Saturday, February 13, 2010

Yet another sign that I'm older than dirt.

Conversation at work tonight:

"Rob, what is that song you're singing?" (Sometimes, when it's late and I'm tired, I start singing quietly to keep myself awake. There is no logical connection there, but hey.)

"It's a very very old song."

"Bruce Springsteen? I really like Springsteen..."


"Bob Dylan?"



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Saturday, January 02, 2010

The return to normality

The end of the holiday season means two things to an average retail employee:

1. Less stress -- No more last minute shoppers, less crowding in stores, more time to get other work done.

2. Less money -- reduced customer load leads to cutbacks in everyone's hours...


Friday, January 01, 2010

Weird thought of the day

Work today was kind of dead in the morning...go figure. (-_^) We were moving over the remnants of our Christmas stuff when one of the supervisors started doing...karaoke in the style of Billy Mays.

Mays doing Hurt by Nine Inch Nails...

***Brain Explodes***

I've been spending my scant amounts of free time re-reading books that I haven't had a chance to look at in years. I had quite the library back in the day...however, I sold off a good chunk of it before I left for Japan, and during my time there a flood in the basement removed another chunk. *sigh* And, I can't afford to buy more books (especially since I don't work in a bookstore anymore). Meh.

Still, books I haven't read in ten years is better than no books at all.


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

What the...?

For Black Friday this year, Target set up a lot of displays of merchandise that they don't normally carry. One of the displays was of Hello Kitty housewares; the Hello Kitty clock radio, the HK toaster, the HK water cooler, the HK sandwich maker, and the HK gumball machine, if I recall correctly. (A far cry from what is available in Japan, of course. Hello Kitty body-fat monitor, anyone?)

Here's a picture of the packaging of the toaster:One thing about this particular thing always caught my eye. Now, Hello Kitty has no mouth. What the heck is she doing with the grape-jellied toast, just shoving it against her face?


P.S. I'm not kidding about the Hello Kitty Body Fat Monitor.

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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Boxing Day

It's more than a little disconcerting to show up for work before 7:00 AM only to see a Fox 9 News truck parked squarely in front of the employee entrance. First thought: "That can't be a good sign. I wonder what happened...?"

Turns out it was a "human interest" piece about returns the day after Christmas. This was forced to morph into something else when the anticipated crowd of people at the service desk failed to materialize.

I managed to avoid the cameras. I've already been on TV three or four different times, in a couple different countries...I had no problem passing it up this time. (^_^)

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Just when I get settled into a routine...

For the past couple of weeks at work, I've been working the closing shift. (Holiday hours, we close at midnight most nights, which means I work until 1:00 AM.) This will continue up until Christmas Eve.

I grumbled a bit when it started, but after a week or so my mental clock adjusted. Of course, this means I don't get to bed until, say, 2 or 3 AM and don't get up until 10 or 11.

Although it works for now, I start working opening shifts the day after Christmas. Oh, well. Could be worse, I guess.


Friday, December 11, 2009

Random retail commentary

"Disney Princesses Cash Register toy? Somehow I doubt the Disney Princesses would be working retail..."

"Thank you for calling, this is the Toy department, can I help you?"
"I'm looking for the Toy department..."

"I'm calling from corporate, I want you to put something on hold for me. It's the --"
"Okay, just give me the stock number."
"I...don't have a stock number..."

"I want to get one of the netbooks in this week's ad."
"Oh, we're out of stock."
"Well, I'm calling from corporate, and our system shows you have four left."
"If we have any left, they're on hold for other people."
"Well, take one off of hold, and put it on hold for me."
"Okay, how long do you keep things on hold?"
"You're calling from corporate, don't you know?"*

*I didn't actually say that last line.

Quote 1 was said by me, and 2 and 4 were conversations that I actually had. I heard number three when I was telling others about number four, and we were pretty sure it was the same person.

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Sunday, December 06, 2009

Been a long, strange week

Maybe I picked the wrong time to try to increase blog posting frequency...

