Geez Louise…This Guy Again?…

Working as a grocer, I’ve come to learn that we all have our favorite and not-so-favorite customers…and of course there’s always another manager with their own customer or with their own story of when all hell broke loose like you’ve never seen before…well other than a few mulch fires or a group of customers…although they never came into the store to buy anything…they just stood in front of the entrance to the store staring at their cell phones like some kind of cult…looking for some kind of Pokémon character that someone said showed up…I don’t really have any of those hell breaking loose stories…but, I do now have my most dreaded customer…I’ve actually already written about him in another post…

“Excuse Me Sir, But I Am Not A Liar”…

…it’s now this flippin’ guy…I actually had another interaction with him when he accused the store of false advertising and he wanted to call corporate to complain about their deceptive practices…all because he wanted to mix a Pepsi 12 pack with two Coke 12 packs and get the discount that Coke was offering when you buy three (3) Coke 12 packs…we gave it to him anyway because he was becoming a disruption…

…and then out of the blue this week, he pops back into my life, charging out of the register line he was waiting in to loudly impart this wisdom on me…

“You know who doesn’t lie, Ann Coulter doesn’t lie…that’s who…Ann Coulter doesn’t lie.”

Well, I don’t know if she does or doesn’t…quite frankly I’ve never really read or listened to anything she says…and to be honest, I certainly won’t based on his recommendation. It also made me wonder if, since this was now our third conversation based on truthfulness and transparency…was he now openly calling me a liar in front of all of our customers and my co-workers?…how should I respond?…just as quickly, he was gone again, back in his line, trying to now prove to other customers as well, that Ann Coulter did tell the truth…

After thinking on it for awhile, I decided a couple of things…never again would I let this guy challenge my honesty…second, from now on the deal is the deal, I won’t mix 12 packs of soda…let him call corporate…and finally…I’ll never have a most dreaded customer…I’m doing away with it…I won’t give guys like this the chance to say they’re the “most” anything…

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If It’s Gonna’ Be…I’d Rather It Not Be Up To Me…

There’s an old saying about not defecating where you eat…well, I would never do that, and it really doesn’t have anything to do with what I’m about to share…

The problem here is…I live near where I work, not that I do the aforementioned defacating…I could walk to and from work if I had to, and I have…so if an emergency were to say spring up…maybe the store night manager has to leave in a hurry?…who they gonna’ call?…yeah, it was me…and it was after putting in a 9 hour day…I had just gotten home and was settling into my favorite old-man Bahama shorts and t-shirt… maybe even a quick nap since my wife was away at church for the next hour…when the cell phone started ringing…

Normally, I would have just let it ring and go to voice mail…but no, my son, thinking he was doing me a favor, hurried over to pick it up…some day, God as my witness, I’m tossing that kid outta my house…

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And of course it’s someone from the store…and of course he felt that I needed to take the call rather than lay down and nap in peace for an hour…and yes, it was the store and they asked if I could return to work for another fun-filled 5 hours as the night manager…see, here’s the thing, remember I said I could walk to work…well, it turns out I wasn’t even the first choice to fill the role…I wasn’t called until they were left with no choice…maybe I should be grateful for not calling me until everybody else said no…but for some reason I feel like my talents were disrespected by them not calling the easiest, closest alternative?…how screwed up is that ass-backward logic, right?…

The everyday role I have in the store is also shared by 5 other employees…when you have a store open 24/7 and 7 days a week, you need lots of leaders…and if you’ve ever read anything else I’ve ever written, you would know that I’m the token old man…older than any two of them put together…so when an emergency like this pops up… and it really doesn’t, this is the first time ever…but when it does, you can bet that these young whippersnappers are off doing fun things…not laying around in their old man shorts and t-shirts…

To wrap this up, the night went smooth with no problems and I was done by 1 AM…I do have to laugh though…the youngster who is in charge of scheduling said that I can just leave early from one of my shifts this week…I may be getting old, but why the hell would I leave early at a later date and lose the overtime I put in last night?…making the 14 plus hours I worked all at straight time?…sorry kid, I may be old and you may be smarter than me…know all the new math and stuff…but I still remember the value of time and a half vs. straight time…the value of a buck vs. a buck-and-a-half…grow up!…

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“Excuse Me Sir, But I Am Not A Liar”…

