Saturday, December 27, 2008

'Tis the Season to Bitch Bitch Bitch

Xmas is (finally) over.

In theory, this means no more screaming twits for another year.  And their kids are just as bad, but I know they are a year round event.

This year wasn't anything memorable at work.  People came in, bought stuff and left.   Most of the whining I got was from people wondering why certain other businesses in my complex have closed, or swearing that X business was open just yesterday and gone today (it's been closed for a year, you mental mini midget), or that prices have gone waaaaaay up.

Tis the season to bitch.

I had a few really good ones, but not much memorable.

The best one was the Heely's incident, and it happened Christmas Eve (I guess there really is a Sandy Claws).

This one family came into the store, with the middle child skating around on her Heely shoes.  (I absolutely HATE those things as they are a safety risk, both to the person wearing them and those around them that they skate into.)  This child insisted on skating in the store, so I asked her to not skate in my store as she could get hurt.   A few minutes later, I see her skating again.  This time, I tell the birth defect to not skate in the store or I would have to ask her to leave.  I see her a few minutes later skating again.   This time, I tell her mother that the child will have to stop skating for safety reasons (hooks and racks are painful to hit and can do serious damage if you fall on them).   Mother Knows Best just looked at me like I was insane.  I walked away stating I had warned them.

A few minutes later, I hear this loud SMACK and boxes falling (we have items on shelves on top of our racks... fortunately for this snowflake, they were only 3 deep).   A short moment later, I hear Precious let out a Banshee scream after 3 boxes of shoes maliciously attacked her for skating into her fixture.   My first thought was that I warned the child, and I hoped she was okay and hadn't hurt anyone else.  NOW the fun begins.

Before I can get over to check out the situation, Momma is in my face attacking me for moving the racks in front of her child while she was skating in my store, even after I had asked both mother and child to cease.   It was clearly my fault for moving the rack, which is over 400 pounds and bolted to the floor, in front of her child.  And I deliberately put the boxes on top and pushed them onto the twerp when she slammed face first into the shelves, even though I was on the other side of the store at the time.

Am I missing something here?

I also had my human wrecking crew in.  This family is very nice, except that the mother lets all three kids run around my store, opening stuff, tearing things apart and then leaving.  IF she buys anything at all, it's usually under $10, while her heathens have done over $100 in damage to my store.  All the while, she insists she is my best customer, because of how much she spends in my store, and the fact that she is in all the time (I see her about once every 3 months).

This visit was not any different.  The oldest boy proceeded to tear apart every slipper package I had (just before the peak buying time on them).  He wore slippers all over the store, and even out of the store (without paying for them) before his mother got him back in.  The middle daughter opened up every pair of tights we had (again, during my peak season to sell them).  The youngest one discovered my sunglasses and jewelry fixture, took everything off, and proceeded to dance on them.

All told, about $250 in damages done.

They bought $17 worth of shoes.

Merry Fucking Christmas to you, too, lady.   

And to top it off, I discovered this visit that she works retail as well!


Other stuff happened.  My DM held his annual Xmas breakfast, which meant a ton of store visits since he holds it at the restaurant across the street from my store.  Yup, all 25 managers in our district pop in and pick my store apart.  Fun times.

The only thing I have to look forward to is vacation next month.  I think I will sleep the entire week.



BossLady got part of what she wanted for Xmas... She got her Guitar Hero.      And yes, she can seriously kick my ass in it.


My PC died the big death.  The mother board fried, so I am not going to be posting as often, since I have to steal BossLady's computer to do so.   Hopefully, I can get the computer I want sometime in January, and things will be back to (insanity) normal.



By the way.... SLICK>>>  where'd ya go???????


Anyhow, hope you had a great holiday, whatever you celebrate/ignore/plot.  Be safe and have fun, and happy New Year. 

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Fruitcake

'Tis the season for fruitcake.

I hate the holidays.

I really hate fruitcake.


Why is it the holidays bring out the worst in people? The me-first attitude and those that want to use any biological difference as a way to get ahead? Or those too good to get off the phone when they talk to you?

I'm talking about people that expect the world to revolve around them. The ones that were born with the universe owing them EVERYTHING. Those that use everything as an excuse. Look at me cross-eyed? That's an excuse for me to accuse you of every venal sin ever imagined, and a few yet to come.

Yup, Today was fun.



My first fun fruitcake today was a lady that called early in the day. I was working alone on a busy Sunday. I had several customers in line and more in the aisles. Up to this point, I was doing a decent job of balancing the register with service for those in the aisles. Then the phone rang.

This fruit wanted me to look for a shoe for her boy. No problem, just allow me to finish the transaction I was in and I would look. I was told that it could not wait. I told her I would look as soon as I finished, but I couldn't even look until I freed the register so I could check inventory. She agreed to wait.

As soon as I did look, she started asking detailed questions about the product. I answered her. Then she asked me to look for another item. I advised her I had a line at my register that I must help, and that I could call her back when I had no line. She said she would wait.

So I help the line. One customer, Hispanic, complimented me on my patience with everyone (IE being able to help everyone and the customer on the phone... she was happy with me... I musta done fucked up somehow).

As I am ringing on the register, we could all hear the woman screaming at her kids about how the "idiot" on the other end of the phone was ignoring at random, and how she should come before anyone else since she was looking to buy two items.

I finally get back to the phone, locate the items she wants (I don't have them, but another store nearby does). I offer to hold the ones I do have, and she declines.

That's the end of her, right?

Hollow laugh.

Later in the day, she calls back and demands the same information from my part time help. My part-timer, who is relatively new, asks me every question that the fruitcake asks me. After the third question, I know who it is. The conversation ends with Doc offering to hold the merchandise. Again, declined.

But that's not the end.

Late in the day, she comes to my store and chews me and my newest associate out (not the one that got the call) for NOT putting her items on hold. We offer to do this twice, she declined both times, and it's OUR fault it's not on hold? What am I missing here?

I take the time to help her find what I found for her two other times today via phone. She then lays into me because I don't carry certain items that she wants. I explain that I have a smaller store, and as a result, I don't get everything my company carries. She then rips me for not forcing my buyers to send it to me. I then get a new one plastered on me since I am an ass for not knowing exactly what items and what sizes are coming on my next truck (my paperwork just tells me I have a truck coming with X number of cases).

There was just no pleasing this fiend.

I just thanked her for coming in and walked away.


My second fruitcake was one that gets under my skin easy. The "race" card.

I initiated contact with this piece of work by approaching her and her party in the aisle. I said hello and offered to help them locate their choice of items. I then told them about our current promotion and told them to call me if they needed anything before I got back to them. I then went to check on my other customers.

A few minutes later, I popped my head around the corner and asked, "are you still doing all right?". I got an earful as she was talking on her blue tooth, "I am shopping and I am not buying here. I refuse to shop where they stare at me like I am gonna steal just because I am [race excluded]".

