Could have predicted that one

So, a few days ago two different associates died the same day, both from cancer. From what I gather, both funerals took place this afternoon. Apparently, many of our cashiers decided to call out today in order to attend. Naturally with no notice, no replacements could be scheduled, and the entire night saw a severe cashier shortage. I had three different managers all separately ask me if I knew how to run a register, which I thankfully do not. Of course, one manager basically threatened to throw me on a register trained or not. Good thing that was only about ten minutes before I could clock out for dinner, so she never got the chance to follow through on that. It was actually unusually busy for a Sunday night, also. Generally while the weekends are never "good", Sunday can typically be relied on to be a little bit of a breather compared to Friday night and Saturday. But people really just kept pouring through. Even so, we got out at about quarter past ten, which is fairly early. But that's also partly because the manager who called it didn;t seem to realize that the department most of us had ended up in to help finish zoning was not actually done. Good job. Lousy little smart-ass, anyway.

Oh, and dude who works in Pets became far too amused by someone calling to ask if we carried horse products. Specifically looking for horse enemas. Thus starting a running joke for the whole rest of the night. On the other hand, I did find that to be pretty damn funny, especially this exchange:

Him: "A horse enema. Can you even imagine what would come out?"
Me: "...shit?"
Him: *cold stare*

But yeah, now two days off, and do I ever need it...


Well, it's been a while.

Almost five months since my last post. Situations have changed a little bit, too. In February our store got a "Royal Visit" from the regional and district managers. The inspection tour, meant to find anything not being conducted to the highest of Company specs, was passed with flying colors, thus securing our Store Manager's job for at least several more months until the next such visit might occur. Not long after, the twice-yearly event of the assistant managers switching positions occured, meaning we got a different assistant manager over Pets. A few weeks after that, we got rid of our fish tanks, and while I was certainly not sad to see them go, I was not especially happy about having to perform the task of draining the damn things. After that, things pretty well went without much incident. The new Assistant over Pets and other areas had a much different style of management than the previous. And while I like this manager, I don't like the way she manages. I can stand and talk to her quite easily, she's a very nice person and easy to get along with. I just don't like the way she runs the show.

On the other hand, this turned out not to be a problem for long, as a long-held goal of mine was finally reached. Through other personnel shuffling, an opening was about to become available in Toys, a fact I knew was coming for weeks ahead of time. So obviously I was expressing my interest to every relevant manager at every level, with sole exception of the Store Manager himself. I try not to bother him, else he might eat my soul or something. But in the end, the squeaky wheel approach paid off, and I got my wish. I'm now one of the second shift Toys associates. I think it helped that the assistant manager over toys now is the same one who used to be over Pets. She knows my work. Plus I impressed her further by taking it upon myself to cover Toys one night when for some reason or another nobody was scheduled there, after finishing up my own department way early. Nobody told me to go over there and do that, I just did it because I knew it had to be done and I was arguably the best-qualified to do it. And I did it right. This would be the first of two such occasions, the other I was actually told to go over there and work because nobody was there, but the result was the same. Plus I'd had a history anyway of going and helping to finish up fairly often. The good job I did earned me the praises of the one I eventually ended up taking the place of, another factor I think helped push me over the top when the time came for the decision. I had both second shift Toys people championing me as a replacement.

But after actually getting over there, I realized there was one significant problem. I came to work at 4:00. And with a typical load of projects to finish before zoning, I'm right up to the deadline of 6:00 before I can start zoning most of the time, and that's just not enough time. Management gets antsy if Toys isn't pretty damn close to finished before 9:00, and on an average night it's just not possible for one person to get most or all of the department finished in less than three hours. My personal best is about four, and that's under totally ideal conditions. Second shift in Toys, me or anybody else, really needs to get in at 2:00 in order to finish projects early enough to get the time needed for zoning. The only upside is that management understands this, and apparently doesn;t think I'm just lazing around over there all night until they have to send me help. I've talked about this subject directly with the assistant manager over me, and she seems to understand that I'm giving my all over there every night but that it's just a really, really formidable task for even the best workers. Even my predecessor, who is very well regarded as a hard worker probably wouldn't be able to pull it off under the conditions I'm often faced with. Such realizations have made me feel better about the whole thing. That and reassurance that a third person will be added to the department, at which point we can start playing with scheduling to get the best effect out of everybody. My ideal result would be a four day week for each of us, where we all do 2-11 closing shifts, and equivalent opening shifts on the weekend as applicable (likely 8-5). It'd make everything go so much smoother.


