The Best Worst Decision I’ve Ever Made?…

About three or four months ago I decided to leave my job delivering packages for Federal Express…I was actually working for a company that contracted with FedEx…it wasn’t an easy decision…I had been doing the same job for 16+ years and there was some comfort in knowing it would always be there unless I really screwed up…the man I worked for was also one of the few people who could tolerate me for more than 15 minutes at a time…but, the job was kicking my @$$ pretty much every day…

If you’ve read any of my other drivel, you know I ended up working at a large regional grocery store chain…that’s right, I have become a grocer…and until this week I always had doubts about whether it was the right choice…I can now say without a doubt…maybe…

Other than the fact that I already have three weeks paid time off in my personal benefits bank…after all those years as a Legend behind the wheel delivering packages, I had none…(I also was no legend, just thought that was the easiest place to insert the Daily Post prompt)…but my family also has health insurance we can now afford…why is that important?…when I was looking at this job I was concerned about the salary…it was a pay cut I wasn’t sure we could afford..but my wife, who was covering our benefits in her job as a consultant, was paying $1700/month for our family benefits…that ain’t no misprint…but now with my new job as a grocer, we have full family coverage for a paltry $65/week…again, not a misprint…we will save almost $1500/month just in our health insurance benefits cost..that was a number I could really get behind…

But as usually is the case in my family drama…reality roared its ugly head again when the IT project my wife was managing ended earlier…much earlier…than we ever expected that it would…once again, self-doubt about how much I was making leaked back into my big bulbous head…I’m enjoying my new found profession…unfortunately I may have to sell the house…a car…a kidney…some blood…just to keep it…I will not however sell my Disney Vacation Club Membership…some bad decisions are non-negotiable…

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I’m No Potter Fanboy, But…

Years ago, when my kids were still in elementary school, I purchased the first Harry Potter book to read to them at night, but my daughter took the book after the first night and chapter and I never saw it again…I also did deliver the second book in the series to many excited kids during my days with FedEx, not that that has anything to do with this post…oh!, and I have been dragged, kicking and screaming, against  my will to some kind of Potter World at Universal Studios in Florida…kids spending money on magical sticks…what a scam…I hated the place by the way, but you should judge for yourself…

Where am I going with all this?…the grocery store of course, and my job as no longer the most junior Service Team Leader…as I’ve mentioned in other posts, there is a lot of training that goes with this job since I could on any given day be opening or closing the store…I get to have contact with almost every department in the store…the most important and well-guarded being the area where they keep the register tills and count the money…a couple of weeks ago I was given access to this place…codes, fingerprints, employee classification…stopping just short of the whole nine yards…which, as it turns out is really important, really, really important…

I had the opening this past Monday…since the store never closes it involves just following through on a checklist of tasks and ignoring any phone calls from employees who may be calling out sick or customers calling to find out which aisle the canned peas are in…except this past Monday something came up I quickly learned I wasn’t prepared to handle…getting a fresh register till from that department I had that access code…the required fingerprint scan…and the special employee classification for. After obtaining all of the aforementioned clearances…they neglected to tell me there was an additional alarm inside the room which…and here’s the funny part…WHICH MUST BE DISARMED AS SOON AS YOU ENTER THE ROOM…a code was never provided to me…

The phone call from the alarm company was almost instantaneous…I considered not answering it and just grabbing a till and making a run for it…the third Degree  I received from the alarm company guy came just as fast…Who? What? Where? When?How?…this guy had obviously been fully trained at his job…and I deserved a thorough grilling too…I thought I was some kind of big shot who, because I had that access code, that fingerprint scan, that special employee classification could do whatever I wanted to do…lesson learned… Continue reading “I’m No Potter Fanboy, But…”

Giving Thanks At the Market?…Well, Maybe Not So Much For Everyone…

Yes, this is but another in a close-Knit  and endless stream of posts about my new job at the grocery store…if you want the latest on Number 45 and his Cabinet of Horrors you clicked on the wrong post…it’s also not a very imaginative use of the Daily Prompt Word knit…

Anywho, in my position as the most junior of all of the Front End Service Team Leaders, this has been a good week to work with other Front End employees and managers…and unfortunately also get my rear end handed to me…it was one thing learning HOW to work as a cashier…but something totally different learning how to work WITH the cashiers and help them through their hang-ups…their register issues…not their emotional hang-ups, for those they can use the Employee Assistance Program or their favorite bartender…if their over 21 of course…sorry if that sounds cold…

this week they issued to me several cards…with printing barely legible because of the amazing amount of information…department numbers, phone numbers…all printed so small even with glasses on it was difficult to make out the numbers…add the pressure of a line of customers waiting for me to fix things…to figure out product codes or pricing when the item has none…why their credit or debit card was denied…the difference between in-date and out-of-date coupons…like I said…rear end?…meet front end…

