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The Joys of Retail

Published July 21, 2017 by mindfulofchatter

I like my job. I really do. It’s mostly fun, and I get to see all the cool new candies that come out, as well as learn what candies have gone away for good.

But the customers can really make or break my day.

I generally enjoy helping people find what they are looking for. The store is a little overwhelming for first time shoppers. There is a ton of things to see – 94 flavours of salt water taffy, 70 bins of bulk, unwrapped candies, 96 bins of bulk wrapped candies, ice cream, handmade fudge, handmade caramel apples, hand dipped Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Cupcakes and bacon, handmade truffles, nut clusters, haystacks and other chocolate delights (all the handmade and dipped items are made in house – fresh!). So there is a lot to see, and finding that one thing you want may be a bit difficult. So I am there to help.

And then there is the other side of the coin.

I find trash all over the place. Candy wrappers, napkins, used kleenex and bits if paper. I find it on the floor, on shelves, tucked behind displays, and in the open bulk bins. I often find chewed pieces of taffy just left on a shelf. ‘Cause, yeah, I want to clean up your chewed up food. When did it get so difficult to put your trash in the bins? Can’t you spit the taffy into the wrapper and put it in the trash bin? You know, the one that is RIGHT NEXT TO THE BULK BIN YOU DROPPED IT IN?

Apparently not.

And it is really not cool to turn your ill mannered children loose in any store, but especially not in a candy store. They really don’t need to pull everything out it’s holder and drop it on the shelf or the floor. Nor do they need to shove past people. And it’s sad to say this – but isn’t just kids. I watched a woman in her late fifties pull a candy filled toy out it’s display, play with it, then drop it on the shelf rather placing it back in the display. The one DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF HER. I also ‘followed’ and man in his 30’s up and down the aisles putting back all the crap he pulled out and then dropped on the floor or the shelf. I gave him a brilliant smile as I put back the candy bar he dropped on the shelf. He got the hint and stopped doing it.

And this is CANDY store. We sell sweets. All kinds of sweets. You ask me for cigarettes, and I will tell you we have candy, bubblegum and chocolate cigarettes. We even have bubblegum cigars. We do NOT have real, tobacco cigarettes or cigars, and I have had people come in specifically to ask for them. I have also been asked if we have feminine products (We don’t, just in case you were wondering. Oh, but we do have gummy and chocolate band-aids).

All that frustration can make for long days on the floor. I get tired of the rudeness and being shoved by customers while I am trying to fill bins. I get tired of finding nasty snot rags and chewed up candy lying on the shelves. Some days the very people who make my job possible, try my patience to the breaking point.

Then the sweet things happen to offset all the frustration.

There was this little girl, maybe 3 or 4, who had to show me her bag of candy. She had very carefully chosen several things from the bulk wrapped candy bins. She held up her bag and pointed out to me all the special candy she had in her bag. I knelt down to share the magic with her and told her how perfect all her choices were. She smiled, and then very solemnly asked me, with her eyes wide,  ‘Are you the Keeper of The Candy?’.

That made my entire week.

 

 

Foot Care, Hair Cuts and Cars

Published June 18, 2017 by mindfulofchatter

The days keep rolling by. I’ve figured out the best way to care for my feet, gotten a new haircut, and finally got the full estimate on the car. It’s quite the 2 weeks!

My feet continue to complain about the sudden uptick in the work they are expected to do. I am on my feet all day at work. I rarely sit down for anything, and rarely take breaks. I’d rather just work. Since I have to walk to and from work, this means my feet work harder than they have for long time. They need a little extra care and attention.

After some trial and error, I found shoe inserts that work for my feet. I’m not sure when shoe manufacturers decided that support and padding was just too much to deal with, but it leaves those of us who wear the shoes having make them support our feet properly. Even high-end athletic shoes have nothing inside them to support the foot. It seems like a lot of money for a fancy shell with a logo on it. I also remembered epsom salt. Epsom salt is wonderful for sore muscles and exhausted feet. I found if I soak my feet, they recover faster, and are ready the next days pounding.

I got my hair cut. Well, technically, I got all my hairs cut. Cutting just one wouldn’t really show, now would it? I was letting my hair grow out from a short cut. I had gotten it almost even all the way ’round. It was in a bob above my shoulders, but it was a pain. It was messy and in my way. It never really looked nice. I know, that is all part of growing hair out. I’ve had long hair. I’ve had long, long hair. But this time, the awkward growing out phase just wasn’t something I was up for. I also remember what I do with long hair – nothing. I pretty pull it back, braid it and that’s it. I rarely wear down because it gets in my way. So I end up with long hair no one sees because I keep it braided all the time.

