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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And Then She Broke My Heart…

By the time you’re done reading this, you’re probably going to think less of me…difficult thing since the only way you may even know me is through my posts…but, I have to get the story out because it’s eating away at me…my moral Compass is broken…when it comes to my daughter’s future, I only see disappointment and sadness in a decision she is about to make…

Many have told me I’m wrong and that I should be proud in the decision she has made…and maybe they’re right..however those same people don’t really know me, don’t really know her, don’t know the relationship we’ve had…I thought I did, now I’m not so sure…my issue…and here is where people are going to hate me…my daughter at the age of 26 has decided to enroll in Naval Officer Candidate School…she wants to join the Navy…

I should be proud of her decision to serve her country…but all I see is a daughter who I always thought cared about what I thought…who cherished the relationship we always had…we were always each other’s buffer…we had the same personalities, many of the same likes and dislikes…a place where each of us could go to talk and just hang-out when we needed a break…but now, all I see is someone who didn’t value that relationship…my advice…maybe didn’t care as much as I thought she did…

Today’s political climate has nothing to do with my feelings about her decision…my feelings are born from my feelings of abandonment…my wife and I gave my daughter every opportunity to succeed in life…maybe too many as it turns out…an education at the school of her choice…school-sponsored trips abroad to places I may never see in my lifetime…vacations each and every summer…although I probably needed those as much as anyone else in our family…

I don’t know how to talk with her anymore…her decision to leave and my decision not to be accepting of it has driven a wedge between us…one which I’m not sure I’ll ever get over…my daughter is an extremely smart, beautiful young lady, and there are so many people she can help directly in this country without joining the Navy…there are plenty of non-profits or other volunteer opportunities she could take advantage of that could help people now, right away when it’s needed most in our country…but she’s choosing another path…one I can’t accept…as she was growing up, my daughter stole my heart…now as an adult…she’s breaking my heart…

My moral compass is broken…and I don’t know how to fix it…

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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…

My Family…Caring And Supportive…Or Batcrap Crazy?

I’ve done more than my share of self loathing lately. But then, I’m what you would truly call a miserab, and disliking myself and my actions are all a part of the experience. But there are other reasons, external forces that help create and when needed, re-enforce my true miserable-ness.

So what is it that drives me batcrap crazy? It would be easy to tell you it’s the political shitstorm we’re all subjected to everyday, but that’s not it, at least not yet. Lack of friends, snooty neighbors…probably, but they’re for another day…

No, the number one thing on my list is family. Don’t judge me just yet, if you’re reading this I’ll bet you’ve said the same thing before, only to yourself and not in print where anyone in your family will read it. I can honestly say I have no worries there…no one in my family has ever read, or asked to read a single word I’ve published. But I’m not bitter. Let me introduce them…

My wife may be the smartest woman I know or have ever known, and it ain’t because she hitched her wagon to this horse’s ass. Her one major flaw…she doesn’t listen, or maybe it’s respect…a word I tell her. Sure she’ll ask for my opinion, but most of her time is spent performing this painful monologue where she speaks and I only move my mouth when she puts her hand in the back of my head like I’m some sick sort of wood dummy. On the rare occasion that I do spout a semi-coherent thought, she chipmunks it away in her brain, only to see the light of day again if someone she actually has respect for confirms it as a good idea. But then it’s, “(Fill in any name here) said this and it seems like good advice.” You’ll notice there is no mention of me as the original author of that good advice. But that’s okay.

Now, my wife, is also a mom, just ask my son. They have this relationship, and I swear they do it to annoy me, where one minute she’s the loving Italian mother talking to the son who would do anything for her, and the next minute I’m looking to hide all the cutlery in the house. It can turn that quickly. There is a saying that goes, “Pick which hill you want to die on”, and there isn’t a hill in our house, in our lives, that isn’t out of their war zone. They’ll debate his grades, his job, religion, politics, food, beer…anything, it’s all up for grabs, and I find it’s best to duck when the verbal bullets start flying. Things get heated and that’s when my wife drags me into the fray. I’m the human shield, I’m that thing that signals to my son that he can’t win this one, run and live to fight another day…and then like that, the relationship is back to loving mom and adoring son (kinda)… I’m left in a state of not ready to let it go yet…next thing I know, their off to a movie, to the mall, to grab a sandwich…and everything is right in their world…it’s me who’s left holding the bag labeled “Hostility”.

My son, God love him, is the most over-confident student currently on academic probation that I know. He’s also a bit of a beer Buff and there isn’t one he won’t try, which might shed some light on his academic probation status. But he has a dream, a vision of opening a brewery and cooking his own brand of beer, a part of society so underserved that as of last year there were only a mere 5,000 brewers in the United States. But I give him credit, it’s his dream and I won’t squash it, there’s already over 5,000 people in line for that job.

I also have a daughter. She was smart enough to move to Florida after graduating college, thereby avoiding all of this familial strife. It also allows us to take our show on the road a couple of times a year, possibly educating other families, especially younger ones, in new and sometimes brutal ways of dumping on each other. Now, my daughter, she’s truly crafty…she has made it known to each of us separately that she enjoys us coming to visit her…one at a time. It gives her more one-on-one time with each of us… and thereby avoids the hysteria that accompanies a full family visit. It’s her brand of divide and conquer strategy…and to be honest, it works like a charm.

I have a beagle. His name is Bailey and he’ll be 14 years old this year. That would make him 75 to you and me, and just like me, he’s got bad feet, he’s a little overweight for his size, and I think his hearing and sight are starting to go, and occasionally he’ll have a senior dog moment when he walks into a room with no clue as to why he wants to be there. He’s a great dog though, except he has his days and nights confused. I also think he has some separation anxiety as well, and nothing cuts into my sleep faster than a beagle howling for attention at 3:00. That’s A.M., after midnight, when we should all be asleep. So for the next half hour, we go outside, we might wrestle over a toy, maybe have a biscuit or two (him, not me), whatever it takes to settle him down.

There you have it, an attempted humorous look at my family, the folks who irritate me, promote self loathing within myself, and drive me absolutely batcrap crazy on occasion,  and with whom I couldn’t do whatever it is I do if they weren’t in my life…

 

Featured Image via from Dorkly via flimsyspoons