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5/08/05

8:45 AM - 4:30 PM Courtesy Clerk

I am worn out after today. It was really crazy in the store-- a lot of people, the shelves were a mess, and we had carts and carts full of reshops. I was kind of doing everything--reshops, cashiering (for a while) and at one point, AO asked me to rehang the current flyer in the bulletin boards--he thought whoever had done it did a sloppy job. While I was doing reshops, it seemed like there were about five of us out doing them--there must have been 7-9 full carts to put back. While I was sorting out one, a man came up and asked me what all of this was, and I explained to him that it was all the things that people didn't want or changed their mind about. He wanted to know how many hours these carts represented--I guessed they were mainly from last night. One cart featured a very ugly purse--several of us were sort of joking about it. It turned out it is in a mother's day display--cakes and flowers, some soaps, and this ugly purse.

Not surprisingly, many people were buying mother's day type things--cards and flowers, cakes and special dinner things. But, there also were many mothers in the store doing the grocery shopping, some with kids in tow. So much for Mother's day, I guess, although a few customers wished me a happy mother's day. I said I would pass that on to my mother, since I am not a mother myself.

While I was on an express register for a little while this morning, a customer tried to get the attention of another man leaving the store--he finally did and spoke briefly to him, then came back and told me it was Nick Pirro, the county executive.

The one thing that has struck me is that other employees talk to me or at least say hello more than in the past--even the front end supervisors who had seemed more reserved toward me. I imagine because of turnover it takes a while to get to know who people are and what they're like.

 
5/07/05

8:00 AM -1:00 PM EZ Scan

Today seemed really busy in the store--even at 8 am when I got there. PP told me she came in at 7 to catch up on things, but it was busy then. She said BB had asked her to come in so she (BB) could come in later--BB had been there a lot this week. When I saw BB later, she did look pretty tired. For the first two hours I just did reshops, bagging, and was on a register a little--it seems like its been forever since I was on a regular register.

I realized that today was a "dress down" day--this is done once in a while as a benefit--you pay $5,and can wear normal clothes instead of your uniform to work. I had actually paid the $5, but forgot to dress down. I know I like having to wear the uniform. The benefit is for an employee at the Western Lights Price Chopper who had a fire in her home.

I was on the Express EZ Scan, which was busy all day, only a few small lulls. A lot of people came to it with full carts. People were buying a lot of flowers and plants, and mother's day cards , as well as ice, beer, corn on the cob, and cookout stuff. It seemed like most people using the self-service scanners had done it before. I did have a guy watching it while his family went to the bathroom, and then he ended up coming through it to see how it was--he seemed to like it. Many employees came through as well. I had several moments when each person needed something at the same time: a Id for beers, cigarettes, coupons and check all at once. People were generally nice about it, saw how busy I was, and a few even wished me luck or commented about how crazy it must be to work here. One woman did say that when it's busy, it must make the time go faster.

I feel like I'm able to talk to the other employees with more more ease than in the past. During my break, AC came over and sat with me. She was wearing a bakery uniform, so I asked her how long she had worked there--today was her first day. She used to work at Montana Mills, so knew how to do it, and her name had been floated around to fill a position there. She seemed hesitant to take it, because she would have to work from 5 am until noon, and since she doesn't have a car, getting there at that time would be hard. Montana Mills was two blocks away from where she lives, so she was able to get to work at 4 am. BJ tried to say something to me when I was punching back in from my break, but PP told him to stay away from me. I guess the story about BJ, NN and I has gone around--I am fine with not talking to BJ.

While I was bagging for a little while in the morning, I was working with AL. I knew he was going to ask me about his thesis-- I have only been able to read the preface and first chapter, and told him so. I think he was a little disappointed, but he told me that was probably the most important one. It contextualized intellectual thought in England during the time of Dicken's youth, and the debate between utilitarianism and imagination/Romanticism in shaping British public education. It was very thorough. I hope to be able to finish reading it and give him better comments. I feel like I need to prove to him that I really am interested in it. AL has a funny manner with the customers--sort of abrupt but not exactly unfriendly.

I thought I was off at 1:00, but no came to relieve me, so then I thought that perhaps I was on until 1:30-- I have mixed up my times once or twice in the past. But 1:30 came and went--and I was really wanting to get out of there--it was really busy at the EZ scans--so around 1:50 I finally went over and asked LL when I was off--and it was 1:00. She asked what I was still doing here--and I explained that I was waiting for someone to take over, and then thought maybe I was on until 1:30. I then said I just loved being here so much I didn't want to leave, and PP and LL laughed--it didn't seem to be a problem, since it didn't put me over 6 hours. They had forgotten to send someone over who was scheduled for the EZ Scan.

