Tuesday, April 3, 2012

"I thought you'd be home by 6:45 ? ? ? "

Usually, I hear about the times we have problems with customers AFTER THE FACT. For some strange reason I have wanted to be there when one of these things go down.

Well, I GOT my wish ! ! ! ! !

Sunday afternoon, yet another new teen age employee, didn't show up for work so they called me in. I was just sitting down to watch a movie but when this chance came up, well . . . .

When you are called in they have to guarantee you a minimum of 4 hours. The shift I was covering was 2:30 - 6:30 and I was going to make it to the store for about 3:30. As it was a call in and unexpected at that, I said I would just cover to the end of the original shift. Only three hours, but I'm okay with that. It is much easier on the knees.

The day was fairly uneventful, and the pace was a little better than I have during the week as I was once again working with people who know how to work. Makes the job better. Plus when I get the 'over rush hour' slot it is very intense for about an hour an a half and there are seldom enough cashiers.
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Okay, to the good (?) stuff:

I have about 20 minutes left of my shift and a customer I know from a previous job is checking out at my register. He says to me 'you night want to call for help." I didn't know what he meant at first, except maybe that we needed more cashiers. Turns out he shows me this guy, that I never even noticed before, and he is kind of loud and talking to someone at the end of my line. My impression was that he was a little, okay a lot, inebriated. He then heads off over by bakery and the 'security' code comes over the speaker. I start to 'see' these people now, (too busy concentrating on my customer I guess) and there is our head cashier and a couple of the stock boys (men) asking this guy to leave. He wanted them to give him something for free 'for his girlfriend'. "Come on, just help me out here."

Finally he takes the hint and goes. He stays by the front door for a while before they can get him out but he left peaceably enough.

When the young man at the end of my line gets to me I asked him if the guy was hassling him, because my thought was to apologize for the incident. He says: 'no. . . . . . . . .he's my friend.'

Okay, so I process the order, all is fine, he leaves and I move to the next customer. I also notice that the employees and security people are watching out the front door to see that he leaves and doesn't 'do' anything 'wrong' on the lot.

A couple minutes later the noise outside changed a bit and we have the 'friend' outside our other door getting louder by the minute. He's trying to re-enter the store! By now, I have to punch out as I'm done, but they also need support on the front door. I saw two of our new employees, who just happened to be males of a decent size. Both over six feet tall and imposing looking. I asked them to go stand behind the head cashier to give her more weight in the situation. To make it a little more imposing. I go and punch out and then for some reason went back over to give moral support or to be of assistance or just to be nosy. I don't know, I just thought I could help.

Well, the guy is inside the doors and just keeps asking, loudly, "What did I do?"

It was explained to him several times that he needed to leave the store. They did not want him in there, he had paid for his items and he was upsetting the other customers. He at one point wanted to know why there were 'hassling' his friend and was again told that the 'friend' wasn't even here anymore. He kept up with the "What DID I do?" and then started to move towards the one employee. NOT the one you really want to mess with. Employee puts his hand on the guys shoulder to try to move him towards the door and the kid swings at him. Missed of course, but now he's got his back up. I suggested to head cashier that she get our guy to back off a little, which he did, just to give this guy his space.

He was told numerous times that the police had been called and that now was the time to leave before they got here. Finally, the policeman comes in the store, takes him by the arm and walks him to the edge of the property. He promptly sits down with his feet in the parking lot as his way of protesting, I guess.

Then the policeman walks back to his car. We wondered if that was it, but no. Another police car shows up and they meet between their cars and start getting gloves and hats on. Over to the kid they go (I say kid because my impression of him had been that he was a young college student). They each take an arm and head across the road with him but he immediately turned it into a dragging situation. They try to get him to stand, but he goes limp and falls down. They leave him there and start to walk back to the store when he gets up, grabs his shoes etc and goes back over and sits down in the same spot.  This was where we thought something was going to happen.

Well it sure did. The police come over and say something to him, he gets belligerent with them and they pick him up and start to walk him towards their cars.