I did learn some things the hard way, however my performance was not what you could call one of a seasoned professional in the grocery industry…I unfortunately maybe inadvertently ticked off a few customers with my new found incompetence?…not because that was my goal…however, I think I also showed great patience with some customers…I find it amazing that a customer can come running into the store and without even attempting to look around, ask…

“Where are the cranberries?”…

”Well…what kind would you like mam?…fresh cranberries, frozen, or canned?”…

”Oh, never mind. I’ll just wander around the store!”…

Uh?…Okay then, Happy Thanksgiving to you, mam?”…

Sorry…but that’s just not shopping to me…and no, I don’t know the precise location of every  item in the store…we have an phone app for that…she could have looked it up before she even left home…saving us both from that uncomfortable exchange… 

…even in the face of a really irate customer who wanted to buy two turkeys…who didn’t read the dates on the sales flyer and who came to the register with two frozen turkeys EA164E10-C2FD-4190-A954-F50535481935and enough attitude to stuff both those birds…she might have gotten her price too…if only she hadn’t been verbally abusive to the employee at the register…a 17-year old…tell me we suck and then threaten me you have a blog?…

WHO IN THE NAME OF SAM HILL DOESN’T HAVE A BLOG?…And let me guess?…she added it on your Facebook timeline too?…hopefully for her and her family, Chinese food restaurants are open on Thanksgiving…am I right?

There were lots of other inter-actions with customers…some good…some not so much…usually my fault…but I’m looking forward to the end of my first month…all the while realizing that delivering packages for FedEx for the last 16+ years has taught me almost nothing…it’s time to actually use my brain again…

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Are You Friggin’ Kidding Me!…

I can’t believe the display currently set up at the grocery store where my talents (?) are currently on display…it spits in the face of every Eagles fan and gives us just one more reason to hate the Dallas Cowboys…not that Eagles fans need any added incentive…this is Eagles-Cowboys week…the first of 2 games against the team Eagles fans LOATHE and DESPISE the most…maybe more than the Giants and the Redskins, the other 2 teams in the NFC East… combined!…at least I know I do…

So what is it that has my midnight green shorts in a bunch?…let me start at the retail level and my current employer…although if they keep displaying silly things like the one I’m going to get around to eventually describing, it may be not for long…but, how in thee name of “Concrete” Charlie Bednarik can any self-respecting manager allow this particular item to enter a store in SE Pennsylvania?…makes me wanna start throwing snowballs again (remember?…the whole throwing snowballs at Santa?…it’s supposed to be a joke?)…anyway, I tried to use all the leverage that a junior Front End Service Team Leader…in training…can muster up, and I demanded the store powers that be remove this insulting, ridiculous item immediately!…yeah?, so no, not gonna happen…

Okay, that having failed…I now have to rely on a groundswell of customer complaints to any retail business that chooses to stock this ridiculous item…what is it that some Droll employee over at NFL Marketing has decided every Eagle fan needs?…that Eagles-Cowboys week would be the best time to roll this abomination out?…take a look at this piece of NFL collectible garbage!…

That’s right Birds fans…don’t know how good you can see it, but that beloved Eagles helmet has been placed in a Dallas Cowboys box…where’s the outrage?…why isn’t Eagles owner Jeffrey Laurie demanding these be removed?…immediately…getting paid is probably why…but this thing sucks…I’ll bet money it isn’t sold at the Linc on gamedays…can you imagine the riot this thing would cause?..and before you fans of other NFL teams start thinking this is just an Eagles-Cowboys thing…check your local grocer..bet they have one for your squad too…and finally…please keep in mind…NFL helmets…even from official suppliers…do not prevent concussions…your kid would have just as good a chance if he/she wore the box it came in…that unfortunately is no joke…

 

Saturday Orientation…Wait, What Did She Just Say?…

First day on the new job was just a simple 3-hour orientation seminar. No real earth-shattering information came from all of this…did hear how much my new employer was opposed to unions in their family business (I agree for now)…so much of the morning was spent listening to the store manager talk to us about their dislike for unions, then introducing a video where they?…you guessed it…talked more about the family environment they’ve worked hard to create…and how introducing a union into that environment could change all they’ve created (again, I agree)…

The video was also a highlights tape of happy customers singing the praises of my new employer…many of the clips and comments seemed to be from folks attending new store openings…hopefully these folks have retained that same love…there was one clip that made me almost laugh out loud until I looked around the room and saw I was the only immature one smiling…

Sometimes how a person says something is every bit as important as what the message is…what do I mean?…we’re all Americans, for the point of this post I’m only speaking about people born in the good old USA…here’s why…if you were born here, you’re native language is probably the English language that many of us butcher daily…the biggest difference being how you say something…location, location, location…the regional differences in the sound of our spoken words…or, somebody from Georgia may say the same thing as someone from, let’s say Maine, but it will sound different because of our various regional accents…

