Thursday, April 28, 2016

B365V3.15 - A not so day in the life of.....

This is what I would call an atypical, but not surprising day in the life  Where oh where to begin.

First I did myself no favors by waking up late.  As I have said before, I technically do not have a scheduled start or finish time, but it is on me to get my things done within certain time limits, like making the bank run by 4 pm when they close, beyond that my checkout time is when I finish.  Some days that is early, this is not one of those some days.

I get into work at 10, first thing I am greeted with is a call off from one of the deli people who got in a fight with her boyfriend and is residing in the county jail a opposed to being at work.  By 10:30 I get my first delivery of the day (and only one, thank goodness), two brand new debit keypads for a couple of our registers.  Seems they both quit working right around the same time some employees took it upon themselves to switch accessories between the registers.  Thing is if you plug a keypad in without first shutting off the register, you can blow the circuit board inside them, and they are not cheap, $110 a piece to replace.  I ordered them a couple of weeks ago, but the payment processing co pant screwed up and never sent out the order.  I fixed that particular dilemma on Monday, and by Wednesday (today) I had two brand new keypads in my hands.  I noticed the newer model had a different connector, the old ones had a multi pin connector attached to them, the new ones were with a usb connector.  So I shut down a register, plugged one if the keypads in to the now non operating terminal, turned it back on and magic of magic, I was getting power to the new keypad.  But the software we operate with still wasn't recognizing it, so I sent a quick email off to our cash register people, explains the problem, I had new pin pads, same model but different connector and what did I need to do to make them work?

The reply was that they started working remotely on our system from their location, which meant they took down the entire register system right in the middle of lunch, and right in the middle of me getting my paperwork done.  After all, no system means no sales reports.  While I am juggling this mess, a rep from Cor Mark comes in.  They are a grocery distributor and since the store parted with using Sledd, we have been using ABL out of Ohio.  The only problem with them was they don't carry Freal milkshakes, and we are owners of a Freal mixing machine, so we have been on a weeks long search for a vendor that does carry them.  Cor Mark is one such company, of course they were supposed to meet with Brian last week, not today.  In the interim we managed to talk ABL into carrying the milkshakes, so when the rep arrived I told him Brian wasn't available (which is true, he was at Restaurant Depot at the time) but if he wanted to come back Brian may have some time to talk.    So he comes back in the midst of my chaos, it ends up being a very brief meeting and by the time he left I had the register system back up and running, though the debit problem has yet to be resolved.

Brian, who was already cranky from going to Restaurant Depot, and having an employee call off earlier, tried  to get tickets to a concert at Consol Energy Center for his son.  As part of our 7 Up contract we are granted a certain allotment of tickets to Consol, so Brian calls the regional manager at 7 Up to ask about getting tickets and they say they don't have any extra tickets for that event.  That pisses Brian off, now he doesn't want me placing any 7 Up orders unless they come up with tickets. I hate these pissing contests with vendors because I end up cleaning up the mess afterwards, I finally managed to get the mess from switching from Sledd to ABL under control, getting the store reset with the new vendors tags and now getting some of the new items we are getting into the register system.

Brian leaves all cranky and shit, which is fine, I still had plenty to do.  I get the sales numbers from the system, usually Brian goes over them once I get certain numbers tabulated, makes a couple of minor adjustments, transfers of money to cover Western Union and what not and then he gives me the final numbers.  When he is at home I fax him the numbers, which is what I had to do today.  So I try faxing him, three different attempts each time I get no answer on the fax call.  Finally we go over the numbers on the phone, I call him with the numbers and he calls me back with the adjustments.

About 2:30 or so I have the numbers finished, I am about to go to the bank with the deposits when my phone rings again, Ed is calling me.  He placed an order with Navajo Distributing, we get some odds and ends from them like ear buds, phone charging cables, etc.  Ed called to say that Navajo lost our sales tax license information and our order has been waiting for a week pending that information.  So if I could fax them the information, they will express mail our order.  Once again I am back in the fax machine trying to send something and getting no answer on the other end.  So I check the phone line and there is no dial tone on it.  This day is now reaching epic levels of frustration.

I bust out my trusty flip phone and take a picture of the sales tax license and try emailing it to them.  I get an email back saying they couldn't make out all of the numbers on my flip phone photography,McCullough I send it again.  I resend the information, go to the bank and drop off the deposits.  No issues there, my math was on point, but coming back from the bank my phone chirps again, a text message.  Another person on the 3 to 11 shift is now calling off.  I don't like leaving one person to run the store by themselves, so I text Brian this most recent info, thinking he may call someone to get them to come in.  Of course that doesn't happen, I end up staying until about 8 pm tonight before feeling like I had gotten enough stuff done so that one person could handle the rest of the shift.

