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7/24/05

2:45 PM -10:00 PM Courtesy Clerk

As I walked past all the registers towards the punch clock, the store looked insane. For my first half hour, I covered both cashier's breaks on the two EZ Scans. I bagged for a little while, for a new-ish cashier ( I'm not as aware of when new people start as I used to be) whom both AO and HH seemed to know personally. SS came by with her son, and gave me an update on her injuries ( I can only imagine this is because her brother talked to her about talking to me)--that she soaked her leg in Epson salts, which seemed to help, but there was still glass in it. She couldn't go to a doctor because she doesn't have health insurance. After maybe a half hour or forty-five minutes, I was told to open a register. Its been ages since I've been on a regular register, so I was sort of glad.

My customers weren't too talkative, they seemed like they wanted to get their groceries and get out of there. The store has been out of hand wipes for the past week, which I only mention because I really wish I had them today. A couple bought some meat that bled all over the belt, scanner, and onto my hands. The next customer bought clams, which also leaks out dirty clam water (they are in a netted bag). I was able to clean the register with paper towels and spray cleaner, but I really wish I could have wiped my hands with something better than a paper towel after them.

After a brief time with two different baggers, CK, whom I haven't seen before started bagging for me. At first, I thought he was really friendly. A large (obese) couple came through with a very full cart, and he started making fun of them to me. He then started to make jokes about how they have sex. The woman had a large wine-colored birthmark over her right eye and cheek, and CK started to make fun of that. I told him he wasn't funny anymore, but he continued. At the end of their order, the woman was deciding whether or not to buy a turkey, and ultimately decided to, which of course CK thought was insane. CK's jokes then turned into him suggesting we have sex, and so I just started to ignore him completely. I was getting close to just telling him off, when AV pulled him off bagging for me, which I will be eternally grateful to her for. Shortly after this, I had my first break, which was uneventful except that the old-fashioned photography people were packing up. I asked them how they did, they said good, and the photographer said he needed some golf and a beer.

When I got back from my break, I was put on the large EZ Scan. AV asked me if I could stay until 11, and I agreed to. She said that the two cashiers who were supposed to be on Express registers tonight had just been suspended, so she wanted to keep the EZ Scan open longer to make up for not having the registers open. I said to AV, sarcastically, that it looks like its going to be a fun night. She said it will only get better, because no one is scheduled to do carts after 8 pm, with annoyance at BB for messing up the schedule. ( Later, I did have a woman complain that there were no carts, and also that the bathrooms were a mess. In fact, the whole store was a mess by the time I punched out.)

SS was on the other EZ Scan. She needed to talk about what was going on. Her ex boyfriend had come into the store today, and he is also calling her. Her older son was just hanging out in the store while she worked because she didn't want to leave him home alone. She also told me that she was walking with her son when another ex boyfriend saw her and stopped to see if she was okay. Apparently he had beat her also, but has since gone to anger management classes. From what she told me, she had a son by her current ex boyfriend, who had beat her up in March this year as well. She said her last three boyfriends had beat her. SS had to leave the register for a little while to take care of her son, and HH covered her register. AV came by and seemed impatient with SS. SS and AV clearly don't like each other.

One of the EZ Scan consoles was still down ( I guess they are waiting for a part), and another couldn't do any credit card, debit, or EBT payments--cash only. Despite two signs which said "Cash only," several people scanned all their groceries and then discovered they couldn't use a credit card, and so I had to have the order voided and move them to a register which worked. I tried to tell people when they came up to the cash only one that it was cash only--some people were glad I told them, others thought I was being a jerk, since they could read the sign or had planned to use cash.

I had two mirror couples come in. One couple each went to the scanner across from each other, and did the exact thing, placing something on the scanner, which makes the system freeze and tell them to remove the item from the scanner. The very next couple each bought exactly the same things--Poligrip and Fruitisia shampoo, and had the same coupons--a workaround the one coupon per customer.

A few more regulars came through. The mother-daughter duo, but they only bought some ice cream, on sale of course. And someone I call the red headed man boy. I have seen him every weekend for the past three weeks. He usually only buys a few things, and has a weird self-confidence that for some reason I find annoying. He needed cigarettes, and while I was getting them, another customer had paid by credit card. I ran into her exiting the store, and she asked if she had to sign something. I told her if it was alright with her, I would just scribble her name on the credit card receipt, and she agreed. When I got back and gave the red-headed man boy his cigarettes, he asked if she had signed her receipt. I told him what we had agreed upon, and he thought this was very bad, and that CL, a manager, would not like that. When he said this, whatever it is about this guy that I don't like amplified itself. I told him that I was leaving anyway. Lame comeback. I couldn't help thinking "who cares?" We never check to see if the signature matches the credit card.

