They Missed Me!

Today was my first day back after vacation. So I was excited, eager, and chomping at the bit. (Please don’t believe that.) But I was there 2 minutes before I had to clock in. As I wandered through the back room, I pondered the irony of Labor Day. Originally created to celebrate the value of the working (wo)man, it has become another one of the “three-day weekend” “holiday sale” days.  The power of our union was demonstrated in the “need” for us to work to supply the “needs” of the rest of the workforce on their day off. Walter Reuther would not be proud.

On the bright side, we are paid double time to work holidays. Probably because we have to work twice as hard to see half the results.

First thing off, I walk into the cooler and there are sheets taped to each of the many carts. Seems that while I was gone, the team leader had been in there and decided that we have too many carts. Not being able to move once you open the door was probably a clue. Now I have to sign and date the sheet after I have worked the cart so we will know which carts have been worked. Somehow this will lessen the number of carts in the cooler. Particularly since I am the only one working in there during the week. So I am leaving notes to myself telling me what I have been doing. Guess that’s why I’m not fast-tracking to management (a scary thought).

I go out to the floor and notice that we will soon have fewer carts in the cooler; there is very little merchandise on the shelves. Back in the cooler, I notice that all of the stuff still seems to be in the carts in the middle of the cooler rather than the carts on the sides (its new home). It seems that someone may have spent a little too much time organizing and not enough stocking? Just asking.

One interesting thing about Labor Day there – people seem to think of a trip to the store as a family outing. School starts tomorrow, so it’s one last opportunity to get everyone in the car and do this week’s grocery shopping and back-to-school shopping and summer close-out shopping. What happened to barbecues and a last trip to the lake? My kids give me a list of what they need, and I bring it home. All of us are much happier. (At least I think we are – we’ve never tried the shopping-as-bonding-time idea.)

So I drag a cart out and start stocking. By 7a there are several people shopping. It steadily increases as I keep working. These people are the ones who want to “beat the crowd”. Of course, other people have the same idea, so they all become the crowd. (If they really wanted to beat the crowd, they probably would have shopped at the end of last week – or tomorrow). Generally speaking, these are people doing their regular shopping, not just picking up a couple of forgotten items for the picnic. I can’t think of a better way to spend my last paid day off of the summer – set the alarm, get up early, and go grocery shopping.

My team leader comes by and tells me that the VP is coming tomorrow so I should make sure all the holes are filled. If she had actually looked at the displays, she would have realized that she was delusional. There were more holes than stock. But maybe you need to be in that position.

Because there was so much stuff in the cooler rather than the floor, I spent a large amount of time walking back and forth getting things that were waiting to be put out. By the same law that makes the only person in the aisle stand in the place you are working, the only thing a person wants is something that is neither on the cart you have on the floor or in its space. But at least it’s out of the cooler!

The faster I worked, the busier it got. At times, I couldn’t even get to a place to stock. I never got caught up. In fact, by the time I left it looked worse than when I got there. But I had gotten rid of some of the carts! Too bad there will be replacements tomorrow.

If they could get this organized while I’m gone for a week, it should only take a couple of weeks to get it back to its old, dysfunctional state. The one where I could find anything I needed when I needed it.

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