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5/01/05

8:00 AM - 3:30 PM (Express) EZ Scan

When I first punched in it was quiet. AC grabbed me and told me that we should do rehops until 10, since I wouldn't open the EZ Scan until then. We sorted through about 5 carts, AC said that she hated to say it, but whenever AO works the night before, the reshops are never done. AC was actually very good at sorting through all the stuff, and kept on quoting how BB likes it done. I was actually able to unload an entire cart, and this helped me figure out better where things were.

NN was still around, and upset about something--I guess it was busy last night and he felt hassled. LL had called me to the front, and NN was there, along with BJ. BJ just blurted out that NN liked me and wanted to know if I had a boyfriend. I just said yes, and then LL said "see she has a boyfriend. " I just left to go back to reshops. I had decided on my way to work that I had to talk to NN and tell him I didn't want to go out with him, and was thinking of just saying I had a boyfriend. Because I'm so lousy at this, in the past I've found this just works the best--sort of stops the pursuit. I don't think anyone believed me, and I felt bad for NN, because he was already sort of frazzled already (not like it's the end of the world that I don't want to date him.) Later, BJ came up to me and asked me if I really did have a boyfriend, and I said yes. He told me that NN was a nice guy, and he does like me, and that I should go out with him. I said I knew NN liked me, and I do think he's a nice guy, but that I don't want to have that kind of relationship with him. BJ seemed surprised that I knew NN liked me. Even later, LL came over and told me that NN liked me, but she had told him she didn't think I liked him that way. SHe also said it was mean of BJ to ask that in front of NN, and I agreed. This was actually the first time LL had spoken to me, really.

I eventually got on the EZ Scan--I was on the express one today. when I first went over to open it up, BQ was working at the desk figuring out all the sale items. I guess he has to put all the signs up in the aisles, and was checking that they scanned in correctly, or something. It wasn't very busy until around 12:30, and then it was the normal Price Chopper craziness. Behind me was a display of beach balls, balloons, and other summer toys. I had a lot of kids going over to it and bouncing balls while their parents scanned stuff. I had a woman with a little girl come over needing a tissue--the little girl's tooth was coming out. I tried to occupy some of the kids attention, because 1) they were bored and 2) they tend to lean on the scales and mess up the EZ Scan thing. A called a few over to watch the video monitor of their mother scanning things.

I was also near the closet where the cleaning "zamboni" is kept. I saw BE a lot, who is always going around the store with it. He reminds me of the cartoon guy on the Carol Burnett show (?)--he is sort of small and has a thin mustache. He's actually very nice, but quiet. At one point over the PA, BE was called to the watermelon display, "and bring the zamboni." I didn't find out what happened, but couldn't help imagining smashed watermelons all over the place.

It seemed like about half of the people using the EZ Scan knew how it worked, and the other half didn't, exactly. It is very particular about how you do things--you have to scan and then put the item on the scale where the bags are ( "Please place the item in the bag"), leave everything on there until you finish paying, etc. Several people mumbled on their way out, sarcastically, that this was supposed to be faster? ( I don't think it is at all--most people are really slow at scanning, and it would take them 10-15 minutes what a cashier could ring through in 5. I think it's mainly about not waiting in line, and feeling like you're doing something instead of waiting for the cashier to do it, and of course requiring less staff) A lot of employees come through EZ Scan as well. One woman, who had to sign a credit card slip, was mimicking the EZ Scan voice to me, and I responded by asking her to sign her receipt in the same voice, which we both laughed at.

One guy was watching me and asking how it all worked. He said he was interested because this was the future. I told him I didn't like it so much because I didn't get to talk to customers as much as I do when I'm on a regular register. I told him I felt more like a security guard, watching all the screens.

There were several policemen and firemen in the store. One policeman, who was from the Crime Scene Unit, told me I looked like the woman on CSI (Jorja Fox?). Earlier, AC told me she had dated a cop once.

AL came by and gave me a copy of his thesis ( I had asked for this.) I will have to make sure to read it and discuss it with him. I don't know how much he believes that I am really interested in it.

After I had punched out and was heading back to the breakroom to pick up my jacket, BR, one of the store managers actually spoke to me --he just asked how I was doing and if I was going home. I guess I've been here long enough to register.

 
4/30/05

12:45 AM -6:00 PM EZ Scan

I decided to make an audio recording of my day at work, so I taped a recorder to my body and clipped on a small microphone. I must have hit the stop button at some point, because I only got audio after my break when I readjusted. (Who needs five hours anyway?) I am hesitant to do too much of this because I don't want to fetishize the job too much, but the sound around the EZ Scan is amazing--the Price Chopper Woman's voice again and again: Please place the item in the bag, Do you have any coupons? Do you have any items under your cart? Please scan your Price Chopper Advantage card now. If you do not have an Advantage Card, please scan your first item. Please wait for cashier assistance.

During my break, AR asked me if I had a phone. I do usually bring it, but had forgotten to bring it today. She said she was done for the day, and so I asked what she was still doing her. Another woman replied that she was waiting for the bus. I felt kind of stupid / insensitive about this. I know a lot of employees walk to work or rid the bus--not everyone has a car.

