The best cheesy gift

So, for the holidays, my employer gives us a postcard…. telling us that for 2 weeks, they will give us an extra 10% off of the brands that they own.

After our regular 10% discount that works on almost everything they sell.

At first, this just seemed like a cheesy gift. An additional discount that only worked on generic stuff?

But after a couple of days, it dawned on me.

Although our store only had a limited grocery section, several of the other stores in town have a full grocery-store sized section in them.

Filled with generic food items.

Suddenly a cheesy cheap seeming gift took a whole new twist.

We aren’t real picky around here on the vast majority of items… the generic brand at most of the major stores around here is decent at worst, and in some cases we actually prefer them to the name brands.

So, basically, this was giving me 20% off of all of my groceries and basic household items that I could buy in two weeks. Starting days after one paycheck, and ending two days after another.

Without using coupons, my first round total dropped from $140 something including tax to $110.

The math is sort of weird, because the first 10% comes off, then the second 10% came of of that lower total, and then the tax got recalculated using the lowest total…. but it ended up being a $32 savings when all was said and done.

Not so cheesy after all maybe!

Maybe that doesn’t seem like much when compared to the big bonuses some places give out for Christmas. But for a seasonal retail job? That’s beyond what I would expect.

And still another round to go after I get paid in a few days.

Up till now, the only big savings I’ve had with the discount card was by helping a family member buy a video game system using it.

It’s sort of a rock and a hard place… so many things I’d love to use it on… but so few of them I can afford working here. LOL

Maybe by next year I can find a decent paying job, that has low hours so I can grab some weekends as a cashier or something to be able to get the discount card when I have the power to really do some shopping with that thing. 🙂

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Not feeling it.

This whole december has been kind of odd.

Actually, I’m still sort of wondering where exactly November ran off to.

And yet, tomorrow is one week from christmas.

And I’m still just not feeling any sort of christmas-y feelings yet. Even after putting up the tree, having most of gifts wrapped, and going to the church’s christmas play last night.

But then, neither am I feeling most of the negative feelings from past events coming back to haunt me connected to december dates either.

Maybe just too lost in the craziness of being up at 4am.

Sick and respect

I’d been feeling crummy for the past few days, and worked in spite of feeling like throwing up yesterday.

But breakfast this morning went from feeling to doing, and so I ended up calling in sick this morning.

And got the supervisor who doesn’t like me, who proceeded to give me attitude about it… as if I were being unreasonable to prefer to vomit at home than to be loading a pallet.

Even though this is the first day I’ve called in, or even been late…. and as a part time worker, it’s not like they are paying me sick time or anything, so I’m taking a hit of 1/8th of my next paycheck to do so.

And so I’ve come to the observation that you can tell a lot about how much a business truly respects their workers by how they treat them when they are sick.

Yes, ideally nobody would ever be sick, and so nobody would ever have to miss. But that’s not the real world.

And yet, the places I’ve worked that have been the worst have usually been the ones who have been absolute jerks about it when you needed to miss a day.

Including the one that only allowed 3 days missed in any 90 day period before you were able to be fired if they chose to… real fun when after 0 days missed for over a year, one month of bad luck brings an ankle that couldn’t have weight put on it, a kid getting sent home with an asthma attack, and a round of pink eye…. meaning 2 months of being on the chopping block at any given whim.

And the short stint as a parking deck attendant where I was told I was fine to come into work while throwing up because there was a bathroom about 50 feet away and I could just keep locking up the booth to run to it and run back.

I know there are always going to be people who abuse the absence policies… just as there are people who abuse any policy.
But still… some basic human respect would be a nice thing. If you treat workers like they are liars and cheats when they haven’t given you any signs of being either, do you really expect them to respect you any more than you respect them?

And it says quite a bit about your concern for your customers that you could care less if your employees are exposing them to whatever virus happens to be attacking at the moment.

The soup porch

About 1/4 mile from here, across the next major street, an area of apartments starts… technically strip housing, one story rows of 5 to 6 connected in single file lines… a run down, cheap area that’s not exactly somewhere people are glad to have nearby.

You don’t see many cars parked in the lots between the buildings, but there are often a lot of people around on foot, or hanging out around the bus stops along the main street.

Honestly, I mostly ignore the area… or grumble when random large groups of teens from the area decide to wander this direction through the middle of the street ignoring the fact that there are cars backing up behind them… which happens more frequently than you’d think it ought to.

But in the past month or so, something along the main street has caught my eye.

In front of one of the homes, in the front strip that faces the main street in that area, someone puts out a sign on most days… made of wood and bright colored poster board…

That said “Warm soup” and had an arrow pointing to the apartment. It’s now had the word free added to the top.

