Is December Over Yet?

As we get older, the months are supposed to sneak past us so quickly that we don’t even see them going by. December didn’t get the memo. It’s not like I really accomplished anything; it just feels like it took forever not to.

December showed off some pretty quirky human behavior. And some amazing first-world stupidity.

I always do a lot of baking for the holidays. It takes about a week and I generally make the same things. Unfortunately my week was interrupted by cranberry bread for my husband to take to work, breakfast breads for my daughter’s fundraiser, and putting together a gingerbread reindeer and sleigh. (Not really difficult if you have four hands.) Luckily for my family I was still in my holiday daze when they remarked that I had not made fudge this year.

I went to an interfaith peace kick-off meeting on December 22. The timing was significant because it was the season of Christmas, Hanukah, and The Prophet’s birth. And because those of us who work in retail are in a perpetual haze. I hope the woman sitting next to me won’t be offended if we meet again and I have no clue who she is.

Someone left an empty tube of acrylic paint on a shelf at work. There was no mess, so it wasn’t vandalism. Wouldn’t it have been easier to just put the tube in your pocket than empty the contents into it?

Somebody took a small-sized safe. The empty ones we sell. If you can’t afford a safe, what are you going to put in it?

We had a new employee for a few weeks. She was hired as a stocker. After a couple of weeks she could stock five cases of toys in eight hours. (That’s approximately 30 toys.) Turns out that a large part of the problem was that she spent the night shopping – picking out items, looking them over, deciding what she really wanted, replacing what she didn’t, and paying for her purchases.

When the company had documented enough to fire her, she was highly offended. She called the store director to complain about unfair termination. Complain very loudly. He asked her if she was challenging the reports of shopping on company time and inability to perform the job. No, she agreed that it was true. It just wasn’t fair to fire her.

Last night four bored young men came into the store. I heard this tremendous “music” and went to investigate. They had turned on all the dancing Christmas bears and were taping them on a phone. I tried not to laugh when I asked them to please not do it again.

You may recall that my daughter B was invited to L.A. for a modeling/talent convention. They are leaving this coming Tuesday (1/4). Last Sunday (12/27), her agency wanted to see all of the clothes she was bringing to L.A. They told her that her dress for the award dinner was way too loose and needed to be tailored. She was lucky. A couple of the other people had to make major wardrobe adjustments. In a week.

This week the agency told B that she did need a portfolio after all of 6 to 8 pictures. She could get the perfect display album for just $45 from them. But they were out of stock. She bought an $18 presentation portfolio from Staples that displays the photos beautifully. Good thing since last night the agency said she needs 10 copies each of 3 other pictures.

B needed to purchase the pictures from Costco/CVS/Walgreen’s/Staples. It seemed simple enough. Download the picture file, enter the dimensions and quantity, and place the order. The pictures were professionally taken to be printed as 8×10. However to order them as 8×10 online she needed to crop them as if they were taken as 8.5×11. For one of them, she had to choose between taking off part of an arm or her head.

I thought I was going to be a huge favorite with the cats. I bought a water fountain and a huge fleece bed for them. They are finally getting over their fear of running water and using the fountain. The bed is used on rare occasion by one or the other of them. Next year it’s back to special food.

And now that December is finally going away –

Image result for new year 2016 animalsGoogle Images

Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2016!


Why Would Anyone Steal It?

My son is graduating in a few weeks. We have been sitting on an invoice from the school for two years.  At the end of the 2011-2012 school year, we received a statement saying he/we owed $78 for a missing algebra book. I had been expecting it. He told us one night that he had left the book in a classroom and needed to pick it up before algebra class the next day. The next day the book was gone, and no one knew where. Seriously?

My son is the only one I know who is anywhere near as absent-minded as I am. I kept losing my keys, so my family bought me one of those electronic beepers you attach to the keyring. One day I couldn’t find the keys. And couldn’t remember where I left the control button.

He’s been able to retrieve earbuds, personal books, and favorite pens over the years. Out of everything that’s he’s forgotten overnight, the only one that went missing was the algebra book? My guess is that someone else couldn’t find their book and thought his belonged to them. That’s a much less disturbing thought than the idea that someone looked at it and said, “Wow! I’ve been looking for one of these! Can’t believe someone left this beauty behind.”

Coincidentally, I was reading the current issue of Time. (Yes, in paper form.) In the Roundup section, there were the World’s Weirdest Heists. I had seen the one about the missing manhole covers in New York City a couple of years ago. They were only worth $30 apiece. Maybe they wanted the publicity. Or maybe they were looking for a challenge. I’ve been in NYC; I’m not sure how you could do it without someone seeing you.

