Greetings From Down Under Mates…

No, I am not on vacation in Australia or New Zealand…nothing anywhere near as exciting…Hell, I’m not even sure when I’ll take vacation again…

The down under I’m referring to is from underneath the wheels of the bus that myself and my fellow team leaders…there’s 6 of us altogether…are about to be and already have been thrown under by our employer, the grocery store where we work…

Ever since myself and my co-workers started working there, we have defended and carried out the store’s strict policy on the sale of alcohol…everyone gets carded, everyone must present a valid form of identification…drivers license, passport, military identification…EVERYONE…Hell, I’ve carded a 91 year old man once and felt ridiculous doing it…but it was the policy, and we pledged allegiance to the store’s law…

An unpleasant event happened in the store a few weeks ago in which one of my co-leaders was called to the cafe checkout to settle an identification dispute…the customer did NOT have a valid identification and became upset when he was denied his purchase…the employee followed the rules he was given…during this time, another customer inserted himself into the transaction, offering to purchase the alcohol for the customer…he also identified himself as a police officer, although that claim was never actually proven…a police officer should know the value of following laws and rules…the employee explained he could not purchase the items for the customer and why he couldn’t, and unfortunately this is where the story takes a sad and ugly turn for everyone…

At this point the customer decided that the employees actions were based on his race and not his lack of proper identification…a claim that was just NOT TRUE…the employee was following the policies he had been given…the customer also decided that he would pull out his cell phone and begin Facebook living the event…this part of the story has never proven out either, but taking videos of the employees working in the store is also a violation of policy…the customer should have been asked to leave the store at this point…not to mention I think it’s a clear violation of someone’s personal rights to take photos or videos of them and then beam them across the internet without their permission…call me old fashioned, because I am…

As you can imagine, word of this brouhaha…ha…spread to the store manager and an area manager who came down to speak with everyone involved…and when the dust settled?…they threw the employee under the bus and gave the customer what he wanted…making the employee look like a fool for following the policy that the owners and the state put in place for these types of situations…they threw him under the bus for the sake of one customer…

Part of the actions to override the employee by the manager can probably be attributed to the ridiculous actions of some Starbucks employees in Philadelphia…they didn’t want to have their own Starbucks situation on their hands…and I somewhat get that…but alcohol policies are put in place to protect everyone…the store, the employee, and the public…what happens when a possibly intoxicated customer comes through a line to purchase more alcohol and we deny the purchase…as employees we are put out there (empowered?) to make these sometimes difficult decisions…and they do happen…sometimes it’s alcohol related…other times it might be when to take back merchandise on a customer return…another policy which is quickly becoming a big grey sticky wicket as well…but the hardest ones involve alcohol…

By leaving the door open to interpretation of the policy, there is the clear possibility that we will be asked to override the cashiers potentially making them look bad to the buying public as well…employee vs. employee…and that ain’t a good idea…and what happens if you have customers who pick up on the fact we’ve weakened our policy… don’t think for a second that they won’t…they WILL say they saw us do it for someone else and why are we singling them out…they without question will…

There are still issues in our lives that require strict rules and regulations and they can’t be open to interpretation…they’re there for the protection for everyone…and they need to be supported by those tasked with creating them, and those they hire to carry them out…

…whoever said life as a grocer was easy…

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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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So Many Memories…All Could Be Yours For the Right Price…

We’re finally doing this…after years of threatening to do it, the wife and I are finally having a yard sale…or is it a garage sale?…and what the heck is the difference anyway?…

We’ve finally decided that we don’t need 3600 square feet of house on a one acre yard, so we’re finally putting this dump and just about all of its contents up for sale…all offers, reasonable or unreasonable, will be considered…make our stuff your stuff to sell at your own garage sale in the future…

My wife has been threatening to have one of these for so long our garage is bursting at the seams with all of our unwanted and or slightly damaged home goods…our out of style and ill-fitting clothes that most normal people wouldn’t get caught dead in…and some things that serve absolutely no purpose in a normal functioning household…these things and more could be yours on Saturday, June 23rd at what could be the biggest yard sale of the day in SE Pennsylvania…I know, I’ve got you hooked, am I right?…

