Saturday, November 14, 2009

Customer Appreciation

Customer Appreciation:

Usually that means that we are nice to the customers and they keep coming back because we make them feel good about shopping in our store.

THIS TIME, I am using it to mean what I have been hearing from customers over the past several weeks.

(I have been told I am slow and at the same level on some items as 'new' cashiers. This hurts me as I can't see how it is true. Although how are you supposed to ring items in the correct way when you can't get anyone to answer a phone to do a price check or the item just WON'T scan or the bar code is too messed up to be read?)

Yes I'm a talkative person, and yes I take the time to bag items like meat and soap so they don't come in contact with other food products. So maybe that slows me down a bit?! But wouldn't it be more important to have customers enjoy shopping in our store? Wouldn't they like having someone that cares about the food they buy and taking the time and care to pack it properly? Also, we have an older clientele as well as the students from 3 or 4 schools in the area. The students are usually so absorbed in their own lives that they don't even take the time to be polite, but the older people like politeness and a caring individual.

Which brings me to the title of this thing. I have heard from more than ten customers this week alone about how they love to see me when they come in the store. They say I am always cheerful to them. They like the way I treat them and that I make them smile and make them glad they shop at our store. They like that I take such good care of their groceries. They have said they always look to see if I am here and then go to my register.

The interesting thing is that we have a bunch of new cashiers that have started over the last few weeks and that is precisely how long it has been that I have been getting these comments.

Co-incidence????? I think not.

Speaking of cashiers. Yesterday I worked with three other people that actually know how to work. They were people nearer my age and it made the job so much more fun. It is very hard to work when the other girls are always flitting around doing whatever it is they do. They are often talking about the latest thing that so and so did and not giving the customer their full attention. It also seems that when there are line ups I always have more people in my line and I get them through pretty fast.

The other day they had Slow Girl on the express and I had more people coming through my line commenting on it being quicker to go through my register than it was to wait in express. So I sort of had an 'express aisle south' happening.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Why don't these people think FIRST? ? ? ?

So it was quiet at first and then some customer has to say it out loud. Yup, just out and says "Boy its quiet in here, today."


You NEVER say that out loud. Sure enough within half an hour all of the city showed up to go shopping. It was BIZZ -ZZEE!!!!

So anyway, there are only three of us and one of them, on express yet, is so freakin slow, that I had people with one or two items waiting in my line and still getting out quicker than if they had stayed in express!!

When you start at 2:00 the shift is normally a 4.5 hour one, but for some reason I had only a 4 hour shift. Oh well, I was just as happy. I get to go home and visit the hubby for a longer time.

I'm sailing along, 1 hour to go and I get a young lady who is paying with debit. Its refused for insufficient funds. She gives me a five and we try again. Still no go, she takes a couple of items off, still nothing. We take a few more items off and . . . . nope, doesn't work. More items, no luck; more items, no luck. Finally she asks if she can come back for the groceries. I said sure and she goes off to straighten it out. At first I only had three customers behind her, but now with the trying and trying I have a line up of about 8 people. So I manage to catch them up and get them through pretty fast.

I get down to what will be my second last and last customers for the day. I start to scan his items when my computer goes kaflooey. Yeah, just starts to run the start up program. I mentioned it to head cashier and she says they have restarted it from head office. WTF???!!!

Why in the flippin' hell would you choose to do something like that at the busiest freaking time of the day. Did they forget that we are 24 hours. They could update the damn computers in the middle of the night.

I'd like to find out what triggered them doing such a stupid thing at such a bad time. My customer ended up waiting very patiently for more than 5 minutes while this thing had to do the install, the update, the reboot, etc, etc, etc. He became the last customer as the girls at the end asked if they should maybe jump to another line. I suggested it was a good idea as the computer was rebooting.

At least once the stupid computer came back I was able to get him out of there very quickly. I had him bagged and out within five minutes. Kudos to the customer, who has a twenty month old little boy that he was hoping to get home to. He wanted to visit him before he goes to sleep. He could have been crabby and he told me, when I apologized for the delay, that it was okay, it wasn't my fault.

I was not impressed. At all. I don't like having my customers wait and then it makes me late and they are already crabby about hours etc at work. Very inconsiderate as far as I'm concerned.

* * * * *

Well tomorrow is Hallowe'en and I get to work first thing in the morning. YAY! ! ! I have a costume idea already. I was going to go as a big pimple on two rounded pink curves and say I was a boil on the ass of the world, you know, a politician. But didn't think I could get away with it. Then I thought that I could wear doggy ears and have two rows of teats running down the front of me and say I was a 'bitch'. (correct term for female dog). But again, figured they wouldn't like it.

So settled on those little individual serving size cereal boxes with knives sticking out of them. I'll be a "cereal" killer.

BOO, everybody.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Did you ever hear of a little praise??

Why is it that you walk into work to do your job, for MINIMUM wage, and you're in a great mood and someone thinks they have to pick on you?

In the past 10 days I have been 'talked' to about something that merely requires common sense, THREE times.

I get very, very upset by thievery. I would probably beat the crap out of someone that tried to rip me off. I am disgustingly honest and really take it personally when someone steals from our store. I can see the point in wanting the cashiers to physically walk around the end of the register to put the 'last bag' in the buggy. But the reality is that it is, for the most part, the younger, newer girls that are missing items under the buggy.

I find that a lot of my customers that know me will take the bags and put them in the buggy themselves. Even when they don't know me, they do it. The men, especially, don't want me to do it because its"not polite". They don't want me to hurt myself.

So am I then supposed to grab the bag from them and INSIST that I put it in the cart? NO. You can't do that. You don't want to make the customer uncomfortable. So, in that situation, I will walk around the end and look at the bottom of the buggy. I can look over the counter to see that there is nothing in the buggy. I also can see in the reflective plate as they enter the register, and can look over the counter as they pass by. So, three separate times I check the buggy.

Anyway, I had a situation where I put the bag over the end WITH THE CUSTOMERS ASSISTANCE, fully planning to walk around the end to check the bottom of the buggy. I heard my name called and tried to explain that I was going to look anyway. The next thing I know the big boss comes out to talk to me and explain how to do this YET AGAIN. I did let him know that I didn't need to hear it again. So, he asked that I please read the paper anyway and then I could throw it out. I was going to do that, and then decided to write my responses on it and keep it in my apron pocket instead. When the situation comes up again I'll be ready.

I also now tell my customers the reason why I have to check the bottom of their buggy. There are two reasons why I do this.

ONE is that I want them to know why I am doing it and that I trust them but HAVE to do it because head office says so. The SECOND reason is that I hope that maybe, just maybe, someone who was thinking of being dishonest will hear me and realize that its not a good idea to try to steal from us.

I also think that they are putting a lot on the cashiers, which is understandable, as we ARE the last person they see before they leave the store. But, how about putting a rail up that forces people to go through the register area rather than being able to leave the store from SO many places. It can't be that hard to do. I mean we have this totally useless gate that is supposedly there to keep people out from behind the service desk. Except that it is almost ALWAYS left 'open' and in the way. PLUS, if you are on express, which is supposed to be fast, the gate makes it harder to get out and around to put the last bag in.

I was also told that I am not 'fast enough' scanning items through. THAT I find hard to believe. I was told I am only marginally better that Slower Than Molasses Girl. (I stood beside her one evening and put through three customers ( including one with an order of over $185.00) in the time it took her to do one person.) It has been bugging me ever since as to how I could be SO SLOW.

And today it came to me. I have a lot of the older customers that come through my register. They have told me I make their day brighter. :-) Also, they like the way I bag for them and show consideration to them. I also will take the time to help them go through their wallets to get the change out. Older people like to give the correct change and the pennies. Plus they are just sometimes slower than others. Big deal.

You are supposed to lock off the register when you go on break, or between customers, or anytime you leave the register. I suppose I should start logging it off every time I am not scanning.

Maybe I don't understand the numbers but wouldn't the proof of workmanship be in the amount of money you run through your register as opposed to how many items you scan in so much time?????

One last thing: Just once it would be nice to hear from one of the higher ups that you do a good job. I know for a fact that at least three of my customers have filled out a comment card, and handed it in. And yet I have never heard anything from our store or the owners or anyone.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Reception for a lost loved one

As I said a few days ago, one of my customers lost his wife. I wasn't really sure whether it was my kindly gentleman or not. I was 95% sure but not 100%. I had made up my mind a long time ago that if his wife died I wanted to see him and offer condolences.

I have been watching the paper for weeks and then one day last week I caught the notice in the paper. As an aside, I had been at work about two weeks ago waiting to go in to start work. I saw my gentle man get out of his car and was going to go talk to him. But something about his posture made me stop. He just was walking different. Its hard to describe, but I remember thinking that something had happened. I watched the papers and didn't see anything. Then last Thursday I saw the notice about his wife passing. As I said I wasn't sure, but did some internet research and tried to figure it out.