I keep telling myself these extra hours are going to help with my next vacation but I am wondering how much longer that excuse is going to last before I burn out from this nonsense and just start snapping on people.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

NY Islanders @ Penguins 03/15/2016

Pittsburgh 2  NY Islanders 1  SO

Chris Kunitz - G

Pittsburgh's winning streak reaches 3 games

Penguins @ NY Rangers 03/13/2016

Pittsburgh 5  New York Rangers 3

Connor Sheary - 2 G

Pittsburgh currently in the 8th and final spot for the NHL postseason

B365V3.14 - Making bank

Well that almost never happens, got to the subway platform just as the subway arrived.  It wasn't any sort of great timing on my part, just luck.  I am headed out after work to once again spend my freebie money at the casino, I might take in the buffet as well, because we all know I look like one of those Ethiopian kids in a Sally Struthers commercial.  But if I had a bunch of people sending me 50 cents a day, or whatever the going starving rate is, then perhaps I could retire.  I promise I will send you pictures and letters to keep you in the loop as to how I am doing.

I just am not in the mood to go home tonight and sit around doing nothing.  Though once again I think people have been reading my blog and not telling me.  I mentioned when I got back from vacation how much I admired the fare structure of the Vancouver transit system and it turns out our very own PAT transit is set to adopt some similar features.  I was reading about it in the Post Gazette, and the moves they are making make perfect sense, down to a one zone structure. Discounts for being on the Connect card system, it's almost like they read my mind or my blog at least. You can thank me later Pittsburgh.

Okay, did some eating and gambling, though I do have a question for you fair blog readers, what is the acceptable amount to tip at a buffet.  I get the restaurant thing, hell I waited tables for a while in my youth (which has long since passed me by), so I get the arguments for a lower minimum wage and the fact you are getting taxed on what the customer purchases.  That being said, at a buffet I am the one doing all of the work, the server is just there to keep me from running out of iced tea.  They are barely waiting on me if we follow the definition of the word, I am doing the bulk of the legwork here.  If they would put the buffet far enough away from my table, my food excursions could almost be a break even caloric proposition with the energy expended to get the food.  That would harken us back to our hunter-gatherer days though and gets completely off topic.  So what percent is the standard tip rate for a buffet anyway?  Not that I cheated my server, I left 33%, but I am curious if the rules change in that scenario.

The other question I have about buffets, is it okay to pig out at them, you know, do you eat until you are full, or until in your mind you have broke even financially, or till in your mind you have eaten more in the value of food  consumed than you spent on the meal. I would like to think that  I didn't make a pig out of myself, not that I would care if I did.  Just don't need to see any pictures of myself face down in a plate of food on the Internet is all.

I started off with a salad and a Chinese chicken and mushroom dish and a side of fried rice, then I went back up and got some jambalaya, chicken in an Alfredo like cream sauce and a baked potato with butter.  It was okay, nothing Chef Ramsay would get excited about, but then I am not Chef Ramsay now am I?  If I were and I were blogging under the pseudonym as me, well then I think I would win the Internet for pulling off that epic of a charade.

Technically they were offering all you can eat crab legs, but I have never acquiring a hankering for slimy sea creatures, I would rather eat Trisha Pittman's but then crab or lobster or snails or oysters or any such water based creature.  My sea faring adventure goes as far as cracking a can of StarKist and dropping it into some Mac and cheese.

Okay, I didn't plan on that, my game plan was to go into work bang out some things I needed to get done, then come home and finish my blog entry and enjoy a quiet evening at the homestead.  Instead I went into work around 1 pm, at shift change one of the people that was supposed to come in at 3 pm didn't show up so I worked until 11 pm, then fetched some food at Primanti's on the way home and am now settling in.  I suppose I could complain about someone not showing, as it is a thing that personally irks me, but I know Brian changed the schedule because we had someone quit last week and I don't know if he contacted the person who was the replacement today.  Besides, if I am going to make it back to Vancouver next summer, extra hours now can't hurt.  Life is all about making bank for next year, I realize this is a lot of pre planning on my part but I want to hit the ground running on this thing as opposed to my last trip where I had to request my vacation money early to pay for the trip.  I want to have that taken care of ahead of time without getting money advanced to me.  Plus I will not have paid vacation days to play with, I will probably have half of that after burning through them this year.

