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Retail challenge

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Retail challenge

Postby Donna » Mon Sep 03, 2007 2:28 pm

I've taken on a bit of a challenge—working retail 60 plus hours a week for at least 6 weeks, maybe longer!

Let me give you some backstory: I was assistant manager at a gas station, with the best boss ever, but the middle of April she was forced to give up the franchise when the company wouldn't give her enough hours in the budget for staffing—for the workload, and for the safety and security of the staff (we were only open 6 am to midnight, and were never robbed, but others in the city were, sometimes with violence—at 2:30 am a 44-year-old female clerk at a 24-hour gas station was assaulted, raped, her throat slit, she's alive but has brain damage, because she was working alone in the wee small hours and a maniac attacked her who wasn't even after the money. There have been three more gas station robberies in the 2 weeks since, teenaged clerks working alone, and these big companies are dragging their heels about doing something to protect their staff. Lives are worth more than minimum wage, dammit!).

Anyway, when my boss left, all seven of her people left with her. In my case, I was offered a raise to stay, but I wasn’t comfortable with the incoming new management—they didn't know, how much they didn't know, about operating the place, if you follow me, and they weren't in there learning it. The convenience store part was a snap, but add in the gas pumps and the almost daily computer problems associated with them, and it could quickly become a nightmare. I had a terrible feeling they might give it up and I'd be left responsible for keeping the station open 18 hours a day 7 days a week with no trained staff, unable to quit because I would have a delay getting unemployment insurance. I didn't need that kind of stress.

I was hired almost immediately at a new Michaels Arts and Crafts, and for 25 days we worked steadily doing store set-up. At the end of that I was trained as a custom framer, which I absolutely love! I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree (experience in photography, oil painting, drawing, intaglio print-making), and in this job I get to see the most incredible art, talk to people about the best way to display it (I love choosing mats and frames that make the art sizzle, and I can spend as much time with the customer as necessary), where they got it, who did it, what it means to them, and fitting it to their budget restraints as well. Some people can drop hundreds of dollars without batting an eye, and some nearly have a heart attack when they hear the price. Custom framing is expensive, even with our nearly continuous 50% off sale, so I then try to put together a solution using the much cheaper readymade frames off the shelf if I can, but sometimes the dimensions of the art prevents that.

My shifts fly by, because I'm prepping and fitting the art, talking to customers, receiving incoming mats and frames, downstocking to fill up the shelves, putting out new products—such a variety of things to do that I never notice the clock and only take a break on the long shifts when I must sign out for lunch. There have been times when I've been annoyed that the store was closing and I had to go home—what, already? But I was in the groove! Wahhhh!

Now the dark side: I wasn't getting enough hours to pay my bills—averaged 19 hours a week, sometimes as high as 25, sometimes as low as 12 ½. No one can live on that, and at my age it's frustrating to be running home to Daddy every couple weeks for a few hundred dollars to meet the necessities. So I took on 18 hours a week at a local grocery store, from one of the two large chains. But that turned out to be awful—standing in one spot continuously scanning and bagging heaping cartload after heaping cartload after heaping cartload of groceries, some of which were quite heavy, for as long as three hours and 40 minutes before I'd get a break. The shifts were 6 hours long and I couldn't wait to get outta there. I haven't outright quit, but I'm not currently on the schedule either.

Back the first week in July I had dropped a resume at a Canadian Tire store, which is automotive parts, hardware, kitchenware, plumbing supplies, bicycles, kitchen sinks etc (but no lumber). Last week they called me, offering full-time 40 hours a week for 6 weeks doing store set-up at the largest CT store in the country, with 30-40 hours a week after that as cashier. I took it, and as it is right across the street from Michaels I said I'd hang on there too. Then we had a framer quit and another one got a second job, reducing her availability, and all of a sudden the Michaels manager is in a panic, with the holiday season approaching. I got 22 hours there, added on to the 32 at CT for a total of 54 this week (would've been 62 but for the holiday). I had to buy steel-toed shoes, and will be wearing a hardhat for awhile, and I start tomorrow, 8-5 at CT, then hop across the street and work til 9:30 at Michaels. This will be the same for Tues, Wed, and Thurs this week. CT is only 8-5 Mon-Fri for the whole setup, so Sat I work a half-shift at Michaels, and I may work the same Sunday too, then next week probably the same—three long days and the weekend. After the store opens my hours at CT will be all over the clock, but I mean to keep Michaels too. I'd have been working today except it's Labour Day and most places decided to close for the holiday.

And don't get me started on that! The people badgered our government to allow Sunday shopping, so they threw it wide open, now there's nothing to stop stores from opening holidays too (except Remembrance Day—Nov 11, which is treated differently), except customers who complained that they wanted their family members home on those days, and workers balking because they need the break too. Now the people are begging the govt to make holidays the exception—do you really need to go buy a new blouse or a pair of shoes on Good Friday, or Christmas? Get a life!—but this govt, which is spineless anyway, is so far refusing to do anything about it. Some malls were going to be open today, ironic since it is Labour Day, until a majority of the stores couldn't get workers, so they closed, but there are individual stores, inc grocery stores, open for short shifts, 10-6 or whatever. And of course I'm sure they'll find loopholes to not pay time and a half to those who have to work. Retail can be crummy. (Michaels isn't work, to me, it's more like play <grin>.)