 
7/23/05

6:00 PM -12:00 AM EZ Scan

I arrived a work a few minutes early, and the old-fashioned portrait people were working in the breakroom. I asked them if they would take a portrait of me in my uniform, and if they could do it in five minutes. They agreed to do it for $10.00, and then took 6 different pictures/ different poses. Three of them were working--the photographer, a woman who took the orders and handles the money, and another man--I didn't really know what he did. The woman thought it was very funny that they were taking pictures of someone in uniform. The photographer was fun though-- one of the things he told me to say instead of cheese was "I love Price Chopper." He also noticed that I was tall, and asked if I played basketball. I said I did, and he invited me to play in a pickup game he goes to in Manlius every Tuesday night. My photos will be ready in two weeks, and they told me they would give me any package at half price because I was an employee. I happen to love studio portraits, so I'm very excited to see them.

The night was very slow--not as many people in the store as usual. AO told me that this wasn't slow compared to the Cicero store, which I guess isn't nearly as busy as this one.

Early on, a woman came through with her son and toddler daughter. She said she liked the EZ Scan because she could make sure things were rung up correctly. She bought some bagged cinnamon toast cereal, a dollar a piece, and told her son to go get four more bags. He came back with four different varieties, instead of the one she wanted, and she yelled at him and told him that he never listened. She then asked me if I had kids, and told me not to. They hung around in the chairs by the bank for a while afterwards ( I assume they were waiting for the bus or something), and several employees seemed to know them.

I was tired tonight, and it seemed like most customers matched my mood-- many struggled with the EZ Scan and I could tell they were frustrated, mostly because they didn't understand how it worked; one woman told me that the receipts were too long (more than half of it is filled with info about what you saved with your Advantage card, how many points you earned, and Price Chopper info, including its web address). She suggested that we recycle receipts because of all the excess paper used for them.

I man whom I recognized from last week came through (then he bought corn and steak), and wanted me to help him again--he said he came to me because I was so helpful last week--but he went to the other EZ Scan. I still helped him. This week, it seems his dinner is rappinni, king crab and steak.

The security guy I recognize came through, and he said something about how he didn't like the EZ Scan. I told him I wouldn't mind if they permanently broke, and he agreed with me. This turned out to be a wish half come true. One console was still down, and after a couple rang up their entire order and went to pay, the Verifone (for electronic payment) flashed a message that it was out of order. We had to shut it down, and I quickly re-scanned their stuff on one that was working. So now only two were working, and one of the two didn't give out change, so I had to do it from my till. It was a slow night, so this didn't seem to matter too much.

CH was working on the other EZ Scan. I have often worked with her, at least for the last month, but tonight she asked me both how to open the till, and how to log out when shutting them down. I thought that the training for this isn't very good, if she could be working on the EZ Scan for so long without anyone telling her these things--or else I was lucky to get someone good when I was trained on it. In some ways, though, I'm glad there still is some kind of informal training--when one cashier just shows another, instead of the highly regulated computer presentations and tests, etc.

Around 10:30 a man came in and bought a few things, and then asked me if I talked to SS. I said I did. He told me he was her brother. I asked him if she was alright. He told me a little more about what has gone on--that the police came one night, but left before her ex-boyfriend did. Her brother said that he changed all the locks today, but then added that he hoped she wouldn't take this guy back. About fifteen minutes later, her came back to buy Epson salts and hydrogen peroxide. He seemed to want to talk to me more, but luckily there were customers. I worry that my friendliness was interpreted as flirting.

The last hour and a half was excruciating. Almost no one came through, I had filled all the bags, and cleaned everything. I mainly watched the night crew do their work: restock the shelves, set up the displays for the new sales which start tomorrow, clean the floors, pick up the garbage. CJ, who I think is a new cashier who works nights, came by to see how many boxes of bags was needed. I helped her a little with this. She told me I didn't have to; I replied that I was so bored that I needed to do something. She said she almost washed down all the registers a second time last night because it was so boring.

My last customer was a young Korean man. He bought Kim Chee and pickles.

 
7/21/05

5:00 PM -12:00 AM Misc.

