Post #438 Seens From the Store

December 14, 2015 at 2:22 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Post #438 Seens From the Store

I love my job.  That’s a serious statement.  I love my job.  I work in what passes for a high end grocery store here on the peninsula and my short career (six weeks) has been a meteoric rise.  I willingly accepted the position as a bagger knowing that it would be hard work, but also knowing that I would interact with my coworkers and customers and every day would be different.  Within two weeks, they had me in cashier training where I aced the produce quiz (I missed three, but two of those I challenged and was found to be right; the produce manager has been trying to get me to come work for him ever since.)  I remained a cashier for about two and a half weeks, and have been in training as a CSR (Customer Service Rep) for two weeks.  There’s already plans to let me go farther but they have to wait for me to understand each position thoroughly.

So I’ve been having a blast.  The things that crack me up the most are the interactions with the customers.

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I was checking out one lady and she had a prime rib roast that was on sale.

“Wow, that’s a nice looking roast,” I said.  “And a great price, too.”

“Yeah, I got it for my husband.  He says he’s had pizza too much.  I hope I don’t ruin it.  I’m not much of a cook,” she explained.

“How are you going to cook it?” I asked while continuing to check through her groceries.

She looked helplessly at me and shrugged.

“Okay, really all you need to do is cross-hatch the fatty side and rub herbs into it.  Then cook is low and slow for a few hours.  Can’t fail.”

“How do I cross hatch it?”

“Okay, get a piece of paper.”  I explained cross-hatching and herb rubs.  Then we went on to cooking.  “Set your oven temp to 450 and cook the roast for 7 minutes per pound.  Then turn the oven off and don’t open that oven door for three hours.  When three hours have passed, you’ll have a perfect rib roast at medium rare.”

Her eyes were wide as she scribbled furiously.  I gave her tips for the other dishes to have with it.  And even though I’m not supposed to, I told her about the blog.

I hope she’s reading it.  I hope she’s enjoying it.

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A couple came through with six large bags of collard greens.  Buying in such large amounts isn’t unusual around the holidays, but this seemed excessive.

“What are you doing with the collard greens?”  I asked.

“Makin’ a big pot o’ greens!” the man said with a big smile.  “Love me some greens.”

I’ve had greens off and on ever since I moved to Virginia in ’87, but have never cooked them.  “What’s your recipe for them?”

I was treated to ten minutes of detail into the various ways to prepare and fix greens, all which included onion, garlic, salt ham, and a little oil.  I’ve got their faces emblazoned on my memory.  I’ve never seen two people so excited about a dish, and so happy to tell another person how to “fix ’em right!”

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A couple came through in the early evening.  He stood out for standing tall and strong.  He was about 6’7″ and was a solid 350 pounds.  No fat on him, just a big healthy guy.  His wife was no slouch, either, standing much taller than most women.  They were one of the happiest couples I’ve talked to and we all three played and joked and laughed as I processed their transaction.  After wishing them a pleasant evening, I turned to my next customer.

“Was he a body builder?” she asked in awe.

“No, I don’t think so.  He didn’t have the shredded shape of a body builder.  Certainly lifts weights, though.”

“He was so big!  He had muscles on his forehead, did you see that?”

I had to grin.  “No, didn’t notice, but I’ll take your word for it.”

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Then there’s the juxtaposition of these two incidents.

I’m dealing with a customer at checkout a 40-something woman who’s asking about a store special.  While working with her, I glance over and see an older “church lady” type setting some groceries on the belt.  I smile but she doesn’t acknowledge which doesn’t bother me much.  After a couple of minutes when I’ve completed the interaction with the first customer, I turn back to the belt to find the groceries sitting there and no person.  It happens quite often that someone will forget something and rush off to find it, but ordinarily they’ll say something.  It also happen, though not as often, that someone will abandon their groceries.  I was looking around for someone who was obviously rushing to get back to the checkout when another customer, a gentleman about my age came up.  We were both at a loss since no one was obviously making their way back to my lane, so we carefully pushed the groceries back on the belt to make room, and I started ringing the gentleman up as he had less than ten items.  While I was ringing him up, the original customer appears and starts berating me heavily.  It surprised me so I tried to explain.

Then a stream of profanity poured from this woman’s mouth that would make a sailor blush.  I almost laughed, but the gentleman I was waiting on wasn’t having it and turned to her and told her off, defending my actions.  After he finished his transaction, I turned to her and listened to her four-letter diatribe and remembered in training the “kill them with kindness” instructions.  I just smiled and listened and was overly polite.  After she left, my next customer said, “I’da killed her.”  The next two customers agreed.  Then the MOD (manager on duty) came up to find out why this gentleman customer came up to the customer service desk to defend me when no one had complained.

Fast forward a couple of days, I’m working the express check out, the busiest lane(s) in the store.  A lady had left her groceries on the belt without saying anything and two more ladies were waiting.  I carefully moved the groceries and started ringing the next lady up.  In the middle of that transaction, the first lady showed up.  She was extraordinarily polite, embarrassed, and apologetic.  We all chuckled about it.  I finished the lady I was with, took the original lady next, finished the third lady, who happened to be an older, confused lady who was with the lady I helped while waiting for the one who disappeared.  By the end of it all, we were all four fast friends and helping each other with the carts and orders.

I can only assume the “church lady” from a couple of days before was having a very bad day.

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As a CSR, one of the duties is to stand in front of the check out lanes and guide people to the fastest moving lanes.  We have a spot, next to a store telephone where we stand and can clearly see all the lanes, etc.  As I was standing there, one of the GMs passes by.

“Glad to see you have everything under control, Joe,” he said with a good deal of humor and a smile.  I’d only been training as CSR for a couple of days at that point.

I replied, “It reminds me of that old joke when the kid is leaning against the wall and the older guy asks him why.  ‘I am holding it up,’ the kid replies.  When he leaves, the wall falls down.”

I thought the GM was going to break a rib laughing too hard.

Enjoy

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