Had a strange, somewhat interesting conversation with a customer at the market the other day. This customer was in search of a manager who he thought could somehow enable corporate changes in our policy of who gets carded when purchasing alcohol in our store. He found me instead…which is to say his dream of corporate change was about to head over the falls in a barrel…a cheaply one made at that…

…So this gentleman’s disagreement was that we were lying about WHY we card our customers when purchasing alcohol…I gave him the most obvious answers…the answers he was really entitled to…not good enough for him…he insisted I tell the truth…I promised him I was…not good enough…the real truth, like him, was out there, and he wanted that other truth…tiring of his personal agenda, I pressed him back to tell me why he thought we carded all customers…his answer was both simplistic and obvious…Captain Obvious-like obvious…his answer was liability

It was here that I decided I had enough of this conversation…of course we do it to reduce our liability…what company doesn’t put rules in place to protect themselves from liability?…he then went on a rant about how this country had too many regulations…how the population was too divided against itself…how there were too many hand-outs…our politicians were failing in their duty to us…he was really warming up now…and starting to Infect other customers happy little Saturday morning grocery shopping experience…time to change the subject back to his initial complaint…so I simply asked him if for some reason he had been denied a purchase in our establishment today…his answer was almost ridiculous when you consider all the argument he had put into it…he only drinks once, maybe twice a year…my first thought was that maybe today was one of those days?…a thought I kept to myself by the way…

 After a couple of minutes of back and forth I decided I had to politely end this guys dream…EA164E10-C2FD-4190-A954-F50535481935…one technique I’ve developed is to politely ask the customer’s name and shake their hand signaling my intention to move on and end a pretty much no-win circular conversation…but with this guy I felt a couple things needed to be cleared up first…after all I gave this guy a lot of time…so I made sure that he understood that his wish for us to change our carding policy would not happen, not even a little bit…and for some reason…using this interaction to improve my ability to understand other people’s motives…I was interested to know what this customer’s political party affiliation was, if he had one?…his complaints of too many regulations…of a nation divided…his objection to some, not all social programs (hand-outs)…of politicians who fail to do what he thought was right (drain the swamp?)…and his answer didn’t surprise me…

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#WeCallBS Movement Needs To Learn How To Play Politics…

I was happy to see this past weekend the public vigils and ceremonies honoring those who were slaughtered in Parkland last week…sorry, but what else can you call it other than slaughtered?…at the same time, as so many have regarding this and so many other things…maybe they proved me wrong about how long the Parkland tragedy will stay in our public consciousness…in my last post I made a point of writing that it wouldn’t take long for us to move on…to disregard any lessons or political changes that could have come from last Wednesday’s events…how school shootings have become the new normal…a senseless, but accepted part of our society…we all hold our noses and just move on…

this time it might be different…this time the students, not just in Parkland, but in many other cities and small towns, have added their voices to the national conversation over gun ownership and the 2nd Amendment…and to political campaign contributions and the National Rifle Association…and this is where as students, the #WeCallBS movement will find a massive hurdle…as strong as their will is…as loud as their voices shout…many are too young to vote…and that is absolutely the defining issue in the #WeCallBS movement vs. the NRA and congressional democrats and republicans…all of these strong young voices won’t resonate with the members of our congress because they are in no danger of losing their seat…losing their NRA money…because of a largely too-young-to vote movement…

If the #WeCallBS movement wants to make a difference it will need to have money and it will need to know how to spread that money around…just like the NRA does now to advance their warped view of the 2nd Amendment…Congress and the office of the President are up for sale…and no, it didn’t just start with this president and this congress…there is a saying that goes…

“To be the man, you have to beat the man”.

When it comes to gun legislation in America, the NRA is the man…they have the most money for buying votes…the largest membership, otherwise known as voters…and can influence any election, any ballot question, any vote by congress they feel crucial to their defense of the 2nd Amendment…they can financially support a candidate just as easily as run attack ads against those they consider a threat to their way of life…right now the NRA is the 800 lb. gorilla behind the 2nd Amendment debate…in the House and especially in the Senate…

#WeCallBS needs to have the ability to challenge them…financially and in voting membership…they scream they know about government…they now need to learn about back room politics and how to win and influence members of Congress…simply, they need to know which Senator’s seat…or which Congressman’s gun debate vote is up for grabs, and put it in their pocket, not the NRA’s…and when our leaders like Florida’s own Marco Rubio whose own seat is Encrusted  with so much NRA money say, “Let us pray.”…#WeCallBS needs to shout, “Let’s change, what’s it gonna cost us?”…

