Archive for the ‘work’ Tag
Before I begin, I would first like to show you the deepest trough of a customer I have had to deal with to date.
The phone rang. I answered it.
Kelsey: Thank you for calling Home Depot, how can I direct your call?
Customer: Yes, I have a question. How much does your building cost?
Customer: I mean, it’s a big store. I can’t imagine how much it costs to heat and air condition, it must cost a fortune. It’s a huge store. Just the land must be hugely expensive. So I want to know, why does your management bother having that giant brick-and-mortar store if they’re just going to put everything on their website?
Customer: So anyway, the meat of my call is that I saw this chandelier in a magazine and it said that you could buy it at Home Depot so I went into your store but you didn’t have it. I asked a guy and he said it was on your website and I asked him for more information on the chandelier but he said he was new and couldn’t help me and walked away.
Sears Home Appliances — We Got a Guy (Cavernous)
Damn you, accurate criticism!
Kelsey: Well ma’am, I can definitely try to help you. Can you tell me about chandelier?
Customer: Well it was only a little tiny image in the magazine but it was a five-light antler chandelier for $189.
Hampton Bay 5-light Natural Antler Hanging Chandelier
Kelsey: I have it pulled up here in front of me. What would you like to know about it?
Customer: How big is it?
Kelsey: It’s…let’s see…it’s 26 inches in diameter.
Customer: What…what’s a diameter?
Kelsey: It’s the size of a circle from one side to the other side.
Customer: I’m sorry?
Kelsey: It’s…the measure of a circle from one side all the way to the other side.
Customer: What does that have to do with the chandelier?
Kelsey: Well it’s a circular base. So you would measure it from tip to tip, and that’s 26 inches. It’s 19 inches high and 26 inches wide.
Customer: 26 inches from what point?
Kelsey: Uh…you know what, the radius is 13 inches.
Customer: What is a radius?
Kelsey: That’s the measure from the middle of the circle to the end of the circle. So from the center of the chandelier to the edge of the chandelier, that’s 13 inches.
Customer: Why would I want to know that?
Kelsey: I don’t know…I just…the chandelier is 26 inches.
Customer: And you don’t have the chandelier in front of you?
Kelsey: No ma’am, just a picture from the website.
Customer: This is so useless. How can you know from a picture if it’s a good fit or not?
I don’t know, how can you tell from a tiny magazine photo if it’s a good fit or not? Cheese and crackers, I spent the rest of the conversation explaining that no, you have to pay for the chandelier before anyone will ship it anywhere. I just. After the conversation ended, I just had to sit back and think about the fact that this woman called to complain that we have a website.
Anyway, I am sick. I don’t know why. For the past week, I have been experiencing nausea. I’ll stand and make phone calls and I’ll have to pause and put a hand over my mouth because I just experienced a sudden, intense wave of sickness. I haven’t thrown up or anything, but I just…I just feel overwhelmed by the sickness or something and I have to sit down or put my head in my hands. I also have some heartburn and I feel flush and warm sometimes, but mostly it’s the nausea.
I’ve had random spells like this before. I just get sick sometimes, for no reason.
Cropped and edited version of a pic by thepan
I remember when I was on the verge of turning 26 and I mentioned to Mom that hey maybe I didn’t need health insurance, and she said, “Remember when you randomly got hives for weeks on end? You just get sick! You need health insurance!”
What’s weird about this is that while eating definitely makes the symptoms worse, it doesn’t matter what food I actually eat. I tried to deal with the problem by eating small meals made of up mild foods, like rice and crackers. Then one day I snapped and had James take me out for Mexican food. I had exactly the same after-meal nausea.
So this morning when I nearly threw up trying to process an appliance refund, I decided that I would wait until my mid-shift coverage arrived, and then I would go to the doctor. Because seriously, it has been a week and there is just no sign of stopping. It has been long enough that I can classify “good days” and “bad days” and today was a “medium day” while yesterday was a “good day” and the day before was a “bad day”.
Fortunately Home Depot understood because Home Depot has very good management. I went to the urgent care closest to my townhouse. They did the tests: I have a very mild fever (I am normally in the upper 97s but am currently in the mid-98s). I explained my symptoms in between belching because goodness gracious whatever it is that I have gives me gas.
First thing they did was test for pregnancy and No, I Am Not Pregnant. So they gave me a prescription for anti-acids (for the heartburn) and been referred me to an ultrasound person to test for gallstones.
