Translation of comic for Tori's benefit: A customer calls a department store and the assistant manager answers the call.
Assistant Manager : Thank you for calling Grumbel's
Customer : What time do you close tonight?
Assistant Manager: We close at 6pm tonight.
Customer: WHAT? I thought you'd be open late on Christmas Eve ! Why are you closing early?
Assistant Manager: So the employees can spend time with their families.
Customer: But what about the customers?
Assistant Manager: I guess they'll have to spend time with their families too.
Heh heh heh. That comic strip is called Retail and is to retail what Dilbert is to the tech industry...ooohhhh so damn true. It takes place in a mall store which means the usual close time at the holidays is anywhere from 9pm to 11pm....sometimes later like midnight. But the store does close down for part of the evening. Now imagine the same conversation (if it happened at all) with a 24 hour store...throw in a couple hundred or more ESL's shopping there (assuming they even SPEAK E as their SL) and that would be how my Christmas Eve went.
Friday night the pace started picking up. We had a last minute shopper that had the cheek to gripe that the night crew was pulling pallets to the floor at 830pm. He said it was the wrong time to be doing it. I told him it was a good time as our shelves were nearly empty. He then countered with the "there's too many people in the store to be doing it" and I shut him up with the "but we're a 24 hour store which means we dont ever close so when's the best time TO do it??" Stupid people. *insert eye roll* Ok so he had a point but it doesnt really slow up so when ARE we supposed to restock our shelves??? At that point I was all for selling it down to the bare shelves, then I wouldnt have to tell people we didnt have something, it'd be bloody well obvious.
Saturday was really bad. Im sure I touched on that a bit. It was so busy that 1/4 of the shelves were empty before I even got in at 10am. By the time I left at 6pm, they were nearly 3/4 empty and things were flying off the shelves faster than we could pull them off the risers (the topmost shelves that are labelled "Ask associate for assistance"). Normally, we're told not to fill and stuff just take down what we need and maybe another 2-3 just in case. Nope, not Saturday. The assistant manager over the area cornered me after lunch and said to start pulling ALL the stuff off the risers and just stuff it anywhere there was space (which was pretty much everywhere). Here my feet are already starting to ache, my knee wants to give out and Im not liking heights too well. *sigh* Not about to tell him I simply cant or wont I told the manager I'd go as long as my feet and knees would allow to which I got a fair enough comment. In about 90 minutes' time I managed to get all of one side of the walkway done and decided that it was simply just too doggone busy to do much more. When the assistant manager came through again I told him as much....he noticed how much was down and the shelves were still looking bare and agreed that it would need to be done later. Around 4pm the department manager came in and I thought the poor guy was going to have a stroke. The group I was with, well we were barely keeping ahead of the reshops, and top things all off the group I worked with contained not only myself (who'd been working Saturday nights) but another guy that normally worked Saturday nights. NONE of my department manager's "dream team" was going to be working with him that night. Two of us were on the early shift and the third had been given the day off. He was stuck with the rookie and a few others that dont work worth a damn. Oh he was pissed. heh heh... He'd come up to me and said..."this is what we're gonna do" and I looked at my watch... he asked if I was leaving already and I told him 6pm. The poor dude's head nearly popped off.
Sunday was a 2-11pm shift. I cant remember who all I was working with that day. I know for sure I had the rookie and the one gal (who spent the last 3 weeks dropping the hint she's gay...not that it matters as Im, like one chatter was so fond of saying, stictly dickly). We were told this day to not attempt to clean up, just keep up with the reshops. I am so glad they said that because I would have had a stroke trying to do both. Not 2-3 days prior they'd been telling us things had to be perfect because the night crew didnt have time to reshop or clean up, there was simply too damn much for them to stock for them to bother. We had 5-6 associates in the area and were extremely hard-pressed to keep up with all the customers and the reshops. Again I left out of work having a rough time walking (even though I'd spent extra for supports to put in my shoes...). That place was absolutely trashed and I have to state now that the night crew did a major miracle getting it respectable by the morning shift. It was so bad that it would have taken "Jeanie", "Samantha", the whole Hogworts school (plus teachers, the Ministry of Magic, house elves AND the Order of the Phoenix) AND Merlin to set that place straight. It was so bad we could have applied as a National Castastrophe zone!