And then, the fish story

On Sunday, Billy mentioned something about leaving a note for our department manager in the fish book. See, we have a notebook back at the fish tanks in which we record the dead fish removed from the tank each day, as well as any other important information that needs to be brought to the attention of the next shift. In theory we should all check with the book as soon as we come on shift in case there's any special instructions or anything. Anyway, since I didn't see Billy for even five minutes Sunday despite that our shifts overlapped by an hour, I ended up going and checking the book, only to find some of the tanks weren't getting any pressure. No pressure = no fresh water entering the tank. That means no cleaning and no aeration, essentially reducing the affected tanks to little more than over-glorified fish bowls. Billy wrote a note in the book and didn't say a word to anybody, even me. Now, when he wrote the note, apparently all nine tanks in the first block were getting no pressure. That changed after a while, since it ended up just being the three tanks on top that remained with no pressure. The situation had become less severe, but still needed attention. So I grabbed the Assitant Manager over Pets and explained the situation. Unfortunately all she would do was talk to the department manager the next morning. Meanwhile everytime I had to dip fish out of those tanks, the water level would drop and not recover, which would have been trouble if many people wanted a fish from there. Plus, I couldn't clean those tanks right because of the irregular water pressure. I couldn't use the siphon since no water would be returned and all the fish would have ended up dying even quicker.

So, I come back to work the next day at 4. Randy the department manager had not been in all day, so nothing had still been done. Somehow all my fish were still alive, but I knew they were on borrowed time, as cloudy as the water was looking. I grabbed another manager and explained what was going on. Now see, he actually did something. He started playing with what plumbing we could reach from the front and eventually produced a very clogged intake cover piece thingy. A big PVC pipe with slots cut into it that apparently has suction enough to draw sediment from the resivoir and get stopped up. Once I cleaned that piece and we got it reattached, pressure returned to normal or thereabout. To accelerate the filtering process and get more water cleaned quicker I went and siphoned the formerly stagnant tanks. It helped since the water became visibly clearer very quickly. All was pretty much well for the most part, though I still warned off anybody wanting fish from there, since it couldn;t have been healthy for those fish to be sitting in that water for probably a good 24 hours, condition worsening the whole time.

Then, later that night, I notice an odd, brownish puddle near the fish tanks. Looked like cola that had been spilled. So I grab a bunch of paper towels and wipe it up. No big deal, people spill crap all over the store all the time. Thing is, when I came back an hour or so later, the puddle had reappeared. It was only then that it occured to me that this was not a simple spill. In fact, the goldfish tanks were slowly leaking water all over the floor. The floor underneath the rug was completely wet and soaking into the carpet, and the mess was expanding out to the side as well. Once again, management was called to this, and could really do nothing except promise to keep maintenance after it so there wouldn't be standing water everywhere. Randy was finally working today, and when I went in I found out that a similar thing was going on with the goldfish tanks as was messing up the A block before. A part of the plumbing was clogged (with snails!) and the water was backing up and out of the system. This resulted in me getting a new instruction: Get rid of any snails I find in the tanks. I also got instructed to scrub out the fish tanks better, which is fair enough. I hadn't cleaned them especially well the two previous nights given that there were mishaps occuring all over the place with them. To correct the damage, I spent a good half of my shift scraping, scrubbing, and siphoning the tanks, and wiping down the outside surfaces. In short, the tanks are as clean as I can possibly make them. It helped too that I had a quick night in the dog and cat food aisles, which I got finished earlier than normal. It allowed me the extra time I needed at the fish tanks besides the half hour or so I spent when I clocked in doing some early corner scraping. In fact, it was a good night in general. They let us go home at 10:30, since it was a slow night everybody pretty much got finished early and quickly like I did, and I even had time to go and help zone Toys when I finished with my fish. I like doing Toys every now and then, especially since I wanted to work there to begin with. Now with two days off, I'll be very interested to see what those tanks look like when I go back on Friday.