So why have long hair?

Now it’s short and fun. I  think I need the top a wee bit shorter, but I can wear it spiky, or messy, or blown dry and combed smooth. It also makes using my fun colours easier.   (I have some washable bright colours for my hair I use from time to time)

And I finally got the final estimate on my car. With a little help, I’ll get that paid for and have a car again in about a week. They gave me the worst case scenario estimate, so it may come down a little in the end. They are also taking advantage of the torn apart car to replace some parts that are due, or almost due, for replacement. All in all, my car ought to be very close to as good as new as it can get.

Now the only thing missing is summer weather.

 

 

 

The New Job Is A Sweet One

Published June 5, 2017 by mindfulofchatter

candy

I started my new job on the very last day of May.  My uniform consists of a tee-shirt and jeans, or black pants. They aren’t too picky as long you are clean and presentable. The only reason I need to wear the tee shirt is that I am on the floor all day.

I am working at sweets shop. We sell ice cream, cotton candy, candied apples, fudge, dipped Twinkies, dipped Pringles, dipped Oreo cookies and CANDY. Loads and loads of CANDY.

Sweet.

The candied apples, fudge, truffles, dipped items and such are all made on the premises. It is all fresh. They even make their waffle cones. There is a huge variety of fudge flavours that include cookie dough, pistachio and cookies and cream. Maybe one day I’ll write them all down for you. The candied apples come in several varieties from plain old caramel to rolled in mini M&M’s. Some are dipped in chocolate with a fancy drizzle on them.

And then there is the candy.

There is bulk wrapped candy sold by the pound, there is bulk loose candy sold by the pound. Love French Burnt Peanuts? We got ’em in bulk. Love Pixie Sticks? We got ’em in bulk. There is also well over 20 different kinds of salt water taffy in bulk.

We have a lot of the ‘old school’ candies as well – Cow Tails, Abba Zabba, Charleston Chew (3 flavours), Sugar Daddy, Sugar Babies, Long John, Zagnut, Bottle Caps. Chick-o-Stick, candy cigarettes, bubble gum cigars… the list goes on and on.

We also have a lot of international candies. Chocolates from Germany, Belgium, Italy, France, and Switzerland (to name a few).

And an entire section of theater box candy.

I had a customer ask me what we had that she wouldn’t find in grocery store. She was a little over whelmed as I showed her what we had. I’m pretty sure she found things no one would find in a typical grocery store.

My job is to keep it stocked and the merchandise facing the proper way. I also put things back in their proper places. On busy days I can simple continue to make my rounds, picking up strays and stocking the popular items. I can do this for 5 hours and never sit down.

It’s fun work. I like the customers. Who isn’t happy in candy shop? We get a grumpy kid once in while, but it’s a candy shop and the grumpies soon pass. Yeah, they still do crappy things from time to time, like fill a bag with different taffy flavours and then abandon the bag, but that isn’t too awful (yeah, we sort them back into the bins because they are all wrapped). But for the most part everyone who comes in is happy and amazed. They see candy from their childhood. Who can’t crack a smile remembering when they pretend smoked candy cigarettes?

I feel as though I deserve a job I like after the string of disasters I’ve had the past year. I finally found a job I like.

A sweet job.

More Changes

Published May 26, 2017 by mindfulofchatter

celebrate_life

 

Before I hit ‘real’ part of this post, a quick car update:

After a small wrinkle in getting the car to the repair shop, the car has been delivered to the hands of the fellas at my local repair shop. I am awaiting a call to tell me if the car is dead or not. Please cross your fingers.

I have finally managed to quit my housekeepers job (Yay!). I actually gave notice two weeks ago, but my supervisor didn’t want to lose me (I am a hard worker and reliable). She was trying to find somewhere else for me to work. But all the ‘let’s try this’ and ‘let me to talk the GM’ were going nowhere. I am sick and tired of hurting so much I can barely walk after work. I am also sick of it taking both of my days off to recover from 5 days of overwork. So I called it done.

