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4/17/05

8:30AM - 2:00 PM Express Register

It was sort of busy today--in waves. The customers were a mix of friendly and slightly rude, several not really engaging with me in any way. I had a lot of WIC checks today, mainly because they are only good until tomorrow. I sold a lot of Sunday papers, cantaloupes (on sale for $1.50 each), donuts (also on sale), and bagels in the morning. Later in the day I saw a lot of meat. Some of totals seemed really high to me-- at least twice I caught a mistake I had made in scanning (which makes me wonder how many mistakes I make in general), but many of the higher priced orders had a lot of meat, which I have no sense of the price of. Seafood seems particularly expensive. I had a woman who told me she likes to watch the order being rung up, because they make mistakes a lot. I told her I understood, and that sometimes I do make mistakes. In retrospect, I am sure this wasn't very reassuring. There seemed to be more men going through the line today than usual, definitely more than would come through on a weekday, and on a regular register. I did have several elderly woman tell me not to hurry.

When I first punched in LL sent me out on reshops. There were around 6 full carts at the end register--all reshops. I only got through about half of my cart when I was called up front and put on the express register. Around 11:00 BH started on the register behind me. There were a few lulls and we talked a little. We both don't like it when it's slow. She said it was slow yesterday--but we overlapped for a few hours yesterday, and I had thought it was busy. She told me she was a junior at SU, studying math education. When I told her I had started at 8:30 (as when you start and when you're off is in general the safest conversation to have with one another), she said she could have never come in at 8:30 this morning, because she was up until 4 last night. Her sorority was inducting the new sisters. I can't remember what sorority she is in, but they had some kind of event or party and then a pancake breakfast afterwards.

For a while LL and DD were the front end supervisors. Later AO was working. I realized I hadn't seen MM, a front end supervisor, in at least a week, I think more. I wonder if she's left, or is just on vacation or something. Of all the front end supervisors, I feel like I have the hardest time talking with LL and DD (and MM). I've been able to talk a little and joke a little with all the others. Maybe it's just that I am not sure if LL or DD like me entirely, and it may just be their personalities--they are both more abrupt, although I have seen them joke around with other employees, but only a few. One time today I had my light blinking, and AO was walking down towards the EZ Scans. He said he saw me and would be there. I was looking out towards the store when he tapped me on my shoulder from the other direction. I joked with him that he had snuck up on me, and that I'd have to watch him because he's sneaky--and that he probably liked that. He laughed at that.

After I punched out I did a little shopping-- I had to pick up a few things and wouldn't have much time the rest of today. I felt sort of weird, because I haven't shopped in the store since I was hired. I decided to just go through the EZ Scan, which I am now able to do much faster than before. TT was working on the EZ Scan register. He told me to have a nice day in a funny way--as if because we both work there we knew saying that was just what we're supposed to say, even when we mean it.

 
4/16/05

10:30 AM - 2:30 PM Express Cashier

The store was really busy today. When I first punched in, PP put me on register 13, so the cashier could take a break. She also told me, as she had yesterday, that she was glad to see me. I had never used this register before--it is different from the others because the keyboard it right next to the card machine (where people swipe their credit cards, etc.), and you have to turn to see the screen. It also has a little monitor next to it--the only thing it did was switch on when the customer pushed their cart through-- there was a video of the bottom of the cart with a message to check the cart. BG was bagging for me. I had never talked with him before, but has seen him around several times. He told me he was sad his buddy (NN) was switching to nights. I told him I was too. BG would also ask me to scan the soda and heavy items first, so he could load the cart properly. I've been trying to do this, but sometimes it's hard because the customer doesn't unload their stuff in that way.

I was on the express register (no 10) for the rest of the day. I had two older women in a row who had questions about their order, and I had to run out and pick up something for one of them. The next customer handed me her Advantage card right way, told me she had no coupons, and would have no problems. She then said that I was very patient with those two women, and that she understands, because she has to be patient in her job as well. She repeated this, so I asked her what she did, and she said she was a professor. I was very tempted to say "so am I," but I didn't. Instead, said I understood--that students often don't do their work or need patience until they understand something. Unfortunately, she was through my line before I could ask her where and what she taught.

As usual with this register, customers often don't see me, so I would yell out "I can help someone over here" and gesture to where they should bring their cart. One woman thought I was directing her to the EZ Scans, and she said she would never use them, because they took away jobs. I told her I agreed and thanked her.

I had a man come through with a cart, and then it turned out the woman behind him, who was in a motorized chair with a basket in front, was also with him, and their order, together, turned out to be quite large. The next two women in line commented that they hated when people do that-- that it is an express line and only 15 items are supposed to go through. I apologized and told them I didn't realized they were together until I had started their order. One woman said that if her mother were here, she would have yelled at them. She said her mother also sticks up for people all the time, for example if someone is rude to a cashier. I told her I'd like to hire her mother to stand next to me, because I usually won't say anything.

Another time I directed a woman over to my line from the 20 items express line. She was concerned because she had more than 15 items, but I assured her it was okay, because there wasn't anyone else in my line and that I'd rather help her than just stand there doing nothing. She was very appreciative.

