:10 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 02:44 am (UTC)
I remember when Tim was a good ZVP. And then he let the crazy from Marshall et al get to him and even tried to use their bullying techniques himself. After that, I couldn't bring myself to pity him when he was fired, even when the DM cried.

I can only imagine the schadenfreude that I will feel when Mike Steele is fired. When he first came to the store as ZVP he seemed like a guy whose glory days were not high school football, but junior high football. A guy who thought that because his last name was "Steele" he had the roughly equivalent status that any pro wrestler or porn star would (when viewed by a junior high school football player).

Mike Steele clearly has no idea how what he would actually have to do to be successful. And he has all those underperforming CA stores dragging down his numbers.

He won't last the year.
(Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 02:46 am (UTC)
His message pretty much says it all. What a dipshit.
tim anderson - (Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 08:37 am (UTC) (Expand)
Perfect use of schadenfreude in a sentence! - (Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 04:12 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 03:28 am (UTC)
Channeling Alec Baldwin
At first I thought this was just another spoof, like bismarn's incredible post and as I read further and further into the emails, my heart sank, there was a churning in my gut and I felt my spine tense...all similar reactions every time I open my email.

I've asked this of myself a number of times on those Zone 3 conference calls: What exactly are we going to win?

I'm encouraged by the couple of posts in the past two days, booksellers who have simply quit. It's only a matter of time before house burns down.

My last day with Borders is this week and I will be taking a job with a company that actually respects its employees; provides raises, 401K, health & dental insurance, decent working hours, staff (Jesus, they actually staff their shifts!), and every employee is FT. After reading this post, I feel as though I might have landed a job in Shangri-La.

I'm ashamed to think I worked for a company that thought this type of management, or Julio's berating email, or 'execute or be executed'; that Borders would consider these appropriate methods of direction. I'm even more ashamed to think I worked for a company that was too stupid to see how detrimental that style of management can be to a team.
(Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 03:54 am (UTC)
Does Anyone Have Steele's Email?
Does anyone have Mikey's actual email? I want to personally let him know what a douchebag asslicker he really is.
(Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 04:26 pm (UTC)
Re: Does Anyone Have Steele's Email?
All you need to do is send him the link to this post. No words necessary in the actual email.
Re: Does Anyone Have Steele's Email? - (Anonymous) on January 5th, 2010 05:57 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Does Anyone Have Steele's Email? - (Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 07:07 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Does Anyone Have Steele's Email? - (Anonymous) on January 7th, 2010 11:52 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Does Anyone Have Steele's Email? - (Anonymous) on January 7th, 2010 11:50 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
(Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 04:17 am (UTC)
http://lh5.ggpht.com/waywardjam/R4qJAfBpUrI/AAAAAAAAB10/S6ELm3I8S8w/Jason_Bateman%5B2%5D.jpg
(Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 04:13 am (UTC)
I'm absolutely floored by this whole notion of competition between Zones. This email just smacks of it. Not only that but we are all beaten down and destroyed by these assholes, and they actually want us to try to compete with each other! For what, exactly? To enable this toolbox to be the best among AA's champions, I guess. I see absolutely zero that interests me here. Carry on, Mike Steele. Carry on.
(Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 04:35 am (UTC)
They are pitting the slaves against each other for their amusement ...
(no subject) - panseygun on January 4th, 2010 05:01 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - (Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 12:18 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - (Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 04:29 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Competition - (Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 06:20 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Competition - (Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 06:29 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Competition - (Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 11:00 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Competition - (Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 11:39 pm (UTC) (Expand)
corruptinnocent on January 4th, 2010 04:23 am (UTC)
Did someone email him back with, "Thank you for nothing as we receive no support from the corporate level. Thank you for your lack of praise when it does happen and thank you for your success on the backs of the laborers. Well played, sir, and brag all you like on Monday though you yourself did nothing and have accomplished nothing."
(Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 04:28 am (UTC)
Now now...
Oh dear, Mikey-Mike, get a grip. You used to be such a nice guy. Now you're some ZVP badass. All this talk about winning. You and Julio - the big Weeners. Win what? A date with Ron? If you ever read a book on leadership you're going to feel like the biggest jackass alive.
(Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 04:37 am (UTC)
Just sell make books
Perhaps we should become like those exclusive stores that only have a few products in them ... just the make books.

So this week everyone just rpl everything but the make books and coffee.
(Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 04:59 am (UTC)
Evidence
To the GMs of these 16 stores, thanks for nothing. Had you managed your inventory, processed your freight and/or effectively executed a simple expectation (SELL at least one Make/Key ITEM EVERY DAY), your team (Zone 5) would have won. The same message applies to any store that posted a ZERO on Piano Teacher any of the past 6 weeks.

This is probably just one small example - one small snapshot of how store management is being harassed (in this case harassed by the hour). These types of emails need to be kept and used as evidence for unemployment/or worker's comp benefits for stress. Mike Steele is quite fucking hostile and he is clearly demoralizing his people. Now, I am a GM in another Zone and it is pretty bad for us too - but our ZVP doesn't send this kind of shit out - he is smarter than that.....he knows not to have evidence....don't leave a paper trail. He just does it on conference calls instead. Our DM on the other-hand is walking a thin line... using this type of communication. It is unrealistic to think that there wouldn't be stores in precious Zone 5 (or any other Zone) that could go 6 weeks straight without having one "zero" day on a fucking make book. Human Resources needs to see a copy of this. This is harassment/hostile work environment....this is not motivation. I have been saving and keeping all communications like this to be used as evidence. I have many examples of policy violations by DM, unrealistic expectations of the company, and harassment tactics like this. I'm saving them for my own defense - as fucking stupid as our DM is I am confident anyone else brought in to replace the DM at this point could be worse (if that is possible). That is the quandary we are in....