My last day of work saw me and my team member with a total of 22 rooms to clean and service. And that was considered an easy day. With summer pretty much here, the workload was only going to go up, up, up. There isn’t the staff to support the number of rooms that need service everyday. I don’t want to be made a cripple by my job. I’m kinda funny like that.

When I left on that last day, I was left as an employee for back-up and for hire when laundry was allowed to have two people working. Not my idea of a good time, but at least it was some sort of work.

But today the tow truck came to take my car to the repair shop. After I got all that sorted, I walked into downtown and waltzed into the local sweets shop to apply for a stockers job.

The young man who is GM greeted me and we talked for minute or two. He then went and got the warehouse manager and an application for me to fill out. All this time I was having serious hair envy. His hair is a gorgeous shade of bright teal that blends into a deep, bright blue. I’d love to do something like that, but those colours are tough to care for and I am not only rather hair inept, but I am hair lazy.

But that is neither here nor there.

The warehouse manager came out and all  three of us chatted for a bit. Both of the guys are young men – young enough to be my kids. Both are adorable, smart and funny. We hit if off in about two seconds. I walked away with the newly created job of Stocker Supervisor/Warehouse Liaison (we don’t have a real job title yet) and a start date. The wages are little lower than the housekeeping gig, but this place is a lot more fun and relaxed. And far better staffed.

I am looking forward to starting this job, something I haven’t felt in long, long time. I have more of a feeling of this being long-term, rather just-until-I-find-something-better. If my dear little car is repairable, this will be better than a good day.

It will be fantastic.

 

 

Reducing My Carbon Footprint – Even If I Didn’t Plan On It

Published May 15, 2017 by mindfulofchatter

My work week generally goes from Sunday to Thursday,. This means I was at work on Mother’s Day doing all the cleaning (and grumbling) that goes along with my job.

When work was done I hopped into my little car to head home. One block from work it lurched, clunked, screamed and died. I called my roommate. She came and got me, we found a tow truck and had the car towed home. It was Sunday, so home was the only place to have it taken. Thankfully, the tow truck was close and home was 4 blocks away. That kept the cost down.

I know those sounds well enough to know the car is dead and beyond my finances to repair. I don’t know what to do with it. I pretty much don’t what to do over all.

You see, I am still paying for it. I have about 2 years of payments left. So here I have a car I have to pay for, but can’t drive, nor can I repair it. And while I was thinking about not having a car and the expenses associated with it, I was really hoping to do that on MY terms, not the car’s terms.

While I can walk to work, I don’t think my feet can handle the walk and the time on them at the job (as I wrote about before – my body isn’t doing well with my job). I don’t have a bicycle, nor would I have anyplace to store on inside. Not this will stop me from looking at bikes as a form of transportation around town, it is just another issue to deal with. Not to mention I live where it rains all the damn time, and I don’t own a raincoat of any sort.

So I guess I have accomplished reducing my carbon footprint, even if I wasn’t quite ready to take it this far. And I still have my rolling shopping basket cart thingie, so I can walk up to grocery store and have a way to get everything home without having to carry the bags. A small plus.

Today is a little bit upsetting, with a lot of questions that need to be answered. There are ‘phone calls to be made and research to be done. Whilst I won’t be at work, I still have work to do and the day will not be an enjoyable day off.

I kinda feel like God missed me, and smited my car. Thanks, God. Next time, take better care with your aim.

Happy Birthday – Again

Published March 26, 2017 by mindfulofchatter

birthday cupcake

 

It seems as though you just had your birthday, and another one comes barrelling around the corner. This isn’t so when you are a kid and your birthday take F-O-R-E-V-E-R to come ’round again. As an adult (especially us who are gettin’ up there) they seem come faster and faster.

For my birthday this year I got myself a new job. The job I had, had too many issues for me to happily accept and just work without being bothered by them.

It was in retail, which in itself can be both horrible and fun. But the store I was working in was dirty and cold. No one put misplaced items back in their proper places, and there were too may empty pegs throughout the store. This is the fault of the corporate office not allowing full-time employees (this store is ‘too small’ for full time employees), along with not allowing the manager to schedule someone to do everything that needs done. An example is having only 1/2 an hour after close to do put backs (things customer decided against purchasing at the register), and cleaning the bathrooms. Yeah, this corporation is too damn cheap to hire cleaners. And it shows. They also check your purse (which has been in a locked locker all shift) before you leave after your shift. So thanks for trusting your employees. I spent every shift listening to customers complain about the cold, the mess, the disorganization.