Well, down to the ground he goes, two cops on top, he's fighting them, they have to subdue him, he's cursing, and grabbing, and they have to get a little physical. They get the cuffs on him, pick him up and at first we thought they had a glove over his face. Turned out it was his turtle neck sweater that they pulled up to prevent further spitting. They get him to the car, he's somehow getting this sweater off his face, they keep putting it back, he's bent over the rear of the car and still bitching. The cops are pretty calm and another car with two more cops show up. The kid is taken to the back of the other car, searched and then they try to put him in the back seat of the police car.

I never saw anyone goes so straight and rigid before ! ! ! ! There are three policemen trying to get him in the car and they can't do it. I mean he might as well have been a concrete post. Took them probably 30 seconds to get him bent enough to get in the car.

We thought he'd be the kind to bang his head on the glass etc., but he settled right down as soon as he was in the car. not another peep out of him. Hopefully that was when it hit him what he had just done. It went from a mere trespass sort of thing to a full on  ASSAULT OF A POLICE OFFICER.

Only a couple of us actually saw the spitting incident so we were asked to give eye witness statements. I shouldn't have punched out. I could have been paid for all that time.

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And, that's why I'm home late, dear.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

NOT an April Fool's Day joke ! ! ! ! !

What, they don't think we'd know anything?

Well, not only have they decided that we can't use our old order dividers, but they actually took them away from us ! ! ! !

So they are forcing us to use these stupid things with the open bottoms. We've tried. They are useless. Sure they're pretty or what ever and I can honestly say I have had two (2) people comment on them. Most people are annoyed because they are too light, hard to stand up, even harder to slide back along the little lip we had, and they nestle. Which means that when you slide them along and then flip one down onto the belt to stop the evil eye that makes the belt move, they all fall down. That means they move along the belt with the groceries, they get caught on items much easier, and they are harder to see then the other ones. They blend in with the groceries. What could they have been thinking to make one that looks like a package of spaghetti? And how about one that looks like a honking great butchers knife. I've had more people think it was a real knife than have commented on the 'prettiness' of the other ones.

Oh yeah, when they DO get caught on groceries, they can only slide so far because some brilliant scientist put a stop at the cashier end to stop the divider sliding out the end and stabbing the cashier in the ribs. Problem is, that when it can't move anymore the pressure now goes to the other end where what ever kind of grocery is hung up. If its bread you may get a ripped open bag.

Also the belt obviously has to have a little space on both sides so that it can move freely along the track. Well guess what? The new dividers, having an open bottom on them, fit perfectly into that space. They get stuck and are not that easier to dislodge, especially if the belt has carried them along a little bit.

Well, we had all figured out our own ways to deal with this latest dumb idea when someone comes along and starts screwing in all these upside down 'T's for these things to slide on. The principle is that the bottom portion of the T will allow them to just sit on top and not have a problem with us trying to get them into the previous track which was shaped like an upside down 'U'. But, you know what? I think you should have done a little measuring first! We have these little cases, about a 10" x 10" square, that hang right about the divider trough. They hold lottery tickets. There wasn't much clearance before but you could still get the dividers in because they were either square shaped or triangle shaped, all closed sides.

There is not enough room to place these open bottomed ones they way we used to. Sort of as a task you could perform with out having to look at what you were doing. NOW, you have to physically stop what you're doing and look at it so that you can line it up. Not much of an effort you say?? No, its not. What it is, is friggin' annoying. You get into a flow running orders through and having to actually stop to place these stupid things is a royal pain in the sit upon.  Its akin to having to stop when you want to blink your eyes and then telling your lids to go down and up. We do that so automatically, what would it be like if you had to stop and consciously do that every so many seconds?

This is really a trivial thing to be writing about but it is just another one of the tiny little things that shouldn't be an issue for your job. We like to get things done. They are always after us to be faster and to watch that things aren't stolen. But now you want us to take those few seconds with darn near every order to line up a stupid advertisement? That happens at the same time I am checking the bottom of the buggy, or thanking a customer, or packing their groceries, or answering a question, or greeting the next customer.

I just wish I worked somewhere that the employees were thought enough of to be asked their opinions on what would make the job easier.  I think it would have given us the respect we deserve as we are the ones doing the actual job. WE know what our issues are with putting an order through.

Don't get me wrong, I still love my job.

And guess what??? It still doesn't stop those dividers from falling off the other side of the track and getting stuck behind the gum racks.

So there ! ! ! !