The Awkward Yeti
And now I’m sitting here waiting for my body to finish processing my lunch. After I finish this post, I’m going to make some phone calls, get the utilities for the new house set up because we close on Friday. Then I guess I’ll do word puzzles until I feel okay enough to start sorting books and packing.
So several weeks ago, I was driving in my car. It was late, so NPR wasn’t playing anything good, and neither were any of the pop or alternative stations. 40 was mostly empty. I was able to safely let my mind wander, keep half an eye on the road and just do some introspection.
I broke myself down into things that I can contribute to society. What am I? I like history. I like dogs. I like writing. I like being around books. I am very good at learning languages. And looking at those things, if I had to be completely honest, only one of those is a unique skill. I am good at learning languages. I enjoy learning languages.
So I thought, that’s it. I’m going to become a foreign language teacher. That is what I am meant to be. That is the unique thing that I am meant to do on this earth.
So for the next few weeks I struggled with wanting to be a Latin teacher or a Spanish teacher. Latin is fun, but Spanish is useful.
Yesterday I did volunteer work for Wake County Animal Center. We went to a barbecue place and encouraged people to contribute to Wake County. It was successful all around, although I got sick and had to leave early (I have absolutely no idea what made me sick, but I popped some pills and lay in the dark for several hours before I felt better). But I had fun for a while, meeting some of my fellow volunteers and talking with people at the barbecue place.
One of the volunteers was a woman named Rebecca. She was a former science teacher. According to her, “North Carolina hates teachers,” so she quit. She is now pursuing a PhD in science education, and hopes to do education research and run science education programs for the rest of her days.
I can back her up on North Carolina hating teachers. I’ve been getting conflicting evidence back and forth. North Carolina teachers are underpaid, given class sizes of 40, and expected to teach to a test, with very little room for creativity and have an overall lack of support from administrators.
I told her that I had moved to North Carolina partially to become a teacher. “Oh this is a great place to learn to become a teacher,” she said. “But don’t stay here. Get your education here and move someplace that likes teachers.”
I know that James wants to stay in this area. I’ve mentioned to him a few times that we could move back to DC eventually. “But we won’t afford anyplace nice up there,” he said.
And besides, I’m really enjoying the lack of traffic around here. Plus, whenever I drive around Fairfax County I’m filled with bad memories and regret. But there’s not a whole lot stopping us from, say, moving to Richmond or Roanoke or Virginia Beach. I know the Richmond area is always looking for Latin teachers, and Spanish is an in-demand subject everywhere. But what is the point of studying education in a state that doesn’t value education? I might as well study Italian and German and then throw myself into Classics for the rest of my life. Or just give up and get a Masters in library science. Or give up even harder and become a Home Depot employee until I die. They like me well enough.
It’s getting time to start applying for college again. I really need to make a decision soon.
I think I’m getting old, guys. Yesterday I encountered a teenager and all I could think of was how she was such a teenager doing inexplicably painful teenager things. “YOuths,” I thought to myself, and that weird capitalization was deliberate.
She came in with her father, who is a regular customer, and another girl, presumably her sister. She looked less than five feet tall. Her hair was gigantic, poofy and sticking out in all directions; I’ve never seen hair like that outside of an anime convention. She was dressed in a long-sleeve Pokemon shirt and short shorts. Her sister was taller than she was, and caught in the prime of teenage awkwardness, but came across as very sweet. Her sister walked straight up to the counter and asked a question about a sandwich, then ordered that sandwich, then ordered a drink. The father ordered his usual coffee. Then they looked at this teenager.
She stepped up to the counter and stared at me. Her face was somehow blank and full of antipathy. I smiled cheerfully at her and said, “What would you like?”
She continued to stare antipathetically at me.
Finally her sister said, “Tell her what you want.”
She turned her blank expression her sister.
“That sour look isn’t going to do anything to me, you know.”
So she turned one tiny middle finger on her. Her sister rolled her eyes. The girl rolled her perfect non-expression back into me. I smiled again.
“Just order a drink,” said her father.
She continued to stare at me.
Finally I looked at her father and said, “We can just take care of these two orders, and when she’s ready, we can take care of her.”
“No no, we’ll wait,” said her father.
Then, a minute later, “You know what, we’ll pay for that sandwich and those drinks right now, and when she’s ready she’ll order.”