I must thank my friend Anne Beffel, who came in later in the day and took a picture of the board with me listed as best bagger. I felt too self-conscious about doing this myself.

 
5/05/05

12:45 PM - 6:00 PM EZ Scan

I think I like working on Thursdays, during the day, the best. It seems like I have more interesting conversations with the customers on Thursdays. Perhaps it is because people aren't as rushed, trying to get to weekend activities, or perhaps it's because I've been away for a few days, I'm not sure. Even being on the EZ Scan didn't bother me so much today. But, when I was signing in (on the alcohol/tobacco form) PP said hello and asked me how I was doing. I commented that I didn't like the EZ Scan so much. She said that she'd remember that-- I told her I wasn't complaining, and would do it in rotations, but that I missed not talking to people as much as I can when on a register.

The strangest moment of the day was when a older white woman told a black couple in their thirties that "Vegetable oil is used for rape." The couple was at one of the EZ Scans, yes, buying oil along with a few other things, and the woman just wheeled her cart over, told them this, and wheeled away up an aisle. I didn't quite hear her, but knew she had said something--so I walked over and asked, and the woman told me. The man said " I just use oil to make french fries." A customer at another EZ Scan commented on how strange it was. A few minutes later, this woman went over to the pay phone and made a call, but I couldn't here what she was saying because I had several customers and had to help them. When she finished on the phone, she said to me "Syracuse is corrupt, there is rape everywhere." BT, another cashier, was at the EZ Scan and heard this. She came over and talked to me. I said it must be awful to have to think that way--meaning to be in such a crazy place. BT agreed, and said unfortunately there are a lot of people out there like that.

There were a a variety of people going through today. It seems to me that younger people in general are more comfortable with the self-service thing than older ones. An older man, who had tremors, like someone with Parkinson's disease,came through and asked if I was going to ring him up. I explained that this was the self-service section, and he said it wasn't like that before. At first I tried to send him over to the express register, but then he looked at my name tag, and for some reason--perhaps I didn't want to be complained about, even though I really hadn't done anything--I then told him I would ring him up. I started to do so at my register, but he seemed to want me to do it at the scanner, so I did. I had another older woman slowly approach my register to give me a check and she told me that she has the gout. It was in one leg, but it went away and now is in the other. She was a very thin woman, and I associate gout with some 17th century fat nobleman. I told her I hope she feels better, and she said she has some medicine to pick up for it.

Later, there was another older woman at a scanner needing help with ringing up produce. She was buying at least a pound of Kumquats--as I was looking up the code, she told me how to spell it (thanks). She was wearing a US Marshall baseball cap, but otherwise dressed professionally. As she was signing her credit card receipt, she told me that it was the last day of classes, and she was going to celebrate. I asked where she taught and what--LeMoyne College and drawing and painting. I was trying to think of something to say to her, but she left, and I was slow in my answer because I know people who know of this woman and was distracted in thinking about that.

I had another customer tell me how much she loves Price Chopper--that she brings in king crab to work and tells people she buys it here. She also said she doesn't like Wegmans--doesn't even know where they are. I told her I thought Wegman's was sort of fancy. I think what I meant was that it is more bourgeois. Price Chopper seems more working class to me.

An older man asked me to look at a coupon for him for Poland Springs water--if you bought 2 multipacks, you get a $1 off a case. He wanted to check it because someone (his wife? definitely a woman) had told him what it said but he disagreed. I confirmed it for him, and he said to me "You can't beat a woman."

BS was working across from me on the large EZ Scan. She is the woman who seems to take her job very seriously. At one point, after I had walked around the scanners to clean, etc., she asked if I needed help with anything. I sort of wonder how long she has worked here, I think she is responding in part to all the turnover, and is trying to make sure people do things right.

It seemed like all the management was around today--both store managers were in. When I first came in, a group of men in ties filled the breakroom, and it looked like a Powerpoint presentation was about to be given ( I really wanted to stay and watch it). Mid afternoon, I went over to the front end desk to get change, and PP introduced me to the Human Resources manager for the store, not sure why, but it was polite of her to do so.

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