Wednesday, March 31, 2010

How Star Trek Should Have Ended.

I have a lot to today but I wanted to share this. If you want to see more they have a website called, naturally enough, How It Should Have Ended.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Customer Is Always Right, A Modern Fable.

The philosophy behind the phrase the customer is always right is sound, but it was never meant to taken literally. From a business sense, without customers you have no business. On the other hand, there are some customers who are more trouble than they are worth. Some people seem to believe that they can enter a store and be treated like royalty. They would complain even if you shined their shoes and waxed their car. We have to tolerate a lot, but if a customer is abusive to us they will be told to leave. I have never been impressed with someone telling that a certain store does things better then we do. If you really feel that way then why aren't you shopping there? When they are in that store they probably tell the employees there that Wal-Mart is a much better store than they are.

There are also those who believe they are much smarter than the stores employees. In all fairness, they are some retail workers and management who, to use an old phrase, couldn't pour pee out of a boot with instructions written on the heel. I had a customer the other night tell me that I didn't know what I was talking about. She was wanting a Smithfield shank ham. She had asked some others and they came and got me. When it comes to meat I do have some retail experience. The first grocery store that I worked in I spent a few hours every week behind a meat counter. I found a shank ham and gave it to her. I was told it wasn't a shank because it didn't say so on the label. The label read half ham, which was the same wording on the butt end hams. I really wanted to ask the lady if she had ever bought a ham before, but of course I didn't. That morning I talked to one of our meat guys about it. (They don't work third shift.) He told me they used to have shank on the label but they quit doing that. I guess the lady will just have to switch brands.

Today's smile comes from the department of redundancy department. Last night I was breaking down the pallets of frozen foods. In addition to the merchandise that I stock they are products for the meat department, the deli, and the bakery. One case for the bakery was lemon meringue pies. The case stated they were sugar free and no sugar added.

Monday, March 29, 2010


Something unusual happened to me the other night. A customer asked for a product and I had no idea where he could get the item at. I realize that statement makes me sound conceited, or as My Lady charmingly phrases it, a sexual intellect,(an f'n know it all), but I have worked retail long enough that I know where you can find almost anything. If it is in Wal-Mart I can at least send you to the right department, or if they don't carry it I can tell you where to go get it at. The product the gentleman was looking for was powdered eggs. He had a recipe that he needed it for. I have never seen it in any stores that I have been in but I will be looking closer in the future. It is available on-line, but you should be able to walk in a store and get it. Probably the best place would be a store that sells camping supplies, or a bakery supply store. That is something I'm going to check on while I'm on vacation next week.

I enjoy walking through stores, seeing what merchandise they have and how it is displayed. There is a psychology to selling. When I worked for Woolco I was the shoe department manager. One trick I was taught was to put the flashiest shoes on the first five feet of sales space. The object was to catch the customers eye and hopefully get them to walk down and check out the rest of the aisle. A good display can make or break a product. A lot of thought goes into product placement. One example of that is canned soup. It is very rare to see chicken noodle or tomato an any shelf other than the bottom one. The reason for that is people don't need any real incentive to buy those. They will seek them out. What you find at eye level are the varieties that are more impulse buys. You really didn't come in looking for it, but it sounds interesting and you give it a try. It really does work.

Today's smile comes from a case of Barber's Chicken Cordon Blue that I stocked last night. Barber's motto is "Dinner, Rescued." On their cases they have a definition; Refrigerator Coma n(2008) Condition brought on by a lack of interesting dinner options.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sunday Song.

Mac Davis and the Muppets. What more could you ask for?

Today's smile may be your groan. I like puns. Here are a few I found on Mark Evanier's website.