I found that the address listed for his unique name was not far from the store and that one of the children's names was one I recognized. He had brought his daughter in shopping with him one day and went out of his way to introduce her to me. (very sweet of him)

My final thing was to trade away my shift today as I was determined to go to the reception and see if it was him. I got there and asked someone there if they could point him out to me so I could be sure. Sadly, it was him. I went over and he was talking to another lady. His back was to me. The lady looked at me and said hi and my older gentleman turned. The smile on his face was amazing. He was so touched when he saw it was me. He hugged me and thanked me for coming and then wiped tears from his eyes.

You know, the absolute best feeling in the world is to do something nice for someone else. I felt so good when he hugged me. I did this for him. As I said, I had made up my mind to be there for him if the time ever came. It turns out he has talked to his daughter and caregiver about me. They knew who I was and were so touched that I came there for him.

I wish I could put into words what I feel for this man. There are so many similarities between him and my Dad. I told him I loved him and kissed his cheek and before I left gave him a kiss on the nose. He kept telling me how happy he was that I came.

How could I not?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Not Fair

Just a short post today.

The older gentleman who reminds me of my Dad? The one with such a kind heart and the sweetest face?

He lost his wife on the 3rd of October. There is a service this Sunday that I plan on attending. They were married 69 years.

His heart must be breaking.

On October 7th of this year my Mom and Dad would have been married for 70 years.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Boy ! ! ! Where have I BEEN ? ? ! ! !

Well, It has been a rather trying couple of months at the store. I was beginning to feel better about summer being over when they messed it up again.

See, with students away in the summer we are down to the regular customer base. But this year, whether because of the economy or what, we seemed even quieter than normal. SOOOOO...... The answer is that head office cuts hours.

And cuts hours, and cuts hours.

I usually average around 20 or 22 a week, but to be down to 13 ??!!! Why bother?

So it was tense and when we were crowded you'd be working like crazy to cover for the lack of bodies. Causes quite a lot of stress. When you add onto that the fact that some of the younger girls have no idea about responsibility etc, it was not a pleasant few months.

We had one new girl that came 'recommended' from another store. Bull doo doo!!

She was so bad. Didn't like to work, yapped all the time, late to work, early to leave, too long for breaks, no idea of courtesy, too loud, and very inconsiderate. She was pretty though, so she at least has that to fall back on.

Well, two weeks ago was the final straw for me. The hours were just starting to pick up and I was scheduled for a late afternoon, over the supper-time-crowd, shift. We were SO freakin' busy and we had only two cashiers, myself and express. She finally shows up 45 minutes late and is standing around yapping. I snapped at her to get on a register and start working. Turns out she was going on express. So it was no immediate help to me. Luckily the head cashiers were able to come out from doing office work and help.

She gets on express, the head cashiers are working and we get the crowd down. The other girls start to come in and they are all of the same approximate age and go to school with Miss Yappy Pants.

AND so the talking starts. No working, but lots of talking. The rule with express is that you stay on that register! No if and or buts. You are to be there at all times for customers. You can walk away a little bit but you have to be ready to work when the customer shows up. Simple!!

Part way through the evening, she was given a break. She sort of really didn't have one coming because of being so late, but head cashier thought she's give her ten minutes to at least go to the washroom. Doesn't she take 20 minutes and only that short because Head cashier paged her back to the register!!!!

She works for another ten minutes or so, and the next thing I know she is all the way down at number 6 talking to the girl who just got braces. I've got a line up, and the other young cashier is listening to the story. Head cashier comes out and tells Yappy Pants that she has a customer at express. Doesn't YP just ignore her.

I was fit to be tied!! I have been working my butt off, no easy feat in itself, and the other three girls on the registers are doing squat!! For some reason customers are lining up at my register, and even though the lights are on at the other ones they keep coming to me. I keep telling them that the other registers are open, mainly so they don't have as long to wait. They actually look disappointed (confused) when I say the others ARE open. I guess they impression wasn't that they were.

Finally, I go on my break and I was so close to saying that's it, see ya' later.

I came in early the next day, because I was so livid about the way they were treating Head cashier and myself. I talked to the boss and told him I wouldn't work with her ever again.

She's gone.

Good thing, too. I think it has opened the eyes of a couple of the others. About time they realized that this is a JOB! You have to be responsible. Heck even the 'always late girl' has been on time the past two weeks.

That's it for now. Got to get ready to go to work.

More stuff later. And I'll try to not be so delinquent in my posting.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Customer Updates

I haven't talked about a few of our customers lately.

The gentleman that I have said reminds me of my Dad is still coming in, but with the hours that I have had cut I don't see him very often. He is still a wonderful, dear man and I think very highly of him. I care for him greatly. I bought him some cinnamon hearts back around Valentine's as he loves them. I can't find any now. It would make a nice pick me up for him. I ask after his wife and he says "no words today". I'm not sure what is wrong with her. I am guessing Alzheimer's but could be very wrong. I told him that she knows he's there and he said he doesn't know that.

Oh and he's is still buying his two cans of beans every time he's in the store. They go in the food donation.


The Purple Lady has disappeared from my life. One day about 6 or 8 weeks ago she came in to tell me that she was moving up to live with her daughter. Her daughter and the doctor thought that best.

I knew she had been to see her doctor and I knew the next time I saw her that things weren't right, but I could NOT get her to tell me. She wanted to so badly but something just held her back. I told her I was here for her when ever she needed me. I saw her once more in the store after that and then no more. She chose to leave without a good bye. I think that was important for her.

I miss her dearly. Would love to know how to get in touch just to send a little note or card.


Sicko Boy had disappeared. Its like one of those you don't realize you haven't seen someone until you see them somewhere else things.

I was driving home from work one evening and saw this electric wheelchair with someone in it and a big kid walking beside it. This was within ten blocks of my house. Anyway, I did a double take because at first glance they looked familiar. Then it twigged that it was SB and his Grandma. That was when I realized I hadn't seen them in the store in a long time. Wonder why they had to move?


Mrs. Pinchpenny still comes in and is still as rude as always. She just interrupts when you are dealing with another customer. VERY annoying.


There is one lady I haven't written about because I thought it not nice to. BUT, I think I am sick of hearing how she has been made blind by eye surgery. Its the same story every time. I thought at first how tragic and all, and that I would be very helpful. But then I noticed that she can now read name tags and doesn't need the help with her money anymore etc. SO, I am guessing its the sympathy card we're playing now. She sure can pick out her scratch and sniff lottery tickets okay!!


And one last quick one:

The lady that got so irate with me about me asking for assistance to the "Cigarette" counter?? Well after that incident she avoided me for a while. I think she thought I would be 'mean' again. Anyway, I just acted like it never happened. One of the other cashiers pointed out to me that she will NEVER buy the cigarettes at the same time as her groceries. I hadn't noticed that before, but now when I see her come in, sure enough, she'll wait until after she's been through the cashier and then go to the service area to get the cigarettes. Don't know why but I guess she has her reasons. It always takes longer to do it that way, but ..... hey, whatever gets you by.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Cutting hours leads to . . . . .

There has been this big push on lately to cut hours. Two weeks ago I was affected. Yup, they called me and took my Wednesday 'express line' shift away. Found out later I could have taken another shift from someone else to replace it. I'm NOT clear on whether it had to be the same day or just the same time period.

Now, I'm fairly close to the top seniority wise as I have been working there since April 11, 2007. The only people ahead of me now have worked there forever.

So we have been struggling through this hour-cutting stuff for about a month and a half. Its been brutal at times because you are always short staffed, you can end up with huge line ups which aggravates the customers, you can't get any one to do a price check because they're run off their feet as well, and you oft times are paired with a younger cashier that has no idea of work.

That last one really pisses me off.



There I feel better.


Anyway, don't I pick up the paper last Friday and read how our store had record profits. Somehow it really bites that we are busting our butts, worrying about jobs and all that fun stuff but feel 'safe' in the knowledge that the COMPANY has made a profit.

I am enclosing the article below and I have changed certain words in the article to keep up with my 'disguise'. I have used symbols for all store names and changed the city name. I don't think I had to but, what the heck, lets be safe.


*****'s sales up 23 per cent in Q3

Grocer sees move to discount stores

August 07, 2009
Ross Marowits
MONTREAL (Aug 7, 2009)
Grocery store operator ***** Inc. enjoyed record profits in the fiscal third quarter, despite a continuing consumer shift to its discount banners.
The Montreal-based company said yesterday strong sales contributed to a 23 per cent surge in profits.
It earned $112.6 million, or $1.01 per share, for the quarter ended July 4, an increase over year-earlier profits of $91.9 million, or 81 cents per share. Excluding one-time items, adjusted earnings per share totalled $1.01, up 25 per cent from figures posted a year ago.