This "lady" then went around accosting all my other customers complaining about the racist treatment she had been receiving, since I was "profiling" her and "accusing" her of theft because of her race. This actually got a laugh from a customer, who told her all she heard was me just offering to help.

I finally approached her and asked just what I did that accused her of anything. She said I was constantly checking on her to keep her from stealing. I replied that I was sorry she thought that, but I was just checking to see if she was in need of assistance, just like I do every customer that comes into my store.

She asked to see the manager. I replied, "How can I help you?" and pointed to the Store Manager badge I had on.

She finally had her family member tell her to shut up. They bought their items and left.

So apparently I am racist because I offered to treat you like every other customer in my building... smiling and offering to assist you and telling you about the deals we have, just as our corporate directive tells us to do.

Am I missing something?


As a general rule, if someone is on a cell phone, I offer to assist them quietly, and thereafter just touch base with them using a nod or hand signals until I am certain they are off their phone. Most of the time, and good smile and wave are all it takes for them to know I am there if they have a need.

Then there are the self important pricks who think the world is theirs to command.

A young lady came into the store today, and I said hello and realized quickly she was on her cell phone. I passed her in the aisles a couple of times, each time offering a quiet but noticeable "you doing OK?" as she was yakking away on the rap rod. Each time, I was ignored, even though eye contact was made.

She finally made it to the register, still managing the ear pollution for some poor soul on the other end of the connection. I complete the transaction, hand her the receipt, and she ends her phone conversation. Then the shit went postal.

"Thanks for the help. NOT!" she sniped at me and Doc.

I just said "thank you" and walked away.

Look, if you are in a conversation, I was taught not to interrupt. I made attempts to work with you, which you acknowledged. Don't get your shorts up your ass because I won't kiss your ass when you ignore me.

Besides, I don't care who your friend got blown by last night. If you are at my register, pay for your shit and get out. If you don't have the decency to talk to me, I am not going to talk to you.




I really hate fruitcake.

Friday, December 5, 2008

6 Hour Commutes SUCK
















Today was BossLady and My 2 year anniversary together. We spent the day (Wednesday) like we did our very first together-- At Disneyland.










The story goes something like this, and it starts in Fremont, CA (near San Jose/San Francisco/Oakland)...















BossLady had the misfortune to work for me a couple of years ago. I had been transferred to her store because I was to have surgery on my arm, and that store was a much slower volume location. The thinking was being slower volume, I could work with my arm in a cast and not get hurt (my DM failed to take my stubborn-assed work ethic into account).










BossLady had started about two weeks before I got to that location. So not only was she being broken into the new guy, she was being broken into the store in general (and she will KILL me if I have my timing wrong... or for just mentioning this... I am dead either way).










Things started well. It wasn't long before I realized that she had talent. I could ask her to do anything and she usually with, though it would cost me a smart ass remark or four. Fair trade.










I started calling her "Crazy Lady" with a smile. She replied by calling me "Psycho Man". We got along great.










I then vanished for a bit, having my surgery on my arm.










When I got back, we ended up talking a lot, along with a few others who constantly ended up on the same shift. We all became pretty good friends.










About this time, she had a medical issue of her own that was quite serious and missed a lot of work. She would bounce in just to let us know she was still alive, and during one of those visits, I gave her my number and told her to call if she needed to talk.










A week or so later, while I was in physical therapy getting the living beejeezus zapped out of my arm (this is rehab? having some crazy woman apply electrodes to my arm and set them for extra crispy?), I got a text message. It was from BossLady. The great text war was on.










For the next few weeks, she seemed only capable of messaging me while I was being fried in PT.










Fortunately, she returned to work, though with a downer. She was leaving for school in Southern California soon. Real bummer.










Before she could leave for Long Beach, I got transferred back to the store I loved in San Francisco. BossLady had a surprise for me. My last day at Fremont, she met me in the parking lot with a gift bag as a going away present. She had several items in it for me, but what stood out were the three CD's she burned for me to listen to while I was sitting on BART.










Those CD's told a story, or so I thought.










A few weeks later, in August, she left for Long Beach. I was not happy. We hadn't developed any real closeness yet, but we had been talking so much, I was certain I was losing a good friend. I mean, she certainly wouldn't waste time talking to me from that far away...










Almost immediately, I found I was wrong. I got a bajillion text messages from her each day. If I forgot my phone at home, I got chewed out when I got home and online from her for ignoring her. We talked every night for hours online. She even called me at home in Fremont and asked me for directions in Orange County (which is SoCal... I was in NorCal!).










What all this did was prove to me just how special she was.










Then the wars began.










Each of us would go through a phase where we realized we were too close to each other and back off. We would even go so far as to tell the other it wasn't working, and we would never hear from the other again. Bitter fights. Very stressful.










It finally came down to her telling me we were through and that was it. I called her and we fought. And I do mean fought. We were yelling, screaming, crying into the phone. I know I was pounding the walls, my bed, kicking the cat... you name it. I finally challenged her to say goodbye to my face when she came home for Thanksgiving.










That holiday was hell. We met at a bookstore in Fremont late in the evening. I knew it was goodbye. I was terrified. We ended up just walking around and talking for a few hours. We went to my studio and shared our photos. We left that night in peace.










The day before the holiday, she met me in the City for lunch at Blondie's Pizza on Powell. We spent my lunch hour walking around Union Square.










She surprised me by texting me on Thanksgiving. I had gone with a friend's family to dinner in Modesto, while she was with her family.










The day after, she called me and asked me if I wanted to meet her for coffee after work before she went to see a friend in Santa Rosa. I agreed. We met and talked for an hour or so. As she went to her car, we took the first two photos of us together.










That night, I got a series of very interesting phone calls from a very plastered BossLady.










I was now so confused that I gave idiots a bad rap.










She called me one more time that weekend to meet me for breakfast the day she left. As we went to our cars, she took a photo of me. I am NOT photogenic at all (Kodak is terrified of my image... they pay me to stay away from their cameras!.. I wish), but I let her. We then got in our cars and headed out, her for Long Beach, me for BART.










It was a long day.










I didn't hear from her that night. I dealt with it by getting drunk.










The next day, I got home and turned on the computer and got surprise. On her yahoo360 blog was a photo of me. And it looked amazing. To this day, I don't know how she got such a good image of me.










That night, we talked. I had just reconciled myself to the fact that she would not be happening for me when she dropped the bomb on me. She was interested, and that she was tired of hiding behind her fears.










She had decided to go for it.










My next day off was 5 December. I talked my boss into giving me an early (IE 5am to 2pm shift) so I could sneak down to LA for a day. My boss (love that woman!) gave me a better deal... 5am to 10am. I told BossLady to be ready as I was making a suicide trip down to see her.










I bolted from work that day and made the six hour drive in something like 4. The entire drive down the 5 was a blur.