Marches on Washington, prayer vigils, and social media are great starts…those things alone won’t unseat a Senator, won’t change a Representative’s vote…#WeCallBS has to become more than just a movement to save students lives…they will need learn how  real politics works to silence the 800 lb. gorilla in the room…if #MeToo can effect change, so can they…

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The Parkland Tragedy…It’s That Conversation Again…

Another senseless school shooting this week…more screams from liberals for gun control of some kind whether it’s background checks or bump stocks or limiting automatic weapons or whatever…more replies from 2nd Amendment supporters and gun enthusiasts about how now is not the time to discuss guns in America, instead let us pray for the victims of this senseless tragedy…and they’re right about praying for those affected by Wednesday’s shootings if you believe it will help…but let’s be honest this time and just admit it…we’re all full of crap…

Do you really think this time next week that we’ll still be talking about Wednesday and the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas in Parkland, FL?…sure the kid will show up on TV at some point where he will plead guilty or not guilty or for whatever…and we might scream, “You miserable bastard, I hope they put you away forever!”…but tragically, the event will exit our consciousness as fast as it entered…and not a damn thing will change…I know it…you know it…Congress and the NRA know it…

Let’s face it…nothing will change until assault style weapons, bump stocks, background checks, all of it…are acted on by our legislative leaders…you know, the guys who don’t have the balls to stand up to the NRA…who continue to suck the golden teat of the NRA year after year…and who like Senator John McCain turn to prayer instead of legislative action…

“Cindy & I are praying for the victims of the terrible #LasVegasShooting & their families.”…

I only choose John McCain because his name is at the top of contributions from the NRA list…but what I would really like to hear John say is that while he is praying for the victims (in this instance Las Vegas) he is also committed to keeping We the People safe from events like Las Vegas…like Parkland…like Orlando …like Sandy Hook…like Columbine…#dosomethingforfuckssake…#ifnotnowwhen…that goes for all of them…reds and blues alike, because I’m sure there are some Democrats getting NRA money as well…we need to quit lying to ourselves…we need to assure We the People that when we send a child to school, or if we go to church on Sunday…we all get to come home the same way we left it…it really is time for changes…

If you listened to Number 45’s statement this past week, it was really from the heart…but it was also 6 1/2 minutes of nothing…of not taking a stand politically…of not challenging congress to grow a set of balls and stand up to the NRA and the over enthusiastic gun “enthusiasts” who have really stretched what “the right to bear arms” means…to not take the money from the NRA…to put the safety of We the People ahead of campaign contributions…like the $11 million Number 45 received during his run in 2016…or Senator McCains $7.75 million which puts him at the top of the congressional list…

I saw a comment from a reader of a different blog who wrote a couple of things that I think sum up why our attitudes about guns and the 2nd Amendment seem to never change…in response to the writer’s call for changes, he wrote…

…we need to have gun-free school zones…

…does anyone who is still reading this think that would have stopped anyone determined to commit mass murder…like Parkland…like Virginia Tech…like Sandy Hook…like Columbine…does anyone think a sign on the side of a road announcing a Gun-Free Zone is a proper deterrent to mass murder…the commenter also wrote…

…it’s why I carry a concealed weapon, it keeps the bad guys away.

if you see the flaw in the commenter’s logic, just go ahead and shout it out…if not here’s a hint…if he can’t see it, then how would someone bent on doing you harm be deterred?…listen I get it…if there are people in this country who need to carry a concealed weapon to feel safe, let them…but we need to find a way to do it responsibly and, sorry NRA’ers…there needs to be tighter restrictions…whether it’s expanded background checks…or bans on assault style weapons and high capacity magazines…and that requires work and action from a bi-partisan congress and a President who is willing to show the Courage to finally wean themselves from the NRA teet…#dosomethingforfuckssake…

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So Long 2017…You Sucked…You Sucked Hard…

It’s New Years Eve and I’m spending the last few minutes of the year watching some King Arthur movie on television…it’s not even a good one with Sean Connery or anything…my wife and son are both sick…struck down by their first colds of the winter season…even my loyal dog Bailey has abandoned me for a better spot on his bed in front of the fireplace…to be quite honest?…I’m okay with all of it…2017 hasn’t given me a whole hell of a lot to celebrate anyway…

