Memories of the holidays

So I read a couple of retail workers’ communities. Reading the Blockbuster community has reminded me of one thrilling holiday season when I was an Assistant Manager with BBV.

There were three AMs all told, and one Store Manager, a guy we’ll call Joe. The holiday season was fast approaching, and we had to figure out management schedules for the “big 5” — Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Joe made the proclamation that we would each work three of the five big holidays, and each have two off. Sounds fair, right?

So the schedule for Thanksgiving week comes out, and I’m scheduled for the opening shift (9am-5pm) on Thanksgiving. I’m also scheduled for the day after Thanksgiving, but that doesn’t count toward the 3 out of 5, since that day is not an official time-and-a-half holiday. I don’t terribly mind, since it gives me something to do on Thanksgiving.

Fast forward a month. We get the schedule for Christmas week. I’m scheduled for both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Again, not that huge a deal because I’m not that into Xmas, and I’m glad at the time because it means I’ll have both NYE and NYD off from work. As always at BBV, both days are hugely busy and stressful. I also made note at that time that Joe had given himself Thanksgiving day off, as well as Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. So there’s no possible way for him to work three of the big 5 holidays, since there are only two left.

The next week the schedule comes out, and I’m pissed. Because Joe has scheduled me for both NYE and NYD, and he has both of those days off. Giving me five out of five of the big holidays, while he will have to work NONE. I get him into the office and ask him what the hell’s going on. He gives me the following excuse: “It’s better for you to work the holidays, because you get time-and-a-half. Since I’m salary, I don’t get anything extra for working the holidays.” I call bullshit on him, and tell him that I absolutely, positively will not work on New Year’s Day. And I’ll only do the opening shift on NYE, because I already have a party to go to that night.

Joe gives in and takes my NYD shift. End tally for the “big 5” holidays: Me – 4, AM#2 – 3, AM#2 – 2, Joe – 1. Of the ten shifts over those five days, I worked ALMOST HALF. And if he’d had his way, I would have worked exactly half of those shifts. What a bastard.

Now, another story of Joe. In October of that same year, corporate made the decision to stop renting out DVD players, and that at some point in the future, we would sell those DVD players used just like the used videos and DVDs. We had two rental units in the store. Joe immediately went to the computer system and saw that the used DVD player price was listed in the system as $14.99. So of course, he bought both of them himself to give to his siblings as Xmas gifts. I made a very conscious point to tell him that I didn’t think that was right, and he should ask the district manager about the price. Of course he didn’t.

Come December, we get the notice that the used DVD players will go on sale at … $149.99. Joe saw this and didn’t say a word to anyone about it. I already had a list of things about Joe to discuss with the district manager (including the night where we had to change those “2-day rental” inserts in every single 2-day rental on the new release wall, because we changed the return time from midnight to noon … and he spent that entire overnight shift locked in the office talking to his girlfriend on the phone) so I added the DVD player situation to the list. I talked to the district manager, and the next day Joe let us know that he would be having deductions taken from his paychecks until the balance of the DVD players were paid for.

Joe also had the habit of not remembering stuff he didn’t want to hear. I let him know I’d be moving, and that I was going to transfer to another store in another district. I offered to deal with all of the paperwork for my transfer, and he seemed relieved at that. So I filled everything out, got the district manager to sign off on it, checked out my new store and met the staff there. Everything was good. On the calendar up in the office of Joe’s store, I marked what would be my last day, and put a note that “Missy is gone” from then on.

One week before my transfer, Joe was making out the schedule, and called me into the office. He got very loud, wondering what the hell was going on, he knew nothing of this transfer, why did I go over his head, why didn’t I have the simple courtesy to let him know, now he was going to be short-staffed and it was all my fault. I kept my cool and told him that I’d let him know about the transfer over a month before. Of course, he had no memory of me ever having let him know. Looking back, he was lazy and crappy enough that I think he just chose to ignore the situation, in the hopes that it would just go away. That way he wouldn’t have to interview or hire anyone. What an asshat.

After I left that store, my old district manager asked for a meeting, and she wanted a complete laundry list of Joe’s indiscretions. A few months later, I learned that he was no longer with the company. I don’t know which bit of stupidity exactly did him in, but I know that he had his sights set on a career with BBV corporate, so I seriously doubt he left of his own accord.

Someday I should also write up the story of Mindy the Store Manger, who stole candy and pop on a daily basis, then adjusted the inventory every month to cover her tracks. It won’t surprise you to know that several of us reported her for that.

oh. my. stars.

Last night, coming home from poker night at a friend’s house, Scott and I heard something on the radio for the first time.

It was a little something called The Christmas Shoes.

You may note, I don’t refer to this as a song. I won’t even refer to it as a “tune.” Because to compare this piece of offal to music would only cheapen actual music. It was the most disgusting piece of crapulence ever to assault my ears. I absolutely cannot believe there are people who “love” that hunk of garbage.

Strangely, if I’d first heard the song under the auspices that it was a mocking parody of Xmas tunes, I would applaud it. Scott wondered if it was written by Trey Parker.

Sunglasses, Take Two

So the optical place at the Fred Meyer called the other day — my sunglasses are in again.

First time, they tinted them gray, which was what I ordered. They also polarized the lenses, which I definitely did not order. I tried to wear them for a week, but unfortunately the polarization didn’t quite jibe with the polarization of the rear windows of many cars. Meaning I couldn’t see through those rear windows.

So, back the glasses went. No problem, they can redo them without polarization. Just plain gray. Check.

The call came, so last night we went down to the Fred Meyer to tackle some grocery shopping. Scott headed off to the electronics section to kill some time, and I went to the optical shop. Waited for a couple of people ahead of me, then gave the girl my name. She gets the glasses, looks at them and proclaims them “cool,” then hands them to me so I can make sure they fit right.

I take one look at them and say, “um, these are really strange. Is it me, or are they a lot darker on the tops than they are on the bottoms?”

She looks at me strangely, then looks at the paperwork that accompanied the glasses. “No, they’re right, gradient gray #3.”

Blink. Blink. “I didn’t order gradient. I wanted them to just be plain, solid gray.”

And for some reason, that really flustered her. I had the feeling she was filling in at this location, and it wasn’t her usual store. She looked around her, muttering something about “tint.” She then apologized profusely, and told me that she couldn’t do a tint at this location. Which puzzled the hell out of me again, because I already had figured they’d have to send the glasses back to the lab again. She swore she’d order them correctly this time. I confirmed with her that they should be plain gray lenses, no gradient and no polarization.

So in a week to 10 days, we’ll see how else they manage to screw these suckers up.

So You Want to Learn?

I’ve had some people ask me if I would teach them certain HTML skills.

Well, they don’t necessarily ask. The one I’m thinking of is constantly telling me, “I really need to sit down with you for a couple of hours so I can learn Skill X.” Not that I’ve told them I’m willing to teach them Skill X, mind you.

So here, without further ado, is my HTML skills primer. It works equally well for learning Cascading StyleSheets, Server Side Includes, and any other HTML trick under the sun. And it’s how I learned every single trick you’re begging me to teach you.

1. Open up www.google.com in your internet browser.
2. Search for the skill you desire to learn, plus the word “tutorial.”
3. Read the tutorial.

Voila! You’ve now learned an HTML skill the Missy Way!

No, I won’t send you a link to a good tutorial. That would be taking away the thrilling experience of following steps one and two. And I don’t want you to miss out on a single joyous moment of the learning process.