I'm either lying, or I'm stupid.

I'm sure everybody's played this game from one side or the other at some point. Customer comes up to you and asks for a somewhat specific thing. This thing is not carried in your store, and you know this for a fact. You may even be aware that this never existed in all the time you've been there. You relate this experience to the customer. Now, the reasonable response to expect would be something like "Okay, thank you." or maybe even "Do you know who does have it?" But no, more often than not, customer responds by saying "No, I get this here all the time." At this point both parties are thinking the same thing: You're either lying, or you're stupid. Customer is either lying to me to perhaps cover up that they're misremembering something, or is possibly stupid in thinking that there is a magic phrase, a secret code word even that will make me suddenly produce additional items from a secret location that only the select few in-the-know can purchase from. This is of course not the case. And with exception of items that are truly out of stock, what's on the shelf is all we currently sell. Meanwhile, customer thinks the same of me. I'm either lying because I'm maybe lazy and don't want to help (probably goes along with the thought that we have all kinds of stuff in back that we won't bring out for anyone), or I'm stupid and don't know what's in the aisle I'm working.

This tends to come up pretty frequently to some extent, especially when someone does ask if we have more of something in back. If we do have stuff, and I can get to it, I'll usually happily go and grab one for somebody, especially if they're reasonably polite about it. I don't have a problem with that, and it is my job and all. On the other hand, most of the hours I work they're unloading trucks at the same time, and it's not actually possible to get stuff out from the Pets bin in back. I explain this fact to people, though I know they don't always believe me. Still, the incident that really set me off here was a couple nights ago when a woman simply refused to believe me when I told her we did not carry a certain variety of Ol' Roy dog food in the 22 ounce cans. What she wanted was what's called Chopped Meaty Combo - a revolting combination of beef, chicken and liver products (I'm almost curious as to what this liver component comes from, since if it's a cow liver wouldn;t that also fall under the extremely vague definition of "beef" that dog food is constrained to?) that we only sell in boxed six-packs. We don't have it in single units in either 13 or 22 ounces, and we have not for as long as I've worked at this Wal-Mart. But no, the guy working in Pets doesn't really know anything about the goods he has to work every day, and the woman maintains that she buys that flavor in that size at that store "all the time", and since I'm really not allowed to say to anybody that they're out and out wrong or whatever, I just have to stop talking by then since I'm not going to be able to convince this woman of anything within the bounds of conduct I have to follow. Eventually she settles on a few cans of just beef and just chicken, and a third kind that I don't remember. And it probably wouldn't have bugged me except that she had such a bad attitude about something she was entirely mistaken over. And yet, I can remember more than one instance where I've done the same thing. Oh, true, I may not have treated the poor retail slave so badly over it, but I can't say I didn't think the person was either lying or an idiot, and I start to feel bad about it. But then, that's why the saying is true: Everyone needs to work retail at least once in their life. Until you do, you just have no clue what these poor people have to go through every single day of their working lives.


A week's review

For various reasons besides being rather beat after work every night, I've fallen a touch behind in the chronicle of my enslavement employment. So, let's go with some of the highlights I can recall right now.

::Too Many Sweaters::
Of course we all know there are those people out there who have the perhaps uncontrollable desire to make their dogs into four-legged fashion statements. I'm not saying anything bad about people who do that, since I even wanted to dress my dad's Pug in flannel shirt and overalls. But that's not the point. Wal-Mart carries a small variety of seasonally themed dog apparel. T-shirt kind of things for warmer weather, sweaters as it gets cooler, even jackets and raincoats. For Christmas, we're even now carrying printed dog-sized bandanas, collar scrunchies, and holiday themed collars separate from our Collar Wall. So one night last week, there was a big pile of sweaters and such. And I literally mean a pile - they were just thrown on top of the shelf of stuffed dog toy PDQ's directly below the clothing racks. It didn't take me long of sortingand trying to rehang these things to realize there simply was not enough peg space to have all these things hanging. So I went after the only reasonable solution. I started a small fire, and... wait, no. No, I went to the fixture room in back and got a new peg with intent to print an extra label and make myself some extra space. See, size regardless, most all of the dog clothing is the same price, so it's a small matter to set up another peg to fill with whatever assortment I decide should hang there.