Quarterly sales rose 4 per cent to $3.5 billion from $3.4 billion a year ago. Same-store sales, or sales at locations that have been open for at least a year, rose 4.2 per cent.
The results beat the expectation of analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters, who forecast 93 cents in earnings per share.

"Clearly the recession is having an impact on consumer behaviour. Our conventional stores are growing, but we are seeing a shift towards discount," CEO Eric La Fleche said.
In addition to its ***** and ***** Plus banners, the company operates discount stores **** ****** in Ontario and the former **** ***** ******* stores in (my city here).
Competition remains fierce in both Ontario and Quebec, especially among staple products. However, unlike in past quarters, La Fleche said the competition is rational.

In both markets, it achieved higher sales, more customers and larger sales per store visit. And it claimed to have increased its market share in its Quebec base.
In Ontario, its supermarket conversion plan is on schedule with 128 of 159 stores converted to the ***** banner as of July 24, 2009, including all former ****b stores.
***** is in the process of rebranding Ontario stores originally purchased under the ******** banner and converting them to the ***** name.

La Fleche said the company was pleased with its record results, especially since they are compared with the third quarter of 2008 when it returned to positive earnings growth after taking a hit from price wars in Ontario and information technology problems.

The supermarket chain expects that food price inflation, which reduced to 3 per cent in the quarter, will continue to reduce over the coming two quarters. The impact will be felt on imported goods such as produce if the Canadian dollar creeps up towards parity.
Irene Nattel of RBC Capital Markets said ***** benefited in the quarter from food inflation, increased sales volume as consumers buy less expensive, but higher margin private label products and improved productivity.

*****'s board increased its quarterly dividend by 10 per cent to 13.75 per cent.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I can't fix the WHOLE world

So, I've been quiet lately.

Well, there's a reason for that. Its been sort of . . . . . . . interesting, lately.

Had one day last week where there was an accident on the local highway that backed up traffic TERRIBLY. We had most of it coming past us because the highway was closed for such a long time. We actually had a lot of people that just pulled in the parking lot and figured they'd get the shopping done instead of just sitting still. Made for a very busy afternoon. A lot of people were asking US for updates and if we knew what was happening.

* * * * *

Then we have a couple of cashier issues. Now I am trying not to get involved in this crap but when it affects MY performance I'm going to say something.

1st: The cashier that used to be on customer service. I wrote about her when they first chose her to do the job. At that time I thought it was a wrong choice and then, later, said that I was mistaken when she turned out to be very good at it. I was pleasantly surprised at what a responsible young lady she turned into. Well, since hours have been cut and she doesn't get to do that any more she has gotten very, very bad. I am not sure if there is something else happening in her life that is causing the change but she does not give a DAMN about this job anymore. She comes in late, is very tired, was texting at the register ( a big NO-NO), sits on the bag holders, lies across the belt, disappears at times, flaunts the rules. Something drastic has changed in her life to cause this. She is behaving so out of character.

2nd: We have a new cashier who is a teenager as well. She is trying to do her job but is trying TOO hard. She doesn't go anywhere without running, she is too apologetic, too helpful to customers, almost to the point of being pushy. Its hard to describe. She had a loaf of bread the other day that wouldn't scan because the label was slightly askew. So she then tried to punch in the numbers on the label. In the meantime she has opened this customers loaf of bread up to get to the label, she is trying so hard but you can see the customer trying hard not to just grab it right out of her hands. I finally told her to just punch in the value of the bread and hit the bakery key. So then she starts to apologize to the customer and did she want another loaf of bread "I didn't touch this one" and on and on. I told her to just listen to the customer when she said no and to move on because she was taking up a lot of the customer's time.

Then she has a bag of eight limes and punches in the code for them and puts them in the customer's bag. Except that limes are each not per pound. So she didn't charge for 7 of them. I told her about that which got me thinking of earlier in the shift when she had asked about mangoes, another per item price not per pound. And I began to wonder how many items have gone through her without being charged correctly. This kind of thing should not be an issue if the cashier keeps an eye on what comes up on the register. You HAVE to do that. Its how you learn prices for the odd time something comes through that does not scan and you can't get a grocery clerk to price it for you.

The running thing is just a bad idea, because running in a store or any work place implies that there is a reason to run and therefore people can get panicked. Running should only be done for emergencies.

* * * * *

We had a floor walker for a whole weekend. He actually caught somebody stealing and then we didn't have him any more. A few days ago Head Grocery Clerk noticed a buggy sitting with a fair number of items in it. He asked Head Cashier if she knew what it was about and told her that that was the second buggy he had found. Well not an hour later doesn't he just HAPPEN to walk past the exit and catch someone heading towards the door. The couple quickly covered by saying "did you leave your wallet in the car again?" And left the buggy to go get the "wallet". Of course they drove away. The buggy had almost $250.00 worth of meat in it.

They must have been testing the waters with the first two buggies. When they thought it was safe they tried and luckily our guy was there. Except that he feels very bad because if he hadn't just happened to have been there we would have been robbed. Again!!

* * * * *

Maybe its just me, but I don't see how cutting the hours of cashiers and others is saving money when it means you have less eyes in the store watching for these things. The BIG Boss likes to see everyone 'busy' and not standing around, but I'll tell you when I'm "just standing around" I am looking at customers and watching how they act. You get to know your regulars and when there are strangers you watch them more. You can be looking down different aisles. I find that the 'older' cashiers are more aware of people and how they act. The kids are too busy just getting them through and out, then they go back to their cell phones or magazines, or eating, yes STILL eating, at the register. They are not looking at what is happening around them.

* * * * *

Its a shame we don't hire more mature people. Maybe they'd actually do the job and do it well.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Interesting who reads the blog? ? ? ? ! ! !

So last night I check my email and there is a message from someone who has worked in payroll for over 20 years and is not sure how she found my blog but likes to catch up when she's checking her other favourite blogs.

Doesn't she write me a nice note, with direct quotes and all, about the way working before and after a holiday works. I'm not going to write the particulars here as too many of the young people I work with will take advantage of the information. Suffice it to say that I was slightly mistaken.

* * * * *

I worked on Sunday (after being off for two days due to illness) and had the pleasure of working next to a young lady that was texting on her cell phone most of the time. Even while a customer was at her register! Now, granted, she did take the time to ring them through but as soon as it was time for them to put their pin number in on the keypad she was back to the phone. HOW freaking RUDE ! !

If I had been the customer I would have complained so fast. She was also sort of leaning over to keep the phone out of the way, but in doing so she couldn't be seen by customers. Her light was on and customers would look, not see anybody and then come to me. Fine, except that if we didn't need the extra body I would have preferred to be at home because I was still pretty freaking sick.

I'm not even pleased going in today, but hey I feel a sense of responsibility.

(SARCASM ALERT) And maybe, just maybe, I'll have the pleasure of working with one or two of the three or four girls that think that having a light on is good enough to say that they are 'working'. Nine times out of ten they are not at the register but are wandering around putting baskets back or doing go-backs (items that customers changed their minds on). Okay, it does NOT take that long to do that sort of stuff. It seems that AS SOON as they don't have a customer at the till they wander. There are things they could be doing at their own station that keeps them available for customers. Hey how about cleaning the belt once in a while or tidying up a little.

And by the way, what was with the FOUR 10 minute bathroom breaks when we weren't texting?? I can't get around very well, but I can sure make it to the washroom and back in three minutes. AND I'M OLD!
I don't even have to go THAT often!!!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Sick ! ! ! ? ? ? I'll say ! !

So this has been a tough year health wise and last week my hubby was sick. I had been sort of sick for about two weeks already but nothing too bad. (She said tongue in cheek).

So then he gets sick and wow it was wicked. Really bad cough, sore itchy eyes, congestion, barely able to swallow. Yuck all 'round.

I thought he just had a worse version of what I had. But, NAY NAY.

I started to get a sore throat on Canada Day evening (Wednesday). I thought it was just because I had been stuck under a tent during the rain with a smoker and the fumes really irritated me. But no. I woke up Thursday morning SO SICK. I hadn't slept most of the night, my throat was okay but I could feel the congestion coming on. And TIRED ? ? ! !

I decided to go to work, because:
a) I needed the money to save for a trip.
b) I'm stupid.
c) I would lose the holiday pay by not working the regularly scheduled days before and after a holiday. (lose 2 days pay instead of 1)
d) I'm stupid.
e) I wasn't sure they could get someone on such short notice.
e) I'm stupid.

I made it in and how I made it through the 4 hours I don't know. I guess I went into auto pilot. I sure hope I didn't make any mistakes. And my customers noticed I wasn't my usual 'cheery' self.

I went home that night and crashed. I was SO worn out. Of course I couldn't sleep, because I was either coughing, trying to breathe, coughing, sweating, coughing, freezing, coughing or rubbing my eyes. Holy CRAP, were they itchy. I would have poked them out if I thought it would help. (And I knew how to put them back correctly.)

