Saturday, August 30, 2008

Well Today's the Day (NOT)

More tomorrow as I on my way to bed (have to get up early for work at 8 am.) There were no frantic crowds today. Basically a typical Saturday.

Now that may not bode well for tomorrow. It could be that Sunday will be crazy. Maybe they were spending today moving the furniture and stuff and tomorrow will be the grocery shopping.


Well Today's the Day

I have to be at work in a little over 4 hours. It'll be interesting to see what today brings.

We have some pretty decent specials on and product is still sort of all over the place with some items being moved to new locations. Hopefully a lot of the people coming in to stock up today won't notice much as they'll be new to the area. They won't notice its moved if they didn't know where it was in the first place.

I wrote to the new owners the beginning of the week with the hope that they may have information on the new uniforms. They replied yesterday and all they would say was that they hope to have them finalized by the end of September. A quote from their email when asked about the salad bar: "Also, concerning the Salad Bar, it is still being tested." I had told them how much the seniors rely on it.

Three of last year's cashiers have checked in so far. They start after Labour day. It will be nice to have some of the old team back, but the team we have now is pretty darn good. There are a couple that COULD be gone but for the most part it is a joy to work with all of them. The majority REALLY care about customers and that is very important to me. I know it is vital for the store but I find it so hard to watch when someone doesn't do something right in their way of treating our customers.

I know I'm not perfect, by any means, but I think I do know how to treat people. I think that they want to be treated with common courtesy and like they are important. I don't think they want to stand there while the cashiers carry on conversations with each other even if their groceries are being checked out at the same time. I also think that they want to feel they are getting good value for their money. That means they want their items packed well and efficiently. They want to be heard and they want to feel like coming back. They don't want to feel like they are eating into my time.

Well, I have vented a little. I am going to do some knitting now for my best friend and then I'll have more to say this afternoon.

See Ya!!!

Friday, August 29, 2008

So, I'm a day late. Sorry. :-(

I got busy yesterday (day off and all) and didn't write. I had some running around to do and what not.

Anyway, today was pretty good. We're gearing up for the weekend onslaught.

We are very close to a MAJOR university, a pretty big college and direct neighbours to a high school. ALL the students start coming back over the next few weeks. THAT means stocking up PLUS all those kids that are living away from home for the first time will have parents buying all the stuff they need to set up their dorm or apartment or room.

Lots of cleaning stuff will leave the store. We will be bizzz - zzeee!!!

Almost all the cashiers are working tomorrow and Sunday. We're closed Monday for Labour Day and will open again on Tuesday for some more crowds.

I'm on number 1 (express) again tomorrow afternoon but on Sunday I'm in at 8 in the A.M. so I think I'll be on a regular register. There is something frightening about seeing a buggy coming at you that is overflowing and you're wondering where to put everything.

A while back I talked about this lovely gentleman who buys two tins of beans for the food bank every time he's in the store. Well he came in today and was very glad to see me. I think he is such a sweetheart. The kindest face next to my Dad's. Anyway, he said he hadn't seen me for a while and I said I'd missed seeing him. We chit chatted a little and as he was leaving he stopped and said that I make him smile inside.

That is one of the nicest things anyone has said to me. I hope my Mum and Dad can somehow know what people say about me. I would like to think that they are very proud of the way I have turned out.

Mrs. Violet was in twice today. On Wednesday she brought me a copy of a recipe that I had asked her for. She is the one that thinks I have 'niceness' in me. She has brought in these neat little 'cookies' before and I gave a taste to one of the other cashiers. Well, they turn out to be just what HER grandmother used to make for her so I had asked Mrs. Violet if she wouldn't mind sharing the recipe for my friend. She had stopped in before I was there, today.

Mrs. Violet goes walking, A LOT, and she almost always stops in the store to get herself some little things for her dinner or breakfast the next morning. When she came in today she asked if I had gotten the recipe and then said that she hadn't expected to see me. She was going home to change out of her sweater (much warmer today than she thought it was going to be) and then come back with something she had made for me.

Sure enough, half an hour later, there is this sweet lady standing behind my register just waiting for me to have a minute and she's holding a little tin with some home made truffley things. SO CHOCOLATY!!!

And I'm special ? ? ? ? ?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I've Just About Had It !!!

Okay, this post is not entirely to do with work. First:

Quite complaining to me about how cold it is in the store. We have MEAT here. We have MILK and other DAIRY products. How the h - e - double hockey sticks do you expect us to keep it fresh? And YES, I like working in the cold. In fact I LOVE working in the cold so I am obviously the wrong one to ask or complain to.

