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Thursday, January 18, 2007

So Fresh, So Clean, So Hating Registers ...

Eels: Fresh Feeling

Clearlake: Good Clean Fun

Isabela Galindo laughs with daddy

Eastern Conference Champions: Nice Clean Shirt

Depeche Mode: Clean

Today is cleaning day. Today is clean day. Clean Day. Clean day is today.

I've been given two days off in a row as a gift from god (or perhaps Abe Vidoga) and so it was supposed to be a two day cleaning festival but yesterday my wife and I got caught up in watching The Godfather and fucking. Therefore, today has become cleaning day. So I can't talk too much. I just stopped by here to say hello and talk a little bit about something that's been on my mind lately ...

The other day one of the newbies at work paged me and told me to cover the back register while he went to the bathroom, which was a major hassle because the our bathroom was closed and so he had to make the major trek to the basement bathroom (because he didn't know about the movie theater's lobby being open). Instead of bitching him out I shrugged and grumbled and went to cover the register for ten minutes.

I think I've been doing my job for so long (children's department = 3 years, 10 months/bookseller = 6 years, 4 months) that it seems as if people have forgotten why I don't cashier. I think they think that I see myself as the holier than thou Mr. Steve who's too good to ring at a register. Even one or two of the managers have given me slack about not ringing people up anymore.

Here's the deal, though. Gather 'round, kids. It's storytime ...

I was hired at the end of 2000 and was instantly thrown behind a register. It was hard work because at my original store we didn't have an information desk, so the cashier doubled as an info person. It was rough. I sold people the new "Goblet of Fire" Harry Potter book. I stood behind a register in shock as a line of 40 people waited in the cold outside our store to buy a copy of the newspaper the day after Sept. 11th because, as one man put it, "I'm gonna make a shitload of bucks selling this fuckin' thing on ebay!" I handsold new age books to the cast of Eight Legged Freaks, who were filming a few blocks away. It was about a year and a half of ringing people up before moving my ass to Sacramento.

I was once again thrown behind a register and blew people away by how fast I worked. A mere six months into working at my new location I was given a lead bookseller position based on the argument that even when I come to work sick and tired and lazy, I still work ten times faster than everybody else in the store. I was given the RED section - fiction, mystery, true crime, romance, science fiction, comic books, role playing games, video game strategy guides and crosswords puzzles. It's a tough section, a few hundred bookcases for one person to scan and alphabetize in one month. But I always completed it and with a handful of days to spare.

I was told that being a lead meant covering breaks and being behind a register and answering backup pages and helping out both registers all the time. I agreed and as I worked on red I was running all over the store ringing up people like mad. Then the children's department person, who the managers agreed wasn't doing a good job, left and I was forced to give up red and take over the kids section. Which I didn't want to do. I didn't;t like kids, didn't want kids, and I hated being in kids. Meeting my amazing wife changed all that and soon I was awesome in kids, but at the beginning I hated it.

Hating the kids section like I did, I still answered every single backup cashier call and covered every cashier break I could. That was my downfall. The district manager had his office in our store. He would come into kids, see me NOT there, and get pissed. Then he put his six sixty foot down and passed down the holy decree that there is to be a kids person at ALL TIMES and that I am to no longer cover anyone's cashier breaks or do backup cashiering or do any cashiering at all. And that was it. The law was passed down - no more registers for me.

That was at the end of 2003. That sentiment was echoed again when the dictrict manager became the REGIONAL manager and it was again echoed by the new district manager as early as monday afternoon during a conference call I was requested to sit in for.

But nowadays, due to insignificant hours in our ghetto ass store, I'm covering the customer service desk all the time and any other kids employees are automatically tapped once they come in to cover EVERYONE ELSE's breaks and lunches.

This is how it goes ...

Diana comes in at five and goes to kids. But she's covering all the cashier breaks and lunches and they came in at 4:00 pm, so that means that after only a HALF HOUR in kids she's off to cover people at 5:30. And once she's done covering breaks she has her own break. Once her break is done it's time to cover lunches. This goes on all night. She will eventually be able to return to kids at 9:30pm, a half hour BEFORE we close.

This happens three or four times a week, sometimes more. That pretty much leaves me as the only employee in the kids department. And now I'm starting to get heat from people who think the only reason I don't ring up anymore is because I think I'm the coolest shit on the planet.

Which I AM, but that has nothing to do with me getting written up for ringing up too much, you know?

Anyway, back to cleaning. Thigs are starting to look much better around here. Wish me luck peeps.

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