Archive for the ‘work’ Tag

Also I held a friendly snake at Petsmart, so it was a good day all around   Leave a comment

I did a naughty thing tonight.

While Makala was taking her lunch, I decided that, hey, no one was watching, so…so I went ahead and made myself a drink. A small drink. I justified it by telling myself that Manny had told me to try more drinks and pastries, so I could recommend them to customers.

My original plan had been to make a Cinnamon Dolce Latte, which sounds heavenly. But I realized that, under my justification, I had to have something that customers tended to drink. And lately, lots of customers have been drinking Caramel Macchiatos. So I resigned myself to that. I made it with decaf, because honey I am getting up at 6:30 in the morning for a stocking shift and I am not staying up all night.

Caramel Macchiatos are pretty simple — a few pumps of vanilla, steamed milk, pour the espresso shots on top, and then do the famous caramel cross-hatching. I receive many compliments on my caramel cross-hatches. They are beautiful. Manny even complimented them once. It is only one of two compliments that I have ever gotten from him (the other is that I did a good job remembering how much water goes into each dehydrated syrup).

I slipped into the back and took a sip of my creation. I took a sip. I suddenly realized that I am actually really good at my job. The milk was steamed evenly (I hadn’t even tried!). The espresso was bitter, and I had to make myself get through that portion, but towards the bottom, the caramel had mixed with the vanilla and was actually pretty good.

I’m getting better about chatting with customers. Right now the best conversations come from commenting on their shirts. One guy was wearing his Chipotle uniform, so I asked him about working at Chipotle (he loves it). A couple were wearing Dragon Age 2 shirts, so we chatted about gaming for a bit. I gave a brief review of The Handmaid’s Tale (although I was confused and called it “the Midwife’s Tale”) which was perhaps inappropriate given the subject matter, but I focused mainly on the part in the beginning where the Handmaid recounts the beginning of the revolution, where she realizes that her credit card doesn’t work.

I was running around like crazy towards the end of my shift and I suddenly asked Makala, “Does decaf still have caffiene in it? Just less?”

Makala said, “Yeah, it’s just a reduced amount.”


Posted October 2, 2014 by agentksilver in Personal

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The downside of working at Petsmart   Leave a comment

Two days ago, the Pacman Frog showed signs of an eye infection; it was brought into the Quiet Room, and its eye was dosed with medication twice a day. I closed last night and opened this morning (I was covering a closing shift for someone else). Last night, the frog seemed…well, frog-like. Still. Pensive.

This is a Pacman Frog by the way. source

Last night, a man came into the store with his dead betta fish. He wanted to exchange it for another betta fish. I said that I couldn’t test the water if the fish was in the water. He asked what that had to do with anything. I explained that, per our policy, before we did an even exchange for fish, we tested the water. He exclaimed that no one had told him that. I said that it would be no problem, if he just brought back another water sample. He said something about how he had had the fish for two months and then it suddenly dies — Two months? I said. Because that even-exchange policy for fish only lasts for two weeks.

Long story short, he spoke with the manager, who corroborated my story. The fish policy is only for two weeks. The man left, sans fish, furious. The manager gestured at the fish in my hands and said to throw it away.

I went into the back room and held the fish cup over the trash can. I looked at the dead fish. He was a blue crowntail-plakat, with a blue body and head, rimmed in rainbow colors. He had been a beautiful fish.

This is roughly the body shape I’m talking about. source

I thought that perhaps I ought to say a few words. It was a dead creature. He had probably lived a short, horrible life, full of cramped spaces and too little oxygen. Probably overfed. Probably cold. I hadn’t known about him for but five minutes, and he had been dead the whole time. Still, some respect was due.

All I could come up with was, “You were a beautiful fish.”

Then I dumped him and the cup into the trashcan with the kitty litter, used tank filters, and hamster food, and then went on my way.

This morning, the Pacman Frog was dead. I didn’t react as strongly as I had to the leopard gecko that died last week. All I did was take out a pair of tongs and poke it a few times to make sure that it was dead, before I wrapped it in a paper towel, put it in a fish bag, and wrote down the date, my name, and the Pacman Frog’s UPC code on the fish bag. Then stuffed the whole shebang into the freezer. Then I went about my day. Feeding animals. Sanitizing water dishes. Medicating the living sick animals.

I’ve seen a lot of dead animals lately.

Posted September 28, 2014 by agentksilver in Lizard

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On being a useless intellectual   1 comment

makala thinks I'm smart

Later that same day, I started singing “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” while fixing a mocha frappaccino, because that song has been stuck in my head for about seven days now. I then explained to Makala that the song was stuck in my head. Makala responded by singing Christmas carols. She sang,

Oh bring us some figgy pudding
Oh bring us some figgy pudding
Oh bring us some figgy pudding
And bring some out here

Then said, “What the hell is figgy pudding? It sounds disgusting.”

I then went through a basic gist of how people celebrated Christmas in pre-1820s Western society (long story short: get drunk, sing Christmas Carols, break into rich people’s houses and demand food and drink, because Christmas was the one time of year when poor people could do that — topsy turvy!) and how those traditions funneled into modern-day society (we switched from giving stuff to poor people to giving stuff to children, because children were regarded as little better back in those days basically).

