Monday, August 25, 2014

The Trials Of A Self Check Attendant

7 a.m. Two out of six machines are down. CRAP. Two out of six machines, and it's Sunday. Shoot me now.  Take the few moments of boredom and no lines to clean the 4 working self check stations. No sir, that one's down, there an out-of-order sign right on it. Use this one.
7:30 a.m.: Dry ice. Dry ice. It's okay, it's not busy yet. I can handle the combination locked - don't touch it with your bare hands or you'll burn yourself, I'm wearing gloves for a reason here, please, hands out- dry ice. Yes, I know you need help too, person on the other machine. As soon as I'm done with this dry ice, I'll be there.
8:30 a.m. One of the machines is out of every type of coin we have. Fill it before lines get crazy. Unlock three people's machines while filling out the coin order slip. No - self check does not do money orders. No, I can't ring up your order for you; we have regular checkstands for that. No, you can't buy that seedless whole watermelon for the price of a personal watermelon. No. No. No. No. Coin order slip filled. Dry ice. No, I can't ring up your order for you. Customer service is open now, you can get a money order there. Coin order delivered to self check, start filling machine. Instant line. These people can smell when I'm filling money, I swear, and of course, now there is only 3 working self check stations while I am working on the one. Yes, I can approve your beer. Yes, I can unlock your station. Yes, I can tell you how to do that. (Shit, I have to fill this money so I can get this back open.) SHIT! Gotta fill this money. DRY ICE!!!! Please, God, no. I mean, sure, I can get that for you. (Why is the self check in charge of the damned dry ice?!?!)
Thumped on the shoulder while getting dry ice. WHY are you touching me? I will be there as soon as I'm done with this customer. Why is your station not letting you scan? Have you bagged the last item you scanned? No, you took all the bags off the bagging station? Well, that'll do it. 
9:00 a.m. Thank God for my break. 
9:15 a.m. Back to work. No I can't ring your order for you. No, you have to go to customer service to get a refund. No, it's around 15 items allowed. You have a full cart. You can't scan? Took all the bags off the bagging station? That'll do it. No, those aren't onions. Those are peaches. They cost more. 
9:30 a.m. What's with the dry ice? 4 bags? No, it's .98 a pound, not .98 each. No, it comes in about a 10 lb bag, give or take. No, I can't cut exactly a pound. Yes, I can break off a piece, no I can't make it exactly a 1 pound piece. Why? They didn't give me any way to do that. I throw it on the floor to break it, open it up, and give you a piece. No, don't stick your hands in. Dry ice will burn you; I'm wearing gloves.  No, I can't ring your order up. Why in God's name are people writing checks here? Do that with a regular cashier. No, the machine can't take your check. I'll have to suspend your order, take you to my podium, and pull your order back up so I can take your check. Yes, if you have debit, please use it. No, I can't access your pin. No, I can't see what you type. I'm not looking. Yes, I can get you dry ice. (Damn shitting-ass dry ice. Why can't they at least give us a key lock? Stupid combination's a pain in the ass.)
10 a.m. Lines. Shit. Lines. Only 4 machines. God, everyone needs to be unlocked. STOP TAKING YOUR GROCERIES OFF OF THE BAGGING STATION. If they don't fit, you have too many. The sign right-freaking-there clearing says: About 15 items. 50 is too many. No, I can't refund that. Customer service is right that way, they can fix that for you. No, I don't know what's wrong with the coffee machine. Or the coke machine. The Redbox is outside. No, that's not peanuts sir, those are cashews. What's the difference, you ask? Cashews cost more. When you ring one item up on a station, and you move to another station, sir, I have to close down the first station until I can get a supervisor over here to approve the voided order. Oh, it wouldn't scan anymore? Did you bag the first item you scanned? No? That'll do it. 
10:30 a.m. Effing dry ice. What do you mean, you just wanted to look at it? It's dry ice, not the Sistine Chapel. No, I can't do a money order. No, you can't take your bags off of the bagging station; it locks the station up. Yes, you still have to give your ID for alcohol. Doesn't matter if it's self check, you still get carded. Yes, I really need your ID. NICE TRY 20 YEAR OLD ASSHOLE. No beer for you. DRY ICE?!?! Are you gonna buy some, or are you just taking a tour?