So he paid and then the trio sat down at a table and waited for their drinks. I started the sandwich and got his coffee while the barista on bar prepared the sister’s latte. A minute or so after these had been delivered, the teenager approached the counter. She ordered a sandwich and a green tea frappuccino, which I verified. Then she paid, then she stood by the counter and stared at Kathryn until it was delivered. When the frappuccino was placed on the counter, she stared at it some more. I wondered if maybe I should say something, then decided that Kathryn was in charge of the bar and I would just be interference (this was probably not the best instinct, but it is the decision I made).
Finally the manager on duty, saw her staring and asked if something was wrong with the drink. The teenager replied that she had wanted a green tea latte, not a green tea frappuccino. So the barista and the manager apologized and started making the new drink.
The teenager took the frappuccino, set it on the table, then disappeared into the bathroom. While in there, the manager took it upon herself to take the finished latte, walk it to her table, and switch the frappuccino for the latte.
When the teenager emerged from the bathroom, now wearing more makeup, she saw that the frappuccino had been switched for the latte. She approached the counter and asked the barista and the manager to ask where the frappuccino had gone. The manager explained what she had done. Then the manager had to explain that no, the teenager couldn’t have both drinks. Because it was a bad business practice. Because we would lose money. Because if she had wanted to have both drinks, then she should have ordered both drinks. I swear the manager had to spend twenty minutes explaining this.
I found myself wondering if she had made such a fuss about ordering in front of her family because she had intended to order the “wrong” drink and then get two drinks out of us. I wondered if she really was a moody sourpuss like I had originally thought, or if she was a scammer, or both, or neither, or who knows.
I had an absolutely miserable day at work. As I left for the night, this song started playing over the radio. It felt very appropriate.
And I’m fine, but I’m not okay
I’m looking forward to looking back on these days
I got home and unloaded all of the things that went wrong in the day onto James — getting scolded for leaving early the night before (when I had been told explicitly to leave early?); not having cheese (again); finding that all the cheese was underneath all of the boxes, just all of them, in the freezer; telling my boss and being told that I would have to unload all of the boxes myself in order to get them; my boss following me around the kiosk telling me everything that I do wrong; telling my temporary helper that I had all the onions, but I needed peppers and tomatoes, and then she returns with onions and tomatoes; telling my temporary helper that the veggie and cheese pizzas were done and that a margherita pizza was in the oven, so all she needed to make was a pepperoni and a sausage pizza, and returning from lunch to find that she had made a veggie and a cheese pizza, so all that was left to make was a pepperoni and a sausage pizza!; my boss telling me that as a special treat for the front end staff (and only the front end staff) that had braved the cold icy weather, I was to make four free pizzas for them; a surprise inspection by the district manager; a cut on my finger; doing a job that requires two people 10.5 hours and having to do all of that in 9 hours by myself.
James had a roaring fire going in the fireplace. He had gotten hot dog sticks and set up sausages on the hot dog sticks. I changed into pajamas, and we sat by the fire and roasted our sausages. He listened and asked questions and sympathized with me. He suggested that maybe we should buy a sausage grinder. He suggested that maybe I should talk to my direct supervisor about how I felt so singled out and misused.
Tomorrow I get to ride on a train and visit my family. I get to sit in quiet for 6.5 hours and read a book. Mom is going to take me shopping. I will see shows with Lacey. I will have brunch with the whole family. Then I will take another train ride home to North Carolina.
Mandy Moore really did say it best. I’m looking forward to looking back on these days.
I’ve been trying for a week, and I finally got in touch with someone about taking ACT courses (in order to qualify for a teacher assistant position). I have to sign up on a specific website. There’s three mandatory tests that I have to take:
Reading for Information
These tests are each $10 and take 55 minutes to complete. I can also take a fourth test, Business Writing, which costs $20 and takes 35 minutes to complete.
Time-wise, that seems really steep. The first three tests clock in at $1/5.5 minutes. Business Writing is $1/1.75 minutes (100 seconds). But it’s also the shortest test. According to the woman I spoke with, if I pass all four tests, I get a certificate from the governor. I’m not sure what the certificate is for. But it’s from the governor. Wait, who is the governor of North Carolina?
This guy. Pat McCrory.
The guinea pigs on the sales floor of Petsmart have taken to knocking their hutch on its side. I have absolutely no idea why. I can only surmise that they’re just rebelling against the dictations of their human masters. Whenever I see that they’ve knocked over their hutch, I mutter, “Viva la revolucion” and set it back. I’ve named the guinea pigs Joan and Ida to acknowledge their revolutionary spirits.
