Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Now Hiring!

The government puts out employment and unemployment numbers every month, and I always view them with a skeptical eyebrow.  Often, the numbers don't seem to jive with what I'm seeing out in the real world.

I'm recognized from time to time on my days off, and a lot of people attempt to strike up conversations.  I don't mind.  After all, I'm in your home several times a week.  If I'm not in a hurry, feel free to chat away.

A couple of months ago, in a big box store, an employee was lamenting that management was cheaping out and not hiring enough help.  Even more troublesome was the fact that the people who were applying had no interest in working overnights.  As someone who's done it for a long, long time, it's not that bad.

Fast forward to another big box store in the same chain.  It happened the other morning.  There was a trainee behind the register.

Let me back up a moment.  I'm convinced most employee problems are really management problems, especially in retail.  If you have a bad experience in a store, chances are, it's because the employee was poorly trained, or there aren't enough employees on the floor.  I will admit that you do occasionally encounter simple incompetence and bad attitudes.

Okay, back to the other morning.

I wheeled my cart up to the register.  A young woman trainee was on the other side.  There wasn't much.  I put a few odds and ends on the belt, and left two cases of water in the cart.  I asked the trainee if she wanted me to put my cases of water on the belt, or if she'd prefer scanning them with a little handheld scanning gun.  She said I should leave the water cases in the cart.  Okay.  No problem.

As all of this was happening, the woman's boss was parked right over her shoulder.  I could tell he was a boss because he had a different colored smock.  He couldn't get any closer, and I had the feeling he was making her really nervous.  I should add this woman was a stunner, but that really has nothing to do with the story.

It was time to finish the transaction, and she told me the amount.  It was very low.  I then pointed to the water cases in the cart, which she had forgotten to scan.  Oops.  The water was scanned, I paid, and I was on my way.  For a flash, I thought about just leaving without paying for the water.  The boss didn't notice it, either.  It would have saved the trainee from embarrassment in front of the boss, and I'm sure she heard about her negligence to double check the cart after I left.

However, I'm an honest chap and just couldn't do it.

I did feel sorry for the young lady.  It was a rough night.  I watched her struggle with the man in line before me.  She couldn't get his package of hamburger buns to scan properly.

There are two other short stories for you...

One deals with a chain of mini marts.  Let's call them "Fowl Mountain."  It happens at more than one store, and it happens on a regular basis.  I'm there at odd times, frequently when the store isn't busy.  It's not uncommon to encounter workers on smoke breaks.  No problems.  If it's not busy, sneaking outside to light up is no big deal.  Unfortunately and unfailingly, they smoke directly in front of the entrance, so I have to wade through a stinky cloud to get inside.  It's disgusting.  I know they have to keep an eye on the store, but smoke somewhere else, or quit smoking.

And finally, I've been keeping you updated on the morning newspaper that has problems getting its papers out on the street in a timely basis.  It was awful for a long time.  It improved.  I don't know if my letter to management had anything to do with it.  It's back to awful.  Stores get their copies late.  There are fewer racks (machines/boxes) on the streets, and they are rarely filled.  One yesterday still had a Sunday paper from two weeks ago in the window.  It's sad.  When the place goes "internet only" or out of business, I'll be the first to say "I told you so."