Friday morning, I waited until just after noon hour to see if I was going to feel better. I didn't so I finally called work and asked if they could get someone to cover for me. Head cashier said I sounded awful and that she would get someone. I said if you can't I'll come in but really hoped they would.

Saturday morning, I got up and was a lot worse. The congestion in my chest was making it feel like there was a fifty pound weight on my lungs. It shouldn't be WORK to breathe.

I called earlier this time to give them plenty of time to call around and this time it was like I wasn't believed. I felt like I was calling in with a fake excuse and that I was really planning on having Saturday off to go and party. I know it is just perception on my part, BUT it really made me feel that way.

Kind of ticked me off, because I have never called in when I was not sick. Never! !

In the past I have tried to trade Sundays away or plain given them away because I don't want to be working them any more. I am now booking them off.

I am still a firm believer in having the teenagers and students work the crap hours. I had to when I was their age and I'm sure anyone else with maturity at the store will agree. I think that as a RESPONSIBLE ADULT I have earned the right to have my weekends and evenings free. I gave them all up as a teenager and I want them back now. I also don't think that I 'have' to work my fair share of evening hours. That, again, is what the students are for. With the way hours have been cut, there are sure enough of them needing those ones that I don't want to work. I want to get those day time five hours shifts that the girls JUNIOR to me are getting.

I also want to state that I empathize very strongly with the full timers that HAVE to work some weekends and evenings each week. But sorry to say that comes with the full time job. There are enough part timers to fill in the little shifts that I'm talking about. And again, this is nothing against the scheduling because I understand the strong/weak cashier thing, but then lets hire a few people of my age that are responsible workers.

Anyway, its Sunday, early afternoon, and I am to be at work in less than three hours. I don't want to go because I still feel lousy but, I also need the money for my trip. I am planning on having my hand sanitizer, using the hand towels provided (with sanitizer) and trying not to cough. I don't want to make anyone else sick with this.

And that's all for today.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


We have started charging for bags as are most of the grocery stores around Southern Ontario. At first it was met with a fair amount of grumbling and complaining even though we had been telling the customers for two weeks already. But now it is about 60 - 75% recycled bag use. There are still people that ask for plastic bags and there are still people that don't know we're charging. Some of those people have been in recently enough that I know they are aware of the charge for bags. I think it is almost a "maybe if I act ignorant of the cost they'll let me have them for free" syndrome.

Not gonna happen! ! ! !

Anyway, what boggles the mind sometimes is these "kids" that come in and buy $100 to $150 worth of food, won't take bags but put everything in the buggy and take off with a GROCERY CART as if they are entitled to it. It would have cost them maybe $1.00 at the most for the bags they needed or $4.00 for enough recyclable bags. They never bring the buggy back. We have to send someone out to get the darn things. AND THEY AREN'T CHEAP!!
* * * * *

The other day, I asked one of the head cashiers if she could take the sign off the door. She asked me what sign. I said the one that says every third customer has to be a bitch!!!

I don't know what was going on, but boy we had argumentative, belligerent, RUDE customers that day. Holy mackeral. Didn't matter what you did or what you said they were cruising.

One lady told me she wanted the meat put in the plastic bag. (she had a handful of her own bags). So I started to put the raw chicken in a small bag to put it in the big bag with some other raw meat, namely beef, pork, and fish (which was still to be rung through). She said "I do NOT want a plastic bag."
"I'm sorry" says I. "I didn't want to cross contaminate with the chicken."
"Just put it in the plastic bag."

So now this goes against what I have been taught and practised my whole life as a cashier, but hey if she wants to contaminate stuff, fine. Did I mention that there was fish as well? So now I get to said fish which is reduced and therefore leaking a little. Okay, A LOT! ! ! ! (I had to hose down my belt after she left).

I point blank told her I didn't know what to do now. She said just put it all together. She could have bagged it herself. In fact she was holding the bags and doling them out to me as she saw fit.

I don't work like that. My brain sees the groceries on the belt and starts to figure out what will go where in which bag. I have been bagging groceries for a LONG time. I know my job. I know what should go where, what will fit where and that cereal boxes take up too much room to be put in cloth bags when you could put the cans in there and its easier to carry home.

I don't like people that rebag after me as well. I have watched people move stuff around into what is totally unsafe for their groceries. They have gotten home, I'm sure, to find their bread is squished, their cereal is smelling like fabric dryer sheets and their strawberrries are flat.

Ah well, the customer is always right. (NOT)

* * * * *

I have had this feeling that The Purple Lady had been avoiding me lately. I knew she had been to see her doctor, about 6 weeks previous and that she almost told me something then. But she decided not to.

Well, Saturday, she stopped to talk to me, and though she hasn't told me, I am pretty sure her cancer is back. I had tried a few times to ask her about her health but she was secretive about it. So when she stopped and handed me a bottle of orange juice on Saturday I could tell something was going on.

She is really torn about telling me what it is. I don't really know why. I don't know if she doesn't want to say the words out loud. Or if she doesn't want to break my heart. Or if she doesn't want to lose another friend. She is going to move up to live with her daughter. I think she'll like that, but I know she is going to miss her life around this part of town. She walks all the time. She must have so many people that she stops and talks to. It will be hard for her to move. I don't know what to do to make it better for her.

I don't think I can do this friend stuff sometimes. I really should be like the cashier from hell and just piss everybody off and then its not an issue for me.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Lack of Transportation SUCKS and Customer Service

I inherited my hubby's older car when he needed a new one. I only tootle around town or go to work so age of the vehicle wasn't too much of a factor.

We managed to get 398,787 kms on this car. It was due for the Drive Clean test and passed with flying colours. Regular oil changes do wonders! ! !

Anyway, we were out for breakfast two weeks ago and as I turned a corner it made a different noise. Ears perked up and I started to pay better attention. We pulled into Gage Park where we walk the dog on Saturdays and I lift the hood to track down the noise. I thought power steering, hubby said water pump.

Checked all the fluids and the PS fluid is low. So we buy some on the way home, he test drives it and the noise is gone! Anyway, too-long story shorter, it will START at $2500.00 to fix the power steering etc.

Now, I had just, and I do mean just, paid for the license sticker for my car when this started. SO now I have to turn in the plates (I think, not sure, as I've had them forever) and try to get a refund on my license fees.


This has lead to yours truly having to take the bus. One word for that experience:


I want wheels again! I know its better for the environment etc, but I can't take standing around waiting for a bus. And with the summer not even started!!!?!???? I HATE HEAT!!!

I missed the bus on Monday coming home, which made me miss my transfer which meant I stood, (because heaven forbid there be a bench at the bus stop) in the hot sun, (no shade either) for twenty five minutes. I left work at 2:02, so missed the 2:04 bus, ran into a customer that wanted to chat (I wished I had been rude) so missed the next bus, caught the following bus which missed my connection and got home at 3:20 or so. That's too long to go 6.5 kms.

* * * * * *

Work is interesting. I got all day shifts this week which I am very happy with. Its nice to be home in the evening and still have some evening left and a normal supper time.

Breaks are normally pretty close to half way through your shift. For some reason 'they' have decided that it will now be at about 15 minutes later than that.

? ? ? ?

In one sense I don't mind because the further through the shift y
ou are when break comes, the faster the second 'half' goes. But there are plenty of times when I can barely make it through to the half way mark. I think its the principal of the thing that bothers me the most. It almost seems like they are trying to piss off the employees any way they can.

They probably aren't, but the impression is there. There is a tension in the work place again, which is not good for the employees, the employer or the customer. Especially the customer. Its very hard on us to be working with lots of customers and not enough staff, but to have those same customers standing in line for longer and longer times, is just not right.

We, as cashiers, hear the complaints and have to field the anger. Customers tend to not speak with their mouths so much as with their money and if this kind of service keeps up they will go elsewhere.

After all, SERVICE is what the customer needs and wants. They are paying out hard earned money and they sure don't want t be inconvenienced or made to feel like their time is worthless. They come to our store because it is local, its nice and clean, AND the people are, for the most part, nice. There is a certain 'small-town' feel to our store and we need to maintain that.

There are a lot of elderly customers that have said to me that they like the store because the staff is so nice to them and the selection is good. To me they've said they like to see a smiling face and someone so cheerful. It makes them feel good to be greeted by someone happy to see them.

THAT'S why they love our store. So lets remember CUSTOMER SERVICE is the important part of this whole thing.

People HAVE to eat, but they DON'T have to come to us.

One example: As I was getting on the bus to go home, a couple (probably early 60's) asked me if this bus would take them to downtown. I said yes it would and they got on. They were carrying a large box with a chicken dinner from our store, two FULL plastic bags of groceries and one of our recycle bags FULL of groceries on the bus with them.

Now, they took the bus PAST the competition over the bridge to get to us. They didn't have to.

We want to keep those kinds of customers.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Pardon the profanity but: WTF ! ! ! ! !

