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drawing by keri

6/05/05

5:30 PM - 9:30 PM EZ Scan

The first part of tonight seemed hectic. It was busy at the EZ Scans, and I felt like I was consumed by little details. I don't know if it was my mood or if people were just more needy tonight, but it just felt like I was just dealing with a bunch of tiny things all the time, usually at once. One woman came back to me with her receipt and asked if it was hers or her friends--she had paid for part of her order with Food Stamps, and her friend paid the rest with her EBT cash benefits card. The receipt printed out both transactions. I tried to tell her this was her receipt, but at first I didn't quite understand what she was asking me, and she quickly became frustrated with me and ended up handing it to her friend and walking away. By this time, I understood what she was asking and explained it to her friend.

Another man came to the scanner and asked me to show him how to use it--he said he wanted to do it when no one was around so he wouldn't embarrass himself. I went through it with him, and he was only buying "Twisted Tea," some kind of malt liquor kind of drink. He didn't think the price was right, and so he went back to the aisle to check it. He told me it was a different price than what was scanned, so then I had to go to the shelves and check it, and it was the right price. I came back and told him.

A few Buy One Get One Free items weren't showing up right on the system, so I had to just void one of the items and give it to the customers. Several people paid by check, which takes a minute or two to clear and in the meantime I can't help other people. Usually when I was doing a check, someone's scanner froze and they had to wait until I could clear it.

It seemed like a lot of people tonight were new to the EZ Scan, and even though I would explain the whole scale concept (after you scan something, you have to "Place the Item in the the bag," which is on a scale, and the system tracks the weight, so if there is any difference it stops), they would still lean on the scale or remove the bags, which would make the system stop again and again.

A lot of people also didn't have their Price Chopper card, and I would be continually going over towards the registers to grab a supervisor to enter their Advantage card number. One time AO seemed pissed I had called him over for a guy only buying one thing: a Stouffer's frozen dinner (regular price $1.89). Another time AV asked the person if they had their Driver's License, which they didn't because I always ask that before making someone come over. WW had just become a Front End Supervisor. I asked her when she started, and she said yesterday. In some ways she is a stereotype of a cashier--sort of catty, is pretty good at it but sometimes sloppy about little details--at least that has been my impression of her when I worked around her before.

During my break, CD, who is sort of a manager (not an official co-manager, but I know he handles a lot of of the details of running the store, and he seems like a genuine nice guy) was telling two young guys to get on the night shift for stocking. He said it was one of the fastest ways of advancement, and that they were some of the best stockers he had. I only overheard about 5 minutes of his pep talk to them, because I my break was over.

At the end of the night, I customer asked me if I had every had frozen yogurt. He said it had less sugar and carbohydrates than Sherbet, which he thought would have been better. He's on a new diet or something, and talked for at least a minute or two about ice cream vs. sherbet vs. frozen yogurt.

 
6/04/05

7:00 PM -12:00 AM EZ Scan

I was supposed to be a regular cashier tonight, but someone called in sick or something and so they moved me over to EZ Scan. TT mentioned that I was sick of it, and they offered to move me back to a register, but I said I'd do it. AO said they wanted people to be happy. I told him not to worry, that I'd be pleasant, and he replied that that wasn't the point, they wanted people to like what they're doing.

The store seemed busy, but it had different energy from daytime busy. People seemed to be relaxed, hanging out with family or friends in the store. I noticed several customers I'd seen before. One is a woman in her late thirties who looks like she's wearing a wig. She seemed to have trouble looking up a produce code, and I walked over to her in order to help, but she told me that she was fine, and seemed to not want me to come near her. then, she said that she left her money at home, and I started to walk towards her again, and again she seemed almost frantic in her desire to be left alone, so I did. She spent some time going through her purse and slowly pulled out bills and started feeding them into the machine. She said several times that she was at the festival and left her money at home because she didn't want to be pick-pocketed. She then gave me a few bags of things to void, because she didn't have enough, and eventually was 18 cents short. I had some change and said I'd cover it. She then came over and gave me a bunch of things from her cart that she didn't ring up--a lot of meat and a jug of bleach. She looked at my nametag and said she'd pay me back. I told her not to worry about it, and she said to me that she had a "six-figure pension." After she left, the woman working on the other EZ Scan rolled her eyes and told me that woman is always doing that.

The other customer I recognized I've decided to call 1970s man. He wears a satin team jacket, tight Jordache jeans, and white Adidas-type sneakers with blue stripes. He also has a sort of late seventies haircut. At first, I thought of him as someone who was in high school in the seventies, sort of "Saturday Night Fever" era, and never let go of the look, but tonight I was looking at him and realized that he couldn't be much older than me.

Earlier in the evening, a young girl (maybe 10-ish) was in with her mother and her her friend, and she started watching the video screen with her mother scanning things on it. She then told me she could draw pictures on the Price Chopper flyer, and I asked her to draw something on a piece of receipt paper instead. We both drew together--our first drawings were of our favorite things to do (hers: playing with her dog, me: riding my bike). Our second drawing was a picture of her-- mine wasn't so good.

