Thank Goodness...

Well, thank goodness the season premiere of The Office is on tonight. I need a laugh because I had a bad day. No customer issues just a bad day in general. There are some days when I get frustrated and I yell, there are some days when I get stressed and I freak out... and there was today when I was close to tears, and work never gets me close to tears. I am not kidding, it was a really bad day.

It started with the fact that I couldn't sleep last night, I could not fall asleep and when I did drift off for a couple of minutes I was quickly awakened by either a noise or a weird and scary dream, I think I got about 20-30 minutes of sleep last night and it was so frustrating. It was at the point that this morning I was counting down that if I fell asleep at this point I would get X number of minutes sleep. I finally gave up around 10:00 am and made an attempt to get my contact lenses out of my eyes. I just recently got contacts and have been having an immense amount of trouble getting them in my eye. Since I didn't have to be at work until 11 I had about an hour to try to get my lenses out, but there was no success.

I was so tired on the train that I was dozing off while reading my book (go figure) so I decided to put my Ipod on so that would at least have noise blaring so that I could be awake and not sleep past my stop. The first half of my day was a bit rough, I was dragging a little bit but I made it through and got a few things done. At around 2:00 however, my contacts started to really bother me, I spent about 45 minutes with a mirror in my office trying to pull, slide, pinch, and prod my lenses out but I was not able to and my eyes were bright red, and I had burst a blood vessel in the right eye. I decided to go to the bathroom and see if the lighting and mirror was better in there, my eyes were watering and I could barely open them, so when I walked in and plopped my ass on the sink I didn't see that somebody had wiped there really dirty hands on the sink, and now I literally had crap all over the seat of my pants. I was able to get my contacts out and then I noticed the crap, I was so unhappy that I almost cried and then I almost threw up.

I had a three o'clock meeting that I was just loopy for, and I had an offsite event this evening that went until 9:00pm, I could barely sty awake for either the meeting or the event, and I think I dozed off for a bit in my office.

Now that I am home, I can't really fall asleep, but at least I can get a good laugh because The Office is on, I guess there is something positive about this day.

And don't forget... Support the Rabid!

Pain and Punishment

During Rush I was bad, I didn't go to the gym, it was about four weeks and I did not work out. No running, no lifting, no nada. I was bad! So, last week when my friend DB called me and asked me to go to the gym I said that I would. Little did I know he was going to kick my ass at the gym so hard that I would hurt for a majority of the week. The words "You can do my workout" seemed innocent at the time, until i was struggling to do squats with a twenty pound weight. I was sweating and hurting and quite possibly crying but was really to tired to know for sure. And while I was sore at the gym, that wasn't the worst part, the worst part was Sunday through about Wednesday.

I woke up on Sunday morning and I could barely get out of bed, I was so sore, my abs hurt, my arms hurt, and I couldn't figure out a way to get comfortably out of bed. I had T-Rex arms, you know I couldn't extend them from the elbow. It wasn't pretty but I was still able to manage to have a decent day and move around and do normal things. Monday was a different story, Monday was Rush at another store, and it was a busy Rush, I was working on the floor all day, when I woke up I could barely put my shirt and tie on, as I was walking out the door I struggled to throw my bag over my shoulder, and the train ride was painful because there were no seats available.

When I got to Rush, I ended up working on the register, which meant I was lifting and bagging books. It is hard to lift and bag books with two lame arms. It was a long day, and about four hours into the shift I was in so much pain I had to excuse myself from the register and pop some Advil, which helped for a little bit, but I was still in pain. The pain lasted into Tuesday, but I forced myself to go to the gym and run, it was hard but I couldn't let this evil workout kill me, so I went to the gym, I was sore but I ran for 45 minutes and did abs and a light arm workout. It felt good to be back at the gym.

So on Saturday morning, I asked DB if he wanted to go to the gym, we did, he kicked my ass again, and as much as it hurt it also felt good. I guess I am a glutton for punishment, but hopefully in the long run it will really make me feel better.

Kitchen Confidential: Or Why I Could Never Work In A Kitchen

After ten years in retail I figured I had seen everything, dealt with all the crazy customers, and dealt with all the high stress situations of Rush and Holiday and very angry customers. However, after reading Kitchen Confidential, I realized that I would be absolutely miserable as a line cook, or a chef.