That first night, 4 December, will always be burned in my mind. I stayed at my mother's place in Anaheim, and I remember talking to her how I felt like I was 15 going on my first date. I was terrified of the trip to Long Beach.










I went. We went to dinner in Cerritos, then down to Irvine (ironically, less than 2 miles from where I now work!) and played minigolf and hit in the batting cages. We ended the night by the Queen Mary in Long Beach with our first kiss.










The next day, 5 December, was magic. We went to Disneyland and discovered just what we truly are-- two overgrown kids. We spent the day riding our rides, talking and just being together. Disneyland lived up to it's slogan of "where dreams come true" for me that day. It was magic.










The day ended, and hell began.










We went back to my mother's place in Anaheim, and I packed my things up for the drive home. Leaving was hell. I think we shot about 200 text messages before I cleared the Grapevine (North of LA). It was snowing that night, so driving over the pass was not fun. The drive took forever. Getting home was... empty.










I learned two things that day.










First, six hour commutes REALLY suck.










Most important, I didn't want to live without BossLady in my life.















Wednesday was a reminder of that magical day for me. We got to the park, had breakfast, walked around arm in arm, rode the rides, took pictures (some are posted here, others on myspace...http://www.myspace.com/redgael94 if you want to see) and just had fun. We did the same thing last year, and probably will for the rest of our lives.















Thanks BossLady, for taking that chance two years ago.





Monday, December 1, 2008

Evil Incarnate

I have decided after this weekend that I am evil incarnate.

Seriously.

Every time I went to measure a kids' feet using the Brannock device (foot scale), I ended up with a screaming heebeejeebee. And it's not like this scale is scary or anything. At worst, it's a cold piece of metal. But put it in my hands near a bed wetting toddler, and the banshees come out in force.

It really makes me wonder.

Yesterday was a great example.

Two kids were playing with the scales while their parents shopped. Each kept taking turns running behind the counter and grabbing the devices. They would then run around (literally) the store swinging the scales until the other relented to have their foot measured. All fun and games (except for the customers that we cannot help since we can't find the scales now!).

Until it's their turn.

The parents finish demolishing the section of the store that they think they own, and now it's time to put shoes on the snowflakes. All hell is about to come crashing down about our ears.

Mom (usually) or Dad comes up to us and asks us to measure the feet. In yesterday's case, it was Mom.

First things first, I have to have a Brannock device. We keep some behind our counter, and a couple up high at the end of the aisles, so no problem.

Remember, these fiends have been playing with these same scales, laughing and running and basically terrorizing the entire store, just moments before all this...

I kneel down and talk to the snowflake, asking if they are having fun, smiling the entire time.

Snowflake takes one look at me, one look at the scale and decides this ain't happening.

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

I am sure the scream was audible somewhere in the orbit of Neptune.

Little Precious now starts kicking and yelling, pointing at the scale. Tears are falling fast enough to flood the Mojave. Other customers look at us either in fear, wondering what we are doing to the poor child, or in sympathy, or relief since it isn't their child--yet.

Mom is looking at me with apology all over her face.

The other child, in the spirit of the moment, decides they want attention. She starts screaming with the intent of setting off new decibel records.

Mom thanks me for the effort, and says she will just guess on size unless she can talk Snowflake into being measured. I tell her that I will leave her the scale and give her a brief how-to on using it should the twerp decide to be measured.

I get up, leave the scale on a bench and walk towards another customer.

INSTANT silence from Snowflake.

It's got to be me that Snowflake hates.

It's okay. I am not exactly her biggest fan either.

After all, I am evil incarnate.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Blah Friday

Black Friday was a real let down this year.

I am not talking about the sales.

I am talking about the people.

Normally, I get something to happen that just makes me laugh my (considerable) ass off, or makes me shake my head and wonder how the human race has managed to survive this far.

This year, NADA.

What a waste.



In years past, I have had some really stupid people out there. The Furby incidents, the Tickle-Me-Elmo fights, the idiots camping out at 4 in the morning... this list never ends.

One incident I don't think I have relayed before goes back over ten years to when I worked at Kohl's in Overland Park, KS.

It was about 9 AM and the lines were about 10 deep on all 23 registers. We had 3 people working each register (one ringing, two bagging), and yet one woman had the nerve to start bitching about the day.

"I can't believe they don't have more people ringing!" Or "Why can't they move faster!" and my all time favorite, "Why do they let so many fucking people in here today?"

About this time, most of the people I worked with were reading to go Olympic on her, and invite her to a javelin toss, receiving end. But being the nice, friendly, considerate corporate slugs we were, we said nothing and smiled.

However, that didn't stop the people in line from saying what we wanted.

It was a beautiful moment. SuperBitch was in my line for her purchase, ranting all the time. The line was moving nicely (she had only been in line about 5 minutes, but it was an eternity to us), and most of the people were upbeat.

Finally, a lady in front of her decided she had had enough.

"Look, bitch. If you don't like crowds like today, why did you set foot outside the day after Thanksgiving, KNOWING how busy it was going to be?"

It was all we could do to not applaud her for saying what we so dearly wanted to.



Anyhow, hope you all had a great holiday. I got to pick BossLady up from the airport (she went to Vegas and didn't win enough for me to retire yet... bummer), and cook a not-so-traditional Thanksgiving dinner of Enchiladas. BossLady was happy, and that's all that matters.

Next up on our agenda, Disneyland for our 2 year anniversary (from the first date). More on that later, tho....

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Give 'Em a Big Bird...

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all.

Hope someone gives you a really big bird...

To eat, that is.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Opening Shifts on Black Friday

About ten years ago, I was working at Kohl's in Overland Park, KS and I had the joy of being one of the opening managers (I was a supervisor at the time, just learning the management side of things) for Black Friday. I didn't like the idea of being at work at 4 AM, but I liked the idea of being done by 2 PM.

I rolled into the parking lot and there was already a crowd there waiting!

I really wonder if people have a life. I mean, given a choice, I would have been home in bed waiting to get up (LATE!) and just be lazy. Getting up and sitting at a store before the sun is even thinking about having the thought of getting up is insane. I don't get it.

These people were hard core. It was something like 20 degrees outside, and these people had been there for hours. Insane.

What's fun is going in the front door with this crowd there. None of the lights are on, and you clearly are coming in to open, but these people were trying to come in with us. No can do. They were fighting with us to get in. We really threatened to call the police in order to get in! The people then had the guts to say we should let them in since it was cold!

Wait... weren't these the idiots that got up early to sit in the cold to be the first to go shopping? And I'm cruel for making you sit an extra 30 minutes in the cold? What am I missing?

Of course, it's fun when the doors do open and the crowds gush in like a dam bursting. It's clear within minutes what is THE item of the season. Tickle Me Elmo, Furby, Cabbage Patch Twerps... you name it.