Makala listened to all of this, and then said, “Why do you even know this??”

A few minutes later Steve the Security Guy walked by and, in the midst of the conversation, bragged about how he knew everything. Makala declared that he couldn’t, because I know everything and she could prove it. Steve wandered away after a customer asked us questions about our anniversary roast.

And today, one of the cashiers came by to refill her water cup. She complained that the store was too hot, and wished that it were more like the outside. I then explained about how most stores work to keep the inside conditioners as consistent as possible, thereby blocking out any way for customers to be able to tell time. Temperature regulation, no clocks, blocking view of the windows — all to keep customers from noticing how much time has passed. The more customers linger, the more they’ll buy.

The cashier listened intently, then said, “How do you even know all that??”

“She knows everything,” Makala said. “She’s like an encyclopedia.”

Posted September 26, 2014 by agentksilver in Personal

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Developments   1 comment

Well I don’t know about you, but I had a thoroughly dull evening planned — fried chicken and Doctor Who, maybe some tidying up around the apartment? But I’ve been playing phone tag with a manager for Harris Teeter the last few days and we finally managed to get in touch, and suddenly I had an interview.


I have a tentative offer for Harris Teeter, to work as a Starbucks barista and maybe sometimes as a bakery clerk. The pay is exactly the same as what I currently get at Target, but. Here are the important parts to me:

-I’m going to receive complete training
-Like, a set number of hours of training
-In something I’m already partially trained in
-Also, I think Harris Teeter might have better benefits
-Harris Teeter also appears to have more opportunities for personal growth. I’ve talked to a lot of Target employees who have complained that they want X position or would like to be trained for Y thing or promoted because they’ve worked for Z number of years. I get the sense, from James and from the hiring manager, that it’s a lot easier to grow at Harris Teeter. While I certainly don’t see myself working in a grocery store for the rest of my life, a masters degree ain’t free, and neither is room and board while pursuing a masters.

The actual hiring process takes like a week, so we’ll find out for sure later, but I am tentatively a barista at a Harris Teeter!

Starbucks YEAH


FIERCE DRAGONSonny and meMe and my favorite boy


Posted September 21, 2014 by agentksilver in Lizard, Personal

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Optimism, or hamsters   Leave a comment

Voltaire’s Candide: or Optimism is a novel meant to snub noses at the idea of philosophical optimism, or the idea that this is the best of all possible worlds. After all, in this world, bad things happen to good people. The book is about a good, optimistic young man, to whom terrible things happen. He never loses his optimism. Or maybe he does, I don’t know. I’ve never actually read it.*

This is relevant because when I came in to open Petsmart this morning, the entire tank of large feeder fish was infested with some kind of scale disease, and about 60% of the fish were already dead. I spent an hour today pulling dead fish out from the feeder fish tanks. It was disgusting, it was depressing, and it got me behind on my opening tasks.

And yet this is the best of all possible worlds, is it not? If there were a worst world, those fish would still be alive, festering in pain with their scale disease. If this were a worst world, there would be no hamsters.


Via tumblr

*Candide sits on my shelf, waiting for me to decide, on a whim, that I am a smart person who does smart person things like reading philosophical 19th-century literature for fun. Last time I did that, I only got about two-thirds of the way through The Scarlet Letter, which turned out to be a thoroughly dull book not worth reading. I don’t know why Scarlet Letter is so dull: it’s meant to imitate works from the turn of the 19th century. But I’ve read books from the turn of the 19th century, and, like, things happened and the plot moved forward and the writers didn’t try to hide what was happening behind terrible, terrible writing. I HATE SCARLET LETTER.

Posted September 11, 2014 by agentksilver in Personal

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My day improved   1 comment

I worked at both Petsmart and Target today. I talked to one of the full-time associates, and mentioned that I wasn’t working very many hours. She said, “Yeah, everyone’s been cut. I’m only working 30 hours this week.” So I guess I should just be thankful that I have a back-up job. Also, I talked to my manager. I didn’t bring up my concerns, but he asked if I was willing to work two stocking shifts next week. I am able to, and that means at least 10 hours next week. Hopefully more, working with all my cute animals. I explained basic rodent psychology to a mother and her two sons, sold two hamsters, and sold goodness-knows-how-much tropical fish flakes to people. I’m pretty certain every Spanish-speaking person within the Triangle area came into the store today and asked what the proper food to feed guppies is.

At Target, I spent the entire shift with Manny. He continued his over-explaining things route, but today he actually let me steam milk (twice! I messed up the first one). And in the middle of his over-explaining how to clean dishes, I suddenly interrupted him. “You use paper towels on plastic and the green sponge on metal.”

He blinked in surprise, then said, “Oh thank goodness I don’t have to give that detail anymore.”

Not to say that he didn’t keep telling me which one to use when washing what dish, but it was nice that my basic pattern recognition was acknowledged.

Also, when I came home, James had left out bratwurst and roasted potatoes for me to eat. And look what my friend Steph sent me from Dragon Con:

Carmen San Diego and Waldo


Posted September 10, 2014 by agentksilver in Personal

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I have been nibbled on by the were-hamster! When the full moon arises, I shall become a were-hamster! I shall enter the woods and feast on it!