“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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Finally…I’m Out…Almost…

I got an unexpected gift in the mail this week…another check for $600 from Federal Express as part of their Contractor class action settlement…I guess there were some in the class who never claimed their portion of the money?…

After I signed the check and handed it over to my wife to deposit electronically, two things came to mind…the first you probably already guessed…why the hell did I waste my time signing something that just got deposited electronically?…and that this check officially ended any business relationship with Fred Smith and his management team of  hired thugs, backstabbing thieves, and overpaid lawyers…I only say overpaid because even the lawyers couldn’t defend that ridiculous contractor model FedEx they had…and still have by the way, they just call it something different now…but who knows?…maybe I’m wrong and FedEx was elated to be paying hundreds of millions of dollars to We the Uneducated Rabble who chose to Rebel against their authoritarian rules…yeah, right!…because that’s what soulless dictators enjoy the most…a little rebellion…

Anyway, I took this opportunity to do something else I’ve held off from doing…getting rid of all that FedEx clothing I had to purchase through the years…the shorts and long pants I bagged and sent off to the nearest clothing collection bin…the shirts, which I obviously couldn’t give away or give back…although, I really would have enjoyed sending them back to Fred down there in Memphis, or to his minions in Pittsburgh…but no, these I took delight in ripping them in half making them of no use to anyone…and for me this really signaled that I’m out, for real, that part of my life is now in the past…almost…let me clarify…my days of driving a truck…of working 10+ hour days with no overtime…working 6 days a week between Thanksgiving and Christmas, with no overtime…working with no paid time off of any kind…ARE OVER!

I still have a connection to FredEx…a business arrangement with my former employer who is a FedEx contractor…and it still has a couple of years to go…but as of now…and I can’t say this negatively enough… “Fred Smith, you can kiss my Irish @$$, I’m through with you! I’m a grocer now. Never will I ever write about you and your independent contractor sham of a business model.”…on these pages…for the most part…(however I do reserve the right to re-post my holiday classic FedEx mutants post…)

And to my former employer…don’t sweat it…I didn’t cut up your shirts with your company logo…I’m saving them for you…you know, the ones without all of the salt stains from my sweat…

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The People I Meet…

 

The current job I’m in as a grocer allows me to speak with many people everyday …some I know already, some I’m meeting for the first time…and yes, of course there are some I wish I had never met… “I’m sorry, (insert sir or ma’am here) this is a grocery store and you might have to wait in a checkout line for a few minutes…what makes you think your time is so much more important than anyone else’s?”…not that I would ever say that…

…and of course there are a whole new cast of characters who have entered my so-called life…the nice lady who calls me sport all the time…I’m 58 years old for craps sake, nobody’s called me that since my early twenties…the nice guy who wore his New York football Giants jacket into the store everyday…haven’t seen that jacket since the Eagles won the Super Bowl…and then there was the pharmaceutical industry conspiracy guy who spoke in whispers and who told me he was being black-balled out of the industry by his former employer…he actually took his groceries out to his car and came back into the store to share more of his job history EA164E10-C2FD-4190-A954-F50535481935and his thoughts on what’s wrong with this country…this was at 1:30 A.M. and after letting him go on for a couple minutes, I finally had to ask him to leave the store…he was too strange even for me…

…and not to be left out…the folks who stop over from the nearby gym…who love to  Flaunt the results of their winter spent working out in various forms of dress and not so dressed to do their shopping after their workouts…with warmer months coming…and there’s really no way to write this without sounding like a creeper…but, I can only imagine what they’ll be wearing or hardly wearing into the store…

but those are just a few of the people I see…this post is about a young lady who is a imageco-worker that I’ve gotten to know because she works at our Customer Service desk which is also part of the department I work in…she told me one day this week that she was a volunteer with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and that after work she would be visiting the home of a critically ill child where, thanks to Make-A-Wish, she would get to tell this child that his wish of a trip to Disney World had been fulfilled…

I only share this story because so many times I might hear someone of my generation be critical of “those lazy, little snowflakes”…this person I’ve met shows that just volunteering and giving of your precious time can help make life a little better for those living in life-threatening situations…so next time you’re standing in a check-out line fuming over the few minutes it’s taking from your day…be mad at yourself for picking the wrong line…or you can use that time instead to think about what you might do to make life better for someone who may not be as fortunate as you…

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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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Recycling My Tribute To Santa’s e-Commerce Mutants…An Annual Holiday Classic?…

As a driver delivering packages for Federal Express, this particular Saturday was always among my least favorite. In all the boroughs and townships that my route 9588D292-8E1D-4386-A09B-51FA9C508A65consisted of, it was fire truck Santa Clause day…I despised it…so much so that last year I wrote my own fantasy / true life tribute to my fellow drivers at FedEx Home Delivery and all they deal with during the busy holiday season…all they have to work around on fire truck Santa day…I’ve included it below…give it a read if you have some time…

 

Santa And the e-Commerce Mutants

Today…down at the grocery store…things come full-circle as the bearded wonder makes a visit to my new workplace…but unlike all those years as one of Santa’s e-Commerce mutants…happily…thanks to my quirky schedule…I won’t have to deal with all of the craziness that comes with a Saturday morning with Santa and kids all hopped up on candy canes and Hershey Bars…and today I can look on…Silent…from my front window as the fire truck Santa and his volunteer fire fighting elves…(thank you for your service boys)…make their way through my neighborhood blowing their siren…ringing the bell…honking their horn…all to let kids know that Santa and his helpers are just outside…blocking traffic…and handing out candy canes left over from last year’s Christmas ride…you don’t really think the townships and boroughs throw the leftovers out, do ya?…

To my former co-workers and friends at FedEx…be safe today and hang in there…it’s almost over…until January when everyone starts spending those gift cards they got for Christmas…during all those on-line after-Christmas sales…sometimes e-Commerce really sucks…

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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…”