Really?

While life has camped firmly between me and my blog, I decided to set down all the roman shades from which I am ripping stitches to tell this tale. It occurs to me as I write this that this whole conversation could be one old lady’s idea of a great April Fools joke. If this is the case, I applaud her. However, I do not underestimate the power of our clientele to believe the ridiculous.

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Let me preface this…

I went to a school that put on a production of The Laramie Project (actually, I went to two schools that did). The lovely Fred Phelps sent his cronies to protest the play and the school.  Freddy believes that everything that’s wrong with this world can be blamed on homosexuals.  God is punishing us for accepting gays.

Now, onto today…

Woman to cashier:  You know what’s causing all these problems with the economy?

Cashier: *blank stare*

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WTC: All these problems are because women are working.  Women should be at home, and men should be working.  This is not how God intended it.  God is angry that women are working and has sent the devil in.  He’s taking away all the excess money caused by women working.

Cashier: *smilenod* That’ll be…

I guess I can see where this woman is coming from.  I see the problem as more of a chicken or the egg thing, and not as much just that women are working.  Women are working, in part, because of movements that gave us the right to work, not to mention wars that made it imperative we work.  On the other hand, I know many, many women (myself included) that wish they didn’t have to work just to stay afloat.  Let’s face it… movements gave us the right to work outside the home, but they didn’t do anything about the problem of all the work inside the home.

So I guess what I’m saying is that every woman should just stay home for awhile.  Then we’ll find out if things start turning around.  I think it could work.

Will Power

My first day back at work was incredibly painful.  I really enjoyed not working.  Or, rather, not working “for the man.”  Trust me, my vacation was filled with lots of hard work.

But that wasn’t the problem.  Being away from work meant being away from fabric.  And sales.  And what the hell everythingisonsaleandIwanttobuyitall.  *breathe*  Quilting cottons are 50% off and that never happens.  Clearance is also 50% off.

And I can’t buy anything.  Meh!  My sewing rooms makes me want to cry.  I’m not exaggerating.  I actually get teary-eyed when I think about tackling that mess.  The Hippy actually said to me, “If you start crying again, you’re fired.”  Seeing me so pathetic, a friendly coworker offered to bring her gay friend (her words) to whip my craft room into shape.  And I need it.

Good news: We have pants clothes hangers coming into work.  Which will be nice, because it will make more room in my drawers for all the skirts I’m going to make 😀

We haven’t had a good poll in awhile:

Twenty-twenty-twenty four hours…

My New Year’s Eve started at 5am and ended at 5am.  Awesome.  Now that’s what I call a party.

Beginning: I need to learn to let go.  I find it impossible to take a vacation from work because I trust very few people to do my job right.  Not that I think my job is hard or special, mind you, I just don’t think they have the time to care.  Before promotion I was doing two jobs–my old job and my current job.  I felt like I was doing it all the time.  You’d think I’d feel less stressed out now that I’m back to just one job, but I’m not.  At least not lately.  Communication has plummeted, and it resulted in me accidentally finding out I not only had to change the entire apparel department, but I had to mark down all the old stuff before the beginning of FM Jan (Jan 4).  So I got up at 5 to get as much done a possible, and stayed an hour late for the same.  I was actually able to call in the one person I trust, no matter how suspiciously, which meant I didn’t have to stay three hours late….  I will go in on Saturday for the markdown, meaning that I went from a 30 hour week to “holy crap, I can’t stay anymore or I’ll go into OT!”

Pre-Middle: I went to Target after work to get supplies.  Also looked for shoes and socks, because who doesn’t love shoes and socks.  Discovered these:

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Aside from being ridiculously cute… and clearance… and not in my size… They’re also lined with one of my favorite Alexander Henry fabrics of all time.  I know it’s hard to see, but I have proof of its existence outside of the shoe and inside of my stash:

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Must find those shoes…….

Middle: The best, best, best part of New Years Eve is fondue.  Everyone should do the ‘due.  I don’t care if it’s cheese, oil, or chocolate, it should be mandatory.  I do not, however, recommend combining any of those unless, perhaps, over the course of an entire day.  Certainly don’t attempt it in one evening.  I know this from experience.  New this year was tempura batter and parboiled potatoes.  When BILOSORD’s buddy accidentally added his potato to the pot without battering it, twice fried potatoes were born.  And eaten repeatedly.  I breifly considered getting more potatoes from the kitchen, but I figured we had to cut outselves off somewhere.  This is the first time that I can remember that fondue didn’t end with someone (me….) laughing so hard they (I….) cried.  We stopped because we ran out of cheese and potatoes.  And room in our stomachs.  We were all pretty tired, though.

