Sunday, December 1, 2013

So, once again, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN???

I apologize for anyone reading who may have missed my unique form of writing. Its been a hectic fall.

It was decently busy at the store and then things happened. On September 15th, I finally got an early Sunday morning shift. I was happy with that because you've got a shift in by noon and still have the rest of the day to do stuff.

Well I was only there about 90 minutes when I started to feel pretty lousy. I honestly thought I may be having a heart attack. I felt like I wanted to throw up so asked to have someone cover while I went to the washroom. Nothing.

I get back to the register, am there for maybe 20 minutes when I start to feel lousy again. I asked if they could get someone to cover for me. (Which sucks, you finally get what you wanted and you can't keep it.)

Anyway, I headed for home and then asked my hubby to take me to the hospital. Long story short, it was a kidney stone. NEVER had symptoms like THAT before. So they decide to admit me on a short stay. That means you're there for 72 hours and you get better or they fling you into a ward.

So off to my room I go about 11:30 at night. They keep checking on me because, as it turns out, my pulse rate is running at 42. Which is fantastic, if you compete in Triathlons.

They determine, after 71 hours, that that must be normal for me and no blood tests indicate a heart attack. So on September 18th, off home I go.

The following Wednesday, I get a call at 3:10 asking why I'm not there.
"Because I'm not scheduled."
   "Yes you are."
"No. I'm not."
   "Well, I'm looking at the schedule right now and it says you are."
"Well, I'm looking at the schedule right now and it says I'm not."
   "Well, you must have seen it before it was ready."
"Uh, no."
  "Well, we're stuck, its busy, and I have no one here."
"Well, its going to take me an hour to get there."
  "Okay, then get here as soon as you can."

So, I am thinking about the buses and decide to call a cab, seeing as its important that I get there. I'm getting ready to go and also getting pissed and grab my things to throw in a bag; and put a knitting needle right between the first and second finger of my right hand. It only went in a half inch or so, and it hurt but didn't bleed. That sort of had me concerned but what the heck and besides the cab is here.

I try to make it bleed on the way there and at various times through the evening. I kept wiping it with the antiseptic sheets we have at each register.

Later on they come to me to tell me because I was 'called in' I have the right to work the 4 hours.
An emphatic 'no' to that one.


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Don't let your shopping end like this

Someone sent this to me and I had to pass it on.

Did you REALLY need that salt?

Its upsetting, but we need to pay attention. And don't be afraid to do something.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Any Ninja's looking for a part time job?

Saw this the other day and asked permission to use it. The artist actually wrote me back personally and said yes.

Express Lane

He only asked that I add a link to his page. I love his humour. Lots of stuff to do with cats too.

I have the next two days off as well as yesterday, which sucks in this kind of heat. I'd gladly work on these days. Only have an air conditioner in the bedroom and reading gets tiresome after a few hours.

Oh well, its supposed to get nicer by the weekend. RAIN ! ! ! ! !

It'll get rid of the humidity and pollution.

We will return to your normal channel the next time I'm here.

And this was post number 

200 ! ! ! ! ! ! !

Sunday, July 14, 2013

This should be OUR motto. AND, being who you are !

Saw a sign the other day. It expresses my philosophy on what our relationship should be with customers.

"We take care of our customers or someone else will"

How easy is that???!!!

* * * * *

Friday night was all by myself so I decided to go to the local 'Art Crawl'. I've heard of it before and sometimes seen the crowds while going past. But, this time, a friend had some of her pictures on display and I wanted to see them in a real gallery setting. Plus, I wanted to support her.

So another friend picked me up at the house and off we went. Got pretty decent parking two blocks away and we walked back to have a look. We rounded the corner and there were people everywhere. It was almost impossible to walk on either sidewalk. You sort of had to jump into the flow, go along till you saw something and then you jumped out. If you were lucky you ended up on the gallery side and you were right there. Other times you jumped out on the street side and then had to hide behind a tree or something and wait until a space in the crowd became available and you forced your way across.

Great atmosphere!

Anyway, the reason I started this particular story is:

I may have to start doing autographs ! ! ! ! !

I hadn't been there for more than ten of my 75 minutes on site, before a lady stopped me and asked where she knew me from. I mentioned the store name and she said 'That's right!!! I remember you as being the one who always makes me smile.'

She was the first of nine customers that recognized me that evening ! ! ! !

How cool is that?????!!!!

To be 'famous' for who you are?

I mean, I walked two blocks up the street and two blocks back down the other side and that many people 'knew' me? That's one person every 8 minutes! ! ! ! ! !

Lets see a movie star top that in an atmosphere outside their normal one.