11 a.m. Thank you, LORD! It's lunch time. I'm leaving. I'm leaving. I wanna see my daughter. Why? She won't ask me for dry ice, that's why. 
11:30 a.m. *whimpering* I'm back. It's okay. It's okay. No, I can't refund that, customer service is right down there, they can take care of that for you. No, I don't know what's wrong with the coffee machine. No, you can't take your bags off of the bagging station until you've paid. I just told you not to do that. Yeah, it's locked. Holy crap, stop touching me, people. I can see you, but there's only one of me. I'll be there as soon as I finish with the current customer. No, that's Dasani water. Store brand is cheaper. It has to be redone. No, you put two items in that bag and only scanned one. Yes, that does lock the system. The bagging station is a scale; it knows when you put too much weight on there. The Redbox is outside. Your kid can't sit on the bagging station, sir. Yeah, it's locking up because your kid is on the bagging station. Holy crap, dry ice? WHY?
12 p.m. Please, please leave all your bags on the bagging station until you are done. No, I can't ring up that order for you, we have several checkers, however, that will be happy to do that for you. What do you mean, I'M NOT DOING ANYTHING. You can't ring up those bulk Jelly Bellies as assorted wrapped candies, sir. No, they aren't the same price. Highest priced candy rung as lowest price candy does not make my boss happy. Fine, if you don't want it anymore, I'll take it. No, please don't touch me. I'm see you, don't touch me. I was voiding items off of an order, as soon as I finished I was coming. I did say, "I'll be there in a minute." No, I can't ring your order for you. Yes, I can tell you how to ring your produce on your own. No, those aren't regular bananas, those are plantains. They cost more, yes, but they are still plantains. Ma'am, your kid can't sit on the bagging station. She's not hurting anything? Is your machine locked? Yes? That's because your kid is sitting on the bagging station, which is a scale. 
12:30 p.m. Return of the dry ice. Oh, you were just looking? When I have a line wrapped around the front of the store and only 4 working self check stations? Sure, why not. No, I can't do refunds. Redbox is outside. Yay! The coffee guy is here to fix the coffee machine! No, I can't ring your order. No, that's way too many items. Oh, your gonna ring them all up anyway. Yes, I enjoyed unlocking your machine over and over and over again because you had too many items. It was awesome. Seriously? You're coming to self check with a coinstar slip? OH HOLY SHIT! I have to chase the lady with the unpaid $57 order into the parking lot, because she DIDN'T PAY. Bring her back in to pay, then deal with two customers who accuse me of running out of the store because ' I didn't want to do my job', get price check on 24 piece deli chicken. No, you can't take the bags off of the bagging station until you are done. Customer service is that way. Yes, I can approve your alcohol; yes, I need to see your ID first. 
1p.m. Get price check on coffee creamer. Price is wrong; fix price for customer. Customer demands to know what will be done to punish the person who put in the price wrong. Demands name. Gets mad when I won't give a name (honestly, I don't know how pricing works, so I don't know what to tell him anyway). Looks pointedly at my name badge. "I'll see you, Marie." Ummm, okay. I'll be here. Dry ice, of course. Please, ma'am, don't get my attention by grabbing my shoulder. No touch-y no feel-y, please. Lines. Chaos. Locked self check stations as far as the eye can see. No, I can't ring your order at my podium. I know all the self check stations are full, but I still can't ring your order here. Tell a woman I can't process a return at self check, and point customer service out to her only to have her scream, "But that's what I'm asking you to do!" and storm off in a fit of rage. No time to process that, I have machines to unlock. Please, leave your bags on the bagging stations. Please, ring up your items before you put them IN the bagging station. Please, that's a cabbage, not a lettuce. No, that cabbage didn't weight .2 lbs. I have to redo it. 
1:30 p.m. Last break. Almost there. Almost there. 
