Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Random Job Reflections.

  • It's great to be back to work. There's been a boost to my self-esteem. I have a routine again. I have coworkers again. I get to interact with complete strangers for very short periods of time. 
  • I'm working for a warehouse store. Not the one owned by Walmart. This place doesn't just offer bulk, oversized products. We also sell regular and high-end items at a discounted rate - TVs, iPods, iPhones, jewelry, coffins, tires, books, DVDs…
  • I'm not just bragging here, but many people have told me that they often find the Sam's or Walmart generic brands lacking. Those that have shopped our store find our signature brand equal or superior to manufacturer brands and often more economical. 
  • My job title is Cashier's Assistant. Think bag boy with boxes instead of bags. I basically take things from one cart and try to put them back into another cart in an organized way. That's usually hindered by the order that things were taken out and how fast the cashier is. 
  • Every lane is an express lane.
  • I also help out with stock, and most recently, cleaning the bakery. I may start selling seafood by the end of the week.
  • In the bakery, I walked on cinnamon covered floors a quarter of an inch thick. It was like working in Christmas town's bakery. Fresh fruit cakes were cooling nearby. They also have two walk in ovens and a walk in dishwasher. I could wash every dish in my house at once in that thing.
  • My job is somewhat physically demanding (I'm way out of shape). I sweat a lot. Someone asked me if something had been spilled on me the first night I worked. Customers seem to think it implies I'm working harder than everyone else. My arms are getting stronger. I don't really feel the soreness until the night before my day off. It's like I psychosomatically suppress the aches and pains. 
  • As physical as the job may be, it's still pretty darn easy. 
  • Working with the stock department seems to stress me out a bit, but in reality, that's pretty easy too. Things are just a bit heavier. Extra large bags of dog food and cat litter weigh a ton. Okay. They weigh fifty pounds.
  • Perhaps my high blood pressure situation will lessen a bit with all this sweating and lifting.
  • Sometimes we run out of boxes, and we just have to put it all back into the cart. I'm guessing this makes the transfer of goods from the car to the house less fun when customers have purchased more than $500 worth of groceries. 
  • I like that our company will refuse to sell brands when their respective companies demand that we charge more money for their products. This happened with Coca-Cola a few years back. Coke was removed from the stores for about six months before they gave in. There's a certain peanut butter that isn't on the shelves right now for the same reason. It's awesome to tell customers that we don't carry certain items anymore because the supplier wanted us to charge more for no reason other than profit.
  • I work for the largest retailer of wine in the world, and it's obvious. Most carts exit the store with at least one bottle. 
  • We sell a ton of organic, natural, and unprocessed food, but we also sell alcohol in gallon bottles.
  • There has been a little culture shock for me. My monthly grocery budget is around $300. The majority of customers at this store spend anywhere from $300-$500 each visit. There are plenty of people that just pop in for the basics, but the larger orders are much more common.
  • On a daily basis, some couple comments that they only stopped in to grab coffee creamer and ended up spending $500. They stopped in for a $4 half gallon of organic dairy creamer for coffee, and on a whim, they purchase a cart full of grocery items and a television or a pair of diamond earrings. Every single day I've worked, this scenario is presented to me. I've only been working there for about 10 days so my ability to exaggerate hasn't really developed yet. 
  • I get the premise. It happens to me at Meijer. I stop in for milk, but end up spending an extra $20 that wasn't planned on cookies, soda, and some fresh fruit that sounds great at that moment. I have yet to accidentally get hooked on the idea of buying a flat screen TV when I only needed bread.
  • Despite how this might make our prices sound, there are some really affordable, regular items down there. It makes sense to buy a huge bottle of ibuprofin for $6 when the same $6 gets you a much smaller bottle at more common stores. It makes sense, that is, if you go through a regular bottle in a short amount of time.
  • The other culture difference: I seem to be one of very few employees that's married. Even fewer seem to have kids. Many of my coworkers are younger than me, but most are around age 30. 
  • Having been unemployed for more than two years, I've kind of fallen out of practice when dealing with customers. 95% of them are polite and thankful. It's the other 5% that I had hoped had grown more kind in my absence. They have not. 
  • I get that we're there to offer services to our customers. I support that idea. I just wish, even if they view us as beneath them, that they could find it in their hearts to not actually treat us as such. 
  • I get that most difficult customers are projecting problems in their own lives onto us. Working in fast food taught me that lesson quickly. 
  • I've found, in years past, the most satisfying thing to do is to remain calm and polite to the end. I don't think all difficult customers are looking for a reaction, but I know some of them are, even unconsciously. Even after someone says something completely rude to me, I thank them and wish them a good day. That's not always easy.
  • Some people really do seem to expect miracles. 
  • Some people get agitated when you offer to box things up for them. Other act like they're building the coolest fort with our boxes. They take way more boxes than would normally make sense.
  • I miss my kids.
  • Our family, as a whole, is still adjusting to all the schedule and responsibility shifts.
  • The Fleet Foxes album, Sun Giant is making for great Autumn listening.
  • My highest recommendation for Halloween movie viewing: Trick R Treat. You can usually pick it up for $5 at Walmart on DVD. That's a steal for such an awesome, recent horror gem. 

1 comment:

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed checking out your newest post, Brian! I am rejoicing with you that you've finally found "something" in your search for employment, and it's cool to see your job through the senses of an artist--it was fun experiencing the smell of the cinnamon, the soreness in your arms, the disappointment you felt with that 5%, your incredulity at the spending patterns of some of the people you helped.