The other issues were are squarely on management’s shoulders. My training was awful. I asked about pay periods and never got a straight, full answer. I was scheduled once to work in an area I’d hadn’t been trained for and was told ‘Someone will show you how in the morning. Then there will be a manager on all day so it shouldn’t be an issue.’ Even though everyone else had days of training beforehand, I’d be fine with just a quick run through. Breaks were not given in a timely manner. We were told at training meeting to check ‘the tour’ sheet so we could ask for a break. Why? The manager admitted being bad about breaks. This would have been okay, except my last few shifts had a blank tour sheet out. The names and shift times were on it, but no breaks. I had to ask three times to get my break times. I was once an hour and 15 minutes ‘late’ going to lunch because no one was ‘available’ to break me (this happened because the first lunch break was forgotten by management and then was taken late). Then I got quagmired by a customer with 123 items and too many coupons. The register locked and neither the assistant manager nor the manager could figure it out. My lunch break lasted through my second schedule break. I came back with 1 hour and 15 minutes left on my shift. I never got the second break I was promised. Not that it mattered. I would have gotten a 15 minute break half an hour before my shift ended.

Oh, let’s not forget the tissue that remained on the floor for a month before I finally picked it up (it was one those ‘how longer before anyone else notices’ kind of things). It was there when I came for an interview, and still there 4 weeks later. Even though the closing manager supposedly does a store walk through each night. I’m still not sure what they look at during their walk throughs. Apparently it isn’t the crap all over the floors, unfolded shirts, merchandise in the wrong areas, disorganized sections…you know, the things one would think were important?

And, in spite of stating clearly in my interview that I didn’t want to stand around doing nothing, I spent a lot time standing around doing nothing. But I can say my front sections were clean and well organized (and well swept).

So I found a new job. It pay $2.00 an hour more. It is in the town where I live and not up the road 20 miles. It will be harder work, but I won’t be standing around watching the dust drift.

So put another candle on my birthday cake. I’m another year old today!

And I got a new job.

 

Questionable New Employment

Published October 14, 2016 by mindfulofchatter

I recently landed a seasonal job at one of those pop-up Halloween stores. The job is fun, but the hours are few and the pay is tiny. I have been looking for a regular job for a while, so this seasonal job is a good fill in. A little money is better than no money.

That little seasonal job was ready to promote me to a manager position for the rest of the season when I got a call from a housekeeping job I had applied for a while back. Whomever she has hired hadn’t worked out, so I was on deck for try out. It is part-time, but it pay a little better than the seasonal job. When going back to my seasonal manager, we realized I can work both jobs by working evenings at the pop-up shop. I won’t be a manager, but I’ll have a wee bit extra coming in for a little while.

But my first day at the new housekeeping job was a trial in itself.

The day was going okay until the end. There were extra rooms to clean. They were sort of divided up between all the maids. The lady I was training with was told she could go home (there was good reason behind that), and I was told to go help make the beds in the one remaining room.

Now, understand, this is my very first day. I don’t know where anything is, what procedures are, or much of anything else for that matter. I wasn’t even told where the schedule was.

The room was trashed. One of the beds was full of poop. Yes, you read that right – poop. Apparently the bathroom had poop all over the place as well. Thankfully, I wasn’t cleaning the bathroom. One gal cleaned the nasty bathroom, I stripped the beds and remade them, another gal emptied the trash, picked up all the trash on the floor, and cleaned the furniture. I was asked to vacuum.

And they all left and went home while I was vacuuming.

I was left alone on my first day of work. All alone. All the managers had gone home as well. There was no one around to help me with whatever would have happened next. I only knew to come in again this morning, because I saw the schedule by accident. So I signed out and left. If anything was done wrong, too bad.

I was supposed to come back with a paper I had forgotten at home, but that manager was gone as well. No one had said anything to me. She never told me she was leaving and to bring it so-and-so. So I didn’t go back. She will get that paper this morning.

There wasn’t very good communication (rather an understatement). This was a horrible experience for any new employee. I am not sure this is a company I want to work for, but I HAVE to work here until I find something else.

And all of this is complicated by the lack of money and the way the paychecks are falling. I can not pay my bills at this point. I may lose everything before the money actually gets to me. I have things for sale, but no one is buying. I have a dying dog who needs certain care, and how do I provide that care now?

I have a job. In fact I have two jobs. And my world is still collapsing.