The only stumbling point in my plan was that the D-8 printer had gone missing for a couple days, so I didn't actually have my own printer to use to make the new label. Uh, oops? So thus the quest began to find a new printer. A small side-story to that follows, but is not relevant to this particular tale. In the end, I went and borrowed the printer from the fitting room, and got a roll of adhesive labels from the stash in Housewares. So it was a bit of a task, but I finally got to set a new space for an item, and fill it with stuff. It was pretty easy, since I'd decided to only put the smallest sizes on the new peg, so I was able to just move a couple things over slightly to make the extra room. And once I got eerything sorted and hung back up, and then straightened the stuffed toys under them, that space was looking mighty good. Unfortunately people being the way they are, I had to go and fix it all over again three or four times. Made me wish my cell phone had a camera so I'd have been able to keep some proof of the work I'd done that night. Oh well, what can you do? Making it worse, I'm pretty sure nobody else noticed the change had been made, so I won't even get any credit for it from a manager or anything.

::"This is the way to help a customer!"::
So, when I couldn't find my own printer, I went to Housewares because I used to know where that printer was hidden. It wasn't there anymore, and apparently the Telxon had been missing as well. But normally they were hidden behind some of the small appliances, so that's where I went looking. It was a bad idea. See, associate in Housewares was on her dinner break at the time. And it just so happened that when I got there, some older woman was trying to replace her coffee maker. Now, of course we have all kinds of things on display there, but that doesn't necessarily mean we actually have said item in stock. Lady was looking for an $18 programmable coffee maker. She didn't see one in a box, so of course she yells for me to come and help her. I look, and of course I don't see one either. Somehow she seems unsatisfied that I could not magicaly make one become visible. Then the obvious question follows: "Do you have any in the back?" I explain that, no, we don't keep very much stock in the back, and it's mostly high sell-through items like dog food. Not coffee makers. I do word it more politely than that, but it was the basic gist of what I said. This didn't thrill her either. Then she instructs me to help her find another comparable machine. She's very much appaled when I point out a same-size, programable machine that costs about $35. Apparently despite the fact that she says clearly that she must have her coffee in the morning (and by the way she's starting to act I concluded that she was without her machine that morning as well), it's not in fact worth $35 to satisfy that particular addiction. So I keep looking, and there's a similar but I guess less advanced model in a box for around $25. She's still not pleased with that, but I guess her resolve is beginning to break down. Now, it looks very similar to a machine on display at $30, and she wants to know what the difference is between the two that they seem so similar but there's a $5 difference. At this point I must note that there is no boxed example of the $30 machine, nor does the product tag on the shelf carry any actual specific information beyond the price. Further, I am not a coffee drinker (and if I were, I'd care enough about it, I think, to do most of the process manually and not rely on a machine), nor am I conversant in most small appliances - I don't work in that department afterall. I explain as politely as I can to the lady that I do not know what difference there is, the tag doesn't give any information, and there's not a boxed one-of-those for me to compare directly. She's unsatisfied. She begins demanding that I read the box and tell her what the difference is. I attempt to explain again that I do not know anything about the display machine, and that reading the box we do have isn't going to give any comparative information. She grabs my arm, and at this stage I am seriously about a half second from going off on her. Still holding my arm as though I were about to run away, she again demands that I read the box and tell her the difference between the machines, telling me that she can't see the print on the box, and had some medical reason for being unable to either bend over or pick up the box to examine for herself. I'm really losing my patience at this stage, but am saved at the last moment when I catch sight of Mary in the aisle. I call her over, since she actually works there and Knows Stuff. She went on to explain that the machine on display was a previous version of what was in the box, and it was replaced because the labels fell off the touchpad style buttons. See, this is the kind of thing you know when you work in a department. Lady asks why the new machine is cheaper than the older type, which the true answer would be because Wal-Mart made Black and Decker lower their price on it. But lady asked for the box to be opened (for the first time, mind you), and of course Mary cut the tape on the box. Lady seemingly gave up and resigned herself to the $25 coffee maker, and said, "Okay, put it back together and I'll buy it." Thus began at least a five minute ordeal of trying to figure out how to get one certain piece of cardboard wrapped back around the coffee pot. A problem I fixed within seconds of contributing, but that's not really important. I felt better after the woman left and Mary told me she was about ready to scream at her too. But, the part that really bothered me was that she grabbed me like that. You just don't go and latch on to some person you don't even know like that - and I'm not one of those people who makes a big deal about personal space, either. If Mary hadn't ended up distracting her, I'd probably have ended up telling her in no uncertain way to release my arm. Also, the entire time this was going on, I was carrying around that merchandise peg, and I'll tell you what, it makes a really ineffective stress device. But lady sure came close to driving me to bend metal.

