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6/12/05

1:00 PM - 6:00 PM Regular Cashier

I was rusty on the register at first, but except for not checking my drawer to make sure it was new when I started, I didn't mess up too much. I also remembered most of the produce codes I used to know, but would still have to look some up. Except for a few times, I've been on the EZ Scan since the end of April. When I punched in, three of the front end supervisors were around the desk, and they were talking about employees, one in particular.

A few different people were bagging for me, none on them I had met before. The first person who bagged for me told me he's been here since this store opened, and that he's been working in seafood for the past three months. After a few hours, a younger guy was bagging for me, but he spent most of his time talking to the cashier next to me and checking his cell phone. They seemed to know each other from school. I later had two young women, one seemed new, and the other seemed like she had been here for a while. Mid afternoon, CF started working on the register on the other side of me. We had talked a few times before--he's been here for a while, at least before I started, but I sense longer. Before I left he asked me if I drank coffee, and then if I went to Borders or Barnes and Noble. I told him Barnes and Noble, since I don't like going to the mall, and he suggested we get a coffee some Sunday night. I was noncommittal, again.

It seemed people were buying more fruit lately--watermelon, nectarines, and grapes; in general more produce than I'd seen in the last few months. Corn on the cob, ice cream, bottled water, meat, and clams were also big sellers, as well as things on sale: currently, a lot of 10 for $10 things like canned vegetables, although Cliff bars were also on sale and one woman bought 19 of them. We now have to scan in every item, we used to be able to put in a quantity and scan one item. I am not sure why the change in policy, but I remember accidentally entering 400 instead of 40 of cat food cans. I am still constantly asked about sale prices, because when things are rung up, only the regular price shows; and those with a sale just have an A next to them. I would guess that most orders were at least $100.

People commented on the heat a lot, and thought we were fortunate to be working in air conditioning, which several of my co-workers agreed with. One woman came in with her young son, who was into everything. He grabbed a candy bar and started eating it, and also got his hands on a balloon. She commented that she always forgets to go through the candy-free lane. A few people were short by a few cents today, and I always have some change for this, but most people feel embarrassed to let me do this.

I managed to return the safety video to its place without anyone seeing. I am excited to start work on its re-edit and then swap tapes. I feel like it is time to create some small interventions at work, perhaps because it has felt very much like a job for me and I feel like I need to begin to re-distance myself and start to work critically within the situation, but I'd like to be, at least at first, very subtle about it.

 
6/11/05

2:30 PM -11:00 PM Express Cashier

I was reassigned to EZ Scan (ugh). There was some mess up with the schedule. PP told me that she accidentally deleted all the EZ Scan shifts, and then they had to figure out who could do it after making the schedule. It seemed like it was going to be a looong day. PP came over around 3 and told me it was nice to meet me, and that today was her last day. She was going to work at the Rome store. I didn't get a chance to ask her if she was getting a promotion, but I hope this is the case. I wished her luck. BB asked me again about working in the office. She tried to flatter me into it, saying that they look for the best people to do it, and those who could multi-task, and she said I wouldn't have any problem with it, sort of implying it would be a promotion. I told her that I liked cashiering because it was different than my other job. She asked me to think about it and let me know if I changed my mind.

For the last two days, I have been taking pictures with a tiny keychain still camera. I've been trying to do this as inconspicuously as possible. A man came through the EZ Scan in a security guard uniform and bought a loaf of bread, and then asked me for a paid sticker. I apologized for not noticing that he worked here, and he said that was all right, it was good to see me up close. This was sort of creepy for me-- I realized I am being watched by this person, and then a little paranoid part of me wonders if he's noticed me taking pictures, but it was probably just a pick up line or else being friendly.

It was slow in the afternoon, but picked up in the evening. A middle-aged couple came through, and they bickered the entire time. The man wanted to buy some liquid hand soap, the oman didn't want to. He said he'd buy it himself, but ended up handing it to me. When they finished scanning and paying for things, the woman told him to get the receipt, and then told him he needed a shave. Three woman came through who could be sisters, they had a strong resemblance to one another, and seemed around 5-7 years apart from one another, from around 25 to late thirties. They also scanned as a group--one would scan something, then the next one would, etc., and they even rotated while feeding cash into the machine.

One of my neighbors came through and said hi on his way in, and said he'd come back to see me. He later went through the EZ Scan. I couldn't remember whether I had told him about my job here or not, and so I went over and told him this was a project and gave him my URL. It was nice to see him, because usually I only see people I know from school.