But hopefully I can get ahead on my bills, pay back the friends I've been borrowing from who run the other way when they see me coming, knock down my Visa to a point where I can actually use it <grin>, and pick up a few extras, including the WDOA S3 set when it comes out, Neile's revised book, McQueen's Machines, and <blush> some new underwear!

I'll keep you posted, unless I'm too tired!
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post subject

Postby HILTS3188 » Mon Sep 03, 2007 9:47 pm

at 2:30 am a 44-year-old female clerk at a 24-hour gas station was assaulted, raped, her throat slit, she's alive but has brain damage, because she was working alone in the wee small hours and a maniac attacked her who wasn't even after the money.

HORRIFIC DONNA :cry:

MAKE SURE YOU TAKE IT EASY WITH ALL THEM HOURS YOU ARE DOING, DONT STRESS YOURSELF 8) ....

AND MAKE SURE YOU MAKE TIME FOR STEVE 8)
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Postby Donna » Wed Sep 05, 2007 1:55 am

First day--started out good. I got there at ten to 8, ten minutes early according to what I was told, but it turns out it's not an 8-5 job it's 7:30-4:30. Which is OK, I can get into Michael's by 5 which is great. Had a busy night and then we were a full hour cleaning the store. I got home at 10:30 pm and I gotta get up at 5:30 am.

in reference to the gas station I used to work at, two nights ago there was a drive-by shooting right in front of the doors! Drugs no doubt, the attackees won't identify the attackers. Stupid stupid stupid. Miraculously, no one was hurt, there were 3 or 4 people in the car and another inside paying for his gas when another vehicle drove up and someone pumped at least 4 shots into the car. Halifax Regional Municipality is becoming a not so nice place to live.
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Postby Donna » Sat Sep 08, 2007 1:54 am

One more half day to go, at Michaels, and I will have finished the first week. My sched so far is CT on Mon, CT/Michaels Tues, Wed, Thurs, CT Fri, Michaels 1/2 day on Sat and usually off Sunday. So three days I work 14 hours, the others are 8 or less.

The CT store setup is far easier, as in less exhausting, than at Michaels, but more frustrating at times--we have freight arrive in our section (I'm in Automotive) on pallets, some direct from distributor, some in big grey boxes picked from other stores, and we have to dig through it to see what can be put out, because not all the planograms are set yet. At Michaels we were on deadline, all plans were set first, then boxes were dropped in the proper aisles, and the whole situation was much more intense because of the two women leading the setup, who played a variation of good cop bad cop, pushing us to get it done. We actually opened a day early there.

The 14 hour days are still less tiring than the 6-hour shifts at the grocery store. :)

Monday I have to go for a Catscan and bloodwork so that will be a short day, and Wednesday is the follow-up consultation, another short day. So it will be the third week before I'm really at it full on. Of course the steel toe in one boot rubs, the other is perfect. It is so nice to kick those off! I always carry a second pair of shoes in the car now.
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POST SUBJECT

Postby HILTS3188 » Sat Sep 08, 2007 1:03 pm

Monday I have to go for a Catscan and bloodwork so that will be a short day, and Wednesday is the follow-up consultation, another short day. So it will be the third week before I'm really at it full on. Of course the steel toe in one boot rubs, the other is perfect.

HOPE ALL DOES WELL FOR YOU DONNA :D

I WEAR STEELIES IN WORK EVERYDAY AS WELL, BUT I AM THE ONLY ONE THAT WEARS THEM WITH NO LACES, AND I WEAR MY HI VIS JACKET INSIDE OUT....NOT LIKE THE REST OF THE SHEEP

MY TOUCH TO MCQUEEN AND INDIVIDUALITY 8)
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Re: Retail challenge

Postby Darren » Mon Sep 10, 2007 4:38 pm

Donna wrote:I've taken on a bit of a challenge—working retail 60 plus hours a week for at least 6 weeks, maybe longer!

I'll keep you posted, unless I'm too tired!


Donna,

you are an amazing woman. I did these sort of hours for a while when I was in my late 20's. I found that you can get into a "zone" whereby it is quite managable. Of course you don't have a life outside of work - so hopefully you have some nice people to work with who make life more fun for you.

Your gonna love the $$$$$ :banana:.

Darren.
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Postby Karen » Mon Sep 10, 2007 9:24 pm

Darren wrote
Donna,

you are an amazing woman.



Ditto Darren!! :)
Karen
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Postby linda » Mon Sep 10, 2007 11:12 pm

Donna, you inspire me. 8)
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donna

Postby birdbrain » Tue Sep 11, 2007 12:24 am

Donna, Don't you love Darren's banana!
"When there's a fire I outrank everybody here!" "PUNCH IT!" "PUNCH IT BABY!"
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Re: donna

Postby Donna » Tue Sep 11, 2007 1:33 am

birdbrain wrote:Donna, Don't you love Darren's banana!