Those are the events that really stand out, but here's some highlights:

  • Taught the new girl in Domestics how to dip fish, which will come in handy very soon.
  • Got to throw a Claimsed dog house into the trash compactor, but sadly couldn't wait around to watch the destruction. What a waste.
  • One night Billy and I were both working 4-11, and the aisles were all finished before 6. Yeah, we were bored.
  • During zoning, a manager assigned me a helper while I was working in someone else's department. That was pretty cool.
  • And finally, our store has reportedly finished all their seasonal hiring, despite still having major shortcomings in a number of already high-load areas.
Finally, for Thursday and Friday of this week, I'll be alone in Pets, nobody will be working Housewares or Stationary, and Ricky over in Paper Goods has these two days off. Now see, under normal circumstances, when it's time for me to take a break, go to dinner, I tell one of the people in those areas so they can cover any calls, get fish, whatever. But now the only people that will be around are whoever will be working Domestics, and one or both of them go to relieve whoever's working the fabric table between 7 and 9 every night. The problem is greater than it may seem. Depending on the mood of the assistant manager, I may be told to cover Stationary and/or Housewares, besides which Pets has got to be worked on and the fish tanks tended to. In short, it's impossible for me to properly work two or more departments by myself, especially since I'll have to run returns for my usual three departments and probably the other two. If it does happen that I have to cover, I've already made a good plan for how to handle it, but it'll hinge on a manager allowing me to borrow the new girl out of Domestics. I can probably make everything work if I have a second set of hands. But then, I haven't been told yet that I'll have to cover either department, and I know how I'll try to handle the situation if it comes up, so I'm not gonna worry about it right now. Oughta make for an interesting entry or two, though...


Just when you thought it was safe to work at Wal-Mart...

New Wal-Mart associates are now at a higher risk of stolen identities due to the theft of a computer from a subcontracted firm in Denver.

Yesterday I and many or all Wal-Mart employees hired since February 1st, 2006 received by mail a notice that Wal-Mart learned Affiliated Computer Services had one of their computers stolen from a Denver facility. This computer is believed to contain names, addresses, and SSNs of Wal-Mart associates hired within the past eight months. This security breach is also indicated to affect other companies, but none were named. A transcript follows.

Dear [specifically named associate]:

Under a federal law created to enforce child support obligations, all employers - including Wal-Mart - are required to provide information to the government on all newly hired associates. For the last nine years, Wal-Mart has fulfilled this duty by providing new hire information to the New Hires Directory of Colorado, which compiles this information for all 50 states, using the services of their subcontractor names Affiliated Computer Services (ACS).

We learned last week that ACS experienced a security breach involving a computer stolen from its Denver office. We believe it is very important to report this information to you. According to ACS, this computer may have contained the names, addresses, and Social Security Numbers of employees of many companies - including some Wal-Mart associates hired in the last eight months, whether or not they live in Colorado.

At this time, ACS has told us there is no indication that anyone's identity has been compromised or that the computer was stolen for that purpose. Law enforcement agencies are investigating this matter. If you were hired after Feb. 1, 2006, ACS has informed us that it may notify you by mail about the incident and include precautions to follow if you believe that your identity has been compromised, and a toll-free number for any further questions. In the meantime, we have attached information about how you may check your credit reports for free. In addition, the Federal Trade Commission (www.ftc.gov) provides helpful information regarding identity and credit protection.