Of course, watching how people react over THE toy is hilarious. People literally fighting over Furby (my store stopped selling them after a different retailer nearby had someone go to the hospital after fighting for one). Listening to the Tickle Me's as they come off the truck... kids screaming... You have to love it.

Side note: I was unloading a truck with our dock manager, J, and we unloaded a box that was laughing ("heheh.... that tickles!") with a sound that just made me sick ("Oboy oboy o BOY!"). When J and I opened the box, we found the Tickle Me Elmo face down with the Tickle Me Cookie Monster on top of him... Yup, Cookie Monster was busy sodomizing poor old Elmo... and we got to hear about it.


Think about that as you slug it out Black Friday

Friday, November 21, 2008

I No Longer Have the Only Say in the Matter...


Fantastic news!

BossLady started her own blog tonight.

The sad thing is, this is no longer a one-sided story. She finally gets a say (I may as well get used to that!) in what goes on.


Check out her blog at

http://talesfromthedarkroom.blogspot.com/


Welcome aboard, Babe!!!

Open Open Open

Black Friday is almost here.



Six Days, one hour and twenty minutes as I type this.



Oh joy.



Kids screaming, grown women fighting over toys, fathers asking where the nearest bar is...



Gods, I love humanity.







Black Friday conjures up some pretty interesting ideas. I plan on writing about some of my more memorable ones later next week (when BossLady is in Vegas partying up while I stay home and slave away...). Believe me. If you haven't worked a retail Black Friday, you won't believe the stories.



This year I am already exhausted. I have been replacing people on my store team for various reasons, and as a result, I am in the dreaded spot of training new hires the week of Thanksgiving. It's going to be a memorable year.





Those of you who have worked retail know that this is the time of year you dread, but at the same time, it's why you work. To me, it is the single most fun day of the year. The traffic is amazing. The people are funny, either intentionally or accidentally. The pace is amazing. And the numbers unbelievable.





Several years ago, Mervyn's ran an ad campaign for this where a lady was standing outside the store going "open, open, open" at something like three in the morning. It was clearly before the employees were supposed to be at work.



I HATED that ad.



It wasn't until years later that I learned people really do shit like that. I had to fight to get to the door of the store I was working at to get in and get the place running so those idiots could come trash the place.



Fun stuff.







Anyway... more later on some of my observations, both this year and years past.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Fires, Part II











I promised pics that BossLady took with her phone. Here they are. Bear in mind, she took these in the early part of the afternoon.








The air here has gotten better, so there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Fire
















By now I am sure everyone has heard of the fires here in Southern California. Part of the news coverage strikes me as sensationalism. Other parts strike me that they are downplaying it.










Bottom Line: Pretty Fucking Scary.















I know. BossLady and I live in a community where one of the fires is/was.















Here's the scoop.




















Yesterday (Saturday), I was out running some errands before going to work, and I saw smoke coming from the area near where the Santiago Canyon Fire was in Irvine this time last year. I literally called home and said that the canyon was on fire again. I was apparently wrong. This fire started near Corona, or so the news reported.










All day yesterday, I watched the smoke cloud growing and moving towards my home. It was nerve wracking just watching and wondering and not knowing. All I got was snippets from customers, and while some was accurate, some was way off base. Frustrating.










I can only imagine what BossLady was thinking at home. She told me all she did was watch the news and watch the smoke cloud out the window and try not asphyxiate.










Driving home last night wasn't fun. As I was driving down Jamboree in Irvine/Tustin, I could see the glow (and some of the fire) from the Sylmar (aka Sayre) fire, over 70 miles to the north. It gave me a false sense of safety, since I couldn't see any light from the "Freeway Complex/Triangle Complex/Corona" fire (or whatever they are naming it this hour). The smoke was just unreal. It looked like it was snowing, but the temperatures were still in the 80's.










Driving the 55, I finally came to the 91 interchange, and as I came over the connector, I could see the entire ridge to the north of Yorba Linda/Brea just lit up. I could see flames leaping, smoke billowing and the smell was just lethal.










I got home, went inside, and BossLady was glued to the TV. The news was just terrible. By now, I am sure that everyone has seen the images by now, so I won't recap them. What was terrifying was that they were talking about places just 3 to 8 miles from my home and saying it was moving our direction. Evacuations were just blocks from here.










We finally went to bed last night wondering if we were going to get the knock on our door telling us to leave. We had packed several "emergency to go" bags just in case it happened. I know I woke up several times and peeked at the news coverage, and BossLady confessed to me that she woke up and checked the Internet for updates.










Not an easy night.










Anyway, we woke up to discover that the winds had changed, and the fire moved away from us. Relief for us, bummer for the people in Diamond Bar.















The fires were aided by the Santa Ana winds. These are high winds that come down off the mountains (gusts up to 80 miles an hour) and HOT! As the winds come down the hills, they get warmer. Add that to our already hot day (record heat in the area) with temps in the 90s in the area, it's just not a good day in the neighborhood.










Tonight, BossLady and I went less than a mile to the grocery store on Yorba Linda Boulevard. The difference in air quality was dramatic. It was like going to something from a holocaust movie. Just unreal.















As I type this, the fires are getting under control. Once again, the firefighters here in Orange County and Los Angeles County kick ass. These guys have balls the size of King Kong.















I do hope that if the fires were arson, that they get the guys who started them and seriously fry them. I hope they suffer like each family that they have left homeless. I hope they sit in fear like every family that sat glued to the TV last night wondering if they should flee.




















The pictures I have put with this are ones I took with my cell phone. A couple are from Irvine, about 20 miles from the fire in Corona/Yorba Linda. All you see is the smoke cloud, but it's bad enough. The others were taken from the streets near my home this morning, and the other was taken from the 91 freeway this morning.










BossLady is sending me some more pics that she took with her phone. They are much more dramatic as they were closer to the action (the cloud she photographed was only about 7 miles away).















To all that were directly affected by this mess, I hope for the best for you. I know that OC rallied around the fire victims last year, and I hope they do the same this time. If you know anyone in the area who may be affected, please reach out to them and let them know you care. It makes a difference.

Friday, November 14, 2008
















The Urban Dictionary (http://www.urbandictionary.com/) defines alcohol the following ways (and this is a very limited selection of their definitions).
1.alcohol
The cause of, and solution to all life's problems. To ALCOHOL: The cause of, and solution to all life's problems.
2.alcohol
A substance found in beer (except American beer) and several other beverages that makes you excessively happy, sad, belligerent or horny. It allows white men to dance and ugly men to get laid (when given to their victim). You wanna get with that hottie? You're gonna need lots of alcohol!
3.alcohol
Liquid Panty Remover
"Man alcohol is like liquid panty remover, you see that hot drunk chick over there, she's gonna get boned tonight."
4.Alcohol
The antidote to reality. reality is for people that can't handle drugs and alcohol.
My district at work won a contest back in August/September for the Back to School Season, and my company just recently got around to giving us our prize money. We had several options as to what to do with it. One was go to Knotts Berry Farm and toss our cookies. Another was a bowling party. 24 Managers in our district decided on Dave and Busters to practice bending the elbows.
Fun.
I learned something (again) tonight.
24 Managers can drink our DM into bankruptcy.
The above pictures are just a little blurry because that's how I was (am) when I took them with my cell phone. It was a good time, and yes, our bar tab was over $1800. Unlike the last time we did this, I wasn't the last one out this time.
Have a good weekend.
I am off to have another beer or sober up.
Or both.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

We've Got Big Balls

The crazy people are all over the place.