Most of my customers were buying lunch food, some cakes, some cookout food, flowers and plants, and laundry detergent which was on sale ( buy 2, get 1 free). Several commented on how busy the place was, others commented on how nice it was outside ( a few then taking it back, realizing I was inside). I had a man and women come through, and the man kept on repeating, with a slight Eastern European accent, the price of some of the produce by pound (99 cents a pound). The registered with me because I had had a similar experience on Thursday. I looked to see if it was the same man, but it wasn't. I was also thinking this doesn't really help me, because I have to enter the produce code, not the price per pound when ringing things up.

When I left, PP said it seemed like I just got there. I said I know--it was a shorter shift than what I usually work. I wished everyone good luck, because it was still pretty busy, and punched out.

 
4/14/05

10:30 AM - 4:00 PM Courtesy Clerk

I really like working on Thursdays, because usually PP is the front end supervisor. I think she does a really good job running the front end--she makes sure everyone gets their breaks, she's always really calm when you mess up, and shifts people around to make sure everything is running smoothly. I am starting to expect that when I work on Thursdays, I will end up doing a lot of different things, and today was like that. I started by doing reshops, then ran a regular register for a while, then went back to reshops, then ran an express register, then did bagging, and at the end of the day learned how to run the EZ-Scan.

I did mess up a few times, though. I was out doing reshops and was called to the front end. PP showed me a receipt--I had accidentally rang up 100 instead of 10 of cat treats, twice, for a woman who went through my line when I was cashiering. PP said the woman was fine about it, but that she (PP) just wants to show people when they've made a mistake so they can learn from it. Shortly after this, I did this again with another woman--a bag of dog food rang up 3 times--I forgot to check this, because this happens a lot when you're scanning something big.

While I was out doing reshops, which really is like reverse shopping, an older man asked for my help. His wife had sent him to the store with 3 rain checks and he needed help finding things. I am getting a little better and locating stuff in the store, which is good because I was asked a lot for help with this today. When I used to shop here, I only knew a few of the aisles. shortly after this, I was called up front to run an express register, and the same man came through. He told me he had been married for 64 years. I said that that was impressive, and he said his wife was impressive: she's 74 years old, skis, runs, is healthy and beautiful.

The express line was really long for most of the time I was there. The store seemed its normal level of busy. I had many elderly customers, and many customers wanting to check to make sure the sale items rang up correctly. I did have a man who wanted to check sale items, and he seemed very particular about everything. He came back, after he had gone through the line, to ask about the price of Dial soap--it was on sale for $1.25, but he said it was in a cart marked 50 cents. Luckily, I was able to hand him over to LL , because for some reason, I found him annoying. Shortly after that, a woman told me she had been watching me and that I was a very efficient clerk, and that she was glad she was in my line. I had another woman who was looking for paper lawn bags, she had seen them in the paper. I asked PP where they were, and she said we didn't have them. The woman looked through the store flyer for quite some time--she was sure she saw them there. I was then pulled off the register to go bag groceries, and while doing so, I saw the lawn bags by the front entrance. I looked and saw the woman who had asked for them and so went out and gave her the bags.

I learned a lot of new things today. I had my first tax-exempt order, and shortly after that, an order that was both tax exempt and a Price Chopper charge. This was from two men buying about fifty cans of Price Chopper powdered drink--they run a day care. They said they knew which flavors were good--lemonade and pink lemonade, and which were bad--strawberry and orange. Later in the day, a customer wanted a rain check and HH said I could just fill it out myself. I had a man go through my line who asked me if I knew how to do dairy (something--I can't remember now what it's called) He seemed to know people here, or work here or something. But basically it's when you find a dairy product out of date on the shelves, you get that same dairy product (a fresh one with the current date) free. SS, who was on the register behind me, showed me how to do it.

I was bagging for a little while at the end of the day, but then my line closed down. I was going to do reshops --QQ told me she ended up doing reshops for 35 hours last week--but PP wanted me to learn how to run the EZ Scans (the self-service check outs). She put me with BF (saying that BD, who was running the other EZ Scan console, was too difficult). It's kind of cool--you watch a screen with 4 windows on it, and can call up any of them to full screen to enter stuff in --then it's like the regular register. It seems like working the EZ Scan is a combination of boredom, when there's only a few people using them, and craziness--when there's a lot of people using them. You still have to handle credit card receipts, checks, entering in driver's licenses, or entering in product codes if the customer can't find them. BF told me that sometimes customers get mad if you do this, because they want to do it themselves. Because it's all done with scales, often the scanner will stop because a customer doesn't put their groceries in the bag, or their kids are leaning on it. Then a little siren icon comes up in the little window, until you press it and they can continue scanning.

I saw NN and he told me I wouldn't see him anymore. I asked him if he was leaving. He's not--he got the overnight cashier job and starts Monday. He seemed glad about it. I think it pays a little more, but he was mostly looking forward to not hearing his name all the time to run around and do things, and not having to clean the bathrooms anymore. He said last week someone had finger painting all over a stall door with their shit. He also told me it was his birthday tomorrow. I asked if he was doing anything special, and he said he wasn't--he need someone to drink a beer with him.

When I left, I took some photos of this sad stream that is on the other side of the parking lot. It has seven old, abandoned carts laying in it, along with a bicycle and garbage.

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