There I feel better.

Today was, otherwise, a great day at the store. I was really ON ! !

Cashier wise, performer wise, personality wise. And yes I am tooting my own horn.

I had people laughing and telling me how great it was to meet some one so cheerful. I told them I don't feel like I work there, I feel I perform.

As stated in the last post, morale is terrific. The other cashiers are all pretty happy campers. Everyone, in SPITE of the renovations and the moving of product so the flooring can be done, is in a great mood. Oh, and the crazies have all crawled back to where ever it is they hide until the next full moon.

Anyway, it's late. So I am off to bed and will have more to say tomorrow.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

"Take Your Snake to Work Day"

I didn't have to work Saturday so I had promised one of the people I work with that I would bring my snake in if it was hot.

It was, so I did.

She was sort of a hit and sort of not. There are still people that are deathly afraid of snakes. I don't understand it but I respect it. I wouldn't want anyone to force me to look at anything that scares me.

There was a group using our hoses for a car wash and they were quite interested in the snake. Also a few of the cashiers and some of the young men came out. Pictures were taken and are going to be up on individuals Face Book pages before the day is out. I like it when people are not afraid of my boa. Snakes are important to the environment and too many kids grow up thinking they should kill them.

The is my boa when I first got her. She was one week old and about 14" long.

This next picture is of two ball pythons I used to own with their supposed dinner. Ball Pythons can be hard to keep sometimes as they don't always eat when they should. I had put these two young rats in because both snakes had been making signs that they were hungry. I looked about a half hour later and this is what I found. Needless to say the two young rats became pets. And the snakes were given to a reptile store downtown. I prefer my boa.

Have a great day and I hope there are no more crazies in the store today.

The Summer Olympics are over for another four years. I really enjoyed the parts that I watched. I missed ALL equestrian events which is unusual for me. But I got to see most of the swimming and diving I wanted and a lot of the running, including the whole marathon. So glad a Kenyan finally won. I missed the 5000 and 10,000 meter races though.

Oh well, next time. I have my dvd of Michael Phelps to hold me over.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Full Moon


Somebody must have had the crazies locked up two days ago on the full moon, because they all showed up at the store yesterday. Even the machines were being weird.

Screaming matches, odd requests, rude people, (oh sorry they come in every day), stupid people, people who can't count or make up their minds or can't find stuff. People that wanted to start fights and people that wanted to finish them.

I hope they have it out of their systems because I am ready to take them on tonight. I REALLY don't like rude people!

An aside: morale at the store seems to be up a lot since Yappy Girl left us. She turned the speed contest into a cut throat competition and when she had herself convinced she was going to win, and should win, it became more intense. She already had her winnings spent!!

When she DIDN'T win: Holy Mackeral!! Tears, anger, fury. Then she had to go home early because she had been 'robbed'. Called in sick for the next two days and then left a message to replace her shifts for the following week. Showed up at work with a letter of resignation! (yay) demanding her records, vacation pay and a letter of recommendation.

My suggestion was to write that she was never caught stealing at the store. (Mean: probably. Fair: unlikely. Feeling about said comment: priceless)

As I said the morale is way up now. Amazing how much stress she brought to the store with her. We'll see how long before the customers notice she's gone. She upset several of them with the way she handles their groceries.

I made a mistake last night I haven't made since the first week I worked there. I had a customer that was making some muffins and had bought some extra things to put in them. He had a ready to make muffin mix, some walnuts, and mini M & M's. I weighed the walnuts and then scanned the muffin mix and then weighed the M & M's. Except that I really shouldn't have left the muffin mix ON the scanner/scale. Usually you can void it off but last night the machine or scale or powers that be didn't want that to happen. So we had to fudge around the weight and enter the info a different way. We got it to work but man, it was just silly stuff after silly stuff. Items wouldn't scan so you had to punch the UPC code in. Then you'd move something past the scanner and it wouldn't work. You'd go to put it in the bag after finally getting it to scan and it would scan again from a foot away. So now you have to void one out because you have two rung in. AAARRRGGGHHHHH!!!!!

Then there were some avocados coming through with two different codes on them. You would enter the first code and low and behold you have changed them to broccoli. So you have to void it out, enter the other code and let all the other cashiers know that one code is incorrect.

Also the past three days there has been a tremendous run on fives. All the bank machines in the area spit out either 20's or 50's. It makes it hard for us, but so far we've managed.

We should hear any day about the new uniforms; and the renovations are starting to look good. They brought in this big stainless steel thing the other day that has spaces for 6 different soups or chilis and several spaces for hot food.