BX came over to cover for my lunch. I went and ate outside, and watched the employees from the Fucillo Auto Dealership next door leave work (they park in the Price Chopper parking lot). I have been seeing a lot of Fucillo employees lately in the store, usually buying lunch or small things. Last night, I had noticed that the Orientation Safety video was left out in the breakroom, and no one was around when I was there tonight, so I decided to "borrow" it. I think I'll capture it tonight, and see if I can make a quick re-edit of it and replace it tomorrow night. I think since AA has seen it a million times, as long as the sound and length of it are the same, she won't notice if some of the images happen to change. When I came back, BX covered for YY, who was on the other EZ Scan, and he was rapping and playing around with a basket. When he noticed me watching him, he said he was a retard, and I told him it was endearing. He said that's a word you only see in books.

At about 9:45, a nun in full habit stopped by to ask if the register was open. I told her this was the self-service area, and she said she didn't want to do that, so I sent her over to the regular cashiers. At 10:10, a drunk guy came in and asked me how to do the self service thing. I showed him, and he seemed to think it was wild, and then proceeded to walk in the opposite direction from the doors, leaving a bag behind. I handed him his bag and he asked how to get out of here, so I pointed him in the right direction. It got really busy just after 10:00 for about a half hour, and then quieted down by 10:35.

I aksed AO if he wanted me to close down the EZ Scan at 11, since it is usually open until 12. He sent BX over to cover it for an hour. I said there was a mix up in the schedule, and he said I was being nice, that the schedule was fucked up. He has to work tomorrow until midnight, and then at 8 am on monday. I agreed with him, that it was fucked up.

 
6/09/05

6:00 PM - 12:00 AM EZ Scan

As I was putting my stuff in a locker in the breakroom, AA was explaining to a group about how to apply for money for school through Price Chopper. She said that last year, they didn't give away all the money they had for scholarships. When I was signing in, CE was explaining to HH that she had gotten her schedule wrong. She was supposed to start at 5:30, and thought she was supposed to come in at 6. She said her daughter knew her schedule better than she did. HH seemed fine about it. CE and I didn't talk too much while we worked next to each other, but she was great about covering for me if I got pulled away to help a customer. One time I was checking the price of juice for someone, since the juice aisle is close to the EZ Scan, and then another customer asked me where the crisp rice was (cereal is across from juice), and I couldn't find it. AO came up and said he'd take care of it. He doesn't like it when I leave the register. I thanked CE for covering for me, and she said it wasn't a problem, but (jokingly) mr. mean didn't like it.

HH told me about a woman she caught today trying to steal. She was an older woman, and would grab two things with one hand, scan one, and then put them both in the bag. HH said the system wasn't picking it up, but she saw it. HH felt like if she couldn't get it free, no one else should either. She also caught another guy with 4-5 things he didn't scan in his bags. I do watch people, but haven't every seen anyone do this, and I don't think, unless it was blatant, I would confront them about it.

It was fairly hectic for most of the night. It felt like a lot of people were in the store, and a lot were using the EZ Scan, and a lot of people at the EZ Scan didn't have a card but wanted one, or had a question about a price or what's on sale, of left things behind. I honestly didn't feel like going to work today, and while I don't think I was grumpy, people were getting on my nerves. At the end of the night, a man came though and gave me his EBT card because it no longer worked in the card reader and needed to be punched in. He told me that he wouldn't be on it much longer because he is starting truck driving school. I went and got AO to put in the card numbers manually. When I got back, the man was frustrated by the bags. On the large scanners, there are three large bag holders and one small one, and he was putting everything into the small bag, saying it was flimsy. I moved his stuff into a large bag. He then had trouble scanning things and was increasingly frustrated and weird. I remember consciously taking a deep breath and then just helping him, while AO rolled his eyes and another customer patiently waited for me to help her with something.

I am glad that for the rest of the week I will be on a register. I feel isolated from the rest of the employees over in the self-service scanner, while at the same time, I seem more available to customers who always come over to ask me questions about things. I was relieved to have a conversation when I picked up my paycheck: AV asked me about me moving over to customer service. When I told her that they asked and I said no because it seemed like you had to do a lot yet weren't paid more, all the women at Customer Service nodded their heads and told me that was smart. AO said to just ask BW, who had just started there. She was with CB, going through all her receipts and exchanges for the night, and told me she was doing this on only 2 hours of sleep and had to get her books straight before leaving.

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