Thank you bordersall for posting this. More of the same needs to be posted whenever possible. Someone in AA will see these and it will get circulated. Harassment/and hostile work environment allegations are serious and any company is putting themselves in jeopardy allowing this to go on.
(Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 05:04 am (UTC)
Re: Evidence
``Human Resources needs to see a copy of this . . . ''

And they would care because . . . ??????
Re: Evidence - (Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 06:44 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Evidence - (Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 05:08 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Evidence - (Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 05:01 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Evidence - (Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 05:41 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Evidence - (Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 06:48 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Evidence - (Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 07:31 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Evidence - (Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 08:29 am (UTC) (Expand)
"THEY DO NOT TRUST A THING WE SAY." - (Anonymous) on January 5th, 2010 03:10 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: "THEY DO NOT TRUST A THING WE SAY." - fabricdragon on January 7th, 2010 06:30 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Evidence - panseygun on January 4th, 2010 06:18 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Evidence - (Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 06:13 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Evidence - (Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 11:17 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Evidence - (Anonymous) on January 5th, 2010 04:12 am (UTC) (Expand)
I'm with you - bordersall on January 5th, 2010 07:52 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Evidence - (Anonymous) on January 5th, 2010 12:17 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Evidence - (Anonymous) on January 5th, 2010 02:55 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 10:04 am (UTC)
Mike Steele is another example of the depths this company has sunk to, which are off the charts at this point. Don't these guys (Mike, Julio, etc.) ever go back and read their emails and think for one moment how stupid they sound and what assholes they are? How did they get this far in life without someone at least mentioning it somewhere along the way? I guess the only poetic justice here is that he'll eventually be shown the door by a bigger asshole than he is.
(Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 01:34 pm (UTC)
Thought things were improving for you guys but
Wow, it still seems the same crap. Hostile and their bullying ways.

Don't miss it at all just the way it was (but who doesn't)

Good luck
(Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 01:45 pm (UTC)
A Ronnie kickback deal?
This whole Piano Teach thing makes me wonder if pushing it is a Ronnie kickback deal with Penguin for buying a gazillion books on a "no-return" basis.
(Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 05:05 pm (UTC)
Ronnie Kickback
Actually there is no kickback we owe the pub's so much money this is a way to pay it off. A stupid way that makes customers leave, stop asking for help or just plain go to B&N or Target and Walmart.
I have a better way to make up that money fire Ron and stop reprinting signs that are the exact same except for the font size.
Lets get back to simplified merch tasking again, and leave us the hell alone so we can get some work done and make sure the store is staffed for the customers. Oh did I say leave us alone you jackasses who probally never worked a book store floor in the entire lives.
God I miss George Jones!!! At least he ran the company in to the ground while leaving us alone. Bye Bye MSTEELE I see your adventure with Borders ending soon as well some of the other posters on this board. Ron I hear Hell has a opening for a new death hand.


(Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 05:12 pm (UTC)
Bye Bye Mikey
Too bad we are losing so many true booksellers, and they are being replaced with assholes.
(Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 05:10 pm (UTC)
Send it to the Wall Street Journal!
Want to see our stock plummet, and the company look like the piece of shit it's become? Send this to the Wall Street Journal and every major newspaper in the country with a Borders. Then RM can try to sell the company off.

Who has time to read an email every coule of hours? Are you kidding! I'm already backing up cafe, reg and answering 3 phone lines, as well as trying to do online reserves! I eat my lunch (when I get one), at a desk working on paperwork I have no time to do! Because I can't stand the phone ringing 30 times, I answer it on my lunch break.

Lucky if I check email 3 times on a shift, once coming in, once if I do the midday report and once at EOD.

I'm keeping my tube of vaseline handy, I guess I should have bought the gallon jug!
(Anonymous) on January 5th, 2010 03:06 am (UTC)
Re: Send it to the Wall Street Journal!
And that would help your job, how?
(Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 05:28 pm (UTC)
Sit-in
I think we need to be like that starbucks who shut the store down and locked the door and did a sit-in and demanded better pay and better health insurance. As most key holders know the DM doesnt have keys to the stores. That means if everyone jumped on board and planned a date we could screw Ronnie and AA. That would be to much profit to make up just for that one day. I mean we are already screwed from these idiots, what they going to fire us. They dont pay enough unemployment insurance to fire everyone. Not even half. I also have not had a raise in 2 years and I do training, merch, office and over all store bitch which means everyone leaves their shit for me too. I got lots of stories from my 5 years with this piss pot of a company. Was great when I started but look at it now. I will post them when I leave just slow going finding another job.
t_pain09 on January 4th, 2010 07:13 pm (UTC)
Re: Sit-in
I'd like to do a sit-in/shut down just so we could get some freight out and the store alphabetized.
Re: Sit-in - meiran on January 6th, 2010 07:30 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(Anonymous) on January 4th, 2010 05:31 pm (UTC)
Email address
Mike's email is MSTEELE@bordersstores.com
for anyone who wants him to see what a ass he is.
(Anonymous) on January 5th, 2010 12:14 am (UTC)
Re: Email address
I have talked with many employees at my store about this site, and almost everyone comes here to see what is going on. They too feel much like we all do, but they are afraid to post here. Given that situation I am willing to bet that our concerns and complaints are more prevalent than management might think.

Wish we could everyone on board here...
Re: Email address - (Anonymous) on January 5th, 2010 06:36 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Email address - bordersall on January 5th, 2010 07:26 am (UTC) (Expand)