I passed out on the couch after dinner, and I pretty sure after Rocket Puppy was sent to bed, Rocketdog passed out for a bit too.  I headed home, intending to go to bed, shortly after the ball dropped (…the tape delayed ball).

The End: When I got home, The Hippy IMed me to see if I had gotten his text message, and was apparently bummed that I didn’t respond.  What I didn’t know was that I hadn’t gotten the message, and thought he was talking about something entirely different.  Twenty minutes later, it showed up.  I decided the message couldn’t find me because I was driving.  I turned right, and it kept going straight.  Silly text message.  But what followed was one of the longest, most awesome philosophical discussions we’ve ever had.  “We’re going to be living together and sharing everything, so I might as well tell you what I believe.”  Which is not to say he hadn’t told me before, it was just a much deeper and livelier discussion.  When my alarm clock went off, I knew it was probably time to go to bed.  Call me crazy, but I’m a sucker for talking to him.  The first time we ever chatted with each other, I only got a couple hours of sleep.  I’m looking forward to not having to chat online (both of us hate the phone).

And now I get to go move.  Right now.  Literally.  Five hours of sleep!  wooooo!  Actually, I think I’m going to eat some potatoes first 🙂

“Thanks for listening to me…”

Friends, it’s Christmas.  It’s been Christmas in retail since October 1, but we’re in the thick of it, and a couple weeks ago marked the point where Christmas spirit shows itself to be a whole load of crap.  I don’t know anyone that’s been killed or even spit on yet, but we may as well have been.

You see, there’s a wide spread condition in the retail world called Subhumanitis.  It’s inflamation of the subhuman gland.  It’s bad enough we bring it on ourselves (let’s face it, I don’t work in retail because I have a passion for consumerism, and neither do any of my fellow peons, we do it because we don’t feel like there’s anything else), but we really don’t need to be reminded of our condition on a daily basis.

Take the customer who, for whatever reason, decides to yell at a clerk for something entirely out of their control.  It’s a lovely way to remind them they don’t matter.  For starters, they’d love to be able to help (most of them), but they can’t.  The product just doesn’t exist, they aren’t in control of ordering, they don’t have the power to make that decision, etc.  Secondly, the customer is getting angry in their general direction for what, at the end of the day, will end up being entirely insignificant.  But to them, it’s another piece of straw on their back.  It will end up being significant the more it happens.  Ending with “Thanks for listening to me..” doesn’t help them.  They aren’t getting paid enough to be yelled at.  I’m considered “well paid” and *I* don’t get paid enough to get yelled at.  Vent to your friends; or better, complain to someone who can actually do something about it.

Also, dumping unwanted product in the middle of the floor isn’t job security.  We don’t get paid to clean up, as it turns out.  We’re customer service.  Every time we have to pick up dumped shit (sometimes, sadly, literally) is another customer we can’t help.  Customers who don’t get helped don’t spend money.  No money means no jobs.  We also don’t get paid to babysit.  Babysitters, apparently, get paid more.  We’re not therapists, we’re not experts, and we don’t know what other stores carry.  I’m sorry, I just don’t know how to tie a toga and I don’t know where you can get neoprene.  That’s what the internet is for.

Don’t get me wrong… I have some great customers.  Sadly, though, they are few and far between.  And this is the time of year when all the fangs and claws and venom come out.  It starts with halloween and just keeps rolling on through the new year.  Thank god I get a vacation soon.  Jan 1 can’t come soon enough!

Itching, Itching…

For an excuse that is…

I have apparently been put in charge of Thanksgiving dessert.  This task usually fall on my parents, and I’m usually in charge of the fruit salad (which is more of a post-dinner/pre-dessert than an actual dessert).  Typically, we have pumpkin pie for the pumpkin pie eaters (myself not included) and french silk or some other creamy chocolate for, well, pretty much everyone since many people take both kinds.

This year, however, provided it’s okay by the other purely non-pumpkin pie eater (I discovered my dad doesn’t really like pumpkin pie… weird! So he’s a third), I plan to make the Red Velvet Cupcakes I’ve been pining over.  And if I make enough, I will have the potluck at work on Black Friday covered.  Woot!