  • A vulture boards an airplane, carrying two dead raccoons. The stewardess looks at him and says, "I'm sorry, sir, only one carrion allowed per passenger."
  • Two fish swim into a concrete wall. The one turns to the other and says "Dam!"
  • Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, so they proving once again that you can't have your kayak and heat it too.
  • Two hydrogen atoms meet. One says "I've lost my electron," The other says, "Are you sure?" The first replies "Yes, I'm positive."
  • Did you hear about the Buddhist who refused Novocain during a root canal? His goal: transcend dental medication.
  • A group of chess enthusiasts checked into a hotel and were standing in the lobby discussing their recent tournament victories. After about an hour, the manager came out of the office and asked them to disperse. "But why?" they asked, as they moved off. "Because", he said, "I can't stand chess-nuts boasting in an open foyer."
  • A woman has twins and gives them up for adoption. One of them goes to a family in Egypt and is named "Ahmal." The other goes to a family in Spain; they name him "Juan." Years later, Juan sends a picture of himself to his birth mother. Upon receiving the picture, she tells her husband that she wishes she also had a picture of Ahmal. Her husband responds, "They're twins! If you've seen Juan, you've seen Ahmal."
  • These friars were behind on their belfry payments, so they opened up a small florist shop to raise funds. Since everyone liked to buy flowers from the men of God, a rival florist across town thought the competition was unfair. He asked the good fathers to close down, but they would not. He went back and begged the friars to close. They ignored him. So, the rival florist hired Hugh MacTaggart, the roughest and most vicious thug in town to "persuade" them to close. Hugh beat up the friars and trashed their store, saying he'd be back if they didn't close up shop. Terrified, they did so, thereby proving that only Hugh can prevent florist friars.
  • Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate every little, which made him rather frail and with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him ..(Oh, man, this is so bad, it's good)..... A super calloused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.
  • And finally, there was the person who sent ten different puns to his friends, with the hope that at least one of the puns would make them laugh. No pun in ten did.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Saturday Smiles.

My niece sent me an email with several pictures like this. It was titled Photos Taken at The Right Angle. I'll be posting more over the next few weeks.

Friday, March 26, 2010

One Bag Of Money To Go.

I enjoy reading about dumb criminals. It is amazing what people think they can actually get away with. The other day at Wal-Mart a man was arrested for shoplifting. According to him his girlfriend sent him to the store to steal. Not only that, she had given him a list. His story was supported by the list being on a text message on his phone. His girlfriend is being charged with being an accessory.

As dumb as that was it will be very hard for anyone to top Albert Bailey of Bridgeport, Connecticut. Bailey phoned a branch of the People's Bank in Fairfield, Connecticut and told them to have a bag containing $100,000 ready or there would be a bloodbath. The bank went on lockdown and of course called the police. What they were not aware of was Baily had a 16 year old accomplice already in the bank. He handed a teller the note unaware of the fact someone else was calling the police. They gave him a bag containing $9000 and let him out of the bank as Bailey pulled up. Of course the police grabbed them immediately. They both should have plenty of time to think about the errors of their ways.

I had said I was going to post something every day that made me smile. This story was it.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Saturday Smiles.

I love this picture. The artist is Andrew Zubko. When this painting started making the rounds he wasn't being credited for it. He said he didn't mind it being seen, just give him the credit he is due. Great job, Andrew.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Don't Let The Door Hit You On The Way Out, Part 2.

I just thought about it. In a Wal-Mart in Turnersville, New Jersey someone actually did it. About 5:00 PM on Sunday there was an announcement for all blacks in the store to get out. The store manager then got on the intercom and told everyone that wasn't true. They are investigating now to figure out who made the announcement. If it turns out to be an employee he will obviously be fired, and then face legal charges. So how did they access the phones if it wasn't an employee? It is not hard. Most of the phones have the intercom on speed dial. They even are labeled, which makes it that much easier. If the phone doesn't have that, there is a code that we can punch in to use it. I look for all the stores to go back to that system now.

I have a hard time understanding that type of thinking. I have no prejudices when it comes to people. I judge them by their character, not the color of their skin or their nationality. There are good and bad in all peoples. After all, for those of us who are white, would we want to be compared with Charles Manson and Jeffrey Dahmer? I treat everyone the same until they give me a reason not too. I hope they catch the nut who did this. It will probably turn out to be an ex-employee or someone who just hates Wal-Mart. There are plenty of those people to go around.

This was my smile of the day. I have posted some examples of Last Kiss before. This is one of my favorites.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Traveling Prologue.

I am a great procrastinator. Last year I had planned on doing a lot of sight-seeing and I ended up for the most part just staying home. I am changing that this year. I have already made a list of places I want to see. I have two lists, one for short trips that can be done on my days off, and one for longer ones that I will do when I am on vacation. There are 13 places on the short list, 10 on the long one. I will probably add a few more before the year is out. I have decided to blog about each place when I go. I will also take some pictures when I am there and I will post the best of those here. The majority of them will be Civil War related, but not all. I enjoy Civil War battlefields, museums, zoos, and off beat tourist attractions. An example of one of those is a trip I am planning to Corbin, Kentucky to see the first Kentucky Fried Chicken, which is now a museum. I was there about eight years ago and couldn't go in because they were renovating the place.