Some bloggers at this point might break into a lengthy diatribe about Narcissistic Number 45 or our dysfunctional Senate and House of Representatives…how the new tax plan will only benefit the extremely wealthy…like them…or about the abuses that have come to light by so many men of power and influence…but no, this year has sucked for me for so many other reasons…reasons I wouldn’t wish on anyone…

For the second time this year, I’m watching as my wife struggles to find another job…as a consultant we always understood that she would be going from contract to contract…this last one ended much earlier than we anticipated…not to mention it comes at a time of year when companies just aren’t hiring…in 2017, thanks to job changes, our family was covered under 4 different health insurance policies…each one progressively more expensive than the previous one…after so many years of stability…healthcare had become a huge financial burden for us…

In October, after a short illness, my father-in-law Joe passed away…Joe accepted me into his family…despite all of the negatives I brought with me as a young and immature man…and he treated me more like a son than a son-in-law…unfortunately, I didn’t always show him as much loyalty as he deserved…

My daughter chose that weekend to also deliver a gut punch that has changed our relationship…she will be going into the Navy in January…yes, I should be happy and very proud of her decision, but I’m not…when I hear her talk about it?…she sounds like a commercial and her reasons just don’t ring true with me…part of my disappointment with her decision comes from my own past…I never went to college…it was something my family could never afford…I turned 18 and went to work at the sewer plant…I literally shoveled shit for a living…my wife and I put my daughter through 4 years of a very expensive private college…maybe I expected her to graduate…get a job I approved of…start a family…all of those things are on hold now while she pursues a career I’m not sure she really wants…then again, maybe I don’t know her as well as I thought I did…

But 2017 wasn’t done yet…the final blow coming when I learned a close friend who I grew up with in New Jersey was killed in Maryland…as painful and as difficult for me to accept that he’s no longer here, I can’t imagine the pain his wife, his sons, his parents and his brother are feeling now…

I included links…my own little depressing year in review if you will…hope you will take the time to read them…

Worst Christmas Card Ever…

And Then She Broke My Heart…

Oh Joe? Sadly, Won’t See Him No More…

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I can honestly say that not everything about 2017 was bad…I landed a new job…I’m no longer a truck driver…I’m a grocer…more about that here…

The Best Worst Decision I’ve Ever Made?…

I participated in…to say I competed in would be too much of a stretch…my first half marathon…and I raised more money for St. Jude’s Childrens Hospital while I did it…

I have a lot to learn in 2018…my training as a grocer is much more extensive than you would think…definitely more than I thought…but it also allows me many more opportunities for success than a life of driving…I hope…

I know my wife will land a new job this year…she has too much experience…she’s too smart…too driven not to…I think if I have one concern right now it’s this guy (this post is short, I promise)…

When Bailey Lays Around the House…

Oh, and my son finally finishing college and finding a good job…but, at least I have my health…some health…maybe we should wait on that Conversation  …I’ll let you know after my physical on the 8th…

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Can They Fire Me For This?…

In my new position as the junior Service Team Leader in training at the store, I’ve become concerned about a couple of things…other than Eagles football helmets packaged in Dallas Cowboys boxes…no, this Particular demon is about my vanity…and how my employer wants to hang a large oversized cell phone picture of me at the front of the store where customers checkout…

I am not a handsome man…I generally have bad haircuts…I’ve been told because of my grey hair I look sickly when I get a fresh haircut…I have a small scar on my forehead…a small thing under my eye that could probably be cut off by a dermatologist…my face tends to wrinkle a bit too much when I smile…and my teeth resemble an old picket fence in need of a whitewash…

Sorry if I just spoiled your breakfast with that verbal portrait of myself…but I hope that explains my aversion to being photographed…and why, after they hung up my new picture at the front of the store…we decided it would be best for all parties to take it down the next day…they said it was because I didn’t smile…I didn’t…they want their employees to portray a positive, cheerful appearance…to be engaging with the customers…to be knowledgeable about food and the benefits of eating healthy and enjoying fresh food…and that picture of me portrayed the extreme opposite…an unhealthy diet of pre-packaged foods and no fruits and vegetables…how the hell did I get this job anyway?…

So I have come up with my own simple plan to get a picture acceptable to  IMG_0142everyone…take a selfie with my phone and use an on-line editing app something like photoshop to get rid of all my facial and dental imperfections…or as many as possible since I’m not sure any one editing program can fix everything that’s wrong with my appearance…but at least my employer will be happy since they won’t have to hang a photo on the front wall that skeeves out their employees and customers…