Here is the main difference... in a single day I can help 300 customers, but we always encourage all of our employees to focus on a single customer at a time, that way you don't lose your focus and you can help people more efficiently. I always try to help people as they arrive. In a kitchen you need to focus on helping multiple people, you need to make sure that all of a tables meals are up at the same time. Oh yes, and that is just one table, you actually have multiple tables at once, so timing is key, and multitasking to the next level is necessary. Whenever I go into a new job, I am confident I can handle it, I am generally confident in my abilities, but man I don't think I could handle working in a kitchen. That definitely seems to be really hard work with some really crazy people.

I have to say, I did enjoy the book, I got a new appreciation for the restaurant business. Anthony Bordain is an interesting character as you may know from his television show. Quite honestly, he comes off as a bit of an asshole, but a lovable asshole, who you are rooting for. It was a good read and a veryentertaining read. I am now on to reading Blindness by Saramago, it is much different than Kitchen Confidential, but i have heard many positive things about it.

It Is Dead

In the midst of my day on Friday, I went to sit down in my office for a working lunch. I was planning on re-doing my schedule for next week because I forgot that Friday was a Holiday a I needed to give a few employees that day off accordingly. I grabbed my sandwich from ABP (grilled chicken and mozzarella with tomato) and my water and pull up the schedule on my computer.

Now, my computer is so old it runs Windows 95. It makes odd animal noises when I turn it on in the morning, and incessantly clicks and growls. I am serious when I say that it takes a good 5-10 minutes to load a web page or an Adobe page. It is crazy and I have been complaining about how old and crappy my work computer is since I started at my new store. I was used to my old store where every manager had at least one new computer, but for nine months I didn't make a big deal out of it because all of the files, templates, and other things I needed were on the old computer, and because it didn't have a USB port or a CD ROM drive it was hard to get the files off of it.

Anyway, back to my story, I sat down with my lunch to do my schedule, and about 10 minutes into working on the schedule my computer unexpectedly shuts down with a weird buzzing noise and a puff of smoke. I was taken aback by this noise and the fact that my computer actually smoked. I was confused and not sure what to do so I stared at it for a few minutes before I tried to turn the computer back on. It didn't turn back on so i turned it around to see if the plug was loose, then i crawled under my desk to see if the surge protector was plugged in. All seemed to be in order, so I tried to turn the computer back on, at this point I have a really bad feeling, and as expected the computer does nothing.

I call my boss who is much better with the technology thing then I am, and he takes a look at it and literally calls the time of death at 3:04pm. There was no hope it looks like it overheated and considering it was 12 year old it was time for it to go. In my head I did a little happy dance, but then I was also slightly distraught, i had so many things on that computer that I needed. How would it be possible to live without my schedule template? How can i do payroll without my adder-upper? This was a major problem, but i was also happy at the thought getting a new computer, and not having to deal with an old piece of crap.

Ah, but my dreams of a new shiny computer were dashed when my boss told me to take the extra computer from M's office and hook it up. It wouldn't have all of the same stuff as I had on mine but it should work. I does work, and it does run on Windows XP so it is much nicer than what I had. It is a step up so I can't really complain! Now, I just need to recreate all of my work. I guess RUSH was ushered in by exploding soda cans and ushered out by a smoking computer. Just a few weeks in the life of managing a bookstore!

I Thought It Was Over

I thought that my Fall Rush was over, I made it through and we had a fairly successful Rush at my store. Then today my boss got that evil smirk on his face when he called me into his office. I knew this was going to be fun for him and not fun for me. He loves to torture me whenever he can!

When I got to his office, after dealing with a really obnoxious customer who didn't understand the meaning of, "I am sorry, but the last day for returns was Monday," he was smiling from ear to ear. I knew this was going to be good/bad! Oh, and it was, next week I have to go to one of our stores where the students have yet to arrive. In other words I need to put in three more days of RUSH at another store! Three more days of fun with students, three more days of long hours, three more days of RUSH.

Oh man, is he going to owe me for this one!!

Violence is the Answer, Isn't It?