1:45 p.m. Coin accepter is jammed. It'll be just one minute ma'am. It's gotta work the stuck coins out. Unlock two machines, check on jammed machine. Oh look, it's still jammed. Yay. Unlock another machine. Coin accepter is no longer jammed. Yay, now you can stop glaring at me and pay. I wanna go home. Yes, I can give you change. No, I can't ring your order up for you. No, you can't put the bags into your cart until you are done. 
2:00 p.m. Why is everything flashing at me? Leg cramp! Leg cramp! Yes, I can limp over there and unlock your machine. Yes, I can approve your beer. Sorry, your card declined, and I have to get a supervisor to put in a code. Oh, you don't want it anymore? I'm sorry. No, I'm sorry, I have to get a supervisor to cancel this order, it's still unavailable. That one is out-of-order, sorry, you can't use it. No, you can't use it. No, it's not working. Yes, I know there is a line. It's still broken though. Dry ice? Sure, why not? Yeah, I would love to not have a combination lock on this cooler. NO, don't stick your hand in there, it'll burn you. Yes, I can unlock your machine. 
2:30 p.m. Unlock. Unlock. Unlock. Unlock. Approve beer. Approve beer. Approve beer. It's all a blur. Customer service; down there. Redbox: outside. Leg cramp!!! Leg cramp!!!! Unlock. Unlock. Unlock. Yes, the coffee machine has been fixed now. That self check machine is out of order. It's out of order. No, it's broke. Yes, I know there is a line. I don't know how to fix it. No, I don't know how to fix it. 
3 p.m. Almost there. Almost there. Stupid damn leg. What the hell? Unlocking everything. Please, don't move your bags until you are done. Don't touch me. Blur, blur, it's all a blur.
3:30 p.m. Off the clock! Off the clock!! Dry ice! NO! I'm off the clock. Sorry. She'll help you! FREE, AT LAST!!!!


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Something To Think About

   On my Facebook news feed, I've seen a certain type of post lately, posted by multiple people, and these posts disturb me greatly because what they tend to be are links to uploaded YouTube videos of animals or defenseless people (kids, disabled, ect.) being cruelly beaten, tortured even, by someone who has power over them. To me, there is not very many evils that are greater than hurting something that does not have the power to fight back; hurting something weaker with less defenses that should be under that person's protection. I don't know, maybe that's just me, but that is my feeling, and that is why these videos disturb me so much.
   These videos are usually passed with a message to share the link with people so that the story will spread and that we, as a society, will help to catch these people. But the funny thing is, I've yet to hear a story about these people getting caught. What I hear and see, is even more videos showcasing abuse; humanity at it's worst rather than it's best. So I've started hiding all the videos that show up on my news feed. I won't look at them.
   Am I turning a blind eye to evil? No, I don't think so. Because when you upload a video to a social media site, such as YouTube, what you want is for people to watch it. You want people to pass it around, you want people to see what you filmed. And to me, it seems that all of the videos have been filmed by a participating abuser, someone with permission by the abusers. I assume that they also have the permission to post the video. Which means that the person hurting his/her victim wants his/her atrocities to be watched. He/she wants them recognized, shares, passed, possibly made viral. And I am not in the habit of giving evil men and women what they want. I believe that these people want their slice of internet fame, and I am not going to participate in giving that to them. 
   I don't say this to shame people who've shared the links. If you honestly think that these people can be caught by your actions, then I guess you have to do what you think is right. But, personally, I don't think we have much hope of catching these people. In a media that spans almost worldwide, are you even certain that these videos are even in the country that you are currently in? That's a lot of people for a lot of different authorities to sort through, and if these people are ever caught, I have the feeling that their capture will be due to a concerned neighbor or a conscientious family member, not a YouTube video. That's not to say that the video can't be the evidence that nails the lid on the coffin, but the video, I feel, won't be what gets them caught. So why watch? Why give the person the pleasure of knowing that worldwide, people are watching the video? 
   I don't like to be preachy, or to tell people what to do, but maybe this is something that we all should think about, when we log into whatever form of social media that we use. I'm not suggesting turning a blind eye to evil, if we ever have the chance to actually help someone, then we should jump in and do so, but what I am suggesting is giving these victims that we can't help, a small amount of compassion by not empowering their abuser; by NOT giving the abuser what he or she so obviously wanted when they shared their homemade video on a social media site. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Techno-Moron

   Yet again, I've been having problems with electrical devices. My computer has been giving me the most grief; it's decided that it's going to overheat and turn off every five minutes, making any type of computer based work hard. Good thing I'm not still doing online classes.