If you have questions after receiving this letter and ACS notification, feel free to contact ACS at its toll-free number or speak with your supervisor, manager, or HR director.

Thank you.


The People Division.

An interesting thing to note is that this apparently came by way of Sam's Club headquarters, and not Wal-Mart's Home Office itself. Though not clearly stated in the letter, this does apparently affect Sam's employees too, since someone I know who worked at Sam's Club in the indicated timeframe got one of these letters yesterday as well.


Night of the Dead

No, I don't mean the costumes. Only saw a few really good ones. And by "really good" I more mean "cute girls in skimpy outfits", though there were some legitimately good costumes beyond those considerations. One customer had a really good Jack Sparrow costume. Anyway, I expected one of two things to happen last night. First is that it would be super-busy as everyone blew through on their way to and from parties or whatever. Second is that it would be really slow since most everybody would have better things to do than hang around Wal-Mart all night. And as it happens, that's exactly what I got. Plus, Billy was working last night too, so Pets was finished I wanna say before 7:30, despite neither of us clocking in before 4:00. And I still did the majority of the work. The only thing I know Billy did was to repeatedly tell me how the fish tanks weren't getting cleaned well enough, and effectively calling me a liar when I would tell him each time that I've been cleaning them as I'd been directed to do already. It begins to occur to me that he probably thinks the same thing about me as I tend to about him. Namely that he doesn't do anything except the minimum it takes to get by, goofs off, etc. This isn't helped by the fact that any shift we're both working, none of the kinda stuff comes up like it does when I'm working alone. Nearly every night I work by myself, any number of things will come up that take me away from my main job and prevent me from being able to finish early. Billy has commented before that I zone really fast, and when nothing is taking me away from the job, that's true. But he doesn't seem to get that most of the time I can't sit and focus myself on that non-stop until it's finished. I only wish it was possible for me to make all my work in Pets linear that way. Work on zoning the aisle until that's finished, then work on getting fish for people until it's time to clean and close down the tanks, then maybe go help zone somewhere else until it's time to go home. My work becomes weaker, and I think this true of many people, when I have to change to a different task in the middle of one I'm already doing. This is to say nothing of whatever little side jobs my managers decide need doing and that I'm the right person for. But anyway, Billy totally pissed me off last night and I was fuming almost non-stop until we got to go home. The fuming mostly manifested itself as a depressed appearance, though, which seemed to concern any of my friends that I let notice. And one of them in particular unknowingly ends up contributing to the depressedness whenever it's already going on. So, I really wasn't having a fun time last night, and actually for a minute seriously thought about walking out at lunch and not coming back. I felt that lousy last night.

So, it was so slow last night that none of the departments were getting hit very hard, which means zoning went really fast everywhere. In fact, I got sent to work Stationary around 7:00, but it hadn't looked like anybody had touched it at all, so I mostly just walked around the department looking like I was straightening stuff up until it was time to go to lunch. And after I got back, almost everyone was finished. The managers had to keep coming up with busy work for us to do, since nobody can leave before almost 10, and it wasn't even 9:15 yet. I ended up having a group slowly form around me, all wandering around trying to find something to do in order to look busy. It was really boring. You know we're bored when we ask any manager we can find what there is still to do. I half suspect that toward the end the managers were starting to untidy stuff just so they could tell us a minute later to go and fix it. You could see really clearly on their faces that they were struggling to come up with anything to keep us busy. I think they were having trouble keeping busy too. Between how bored I was, everything being finished, and how crappy I felt all night, I was ready to get out when they finally made the call for second shift to start filtering out a little before 10:00. In general I'd have been annoyed at the loss of an hour's pay, but seeing as I'm scheduled for over 38 hours this week, it wouldn't have been a big deal anyway. At this point, I'm looking forward to a normal-traffic night. I just hope Billy's not on as well. If I have to put up with his attitude much more, somebody is gonna hear a little story about Billy. I'm seriously getting sick of putting up with him, and I'm certainly not going to let it go on unknown in perpetuity. Yeah, I know; If I already knew the way he was, why did I ask to stay in the department with him? Fortunately we're usually not scheduled on together but maybe once a week plus a few overlapping hours. Besides, the workload is still preferable in Pets.