Today was one of those days when I just wanted to kick all of the customers. I was tired and cranky, and we somehow managed to return close to $40,000 in textbooks. That's a lot of books that I shelved, help them find, sold, and now i have to take them back, re-shelve them, and probably return some to the publisher. It doubles the work and that alone makes me angry.

Now, when you are a complete ass about returning books that makes me even angrier. So I have decided that violence is the answer! Next semester I will let you return books if you are pleasant and kind, and made an honest mistake. If you bitch about anything I will kick you! if you complain about prices even as I am giving you money back I will kick you! And keep in mind i have to pay people to do these repetitive tasks so if you didn't return your books i could keep my overhead down and in turn keep book prices down. But you don't understand this so you deserve a swift kick in the shin. Ah yes, and if you don't have a receipt even after I told you three times you need one, I will kick you twice!

I know you are all reading this and going, god you are a cranky little man, and while this is true, I generally go into work in a fairly good mood, at least once I am caffeinated. But after the repetitive stress of... "but why can't I return this book" or "can I buy this today and return it tomorrow when the book I ordered online comes in" you want to scream. you are tired of it and you just want it to end, you want to throttle the customers but you can't. So you go home and blog and vent and you feel a bit better, plus tomorrow the answer is NO!

Two Short Blurbs

1) Remember when Britney was bald, it was a post way back when she went nuts and shaved her head. Well, that was less shocking then how HORRIBLE her performance on the VMA's was! Yeah I know I am guilty of falling into the pop culture trap but this was just horrifying, she ended her career because she can't even lip sync properly!

2) Even if your Uncle Bertha has a complication from a surgery tomorrow is still the last day you can return your textbooks at my store. I have been telling all of you this, and come Tuesday I GET TO SAY NO! I love Tuesday, it is the one time in retail that it doesn't matter what's up, the customer is not right and they can't make a return. It is sweet revenge!

No Clothing?

OK, so the weekends at my store have been a little weird, I definitely know that the students are back. If you remember last week I had a customer come in not wearing any shoes. He didn't understand why he needed to wear shoes, and I was confused as to why he would walk across the city without them.

Well, Mr. No Shoes was back today, and not only was he not wearing any shoes, but he was wearing a dress, I kid you not, he was in the store with no shoes on and wearing a dress. I am not going to pretend i understand what is going on here, he may be unstable or he may be a freshman rebelling from the standards of society that he feels are suppressing him, but I had to kick him out of the store again, and tell him that he needed to wear shoes next time he came in.

This wasn't the only crazy sight today, I was standing on the lower level, talking to a few of the employees when a girl comes down just wearing a bathrobe and slippers. Yes, she apparently decided to walk across campus wearing what she got out of the shower with to buy her textbooks. I guess it was laundry day. I just stared as she walked past me, and saw all of my employees do the same. I guess she wasn't really breaking any real rules, other than you seriously don't wear your bathrobe out in public, let alone to you campus bookstore. I let her shop, buy her books and leave the store, but I was still very confused.

I guess these freshman are just finding themselves and expressing their true personalities, as in they are all crazy!

New Toys

There are very few moments when I actually act like a valley girl, but when really cool technology comes outs I reserve the right to act like a fool, so here it goes...

OMG, Apple is coming out with new I-pods, I love my I-pod it is the best thing ever, it comes with me everywhere but the new I-pod Touch is so cool. All of the new I-pods except the shuffle will have video, the nano is really cute, an the classic seems to take the place of the video. But the Touch is on a whole other level, it is the awesome looking I-Phone without the phone getting in the way.
I want one, I need one, but is it really necessary to get one... the answer is a resounding YES! Damn you Apple you really know how to market your stuff.

Check out the new I-pods they are so awesome...

Controlled Chaos

Last night I got home fairly early, I made dinner, ironed my clothing, and posted to the blog, then I sat down on the couch and turned on the television. Within a matter of minutes I was laying on the couch, and just a few short moments following I must have been snoring. It was about 8:30 pm when I last looked at the clock. My phone rang several times, but I didn't wake up until close to 1:00am.

I moved to my bed, set my alarm, and went back to sleep. When my alarm rang this morning I felt well rested and ready for a crazy day. I got a good 10 solid hours of mostly uninterrupted sleep, which is very rare for me. I usually get about 3-5 good hours a night. I am very lucky that I got some good sleep last night, because today was definitely controlled chaos.