It is going across the front of where the other salad bar was. I bet you that they are also going to have some fancy coffees, etc.


How about the U.S. losing out on even getting to run in the men's OR women's 4 X 100 relay. Both teams dropped the baton, in the SAME PLACE.

In the 200 meter dash the night before two disqualifications propelled the American 4th and 5th place winners to silver and bronze. At that caliber of race it is hard not to get caught up in the race and not watch where you put your feet. Such a disappointment for the athletes. BUT,,,,,, That IS what they train for. It should be second nature to run in the middle of your lane.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Ah ..... Renovations

We are undergoing renovations at the store. We were bought out by a Quebec company called Metro three years ago. They have done some studies and asked employees (Not any that I know) what they think about names etc.

It has been decided that The Barn, Dominion, A & P, and Ultra Mart will be gone. We will all be 'Metro' which, I'm sorry, sounds like a subway. The only lucky one is Food Basics because they operate in a different category. (Although, lately some of their prices aren't so great.)

Anyway, the customers are getting a little panicky. We had to close the self serve salad bar for a while because there is work going on in that area. OMG!! What will they do without their salad stuff already being made?

Also, we are a little low on stock of some more obscure items and of course this is the week that all have come in looking for those things. Ah, well. Never fear. They can always ask or complain to the cashiers. After all: we know EVERYTHING.

We also are integrating our lottery and Western Union section with the first cash register so that there is not so much moving from one area to the other to serve customers. Not sure if there is an opportunity for a little extra knowledge there. Would be nice to be able to at least sell the lottery tickets. HHHHmmmmm

And last but not least, there is much speculation about the new uniforms. Rumours have them being neutral colours like orange (Yappy said that), or red and white or grey and there is talk of ties from clip-on to bow. All I can say is that if there is a tie involved I don't think I'll be working there for much longer. I would really miss the people and the job, but I DON"T do things around the neck. It has to be a humongous blizzard before I even put on a scarf!

* * * * * * * *

On the Yappy Front. She is gone. She quit over some silly thing that basically boils down to taking her ball and bat and going home. More later when it is safer.

* * * * * * * *

About the Olympics:

I was listening to a radio talk show last week about how the Canadian athletes have "let us down" with their "poor" showing.

Ex-freaking-cuse me?????? If I competed in something and came in 7th or 8th in THE WORLD I would be ecstatic. How great is that? I mean, sure, you don't get a medal but, WOW, to be THAT good. We need to support our athletes more and we definately need to be prouder of them than we are.

And watching Michael Phelps swim was a thing of beauty. I watched Mark Spitz back when he set his records and it was nice to see someone else do it. I really liked when Michael was receiving his 8th medal and it finally hit him what he had done. He was out of swim-race mode and able to be a young man overcome with the emotion of winning the OLYPMICS.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Just let me carry a taser for a little while

So we still get people complaining about the cold, but I sometimes wonder if they ever use their brains.

Standing at express on Saturday and it wasn't all that busy. There is this woman that I recognize as a semi-regular and I have always had a lot of sympathy for. She has this teenage(?/ maybe early twenties) son. He is REALLY weird. One day he wouldn't stop talking in Klingon and his mother always seems distressed with trying to control him. He knows how to push every button she has and I have felt like she is at her wits ends with him.

She had a buggy full of items but I had no one at my register and we weren't very busy so I asked her to come through my aisle. BIG MISTAKE!

Rather than 'thank you' she started in with how cold it was. (Bear in mind, that like every day these past few weeks it had just rained so they were wet and had been walking around an air-conditioned store.)

"Did the store not want their customers to shop here, why was it so cold, as a customer it is unfair to me, If they don't wish to have customers in the store they should just say so, its disrespectful to me, I could take my business elsewhere, I can spend my money someplace else, there is no reason for it to be this cold, what about the energy crisis, other stores are adjusting their temperatures".... ad infinitum.

I never got a chance to say a word. She just kept on the attack all the time. I now suspect that either she's the reason the kid is the way he is or that BECAUSE of him she needed to vent and I was the closest target.

Never once was their any appreciation or a chance for me to explain or even answer. As they walked away she was still complaining, but for once there wasn't a sound from the kid.


Yappy Girl is ticked that she can't win the contest twice. Apparently its not 'fair' to give any one else a chance.

The other day we overlapped for two hours with her. I was right next to her, and behind her. WHAT AN EXPERIENCE THAT WAS.