Have a GREAT day ! ! ! ! !

Friday, July 12, 2013

Customers Are So Cool Sometimes . . . . . .

You would have thought there was full moon today. I don't know how else to describe it. All kinds of 'different' people in the store.

It was quiet at first so it was suggested I 'do something'. I cleaned all the registers, twice, and all the magazine racks once. Then it started to get busy.

Chapter one:

I had some regulars and then one older lady who just seemed a tad off. The questions she asked were  . . . . . . . . . . . . well, strange.

She didn't seem to be all there. She wanted to know if I had coffee for her to drink. She made it sound like she thought that I had it at my register. I explain where it is and she goes off to explore. Twenty minutes go by and she comes to the end of my register and sits on the chair we keep there for a few of the older people to sit on when they are tired. She is right at the end where my customers exit and there is barely enough room for them to get by. She pulls out a container of soup and starts to eat it.

She explains to me that she only got a half container of soup and I said she should have put it in the small container as I will have to charge her for the large one. She says she already paid for it. Now I did not know this and when she first came over to sit down it didn't appear like she had a bag. She had bananas in the top of the buggy and a sort of mess of purse with her and some kind of tag, turned backwards, around her neck.

To be honest, she gave the impression of someone shy of the required number of cookies to make a dozen. She finishes off the soup and the next thing I see she is eating a self serve salad. As she had picked around the bananas I can now see a bag AND a receipt. I apologize for being rude to her. Several times, as I feel pretty bad about the way I talked to her.

I go on serving customers and she starts to ask me innocuous questions. I am still serving customers and she is not really asking at the best time for me. I try to answer and eventually she ends up asking if there is a place to put the garbage. I said 'yes, in the garbage pail here' and I shove the bin out to the other side so she can put her stuff in there. I didn't want to touch it as it was all messy and I'm handling another customers groceries. She then turns and goes back through the register causing several people to have to move to accommodate her.
end of chapter one

Any who, it comes the end of my shift and I have a half hour to play with while I wait for my husband. So, off to get a few of the end of the week specials.

As I'm going around the store I am greeted by three customers looking for information. I help them out and continue on the way to the register. I suddenly remember that I need teriyaki sauce for some beef jerky I am making. As I head into the aisle I hear two young men talking about how they need some soya sauce and they show up at the shelf at the same time. I showed them where it was and thanked them for reminding me that I needed sauce as well.

One sees the uniform and says if I work here I must know all the dirty little secrets. I do the old 'look both ways to make sure no one is listening' , turn to tell them something 'witty' and draw a complete blank. So I just said "actually, there aren't any" to which they laughed. I did tell them about the blog though and they sounded interested in it. Lets see if they join!

Gotta get that number up again ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

Pictures make it pretty: A winter sunrise that looked like a fire as well.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Ding Dong the Botch is Gone! !! ! !

Now we can get back to normal.

I don't think it is right to go in a cash drawer when the cashier is no there. I don't care who you are. Unless you have at LEAST one other employee watching your hands how do I know what you have done?

She even changed it up that our cash drawer had 5 bundles of $100.00 each consisting of 4 tens and 12 fives. We hardly ever use tens. In fact I've heard that we often send them back to the Money Company Guys because we need more fives. (as an aside, I hope the next bill they turn into a coin is a ten not the five. We just don't use tens that often.)

You open a tray to start and your float consists mostly of coin rolls and few bills???? WTF. We weren't allowed to buy $60.00 worth of fives.May not sound like much, but after 6 years there you sort of learn how much money you're going to need and when. And the last Friday before a long weekend, you kinda need enough money to do cash-backs.

Anyway, she's gone and know our 'new' head cashier can start to make the job her own. I'll keep you posted on that one.

* * * * *

Had two separate occasions where I was dealing with an older customer and the customer behind had a comment about my treatment of them. Both on the same day!

The first one was a lady who wasn't really keeping her money in a good place in her wallet. Too much cash was showing and it was all in one place. I gave her a few tips on that and she thanked me and left. When I apologized to the behind customer, he said no, that was all right and then told me I should have been a nurse. "The way I handled that was so caring!"

Then later a lady came in with a couple of toddlers and a baby. The kids were behaving but the baby was getting a little fussy so I started to talk to him. He'd make these complain noises and I'd said I know what you mean. Then he'd make another sound and I'd have some other comment to make. He sure stopped fussing and listened to me like I knew what I was talking about.

I love doing that with babies. The customer behind her told me I should have been a teacher.

