Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sad, but freeing

The other day me and a few coworkers were chatting with a manager and the topic of "managers lie" came up.  My manager asked who lied so I told her-

"To start off with, I can't pull punches or it'd make me twofaced.  For ages now you've told me 'we're transferring you to the exit door (a cushy job where I could bring a book and read during downtime) over and over.  It's been three months, and I'm still in the deli."
She was taken off guard and defended herself "Well they don't want to just shuttle problem employees from one department to another.  Who else lies?"  And I told her about the managers who kept saying "we'll fix this, we'll fix that.  Policy's changing people!  There's a new sheriff in town!"  and the topic digressed into something else.

Now- I wholly agree that I'm a 'problem employee' because I've learned the system and bent it to my will.  For example, my job pays you at 15 minute ticks.  And you can't get a writeup until you're 8 or more minutes late.  So since I found that out, I've been showing up 6 and 7 minutes late and leaving 7 and 8 minutes early.  And this has gone on for ages.

But managers aren't supposed to tell you that!  In telling me that, she took away the carrot on a stick.  I've genuinely been working harder, going out of my way on behalf of BJ's.  But now there's no longer a carrot or a stick... and there was never a rod or a lash because short of assault or getting caught stealing, nobody's ever been fired (they've only quit).

So at first I was hurt- wounded that I was labeled a "problem employee" and I'd never leave the deli... but then I slid more into the additude of Peter Gibbons from Office Space.

I work at a comfortable pace because the savages will wait as long as they're made to wait.
I stroll away to the bakery a few times a day for my afternoon cookie.
And nothing  that job can throw at me can stress me out.

Of course it helps knowing I won't work at that pit for the rest of my life.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Rules for Surviving Your Job

1.  Customers are NOT people.  They are savages.  Expect them to act accordingly.
2.  Only be rude to rude people.  Being rude to polite people will turn them into rude people.
3.  You probably won't have this job forever.  Cheer up.
4.  Remember- it's you against the customer, not you against your coworkers.
5.  It helps to have codewords, as dorky as it sounds.  You can talk shit to your coworkers in front of the offending savage.
6.  Managers are NOT there to help you.  They are there to make sure you don't steal or burn the place down.
7.  A 10 minute bathroom break every day adds up.  If you work 5 days a week, you get paid for 43.3 hours a year for being in the bathroom.  Bring a book.
8.  Mangers are usually petty.  Appeal to their "authority" and they become very pliable.
9.  Learn your job description.  Stick to that job description.  (I was hired to work in the deli but I am often asked to help out in the freezers.  Not gonna happen.)
10.  Learn company rules.  There's a lot they haven't thought of yet that you can do to keep occupied.  For instance:

I warn nearly every customer about the DiHydrogen Monoxide (H2O) that's found in their meat, pesticides, and even many reservoirs!  And did you know that if you inhale even a liter of it, it will kill you?!

Monday, September 27, 2010

I.Q. Barrier

Today this Hispanic woman came to the counter and asked for a pound of Virginia honey ham.  It's Sunday evening and that means that it's been three days since our last delivery, and there's been a nonstop line at the deli since Saturday afternoon.  We're out of almost everything.

I told her we were out and suggested she get half Virginia ham and half honey ham, and she said okay.  So I started cutting the honey ham.  I hand her a half and go back to the other one.  She calls out "I wanted a pound and a half." so I smiled and nodded, put it back on the slicer and cut an additional pound and handed it to her.  Then she asked for a pound of the other one and I cut that and gave it to her too.

I started cutting and this other crone walks up and yells out "What's this?"

I stop and go over to her and ask what's wrong-

"I asked for a pound and a half and a pound.  Why do I have three packages?" she snaps.

So I look at her with the most puzzlement I could muster with a straight face and lay all three bags on the counter.

"Well... that's a pound... that's a half... and that's another pound."

"Fine whatever."

And I go back to cutting.  So my coworker, Eduardo, walks over and starts speaking Spanish to her- I can understand Spanish very well, but I speak like that dog on youtube that 'says' "I love you".  They were talking about me.  She asked if I was new or stupid and he said I was just tired.  And they went on shooting the breeze.

So they're talking and the hag calls me over again!  "Why does this one have so much fat on it and this one is so lean?!  It looks like you cut it from two different pieces!"

"That's because they are."

She ignores me and goes on.  She took the honey ham out of the package and said "Look, look.  This has a whole chunk of fat on the edge and this barely has any!"

So I told her that's because one is honey and one is Virginia.  They're different.  They're going to look different.

She slammed the honey ham on the counter and said, "You're going to give me this one (she pointed at the Virginia ham) and I'm not taking this." as she slid it to my side.

So I calmly told myself that there was a slim but non-zero chance that if any merciful God existed, she'd choke to death on it, smiled, threw out a pound and a half of perfectly good food (as BJ's policy dictates, iknowrite?) and began slicing the next portion of ham.

So Eduardo notices that I'm turning slightly red and forgoes the other 8 people behind her and asks what else she wanted.  She pointed to the cheese I started and said "Half of Muenster."

I beat him to the scale, weigh out the ham, and hand it to her.  And without pausing she says "And a half a pound of Genoa Sa-" and I cut her off.

"Ma'am, he's helping you now" I gestured to Eduardo, "There are a dozen people on this line, you only get one server."  and I turned and beamed a huge smile at the next customer (well I was beaming more at the fact that I didn't have to help that witch anymore) and began to get his order.

Eduardo walks over to me and to bust my chops he, rather loudly, says to me, "So you don't like Spanish?"
So I replied, "No. It's not that.  I just don't like stupid assholes." in a stage-whisper so that she could hear.