BossLady and I went bowling tonight, and while I am beating the living crap outta her, two mothers and four boys (the oldest being MAYBE 10 years old) start playing on the lanes next to us.

Okay...


BossLady knows I am not a big fan of kids. Some can be fantastic, well behaved and a great sign of the things to come. Others? C'mon people, invest in some birth control or parenting classes, please.


BossLady was enjoying a rare time when she was beating me (barely). About this time, the boys (all four of them) decide that the lanes they are on are not enough. They started running down their lanes (onto the playing surface!) and the youngest (maybe 5 years old) started break dancing on the approaches, right into where we were playing. A couple of times, I almost kicked them during my turns. Another time, each of us came close to hitting the boys with our back swings with our balls.

To make matters worse, each of the mothers was taking flash photos during the games.


Think about this. People throwing big balls being suddenly blinded. I was seriously tempted to "accidentally" throw the ball the wrong way... say... towards the photographer. Sounds like fair play to me.

BossLady did the smart thing. She told one of the mothers to control her kids or that I was likely to do my best Rambo impersonation on her boys.


The bowling alley finally agreed to our request to change lanes for the safety of the boys.





Some of you may laugh at BossLady and I for bowling, but too fucking bad. We took it up earlier this year as something for us to do together outside the home. We got so into it that we broke down and got balls of our own, shoes, etc. Eventually, we will find time after all the wedding planning and whatnot to join a league.

I routinely beat her ass.

So we have started a new scoring method now. We both still go for our personal bests, but now the winner is the one who gets the highest over their average. I'm still gonna smoke her.

I used to bowl on leagues growing up. When I lived in Antioch, CA, a friend got me into a bowling league. I loved it. When we moved to Kansas City, their was a bowling alley on Richards-Gebaur AFB where we lived, so I bowled there as well. I got involved in theatre in high school, so I dropped it for a while. When Mom got transferred to Marine Corps HQ in Washington, DC, I joined her Marine Corps intramural league. I loved it.

Throughout college, I bowled for kicks with friends whenever the mood struck us. But I stopped after graduating college.

BossLady's idea to go play last spring really struck a good cord with me.

And people wonder why I dropped the Big Q on her?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Baby Bombs

Baby Bomb: (n)-- The loaded diaper of an infant. Usually falling in the 1o-15 pound fully-loaded range. It's nothing short of toxic waste, and just as hard to dispose of. Pampers ain't kidding folks.





Kids in stores are a bad mix.


Infants in stores are scary.


Bad parents and the above should just be criminal.





Today started like any other Monday in my store. Quiet. A few people from the shopping complex bounce in and talk about the economy for a few before heading off to their jobs. A couple of yuppie parents come in shopping with their preschool kids. Nothing glamorous, nothing shocking.


Somewhere mid-morning, a mother comes in with her infant (I can't guess the boys' age. He isn't talking yet, and barely walking) in a stroller. The first thing she does is take the boy out of the stroller and lets him walk around.


Then it gets scary.


The mother wanders off to shop for herself in the aisle with her size, leaving the infant boy to play by the front door, completely ignoring him!


That isn't a misprint.


The child starts trying to push the door open. Another parent in the store takes the child back to the mother. She turns him loose immediately.


The child now starts pulling items off the bottom shelves and chews (teethes?) on them, ruining over $200 worth of merchandise.


I take the twit back to her and ask her to please watch her child as she could be liable for the damaged product.


She doesn't speak English (conveniently).


I walk away, with child firmly in mother's grasp.


Not more than two minutes later, the boy is behind my counter chewing on the extra cordless phone and trying to fry his measly little gonads on the power cables hidden under the counter. Mother is nowhere to be found.


I finally convince young Tokyo Jones to leave the counter (and give me my phone back) and find his mother, mostly by smiling and saying "find mommy" with little result.


Out with the Windex to clean all the baby slobber off my store. As I start cleaning the counter where Little Mr. Slobber Fest has been, I notice a rather pungent aroma. I don't like it. The kid bunny'd under my counter?!?! Damn little fart broke wind like a rabid hurricane! Now I need to go buy some Febreeze!


I look up to see that the Slobber Bomb has tried to walk out the store again. This time, I tell his mother to please put the child back in the stroller and keep an eye on the brat or I will call the police for child endangerment. She stares at me blankly. Real winner here.


I go up to the front of my store to ring a purchase for another customer. They ask me if I would like them to call child protective services. I thank them, and tell them that I have it under control, all the while wishing I could drop this kid like a three foot putt.


By now, Junior has planted himself by the accessory items by my front register. The aroma I noticed earlier is getting very strong. (I mean, it was killing the fake plants type strong.) The little Beelzebub was sitting there putting anything he could into his mouth. Shoe laces, spray cans... you name it. I quickly grab everything I can and move it out of his reach (or so I think).


By now, the mother has finally realized that her darling little angel is creating hell, and she is about to get the bill. This is after half an hour. And I thought I was slow on the uptake with kids.


Mother finally comes over and picks up her boy. As she lifts him into his stroller, I discover that the smell is indeed him. His diaper is full. And by full, I mean it LITERALLY was overflowing the top of his diaper and down his pants.


That, my friends, is a nuclear baby bomb first class.










On a side note, I am looking for to post stories for Black Friday. Send me your horror stories. I have a few of my own, but would love to get other people in the action!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Coconut Cat Crap











We have a killer in our apartment.








I don't get it. Started so small. So innocent. So cute. Such a pain in the ass.







BossLady's cat has been an adventure.








Don't get me wrong. The cat is an absolute riot, and I can't imagine coming home to not seeing her any more than I could without finding BossLady.