* * * * *

Oh yeah! And sometimes if I'm too early I'll sit out on the wall where our doors open and just greet the customers. I know so many of them so its quite fun to do and most times I get a chuckle and a thank you. But yesterday, I see this guy walking towards the store, fancy suit, WHITE shirt, clipboard and all official looking. Just a few days before we had had some big wigs in and everybody is running around like the Queen and the President have just come shopping. SO I sort of think this guy may be from head office and, never one to miss a chance to make a smile, I greeted him too. Well he looked a little surprised then gave a small, genuine chuckle and asked how I was. To which I replied "just terrific, thanks!"

Lets see if anyone hears about that one.

* * * * *

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Do we not CARE about customers anymore??

Worked Monday from 10:30 - 2:30. It was insane. Not only did some schmuck decide to do a backup on the computers, which kept taking different devices out, but we had only three people that could 'work.'

When one of them went on her lunch there was just two of us out front. We ended with one girl on the second register having to take all the large as well as small orders and myself on express, with the 1 - 8 (yeah right) items. The first time we paged for a cashier we were told that the day's cash had just arrived. So...... No one can come out and treat customers with the respect they deserve? Might I point out the the Botch can do cash but does not come out to help. And besides, it doesn't take three of you to do that. No sense having cash if we lose all our customers due to lousy service.

Then I paged because I can not STAND seeing customers having to stand in a big line up. Didn't even get an acknowledgement. Even when the cashier came back from lunch The first of four customers that transferred to my line asked me to page again, which I did, to no response. Again.

Yes, lousy service. We have customers who come to our store because they 'always have' and because 'they like the size' and because they like a lot of the cashiers.

But some of the complaints are that the store too often is out of something that is in the flyer.
Or even something that they have bought for a long time, suddenly not being there.
They want to know why we cater to the students to the detriment of the the older people who have kept this store going.
They comment on some management treating them rudely or like they are beneath them.
There are comments about trying to get a grocery item checked for price.
And especially the fact that there aren't enough cashiers. And enough pleasant ones either.

In fact we had a mystery shopper in one day who wrote in her report about the cashiers talking too much to other cashiers. And not smiling or even acknowledging the customers.

Bad, BAD customer service.

And one last thing. If you know we are busy out there why would you call on the bat phone to tell us why you can't come out or have we covered the shift for someone or something else. I don't care why you can't come out and help when we have ten or twelve people in line. I just care that you don't. If I don't answer after the second call then I am busy with my customers who come FIRST to me. I will call you as soon as I am done with the customer. We can be seen on the cameras when its time to tell us we aren't working, or we're slouching or something, so I'm guessing you know when we're halfway down the cereal aisle in customers.

So, get off my back and let me do my job.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Wow, That Was Rough

Friday was my first 8 hour day in roughly two years. My knee held up fine. It was rough but not nearly as bad as it used to be.

Standing all that time wasn't a problem and the time went fairly fast. Till 2:45 or so. Then the clock stopped. But there was my hubby to pick me up right on time at 3:30. But the next day my back was SSSSSSOOOOOOO sore. It has just gone away after three days.

Enough about me, for now.

I have still not exchanged one word with the Botch. She does however wait until I am not at my tray and then cleans it out. I came back from break to find I had two twenties. I don't like having that small amount in case I need to do a cash back. I'm not allowed to borrow from another tray any more. So they want me to call them out instead when I need money?

Plus they (well, she) has decided that our coin cups will all be rearranged. Loonies, quarters, dimes, nickels and an empty cup at the bottom and the toonies back up above. And also, why would you do that when the trays are not uniform anyway. Half the trays have the extra coin cup on the right; the other half on the left. When you're counting out change for your customers its nice to be able to do it fast and accurate. Having all the coins in one row makes it easy to do that. Each tray would be consistent.

And now coupons go one place, air miles stickers somewhere else and the money-off coupons we are supposed to rip in half and throw out. And don't forget the coin star coupons which have a special place as well.

Changes are fine if they make sense, but don't bring them all in at once. That is asking for mistakes.

* * * * * 

Ended up doing a tiny (2 second) spot on the news the other night. Been recognized by 8 customers so far. You'd think I was 'a star' the way they talked.

Off to see if today brings any fun stuff today. Plus it was a full moon and that usually brings out the strange. And I will acknowledge that Monday was a really weird day in the store with all the glitches we had.

(what kind of idiot schedules a computer back-up during the day???)

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Botch Tries To Takeover

We have a new character! ! ! !

(The Diva will have to wait).