I wonder- What came first:  Poor customer service?  Or wretched customers?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

You always wanted to do this. I did.

I apologize for nothing.

Sometimes one of the two chicken ovens were broken so that means there are 40 chickens every 2 hours instead of 80.  Which means when we run out (about a half hour after they're done) I'm asked literally every two minutes "When are the chickens going to be done?"

At first I used to go over once, then estimate the remaining time until they actually come out. It didn't work very well for two reasons-

1:  They'd come back every five minutes asking 'how long now?' like some eight year old in the back seat during a road trip.

2:  To be honest, I suck at judging time when it comes down to a span of two minutes.  And yes- that matters to those savages. 

So now I set the timer and - through complex math that those animals never seemed to take upon themselves- figured out the time they'd be done (So 4:35 instead of 'In 45 minutes')  so they'd only ask once and everybody wins... except the people who can't figure out what time it is- but that's besides the point.

I tell you that so that I can tell you this.

Some VULTURE of a woman comes up to me and asks, "When will the chickens be ready?"

"12:40 ma'am" and I continue to help the customer I'm serving.
"You said they'd be ready in forty minutes, an hour ago!"
"No I didn't ma'am."  I indifferently replied.
"YES YOU DID!  ARE YOU CALLING ME A LIAR?!"  This savage exploded.  This grown woman yelled at the top of her voice on an otherwise pleasant weekend afternoon.

Now I couldn't resist calling her on it.  Besides, they were coming out in about ten minutes so a crowd of maybe six people was forming to get them when they first come out.  Plus I had a pretty big line getting cold cuts.  I can never resist an audience.

"Ma'am" I curtly explained "I most certainly  did not tell you that they'd be done in forty minutes, an hour ago and I most certainly am calling you a liar.  Do you know how I know that I didn't?  I don't give people a countdown.  Like I just gave you I give people the time they come out.  So yes you are a LIAR.  I have NO idea WHY you would lie about something so trivial.  You're a grown woman throwing a tantrum because you can't get your chicken this very instant!  WHAT was your aim?!  Are you trying to make yourself feel better by talking down to and bullying an employee who you thought would just take your CRAP?!"

My only coworker that morning was Tyrone, who was off in an alcove putting labels on boxes for the chickens.  So his voice just shouts from seemingly nowhere "YEAH!"

The line and the crowd are all staring at her- some people laughing slightly.  She turns red and demands to see a manager, and being the sporting fellow I am, I go to the phone on the wall and make an announcement for him "Brian come to the deli, Brian to the deli" but I mumble and hold the phone too close so it sounds more like "Bra nana na, Bra nana na?"

So while we wait chickens come out and I finish my line and we're still standing there and eventually Brian strolls by on his rounds (He's well dressed with a nametag so he's obviously a manager.)  and she flags him down and demands that I get fired.  So he turns to me and asks if I had anything to say, pretending to be shocked and with a 100% straight face I say

"This virago insulted my honor.  I defended it, sir."
(A sidenote:  One of my favorite pastimes is using big words to either confuse customers or directly insult them to their faces without them knowing it.  Go on, tell your mother she looks absolutely voluminous today with a smile on your face and she'll thank you.)

So now she thinks she's got something to latch onto.
"See?  He's calling me names in front of a manager!  Fire him this instant or I'm going over your head!"

To which I break in, "Ma'am, a virago is a loud woman in a foul mood.  It's not name calling it's a vocabulary.  So either you aren't yelling at me or you aren't angry."

She wrote an email saying she's never going to BJ's again and yada yada "never in my life" blah blah blah and I got a 'sitdown' from human resources but they just laughed at my story.

I still see her every Saturday and I ALWAYS greet her with an obnoxiously polite "HELLO!" and a HUGE smile.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Shut Up

I was putting the rotisserie chickens into the display and I noticed a little kid (Couldn't be more than one or two years old) sitting in a shopping cart watching me work.  I smiled at him and he smiled at me and I went back to work.

So his mom comes back over - an obese fourty-something with scraggly black hair and old, worn, pale purple sweat pants and a t-shirt with a collar that looks like she's been pushing basketballs through- and I barely take notice because I don't expect people to dress up when they go shopping on a Friday morning.

Adorably, the kid gestures over to the chickens and said "What's that?" and she replies,

"Just shut up"


1)  The kid was sitting there absolutely quiet until he said two words.
2)  He was TWO!  That's when you're learning to talk!  What kind of emotional scarring is this kid getting from stuff like this?
3)  If she's comfortable saying this to her toddler in front of strangers- what the hell is she saying or (I shudder to think) doing behind closed doors?!

And it wasn't even the only time she did it- she snapped at him a second time so loudly that I could hear her from across the department.

Those three words ruined my ENTIRE day!  I'm not naive- I know people are shitty to their kids all the time... but it's one thing to know about something and another to see it in action.

So MY idea isn't exactly new but it makes more and more sense-
License people to have kids and heavily tax people who don't have licenses.  Nothing impossible- common sense stuff like things you should and should not say to infants.

Why not?

About my blog

So the entire basis of my blog is my job at BJ's Wholesale Club.  You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy than there.

Almost every day that I walk in there I recoil in horror at the savages I am forced to serve.  So finally I decided to write it down and share the stories.

Now in the interest of keeping my awful job I feel the need to explain to you that all of the stories of what I do are "works of fiction".  But the animals that I talk about are 100% real.

From working there I have become numb to a child's crying and a strong supporter of eugenics programs.