The looks of the faces of her customers was down right painful. She was trying to go so fast it was like she was in hyperdrive. She just rushes through the whole experience. The customers are not greeted in a very polite way, she rushes their groceries through like they are NOTHING, she is still rushing them when she ask if its cash, debit or credit then grabs the card rushes it through and and hands it back to them. As soon as it prints out, as SOON as, she grabs it gives it to them to sign and is ringing up the next customer. The first customer is standing there looking totally shell shocked. She has sometimes had as many as three customers at a time all looking confused and very concerned about whether they are even getting their own bags!!

If she has no customer she turns her back on the one she had or she will grab their bags of groceries and start putting them in the cart for them. Now, that isn't necessarily a bad thing EXCEPT that it is also done at breakneck speed and without a whole lot of caution. I see the faces of the customers and I just wish one of them would snap at her.

She even decided to 'help' one of my customers and grabbed a bag that only had a cake in. Of course it weighed nothing and therefore it flew up into the air. Luckily she saved it but the customer did NOT looked pleased.

I wonder when a customer is going to just light into her. I hope when it happens that she learns something from it, but I have a strong feeling she won't. She seems to think that she does nothing wrong. Ever.

All in all, I think the customer is left with a very bad impression of our staff and store.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Nothing to do With The Job part 2

The first day, Antietam, we sort of accidentally brought the dog with us. Not a good idea. We had sort of thought it would be cooler and that there would be trees or shade of some sort. But there wasn't. And because we were in a strange place he didn't take care of 'business' right away.

Anyway, he made it through okay. We cooled him with water etc, but he still managed to get him self stressed out. When we got back to the motel, we played with his toys with him and then sat out front for a while and caught up on email, etc. After he went around for a little walk, etc, he decided he was feeling better.

We decided to leave him behind on Wednesday. We had breakfast and took him for a walk and then left him with his 'tiger' (favourite toy he's had since he was a puppy) and his bed and water.

We went to Gettysburg along the very road that the Army of Northern Virginia (General Robert E. Lee) walked into Gettysburg on.

We were able to see some of the older area as the signs to the Visitor Centre sort of disappeared once we were in Gettysburg. We eicocheted skirted around the town like a pinball until we happened upon the Visitor Centre. (Antietam was better marked.) We also did not know until we got home that the very parking lot we turned around in was the one we needed to park in in order to visit Gettysburg Cemetery. A little aggravated about that, but, hey, its a reason to go back.

Once we had a little look around the visitor centre we found that we could see a movie about the war and get an air-conditioned bus tour of the area. We signed up for that as it was over 100F. There were 23 of us besides the driver and tour guide. It was interesting, but two and a half hours isn't enough to see all you want to see. The good part is we WERE able to see where we wanted to go in our own car afterwards.

If you have seen the movie "Gettysburg" starring Jeff Daniels, Martin Sheen, and Tom Berenger there is a scene where the Union army is walking across this huge field to do battle. We saw that very field and it was gut wrenching to think what it must have been like.

In the very centre of this picture there is a fence crossing at a slight angle. Behind that is a very small white spot. THAT is General Lee's statue and the picture shows the view that General Meade had of the battlefield.

Below is another view of the battlefield. That is our bus in the foreground and on the day of the battle, the Confederate Army was on the right and the Union on the left.

There is a place on one side of the field where they have placed General Lee's statue, facing the way he did that day.

A mile away and facing him is the statue of General George Meade who was leading the Union army.

In the town of Gettysburg there are a lot of houses that were built before the war. They have plaques declaring them civil war Buildings. This picture is of Farnsworth House. There is a small window at the top right of the picture that was used by snipers and consequently the house was fired on a LOT. The white spots on the bricks are the actual bullet marks. The next picture is a closer view and the picture after that is of the plaque on the house. Farnsworth House has been restored and is used as a museum and restaurant.

I know this is quite a bit away from what I usually go on about but it is something I find very fascinating. My parents really instilled in us a love of history.


I stopped in today to pick up some milk and get my schedule and there's a cashier who may be in trouble. Appears she was a little too rough with the wrong person's groceries yesterday. It was one of the department managers groceries. Anyway, I should find out more tomorrow. It seems to be directly related to the "speed" contest they have going on at the store.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Will Continue Trip info tomorrow

Sixth day at work since I came back from vacation. I have the next two days off and I intend to enjoy them. I'm going out for lunch with my best knitting friend.

Last night in the store I had the cranky ones in. The best by far was the RUDE lady. Now when you're on express (1 to 8 items) part of the responsibility is to keep a n eye on customer service and page if the head cashier is needed. So there's this lady standing there with her three boys in the 10 to 12 year category I'm guessing. She has her back to me and I ask if she needs help with lottery. Without even turning: "Yeah."