There was a fairly constant flow of people through the EZ Scans. When I first got there, BS was running the large EZ Scan register, and asked me if I had done this before. She then went through some things again with me, and then said that she had filled all the bags and register receipt paper. She left the register very neat--she cared about doing a good job, I think, and didn't want someone else to mess it up.

I tried to keep the area clean. I remember when I used to shop here, it often seemed that the scanner glass was dirty, or there weren't bags. (Plus BS would have liked it that way.) People do leave a lot of stuff behind around the scanners, as well as baskets and garbage. This also helped to breakup the boredom of just watching four screens all the time. It seemed like either there was no one at the scanners, or else four people would be on them at once.

I once again saw someone from SU, but this time he did know about me working there. BB also came through after her shift ended, buying dinner-type things. She almost pushed someone out of the way trying the get out, and said that she must be in a hurry to leave. I told her I didn't blame her.

AL told me he got an A- on his thesis, and that his presentation went well. I asked if he could give me a copy of it, and he said he would.

I don't really like working on the EZ Scan.I was wondering if it was punishment for doing something wrong, or not being good enough at customer service --you don't have to be very social in this area--but I think it's really that they rotate people through here, along with other things.

 
4/28/05

6:00 PM -12:00 AM EZ Scan

I came in early to pick up my paycheck, and did end up waiting in the Customer Service line for about 10 minutes. On my way to the breakroom, I learned who the winners of the Safety Suggestion contest were. The winning suggestion was to have a mop handle inside the bucket, so that the mop doesn't fall over and people trip. There was also a runner-up suggestion: to have face masks so when using sprayed cleaning supplies one doesn't have to breathe or swallow the cleaner.

I was on the large EZ Scan tonight. BN was on the Express EZ Scan until around 9:15. She was friendly, and helped me to remember how to do it, which wasn't hard, I had just forgotten a few details from my 15 minutes of "training." At one point, we heard a strange ringing which seemed to be coming from the Ice freezer. Shortly after, Ia man appeared--his cell phone we in with a display of Whiffle ball bats next to the Ice freezer. He was calling it in hopes someone would pick it up. I told BN I was working until midnight. She said she has had that shift three nights this week, and that it gets real slow around 9, and then around 10 picks up a little.

For the most part, running the EZ Scan is just watching people. Often, a credit card receipt spits out from my register printer, with the person's name on it (and for them to come over and sign.) It sort of felt like the "Minority Report,"or something to see the names appear like that. The other main job is to hit the okay button a lot, as people don't put their "item in the bag," and then the scanner stops and says "Please wait for cashier assistance," until I press the button on my screen. One guy commented to me that that voice must drive me crazy. Only a few times there were people at every scanner needing help, like a check or produce code, at the same time. Otherwise, it was pretty boring. I started watching how people scanned, and how awkward they seemed compared to the cashiers.

I had one woman come through with a really full cart and two young daughters. It was taking her a while to scan everything, and the kids seemed kind of bored. I told the girls I would draw them a picture of anything they want. One asked for a dog, the other a flower. I drew this quickly on blank receipt paper and gave them to them. The younger one then asked for a picture of the sun, then a butterfly, then grass. Their mother asked if I was an art student, and I told her I was an artist, that I was done with school. She made a comment about starving artists, and then told me she studied art too, but that now she is a special education teacher.

Many of the people using the EZ Scan were younger. Two guys, who to me really looked like they were in high school, are in the army--when signing a credit card receipt one showed me his army ID, and the other was wearing an army t-shirt. Maybe they had just signed up, because they didn't carry themselves with the straight posture I've seen in others who are in the army. I also had a few customers who didn't seem to realize that this was the self service scanner--they came right up to me, so I just rang them up. I also had a lot of people come up to me with questions-- I think because I'm standing behind more of a desk-like thing, and sort of away from everything else. One woman and her family came in to pick up boxes from the aisles as they are re-stocked. She had called ahead and was told to come between 10 and 11 pm.

I learned that condoms are also locked up, but some are kept with the cigarettes and baby formula. Towards the end of the night, a tall thin black man came through with a briefcase and a small suitcase in his cart. I also noticed a man who seemed to be just hanging out and looking at things, but it turned out he was with a woman who works in photo.

A talked with AO a little throughout the night. He seemed really unhappy with the staffing situation--that there weren't enough people working here (or scheduled). He blamed this solely on BB. Later, NN came in and he and I and the photo woman talked more about BB. NN said she was firing people, the photo woman said that all the good people were leaving. I asked how long she had been here, and they think about a year and a half. They seemed to like the two staff supervisors before BB, a lot. The woman from photo said she wouldn't work in the front end because of BB. I asked who had been fired, and NN said that BG was, for not calling in [sick] and not cleaning the bathrooms. I also found out that MM did leave, but it had something to do with being closer to her kids.

NN was extremely friendly to me. At first, he said he wanted to take me out for a drink on my birthday, but didn't know how to get a hold of me. Later, he asked me if I would like to go to dinner next week. I told him next week was sort of crazy for me. He persisted, and want to take me out the following week.

 

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