In the video clip they show the opening of a new store in one of the New England states…I know that because they have no stores below Virginia…and amidst all the celebrating and fanfare a woman steps up to the microphone and says…

It’s like a tailgate party in here!”, which sounds more like, because of her accent and my failure to act like a grown-up, “It’s like a tailgate potty in here!” (ba-dum-ching)

Yes, you read this far just so I could get in a cheap, juvenile potty joke…but really what else did you have to do this morning, read more about Narcissistic Number 45 and his Asian tour?…the Russia probe?…Crooked Hillary?…watching lame videos of Sarah Huckabee Sanders Dancing with White House press reporters…it’s still okay to laugh occasionally, even if it’s juvenile potty humor…

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Tell Me Again Why the Hell Am I Here?…

This week I started my new job…it’s an entry-level management position at a large family owned chain of grocery stores…it shocks me that they even called me in for an interview since my resume shows no retail management experience whatsoever…even more after two of the responses I gave them during my face-to-face interview…let’s just say if I had a coach with me during the interview…they would have passed out where they sat after listening to these answers…one about intentionally breaking a company policy which resulted in a customer extorting $4,000 from me…the other about an employee who actually told me during his review that his job performance was suffering because a witch had cast a spell on him…both true stories, but answers no coach would ever tell you to repeat in an interview with a potential employer…

..but surprisingly, they hired me anyway, maybe they appreciated the two stories, the likes of which they’ve probably never heard from a job candidate…and it made me wonder, what the hell was going on around here that they would hire someone with no retail background and who gave unverifiable and extremely hard to believe answers to two interview questions?…what kind of desperation would cause them to ask me to wait after the interview so they could put me in front of the store manager?…

I’m pretty sure the store manager had better things to do, but apparently he did not…I think I actually hooked him when I was able to get from him during our discussion that he was an Eagle Scout, like my son, and that I as an adult leader with my son’s troop had taught the Eagle Scout rank required Communications merit badge…my pretend coach would have shit wooden nickels over this part of the interview…apparently they were at least satisfied that I was an acceptable candidate since they offered me the position on Monday morning (I interviewed on a Friday afternoon)…

So this week when I started full-time, I hoped I would be able to figure out why the hell they chose me…why would they hire me with my background into an entry level management position rather than promote from within, which they claim is their policy (I do believe that to be true)…the answer was as easy to see as the gray hair on my head…was I a poster child for them?…the token gray-haired employee in what is otherwise a job done by much happier and younger looking millennials?…am I just a placeholder?…a Proxy until an actual, more acceptable, smiling faced millennial comes knocking?…and if you think I’m overreacting, why in the name of Sam Hill haven’t they taken down the job posting yet?…You think about that one…I know I do…

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The Final Ride of Johnny and His Immortal Short Pants…

As a deliverer of supposedly small packages…(150 lbs or less and size don’t matter)…last Friday I took what I pray is a final lap around the town which I both live and deliver in…cheerily delivering packages that my fellow friends(?) and Neighbors  lacked the ambition to go to the store and pick-up themselves…after 16 plus years I’m finally moving on…you win e-commerce, I can’t take it anymore…

Depending where you live, you’ve probably noticed a UPS or a FedEx courier running around in his (or her) shorts well into winter…for me, the goal was always at least Christmas, it seemed like the most logical day since I always tried to take the week between Christmas and New Years Day off…and for some childish reason I felt I always needed to be the last man standing, the last guy in the terminal to wear shorts everyday…like it was some badge of honor that anyone other than me actually gave two craps about…so thanks to global warming…what else could allow a grown-ass man in southeast Pennsylvania to run around in short pants until Christmas?…upon me was bestowed the name Johnny Shortpants…

Yeah, it’s not anything to be real proud of, but at my age, it’s all I had…so I took it…and as I sit and write this, I ask myself, how ridiculous must I have looked on those cold winter mornings wearing just shorts and 5-6 layers of clothing and a winter coat to keep my upper body warm?…like some kind of blue Stay Puft Marshmellow Man…

So I move on to the next job in my life…in the grocery industry…indoors…wondering how I ever got the job and praying Amazon doesn’t screw that up for me too…knowing for what it’s worth I did the best I could in the last one…knowing after a week or two, probably sooner, nobody will care that I’m no longer there…knowing my friend and former boss who couldn’t see it in his heart to bring in a cake, EA164E10-C2FD-4190-A954-F50535481935or a box of donuts on my last day, not even a simple Hallmark card signed by my co-workers…guess he didn’t know they have stores with aisles filled with cards for just this kind of thing?…he will now be able to make more money off my departure…maybe not at first, but eventually…good for you boss, you deserve it…