So, last week I got called in to work Monday, and ended up working all parts of the store except softlines (clothes) and Food Avenue (in-store café). That included pharmacy and electronics, which was fun.

Then, on Wednesday, I was scheduled for an eight hour shift in softlines, where men almost never work (and are certainly never trained). Fortunately, it was a quiet night so I had few opportunities to screw up, so that went well. I did the best I could, which is more than some guys have done when thrown into softlines. I recall one guy getting so angry that he spent his entire shift hiding/hanging out in other areas of the store, just talking/complaining to other employees.

I'm scheduled for closing shifts for most of the holiday season. This is fine, except for the way that my brain insists on waking up at around 7:00 AM after working until 12-1 AM the night before. Yeesh.


Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Random retail complaining

So, when did it become acceptable to open any and all packages in the store, then just leave them there for others to not buy? I know I've been away for the larger part of a decade, but really -- is this all right now?

The more polite people ask me if it's okay to open up something to look at it, but are genuinely surprised when I tell them no. (Some people proceed to open it anyway.)

However, the normal kind of person who does this just rips open things. The more evil kind of people rip open one, then take another still-sealed one.

Lately I've been seeing people unscrew the lotion and hand soap pumps, then pulling the pump entirely out of the bottle to sniff the contents. Sometimes they don't bother tightening the cap again after they decide not to get it, which leads to spillage and entire shelves of product rendered unsellable.

The only other running complaint I've got right now is that people who decide they don't want something after all often not just dump it wherever they are, but also hide it behind whatever's there, as if they were ashamed for doing it. Hey, if you're embarrassed, don't do it! But, I've seen that behavior since my first retail job over 20 years ago, so whatever.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

What am I thinking?

I volunteered to work the early shift at work on Friday.

Pros: Done by 1:15. (The shift starts at 4:45 AM.)

Cons: It's Black Friday, fer gawd's sake. Lines of people at the door, waiting for them to open at 5.

If I would've worked the evening shift, the trade off would've been empty store for last couple hours, but the place will be soooo messy...No easy choice here.

Happy consumering!

Apropos of nothing, the Muppets singing Bohemian Rhapsody:

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

What is it?

Sorry I haven't posted in a while. It's been...stressful lately.

What do you think this might be?
Is it some bizarre science-fiction foodstuff, perhaps? Soylent green, pink, and yellow?

Nope. It's Vegetable Chocolate.
Not bad. Didn't really taste like the named vegetables, though.

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

New Student...

Had a new student today. He's a car dealership owner, he's the grand-uncle of one of our youngest students, and my supervisor was very paranoid of offending this guy.

He speaks very very little English; I don't think he's done any real study of the language since he graduated from college. He has traveled around the world, but he always goes with Japanese tour guides...

My supervisor cautioned me that I might have to speak Japanese to make sure that he understands what I'm teaching him. At the same time, I had to be careful not to offend him or treat him with disrespect, since we DEFINITELY want to retain this man's business. (Instead of signing up for a full year, he opted to pay for three months and then decide whether or not he will continue then.)

So, no pressure or anything....

My supervisor wasn't in today, but she actually text-messaged the boss, asking her to remind me AGAIN that I would probably have to speak Japanese. (To be fair, I don't think she was nagging. She was JUST THAT worried.)

As it turns out, I spent pretty much the entire lesson speaking Japanese. The man is very enthusiastic about speaking English, and asked me many interesting questions, such as 「ミネソタ」の意味は何だ? (What does "Minnesota" mean?) which led us into a side-discussion of the many places in Minnesota that have the Native American word for "Water" in them.

It was an...interesting class. I'm not sure if I'm looking forward to the next one, but he seemed happy with it. He also specifically said that he doesn't mind going very slowly at first, which relieves a bit of pressure on me, I think.

I hope, anyhow.

It could've been worse. My supervisor has one class that she suspects is made up of people with mob ties...