Sunday, November 05, 2006

Bad things come in threes...

Ooh, I was so pumped Friday night! I worked 9-midnight on Checkouts, and then the night fill guys came in to purchase their stuff just before close. I was chatting to them, as obviously I am still quite new... and Trev asked me jokingly if I'd like to work on night fill. I jumped at the chance! Literally! It was earlier that very day, as I was woken from my afternoon nap (just cos I can) by Girl, who told me to change out of my Checkout Chick position and move to night fill, as I had originally intended. And then, just like that, I was offered the position by chance! Good thing I agreed to work that crap 9-to-close shift.

It was pretty quiet from 11PM, so I filled the time scrubbing down the registers and conveyor belts. Fun. Random crusted-on juices. Had a few interesting encounters selling smokes. Asking people for ID, and selling smokes to whacked out, stoned kids younger than me! I was reluctant, and quite glad when we had sold out of the brands that they liked. Unfortunately for me, most people with that kind of addiction will just go for a stronger one. I have no idea about cigarettes, brands, papers, milligrams of nicotine? tobacco?, and what the packets look like. So, I took a while to find the smokes and papers they were after. 'On your left' 'Right in front of you' -Er, yeah, be more specific, stinky. I'm still new and haven't even worked on the service desk before ok. Stop smoking!

So Trev took me on to work night fill, as I think one of the other girls is on leave, and they always need more competent, efficient staff anyway. I was shown how to use The Supermarket safety knife, disassemble and reassemble it, change the blade, and important safety aspects like not to keep it in your pocket. Of course, yet another case of what is procedure and what is actually done. Like stacking shelves, which proved relatively simple, once I could figure out where the category numbers and products were displayed. Who knew there were so many types of cake sprinkles. I learned quickly from Ellen, what is procedure for stacking and what is done. Random stuff in the wrong spot where you need to stack your goods: move it to the next random section. Random stuff shoved way at the back of the shelf from months/years ago, leave it there or bring it forward. Rip a hole in your pack of sprinkles while shelving it? Chuck it on the floor and the cleaners will pick it up. Can't fit all of your items into the one price point area? Put it on top of the next one. People will find them if they want it.

It was quite a lot of fun. Laid back, casual, I was forewarned that there was lots of cussing. The muesli bar aisle:
'If you're not a swearer now, you will be by the time you finish that aisle' Trev laughed as I moved on to the next aisle.
'Why?' I asked innocently. Muesli bars, all in boxes, looked easy enough
'There's sh*t everywhere!' he chuckled as he walked away.
Sure enough, those evil satan spawn kids had opened boxes to take out muesli bars, shoved random junk food on the shelves, and stuff would just fall down on you as you were stacking. There was no escaping it.

I might have stayed later if not for work at The Company at Sunshine the next morning (all day), and Ellen did a great job of making me feel welcome and showing me the ropes, keeping me entertained with her hilarious customer service stories and crazy customers and crazy supervisors in Deli. No one wants to work in Deli, because it stinks. And then you end up stinking.

Well, turned out Saturday was a crappier day than I could've imagined.

I was so pumped at 3AM when I arrived home and was in bed, that I couldn't sleep. Chatted on the phone for a bit, and then decided I'd better try and sleep anyway around 4AM, seeing as I'd have to get up by 8 at the latest, to get to Sunshine by 9. Oops. Overslept my alarm and woke up at 9. Holy moly. I am never this disorganised and late for work! Managed to make it to Sunshine half an hour late, only to find Jessi, one of the new girls, sitting outside the store. Turns out she didn't have a key to open either. It was her first shift at Sunshine. I'd called the store to let the girls know I was running late, but no answer. No wonder. She called me when I was on my way, and said she was inside. Or there was a misunderstanding to that effect. She didn't know what to do and just waited for me to arrive as she assumed I'd have a key. I'd assumed one of the other girls would.

So, 9:30AM, the shopping centre starts to fill up, but we are still stuck outside. I paged Charlene for help, and even called her on her mobile. No answer, no call back, despite the urgency of the message. I didn't realise she was on leave and had gone away for a few days. I hadn't been working since Wednesday and left my key for the other staff, as I'd assumed one of the other new girls, Karen, who was working Friday night and also supposed to be working Saturday, would take a key. I didn't want to keep my key if someone else needed it. Oops, I was wrong. Turns out Karen had asked for the day off or something. Well, no one bothered to tell us. Oops.

