Thursday, November 13, 2008
QVC laid off approximately 160 employees yesterday--everything from vice-presidents to producers to call center workers. Apparently, no one knew this was coming until they showed up for work (although I would bet there were lots of rumors floating around). Here's a link to coverage of the story from their local news.
And the bad news keeps coming for the small town of West Chester. QVC is planning to shut down the entire call center and eliminate 900 jobs over the next 14 months as it shifts sales and distribution to facilities in Virginia, South Carolina, Texas and Florida.
Let me translate this for you: they are getting rid of everyone at a facility that has been there for twenty-some-odd-years so that they can move their operations to locations where the wages are cheaper in general and they don't have people with seniority (i.e. higher pay and more benefits) to deal with.
I live in the South, I know how it works down here. The only reason companies move here is for the cheap labor and loosey-goosey labor laws.
On the bright side, they do plan on adding about 200 new jobs in these cheaper locations. And they believe that they will "improve customer service" by supporting a new work-from-home model.
This is where the tongue forks, my friends.
No, you do NOT improve customer service by getting rid of experienced employees that are invested in your company. And, NO, you do NOT improve customer service by getting rid of 700 employees! Who do they think they are kidding?
Here's what King George, President of the Q, had to say about this horrible turn of events: "I had hoped we could avoid layoffs as we pursued our long-term growth strategies, but after witnessing the continuing deterioration in the economy, I came to the reluctant conclusion that this was not going to be possible."
Hey, times are hard. I understand. QVC's sales have been going down. In fact, their revenue last quarter was off 3% to only $1.64 billion--that's with a "B." Sad, isn't it?
But there's some great news for those call center employees who haven't been fired just yet: they get to work through the holiday season before being handed their pink slip! Yippy! Isn't that great? QVC is going to let their experienced employees carry them through the busy holiday season before canning them.
Although I have to say that I am a bit confused since I thought getting rid of all those people was actually going to improve customer service? Strange how that works.
I'd like to advise all those employees who got the boot yesterday or whose heads are now on the chopping block to first, rent "Office Space." You need and deserve a good laugh. And, second, when you get a chance, email me your thoughts (firstname.lastname@example.org). I assure you that will keep any identifying information private.
I wish all these employees the best of luck. My heart goes out to you.
I will leave you with some words of wisdom from Milton from Office Space, "And I said, I don't care if they lay me off either, because I told, I told Bill that if they move my desk one more time, then, then I'm, I'm quitting, I'm going to quit. And, and I told Don too, because they've moved my desk four times already this year, and I used to be over by the window, and I could see the squirrels, and they were married, but then, they switched from the Swingline to the Boston stapler, but I kept my Swingline stapler because it didn't bind up as much, and I kept the staples for the Swingline stapler and it's not okay because if they take my stapler then I'll set the building on fire... "