If I had my druthers we’d sell it all and flee with the proceeds to Florida, but…the Mrs. ain’t quite ready to do that yet…she still feels as if she can make a contribution to society…I on the other hand, stopped believing that on my 18th birthday when I started my new job at the sewer plant shoveling the byproduct of all the incoming sewage and the required separation of solids from all that incoming sewage…yep, I shoveled sh*t…but that’s okay, I made a lot more money than all my friends who were working at McDonalds…

D57B78F8-5967-4CD5-810D-3AFC19BE2DEDThe hardest part of getting ready for this yard sale is trying to decide what goes and what stays, do we sell off my wife’s old high school cheerleading megaphone…the fact that we still have that tells you how difficult it will be for her to part with it…she’s 57 years old for crap sakes…

…do we get rid of my now 18 year old hockey practice jerseys?…my sticks?…

…maybe those, but never my jerseys from Flyers Dream Week in Montreal…in Canada…

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…and what about my LEGO Star Wars Tie Fighter?…all 1,684 pieces of it…it was supposed to be 1685, but they shorted me one piece from the set…those bastards…okay, the Yoda can go, not the Tie Fighter though…geez, it’s dusty up there in the Star Wars Universe…

 

how about my collection of Hess trucks?…

…or my 4 copies of the Captain America Dies comic book that I bought on eBay?…

…my Boy Scout patches from troops in different councils around the country…surely they will be worth something someday…

…Or all of my HO scale trains…had some of them since I was a kid…can’t just give them away at some yard sale…can I?

…what about our kids and all of their toys?…their only in their twenties, they might want to still play with them someday…if we get rid of them, all they’ll have left is a bunch of broken crayola crayons and half-colored-in coloring books to keep them occupied…

So, as you can see, we have a lot of gut wrenching decisions to make this week…all of which will be followed by the sad chore of trying to find a place to get rid of all our stuff that nobody bought at the sale…followed by the even sadder chore of packing up all of remaining memories and getting ready to move…

…that’s it, I’ve got to call this thing off before someone gets hurt…

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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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I’m Still No Gardener…Part 2…

Last year I showed off my lack of gardening prowess…

I’m No Gardener Either…

I thought maybe I would show you again my lack of horticultural skills…my yard seems to be where weeds go not just to grow, but to thrive…and now after 23+ years in this house, I’m also starting to see that when they built this house, whoever planted the original gardens sucked every bit as much as I do at gardening and landscaping…they failed to take into consideration future growth…and now due to my lack of enthusiasm towards gardening and bushes and trees that were poorly laid out at the start, these overgrown, hard to maintain beds have become…well, overgrown and hard to maintain…

The wife and me have decided it’s time to downsize…maybe move into one of those over-priced active adult communities…in other words, find a neighborhood with other old people who don’t want to do nothing either…except maybe sit on a lounge chair at the neighborhood pool…Yaasss!!…and have someone else do all of the yard work…

So in preparation for that special day when we leave our current cares behind, we’ve had to start fixing this dump up a little…throw crap away, replace and repair stuff, and give it some curb appeal…except my yard didn’t get the “we’re moving” memo and has decided to grow and over-grow stuff I’ve never seen before…that is, the parts of it that are still hanging in there and haven’t choked themselves out from overgrowth and poor bed planning…

So, once again this year, I’ll share a few of the highlights and lowlights from my hot 5B6DD517-F1AE-412E-B809-18FEAB4EC799mess of a yard…like these stumps and whatever is left attempting to grow in this bed…I’m not sure what all of it is, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s poison some darn thing or another lurking in there…waiting for me to grab it…on a side note…how about that patio…you really wanna sit there?…

 

And then there are these formerly beautiful boxwoods that lined the front of our 0CFBA1F6-76E8-4168-AB51-C24FFF8BBE05house…I’m well on my way to killing these things now…you know there is no saving them…they have to come out in the name of curb appeal…our future realtor agrees…strongly…so, in the next couple of weeks, out they’ll come…all in favor of planting something new…something smaller…something that will make it easier to clean around each year…not that I’ll care…I wonder what that weed is that’s growing up through the middle of it?…seems to be one of the few things in the yard I haven’t killed off…