Another customer, whom I helped a little, gave me a copy of the Watchtower on his way out.

After I punched out, I was walking back to the front from the breakroom and two people stopped me to ask me questions. The second man was first looking for olives, so I took him over to the olive bar. he then asked about humus and baba ganoush. He then told me he remembered me from about 3 or 5 weeks ago: he said he tried to give me a ride home because I didn't have a car--my boyfriend couldn't or didn't pick me up or something. I told him I didn't think that was me--he thought I just didn't remember it.

Just an update on AG: when I called her to go to the Minoa Field Days, she said she was at Shoppingtown Mall, and asked me if I still wanted to go. She then said she wasn't sure about the heat, and then was concerned about the smells and wondered if maybe she would get sick. I sensed she wanted an out, so I said let's not go, and since it's going on for a few days, maybe we'd go another day. She came through the EZ Scan today and told me it was a good thing we didn't go, because she ended up not feeling well. I guess I am sort of glad: I have mixed feelings about socializing with my co-workers and think maybe I shouldn't do it.

 
6/02/05

8:00 AM - 1:00 PM express EZ Scan

When I got in, AG was on the large EZ Scan, so I knew I would be doing reshops until 10 or so. There were about 9 carts full of stuff to put back. I started sorting through them, and soon LV came over and set up about six carts to use to sort. When we were finished, she said she'd take the damaged cart--the one with things like dairy that had been out all night, or boxes that were opened. I told her I was glad she was going to do them , because I didn't like to. She said they never liked taking the damaged stuff back. She also pointed out a jar of roasted Chestnuts that she said she'd seen since Christmas--that no one knew where they went. It looked like all the liquid was drained out of it, so we decided to try to return it as damaged. She later told me they wouldn't take it, and she put it by the jams. When I was returning one cart, PP grabbed me to run a register for a few minutes because the lines were backed up. She commented that she didn't know where everyone was, and I think she said LL was about to quit. I got through about 2-1/2 carts before going back to the front end. LL called me up front, and gave me another Associate Documentation form--the EZ Scan was under $9.61 on Thursday, and all of us who worked on it that day got a form. I then gave AG her break, took my break, and then LL sent me upstairs to take an "Associate Survey."

Posted on the door going up to the offices/breakroom was an email from Neil Golub explained that Price Chopper had been selected to have a survey done by "Great Place to Work," [http://www.greatplacetowork.com] which is an organization that Fortune magazine uses to determine the best companies to work for, and which Wegman's was named #1 this year. The survey was done on the computer, and it used a sliding scale: strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree. It asked questions about working conditions, top management, benefits, and supervisors; such as: "Do you feel that you have learned and grown in your job," or "Do you feel that the wages and benefits comparable to those in your area?" "Do you feel Price Chopper is a leader in technology, something else, and work policies?" "Do you feel Price Chopper is a stable and safe environment?" I would have liked to have written down the questions, but AA was in the room making phone calls to people to set up interviews for jobs. There was a place to add comments, and so I wrote that in general my supervisors and co-workers seem to care about what they do, but that the wages and lack of full time opportunities (such as the fact that many people work just under 35 hours a week) were not supportive of employees.When I go back from this, I told AG about it, and she said she took it and disagreed with most of the statements.

AG asked me if I wanted to go to the Minoa Field Days with her tonight and I agreed. (I'll have to post an update.) She was excited about going--she said she's wanted to go but didn't have anyone to go with. I want to be careful about this, because I don't feel I can get too close to my co-workers, mainly because of my lie about the rest of my life. I also do, admittedly, have a different background than most people I work with, but would like to think, idealistically, that this doesn't have to be a barrier. At the same time, I do like some of the people I work with, and AG has always been friendly to me. She told me she was pregnant, I think about a month. She seems happy about it--she said was was thinking of getting her tubes tied, and told me she was 38--I was surprised, and she agrees with me that she looks younger, and added that she acts younger too. She plans to take six weeks off, during which she'll get about half her current paycheck, which will end up being about $100 a week, and then come back to work.

The EZ Scan was fairly normal. I printed out a report and 73 orders went through between 10:45 and 1:00 today. At one point, AG asked me to switch while a couple was on the large EZ Scan--she was having problems with them. They had 2 really full carts, and I think they had tried to put their groceries back into a cart before finishing and AG told them they couldn't. (They system notices the weight difference and stops scanning until you put your groceries back or the cashier tells it it's okay.) I went over the the large EZ Scan, and didn't want to contradict AG, even though I usually tell the system it's okay when someone does that. It took them over 25 minutes to finish scanning everything. AG seemed to think that their order was too big to go through the EZ Scan. It would have taken them much less time to go through the regular cashier line, but maybe people like doing it themselves or don't want to talk to a cashier.

Earlier in the day, there was a weird series of sightings of injured people--within about 20 minutes, I saw a man going through the store with his leg resting on a four-wheeled cart , his foot in one of those blue medical boots; another man walk in with a medical boot on each foot, and another man with his arm bandaged up.

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