There has been an ongoing mix up and change of rostering and shifts as staff quit, are hired and trained and not put on the roster, and when new staff are put on the roster without having finished their training. So of course, no one bothers to tell me this, so despite my feeling responsible for the smooth running of the store without a manager or experienced staff (it's just me, Skye and Alicia, new but extremely competent, experienced full-timer, and occasionally experienced staff Gina and Annie from Innaloo and Howlong), I can't find covers and know what's going on when no one tells us. And I'm not in every day. So needless to say, there have been more than a few hiccups.

Close to 10AM. Store still not open. Couldn't get hold of Charlene, so I paged Gemma, and she called back straight away. I explained the situation, we tried to get hold of Alicia, who doesn't work weekends, but when I finally managed to get her number from another store her phone went to voicemail. I called Gemma back in desperation, hoping not to inconvenience her to come in and open our store with her master key that all AMs have. She was 45 minutes away, so could probably arrive at 10:45. A few minutes later, Alicia calls back, after I've left a few strange messages on her phone, she was in the shower. What a surprise to get so many missed calls early Saturday morning. It can only be work. Thankfully Alicia could come by in 15 minutes, and I quickly called Gemma back and let her know she didn't have to come over anymore. So we managed to open up by 10:30. I felt so bad for Alicia, having to come in, but at least Gemma authorised her to be paid for driving in to open for us. And I bought her a box of consolation/apology chocolates as well. I was so embarrassed. Not only was I late, but I should've had the key to open. Charlene also called back as well, I was embarrassed to bother her about it on her day off and try to make sense of the situation as well. The music from the other stores was pumping (deafening) and it was hard to communicate. Yikes.

You'd think the day could only get better after such a disastrous start. Wrong! About 2:10, Gemma called me back at Sunshine and asked if I could go to Iron Knob, a new clearance store that'd opened 4 days ago. Apparently there were only 2 new girls on and they were in the weeds. And one of their computers had crashed and the other was going at snail's pace. So I agreed to go, and left a reluctant and hesitant Jessi on her own for 3 hours. It was her first shift at Sunshine, and I didn't want to leave her on her own either. And I didn't think she'd be able to cash up alone. It hadn't been that busy at Sunshine either, but I suppose I'm used to being on my own when the place is swarming with customers. I forget how more than 3 separate customers in store can be confronting and stressful to new staff.

Followed Gemma's instructions to Iron Knob, out in the sticks, got slightly lost and had no idea where I was headed, but had faith in Gemma's instructions and kept going. I arrived at about 10 to 3 and both the girls went on their lunch breaks then, and I sorted out the manual sales from the broken computer, and continued to process sales at the counter. Thank goodness the clearance stores are self serve.

Turned out that the day wasn't going to get any easier. The slow computer certainly didn't help. There were certainly less customers, but cash up proved a major problem. The other computer had crashed, and some sales had been processed on it during the day, so in order to balance the second computer and the cash and EFT takings, I added them all onto the 2nd (slow, but working) computer. In theory they should all balance. But the EFTPOS machine hadn't settled from the night before and were adding the previous day's totals to Saturday's takings. So our EFT amount was a massive amount more than the actual sales, which was obviously wrong... Hmmm so we stayed til 6:15 trying to figure it out, with the help of Gemma on the phone. In the end, we concluded that it couldn't be balanced that night, but the girls, and Caroline, manually added up the EFT takings today and found the problem, and it was all sorted.

Meanwhile, Jessi at Sunshine was still on her own, I didn't manage to get back to cash up with her, but was able to talk her through it over the phone. I think she was so nervous she couldn't think straight. She couldn't peel the plastic backing off to seal the banking bag, get the money to balance, fill out the daily summary paperwork, or find the key to close the store. In the end, I just told her to leave it, and I'd fix it up tomorrow. Sigh. What a day. I had plans to meet my friends at 7 and it took me about 45 minutes from Iron Knob to get to my friends' place. I didn't even get to go home and change or have dinner. What a day!

Hey, at least I haven't been cranky with the customers lately! And I think with all the running around and stress I may have redeemed myself for being late. Let's hope!

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