One of the cashiers decided to watch me feed the reptiles and small animals instead of work for the last ten minutes of her shift. We chatted all friendly-like about bearded dragons, and then turned the corner to look at the rodents. Joan watched me as I approached the cages.
I looked into the guinea pig cage.
“Look at this,” I said. “Look at you!”
I unlocked the guinea pig cage and took out the bowl of guinea pig food. It was mostly full.
“Look at this,” I said. “What have you been eating this whole time? This is full of healthy and nutritious foods just for you and you refused to eat it! What have you been eating all day? Was it hay? I have a whole box of hay that I was going to give you two, but now I’m not sure.”
The cashier was giggling behind me.
“What do you have to say for yourself, young lady?” I asked.
Joan responded by biting the lip of the metal food bowl. The cashier and I cracked up.
So the Starbucks at the Harris Teeter still hasn’t opened yet. They haven’t even broken ground. I’m going in every few days to a different Starbucks over in Durham. When I was given the store location, the store manager said, “But don’t worry. It’s near the border of Durham. It’s closer to Chapel Hill.”
I replied that I was new to the area and didn’t really know the geography of the area.
“It’s not in the Durham you’ve heard about,” he said. “It’s near the border. It’s practically Chapel Hill.”
I hadn’t heard anything about Durham at all. Apparently my confusion reached my face, because he said, “You don’t have to be nervous. It’s not really Durham at all.”
I hadn’t been nervous until he had said something.
I’ve only been once to this Starbucks at Harris Teeter. I worked an opening shift. The morning was extraordinarily slow — they usually get rushes of eight people at a time, but this time, there was just one rush, of four people. People came in ones and twos and there were long stretches of no one at all. We got to stand around and shoot the breeze a lot. The lead barista, Steve, has announced that he will completely retrain me in my espresso-machine-operating skills. I was trained to squirt the syrups into the cup, start the espresso, and then steam milk. Apparently he starts with the milk. I’m not sure what the difference is, but if that is the Harris Teeter way then I suppose I will learn it.
I don’t really mind taking my time with this training. They haven’t even broken ground yet on my Starbucks. A lot of my coworkers are getting assigned as cashiers just to get their hours. I suppose I should be more worried, about, like, my money, and stuff, but it still hasn’t really fizzled into my conscience that I make money to pay bills. Besides, I have a bit more time off, so I get to rest and focus on other things.
Like make new recipes! I’ve spent some time reading through various recipes on carrot curry soup, so I think I’ll head to the grocery store to get some ingredients. Last time I just made up a soup recipe after doing some consultation it worked out alright, so I’ll do it this way:
4 cups chicken broth
1 bag carrots (grated? baby? I’ll decide later!)
1 cup milk or sour cream or coconut milk or something
1 tbsp curry powder
Seasonings (I’ve seen ginger, cinnamon, and garlic all suggested)
I also felt sick this morning, and it just got worse and worse as the morning progressed, so I took an early lunch and stopped by Target to buy lunch and pain meds. I chatted it up with all my former coworkers, like Levy, Hunter, and Matt. Cheryl stopped me as I was leaving. She shops at the Harris Teeter where I’ll be working, and had talked with Angel, the hiring manager, about the Starbucks. She had found out from Angel that I’ll be working at the Starbucks there.
“Yeah, I didn’t want to tell anyone at Target that,” I said. “It seemed inappropriate to say, ‘Hey, Starbucks, I’m going to a different Starbucks.'”
“I’m glad you finished out your two weeks,” Cheryl said. Referencing a comment I had made about Ashley dropping Petsmart like a ton of bricks, she said, “We’ve had a lot of people just quit with no notice, and we had to scramble to cover their shifts, which you can’t really do, because no one here is trained in Starbucks.” She said it showed a lot of my character, and I got embarrassed and tried push the conversation on a different path. She said stuff like that a few more times, but I think her statements had more to do with her frustrations over the past several months. Lots of people have been quitting the Starbucks at Target; Manny, the lead, openly loathes his job, and Cheryl can tell his higher-ups all she wants about her frustrations with the job, but nothing gets done. I wasn’t the first person to quit Starbucks after just a short while, but at least I had the courtesy to treat my coworkers like human beings. I got the sense that Cheryl had talked to Angel because Cheryl wanted to get hired by Harris Teeter. Like me, she wants to try the same job with a different company.
People are more complicated than they appear on the surface. Manny appears to be a chill boss during the interview process; he avoids doing work. Cheryl openly rants about employee performance; she cares about your work and wants you to do better, and also she’s frustrated and needs to get it out.