And when you look over to the porch, there’s a small table about 2 foot deep and 4 foot long set up and pushed against the building near the door, about where a flower bed would usually be.

And on the table is a clearly visible crockpot… and a low box that holds other items… a large box of crackers, and I’d assume the other things that you can’t see as well are probably things like bowls and spoons.

There’s two more posterboards with lots of words written on them taped above the table, but the words are too small to read from the street.

I’ve actually been a bit tempted to walk up there, just to read them and see what they say.

But it really sort of impresses me just how simple and random this little soup porch is.

I assume it’s just put out there by a resident… as a church or charity would probably get hit with all sorts of regulations on leaving food unattended. This city is known to be picky even on things like handing out meals to homeless without having things like kitchen permits and food handlers cards.

Which given the area, means they probably aren’t real stable financially themselves to be living in the area. And I can only imagine that they can’t have been thrilled to be in one of the apartments facing the main busy street.

And yet… they are doing what they can to help others worse off.

And it’s as simple to make happen as a crockpot and box of crackers on a table and a few bright posterboards.

If ya gotta fail… fail big?

Saturdays are quickly becoming the days that I dread at work.

First, because they don’t have trucks on weekends except during the holidays, several of the regular staff have their schedules set so that they aren’t available for them… and they don’t pull others in off the floor to replace them.

Which means we are really short staffed on truck unload, sometimes as much as half of the sort crew missing.

Second, we have a different supervisor than the rest of the week. And this one really has never seemed to like me.. or several of the other people.

Where my main supervisor will tell me I’m doing well at keeping up, this one will instead look at the same situation and just criticize my pallet building placements (Something on which we were never actually trained, just kind of got thrown in and told to do.. which is harder than it looks when the boxes are all sorts of different sizes and weights, and coming at different times.)

So, you mix the two together…. and we’re short staffed while the unloaders have the regular 4 people… meaning we are getting really backed up… which means it’s even crazier to try and get things stacked and I’m barely managing to get things grabbed and on the pallet before they have been shoved harshly down and ending up past my area.

Large crates of 8 bottles of grape juice each holding 64 oz, or cases of 6 jugs of laundry soap, are bad enough to lift when they are somewhere near where they are going. They are much more of a pain when they are past your area, meaning you have to step over things and around poles to go get them and carry them back while even more things are getting shoved past you.

Life is much much easier when the staffing is decent. When it isn’t, the job starts to really suck.

But today was especially bad.

I had three areas to cover… groceries, household chemical (laundry soap, etc), and health and beauty. Areas with lots of stuff, lots of the heaviest stuff, and lots of random sized boxes.

Probably my least favorite area, but one they keep sticking me in. Seems to be a low man on the totem pole sort of thing.

In addition to being down people on the sorting, we were also down people on pulling the pallets out to the floor.

So, I had a full pallet for one department that needed to be taken because I couldn’t stack anything more on the top and keep it stable. So I ended up with boxes on the floor beside me in a pile because I had to grab them but didn’t have anywhere for them to go.

At the same time, one of my others had been pulled… but they hadn’t brought back an empty one. Usually there are spares not too far away to be able to grab one… but they had been used, and hadn’t been replaced because the guys were behind. There were more down in another part of the back room, but being already behind, I couldn’t get away long enough to grab them without being massively behind and having way too much slide past.

And so I had those stacked on the other side waiting for a place to go too.

And so of course right about this time is when these two departments started getting slammed.

And so I’m pulling things that I have nowhere for them to go, and still behind, and one of the guys who likes to be a jerk when we get behind and shove the boxes as hard as he can where they have nowhere to go does his thing.

Most of the time, the worst that happens when he pulls this is that they jam together so hard that it makes them really hard to get your hands in to grab them, thus making it even harder to get caught back up. Occasionally if things aren’t lined up well it will make a whole section of boxes fly off the conveyor.

But neither of those happened today.

Today, I had two grocery boxes that had round items in them, so the walls of the boxes weren’t very well supported by the goods inside.

And so when he pushed, they broke from the pressure.

And so when I picked them up, I then had an entire case of cans of pringles, and an entire case of bottles of syrup, completely out of their boxes and rolling everywhere.

Only made worse by the two piles of homeless boxes.. which made it hard to even get to them to try to clean them up.

The mess was pretty huge.

It’s actually the first time I’ve seen the line stop when something has made a mess. Even when there was a large puddle of laundry soap, it just got worked around and cleaned up as it could be as life went on.

I was very near tears of frustration.

Fortunately, two of the guys did jump in to help get things back settled again.

