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Video Clerk Puts Customer Service in Play

November 07, 1994|HOPE HAMASHIGE

COSTA MESA — Kenny Klingele has not yet seen the movie "Clerks," but he insists that he is nothing like its character Randall, the twentysomething slacker who works in a video store, never arrives on time and, when he is there, refuses to help the customers.

"Everything runs pretty efficiently around here," said Klingele, one of the managers in the video department at The Wherehouse on 17th Street in Costa Mesa. Making customers happy, he added, is extremely important because it keeps them coming back.

Klingele said he takes customer service seriously because he thinks his customers are the best part of his job in a video store, where he worked first as a clerk.

"I know a lot of customers on a first-name basis, and I have met a lot of people and become friends with them while working here," he said.

Klingele, now 26, started at the Wherehouse five years ago. Like most 21-year-olds, he said he thought it would be fun to work in a place that sells music and rents videos.

As a manager, his responsibilities expanded. In addition to checking videos in and out, Klingele also is responsible for hiring, scheduling and training all the clerks.

He said he is looking toward a future working in the buying department of a video store company, choosing their film and music titles--or perhaps one day owning his own store.

In large part because of his customers, Klingele said, he has become a film buff and has developed an interest in foreign films. Customers "have educated me as much as I educate them," he said. "I don't think I ever rented a foreign film before I started working here, but they are very popular at this store."

OCCUPATION: VIDEO STORE CLERK

* What's involved: Video rental clerks are responsible for signing up customers for membership, checking out rented videos and checking them in when they are returned. Clerks inspect tapes and ensure they are in proper working order.

* Qualifications: No previous experience is required. Video rental clerks only need to be able to deal with the public in a friendly manner.

* Prospects: By 1998, the number of rental clerk jobs is projected to increase by 11.1% to 3,100.

* Salary range: Clerks earn from $4.25 to $5 per hour.

* Pros: Clerks meet a lot of people, learn about cinema and get to watch a lot of films.

* Cons: Hours are not always the same from day to day. It can be difficult to meet customers' demands, particularly during peak hours when there are numerous people to serve.

* Advancement: Clerks are often promoted to managers. Managers also are promoted to management positions of increasing responsibility at larger companies.

* Quote: "You have to be social. This is no place for somebody who is shy or does not have good people skills."

--Kenny Klingele, The Wherehouse

Researched by HOPE HAMASHIGE / For The Times

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