I get two weeks vacation but the way I take it I get one full week off and three five day vacations. The five days I take from Saturday through Thursday. I am taking one of those on Easter weekend, the second the first week in June, and the last the first week in August. I will take a full week around Labor Day, which is when I visiting in Illinois. Next month My Lady and I are planning on spending the day in Chattanooga, but we haven't finalized our plans yet. My dad told me to do whatever traveling I could when I had the chance. He always wanted to and planned on doing it when he retired. Unfortunately his health prevented him from doing much. Now I will get off my lazy butt and see some things.

On the Captain Comics Board there is a thread called What Made You Smile Today? Every post I will mention something that made me smile the previous day. I have been planning on doing this for about a week but as I said, I am a great procrastinator. Yesterday I posted something there. I am going to put it here, but this will be a longer version because a lot of you don't read comic books and wouldn't understand what I am talking about. (What do you mean that would make it just another post here?) Some days that may be the only thing I post.

I was reading The Human Target number 2 today. The Human Target is no super hero. The character was created in the 70's and has appeared in two TV series, on of which is now playing on Fox. Basically he protects those who have been targeted for death, usually by impersonating them, but not always. His name is Christopher Chance.

The basic story is Christopher Chance is bringing back an elderly criminal from Europe who wants to reveal some mob secrets before he dies. Before they return they have to retrieve the written records that the man has secreted all over Europe. In this issue they have to retrieve a book from a crypt in the Vatican. The mobsters daughter is concerned about their going to hell for their actions. Chance thinks to himself "Definitely going straight to hell". When I turned the page there was an advertisement for the video game Dante's Inferno. I laughed out loud.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Salt Police Are Coming.

A wise man once said it is better to keep your mouth shut and to be thought of as an idiot, than to open your mouth and prove it. Unfortunately politicians and celebrities are unfamiliar with that philosophy. (Although it is fortunate for us so we can poke fun at them.) A bill has been introduced in the New York State legislature to ban the use of salt in all food preparations in restaurants. Customers would be allowed to use salt shakers. The man who introduced the bill is Felix Ortiz, a Democrat from Brooklyn. The reason he proposed the bill is because his dad used too much salt, developed high blood pressure and had a heart attack. Using that logic I would guess had his dad died in a car accident he would be proposing banning all cars. Assemblyman Ortiz has admitted he knows nothing about cooking and never studied what effect this bill would have on the restaurant industry. (I was stunned by that revelation. I figured the man was a Rhodes Scholar.) The best comment I read was from a man who claimed Ortiz should go back to his Puerto Rican roots. Before you think that was a racial slam the man who suggested it was Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz, a fellow Puerto Rican. You can read his remarks here.

I could be wrong, but my belief is this bill was introduced as a way for Assemblyman Ortiz to make a name for himself. He would bill himself about the man who cares for the health of the people. He has made a name for himself, but it is not what he imagined. I took a little bit of time to exam his record. I spent a little time checking out the bills he has sponsored. I quit counting after I hit 150. That doesn't count the ones he is co-sponsoring. Life shaking things like ordering health inspectors to educate food workers about allergens, authorizing school districts to come up with drug policies for students and mandating drug testing for police officers at least 4 times a year. I guess he is trying to justify his salary. With all of the financial troubles we are facing today I believe that lawmakers should be concentrating on those issues instead of making more laws that end up spending more money. I know what my problem is. I watched too much Star Trek and I think like a Vulcan.

For the record, I don't think there is anything wrong with his proposals that I listed, other than the salt one. I just don't feel they need state mandates. In case you are wondering exactly how that picture goes along with today's theme, those are salt and pepper shakers.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Lord Of The Onion Rings.

I saw this painting the other day and I would love to own, but the $900 price tag puts it a little out of my reach. The artist is Dave MacDowell. If you have some time check out some of his other paintings. The Lord Of The Rings is my all time favorite movie. I count all three movies as one. I'll talk about that the other day.

In yesterday's comments comments Caron said "I usually just shrug it off or complain to a friend in a mocking sort of way like, "Can you believe they don't love me anymore? They stopped selling the only yogurt I will eat: raccoon and pomegranate!" I forgot that I was going to mention that I went around telling people that we wouldn't be getting any more bonuses because that lady wasn't buying any more fifty cent yogurts. By the way Caron, the reason that we quit carrying the raccoon and pomegranate is because pomegranate is so out of style. We have replaced it with raccoon and acai berry. Seriously, acai berry is hot right now. They have just put it out in a pudding with dark chocolate.