Enough of that, think I am going to turn in and call it a night.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Penguins @ Blue Jackets 03/11/2016

Pittsburgh 3  Columbus 2 

Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel - 2 A each

Marc-Andre Fleury recorded his 350th victory

Penguins @ NY Islanders 03/08/2016

NY Islanders 2  Pittsburgh 1

Kris Letang - G

Sidney Crosby has 10 points (3 G, 7 A) in his past 6 games

B365V3.13 - What's old is new again

So, what's new around these parts anyway?  Not much here, save for the past is somehow creeping into my present.  Over the last couple of weeks I have had three people from high school send me friend requests on Facebook.  Not that there is anything wrong with that, just odd the timing of it all.

Speaking of the past, it appears that Erin is going on vacation again soon.  For those not in the know, or in the know but with a memory lapse (really, what do I type here that is worth remembering anyway) Erin is the owner/author of the blog ohhonestlyerin and as part of her vacation last year, I guest blogged for a day over there.  I have not been asked to sit in during this vacation, but it is one of those "if nominated I will not run, if elected I will not serve" moments given the malaise I have had about blogging this year.

I am way behind, probably a month in hockey videos, I still have the last two weeks in my fantasy football season that has long since passed us to get to as well, and the change meter could probably go for some updating.  But since the beginning of the year, when I proclaimed #itsmyyear, I have just found myself too wrapped up in my own stuff, trying to be a more social creature and what not.  Going to concerts, taking a vacation (out of the country no less), sneaking out for some bowling excursions, one could argue I am doing my best to get out of my comfort zone of work, eat, sleep, repeat.

Though I am thinking of cutting back on the social excursions a bit, the vacation was so good that I would love to go back next summer, which means I have to start putting money away, the sooner the better.  There is so much I missed out on because I went when I did (early spring there), including taking in some of the beaches, or perhaps a whale watching cruise, or a ride on a sea plane.  I feel like I barely scratched the surface on my first trip to Vancouver, even though I felt like I was constantly on the go while I was there.

I did miss out on a guest blogging event while on vacation, a bunch of people in Pittsburgh bloggers on Facebook swapped blogs for a day.  I did not partake, because I was unaware, though given no one has ever guest blogged here before, not sure anyone is clamoring for my distinct audience.  I was checking my Google analytics the other day, I saw that the number two country to visit my page has changed, it used to be Canada (due in large part to the Crazy Canadian incident), but Canada has been surpassed by Russia, so say hello to your new Commie Pinko overlords.  And while you are greeting our newest visitors, perhaps I should get about catching up on things

Saturday, April 16, 2016

B365V3.12 - Osmosis

So I finally finished the first of my two vacation books.  Mind you I did very little reading on vacation, there was too much exploring to be done, my reading ended up on the planes to and from Vancouver.  As a result much of my reading has taken place on the bus to and from work.  At least until I got close to the end, then I just got it in my head to power through the last chapters and finish it.  The book in question is "Trouble Boys The True Story of The Replacements.

Now back in my later high school years, when things were written on papyrus and ditto machines were all the rage (remember that ink smell) I became a fan of the band, or as much of a fan as one could be living in the sticks, knowing the only station in the wilderness that gave them any airplay at all was the short lived but oft remembered WXXP.  So while others at my high school would be listening to Bon Jovi and Van Halen and the like and a festive occasion would be to drive to the mall so they could sit in the parking lot in their mufflerless truck, that wasn't my scene.  For starters I have never been much of a commercial music radio fan, and second we were too poor for me to own a muffler, let alone a truck.  So while I would occasionally here things about their shows, we were to poor for me to attend a Pittsburgh performance when they came to town.  Mind you the stories that would be told, weren't ones that would impress me, the band getting so drunk before the show that it would affect their performance, I contented myself with the idea that if I did see them live and that was the result, I would have felt cheated.

The band eventually broke up, I figured I would never see them but they got back together about a year and a half ago and Pittsburgh was one of their stops.  I soon as tickets were available I went out and bought one, one of the small perks of being promoted at work is that if something pops up that I am interested in, I usually can put together the funds to make that something happen.  The Pittsburgh date was fast approaching, I was getting geared up for the show when the agency I bought my ticket from called me, saying the show was cancelled, something to do with an illness in the band.  I hopped onto Facebook to confirm the bad news and their it was, on the venue's website (Stage AE, for those not in the know), but their was a disclaimer that the date would be rescheduled as soon as possible.  Knowing the band's history, I wasn't sure if I could take the excuse seriously or if this was another one of those fuck you's to their audience that they were so famous for doing, but looking at the touring schedule I couldn't see how they would squeeze Pittsburgh back in in the near future, they had maybe three remaining dates in the US, then they were going over to start the European leg of their tour.  About twp weeks laterr they turned into The Replacements of old, and the band broke up again amidst another bout of internal pettiness and jealousies after a show in Portugal.