Moving on to this poor specimen of a tree…I think it was once some kind of Japanese 62077606-915E-4F00-A151-BF642311BF88something or other…the fact that I don’t know should tell you I probably didn’t deserve to have it in my yard…I just remember it was expensive…obviously…was is the proper description for this pathetic looking specimen …so, tragically, one of these days it will have to suffer the same fate as the aforementioned boxwoods…once again, our realtor would absolutely agree…

23856534-2304-4A2F-A93C-9E5BF8FD01DF Finally, some good news…something that has actually taken root and grown better than even I could have imagined…and apparently multiplied too…these frigging things…they’re like thistle on steroids…they also have this prehistoric need to survive built into them…these things have spikes or needles, whatever…they cut right through my gloves…there’s no pulling these like ordinary thistle…but, out they must come…shame, they’re the only two things not just growing, but thriving on the acre of death I call my yard…hopefully soon enough, my yard will be somebody else’s problem…my realtor would agree…

 

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She’s In the Navy Now…Hooyah?…

So you’re the United States Navy…and you discover that you’ve lost track of one of your newly graduated officers…can’t find her…she showed up at your base on-time as required, but for some reason you’ve lost track of her…so what’s the first thing you do in that situation?…do you call Mark Harmon and the N.C.I.S. gang to help find out what happened?…no, you call her mom and dad to ask if we’ve seen her?…apparently, the Navy has a somewhat  Archaic  system to track their ships and which personnel are on them???…

Are they out of their freaking minds?!!…I’m on edge about my daughter being in the military already…I can’t tell you how much more my anxiety level grew after that call… turns out she was out to sea…on her ship with the rest of her crew on their way to their next destination…where she was supposed to be…did they even think to maybe contact her ship before calling us?…WTF?…

There’s a military acronym for this…it’s called SNAFU…situation normal: all fouled up…actually, I’ve given you the sanitized version…if you’re sitting somewhere reading this, I’m sure you can figure out the other word used to replace fouled…and really, that’s probably what this was, just a paperwork SNAFU…a communication error…but please US NAVY, next time?…if there is a next time?…don’t waste time by calling me or her mom…she has a cell phone…just call her, maybe shoot her a text…and if that doesn’t work, then call Mark Harmon first, not me…oh, and do you think you can get Cote de Pablo to help locate her too?B8A7F674-E270-417F-BF5E-7D4AA9218F8F…she was great, and let’s face it, the show went downhill after she left…

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Is It Finally the Right Time?…

I got home this morning after working an overnight shift at the grocery store, and after powering down a couple of mini-cinnamon buns and a glass of iced-tea, I checked my upcoming work schedule on the website…probably should have checked my sugar…but I saw an item that stuck out immediately…as part of my company’s community outreach, I found that I have been volunteered to work at an upcoming pet adoption show in June…

I love dogs…just about all of them…even the three that bit me when I was delivering packages…while I don’t necessarily love them…wasn’t their fault…well-behaved dogs come from owners who treat them well, and who give them the chance to inter-act with both people and other dogs…in the area I used to deliver to, there were 3 pit bulls…everyone has heard the horror stories about this breed…but these 3 dogs, all owned by separate families and adopted (rescued), were 3 of the sweetest dogs I had on my route…they had responsible owners who treated them well and gave them a chance to inter-act…

I thought that this day of service might also be a chance to adopt a new family pet…our family beagle passed away this winter…

Goodbye Bailey…You’ll Be Forever In Our Hearts…

…and to be honest, I still haven’t gotten over losing him…I’m still living in the house that Bailey owned…we had him for 14 great years…many nights when my wife was traveling and the kids were away at school, it was just me and Bailey…more often now, I think about another dog in the family… would we get another beagle?…something different?…can we afford another mouth to feed in the house?…afford the additional cost of vet visits and kennel costs if we go on vacation?…do I want to invest the time in raising a new dog the right way?…do we really need that Complication in our lives right now?…

We bought Bailey from a pet store when he was a puppy and his mark on our family will be forever…is it time to let him go and allow a new dog to make its mark on our family?…and in our kitchen?…our family room?…the office and the bedrooms?…get back to you on that one…

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