I punched in seven minutes early--the time clock is no longer seven minutes fast, but is actually set to regular time. Many employees, myself included, have our watches set to the time clock. At the end of the night, HH was talking about it--she said she didn't reset her watch, because now she is always on time instead of late. I wonder who decided to finally make the time clock correct. I ended up punching out seven minutes early as well.

Anyway, I was originally scheduled to be in some orientation from 5-7, but since I am leaving, I was put on the EZ Scan. SS was on it, but she couldn't use one of her hands. I asked her what happened--basically she broke up with her boyfriend and he had more or less beat her up while she was trying to move or something. I asked her if she was safe--she said her son was staying with her father, and she said her father would be around, but I didn't feel like she was very shocked by it, or doing much to protect herself. Our conversation was cut off by customers needing things.

Only the large EZ Scan was working for the first few hours that I was there--the express had been shut down, and one of the large EZ Scan consoles was still out. So, I had a line. Even when the other EZ Scan got going again, it stayed fairly busy. One of the other consoles would intermittently not give out change, so I had to do it from the till.

For the first part of the evening, i kept on seeing the security guys coming out of the security closet and going back in. This always makes me feel paranoid, like I'm going to get caught doing something, even though I know I'm not doing anything wrong. I suppose that's how I'm supposed to feel--being watched to keep in line.

BB came through, and bought mostly dog food. She told me that I was scheduled so that next week would be my last week, and asked me about my "new" job. (I wrote in my "resignation" letter that I had a new job.) She told me that if I ever wanted to work there again, I should call her.

There were lots of small little incidents tonight. Several parents came thorough, each with a son, and they took turns scanning things. one mother and son were impatient with each other's scanning technique, but they made it through without a big fight. Several people bought almost all produce. Earlier in the evening, several people asked me where they could get there old fashioned photographs. I noticed last week that a man had set up a display on the front, opposite the bottle return machines, advertising these. SInce I thought I was running late, I didn't go up to the breakroom, but when I did, there was an entire photo studio set up in it-- a backdrop and lights, trunks, and old-fashioned dresses and clothes hanging from one of the coat racks. I wish I had brought my camera tonight.

During my lunch break, I waited in the customer service line to pick up my check. The guy in front of me was having a reunions of sorts--the woman in front of him was one of his former teachers, and then he saw his preacher in line at one of the registers.

So, some customer sightings: a woman and man when through the line, and the man hurriedly signed his credit card receipt and then dashed off into the store. The woman waited there, with the bags, for at least 20 minutes. I finally asked her where he went, and she said he went to get medicine for her husband. he finally appeared, and not with something from the pharmacy, as I thought perhaps he was doing, but two things from the shelf--neosporin, I think, and something else. A young woman told me she didn't have an Advantage card and asked me to put one in, but she was real flirty about it (not in a sexual way, more just as manipulation) and I felt like this was how she got what she wanted in the world. Another young woman told me she needed to get a fingerprint for a scavenger hunt, and flashed the hunt list to me. She wanted to know if I had a stamp pad, and then told me it was for a Christian group. I directed her to customer service. A family, which I had seen before--man, woman, and three young kids--babies, really, the oldest was only around three, gathered together a stack of gift cards from the display at the end of the EZ Scans. There must have been over $500 worth of gift cards, probably closer to $1000, for places like the Marriott hotel. They were having trouble scanning them, and needed to do it in $50 increments, because the had gotten into trouble with their credit card and could only charge $50 at a time. They were "going away," the father said. I ran the first card through, but hen doing the second card, the transaction was denied. Right then, CI came over to give me my break. I explained the situation to her, and left. When I came back from my break, the family was finishing up buying some groceries, and CI was putting all the gift cards back.

Around 10, BM came thorough and asked me if I knew when NN was back from vacation. She so obviously has a crush on NN, even though she's married. I told her I didn't know ( I didn't know he was on vacation), but would be willing to try to check the schedule. I asked her how she was doing-- she left Price Chopper because she got her job back sorting mail at the Post Office. She told me that NN told her she was still on the schedule at Price Chopper, even though she had quit. BM said that she gave her two weeks notice to PP, but she did it on PP's last day. BB had called her angry one day to ask her why she didn't show up.

My second to last customer was a man who was not pleased that we didn't have any more 12 packs of Budweiser, and wanted to get two six packs fro the same price. I decided to check with HH about this, and she said we can't do that The man was pretty pissed off about it. My last customer of the night was a boy around 14 years old, buying mostly breakfast food--cereal, milk, bread. He was 64 cents short, which I covered for him. .

 

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