So there has been a shift in the cash office. We have a new NHC (New Head Cashier) learning the ropes. Problem is, while there IS seniority there is NOT the knowledge of the job. Consequently the replacee was asked to do the training. To which she said "uh, NO!!!!" Can't say I blame her. She has done a marvelous job of running the store and everyone likes her. She is approachable.The replacor, now has a head cashier person (let's call her Botch) from another store showing her what to do.

The problem in, that said 'head cashier' has quite the attitude on her. Apparently she is better than us. Or at least that is the impression she is giving off. Now, I don't like change any more than anyone else, but don't come on MY turf and start to tell me how to do MY job!

I am hearing too many incidents of "well, at MY store, we do this....". Who cares, our store has a whole different dynamic, and is smaller. You can't come in and start doing this. That may be how your dictatorship works, but its not flying well here. You're not only messing with the new persons head, but now you're messing with EVERY cashier. Changing a system that works, for one like you want it to be, is not a good idea.

There are things that the customer service cashiers (CSC) used to do that are no longer 'allowed'. These are things the CSC needs to be able to do in order to finish her job. Simple things like performing an audit on a tray. We need to have the printer part of the machine with them. Now they have to ask permission to use it. I have yet to see the new cashier come out and do cash. Botch says we don't need it out here.

Botch also doesn't approach properly when asking for money for pickups. That's when we start to accumulate money in the tray exceeding the float by more than is necessary. I was at my register doing my job, when some woman comes up behind me, (this is before I have even met her) and says she needs my money. I turned around to look and didn't know who she was, but DID see the NHC so figured it was alright.

But seriously, coming up behind someone, not even introducing yourself and then asking for money???? She's lucky I held back my initial reaction, which was to knock the breath out of the 'robber'. Well, how am I supposed to know who you are? Plus she starts to tell me how to do it! ! ! ? ? ?

And what the hell is with changing the coin drawers so the penny compartment is back in play? Are you freakin' nuts? We have to make change in a hurry and suddenly YOU decide that that is how its done at YOUR store. You want our coupons all done a certain way, and the price reduced stickers done another way. Then we can not loan from one register to another. We can only get extra money from the cash drawer. Do you have any idea how long it takes to get someone to get to the service desk? Do you know why they take so long to getting there? Because now that hours have been cut, yet again, we have been operating with a skeleton crew in the daytime.

Two days this week I was the only other cashier working. I was on a 'regular' register and someone on express. Two people to handle crowds.At several points on Monday I would have a lineup of more than eight people! ! ! ! We should only have three in a line before another cashier comes out to help. My store just seems to be concerned about ONE thing. That is customer service. I keep telling them that that is what will keep ahead of the competition. 

Please go back to your store.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Wow, you go away for three months and have your knee replaced . . . . . . .

and the way customers react you'd think you were gone forever. Gives you a nice feeling though to know that the customers you serve, that have to give you money for their food, are so happy to see you back.

OnFeb. 23rd I worked my last day for a while. Finally I was getting surgery on my knee. So on the 25th I was in the operating room sitting on the edge of the table and looking at all this paraphernalia that may or may not be going into or used on my leg. I tell you, if they'd have given me some premed and then I saw the way they were dressed I'd have suspected I was abducted by aliens. Or beekeepers.

It was very interesting and I wish I'd had my camera. Saws and drills, nuts and bolts, gidgets and gadgets, glue and drapes, and tourniquets and hemostats!  Plus I'd say at least ten people in there. And right off the bat the anesthetist disagrees with something the doctor wants to do. No fighting guys, still awake here.

I stayed off work until the first week of May. The first day back I was so surprised at how easy it was to stand at the register for that long. I had not realized before then how much pain I must have been in. I blew through the four hours and no problems with the next day. Or the next shift either. The surgery has been such a success that I can now notice how bad the left leg was/is and wonder how it has stood up. It started to get more and more bothersome as time went on so that by my 12 week follow up I have signed up to get the left one replaced as well. Several reasons really:

I'd forgotten how nice it is to walk any distance at all!
I want to walk straighter. Right now, because I was so used to favouring both knees I sometimes lose balance or weave when I walk. Sort of like a drunken sailor.
I am able to walk up AND down stairs and hills with hardly any problem.
I can also go down stairs frontwards again. (used to be backward as it puts a lot less strain on the knees)

FOOTNOTE: Apparently the blogs should be shorter. It keeps people's interest better or something. So I will try to do that and I have a new list of characters that will be appearing periodically until they are fired or quit.

Next time around: the Diva

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

When will the war start?

Sometime earlier this year I came in to work to find two rather pleasant men demolishing #7 register.

Now this poor register has never done anything to upset anyone. It has sat there faithfully waiting to be used since I've been there. I actually did see it used. Once. It was a Christmas about three or four years ago.