Inventory is Thursday morning and I won't be there. I am holding back the tears real well. Now if they will give me off Black Friday my year will be fantastic. I'm not holding my breath on that one. I'll be shocked if I get it off.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Don't Let The Door Hit You On The Way Out.

The other night I heard the words that anyone who has worked retail for any length of time has heard, "I'm never shopping here again." What tragedy occurred that drove the lady to utter that you ask. We reset the yogurt section and we no longer carry the flavor of yogurt she buys. I know, a really tragic situation. Of course she was blaming me for it. Yes, I called the office and told them to drop that yogurt just so she would no longer shop there. Note to self, be more subtle next time. The customers are catching on.

Naturally I was non-committal in dealing with her. According to her that was the only reason that she ever set foot in Wal-Mart. My eyes must have been playing tricks on me, but it appeared that she had a few other items in her cart. I didn't bother pointing that out to her. Another thing that I didn't bother pointing out was the cost of the "only item" that she ever came to Wal-Mart for was 50 cents a container. First of all, if that is all you come for, why bother? Secondly, do you really think that your not buying a fifty cent item is going to make a difference to us?

Of course this is not the first time I have heard this threat. Complaining to the stockers does not get you any results. All we do is put the merchandise out. We have no say in what is sold. The store manager does not have that much say. They can request a certain item, but there is no guarantee that the buyers will agree. Also you need to realize that all Wal-Mart Supercenters are not equal, some being larger than others. Our store is one of the medium sized ones. You may find a certain grocery item in one store, but not the next one you go in. There simply isn't room for everything.

There are several reasons why something is dropped. First, the total sales of the item may not be high enough and they want something else in its place. Secondly, a manufacturer may not be able to produce the volume of product needed to place it in Wal-Mart. Finally, the volume may not be enough for the manufacturer and they have discontinued making it. You may not be happy about no longer getting something you want, but don't take it out on the workers, especially one who blogs. He may take the opportunity to make you look a little foolish.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Blue Oyster Cult

The last concert I attended was in January, 1978. As you can tell from the concerts I have been too, my musical tastes are all over the board. I like a little bit of everything, with very few exceptions. In seeing three concerts I paid a total of $19.50. That wouldn't even get in the door today.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

You Be The Judge.

Last year I wrote about receiving mail for my wife. I still am getting the mail, at least three a month. I did get one of them stopped. She was sent a letter wanting to sell her car insurance. I then received a follow-up phone call. When they asked to speak with her I informed the lady that she was dead. The lady was extremely apologetic and I have not heard from them since. Yesterday I recieved a letter from the National Institute Of Infant Nutrition. It was a survey for her to fill out. One thing that the survey said that made me shake my head was "Please be assured that we will not sell your name to anyone." I wonder how they got her name? The survey came complete with a postage paid envelope. I am returning the survey, unfilled of course, along with the following note:

Please remove Debra's name from your database. I don't know where you got her name from, but she died on June 5, 2000. For the last year I have been receiving baby mailings addressed to her. I would appreciate it if you could stop some of this. Thank you.

The note was a lot tamer than what originally went through my mind to write. My original thoughts were both rude and sarcastic. I decided that tone was not needed. I am curious if you think I did the right thing by writing or do you think I should have just thrown it away? Originally I found it funny, but I am now getting a little annoyed by it.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Another Million Dollar Comic Book.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about a copy of Action number 1 that sold for a million dollars. At that time I questioned whether or not it was an actual sale or a publicity stunt. As far as I can tell it was a legitimate sale, however it is no longer the most expensive comic book. A copy of Detective number 27 has sold at auction for $1,075,500. I am amazed that someone is paying that much for a comic book in this economy, but if that is what makes them happy, more power to them. I am a comic book collector, but mainly I am a comic book reader. I am more concerned with reading the story than I am the value of the book. I buy a lot of collections that reprint the stories, which is usually a lot cheaper than buying the individual issues. I know people who buy books and then store them away without reading them. I don't do that. My collection isn't going to make me rich, but that's O.K. It makes me happy, which is what it's all about.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Barry Manilow.

The second concert I went to was Barry Manilow. I saw him in 1975. This was the most expensive concert I went to. It cost me $7.50. Early in his career he wrote commercial jingles. This is a medley of those.

Friday, March 5, 2010


Have you ever thought to yourself, you know it would be great to have a lamp with a bacon lampshade. Well today is your lucky day. If you go here you can learn how to make one.


