Thursday, May 19, 2005


Having spent most of my working life in retail in one form or another, I have a theory that I am confident would rid the world of rude, impatient and unreasonable customers. Here's how it would work.

Between the ages of 18 and 21 everyone would be required by law to work one fourth-quarter and one first-quarter in a retail capacity. Concurrently of course. There would be no point in working during the holidays if one didn't work during the merchandise return season. Most people who've never worked retail just don't understand it.

Sales quotas, scheduling, returns... with and without a receipt, ugh... stupid managers and executives who hand down rules without ever setting foot on the sales floor. It's a world all it's own.

Most shoppers don't understand that the clerk standing there ringing up their sale doesn't make the rules. That's key to understanding retail. To tell that person how stupid you think the store policy is makes no sense. IF she/he had control over store policy they wouldn't be waiting on you at 7 AM on a holiday weekend! HELLO!

Yes, we know your mother always shops for the highest quality merchandise and never buys on sale. The fact remains, Sak's won't take back a blouse with a Jacqueline Smith label from Kmart. No receipt for those Vera bulletproof, double knit pants ~ no problem ~ BUT, you will only get refunded the lowest sale price of $ 2.80. Yes, we know it originally sold for $40, but without a receipt... store policy you know. One of my all time favorites... when returning a coffee maker you're going to claim you never used, throw out the used grounds and wash it first.

Telling the dumbest cashier in the store how stupid they are won't exactly make them an expert simply because you pointed out their short comings now will it? I've managed, opened, closed, inventoried and scheduled. Managing presents a special set of obstacles. It mostly boils down to the theory a warm body is a warm body. One hears many creative excuses ... most are lies naturally, but you make the best of it. It also helps if you stoop to a lower level and talk badly about the absent employee you know thinks you totally bought their excuse. The next time the employee reports for work, you put on your most concerned face and ask how the abortion went. (Honest to God, I had an employee who used that one!)

We encountered the worst cashier in the history of the world last weekend at Comp USA. No details are required, if you've ever worked retail you know that the REAL dummy is the manager who scheduled this poorly trained woman to man one of only two cash registers open on a Sunday with a major ad in that day's paper. DUH! But, a warm body is a warm body.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

"Everybody Loves Raymond"?


Am I the only one who's sick of hearing about Ray Romano's final season? Didn't watch many episodes but managed to catch a few. Never liked the show or the characters. We just never bonded. Will & Grace funny is rare I know but Raymond reminded me of whinny puppies. Compounding my dislike was seeing Patricia Heaton on "Entertainment Tonight" adding her two cents on the Schaivo case proclaiming she didn't understand how anyone could starve that poor woman to death. As if she was sitting up in bed ordering room service that never arrived! UGH! Ray and the entire cast have been on every show on TV except Law and Order lately! Maybe L&O should write an episode like "Murder on the Orient Express" where everyone gets Raymond!

Monday, May 16, 2005

Have TV camera? - Will travel!

Perhaps the weather still sucks in Chicago, who knows for sure, but Jessie Jackson was back again this week to stir things up here in Pinellas County. As if we Floridians aren't capable of doing that on our own!

On May 11 the print article read: "Jackson faults elementary's care"
The On line article is titled: "Jackson enters school fray
It's the Rev. Jesse Jackson's third visit to the bay area in two months. He cites a "pattern" at Fairmount."

I would call it: "Have TV camera? - Will travel!"

I have nothing against Reverend Jackson per say. I just don't understand why he waits until something becomes high-profile to jump in. IF he truly believes there is a problem at Fairmount Elementary, why hasn't he expressed his concerns before instead of waiting until incidents there made national news? Where was he 15 years ago when Terri Schiavo went into a coma? It wasn't until her end became national news that he showed up and became buddies with Governor "shrub" who he pledged to fight over our 2000 election woes. After that election Reverend Jackson vowed to open an office in Tallahassee. But then there was the fund raising scandal plus that messy affair and baby with an associate which totally got in the way. Another article appeared May 14 about the Reverend and his high dollar attorney friend, Willie Gary.

IMHO, being a crusader is one thing. Working for a cause, admirable. Sticking your nose into other people's business just for publicity is tacky. Playing the race card with it doesn't apply is unfair and uncalled for. The most aggravating thing is that his solution to everything seems to be a law suit.

Schools are for teaching our kids not raising them. That's the parents responsibility. Educators have a tough enough job without outside interference. Sure, there are bad teachers, administrators and no doubt whole schools but parents of unruly children should not be rewarded monetarily for a child's bad behavior. Reverend Jackson should crusade for better schools instead of using their problems for self promotion.

Friday, May 06, 2005

The Rest of the Story

It's been a very difficult week at best, following the strange and sad series of events that lead to Kay's death. We have not placed blame or even hinted there was negligence anywhere along the line. Just a tragic, bazaar accident with the worst possible outcome.

Every Wednesday, we have dinner with a group of friends. On the day of Kay's accident, she and I had attended a fashion show and luncheon with another of the Wednesday night ladies and this week's dinner was the first time I had seen or talked to her since then. She naturally had questions about what happened.

We were at the salad bar, I explained. I had finished and returned to the table as Kay was putting dressing on her salad. Just as I sat down there was a noise. I saw her face down on the floor and ran to her side. The nightmare began. I told Sherry about her shaking her head no when asked if she was OK then again when asked if she wanted help getting up. After that, no response then no pulse, cardiac arrest. About the nurse who did CPR saving her at the time and the paramedics using the defibrillator then what happened at the hospital. As the story unfolded, for what seemed like the zillionth time, she wanted to know what restaurant. When I said Steak and Ale her mouth dropped open. Someone else she knew had been there when this all happened. They didn't know it was Kay, just that someone fell at the salad bar and the hectic activity that followed.

She shared a very disturbing account of what happened after we left the restaurant. As the events unfolded, the restaurant employees closed off the salad bar we had used and set up one in another room. Apparently some customers were upset they were inconvenienced. ::tough shit:: But the worst of all is the behavior of the good sized group who were seated in the same dining area we were.

As we were being seated, Bobby noticed they were being served and one of them was sent their food back to the kitchen. They were just finishing up their supper when Kay fell. Apparently, after the paramedics left with Kay, the group demanded to see the manager. Their dinner had been ruined, they insisted. The incident was very upsetting for them to see and they shouldn't be charged for their meals! The manager finally agreed not to charge them, perhaps to get rid of them. When they left, they also stiffed the waiter! They had a free dinner, didn't tip their waiter OR offer one caring word for the injured lady who's dinner and life was also ruined. They saw the opportunity for a free meal and took it.

Shocking but not surprising these days I guess. It's a shame really. I pity those uncaring people. It makes me angry but mostly sad. How hard hearted can you be? "There but for the grace of God..." I am sure they've enjoyed sharing their story with others this week and probably didn't notice Kay's obituary in Wednesday's paper. They didn't know her... their loss.

As we hurriedly left the restaurant we asked for our check, fully expecting to pay for the food and wine we'd been served, but the manager would not let us. Bobby reached into his pocked but Tony, our waiter, shook his head no and handed me his home phone number and asked us to let him know how things went. Bobby left a tip on the table anyway.