I'm so tired right now I'm giddy--good thing Darren and I live on opposite sides of the planet cuz that could be taken as a really personal question! :lol: :lol: :wink: :twisted:

oh gods the tears are just streaming down my cheeks... ignore me. I need sleep. :D

I worked half a day at CT then went for my twice-yearly Catscan. I dunno if it was the gastrografin I had to drink or the dye they injected, but I felt kinda sick after, also so sleepy that 5 more minutes I'd have been asleep in the machine. So I go straight home and hit the sofa at 3:00, out like a light, and the phone rings at 6:00, wakes me up--I--um, was supposed to be at Michaels at 5:00 and I totally forgot it. Fortunately Candace could cover for me and I didn't have to drive back in. But I sure felt stupid. I'm working a long day tomorrow, a shorter day Wed and Thurs, a long Fri and just the Sat night, with Sun off. I can sleep in both Sat and Sun so that's good.
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Postby Karen » Tue Sep 11, 2007 2:29 am

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

I needed a good laugh! THANKS CARMELA AND DONNA! TOO FUNNY!
KAREN

Ps... I hope you get a very good nights sleep Donna!!
Pss...Carmela--your the greatest!!
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Postby Donna » Sun Sep 23, 2007 9:58 pm

I did 60 hours this past week, next week will be 61-63. Canadian Tire wants to keep me--I think I'll take backshift, 11pm tp 7am, Sun to Thurs--it will give me Fri from 7am to Sun 11pm off, and if doc appts or whatever come up I can get to them. It would be stocking shelves which I love, something about it gives me great satisfaction. I've particularly asked for Automotive as I know it quite well now. There'd be no phones no customers, thank heavens, cuz ya know the quality of service I'd be able to give at CT wouldn't hold a candle to the 30min to an hour I can spend with a customer in framing, chatting while setting up mats and frames. I have met some fantastic people at framing. So, I will continue to do 40 hours at CT and 12-20 at Michaels. Lovely paychecks starting to roll in, can't wait for Wed night/Thurs am--this will be the biggest pay I've had in 5 years (just in time for new Stevie stuff coming out--WDOA 3, the new book on his cars etc). :D

I bought a new multi-vitamin/mineral supplement that has 43 different things in it, for people over--gulp--50. Size of horse pills, hard to swallow! but will hopefully keep up my energy. I had 3 fifteen hour days in a row last week--the middle one was deadly but the third was better, then I had 2 normal days and a half day. Next week the long days are split up.

Dad was hospitalized last Sun for a heart attack, (I guess)--he had a dizzy spell, bit of a blackout, was clammy and pulse racing but no pain; he got out yesterday with a pacemaker. I had to go home to see how he was so I didn't get my day and a half off at my home I wanted to rest and relax, but what can ya do? He'll be 86 in another two weeks and lives alone 90 min drive from me. I find his memory for names and things that have happened has slipped badly. He can still make his own meals, and do stuff, but... I am going to look into getting him into a veterans home --could take months, but I don't think he sh/be alone this winter at home, tending the furnace and lugging firewood up to the kitchen stove. He could play cards and have people around, but he would miss his veg garden and his welder, and tinkering in his garage.

I went to the theatre Fri night for The Miracle Worker--only went cuz I knew one of the actresses, but it was fabulous, stunning, fantastic. We have world-class theatre here in Halifax. What got me was how funny it was, and how physical the roles of Annie Sullivan and Helen Keller were. We were in the very front row and got splashed when Helen threw a pitcher of water. :D
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Postby Karen » Mon Sep 24, 2007 2:22 am

Donna


All the best to you and Dad! Thank goodness he has you!:)
Karen
Last edited by Karen on Sun Sep 30, 2007 6:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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dad

Postby birdbrain » Tue Sep 25, 2007 2:21 am

Donna. I hope Dad is feeling better. I'll keep him in my prayers.
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Postby Darren » Sun Sep 30, 2007 5:35 pm

Donna wrote:I bought a new multi-vitamin/mineral supplement that has 43 different things in it, for people over--gulp--50. Size of horse pills, hard to swallow! but will hopefully keep up my energy.


I have just ordered a multi vitamin that consists of 11 pills per day. Cost about 1 dollar a day.

Donna wrote:Dad was hospitalized last Sun for a heart attack, (I guess)--he had a dizzy spell, bit of a blackout, was clammy and pulse racing but no pain; he got out yesterday with a pacemaker. I had to go home to see how he was so I didn't get my day and a half off at my home I wanted to rest and relax, but what can ya do? He'll be 86 in another two weeks and lives alone 90 min drive from me. I find his memory for names and things that have happened has slipped badly. He can still make his own meals, and do stuff, but... I am going to look into getting him into a veterans home --could take months, but I don't think he sh/be alone this winter at home, tending the furnace and lugging firewood up to the kitchen stove. He could play cards and have people around, but he would miss his veg garden and his welder, and tinkering in his garage.


Sorry to hear about your dad's condition Donna. Is a veterans home for all elderly people or is it for war vets? Do you think he will be happy about the idea of going into a veterans home?

Darren.
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