What in the hell are they thinking at head office? I know you want to make the bottom line better. I know you have to compete with the "Loblaws" group, but for God's sake is it going to be at the expense of the employees?

What in the bloody hell possessed you people to think that cutting the hours and increasing the frustration of the cashiers AND customers is going to turn into a good thing?

Tonight from about 4:30 pm on until I left at 7:30 was absolute hell. I had customers lined up fifteen deep. The other TWO, yeah, two, registers were lined up almost as bad. And they had the large orders. I was on express and most orders were over 8 items. What am I supposed to tell customers?? WHAT do I tell the person with 20 items who is looking at a huge line up over on a regular cash line. And then what do I tell the customers being held up with one or two items by the 20 item people??

I had SO MANY pissed off people in my line. I did have one gentleman that asked if anyone else could come out to get the lines down. I had to tell him that this was it. But I also noticed a lot of our regular customers in line that were being patient because they know me. Yes, me. They were willing to put up with the lines because they know I'll bust my ass to get them through as quickly as possible. But this man asking was someone I've never seen before and therefore someone we want to impress. One of my regular customers engaged him in conversation and the next thing the stranger knew it was his turn. My customer did that out of respect for me.

I truly appreciated it. I also told all the people in line that I was going as fast as I can and that if they are not happy about the line ups they need to let management know. It was their decision. I really hope that our manager, who watches us on the video gets to see and hear what i said. I further hopes he calls me on it.

I CAN NOT stand seeing customers be put through this. And I definately don't intend to have myself put through it.

The bottom line is that when you start to squeeze too much it gets tight enough that it blows up in your face. What is going to happen is that customers will go to another store over the highway.

I think you'll find that people will be willing to pay a little extra rather than spend time standing in a freakin' line for ten minutes. Frustration is contagious as is anger. Its only going to take a couple of customers to get a lot of them stirred up one night. Also when we are that busy and that frazzled we become easy pickings for the con and we become flustered easily. It also is hard on the new cashiers which may explain why we have such a huge turnover.

Our store is well liked because its local, its gorgeous inside, carries quality products, and has a friendly, for the most part, bunch of cashiers. Do you really want to be losing that friendliness and home town feeling? I have had an awful lot of customers say that they love coming to our store because most of the employees are so nice. They always feel better after going through certain registers or are happy to see certain people at the store because it makes them feel glad to come to OUR store.

Anyway, I hope the anger and frustration I feel came through in this post. I have always tried to keep the language clean in this blog. But tonight I want all and sundry to know that The Unknown Cashier is PISSED OFF and not going to be able to take it much longer. I LOVE this job but it is getting ridiculous what they are expecting of their people.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Sensory Overload OR Why Can't I do This EVERYDAY???

Well, I worked five hours at the store yesterday. THEN . . . . went home, rested for an hour and went to help at THE tent sale.

As stated before its actually in a church hall and was to start at 7 pm. So I get there for 5 pm as requested and most of the boxes are set up. Everything packed on tables etc. What a site to behold. If you are a knitter this is a picture of what heaven's back room must look like. Heaven's front room looks like The Needle Emporium which, again, if you are a knitter you absolutely HAVE to visit at least once.

Julie explains how she wants it to work and we spend time putting red stickers on $1.00 balls and tidying up different items. Except that it was done so well, we were ready at 6. BUT, as in true sale style we ARE NOT letting anyone in until 7.

At 6:30 the line up started. By the time it was seven and they poured through the doors there must have been a hundred people or more!! You could not see across the room for people. I only saw one woman with her elbows out, though. She literally made a beeline for this one section and actually did elbow her way through. I guess she knew what she wanted and NO ONE was stopping her.

Again, I had just finished 5 hours on my feet at the store so I was hurting pretty bad in my knees. Well, my job at the sale was basically to answer questions and keep an eye on things. I started to notice people with their bags full but other items clenched in their hands, so I thought that I'd start handing out extra bags. WELL, I'd say 95% of them took them and were able to fill a second bag. I can't wait to hear what the sales total was for yesterday.

I did this last year but was not fortunate enough to work the first evening. I was blown away by the number of people that came to this. I wished I had thought to ask who came the furthest.

I HAD A BLAST! ! ! !

By 10:00 Julie had already asked me to sit down three times because I looked so tired and at 10:30 I was sent home. I was so freakin sore I can't describe it.


I would do this again and again and again. Absolutely wonderful experience. Seeing so many people getting yarns that they loved and then seeing others in little corners going through what they grabbed the first time through so they could get complimentary yarns or colours on the second trip through. One back room had about five ladies in their own little spots going through yarn and then trading with each other. And they hadn't even PAID yet!!!

Thank you Julie for a wonderful evening.

And I get to go back again today???!!!!!

Pinch me. I must be dreaming.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Full Moon in only THREE days ? ? ? ! ! !

What the heck was with people yesterday??

First off, some guy has to get into an argument with the cashier next to me about the bags. Sorry, we have to charge for them now, the money goes to a good cause and, yes, we inform you of the cost so its not a surprise at the end. We aren't just allowed to charge you for something and not tell you. That's robbery.

Then TCFH (The Cashier From Hell) is working (?) yesterday and has two people in her line. She sends someone to me, on EXPRESS, without the courtesy of letting me know he's coming and he has a ton of items. I asked him if he realized this was express and he said the lady up there sent me here. So I said, oh, okay, but do you mind if I take the lady behind you, she only has one item? Well he starts to mumble and grab his groceries off the belt. I said its okay sir, she only has one item, you can leave your stuff there. He still keeps taking it off and I tried to again stop him. But he was obviously pissed and went back up to TCFH's register. God only knows what she told him. I saw him leaving and he was still pretty pissed. I debated whether to apologize again and then thought better of it. The customers that I had at the counter at the time seemed to agree with me and didn't understand why he insisted on leaving my line up.

The point is, that if TCFH had just given me a heads up this would have been avoided.

Speaking of TCFH, she can be a very nice person. She's smart, great sense of humour, little acerbic at times, but for the most part I like her. EXCEPT, when she deals with customers, and co-workers. THEN, she just doesn't seem to get it.

* * * * * *

We are now charging for bags. My problems with this are:
1) We were supposed to be getting a larger, stronger bag that we were going to charge a nickel for. But instead we have the same terrible bags we had before and are selling them instead. That's not right. I told a lot of people that we were getting the stronger bags and that at least the bag was bigger than what we had. Looks kind of bad to be selling these flimsy things.
2) I don't understand why we are not going to paper. I don't just mean our store but all grocery stores. Paper bags have so many uses. If they cost more than the plastic ones then charge for them. At least they are a lot easier to recycle. You can even put them in your green bin!!

By the way, did you know that the paper bags that sugar and Quaker oats come in can be used for holding compost materials and then put right in the green bin? Also that you can add shredded newspaper? They don't HAVE to be shredded but they will pick up a lot more of the moisture from your bin if you tear them up first.

* * * * * *

This week has been a little easier for my part of the job as I have actually been working with my peers instead of the slower-than-molasses-in-January girls. It means that, other than when TCFH is here, the work load has been spread out.

* * * * * *
One last little tidbit: The Belmont Stakes is run this Saturday and I made myself UNAVAILABLE for work. I have not missed any one of the Triple Crown races for over thirty years; until this years Preakness. I forgot to book it off or make myself unavailable, so I had to watch it on tape. At least I was able to avoid hearing how the race went. It was still pretty thrilling to watch, though. you don't often get a filly beat a colt. Alas she's not running in the Belmont.

* * * * * *
Signing off for now. I have to work this morning and then this afternoon I am helping my friend with her annual tent sale of last yarns from her store.

DROOL . . . . .

Same thing tomorrow, so if you are a knitter, please go to and check out the sale. Here's a little bit from Julie's web page:

2009 Tent Sale

Thursday June 4 - 7pm-11pm
Friday June 5 - noon-7pm
Saturday June 6 - 10am-1pm

The sale will be at the Parish Hall (the small white building) behind St. John's Church (corner of Wilson and Halson St.)

50gram balls $3
100gram balls $6

Sunday, May 31, 2009

So.??? Its been a while. . . . .

What's new?

Well, first off. Late girl is not doing it occasionally now. It is becoming the norm for her to show up late. Usually 15 or so minutes but the other day it was an hour and a half!!!

Some of the younger girls just don't seem to get it.

There's a scam artist that has been going around with a credit card and when its scanned through we are told to call for authorization. Well doesn't the customer pipe up with "oh, I have the number" and the cashier is stupid enough to use it. What, in bleeding hell, would possess any one to do that??????????

Rumour has it that one cashier was hit twice by this guy. Anyone worth their weight in salt knows that it is US that calls for authorization and therefore US that would get the number. NOT the customer!!

Also, for some reason they have cut hours, decided because of this to pair a 'weak' cashier with a 'strong' one. This is going to "help" even out the load. You have GOT to be kidding me!!!!!???