So I am reading the book, which was unveiling intricacies as to how the band would sabotage themselves just as they were on the cusp of something bigger.  Whether it be drugs and alcohol, internal squabbling, or intentionally having shitty shows based on their reaction of the crowd, the band was its own worst enemy.  I had the words from the book still ringing in my ears as I went out Wednesday night to see the Living Color show at the Altar Bar.   There is this thing I like to call osmosis, where if I dedicate to much of my mental energy into something, it tends to bleed over into into other facets of my life.  An example would be if I get too immersed in someone else's blog I might find myself trying to write like them (especially if I think they are clever or witty) and after reading about how often The Replacements would be their own worst enemy, I was looking at the show as to see how professional the band's acted.

The lead singer from Byron Nash and Plan B, the opening act of the night, came out before the doors opened to greet the waiting fans, which was cool of him and highly unexpected.  A quick rundown on the band's that night, Byron Nash was good, the singing was a little weak but man could they all shred on guitars.  They had a jazzy R&B feel to them but overall I enjoyed their set.  Ill Willis was a generic punk band, nothing awful but nothing spectacular either.  What was more annoying was they seemed to bring all of their friends and family to the show and they were annoying enough persons that they ruined any goodwill I might have had for the Ill Will people's.  Next up was Kaleido, based on their posters at the mercy table they looked like a knock off of No Doubt, save for the lead singer, Christina Chris's is hotter than Gwen Stefani.  Listening to them play was a pleasant surprise, I liked them enough to pick up their CD at the show and have been annoying Brian in the office the past few days with their music.  Lastly was Living Colour, they were the antithesis of everything that I was reading about The Replacements.  They were engaging with the crowd, which was somewhat sparse with a Penguins playoff game, a Pirates game and a Trump rally that same night.  They took some jabs at the Trump folks, which was not a turn off for the crowd by any stretch.  For as old as the band is, they sounded really good, unlike some bands who change members and stay past their sell by date, working the county fair, rib festival circuit.

But then my musical tastes have probably reached their own sell by date.  My Pandora station, which can be linked through my Facebook page for those not in the know, is a cycle of 80s alternative and R&B and I just did finish reading a book on The Replacements after all.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

B365V3.11 - Karma much?

Vacations aren't supposed to be like this.  As most of you know by now, I took one a couple of weeks ago, spending nearly a week in Vancouver BC.  I must admit I fell in love with the place.  Of course I am not trying to make a living there, they have booming housing costs and higher prices than we do here in the states.  That doesn't include the fact the Canadian dollar is weak compared to the U S dollar right now (so it is a good time to vacation there kids, great currency exchange).   One of the things I did before I left, on a day Brian took off, was that I fired someone.  Mind you this was now the sixth call off in three weeks for this particular employee, plus he had walked out on us twice in the past right in the middle of a shift.  For me, firing was a no brainier at this point in the game, I made the adjustments to the schedule, got all of his shifts covered for that week, which was the week before my vacation.   Of course Brian hires this guy back again with my pending departure, and what happens when I am in Canada, but his second day back he walks out again.  

This would be one of those "i told you so" moments except I saw nothing but bad things coming from this decision.  You have entrusted me with running the store, at the same time you step on my authority to do so, so what is the rest of the staff supposed to think?  That I have no authority here whatsoever.   Now this week Brian is on vacation, Aruba to be precise.  Perhaps we should be running a travel agency instead of a convenience store.  But you can guess what is happening in his absence, I can't do anything because no one expects anything I do to have any lasting effect once Brian returns.  So far this week I have had one employee's drawer come up $160 short, Monday I have a call off, Tuesday I have a no call no show, Wednesday I have someone leave early.  Thursday I have another shortage, this time $220 from the same employee.  Hell, even my cell phone isn't working properly, arbitrarily just shutting off, even when fully charged.  I could take it in and have it replaced, but it is a cheap flip phone and the contract on it ends in June, so I am tempted to just ride the storm out for a few months before getting a new one and starting from scratch with a new contract.

There was a slight good karma moment for me though, someone called this week to verify information regarding a former employee.  Now this employee was a pain in the ass, and with me having no say so on employees as evidenced but my firing/non- firing a few weeks prior, I told the person who answered the phone that the caller would have to call back when Brian was in next week.  I suppose it was a passive aggressive thing on my part, in that as much as this person disrespected me at work, if I could put a delay, however temporary, in their plans I could feel a little vindication.  What can I say, I am not inclined to help people who made interacting with them so difficult in the past.  Just not sure I can derive enough joy from it to make up for the rest of the week.  Maybe I should have stayed in Vancouver.

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