The ThunderButt was a gift from a former employee of mine, The Mother Of God. Her daughter's cat had its seven hundredth litter (give or take a few). BossLady wanted one. So before I moved down to SoCal, I took some pics of the litter, and BossLady chose her kitty. We then spent the next two months figuring out a name, which we got from corrupting a character's name in a Musical we both like. Hence, we have Fiyera (named after Fiyero in the musical, WICKED).
We took a day last summer and drove up to the Bay Area and got our resident furrball. Six hours up, two hours playing with the litter, and six hours home.
The drive back was an adventure. We stopped in San Jose and got lunch at McNasty's, and about that time, the little fuzzball started screaming. Apparently, we didn't get her to her cat box in time. She dropped her load all over the front of my car. And she was POTENT! So we broke out the extra air freshener I had in my car... and spent the next 5 and half hours smelling coconut cat crap. I will never eat McDonalds again.
ThunderButt was the smallest kitten in her litter. Now? I think her mission in life is to be at least 60 pounds. She's well on her way. You can feel her running down the hall. Bookcases rattle, walls shake, mothers pull babies off the sidewalks...
ThunderButt likes to play. She is constantly chasing us in the kitchen. I can't remember the last time I took a crap without her supervision. She sits in the bathtub while you do your stuff. She howls like a banshee if you lock her out.
CATS!
The other night, BossLady and I discovered we have a killer/hunter living here. We were online checking out sites for our upcoming wedding (only 10 months left to plan.... just shoot me now), and I hear ThunderButt playing in our closet. I look down, and Fiyera is taking her latest kill out to the living room. She had BossLady's boot in her mouth and a proud look on her face.
CATS!
We won't talk about the times I hear the ThunderButt run followed by her launching herself on the bed... and using me as a trampoline to the window.
CATS!
I can't go thru San Jose anymore without smelling Coconut Cat Crap.

It's a Crime

BossLady is trying to convert me to watching her crime shows.

I don't do blood.
I don't do guts.
I get sick thinking about tossing my own cookies.


So she's trying to convert me and getting me excited about watching others do this shit?

I don't get it.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Coincidence?

Coincidence?
A car is on the side of the freeway, changing a tire.

Oakland Raiders bumper sticker.



A car drives by with its fender missing.

Oakland Raiders window decal.



I see this every day. And it wasn't just here in OC or the LA area I saw it. It was the same way up in the Bay Area, or when I was in KC.


Coincidence?

I think not.


Must be the same everywhere?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Death By Any Other Name...

Which is more depressing?

Estate Planning (IE writing a will, funeral plans, nursing homes, etc)

OR.....


Wedding Planning?



Oh, wait.... they're the same thing.

Monday, October 27, 2008

I Don't Do Hospitals

Saturday sucked.

I woke up with a really bad pain in my chest and tingling in my left arm. First reaction... wake the BossLady up and GET MY SORRY ASS TO A HOSPITAL!

I have three phobias. Needles. Elevators. Doctors. (Doctors are only because they tend to wield needles....) It's been my experience that going to a hospital is a real good way to have to confront all three of them at once. Time to change your shorts, junior.

BossLady drove me to an ER nearby while my mother was kind enough to call my boss without coming unglued.

I don't know how long I was in the ER. I know they did an EKG on me, and naturally, here come the needles. IVs and blood work. (And there I am, passing out...) Doctors putting cold stuff on me... and then off to Xray (bet that means a ride on an elevator... shudder).

Well, the Xrays came out clean, and radiology was on the same floor.

Doc finally came back and told me I was one of the first victims of the Flu in So Cal this year. Joy and bliss. I coulda done without. The kicker is I have some inflammation of the cartilage in my ribs, so breathing is an absolute bitch right now.

Doc said take the next three days off and go from there. He also gave me some vicodin to kill the pain. (It didn't... it only took the edge off it.)


I don't do the flu.

And I hate hospitals.

Friday, October 24, 2008

A Little Love

People hear me rant about the crazy or stupid stuff that goes on daily in retail quite a bit. Sometimes, good stuff happens out of the blue as well.


Yesterday I returned to work after being out for two weeks (vacation and other issues). Any time I miss after a length of time (vacations included), I get really nervous about going back in. Yesterday was no exception. I walked into my store, and MysteryGirl was there. She almost broke into tears and came up to me and demanded a hug. I don't know if she knew how tough walking in was for me, but that one single action told me it would be okay. She made my day.

MysteryGirl wasn't the only one to tell me they missed me. We drop our deposits in person at a nearby bank. Since I am there almost there daily, they have gotten to know me a bit. The two merchant tellers are total smart asses, and friends to boot. Both looked at me and teased me about running away. They also told me I found another job while I was away. (I hadn't. I had interviewed and the jury is still out on one, I shot the other down. But that's not why. Their company has picked off several of my best people in the past.) Both told me they missed me, which is very unusual for them to tell a customer. So unusual that one of the other tellers asked me who I was and what I did to those two...

I also had a few of our regulars stop in and tell me they missed me. I have NEVER had that happen in any of the other retail positions I have held over the last twenty years.

For all the crazy, stupid and funny stuff they do, sometimes people can do the most amazing things by saying something simple.

Thanks to everyone who made my Thursday.





-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

To follow up on a prior post, I did go back for a second interview with a company in Los Angeles. I turned the position down after an all day second interview. Basically, I had problems with the ethics of the company (which I won't name) and I felt the position was a step in the wrong direction for me in my career. I had done similar work with a very similar company up in San Francisco.

No Thanks.



I did, while driving home from LAX, have an interview over the phone with another retailer (not in direct competition to my current job). That went rather well (which probably means I won't get it) and I should hear back next week.


Should be a fun week.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Hot Times

It's the middle of October. Why is it almost 100 degrees outside?

I had an interview down by LAX today (which I later learned I made to the second round Monday!!!) and as I was driving home, the outside temp according to my car hit 98 degrees.

Okay, so this is California where it's illegal to get cold (seriously, we call in sick for our snow days if the temp gets below 50... sometimes 60), but this is insane.

Screw this. I'm off to the beach and sightseeing.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Monterey






So for BossLady's 21st birthday, I took this week off (mostly... have to cover a couple of short shifts, but that's life).




We started last Friday with her getting out of class and into the car. I hadn't told her where she was going, so she packed for anything. The plans called for that, so it was good. All she know was that we were going to be driving for anywhere from 2 hours to 8. No idea of direction or where. The only hint she had was that it was near water.




We took off in OC traffic, but early enough that we missed the worst of it. I was inadvertently making it worse by being in off ramp lanes that could take us multiple directions (she thought I was doing this to torment her... wish I had thought of that). We ended up cruising up the 210 to the Grapevine and over.




She passed out in the car. So much for suspense.






I took her out to Paso Robles, which took us by the crash site where James Dean was killed. We stopped for a moment at the memorial and then back into the car. At this point, she wasn't sure if we were just taking a strange way up to the Bay Area or just going to Monterey.




We got into Monterey about 7, got dinner and relaxed. We noticed immediately that it was COLD! I mean, it was freezing! It had to be in the upper 40's or something. BRRRRS!




We got some sleep, got up the next day to crystal blue skies and took off for Cannery Row. Our day started by going to the Monterey Bay Aquarium (which I HIGHLY recommend to anyone even considering going to the area). We did the entire experience, from watching the penguins get fed to the Deep Ocean exhibit feeding (man, those tuna are FAST!) to just going out on the deck and enjoying the views of the bay. We also did the behind the scenes tour, which actually got us to feed one of the exhibits (the Kelp Forest tank... we fed the speedier fish in the tank). All in all, a great experience at the Aquarium.