The reason they are 'weak' cashiers is because they don't know how to apply themselves anyway. So they get put with someone that will take up the slack and keep them from looking so bloody useless???

I, for one, am getting very tired of this arrangement. I happen to care very much about the customers and I don't like to see them waiting for a person that doesn't realize she can use two hands at the same time. I further do NOT like the fact that I bust my a$$ to get the customers through, while someone other cashier takes ten minutes to collect baskets and put them away, followed by a stop at the courtesy counter to chat and then pretending to do some perfunctory shelf straightening.

Oh, and I have had the first customers complaining about the temp in the store. And starting June 1st we will be charging for bags. Happily they are not supposed to be what we now use. They'll be a bigger bag made of thicker plastic.

They still won't go for paper.

I am wide awake right now (5:27 am Sunday morning) and have not been asleep since 6:30 AM Saturday morning. My hubby's tribute band (see side links) played their first MAJOR gig last night.

It was un - freakin-believable. The crowd was right into it which gave the band such an immense boost. Everything was perfect. I was so wired when I got home that I just couldn't sleep. They were truly amazing. I CAN NOT wait for the next shows coming up.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Knocked for a LOOP

The day before Christmas Eve last year, I was eating something perfectly tame when I heard this sound from the upper left side. I knew something had happened. My dentist was able to see me Christmas Eve and confirmed that I had indeed broken a tooth. But do I break a piece off the top? No.

I cracked it from top to bottom through the root. Luckily it had been root canaled so it wasn't hurting. But I was going to have to have it out. I wasn't really ready to get that done because I figured it would be painful. It didn't help when my own dentist said that I should see a specialist as the way the tooth was broken and the fact that it had a big root..... Well, he didn't want to try.

So I go to see the specialist and he feels it might take a little bit of work to get it out. We sent the estimate off and the company said they'd cover it. I decided to wait a while.

Fast forward to last week. I call to make an appointment and they ask would I take a cancellation? I said okay and sure enough they called me Tuesday with a time of 2:00 pm Wednesday. Supposed to be at work for 3:30. I went in and asked if they could get someone to cover for my shift and no problem.

So . . . . . . off to the dentist where he sticks a needle in my face, then one right in the gum where the tooth is broken (by now a little piece had come out leaving a perfect spot for him to aim for). He says to me "big pinch" and launches across the room with a friggin javelin and stabs it right into the palate. (roof of the mouth that is not fond of being stabbed and HURTS LIKE HELL)

HOLY CRAP ! ! ! ! ! !

Then he leaves me for the freezing to set in. For another $440.00 I could have been unconscious. What? And miss the fun?

Anyway, he comes in, they put a little gauze catch basin in, in case the tooth breaks up and tries to fall down my throat. He uses vice grips I think, and clamps on to this tooth. Back and forth he rocks it trying to work it loose. I hear a little 'plink' and I knew it had broken again. He finally got the damn thing to come out. It ached more than anything, as he was trying to get it to let go.

Then his assistant says there's a piece broken off inside. He looks concerned but she uses her little irrigation thingy and was able to flush the piece out.

YAY! ! !

They give me instructions and a script for pain meds and off I go to pay the bill. When I get to the desk she says to me that it was less trouble than he thought. The bill is like HALF what they expected.

YAY ! ! !

Before the freezing wore off I wanted to buy myself a couple of new fish for my tank (as the store was very close to the specialist's office) and then head over to the drug store to get my meds. As I am driving across the city I notice the freezing seems to be going away faster than I was expecting.

Okay. Get to the drug store and they say 15 minutes. I sit there sweating and thinking that the freezing is going to be gone before I can get a pill into me and have it start working. BUT, the freezing wore off only so far and I got my pill, took it and headed home. The freezing stayed in the area of the tooth, and one small part of my upper lip (can't figure why), for a total of six hours. Took one more pill before bed, removed the gauze ( O U C H ) and slept pretty good.

Got up this morning and just didn't feel great. The only time the tooth, sorry, place where the tooth was, hurt, was when my heart beat. So I ended up giving another shift away.

And that's why I wasn't at work today.

Way to encourage employees, man ! ! ! ! !

Usually a strong cashier (ie. fast or efficient) is paired along with one or two of the weaker ones. You can't put all the strong ones together because that means all the slower, etc ones end up working together and we'd be out of business.

When I come in, because I am limited in what I am physically capable of, I work hard at what I CAN do. I usually clean my register completely and then start fanning out to the other registers to give them a wipe down. I also clean the coin machine, the ice machine, the top of the candy racks, and the top of the Coke machine.

I make sure my bags are in order and then I wait for customers. If none are forthcoming I'll straighten the products on the ends of the aisles or tidy up the gum and candy.

And sometimes, just sometimes, I stand there. (usually when I have cleaned all I can or particularly if I am not feeling well)

The other day this incident occurred: (two person conversation)

"Unknown, pick up a white phone."

Oh, hello, head cashier.

"Mr. BossMan would like you to do something."

Oh, sure. What?


At which I chuckled a little and said okay.

I had been standing still for a good 30 seconds and had just finished an hour with one of our slowest cashiers. This girl can NOT keep her attention on her job and customer, and everything is done

Also, there are two people I get paired with a lot and I've noticed when I work with them I seem to be always working and especially getting the bigger orders. Many's the time I have looked up to see they have both walked away from their registers. And sure enough my next customer has a buggy FULL of groceries.

But why in the heck would you pick on me for standing around, when I do my own job as well as I do. And did you ever think of maybe complimenting a person on how well they perform as opposed to finding one little error and making that the thing you mention.

I actually found that the further into my shift I got, the angrier and more unappreciated I felt. The key word being felt. I care about my job and particularity about my customers. For me to feel badly reflects in my attitude, thereby making my job harder and not as much fun to do.

One thank you goes a LONG way to making employees feel good about their jobs.

Anyway, don't be surprised at what you may occasionally see in the video camera peering over my shoulder.

And here I thought they were for security purposes.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day and all that commercial propoganda

Started at 1:30 and it was kind of quiet. A customer or two then enough time to clean a register, another customer, more down time, until about 2:30. Well, I guess by then all the Mother's Day treats wore off, because they showed up in droves!!!

I like when its steady like that, but I am once again getting tired of serving the majority of the customers and usually the ones with FULL buggies. There are a few cashiers, like yesterday's 'late' girl, who don't have the concept of work.

I have one co-worker(?) who will call for help the second she has two people in her line, even if they are very small orders. She has a habit of being quite blunt in her manner of speaking and is going to one day really p**s someone off. (Maybe it will be me).

She is the first to bellyache when someone else walks away from their register, but I noticed yesterday, every time someone came around with a FULL to the brim buggy she was gone. Light would be on but no one at the register. In fact one time she complained because one girl left her register to get 'thank you' stickers (going to be gone 45 seconds at the most) and yet not two minutes later I look over and she's gone. The last half hour of her shift she does hardly anything. She does NOT use up the single bags, just leaves them for the next person, and doesn't even make sure there is change in the drawer. I tell you, its like having Yappy Girl back at the store.

* * * * *

There's another cashier that spends a lot of energy reminding customers that the belt narrows down at the end. Personally, I think that if you can't tell by looking then too bad and especially if you have been here before and still haven't learned. Oh well.

I think of the numerous times a mother tells the child to not touch something because its hot, but the child keeps pushing until finally they get burned. THEN the learn the lesson.

I will rescue the odd item at the last minute, but it still boggles the mind, that these people come in here week after week and don't retain that information. Why would you put a sheet pizza on there that barely fits any way and expect it not to get crushed.

And there is one lady that regularly spends between $170 and $325 on groceries. She brings her own bags and a little boy with her. They are cute together but why oh why must you put every last thing in your cart up on the belt sometimes to a depth of 16"????

It makes it almost impossible to bag, because you have no time to plan it out. There is a just a wall of groceries and no where to put them. They are all mixed up so I can't get the cold with cold, produce in another bag, etc. And she doesn't take the full bags off the end either. She's busy teaching the little boy something or other. Yesterday they were watching the coin machine, while I'm trying to wade through the mess. There were heavy things mixed with light things. It would be so much easier to just put it in the bags as I get it. Cans on bread, eggs under cleaning products. Tomatoes under the pop.

* * * * *
Last tidbit: When I went into work yesterday our flower display was all full and nice looking. When I left 4 hours later it looked like a tornado had hit. All that was left was a few leaves and a little pile of dirt.

* * * * *
Tomorrow: the wonderful cashiers.

Friday, May 8, 2009

There has to be a word for it . . . .

Sometimes you get the customer that is in need of extra attention. But why do they show up when you are dealing with other customers as well?

Had a lady yesterday. She bought frozen 'drink'. Most of us know that if it says 'drink' not 'juice' then it contains LOTS of sugar.

