“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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My Annual Physical And Prostate Exam From Ol’ Doc Hook…

I like my family doctor…genuinely seems like a nice guy…usually we have a good patient-doctor relationship…I don’t visit him much which allows him to see some of the older more profitable patients…and he keeps my required by him prescription rolling…unless of course I don’t visit him for my annual physical…which as it turns out, I’ve missed a couple with the Hook…though to be fair, it was only last year…the 2 years prior were on him…apparently he had other things to do…one year he even had me take my physical with his physicians assistant…and her trainee?…

I remember when we got to the part that involved a glove, some lubricant, and my prostate…she said she would have her trainee do this particular part of the exam…”Your trainee?…sorry mam, but what made you think I was even going to let you do it”, I protested…

…sorry, but Ol’ Doc Hook is the only one who gets to finger-diddle my prostate…if I’m paying full price, I want the headliner…not the back-up band…

So anyway, back in January, my pharmacy…those bastards…refused to refill my Dilantin prescription…ahh, seizures…forcing me to call ‘Ol Doc Hook’s office for a renewal, which of course…after a 15 minute test of my Patience spent listening to crappy music and commercials where they told me Patients Matter Always…did they mean patients or patience, I was no longer sure…they refused to do the one thing that mattered always at this moment in time…and they adamantly refused to do it too!…

“You haven’t seen the doctor in over a year…you need to have an annual physical done before we can refill it!”

A year?”, I scoffed, “To be honest with you mam, I haven’t seen the Hook himself in almost 3 years…he’s hardly ever there…”

…that snarky answer didn’t really get me any closer to a new script, so staring into a near-empty vial of my daily drug, I finally conceded to try and match my schedule to the Hook’s…or in other words, take whatever date they give me and shut-up about it…they all happily agreed I would be in on March 5th…renewing the prescription however?…no problem…all I would need to do was visit their website where I could request a refill, it would only take 24 – 48 hours to be called in..

…on the day of my physical, as I laid on the table, knees to my chest…my dignity and my pride left far behind in the waiting room …the Hook’s freakishly large, and in my opinion, under-lubricated index finger playing an uncomfortable game of hide-and-seek with my prostate…same place as always, Doc…Doc seemed to be mailing this one in…he wasn’t hitting me on the knee with his little hammer…not asking me to turn my head and cough…hell, he didn’t even check for a pulse…and when this sham of a physical exam was done, Ol’ Doc ordered some tests…

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anyone reading this who knows me, and there might be 2 or 3 at the most, knows that I am in no way “giddy”…the photo below closely represents my outlook on life…okay, dizzy yes, giddy?…hell no…c’mon Hook, do your job…know your patient…I thought I mattered…

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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…”

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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