After the Aquarium, we went shopping along Cannery Row. We played a bit of mini golf in black light (yeah, the BossLady won), and just walked around. It was a beautiful day. We got the Aqua Massages towards the end of the day, and then dinner at the waters edge. Then back to the hotel.


One thing bombed on the trip, and that was our plans to see a mutual friend from Gilroy (and get some of the world's best garlic). Schedules for both parties just didn't work, so we will do it next time.


Anyhow... BossLady was very happy with the trip for her birthday. Now all I have is 2 months to plan Xmas and 4 to plan Valentines day for her before attacking her next birthday. There just isn't enough time...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Solitaire

Playing solitaire drunk is an exercise in futility.


And pretty freakn lame!

Nectar of the Freakin' Gods!!!


ALCO-MO-HOL!!!!!!



WOOOHOOOO!!!!



BossLady had fun for part one of her birthday.



She drove me to work so she could swipe my car for the day, which was a good thing, since she needed the extra space.


She raided the BevMo in Long Beach.


It was her 21st birthday (HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY LADY!).


I don't know how much she spent, but I know I won't need to stock up for a bit.


Probably something like 2 months.


Or 2 minutes, knowing us.


Anyhow....


I took her to dinner in Newport Beach at the Cheesecake Factory there, per her request. It was her first time ordering a LOADED drinks.


FUN!



She knows more is coming this week, but doesn't know what.


She knows we are going out of town.


She knows water is involved.


Beyond that?


That's my dirty little secret.


Let's just say she is going to grow up a LOT this weekend.


Or not.



Will keep you posted....






Today was good.


A friend and manager from the same company as me came to my store and complimented how we are doing, which means a lot to me in these times. He is one of the top managers in our district, and for him to say good things about my store is a plus.


That and he can drink me under the table without trying (I must have lost my touch since college... damn!).


Anyway, he is going to look after my store and crew while I take a short vacation next week. What a guy.


So I bought him a few drinks after work today.


Let me tell you, it made driving in OC a TON of fun tonight.



I only had two, and made them do a sobriety check on me before I left (which I aced).


I think I would have been better off driving buzzed in OC traffic. At least that way I wouldn't drive scared.





When I got home, it was time for another beer.


Gotta love the BossLady. She's got me stocked up.



BUZZZZZZ!!!!



Feel no pain....




Alcohol is such a beautiful thing...
BEER ME!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Going.. Going... Crazy





BossLady has her 21st Birthday Monday.

Finally. She can buy her own drinks.

Mine too, while she's at it.


I have been planning a trip for her, and she isn't helping.

She wants a surprise.


This is actually all my fault.

Before I moved to SoCal, I drove down here once to spend a weekend playing around with her on her birthday. (Keep it clean, you perverts. We weren't dating. Yet.)

She had never been to Six Flags Magic Mountain, so I took her. And we had a blast.

Check that. She had a blast. I had a SEVERE case of frustration. (And that 6 hour drive home after the weekend seemed more like six years.)

I started that weekend by meeting her at her dorm in Long Beach. I brought her some things for her birthday (I can't recall exactly what, but I do know Hangar One Vodka ( http://www.hangarone.com/) was part of it, as was a dozen roses). We stayed in her room for a bit, then headed down to Second Street.

We did some ceramics at a place called Color Me Mine, where you get to select your piece then paint it, and they fire it and you pick it up later in the week. BossLady did a Mug and Saucer, while I opted for two baby dragons. I was trying to drop some serious hints, so I painted them to match, a his and hers pair. My dragon was red and yellow, while the one I painted for her was pink and purple.

That hint got seriously ignored.

We went to dinner that night. More frustration.

I ended up back at my mother's place in Anaheim around midnight. Much to my delight (sarcasm), my sister and her youngest was there, too. Very crowded apartment! I got lost getting back to the apartment, since I still hadn't figured out the freeways in Orange County/Los Angeles yet (has anyone?). I took a wrong exit and ended up in Newport Beach, 20 miles away. Nice.

The next morning started with my sister, my niece and I all fighting over the shower and me tripping out waiting for BossLady to arrive. She finally did, and off to Valencia to ride some kick ass roller coasters! My sister was there with the kid, so I had to behave within reason. Bummer.

We spent the day riding all the coasters and just having a blast. We hit Goliath, which was one of the tallest in the country at the time (and BossLady still hasn't forgiven me for that!), Colossus both forwards and backwards (they put a train on so you ride backwards during October), Batman, the Riddler's Revenge, the Revolution, and the newest, Tatsu. And the log ride. Soaking wet in October. Bliss.

We got home late that night, after BossLady said she never slept in the car (not the first time I would hear that). I played in traffic on the 5. Fun.

The next day, I drove my sister and niece home (well, to where they were living at the time). I hated the drive. My niece was in LaLa land in the back of my old Sportage. My sister was railing on me about family, and I was missing BossLady something fierce, which wasn't helped by her constant texting to me.

I know I did other things on that trip, but I was told I set a high standard for BossLady that day.

Last year for her birthday, I took her to Disneyland. I gave her a package to carry around all day. About 3PM, outside Sleeping Beauty's Castle at the Wishing Well, I had her open that package. She said YES!

This year.... WELL.... help?

I have a trip planned, but some of the smaller details need help. I was going to bounce those ideas off her, but she won't let me. She does know the trip involves the coast, and either hiking or kayaking. She knows it involves a car trip.

It's not Las Vegas. Her family is doing that to her.

I am open to suggestions on some of the smaller details. Some things I have dead to rights, other little things I am thinking I am just going to wing it. I just hope that it live up to her expectations.

I do know that planning this all summer has been driving me nuts. My first three plans for it got nixed, so I am losing what hair I don't have. Not fun.

Anyhow, I hope she's happy.

I am screwed for next year, tho.

Why do I do this to me????



Going crazy is so much easier, and not nearly as expensive.

Happy Early Birthday, BossLady.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Going to Hell in a Dozen Handbags

I don't understand women.

Check that. NO men understand women.

Well, maybe Hugh Hefner, but that's a different story. (How the devil does that fossil have that many hot young women crawling around his bed? Wait... they're plastic, so it doesn't count.... But I digress.)

One young man at my store today started getting his education on women's OTHER side... And it ain't the sexy one.


An older lady and what was obviously her son came to the store today and were shopping around. They made their selections and placed them on my counter. As I started ringing the purchase, the mother went over and started checking out the handbags. That's when the fun began.

"You don't need another purse!" the young man said.

His mother's jaw hit the floor. I don't know if she was in shock that he would talk to her in public that way, or that he committed the sacrilege of telling a woman she doesn't need another handbag.

"What do you mean?" she replied.