So AFTER I have rung in the drink, she asks:
"Is this sugar free?"
No, if you want sugar free you have to buy juice.
"Where is the juice?"
Down at the end of aisle 7, left side in the freezer.
"There isn't juice there."
Oh, I didn't realize we were sold out.
"I want cranberry juice."
I don't think we carry frozen cranberry but we have 100% juice in bottles in aisle 4.
"Where is it?"
In aisle 4, right hand side.

As this has been going on another customer had come along, and was waiting patiently. He only had a few items, but I like to get the customers through. So I sort of turned to deal with him and she takes the hint and goes to look. I get this customer done and another comes along at the same time as I hear from the middle of the store:

"There isn't any there."
Yes there is, would you like me to help you find it?
"Show me."
I'll be right there and I finish with the next customer.

(I thank him for his patience and go to show her where it is)

"There's no cranberry juice."
I point out the ten or twelve different kinds we have.
"I want one without sugar."
Then you'll want the 100% juice and I hand it to her.
"This has sugar in it."
Yes, but its not ADDED sugar, its the sugar naturally found in fruit.
"What about that one that says 'no added sugar'?"
I get that down and show it to here, read the ingredients and it contains sucrose and Splend@. I explain that to her and she looks at the label.
"This has more carbs. (I think she said. I don't remember.)
I think that's because of the extra sucrose.
"Well why would they do that?"
Because some people don't want 'sugar' but will accept sucrose.
"So what was the other one like?"
Its 100% juice so it has nothing added to it. Its all fruit juice.
"This has more sugar."

NOW she points at the side of the bottle. Turns out she's looking at the nutrition chart which shows the actual sugars and I am looking at the ingredient list which shows what's in the product. The nutrition chart shows the sugars available to the system, I guess.

So anyway, she wanted to keep this circular discussion going but I was done. I said to her all I can suggest is that you decide which you want. Calories from fruit or calories from sugar.

Then she comes through my line to pay for it and surprised me by almost thanking me for all the time I gave her.

I think she had been sent out to get something and didn't have enough information. I would be surprised if she did the shopping on a regular basis. Even the way she carried her purchases gave her away.

* * * * * *

Yesterday was sort of busy and had a few other weird customers but mostly regulars. Up until the last hour the time flew by. The cashier next to me leaves and all of a sudden there is only the express and myself open. And it was BUSY now. I had a line of about five very full buggies. The head cashiers came out and helped clear the backlog.

Turns out someone was supposed to be there at 2:00 and it was now after three before she returned their calls to her. She confused the days and thought she was due a half hour later but was on her way now. When she finally shows up she didn't have an apology for being late, doesn't turn her light on and goes to start putting baskets away.

A man came to her register and asked if she was open. She said yes while holding this armload of baskets, then says "But "Unknown" will be glad to help you." and walks away.

I have been busting my hump to cover your lateness and you can't even jump in right away?

By the way, this may be the person I have been waiting for to fill the gap The Princess left.

* * * * * *

One last thing for today. Would my readers like to give me a clue as to how many of you there are? All I ask is that you put a location where you're from in the comments under a blog. I am curious as to how many people are following this and at the time I have no way of tracking it.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

AT - TI - TUDE ! ! ! ! !

We have the next wave of students coming through now and that's usually fun. One gentleman had a supply of almost every cleaner we carry PLUS gloves, masks, scrub suits, bio hazard signs . . . .

Well, you get the drift. He said he had never seen anything so dirty and was giving the bill to the landlord. He said he was told it was 'clean'.

Another man had his son in tow with him and I really felt sorry for the son. The Dad was SO MISERABLE. Never stopped complaining the whole time he was in the line. This was terrible, the prices were high, the quality sucked, our hot foods weren't made of anything edible, our salad bar didn't have enough on it . . . blah blah blah.

The son looked very uncomfortable and I really felt for him. Course maybe he was thinking 'only two more hours and I'm on my own finally'.

And I have a new type of customer lately. There are these people that think they can put stuff on the belt and walk away to do more shopping. W T F????? If you think I'm making other customers wait while you decide what else you need, think again!

I had it happen three different times with a basket worth of groceries left on the belt, and one time with a buggy. The buggy was just left there blocking the end so no one could get in. I even had one older lady, one time, that left her groceries and then went to buy a lottery ticket. (the ticket seller is right beside me). A gentleman of about 40 came up and I waved him through. She stopped that with a ahhhh sort of growl (I actually didn't know what to say) and then came over and got into line. Its like people think someone is holding their place and its their given right to hold up the whole line.

And last item for today. I heard on the radio that some place in the States is thinking of having GPS installed on the grocery buggies. Here's an excerpt from the article:

Sensors can track the devices to see right where your cart is, so that as you turn into an aisle, the screen can show what's there and which items are on sale.

The systems also keep a running tally of what you buy. Many stores do so already by signing shoppers up for preferred customer cards. What's new is that the store can offer special discounts based on your buying habits or tell you while you're in the store that one of your favorite products is on sale.

You can even get smart cards where you input your grocery list, made on the computer at home, and the touch screen organizes it to make your trip through the store easier.

WELL, how about if the GPS was used a different way? What if your signal is picked up and then added to your debit or credit card. If the buggy is not returned within a few days a major charge is added to your bill. If the cart is left behind the signal is canceled until the next person takes the buggy. It could even be something that is activated at the register. You can usually tell who is going to be taking the buggy home with them so if its one of our regulars that we KNOW drives to the store you would not activate the gps reporting system.

ANyway, just a thought. I am tired of seeing our buggies STOLEN and it is time these young people, yes its mostly students, learned to return the BUGGY! ! ! ! !

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

So . . . . What's new

Okay, still don't know anything about the cashier that left. Rumours are rampant, but I will not spread them on here. Suffice it to say, I miss her terribly and hope all is well.

Now, some suits were in last week and they have decided it is better to be counting the money out at the registers instead of in the office. They no longer want cashiers in the cash office. WTF??

I suppose on some level it makes sense, but I don't think it is a great idea to be showing people money. Enough said.

We have lost a few cashiers lately. One student just spent her last day with us and won't be back as she's done schooling. Lots of fun and will miss her personality. And we have a few new cashiers, one of whom seems to be a princess sort of fill in. (more on that one later)

There is a schmuck that has been going around with a stolen Amex card and scamming the stores in the area. I am proud to say that the bastard didn't try it with me. I have dealt with Amex cards enough to know that they are really anal when it comes to someone messing with their cards. If you need an authorization code you HAVE TO PHONE THEM.

Anyway, it seems this thief thinks he's smart by targeting the younger cashiers. I haven't met an 'older' one yet that he has tried his bit with. I hope he comes through my register. After the fun I have had over the past two weeks getting MY money back because of an internet scam, I'd be ripe to have him try something with me. I'd probably rip him limb to limb just on principal alone.

The story of my scam experience took almost two weeks to clear up. It was full of ups and downs, help and futility, accusations and resolutions. The good parts were with the online paying system, the bad points with my own bank. I got the money back and had to retrieve it myself, but the bank left me a nice voice mail yesterday that said how the money was now back in my account and sounding like they were very proud of themselves for solving this. I am NOT going to let this go with them.

Any way, if you REALLY want to know the whole story and I hear from enough people I'll make it a blog note.

Back to store stuff. Buggy stealing is still ticking me off. I don't know why they can't just bring them back or . . . . hey . . . . DON'T STEAL THEM IN THE FIRST PLACE!

What is it about people that makes them think that they can hold up my cash line by putting the groceries on the belt and then wandering off to get 'one more thing'? Three different customers in less than an hour! I will shove their groceries back and serve everyone else that comes along until they return. I DO NOT hold the line up. If there are just a few items I'll put them underneath and then when they come back innocently ask "Oh, were those your items? I didn't see anyone so I thought someone changed their mind." Hopefully they get the message.

As I gallop towards 60 years of age, (2 more years) I am starting to become less willing to put up with idiots. I know how I want customers to act and I have very thin margins for their behaviour.
A T T I T U D E is NOT appreciated, nor tolerated. I am becoming more inclined to react negatively when they have been rude or inconsiderate. I find it hard to do that. But NOT impossible.

Granted you are shopping in our store but it does not mean you have the right to treat myself or my customers badly. Be considerate and you get pleasantry, be obnoxious and you get that in return.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Sometimes Spit Happens

We seem to have misplaced one of our cashiers. She has left and no one knows why. It is rather sad as there is gossip going around and I don't think its fair to her. I think it would be better if we all knew and could then deal with it. If it is the reason I am sort of hearing, it reminds me of my first job back in 1968. I was a cashier at the Dominion store at Eglinton Square in Toronto.

We had a girl that was working there one minute and the next minute disappeared. We were told that she was putting 'friends' through her register and ringing in only half the items. She had been doing this for a while and then I guess they caught on, because one evening she did it when a mystery shopper was the next in line.

One Witness = one FIRED cashier.