Ironically, miss critical said nothing of the chaos… even though she was nearby at the time.

Something tells me if she has any say in who gets kept from the seasonal workers, I’m doomed. Even though several of the others don’t even have to work the truck unloads and do the hard part of the day, they just do the easier shelf stocking in the larger departments.

Days like today make me sort of hope that I don’t get kept on though. Or consider asking a doctor for a lifting restriction to get me pulled off of the line after I do get hired.

About all that I can say at this point is that I’m doing the best that I can with the circumstances I’ve got. I do ok when they are mellow, but not so much the more they get crazy.

I just wish they’d put some of the more experienced guys who roll their eyes at the newer workers into the harder places, and put those of us who are newer into the easier areas.

A and B

So life’s been a bit crazy around here, as you could probably guess. Jobs and kiddo basketball games and practices, and kiddo issues with acting out, and just general duties of life.

Ended up having to drop one of the two jobs, basically in the name of sanity.

Job A is going ok. It’s not bad most of the time, just very physical… a sort of a different change from most of my other jobs that haven’t been very physical tiring but either mentally tiring, or as an introvert being a drain on energy.

The shelf stocking aspect isn’t bad, mostly there’s 2 or 3 of us working in an area, but working mainly independent of each other. Mostly a quiet, left to thoughts and physical task sort of thing.

The sorting boxes onto as they come of the truck really varies by what area you are working in, and how well staffed things are to be able to keep up with the pacing. And has a lot more interaction with the other workers… several of which seem to have chips on their shoulders in general, and several more of which don’t seem to be fans of either seasonal workers or new people and i guess have forgotten they were new once too.

The worst thing about it is the hours… originally they were starting at 6am, but then closer to holidays got moved to 4am. 4am is crazy time to be getting up and functioning.

While not mentioned in the hiring process, it does actually have cross training on cashier too.. having your second day cashiering be an 8 hour shift on black friday starting at 1am is interesting to say the least, but not nearly as bad as I expected the shift to go!

Not too bad overall, but still, not something I particularly hope to have as a job forever. It sort of scares me a bit how many people are doing this and are 40 or 50 or 60 and have been there 7 or 10 or 22 years and are largely bitter at the many early 20’s workers and newbies.

Job B, the best way to describe it is that it wasn’t as described.

I’d been told it was mostly afternoons and evenings doing recovery… which at most retail stores means picking things up, refolding what needs it, straightening, and just in general putting things back to how they should be. And cross trained on cashier to be able to jump on a register when things got too busy in an area.

During training, this seemed to be what they expected it to be too…. the parts of the videos and such devoted to that area explained it as a team that came in to help get things back in order where needed earlier in the evening so it wasn’t all left until the end of the day.

In reality, there would be no afternoons, or even evenings really. The job scheduling was always to be 3 hours before the store closed and an hour and a half afterwards. Which was ok when the store closed at 9, workable at 10, but really not manageable on an everyday basis when they switched to the holiday hours.

Had they told me upfront that the set hours would be 9pm to 130am, 4 weekdays a week, for the vast majority of the time I would be there, I’d have been able to tell them upfront that wasn’t likely to work well. I don’t consider that to be the “afternoons and evenings” I’d been told at interviews and in the classroom training.

But, even had the hours matched what I was told, the job description didn’t. The only time we did actual recovery was after the store closed, when that’s what everyone was doing.

And I never saw a cash register after the classroom training.

The rest of the time was spent circling through and picking up returns and other unwanted items from the registers in each department, and essentially wandering the store until you found where it went to put it away.

Which might not have been so bad if I were familiar with all of the different departments… but this is a store where I only really shop in two of them, the clothing sizes for me and the sizes for kiddo.

And only really look at the lower end of brands.

So where my on the floor trainer could look at a pink sweatshirt and know instantly by the brands that it was mens and a more upscale brand and know roughly the area it would be in to look for it… to me that totally looked like a women’s shirt… so I was looking in womens activewear. And then just general womens. And then the women’s petites. And then juniors. I’d only eliminated older girls and plus sections by the size.

And so things were going rather poorly anyway, but when you add in a rule to ask anyone within a certain space of you if you can find something for them…. knowing there’s very little chance you are actually going to be able to find it if they say yes…

And then adding in that I pulled a muscle in my calf and was having it be really sore while walking for about 2 weeks….

I ended up quitting because I just wasn’t able to do the hours, especially when job A moved to 4am. But I can’t say I wasn’t glad to see the tasks go to.

Recovery wasn’t bad… it just wasn’t actually what the job was actually doing until the last hour and a half of the day.