Shift shifts.

Y'know, if you're going to call in sick, there's probably better times to do it than immediately after your scheduled two days off. But on Friday that's exactly what I did, due to some pressing medical issues, the kind of stuff you just can't ignore in favor of going to work unless you want to, like, lose a kidney or die or something. Anyway...

Following that up, I was scheduled to work first shift this weekend. First time I've had to do that, as previously the earliest I've had to work was noon, and that hasn't been for several weeks. It was challenging just to drag myself out of bed that early, especially after having my sleep screwed up by medication, and getting ready and out the door in time to make it to the store was a mad rush I do not much enjoy. Making it worse was that since I work second shift always, I don't hardly know anybody on first shift. The earliest any person I know comes in is 11, which is right in time for my first 15 minute break. Of course, that's Ricky over in Paper Goods, who is getting more and more bitter by the day because he's being made to take up some of the slack in Chemicals since my transfer. Today he even made an offhand remark about talking to the Assistant Manager over that area that I'd "have to be put back." While I wouldn't put it past him to say something, I don't think the managers would act on it. Plus, when he said that, I became resolved that I'd probably put in my notice if they tried to put me back on Chemicals. I don't intend that as a threat; if they tell me they're putting me back, I'm gonna tell them that I can't stand working Chemicals, and if it's the only way I can keep my job, it's only gonna be for two weeks. But we're getting off track.

First shift sure is different. Especially on the weekends. Our store is infamous for its shorthandedness on the weekends, and this was no exception. There's nobody at all in Hardware before 2pm this weekend, which means nobody to mix paint, which seems to be the main customer interaction task in that department. Last week, one of the women from Toys taught me how to use the paint mixer, so that came in handy as I helped to cover the paint when I could. Mostly just if I was in the area already and somebody turned up. I ran a gallon for one guy before I'd been clocked in an hour. Then later on I did another two, after a few people from local departments were rounded up to move Hardware's freight that didn't get worked the night before. I'm not sure what exactly happened after that, but the paint machine was said to have broken down and wouldn't dispense color anymore. But that wasn't too big of a deal since by then I didn't have to cover anymore. Otherwise all I was doing was hauling dog food and cat food out from the back to replenish the shelves for my whole shift, in between calls to the fish tanks. And naturally the little measuring cup I use to put aquarium water in the bags went missing at some point in the three days I wasn't present. That ended up kind of fun, as one of the Assistant Managers told me to go to get one from Housewares and take it to Claims for them to mark off inventory. Unfortunately, being the weekend there was nobody in the Claims office, so I had to get the manager to go and mark it off. Better than trying to use the horribly cracked and leaky containers that were still there, though. The top off for Saturday, though, was a manager grabbing me twenty minutes before I was to clock out and telling me to start working chemical pallets that were in grocery. Grocery receiving was a horrible mess, couldn't hardly even move a cart through to load stuff on. Once I finally did get a cart back to the chemicals pallet, I ended up blocked in for a good five minutes or so. The short version is that I ended up having just enough time to push the cart out to the aisle, look at it for a second, then push it back to GM receiving to get it out of the way and go clock out. It was so stupid it's hilarious.

Speaking of fish, we have no goldfish. Oh, sure, we have Fantails, Koi, and the like, but none of the 28 cent, basic, essentially disposable feeder goldfish. As it turned out, our fish vendor mixed up our order with another store, and in the meantime, we're stuck without our most popular fish product. Add to that about half the individual tanks are sick, and I'm not going to sell sick fish to people, so the selection I'll actually get for people was pretty restricted. If the situation continues much longer, I'm gonna have to go over my department manager about it - a move he won't like, but the condition in the tanks just isn't improving despite whatever is being done to treat them.

Sunday ended up being much the same. The paint mixer was still broken to some degree, so I didn't do any paint. My day largely consisted of hauling food out from back and doing fish. Fish were fairly slow, too, except for an inconvenient rush at the end of my shift which caused me to be five minutes late clocking out. Always at the worst times, I guess.