The reason this register gave up its life and spot was because there is legislation that we have to be wheel chair accessible. Well the store is, but none of our check outs were. Now there have been wheel chairs come through the store and they have made it through the registers, but they have so far been the narrow, sleek ones. We would not have been able to get a regular, like you see in hospitals, wheel chair through. Also we have people that have double wide baby buggies that have to put their groceries up, go around the service counter and back to the other end of the register. There have been no complaints from them, but it is surely an annoyance.

SO. The big plan was to make this spot extra wide. It involved quite a lot to get all of that 'stuff' out of there. Somebody in the metal collecting department made a lot. Anyway, while they are doing this I notice they have some tools capable of doing something that has bothered me for a while. I ask them if its possible to add some higher bag bracket shelves. Those are the little things that allow each person to adjust of the height the bags for themselves. He says he can get a couple done for me. He did this while his buddy was working on something else. In other words instead of standing around leaning on his shovel he did something nice for somebody! ! ! ! !

I asked it be done to the two registers I tend to be at the most. Selfish I know, but no one else thought to ask and you gotta strike while the irons hot ! ! ! Or while the drill is in the store.

I wish I could have got it done to all the registers as it is ergonomically a very good thing to do.

Now if I can just get the registers turned in such a way that we move the arm back and forth as opposed to having them reach across our body, I will have really made progress.

**This post has been sitting as a draft for a long time and I'm not sure why it didn't get finished. So its here now and there will be a few more showing up as I catch up on things.**

When last we left off . . . . .

Sally Missing part 2:

I named it that because of the reaction I got from customers both in our store and in other places that I would run into them.

I'd be walking around somewhere else and someone would say hi, how are you and then follow it up with a 'where have you been?'

To which I would tell them what had happened and then they'd ask questions etc. After that would be the 'we miss you, when are you coming back?'

* * * * *

Back to the story . . . . .

As I explained I was in the hospital and they were checking me out. The gave me Tylenol, which they said would reduce the fever. Well, it did ! ! ! ! ! I know. I was surprised too. I never expected it to do that. So inside of a 1/2 hour my temp comes down, not right to normal but way better than it was before. Of course when this happens my brain is working a little better. I start to notice things. For example: the resident assigned to me, very handsome young man, comes back in and decides to see if I can stand up straight now. He's looking at me, I'm looking at him, and I said 'don't I know you?'

He says "I thought you looked familiar ! Don't you work at ------?"

me: "yes"

handsome doctor guy: "Wow. I come through your line all the time! I'm so sorry to see you having this trouble."

me: "well, I'll do anything to keep an eye on my customers."    -    And another friendship is sealed. He's young enough to be my son so its a mother kind of figure I represent. He reminds me that I used to praise him on his shopping and the fact that there was mostly good stuff on his list; as opposed to junk food.
It is decided that I will be admitted because as soon as 4 hours goes by the fever comes back with a vengeance. It still doesn't hit 104 but they don't like that it went right back to 103.8. By now I'm on intravenous fluids and they have drawn a circle around the suspected area of my leg to see if the redness moves more. Apparently its a 'little' larger than they'd like it to be. Yes that was sarcasm, because the redness affected the whole back of my left calf!

As an aside: I take a lot of medications because of heart issues, etc. I always carry a list with me of what I take and when I take it. It is so much easier than trying to explain it to the doctors/pharmacist/nurse, etc. I give them the list. The doctor is impressed that I have it with me and after asking if he can keep it, puts it in my file. I even brought all my meds with me as that is what I thought you do. Apparently they just want to see what you take and then they use their own drugs.

Soooooo, some time during those first several hours, the pharmacist comes in and asks about the list. I explained how I take my meds and when. I showed her how the list is made up and explain what my notes mean.
'Can I keep this?'
(Its already part of my file so): "Sure."

I am sent for an x-ray and at about 5AM a bed is available and I am off on a trip to my room. Once there I am barely settled and they send me for another couple of tests. In the meantime, the fever has returned right on the 4 hour mark and more Tylenol is given. They have also got some results from blood tests and I am started on an IV antibiotic. My leg is still very, very sore. Painful in fact. Like 'I don't even want a sheet to touch my leg' painful.

Then the highlight of that day ! ! ! They bring something on a tray, which I decide must be food of some sort. I'll tell you the liquid was something that smelled sort of like coffee, which I don't drink anyway. That's okay, not really that hungry. They did supply big glasses of water which, I'm sorry, tasted like city water. BLECCHHH.

(This is probably more than anyone wants to know about my adventure, but after all it is my blog! ! !) 

End of today's story

* * * * *