I, along with the other young girls there, were scared witless. Back when I worked there if you told a prospective employer you had been trained by Dominion you could get a job anywhere dealing with money. To do anything to jeopardize your work record was just not heard of. To be trained by Dominion was quite the feather in your cap. It took about a week of training to get you up to speed. One whole afternoon was on bagging, alone ! ! ! !

You were expected to be on time, courteous to customers, and to know your prices. Everything then had a price tag on it and you punched the register numbers in. It was a mechanical register. You were also expected to study the flyer so you knew what items were on special that week.

I remember that when the register roll ran out there would be a collective groan from the customers because you had to feed the paper through and around a bunch of pulleys and wheels and guide posts. Customer used to know that there would be some kind of wait while the girls got that done. There were a few of us that picked up on it right away, and we'd end up with a lot of the customers.

Anyway, I would like to know what happened to my friend. I miss her and wish her well. I find it hard to believe that I may have misjudged her. She was one of the easier cashiers to work with. Always pleasant to customers, ON TIME, and very helpful.

And a last tidbit. I was leaving to go home the other evening and it was five minutes past the half hour. The person replacing me came along and I commented that there was quite the discrepancy between the time clock and the real world. The clock creeps forward over time and they have to drag it back to normal, real world time. Well, anyway, she asked if she was late and I said I think so, as the shift starts on the half hour. She looked at the time clock as she punched in and told me that it was okay; it was only 25 to the hour. So, if everyone leaving, left five minutes early and the replacements all came in five minutes late, there is a potential 10 minute span over every half hour where the cashiers that are staying are stretched to maximum.

Not really fair to anyone you know. Sometime you're going to want to go home before the end of your shift and there will be no one to cover for you.

Oh yeah, I forgot, some people just don't care.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Worn out more than I thought

Sorry, I haven't written as I said I would. I didn't realize how much those two busy days took out of me. Saturday I was on express and I don't know about anyone else but I find being mentally tired way harder to recover from than a physical tired.

I showed up on Saturday and stepped into a register with a HUGE line-up. Must have been ten or twelve people. I started right in and was up to super speed in no time. I got the line down a couple of times to maybe four or so and then it would go right back up again. We had six of our seven registers open and running. I guess the fact that we were closed the day before and the day after made every one panic. PLUS, the store had an Air Miles promo happening as well ! ! !

That meant if you spent over $100.00 instead of getting 5 miles you could get 50!! That's huge. So we had lots of big orders going through. I'm glad I wasn't doing them. Although I had several people with more than the 8 items, but what can you do when its that busy? By the time you send them out you haven't saved any time for the next customer, so I let them slide.

BUT, the piece of cake was this woman who is standing there with three lilies lined up on my belt and the rest of her groceries and she's trying to decide which one looks best?? WTF?? You couldn't do that before my register? THEN, wouldn't you know the scanner rings it in twice, but I didn't hear it. So she pays for her order, stands at the end of my register with her stuff still on the end. I had circled the place where it showed 15 items on her list and I thought she was going to get snotty with me. Instead she points out that the winning lily rang through twice. Now she had been watching what I was doing so I don't know how she missed it, but what the heck, I missed it too. SO I had to send her to customer service to get her refund. I wasn't about to do it while I had this huge lineup. In the meantime she leaves all her stuff on my table, in the way.

Then some schmuk with a basket of stuff and he just leaves it in the basket. I DO NOT empty baskets. All the reaching and bending I do, I am not about to hurt my back taking your stuff out for you. What, your arm's broken? I tipped the items, carefully, out of the basket. One kid even pointed it out to her Mother and the comment was "That's okay, SHE can take it out." So, over goes this basket and I tipped it all out and told her where to put the basket. No not THERE; at the front of the register on the floor.

Then there are others that think they can just put the basket on my bagging table and that I'll get rid of it. NAY NAY. You carried it up here and you couldn't remember where to put it from the last time you were here? So I put the groceries IN the basket and tell them they can put it away by the door as they leave.

I love training customers.

Oh yeah. Why is it that you can be standing at your register, light on, no closed sign up, looking eagerly at the customer and they ask if you're open. BUT, when its time to go on break, your light is off and the sign is there, they will continue to put stuff up. Or they'll read the sign and then look at you like you're going to say "Ha Ha jokes on you. I really am open." or "That's okay. I'll do your huge order and the heck with the fact that it is already half an hour after my break."

Was that sarcasm?? YES ! ! !

And one last comment for today. For those people that take the buggies and don't return them: you are only shooting yourself in the foot. Because one day, the store will say to heck with it and switch to those stupid put-in-a-quarter buggies that never work right any way. Only I can see the day when you'll have to actually pay some sort of deposit on a buggy, maybe $10.00. I mean that's good enough for the big blue jug that you buy water in.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Anniversary

Just a note before I go off to bed. I have worked at the store two years today!!!!!

And it was absolutely crazy busy in the store today. I'll write some more tomorrow because I am just too tired tonight. I have to see if there is a way to find out how many customers I served today or how much money came through my register. Just nuts today. This is at least as busy, if not busier, than Christmas is.

Oh and I was on express and several customers commented on the fact that I was back in my 'usual' spot. Thing is, it was SO busy that I hardly talked to any one.

Anyway, tomorrow . . . . . .

Friday, April 10, 2009

What I did to relax today

I made COOKIES! ! ! ! !

Rolled and cut out and decorated.

Fun, fun, fun...

These are little Easter bonnets. I saw the idea on the web some where and just HAD to try it.

It lets the creative side of me come out. Tomorrow they go to work.

I've edited this to reflect the fact that I now have better pictures of my cookies. See you at the store ! !

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Closed, Express, Rainchecks and Other Stuff

We'll be closed tomorrow and Sunday. (Good Friday and Easter Sunday). That means it is going to be very busy today and extremely crazy on Saturday. Also on Saturday there is a bonus Air Miles deal going on SSSSOOOOO even crazier.

PLUS, last night was a full moon. All in all it should be an 'interesting' few days.

It was quite busy last night, especially over the supper time 'rush hour'. Most of the first three hours of the shift the line was ten people deep. (An aside: some people with less than 8 items will walk right by one or two cashiers doing nothing to stand in line at express. They seem to think that 8 items or less means they can't go through a regular register line.)

Oh yeah, and how come when you turn your light out AND put a sign up saying you're closed people will still try to come in your line, but when you're light is on, no sign in sight and you're standing there looking at them they ask if you're open? They don't seem to realize that yes, I do actually sometimes have NO ONE in my line. They almost act like its a trap.
Yup, you got it. When you come in here I'm .................... going ....................... to...................................... ring-up-your-groceries-and-charge-you!!!! BWOOO HA HA

Sometimes people can't, or don't think. Had a guy last night buying four cases of pop. Easy enough. Except when I told him the total he looked shocked. He looks at the display then at me and THEN says 'Oh, I see.' and promptly pulls a rain check out of his pocket.

Then he looks at me like why didn't I know that. Well duh, the Spidey senses and x-ray vision are turned off at work!!!

Now I have to refund it all back then put them through at the sale price. Luckily, there was no one behind him. I wonder how he thought I would know about his rain check? O course when we refund back over a certain amount, in this case almost $25.00 we have to have a managers key.

I saw my older,grandpa gentleman friend yesterday. I could take him home in a minute. His wife is ill, I don't know with what (I hope its not Alzheimers) so I always ask how she's doing. He goes to see her everyday the way my Dad used to visit my Mom. Also saw Mrs Violet. She is not smiling lately. She had to have her front teeth out because she broke two of them. Then she has to wait for the swelling to go down and they will be putting in a bridge for her. She loves to smile and chat with people and she has so many friends around the village. Its been hard on her.

Back to work stuff.... On all the registers there is a little shelf underneath the bag holders where you can rest your foot. Technically I think they want you to put go-backs and paper flower covers etc, there. But when you're standing all day it helps if you can put your foot up for a little bit. Its good for the back.

On express, though, the shelf is higher. It is uncomfortable to put one foot up, even if you are tall. I'm going to ask the boss if they can move it up to the other end and bring that one down here. I mentioned it to some girls last night and they agreed that their backs hurt as well when working express. The height of the shelf now is such that if you were to put your foot up you might as well hang a red light over the register as well. It looks like you're advertising for companionship of the paying kind.

Of course that might bring a whole different group of people to the store. HHHHHMMMMMMMM

And when are people going to stop smelling so bad? What would make you think that it is attractive to have a scent SO STRONG that you can be noticed form ten feet away??? Had several people through wearing too much perfume or after shave, or, even worse, smelling like ashtrays. (Ashtray smell is the worst, followed by, BO). But heavy perfumes and after shave make it hard for me to breathe. You know its bad when the lettuce is wilting and people's eyes are watering.

My Dad used to say that you want people to say "Oh, what is that lovely scent?" NOT:

"My eyes!!! My eyes !!! Oh gawd my eyes!!!"