To me that was very rude so thought 'well you can just wait a little bit then'. I served a couple more customers and when I again had a second I asked her, very politely whether she wanted help.


And I couldn't resist.

"Did you mean please?" I asked. Eyebrows angry and all. Her kids jaws dropped and she looked like she didn't know what to do. At which point I paged again as the head cashier rounded the corner. I really wished she had said something or the eye contact hadn't been broken by the Head arriving.

This customer has always been a little rude and has attitude like she is above us mere working stiffs. She 'expects' to be treated like a princess and it won't be happening at my register any time soon.

Then I have another foreign type person some up and start unloading the buggy with LOTS of items. I was serving the one before them and didn't notice until they had a lot of stuff up already. There was no one behind them and I told them it was express but as they had the items out I would go ahead. They chatted back and forth in some language or another and the hubby started to take the items back. I said no, they had the stuff out already I would go ahead. While the hubby looked very apologetic the wife was like it was her right. At the end he smiled and nodded and she asked for the receipt which I was already handing her but never thanked me for taking the order through. Another one committed to memory.

And on the plus side, being on express was again fun. I had one young couple that I was goofing with and just being myself with and he said "I've never had this much fun at a grocery store!" I said "thank you. A lot of people think I work here but I think I perform." I love a captive audience even if it is for mere minutes at a time.

Two pictures to hold you over until tomorrow.

My dog, Sidney.

This is the before and after picture of my snake.

Started at 14 inches, now almost 8 feet.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Nothing to do with the job!

We just got back from a mini vacation to Gettysburg, PA.

I was there as a young teenager some 40+ years ago. I was mesmerized by the feelings and history of the place. I'm sorry it took so long to get back but it was worth it.

The temperature was over 100F both days but we made do.

We took most of Monday to drive down (about 751 kms) and got to our motel which turned out to be fairly comfortable. I found it on Expedia and the rates were like half of some of the other places. We had a king size bed and my only complaint was that the darn mattress would NOT stay on the foundation. Consequently the pillows kept going down between the wall and the mattress.

We did sleep WELL the first night. I think it was exhaustion from the drive. This is the view from our window.

The next day started with a trip to get hubby's dobro set up at the builder's store. That included a tour and was very interesting. They are built by hand and most of the pieces and attachments etc are built on site. Because the instrument is made of wood weather can affect them and so it just needed to be looked over and given a check up. The previous owner bought it and played it maybe once and then it sat neglected. Now it is one very special sounding instrument.

After that was all done, it was off through some little roads that were obviously the same ones used over 100 years ago. They wound through farms and mountains, just beautiful country. We were heading to Antietam first. That battle was considered "The Bloodiest One Day Battle in American History."

"23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded or missing after twelve hours of savage combat on September 17, 1862."

This picture was taken by Alexander Gardner, an assistant to Matthew Brady, on September 19th, 1862. The quote at the bottom says "In this road there lay so many dead rebels that they formed a line that one might have walked upon as far as I could see. They just lay as they had been killed apparently, amid the blood which was soaking the earth."

This battlefield was named "Bloody Row".

This picture shows how deep Bloody Row was and is taken looking the other direction.

In this next picture you can see the immense size of the battlefield and in the middle of it between the trees is the place where Bloody Row is.

If you are at all interested in history and especially any aspects of the Civil War it is worth taking a trip to the area. The American people seem to really care about their history and do a marvelous job of saving and respecting it.

I will continue tomorrow with pictures from day two of our trip.

An aside to the trip.

On both the way down and the way back we ran into LOTS of construction on the various highways. Those people down there really understand the signs. The Roads Department tell you in advance that one lane is ending and people move over. None of this waiting till the last minute and trying to squeeze in. None of this speeding up in the last 100 yards or so and hoping someone will let you in. The ONLY delays we had were for trucks trying to climb those mountains. Amazing. And you know what else. For the most part they followed the speed limit AND they knew how to use their signals. I tell you, considering that Canadians are considered so polite to talk to it all disappears on the road. We could learn a lot from our friends to the south. Also at places where there is construction and you are supposed to slow down they have these display boards that tell you the speed you should be doing and show you what you are doing. Very handy and a good reminder. Only very, very few drivers were the kind that tailgate and don't realize it.

And one last thing: When I got back to work after being gone for FIVE WHOLE DAYS my regular customers treated me like they hadn't seen me in MONTHS!! How can you not like a job like that?!