Christmas Eve was somewhat better. The customers didnt catch on for a couple hours that we were even open (thank God for small favors), however they figured it out in short order. We had the typical crowd in, the ones who havent even BEGUN shopping and wondered WHY there was nothing left. I took some real pleasure in being able to say no and point out that we'd had most of the goods a week and a half ago....full shelves of the stuff that was needed now. Ok, so, I shoulda got coal for that behavior but it's not MY fault they didnt pick it up when they saw it a week ago! Otherwise the day went ok. We had enough people in the department to get the reshops done in a reasonable amount of time and the 3 aisles I was responsible for were as neat as I could get them. It got to be about 10 minutes before 6pm and they started announcing the store would be closed at 6pm. I personally think they should have been announcing all day we were closing at 6pm and then started the reminders at 530pm at the latest. The hard part is that anyone in the first two aisles of toys simply cannot hear the announcements over the damn tvs in the electronics department (and not to mention the ESLs that dont understand them at all). Then 6pm came and they started with the "We're closing in 2 minutes" BS. They did this for 10-15 minutes....it got so that the L.Ps (loss prevention guys) had to start herding people out like so much cattle. There was a scuffle between one of the customers and an LP...chest to chest (or was it boobs to chest?) like a couple of roosters getting ready to spar. It got so rough they ended up calling some additional security in and had them posted at the entrances. One of the managers came back to toys about 15 minutes later to dress us down about the incident and the dude I was working with at the time told him that it was the LPs that did it...not us. Dude pointed at me and said that even I managed to keep my tongue and he KNEW how hard THAT was...LOL. Smart-ass. Man Im gonna miss him and the department manager. Anyhow as the manager was talking to the head LP dude, I saw the other LP racing down the walkway looking much like a rushing back with a cell phone attached to his ear. The discussion around me was rather animated until I said "and there goes number two at a dead run around the corner". All 3 heads whipped around and next thing I knew the guy I had been working with and I were quite alone. Seems they had not only last minute shoppers but a last minute shop-lifter as well. Good thing we had all the extra security around (including actual coppers) in the store.
Well we were told by management that clean up wasnt overly necessary again and when all the customers were out of the store we had to report to the front end. Once we got all the reshops done we'd be allowed to go home. Everyone pitched in as best as they could and when their area was done were instructed to go to their next favorite department and help out there. The entire compliment of the store was released around 730pm. I was so damn happy to be out of there. Management stood at the front and was wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and shaking hands. The assistant manager over Toys made sure to thank me for all the hard work I'd put in (Im sure he probably said that to a number of others as well though). I made sure to shake the store manager's and the head LP's hands as I doubt I'll be seeing them again before I leave from the store.
Not much else has gone on the last couple days off. My feet still hurt some but not to the extrent they had been. I think I may get through tonight without a pain pill. Good thing as Im down to one last pill and I may need that Friday night. Christmas day we just hung around the house and did not much of anything. The most we did was watch tv and hubby cooked supper. He got a nice winter coat from my mom and dad and I'd given him a couple dvds. Yeah...I was working and still managed to get him a couple small items! Had them the week before I started work, granted, and I didnt get to buy what I wanted to get him but he STILL had something under the picture of ivy on Christmas morning!! Take that last minute shoppers who made life hell for me! Today I nearly finished wrapping my dolls. I ran out of bubble-wrap. We could have gone out today but I simply didnt feel like getting out of my night gown and face the crowds....I've had enough of them for now thanks. The only other things I've managed to do since getting off on Monday night is finish up book 6 of the Harry Potter series (I'd had it nearly finished before I started back to work and hadnt picked it up since), started book 7 and redecorated all my web-pages. All my holiday decor is down now. I didnt really want to take it down until the first of the year but I dont know how busy we'll be and I dont know what kind of shape the net service will be when we first move in to the corporate housing. It's just best to pull it all down now instead of having it still up around February or March. Im not so fond of the decor on this page but I may have time in the next day or so to fix it.
I think that's about it. I think Im going to sign off now, curl up with a glass of egg nog and get another 2-3 chapters read in my book. Maybe I'll tire out enough for an early bedtime.