They also say that 6 million pounds of maple syrup was stolen from a Quebec warehouse in 2011 and 2012. It was worth about $18 million. Since it was stolen over a period of time, maybe it was someone inside the warehouse taking home a little at a time. “Gee, Joe you smell like maple syrup.” “Not really; it’s my new cologne.” Eventually they found two-thirds of it. Doesn’t seem to be much of a secondary market for it.

Somewhat similarly, in Bad Hersfeld, Germany, they lost 5.5 tons of Nutella (chocolate-hazelnut spread) when someone robbed a parked trailer. It was worth about $20,000. I was wondering whether they had the Nutella in jars or bulk. Probably in jars. Either way, how do you take that much of something without being seen? It’s not like you wouldn’t need some sort of massive vehicle yourself.  I can’t imagine what you would do with it. Sell it to a rogue food truck company? Use it to lure animals?

In Jamaica, someone took about 500 truckloads of beach sand from the construction site of a $108 million resort. I imagine that was for another resort that was either being built or having erosion problems. We have gravel pits around here. They check to make sure that when the trucks go out they have gravel, and when they come back there is no gravel. You would think that someone might have thought “Gee, we’re building here, not tearing down. Shouldn’t we be keeping the sand here?”

My favorite is the bridge that was stolen in the Czech Republic in 2012. The thieves created fake work documents for the police and dismantled a 10-ton pedestrian crossing. You would think a project that size would have attracted the attention of people using the crossing. Apparently the local government didn’t notice at all.  There was about $6,000 of scrap metal taken. Guess it’s the reverse of people selling the Brooklyn Bridge to new immigrants.

I guess if you do something so odd that people can’t imagine why anyone would want to do it, they don’t think you shouldn’t be doing it. Now I need to find a clever way to take a ton of chocolate and hide it from my neighbors.


Don’t You Trust Me?

Yesterday at work, a coworker told me that the company had put a new security camera in the deli area. It points at a wall with ready-to-bake pizzas, packaged meats, and ready-to-eat sandwiches (those ones in the triangular boxes that are available in vending machines). It appears to be stationary, but I’m no expert on these things.

Some people think they are directed more at the employees than the customers. I guess employee theft is a problem. But I would hope that someone would risk their job over something better than a week-old egg-salad sandwich on white bread being kept non-lethal by cellophane. I mean, it’s only a few feet from the real meat.

They also have a camera to watch us leave the building. I’m told that one’s a pin-hole camera, so we won’t know we’re being watched. Apparently the people responsible for the camera didn’t realize that telling a couple of people about it meant that all employees would know. And those employees would tell the new employees.

I’m not really sure what they hope to see. Maybe if a big-screen TV goes missing, they check the recording to see if anyone tried to sneak one through the employee door. They would probably want to get rid of that employee anyway. We’re allowed to use any of the doors in the store. It would be pretty stupid to use the one door where even if the camera didn’t get you, everyone else saw you leave with a new TV. A TV you could never afford on the wages you make.

I lead a seriously boring life. I’m a little embarrassed to know that I’m being watched almost everywhere I go. There’s a traffic camera down the road from our house. We live on a “major” two-lane road (it’s paved). The light is at the intersection with another paved two-lane road. It’s a pretty exciting spot. There’s a nursing home on one corner. That’s it. I really don’t know if they’ve caught anyone with it. For all I know, it may not even be connected.

I’m not sure which is creepier: knowing that you’re being watched and not being able to tell how they’re doing it or those cameras that have a screen where you can watch yourself move around a store. The logical part of me knows that there is no one actually watching all of those monitors all the time. But there’s still a part of me that says, “Geez, I don’t remember my butt looking that big the last time I wore these pants. I don’t want people looking at me like this.”

On the other hand, it’s probably not as easy to be a “fashion don’t” as I fear. It seems like every time there is a robbery at a gas station or convenience store, the images are too blurry to make out anything about the person they’re looking for. Apparently if I want to steal a $4 pseudo-sandwich, I should do it at the local Gas Mart.

I’ve been seeing and hearing ads for home security systems that allow you to view what is going on at home from work (or wherever you are with your laptop). Part of me thinks that’s a great idea. You can make sure the house is still in one piece, the kids are still in one piece, and your spouse hasn’t made a playdate with a new friend. On the other hand, do I really want to know that the kids have tie-dyed the rabbit before I have to?

On a local morning show last week, I heard about a guy who put cameras in his bedroom. He was missing some clothes and was sure his roommate was stealing from him. Turns out he had left the clothes at his new girlfriend’s house. Hope he takes down the cameras before he takes the new girlfriend home. Or that she’s open-minded.

I hate the thought of being watched. I guess it’s the modern version of the days when the clerk would come into the store changing rooms to “make sure everything is OK” in an effort to keep people from stealing. But that was creepy too.

Maybe I’ll just go full-cat. They don’t care one way or the other what we think of them.