I work at an opticians and I really enjoy my job, I’m decent at it and get on great with the people there. I’m alone most the time but I talk with the people in the shops nearby. It took me months to get this job after being made redundant at my last one, despite getting interviews daily there were always hundreds of other applicants, and most had multiple stages so I was getting “into the top 10” and “down to the final interview” all the time. They are really scarce and my regional area has one of the highest numbers of unemployed people in the UK. The pay isn’t great (minimum wage) and I have to get up super early to commute, but that’s not my main issue.
My main issue is the upper management. When I started there a year and a half ago we had 2 ‘clinics’ a week – where an optician comes in to fit them people with glasses. We have to spend the rest of the week getting people in for these clinics to fill every appointment. The way we do this is either waiting for people who need sight tests to come in to us, and booking them for glasses if they score low, or stand outside the shop giving out leaflets, then offering sight tests to by-passers. Our company will not advertise. We have 3 other opticians really close by, two almost next door who do advertise and have posters everywhere.
We are told we need to get 6 people in to buy glasses for each clinic, but have to make a certain amount of money, and for a while we were doing okay. But in November they put our budget up by loads and gave us 3 clinics per week. Meaning we need to book 18 in now. And it was a really quiet time of year. If we don’t make the budget they add it on to the next week, and it’s insanely high now.
I’m trying really hard – giving out thousands of leaflets, getting 25 sight tests in per day (which I conduct myself because I’m alone there) re-calling customers who had glasses long ago to see if they want new ones, whilst doing all my other work, but it’s really impossible. Whilst we are filling 2 clinics, 3 is way too hard and our budget is way higher than when I started.
Even worse: I have to call all the customers that have appointments the day before, to confirm them. Many of our customers are elderly and struggle to hear over the phone or understand, and many don’t answer so we leave voicemails if they have one. But if we can’t fill the clinics they take them off at last minute, meaning I have to re-call the customers telling them their appointments now need to be rescheduled, even though I only just called them to confirm the appointments. It’s REALLY stressful as some don’t answer the phone and turn up for their appointment that was cancelled, and some get really confused and upset.
I’m usually alone in the store on my shift, and I’m getting lots of phone calls asking why I haven’t filled the clinics and saying they might take them off literally 2 hours before the end of the day before the clinic. They aren’t nasty, they’re nice people and I know they’re being told to phone me and say that, but it’s really stressing me. It’s a minimum wage job.
Another thing is we are closed for bank hols, good Friday, Xmas day etc but those still have to come out of our holiday allowance. E.g before we book any holidays we have to book all of those off, even though we are closed.
Does this seem nuts to you or am I overreacting?