corporate stupidity, work

No ounce of prevention to look at here

‘Twas the day before Thanksgiving
And all through the ditch
Sat an old lady’s car;
How the corporate office did bitch!

A couple of months ago, a former employee of the store drove his car into the ditch while he was pulling in to start his graveyard shift. He was stoned at the time – hence the adjective ‘former’ before the noun ’employee’. But everyone who works or shops at the store realized that it could have easily happened to someone who was stone cold sober. The ditch is quite deep, there’s no guardrail blocking it, and the lighting is quite poor in the parking lot. My boss put in a call to the corporate office the next morning, suggesting they okay the funds to put in a guardrail and/or better lighting so it didn’t happen to someone else. They declined to acquiesce. I was going to blog about the incident at the time, but “E” (The Cute One) kept forgetting to bring me her digital camera so I could upload the photos of the tipped over car…and being able to see it was half the battle.

Well, last Wednesday night, it happened to someone else: an elderly lady – a regular customer at the store – who was most definitely not stoned. Fortunately she wasn’t injured, either. The place was pretty busy at the time, and several of our other regular customers helped her out of the car and into the store. I wasn’t working that night, but I did pop in to get some milk just after it happened, so I can tell you firsthand that everyone in the store was extremely concerned about her well-being. She sat in the office for awhile to calm down, where she was waited on by my boss. He gave her a cup of hot coffee and a hot dog (which I suppose could actually be considered abuse…but I digress), made some phone calls for her (to her invalid husband and a tow truck) and arranged for her to get a ride home. Then he called the corporate office to let them know about the incident, requesting -again! – a guardrail and/or better lighting. The answer was another resounding No.

The car sat in the ditch for well over twelve hours before the tow truck came. Although this is a very small town, the store is situated on a major road, so thousands of commuters were able to see this monument to our corporate office’s miserly lack of concern for its customers’ and employees’ well-being. One of these commuters was a photographer for one of our local free weekly newspapers. The most recent edition came out yesterday, and this picture was sitting prettily on the front page (yes, I blocked out the name of the store. It might be a shitty, minimum wage job, but I need it right now):

Caption: The ditch in front of the [name of] station has claimed another victim. The old guard rail along the ditch was removed when the station went under construction and has yet to be replaced.

So, yesterday my boss had to make yet another call to the corporate office, informing them of this rather unpleasant local publicity. He also made another request for a guardrail and/or better lighting. Their response was yet another No. Then they called the newspaper demanding a retraction. Turns out there’s an inaccuracy in the caption; to wit: The guardrail was taken down long before last summer’s construction.

I think they should seriously consider spending the money they’re saving on guardrails and/or better lighting on a good P.R. firm.

beer, work

It’s good for you!

Last night at the store, two customers – old buddies – were faux-fighting over the twelve pack of Miller Lite they were splitting; the old Tastes Great, Less Filling thing. When they asked me to settle the ‘argument’, I offered up these words of wisdom:

“You’re both wrong. Miller Lite does not taste great. It tastes like panther piss. And beer isn’t supposed to be ‘less filling.’ That’s why it’s beer. Now go back to the cooler and get yourselves some Guinness and drink it like real men.”

They didn’t. Wimps.

work

I don’t want a cookie, dammit!

Tonight at work, I was relating a story to a regular customer–who also happens to be a friend (we’ll call him “Nate”)–about a husband and wife who came into the store yesterday. The wife had come in earlier in the day to pick up a bag of loose tobacco for the husband and had apparently brought home the wrong kind…full flavor instead of light. He stood there, in a crowded store, verbally berating her for the mistake. It was pretty disturbing. When he was done, he asked me if I’d exchange it for a bag of light tobacco. We happened to be out. I informed the asshole. He gave me a look that made me think I was next on his verbal hitlist, so (as I explained to “Nate”) I gave him a look that let him know I wasn’t gonna take any shit. I then demonstrated the look I gave the jerk.

I wasn’t able to finish the story (which ends with him returning the tobacco for a full refund, without giving me a verbal berating) because “Nate” broke out into what I will here call hysterical laughter.

“What’s so funny?”

“You. Was that supposed to be a dirty look?”

“Well…yeah. It was.”

“Because you’re not scaring me at all with that. It just makes me want to pat you on the head and give you a cookie.”

If I was a guy I’d feel so emasculated right now. What’s the word to use when that happens to a chick?

work

I don’t want a cookie, dammit!