I love the term controlled chaos because it is the best way to describe a well organized and executed rush (and Holiday season). When you are working with the public there is always the opportunity for chaos, when you pack 1500 students and their parents into a store there will always be chaos, and then only way you can survive is by controlling it. You need to plan and organize and prepare and this is what I call controlled chaos. Today was controlled chaos, there were hundreds of students looking for books, and supplies, we had all of our registers running, and every single employees was working from open to close.

It was busy, it was crazy, but it went smoothly, it was the definition of controlled chaos. And you know what, it was fun. Deep down I do love Rush. When its done right, Rush is a fun time. A little controlled chaos really does get the blood pumpin!

S is Back!

S is back in Boston, S IS BACK IN BOSTON! Yes, the summer is over and the students are back and that also means that S came back to Boston to finish up his last semester in school! That makes me very happy!

Blue Light???

So over the past 24 hours, some interesting things have been said that I have witnessed, here are a few of them... they all made me laugh!

1) Crazy sold separately! Uttered by HCB in regards to a customer who was asking random questions about whether all of his books were sold together or separately!

2) Did a Disco Ball Throw Up All Over You? A customer in regards to the shirt that J@A wore to his other job the previous evening.

3) To Stupidity and Beyond... OK, I said this one regarding a really stupid customer who refused to believe that I was giving her the right information. There was a hand motion that went with this and we were all laughing in the aisles (see I am funny).

4) I have to run the light is about to turn blue! An unnamed drunk friend said this to me at 3:30 this morning. Are you confused? Yes so was I, this friend never drinks and had some to drink the previous night, and he was crossing the street, and the light was about to turn GREEN. This is by far the funniest thing I heard in the past 24 hours.

And one more thing that I didn't hear but I read off of our 365 Stupidest Things Ever Said Page A Day Calender...

Job Interviewer: Do you have any questions about the position?
Job hunter: What happens if I wake up in the morning and don't feel like going to work?

I am always amazed at what people will say!

No Shoes, No Service... No Really

Well Rush is here, and the sales haven't been great, but the customers have definitely been entertaining. I had a foreign customer yell at me in a language that I did not comprehend and then stick her hand in my face. I had a 17 year old snotty student throw a book at one of my employees because she thought we were ripping her off (I banned her from the store). I had a customer put a pile of books on hold come back and put another book in the pile, then pick up all the same books and ask to put them on hold again.

My favorite however, this weekend, a man came in in shorts a tank top and NO SHOES! I approached this gentleman and I asked him if he could put on his shoes back on and he informed me that he didn't have any. Well sir, I will need to ask you to put on shoes or carefully leave the store. As most people know it is dangerous to walk around in public without shoes on, we have escalators and glassware etc etc. Now, my store is not very close to housing, you have to walk at least a few blocks to get to the closest apartments. Or, even worse you need to go down to a t-station, get on a dirty train, come up from a station and walk into my store with NO SHOES! I mean the options here are just disgusting.

Now, this gentleman with NO SHOES, refused to leave my store when I asked him too, he said it was discrimination. Well, not sir it is not I am just asking you to put a pair of shoes on for your safety. I don't want for you to get hurt in my store (and then sue me). He reiterates that he doesn't have shoes so I kindly ask his size so that I could bring him a pair of flip flops that we sell, but he refuses to wear them. Since he refused to wear them I tell him once again that he is going to have to leave the store. We have a sign on the door saying you need to wear shoes sir, I know this may seem wrong to you but it is for your own safety, I need to ask you to leave, and please do me a favor and take the elevator and not the escalator. The last thing I need during Rush is a man with NO SHOES on getting his toe stuck in the escalator. He gets frustrated with the conversation, storms off and goes up the escalator.

Now, i hate shoes more than most people I know, but when I go out in public (as in outside of my house) I will wear shoes. The only time it is acceptable to not wear shoes in public is at the beach, or maybe in a yoga class. Otherwise, shoes are a necessity, and if you don't like shoes wear flip flops or sandals. Why would you think it is okay to go into a store without shoes on! I was very confused by this man. Oh, and NO SHOES is all in caps in this post to convey my shock, I kept walking around the store going, why would he wear NO SHOES out in public, and how far did he walk in the city with NO SHOES!