Until then, however, I must sew.  And if I’m not sewing, I must be productive in some way.  I’m failing at productivity… Miserably.

And I need new work pants.  I feel like things are crumbling.  But at least I might have a new home tomorrow, and that’s pretty exciting, even if The Hippy is now paralyzed with fear.  Not moving until after Christmas, though.  That’s just too damn much to deal with.

Hard to decide…

About four years ago, I was introduced to the bands TOOL and A Perfect Circle by The Hippy.  He’s made numerous attempts to get me into bands over these years, but only a few have stuck (the other is System of a Down) while many others I merely tolerate to keep him happy (Rage Against the Machine, Smashing Pumpkins, Supertramp, The Mars Volta…)  The key reason I dig Tool/APC and SOAD are the singers’ voices.  Lucky for Tool and APC, they have the same lead vocals. Maynard James Keenan.

I find is voice soothing.  Incredibly soothing.  Which is probably why I slightly prefer A Perfect Circle to TOOL; the music itself is more soothing.  However, there are a good number of TOOL songs I could easily listen to on repeat.  And have.

I listen to Pandora Radio a lot.  Sometimes on my laptop, but I usually listen to it on my Ipod Touch now.  It makes me feel like I’m turning my Ipod into a musical monster, and I get a real kick out of that.  I feel like I’m cheating. 🙂  Anyway, a few times now, A Perfect Circle’s version of Imagine has come on.  The Hippy and I have had discussions about this.  He believes the APC version is better, but I’m a firm believer that no one could ever, ever, ever do it better than John Lennon.  Not even Rain.  It’s like remakes of movies–the original is always better, even if the remake is good.

But now I’m not so sure.  I mean, Lennon is still better, but Maynard’s voice is starting to bring me over to the dark side.  And it is a dark side, too, considering how that version is arranged.

Compare for me, if you will…  Press the little play buttons to hear the previews for free.

A Perfect Circle

John Lennon

It’s hard, I know.

Completely unrelated, I am finding myself having to thumbs down a lot of things on Pandora.  It’s not because they are bad songs, per se…  But I found myself at work saying “Hey, that song played on my Ipod this morning.”  And Pandora just played “Hip to be Square” which played at work yesterday.  I blame it on the fact that I was introduced to Blue October thanks to work’s music, and the Blue October station is one of my favorites on Pandora.  However, that doesn’t mean I want to feel like I’m at work when I’m very clearly not.  At least it isn’t playing Christmas music.  There is a time and a place for Christmas music, and this just isn’t it.

How far?

Recent events at work have prompted me to question how far a sales clerk must go to avoid giving poor customer service?  Is a customer entitled to hours of a clerk’s time?  Should the clerk (who is probably not making much more than minimum wage) be forced to become a customer’s personal shopper?  How about their interior decorator?

Should the customer be entitled to know when the clerk is working again in case she (*ahem* or he… this is purely hypothetical, after all… sure…) has any more questions or needs any more help?  If so, is it okay for the clerk to… fudge… a little on the hours she (or he….) is working just so she can be guaranteed some alone time?

At any point is it acceptable to say, “I’m sorry, but my schedule just doesn’t allow me to devote so much time to one customer”?  Should the clerk just suck it up and help the customer the best she can?  Other customers and obligations be damned?  Even if this customer is maybe spending $50 after taking up hours of my her time?

Would this customer’s behavior be more acceptable if it weren’t the Christmas season?  What if it weren’t during the time of year when the store takes in twice as much freight as “normal” and is having to work twice as hard to even pretend to find room for it?  Would it be more acceptable if the one clerk that has been singled out is the only one who is truly responsible for making sure the stock gets out on the floor?  Even when there are dozens of other clerks to choose from?

I guess I don’t really have the answers, or I wouldn’t even be asking the questions.  I know what I want the answers to be, but I have a feeling the “right” answers are opposite that.  Maybe the clerk needs to set up a sort of blind date system where she, regretably, receives a very important call partway into the interaction.

Retail employees should be given tips.  At least in situations like these.  Mandatory 20% gratuity.  If I’m she’s going to get in trouble because the work isn’t getting done, she might as well get and extra $10 out of it.  A thank you should be enough, but frankly, it isn’t.  And being told God put me into her life isn’t enough either.