Tonight at work, I was relating a story to a regular customer–who also happens to be a friend (we’ll call him “Nate”)–about a husband and wife who came into the store yesterday. The wife had come in earlier in the day to pick up a bag of loose tobacco for the husband and had apparently brought home the wrong kind…full flavor instead of light. He stood there, in a crowded store, verbally berating her for the mistake. It was pretty disturbing. When he was done, he asked me if I’d exchange it for a bag of light tobacco. We happened to be out. I informed the asshole. He gave me a look that made me think I was next on his verbal hitlist, so (as I explained to “Nate”) I gave him a look that let him know I wasn’t gonna take any shit. I then demonstrated the look I gave the jerk.

I wasn’t able to finish the story (which ends with him returning the tobacco for a full refund, without giving me a verbal berating) because “Nate” broke out into what I will here call hysterical laughter.

“What’s so funny?”

“You. Was that supposed to be a dirty look?”

“Well…yeah. It was.”

“Because you’re not scaring me at all with that. It just makes me want to pat you on the head and give you a cookie.”

If I was a guy I’d feel so emasculated right now. What’s the word to use when that happens to a chick?

beer, work

All I need is a unibrow

Remember the Planters Peanut Girl commercial from this year’s [tragic] Superbowl [in which the Patriots did not emerge victorious]? To refresh your memory:

Now I know how she feels. Last night I broke a six pack of Michelob Light while I was stocking the cooler, and in the process my pant legs became drenched with beer. It took about an hour and a half for the pleasing aroma to fade, during which time every male between the ages of 15-89 who entered the store gave me the glad eye. I got winks and wiggly eyebrows. One guy even asked if I’d done something different with my hair. (I had not.) My beer sales spiked as well, so it was a win-win situation.

So ladies, why pay $102 for a 1.7 oz bottle of Chanel No. 5 when you can get six twelve oz bottles of Mich Light for less than seven bucks? And–depending on where you live–you may be able to recoup some of the expense by returning the empty bottles to your local redemption center.

Just thought you’d enjoy a friendly Tip From Kel-ouise.

(FYI: here’s the real woman underneath the unibrow. I think she’d stop traffic without the cashews or beer.)

beer, work

All I need is a unibrow

Remember the Planters Peanut Girl commercial from this year’s [tragic] Superbowl [in which the Patriots did not emerge victorious]? To refresh your memory:

Now I know how she feels. Last night I broke a six pack of Michelob Light while I was stocking the cooler, and in the process my pant legs became drenched with beer. It took about an hour and a half for the pleasing aroma to fade, during which time every male between the ages of 15-89 who entered the store gave me the glad eye. I got winks and wiggly eyebrows. One guy even asked if I’d done something different with my hair. (I had not.) My beer sales spiked as well, so it was a win-win situation.

So ladies, why pay $102 for a 1.7 oz bottle of Chanel No. 5 when you can get six twelve oz bottles of Mich Light for less than seven bucks? And–depending on where you live–you may be able to recoup some of the expense by returning the empty bottles to your local redemption center.

Just thought you’d enjoy a friendly Tip From Kel-ouise.

(FYI: here’s the real woman underneath the unibrow. I think she’d stop traffic without the cashews or beer.)

NaNoWriMo, waiting for spring, Wendy and Rick, work, writing

Workin’ on the weekend

Today starts my work week(end). Between that, NaNoWriMo, and Family Stuff, I doubt I’ll be posting here until Monday. You can keep track of my NaNoProgress on my profile page if you’re so inclined. I posted a new excerpt there early this morning. Readers of Waiting For Spring will recognize this scene, which is now written from Rick’s POV for the new book.

In the meantime, have a great weekend!

Edited to add:
For those of you who haven’t read WFS, there is a spoiler in the NaNo excerpt. Consider yourself warned…

NaNoWriMo, waiting for spring, Wendy and Rick, work, writing

Workin’ on the weekend

Today starts my work week(end). Between that, NaNoWriMo, and Family Stuff, I doubt I’ll be posting here until Monday. You can keep track of my NaNoProgress on my profile page if you’re so inclined. I posted a new excerpt there early this morning. Readers of Waiting For Spring will recognize this scene, which is now written from Rick’s POV for the new book.

In the meantime, have a great weekend!

Edited to add:
For those of you who haven’t read WFS, there is a spoiler in the NaNo excerpt. Consider yourself warned…

complaining, Massholes, work

Saturday Night’s Alright For Fightin’

So, this guy walks into the store on Saturday night. He’s a semi-regular customer, a white, twenty-something, heavy-set, wannabe gangsta who moved to Maine from South Boston, Massachusetts about eight years ago. His accent is atrocious. It’s so thick I can barely understand him half the time, and it’s made even worse by the fact that he is what Jerry Seinfeld would call “a low talker.” Oh…and he fucking hates Maine. I know this because he always makes it a point to subtly sneak this fact into any conversation he has with anybody he meets.

