You salespeople are the reason department stores like ours is failing.

cash register emptied by greedy employees demanding benefits and health insuranceGood morning, sales associates! As you know, I just got back from meeting with our CEO and top execs at our flagship store in New York. Now, as your store manager, I don’t have to tell you these are tough times for those of us in retail.

Neiman Marcus came out of bankruptcy. Penney’s and Sears are barely hanging on.

Why this sad state of affairs?

I’ll tell you. It has nothing to do with people buying more stuff online, too many ugly, soulless malls hawking unexciting, me-too merchandise, or a new generation forsaking material goods and shifting their spending toward restaurants and entertainment. The reason these stores are going out of business is because they didn’t make a profit.

So because some of you work in cosmetics, I’ll explain what a profit is and how we make one.

A profit is what’s left over after we pay our bills and contribute generously to your many benefit plans. There are two ways we make a profit.

One is by not spending money.

When you use laughably archaic cash registers and computers that can barely handle emails, help you correspond with customers, track orders or find merchandise, we save money because we don’t have to invest in expensive, cutting-edge technology when doing things half-assed is good enough.

When we count on you to drive customers into the store, we save even more money. After all, why throw away good money on targeted email, creating relationships with social media influencers, advertising on Facebook and Instagram, or creating blog content that connects emotionally with our customers. We can just badger our salespeople to pick up a phone, call customers and beg them to come in. After all, the store phones are paid for and we’re already paying you to stand around and sell things.

When we make you unload boxes and stock the shelves in your dressy clothing, we save money because we can lay off scores of needy, give-me give-me stockroom and merchandising employees who bleed us dry with expensive health and retirement plans.

We even save money when you get customers to open a credit card. Sure, new card holders get a 15% discount on their first purchase, but you pay for that out of your decreased commissions—so it doesn’t cost the store anything, really. Now before you that say it’s not fair to rob Peter to pay Paul, remember that the store wins because those new cardholders come back and spend more … not necessarily with you, but at the store in general. So we all win!

The second way we make a profit is when you meet executive sales incentive goals. True, this money goes to compensate our execs who have to live in big, expensive New York City, but technically, it’s still a profit.

So what do we do with all this money we make?

When we make a profit, the people who own our company—the stockholders, our CEO and certain top execs—get a share of the profits called a dividend. If you know anything about economics, you’d know that a rising tide lifts all yachts, and that wealth we shower on shareholders and top management filters down to you in the form of top producer award certificates, lapel pins, flowers and the pleasure of seeing your photograph on the hallowed walls of the employee break room. Wow! And best of all, you get to keep your job. That sounds like a win-win situation to me!

Well, it’s ten o’clock and the store is now open. So get out there, sell, sell, sell … and remember that we’re all in this together.