   It's gonna have to wait, like every other expense that's not rent, food, or utilities. But another piece of 'time-saving' equipment has also been giving me a lot of grief: my vacuum cleaner. I mean, c'mon, how much trouble can a vacuum cleaner be? Well, if your name is Marie, than the vacuum cleaner might just be your arch-nemesis. A few months ago, before summer even started, I wrote about how my vacuum cleaner had stopped working correctly, and that my sister had told me that the problem was the belt. At first, the problem did seem to be the belt. After replacing the belt, my vacuum did work again; running the blasted thing caused my apartment to smell like fire, but it did work, for a time. However, three new belts later, for some reason, I am spending more time trying to get the vacuum to work than I am actually spending vacuuming. This, my friends, is a problem.
    I don't like living in a dirty house, but I equally don't like cleaning. If I have to spend 30 minutes just getting the tool I need to use to clean to work in the first place, then that chore: not getting done. Not happening. But you can't just stop vacuuming when you have a carpeted floor. So I downgraded. I'm done with vacuum cleaners. Instead, I've switched to a vacuum sweeper - no electricity needed, no motors, no belts, no wires, nothing.  And while my family is busy laughing at me, I just can't help being happy.
   And that just kinda reinforced something that I've known for a long time. Something that just doesn't make sense with a woman who writes a blog, is a gamer, and grew up in the age of the internet; I just don't do well with technology. Something in me causes shit to break, and that's not so great for my blog, because it's hard to write a post when your computer will only stay on for five minutes at a time. I need a new one, but I'm waiting because I already got a new one once, and managed to destroy it so completely it won't turn on. I need something with less wires and circuits. But unlike the vacuum cleaner, there really isn't a compatible downgrade for computers. If only my computer problem could be solved so easily. I need a vacuum sweeper version of a computer...

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Back-To-School Shopping Ramble

   It's that time again; time to start getting the kiddo ready for her next school year. Another round of shopping and mayhem. I haven't done the big school clothes shop yet; this year won't be as bad as last year though. She's grown, but we bought a lot of her pants larger than needed, and they fit her now. Undoubtedly, she will need those pants replaced as the year goes by, but I have a little time, thank goodness. I don't have to buy a whole, entirely new wardrobe before school this year. Last year I did, and I was fearing the same for this year.The child that once didn't even reach the tops of my knees is now merely a few meager inches shorter than me. We did do the whole shoe shopping bit, and to my shock, my daughter is now, at age 12, wearing the same size shoes that I am. How big is this child going to get? That's what I wanna know.
  This year will mark the first year that my daughter does not want Tinkerbell plastered on her backpack. For the longest time, my daughter was obsessed with Tinkerbell. She had Tinkerbell toys and Tinkerbell games, Tinkerbell shirts and Tinkerbell movies, Tinkerbell blankets, Tinkerbell posters, Tinkerbell books... I'm sure you get the picture - even when I shut my eyes, I was seeing Tinkerbell plastered on the back of my eyelids.
   These days, my daughter is more into Fairytale and Sword Art Online. That is good by me - I can get into some anime. Of course, that means that she wants anime plastered all over the stuff that she gets for school. Grandma bought the lucky dog a Sword Art Online backpack, and thanks some help from the anime store at the mall and Amazon, she was able to score a few anime T-shirts for back-to-school. But anime themed stuff - that, my friends, is expensive.