For example:

“Nice weather we’re havin’ today, eh [Boston Guy]?”
“Maybe, but I got bit by a mosquito today. I fucking hate Maine.”

or:

“Is that a new car you got there?”
“Yeah, but the salt and potholes will kill it before winter’s done. I fucking hate Maine.”

or:

“Hey, [Boston Guy], what do you think of Maine?”
“I fucking hate it.”

So, he walks into the store on Saturday night, crankier than usual. I made a point not to mention the weather, his car, or my favorite state. I just nodded to him, rang up his milk, Kahlua and Absolut vodka, and–after properly ID-ing him–took his credit card from his pudgy, outstretched hand. That was my cue to speak:

“Debit or credit?”
When he answered, all I understood was, “[mumble]-it.”
“Excuse me, sir?”
“[mumble]-it.”
“I’m sorry…which ‘it’?”
“Fucking [mumble]-it!!!!”

Not wanting to irritate him further, and really wanting to get him out of the way so I could wait on the other eight customers in line, I made a wild guess. I had a fifty-fifty shot, after all. I chose cred-it. It meant not having to ask him to enter his PIN, which was a huge plus–the less interaction I had with this guy the better. Also, I’ve noticed that a lot of people forget their PINs, and since the guy’s card was signed (and I knew who he was) I wasn’t worried about the thing being stolen. It seemed the safest and most logical “___it” choice to make.

Unfortunately it was the wrong one.

I handed him his slip and a pen. He grabbed the slip, then looked at the pen as though he’d never seen one before.

“What the fuck is this for?”
“Um…you have to sign your slip.”
“Didn’t you hear me, you fucking idiot? I said [mumble]-it, not [mumble]-it! You fucking Mainers are all the same! A bunch of fucking retards, every last one of you. If I put you all together in a room you wouldn’t have half a brain between you. You’re all–“
“Then why don’t you just move your fat ass back home, you stupid Masshole.”

Yep. I said it. I said it out loud. In front of witnesses.

And he said nothing in return. He just signed his slip, grabbed his bag o’ booze, and stormed out. None of the other customers said anything, but they were all smiling as I rang them up. I smiled back. And when the place was cleared out I noticed that Masshole had left his card on the counter.

I will admit that visions of revenge danced in my head. Not the max-out-the-card-by-filling-my-gas-tank kind; that would have been illegal, as well as immoral. Nope, I’m talking about the cut-the-card-into-seven-hundred-pieces-and-throw-it-away-then-toss-the-bag-into-the-dumpster kind. Although slightly immoral, I don’t think that would have been illegal. (Correct me if I’m wrong.) However, sanity prevailed, and I put the thing where we put all of the left-behind cards. (No, I’m not telling you where that is.) Then I finished my shift, drove home, and penciled in “Search For New Job” under my list of Things To Do Next Week. Because, surely, calling a customer a stupid, fat-ass Masshole is a firing offense. Even if the guy really is one.

Imagine my shock, therefore, when Masshole walked into the store on Sunday afternoon and mosied on up to the counter, as chipper as he could be…which is to say that he wasn’t scowling, snorting, or baring his teeth. I took a deep breath and managed:

“What can I do for you today, sir?”
“I need a pack of smokes.” For once, his words were clear and direct.

I grabbed his usual–Newport Lights–and rang them into the register. He handed over his ID without me having to ask. He almost smiled while he did it. That made me nervous. Still, I was brave enough to say, “You, uh, left your card here last night.” Then I fished it out from [still not gonna tell you where] and handed it over. He looked at it as though he’d never seen it before. Then he said:

“I was in here last night?”
“Well…yeah.” [very long pause] “You don’t remember?”
“Nope. I was so plowed last night that I don’t remember a thing.”

Have you ever had a Moment Of Realization that was actually about 100 realizations at once? Well, that’s what happened to me as those words–again, clear and direct–left his lips. Here are a few of the realizations I had.

1. He’d forgotten the fact that I’d insulted him. My job is secure.
2. With this guy, mean = drunk.
3. Ditto the mumbled speech.
4. Until that moment, I’d never seen the guy sober.
5. He’d always driven himself to and from the store. Drunk.
6. The next time I see him he’ll probably be drunk. And mean. And I’ll have to refuse to sell him more alcohol.
7. I don’t make enough money to deal with this kind of bullshit.

complaining, Massholes, work

Saturday Night’s Alright For Fightin’

So, this guy walks into the store on Saturday night. He’s a semi-regular customer, a white, twenty-something, heavy-set, wannabe gangsta who moved to Maine from South Boston, Massachusetts about eight years ago. His accent is atrocious. It’s so thick I can barely understand him half the time, and it’s made even worse by the fact that he is what Jerry Seinfeld would call “a low talker.” Oh…and he fucking hates Maine. I know this because he always makes it a point to subtly sneak this fact into any conversation he has with anybody he meets.