"You already have 13 of 'em" he complained.

She grabbed the one she was looking at and put it with her purchase.

At this point, I had to get involved.

"Can I ask you a personal question?" I inquired.

"Sure."

"How old are you?" I asked, smiling and knowing he couldn't be more than half my age.

"17. Why?" he asked.

"You will learn!" I replied.

His mother started laughing.

"Learn what?"

"That women never have too many handbags or shoes. Trust me. Just accept this fact now and your life will be a lot easier, specially when you get serious with someone someday. Just accept the fact that the closet is for her, and it gets a LOT easier!"

His mother just grinned.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Mentor

People are the best part of retail, as well as the worst. Sometimes, they are both at the same time.

I received an email from a friend and former co-worker of mine back in Kansas City today. This friend is in a serious quandary with a job she loves, and it's messing with me being 1800 miles away and not able to help.


SR started in my department just after I got my first promotion into "legitimate" management over 10 years ago. She was one of my first hires, and one of the first people for me to interview. Guess I did all right, as she is still working there and loving it.

SR has always had a very twisted and fun sense of humor. She literally could find the humor in any situation, and knew just when to make everyone laugh. Even better, she knew when not to do that as well, and when to be the supportive friend, to hell with ranks and such at work.

When I left KC, she and I traded contact information, and through the years have maintained contact. When I go back to KC and visit friends, she is one I go out of my way to see. One trip, she and I piled into her car and drove to St. Louis for a day. It was a highlight of that trip. I can also remember her throwing a surprise party for me at my favorite bar (Johnny's Tavern in Overland Park, KS) when I flew out one time, though I don't recall leaving that party, and I deny all her stories about said exit...


Today I got an email from her asking about a touchy situation at work. She has had some health issues, and it appears that the DM has taken away one of the key accommodations that allows her to continue her job. The reason, she told me, was that it was aesthetically unappealing. She was understandably upset when she went to her boss and was told to deal with it (though that boss did use much more polite language than that!).

SR wanted to know what she should do. Yes, I would like your input.

What was cool about this was that SR is still seeking me out for advice, even 10 years after I stopped being her boss.

I know her manager. In fact, I was very surprised to find that the manager she is talking about is the very same one I was an assistant to when I worked in that same store! And it's even more shocking to me that this same manager is taking such a hard line on this, since I knew her to be a very fair person.

Retail Drama. Gotta love it.

My advice to SR was to have her sit down off the sales floor with her boss and talk. Explain why this decision is such a problem to her, and seek pro-active solutions. Maybe they can come to an understanding and therefore a reasonable solution that makes everyone happy and healthy. Maybe they could try a couple of solutions to see if something is possible without just saying NO.


Here's hoping that I helped for once.




Things like this are the best part of retail to me. I made a positive impact on SR, and she never lets me forget it (or the birthday party I had at Johnny's that one time...). And what's more, she still trusts my judgement after all this time knowing me. Wow.

I can honestly say that I still maintain contact with at least one person from every retail job I have had, save one (at Ames, in Woodbridge, VA, when I was in high school). Some still come to me for advice, or just a different perspective on something (Like, what in the hell is management thinking? Make this make sense to me!). Sometimes, it's just to rant. Others, it's because we just bonded well as a team and made good friends. Sometimes, I just follow up on them because that's what I do. It's a people business, but you can't forget the people making it happen.


I hope that SR comes to a positive solution. I would hate to see her leave a job she loves over something stupid, ten years after she learned to love that job.

Besides, if she's still there ten years after I hired her, I got her into this mess. I don't want to be held responsible!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Fear is a GREAT Motivator

Audits are not fun. Neither is inventory. And it's even worse with both combined.

You get up insanely early. You go in, get handed a scanner, spend x number of hours just scanning everything. Beep... beep... beep... beep... You just go insane with boredom. Your arm gets tired carrying that damned thing.

Then the auditor gets her fun... she gets to rip you a new one for your paperwork. Every little detail is pulled apart. It's like being sodomized by a troupe of rabid giraffes (not that I would know about that first-hand or anything).

And if you are lucky, she lets you go home with your body still in tact.

And that's just the day of the audit/inventory.

Prior to it, it's the stress of making sure everything is perfect. Now, if you have done your job right, it's no big deal. You try to run your store by the audit standards day in and day out, but invariably, something doesn't go right. Someone on your staff cuts a corner, and you get absolutely raked for it. Prep your ass off, and it goes for naught with one lazy shortcut by a newbie.

After everything, it's the days of nerves waiting for your results. Will you still have a job? Why isn't my DM speaking to me right now? Why did LP answer the phone "Oh, it's YOU!"? Who's this new Manager-in Training? Are they taking my spot if I get axed?

And then there's the results.

And then you sleep again.




I bring this up since I helped another store in my area today with his audit, which is a LOT less stressful. You sympathize with the manager in question, knowing that your turn is coming (my audit is next week, so no making fun of my rival/peer today), but at the same time, part of you wants them to look bad so that you look that much better. Mean, yes. Self-preservation? YES!


Inventories can be a lot different. When I worked for a furniture company, it was putting stickers on everything in my location, which meant I had to know where everything was, right down to the smallest fake plant. Face it, it's kinda hard to misplace a sofa sectional, but a 4" plastic plant? That bitch could be anywhere...

Other companies I have worked for have hired in another company specializing in inventory scanning. In that case, it's just prep till you scream, then keep an eye on them during the actual process without chewing your fingers to your armpits.


Here's hoping my audit goes well...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

National Pastime, Part Two






So today BossLady and I did something I hadn't done in a while... gone to a GIANTS game! Okay, so the game was in San Diego, but that can be fun. Last time I did that, the Padres played in old Qualcomm Stadium (where the NFL Chargers play) and I saw Barry Bonds absolutely CRUSH the ball!


We got there early since this was the first trip to Petco Park for both of us. We got in, walked around the stadium and then found our seats on the first base side on the lower level. We settled in and watched a wild game. Barry Zito looked like a $126 million flop for the Giants and the rest of the Giants... well, it wasn't promising early. It did get better as the Giants bullpen took off and rescued the game. The Giants ultimately won the game 8-6 in ten innings.


The crowd was funny. A LOT of Giants fans in attendance, from all over. I met several from the Bay Area and several from SoCal. Even the usher in our section, John, was from the Bay Area and a big Giants fan. He even came over and gave us a two-cent tour of the stadium and told us what to look at. Fun. The crowd only got loud when the scoreboard called for noise or the Chargers were winning (they could tell from TV's in the luxury suites). Odd. Giants fans were louder than the home team fans!


One thing really cool for me was meeting Omar Vizquel, a future Hall of Fame Shortstop on the Giants. He signed my visor and let me get a picture with him. He was a complete gentleman and very friendly.


Anyhow... it was a great day in San Diego for us. Here are a couple of pics from the game.