I've got a new employee starting Sunday. New employees get me thinking about my expectations. You can write a book about the job, but it's summed up in three basic tasks. These tasks are simple, yet they're difficult to master. Some approach artistry, something hard to express to someone hired at $9/hour. Failure to achieve the fundamentals of any of these is grounds for dismissal, yet basic competence is enough to keep a job for years. They are:
Keep people from stealing our stuff. Basic loss control is critical. Customers need to be watched at all times. You have to be on the lookout for suspicious behavior. For example, a common tactic is when a couple guys walk into the store and immediately split up. One may come up to the cashier as a distraction while the other steals. There is an instinctual thing you develop about this stuff, but it can certainly be learned. A little training is in order, but the key for the employee is understanding this is job one. You've got to look out for theft, know what to do when you find it, and know how to prevent it in the first place.
Sell them some stuff. Being able to engage people and help them find what they're looking for is critical. Being able to suggest things based on their needs is the skill to learn. Upselling, suggestive selling, cross-selling, demo selling and the like is the holy grail and will be noticed and rewarded. It's a skill I'm constantly trying to develop in myself. Again, sales ability are sets of skills that almost anyone can learn.
Clean and organize our stuff. I am not obsessive compulsive (and I'm not changing my story), I just believe in having a clean and organized store. This means the carpet is vacuumed every day, the glass is cleaned when it's dirty, areas of the store are systematically cleaned, and the cashier walks the floor at least hourly to straighten up shelves. It also includes getting processes down, such as cash drops and properly opening and closing. Face the bills in the register for gods sake. Those are basic skills. Advanced skills include: Building displays, facing new games or games that sell best or you can sell best, creating interesting signage, and creating better processes. This is generally manager territory, but it doesn't have to be.
So how hard is it to do all this? If you can do the basics, you're golden. If you can do all the advanced stuff to my satisfaction, I'll give you my job, put you on salary and open a second store.
What about all the games? Playing games is something we do on our own time, myself included. I don't pay people to run demos or events unless I'm really desperate (a roomful of people and no judge, for example). I think playing games is critical for sales success, but we work at a game store because we like games. It's kinda assumed employees play them or again, I probably wouldn't hire them. Then again, be competent at all three of those skills and I don't much care.