For example:

“Nice weather we’re havin’ today, eh [Boston Guy]?”
“Maybe, but I got bit by a mosquito today. I fucking hate Maine.”

or:

“Is that a new car you got there?”
“Yeah, but the salt and potholes will kill it before winter’s done. I fucking hate Maine.”

or:

“Hey, [Boston Guy], what do you think of Maine?”
“I fucking hate it.”

So, he walks into the store on Saturday night, crankier than usual. I made a point not to mention the weather, his car, or my favorite state. I just nodded to him, rang up his milk, Kahlua and Absolut vodka, and–after properly ID-ing him–took his credit card from his pudgy, outstretched hand. That was my cue to speak:

“Debit or credit?”
When he answered, all I understood was, “[mumble]-it.”
“Excuse me, sir?”
“[mumble]-it.”
“I’m sorry…which ‘it’?”
“Fucking [mumble]-it!!!!”

Not wanting to irritate him further, and really wanting to get him out of the way so I could wait on the other eight customers in line, I made a wild guess. I had a fifty-fifty shot, after all. I chose cred-it. It meant not having to ask him to enter his PIN, which was a huge plus–the less interaction I had with this guy the better. Also, I’ve noticed that a lot of people forget their PINs, and since the guy’s card was signed (and I knew who he was) I wasn’t worried about the thing being stolen. It seemed the safest and most logical “___it” choice to make.

Unfortunately it was the wrong one.

I handed him his slip and a pen. He grabbed the slip, then looked at the pen as though he’d never seen one before.

“What the fuck is this for?”
“Um…you have to sign your slip.”
“Didn’t you hear me, you fucking idiot? I said [mumble]-it, not [mumble]-it! You fucking Mainers are all the same! A bunch of fucking retards, every last one of you. If I put you all together in a room you wouldn’t have half a brain between you. You’re all–“
“Then why don’t you just move your fat ass back home, you stupid Masshole.”

Yep. I said it. I said it out loud. In front of witnesses.

And he said nothing in return. He just signed his slip, grabbed his bag o’ booze, and stormed out. None of the other customers said anything, but they were all smiling as I rang them up. I smiled back. And when the place was cleared out I noticed that Masshole had left his card on the counter.

I will admit that visions of revenge danced in my head. Not the max-out-the-card-by-filling-my-gas-tank kind; that would have been illegal, as well as immoral. Nope, I’m talking about the cut-the-card-into-seven-hundred-pieces-and-throw-it-away-then-toss-the-bag-into-the-dumpster kind. Although slightly immoral, I don’t think that would have been illegal. (Correct me if I’m wrong.) However, sanity prevailed, and I put the thing where we put all of the left-behind cards. (No, I’m not telling you where that is.) Then I finished my shift, drove home, and penciled in “Search For New Job” under my list of Things To Do Next Week. Because, surely, calling a customer a stupid, fat-ass Masshole is a firing offense. Even if the guy really is one.

Imagine my shock, therefore, when Masshole walked into the store on Sunday afternoon and mosied on up to the counter, as chipper as he could be…which is to say that he wasn’t scowling, snorting, or baring his teeth. I took a deep breath and managed:

“What can I do for you today, sir?”
“I need a pack of smokes.” For once, his words were clear and direct.

I grabbed his usual–Newport Lights–and rang them into the register. He handed over his ID without me having to ask. He almost smiled while he did it. That made me nervous. Still, I was brave enough to say, “You, uh, left your card here last night.” Then I fished it out from [still not gonna tell you where] and handed it over. He looked at it as though he’d never seen it before. Then he said:

“I was in here last night?”
“Well…yeah.” [very long pause] “You don’t remember?”
“Nope. I was so plowed last night that I don’t remember a thing.”

Have you ever had a Moment Of Realization that was actually about 100 realizations at once? Well, that’s what happened to me as those words–again, clear and direct–left his lips. Here are a few of the realizations I had.

1. He’d forgotten the fact that I’d insulted him. My job is secure.
2. With this guy, mean = drunk.
3. Ditto the mumbled speech.
4. Until that moment, I’d never seen the guy sober.
5. He’d always driven himself to and from the store. Drunk.
6. The next time I see him he’ll probably be drunk. And mean. And I’ll have to refuse to sell him more alcohol.
7. I don’t make enough money to deal with this kind of bullshit.