If you have a bacon lampshade, wouldn't it be great if you could go around smelling like bacon? If you go here you can buy some bacon soap.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


I approach work differently than most of my co-workers. I work frozen foods two nights a week, Sunday and Monday. The other person is always complaining about how much they have to do and swear there is no way they can get it done. Normally they are also exaggerating how much freight they have to work. There are a couple of reasons why they can't get it done. One is the way they organize the freight and the second is their defeatist attitude. When the attitude is I am not going to get the job done anyway why should I bother to try hard. I thought about them Monday night when I opened the freezer door and saw what was there.

The truck had about 1100 pieces on it. I always look up the delivery schedule the night before so I know what to expect. 1100 may seem like a lot, but it is split between frozen foods, dairy, lunch meats, frozen meats, deli and bakery. There were 10 pallets on the truck and six of them were frozen. Our other frozen foods worker would have been flipping out, since three-fourths of that was our freight. Instead of saying there is too much here I simply started working on it. They would have been correct in saying one person can't get all that done. The first decision I made was to break down four of the pallets. I did not do the ice cream pallet because ice cream takes longer to than the rest. It comes in wrapped in plastic, usually 4 containers to a package. Cutting that off is somewhat time consuming so I left it. I also decided not to break down what we call the bunker pallet. The bunkers are the cases that you bend over and reach into. The one we stock has burritos, corn dogs, and pre-cooked chicken products in it. Normally we only have 15 to 20 cases on that pallet. So that left me with four pallets to do.

One thing that I do differently is I break all of the pallets down at once instead of stocking them one at a time. When I break them down I use three empty pallets and a cart. One of the pallets is for all the dinners, one for for vegetables, fish, and snacks like pizza rolls and cheese sticks, and the third for breakfast items, fruit, juices, and pies. On the cart I put pizzas, biscuits, and garlic bread. Normally we do not have as much freight as we did Monday. The reason there was so much is we recieved what is called comac. Comac is multiple cases of one item or similar group of items, basically the items you find in the end doors. For example we got in about 80 cases of Banquet dinners. All I had to do was put that on separate pallets, our day crew stocks them. Of the four I broke down two of them were comac. On the nights I do stock ice cream I leave that pallet in the freezer and break it down separately. Ice cream thaws faster so it has to stocked quicker than other frozen items. By breaking the truck down that way I can concentrate on one side at a time, instead of walking all over the area.

By approaching the night with the attitude that I have I get more accomplished. I never say it is too much, I simply start doing it. It is like the old saying a long journey starts with one step. I normally get everything done, but I don't worry about it if I don't. We normally have to unload a meat and produce truck during the night. Those departments don't have anyone working third shift, so the person in dairy and me get to do it. Another thing we have to do before we leave is what Wal-Mart calls zoning. That is where you bring a few of each product to the front of the shelves. I have also heard it called fronting or facing. People who work grocery are only responsible for one aisle. In frozen foods we are responsible for two and a half aisles, not to mention the end doors.

Starting the night with the right attitude is what makes the difference between a successful night and a failed night. The managers are always pushing us and telling us if we can't do it all there will be trouble. I don't let them bother me. I know when I leave in the morning that I have done the very best that I could. Once I have clocked out I am able to leave everything behind. I hear others reciting what they didn't get done. My attitude is oh well. I know I earned my money.

Monday, March 1, 2010

14 Years.

14 years ago today my wife and I moved to Georgia. We had both lived all of our lives in central Illinois, except for a five month period shortly after our marriage when we lived in the Chicago area. So why did we uproot and move 600 miles? At that time we had been married 18 years. Our marriage was going through a rough period and I was being hassled at my job. We decided a change of scenery might help strengthen our relationship.

My mother-in-law had moved to Calhoun a few years before. She had been trying to get us to move here,but we had always resisted. I have mentioned before that she never liked me so I wasn't crazy about the idea. My wife was a little hesitant too because of the way she was treated, yet we decided to come. One big factor was my mother-in law worked at the hospital and they were needing a housekeeper. I was wanting to do something different, I had been cleaning for 16 years, but I took the job until I could find something else. A little more than a year later I went to work for Kmart.

Things did come crashing down when my wife died in 2000. After the funeral one of her brothers asked me how soon was I moving back to Illinois. My comment to him was "what for?" I enjoy living here. I had a job and I couldn't see starting over again. Not to mention the fact that Illinois has winter. I lost all enjoyment of wintertime when I was 13 and my hands were frostbitten. At times I do miss being around my family, but I go and see everyone once a year. It is nice seeing them, but when I come back and cross the Georgia line I feel like I am home. Never say never, but I don't foresee anything happening where I will move again.