   Just in case you are wondering, those of you with small kids or even thinking of having kids, they don't get cheaper as they get older. Sure, you don't pay for diapers, and eventually, daycare, but little girls - not as expensive as big girls, in my own personal opinion. Okay, I could save money by going thrift-store shopping. I do by her new stuff, and I know that this is the pricey way to go, but all her clothes gets handed down to my little niece, so I feel like I am getting good value for what I buy. But you have to look at all the other things that a growing girl needs. They don't get less expensive when you are looking at bras and shoes and school fees (even for public schools, good grief), and a long list of things that no one really wants to read about. I'm not really looking forward to my daughter dragging me around the mall, going from one brightly colored, designed-to-make-your-eyes-bleed garment to the next, all the while complaining about how she's not goth like me (I'm not goth at all, by the way, I just prefer to wear the color black) while she searches for the perfect neon yellow shirt and fire engine red pants. Who taught this child how to dress??? Kids rebel in the strangest ways... Well, school clothes shopping is a few weeks away, so I have a little time to mentally prepare myself for the chore. I like to wait as long as possible, because I'm sure that this kid is drinking Miracle Grow on the sly, and I'm worried about growth spurts. Also, I'm dragging my mom along because misery loves company, so I have to wait for a good day for her as well. After raising two girls of her own, I'm sure she's used to head-scratching, you-want-to-actually-wear-that??? moments herself, so she's good to have along, although, sometimes, she does tend to enjoy feeding my daughter's bizarre fashion choices... Yeah, I see what you are doing there mother, but you're still drafted, regardless. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Shitting-Ass Woods Were On Fire

   It's been a while since I've posted. I can't help it, you've all become victims (or benefactors depending on how you view my ramblings) of my Dragon Age obsession. The new one is coming out in October, so of course, I've got to replay the old games and make sure that I'm happy with the paths my characters have taken. Well, that and the fact that I work and have all of my usual parenting duties. And my vacuum broke again and my computer is still being a fussy biatch, but I digress.
   A couple days ago, I was frying squash; a good old-fashioned Southern fry-up, and I was also baking cookies at the same time, because I wanted my daughter to have a treat, since I was having mine via the fry-up, which my daughter hates. And the apartment started filling with smoke, and my daughter is sitting there asking, "Mom, what are you burning?" Which is a fair question, especially when I am cooking multiple things. I am not the most skilled cook, and I get the best results when I do one thing at a time. But, since I was also frying, the oven was not unattended; I was getting grease burns like a pro, standing over my fry pan. But, even though I couldn't see fire, I could smell it, so I shut everything down. Nobody wants to deal with a grease fire.
   The smoke did not diminish, however, so I was looking around for a source of smoke, and I realized that the smoke was coming in through our open windows. Washington, my friends, has been getting 90 degree weather. And we've been dry. Washington does not like to be dry; we need some rain. In protest of the dry weather, the damn woods outside of my apartment had decided to start burning. Straight-up fire, and sitting in my apartment parking lot was a shit load of fire trucks and firefighters. I'd thought those sirens had sounded kinda close. Guess kinda close this time meant right outside my freakin' door.
   It was my day off; I had no plans to leave the apartment, no plans to even open the door, so here I am, in my ratty shirt that's super comfy, in my ratty sleep pants, my hair pulled back in a messy knot, and I'm looking at a drive way full of buff-ass firefighters..... and they are looking at me. SHIT!!! Are you kidding me? But that's not even the worst of it.
   The fire had started on the other side of the woods that are next to my apartment, so they hadn't reached my apartment, but the firefighters had hooked up all their hoses, ready for if the fire did reach this side of the woods. I look back in my house, at my daughter who is also in her slumming-round-the-apartment clothes, and I hiss, "Get dressed in case we need to leave!" Then I look back at my neighbor, who is also out gawking at the smoke-filled lot, and she's going, "That's an awful lot of smoke, my God." And we look at each other and shrug, and then I look at the firefighters, and I decide on of them needs to tell me if we need to get up out of this place. As much as I love my stuff - I don't want my daughter and I to die with it. We wanna live, dammit. So I ask one of the guys if we need to leave or something, and he says, "No, they about got it out." I guess that accounted for all the damn smoke.
    They all left after a few, which I wasn't thrilled about, because, what if that shit starts burning again? But I guess from the sounds of it, a heck of a lot of Washington is burning right now. They have things to do. I know one thing though, I'm not going to be happy until we get a real good Washington downpour. I want shit soaked. All this grass and underbrush is brown and crispy - perfect for burning. I want things to go back to being green and soggy, thank you very much.