Monthly Archives: March 2019

Lost In The Supermarket

For several months from the end of last year we had been short staffed at work. Some positions had gone unfilled and we had a couple of departures. One woman went back to her old department after being offered a full time position and one recent hire leaving because she didn’t like hard work. To elaborate on that,  “J” joined us to make up her hours after her hours in her regular department were cut, and as she needed the money it made sense for her to take a position with us. Great, she knew the culture, was a quick study and put in a full shift.

Not so my other coworker. I don’t know what she was expecting, but the job wasn’t what she’d expected. Deli work is pretty demanding, especially on the back due to the amount of time spent bending and lifting. It doesn’t help that you are on your feet the whole day, and even though the anti-fatigue mats help, my socks are like tourniquets by the end of the day. Her major problem, though, was that as someone who had been an Aesthetician in Las Vegas, she was obviously better than us and too good to work in a deli. A big part of the job is learning the products so you can answer questions and give advice to customers. She never really made any effort to do this, which just made it harder for the rest of us as we had to fill in the gaps in her knowledge. She also made no effort to learn how to distinguish one salami from another, leading to difficulties when she mislabeled products.  Not to go into it too much, but imagine going into a furniture store and seeing a sofa labeled as a kitchen stool. That’s how bad she was, so it came as no surprise to learn that she’d be leaving before Christmas and surprise, surprise, she called in “sick” on her last day.

Another coworker leaving for a new job just made things worse, especially as she was a great worker, always pitched in, had a great sense of humour and was a genuinely nice person. So as you can see, having four empty slots ( one new hire failed the drug screening) made life a bit hectic for the rest of us. We adjusted, stretched ourselves further and worked harder to fill in, but all  that takes it’s toll, so it was with great relief that we learned that we’d be having four, yes, count ’em, four new recruits joining us early in the new year. Not only that, but they were all recruited as closers, meaning that there was a chance  that I’d get some mid shifts and hence 7pm finishes with all the attendant social life that entails.

Of course, any FNG creates drag as they get up to speed, but even that is an improvement over not  having enough staff. They duly started and we worked them into our routine. One woman had been in food service since she left school, so she hit the ground running, which is always nice to see. The other three took to the job pretty well, but are all a bit anonymous. The lone male of the group looks like he’s lived his entire life in his parent’s basement, and it didn’t surprise me to overhear that he  used to work at Gamestop. The other two women are pretty much ciphers. They seem decent enough but they don’t appear to have any personality and I know no more about them than I did the day they arrived. The guy, at least, seems keen to learn, and although he was very unsure at first, he was would ask for help when faced with a question he couldn’t answer or was unable to find a particular product.

One nice result of this is that I am now getting three or four 7 pm finishes a week which allows me to get out for a beer on quiz night and finish at a reasonable hour on weekends when I have the kids. I really think they’re going to work out, although one never knows. At least for the moment we are fully staffed and are able to start each shift without asking about the Crisis de Jour.

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Love Comes Quickly

As the song from which this blog post takes it’s title “Just when you least expect it, just what you least expect”. There’s no need for me to rehash the last couple of months, just suffice it to say that the last thing I expected at my age was to find myself truly in love. For the full(ish) story, see “Ring My Bell”. Anyway, things progressed much faster than either of us had imagined and we very soon found ourselves texting at every opportunity. Indeed, my sweetheart very quickly made a point of coming to visit me most days, usually on my second break, so we could at least spend some time together, even if only for ten minutes.

I have been staying at her place on a regular basis, usually heading over there after work and returning home the next morning in order to get ready for work. I know it would be easier if I got ready for work at hers, but I might otherwise be tempted to drive straight to work rather than walk from my house as I’m such a lazy git.

To put things into perspective, she went to Portland for the first week in February to meet up with some old friends from law school. No big deal, as this had been on the calendar long before we met, and although we texted, I made sure to give her enough space for her to spend time with her friends and not have me texting her every five minutes. Of course, no trip to Portland is complete without a visit to Powell’s bookstore. Had I been with her, there is no doubt that I would have spent every spare minute and penny in the store. Having said that, she texted me to let me know she was there and asked if she could pick a book out for me. I immediately suggested anything by Kenneth  Feder or Jeb Card, and very shortly after, she offered me two options. I went for Feder’s  “Frauds, Myths and Mysteries”. Along with Card and Sara Head, he’s one of the co hosts of  the  “Archaeological Fantasies”podcast, a show I’ve followed from the very start and just love. Of course, I started reading the book pretty much as soon as it was put into my hands, and I loved every page of it. In fact, I couldn’t read it without hearing Ken’s voice in my head.

This alone was enough to make me extremely happy, so imagine how I felt when later that day she announced that she was at Voodoo Doughnuts, and would I like her to bring some home? Do I have to tell you my response? I went to see her on the Monday and as well as the book and doughnuts she’d also bought me a beer glass at Powell’s as well as a coaster. The glass makes sense, as she’s a wine drinker, and having your own glass kind of means you have standing, and the coaster because she’s big on protecting her tabletops. Not because she thinks anyone would deliberately damage her furniture, but mainly because it’s a sign of civilisation.

Before you get the wrong impression, I’m not the sort of person who equates how much someone spends on gifts and how much they love you, far from it in fact. I mention it because she went out of her way to find gifts for me on a weekend away with friends she hadn’t seen in a couple of years. Not just that. She also put thought into the gifts and asked me for my input rather than picking up some random gewgaw in the hope that I would like it.

Lest this become a litany of gifts, I want to make it clear that we have grown very close in just two months. I can state with all sincerity that I’ve never felt this way about anyone before, and I include my ex wife of 20 years and my ex girlfriend of five in that statement. My sweetheart and I see each other pretty much every day, we text constantly and can’t bear to be apart. We don’t even have to be doing anything. Simply sitting on the sofa holding each other is enough to make us happy. I know that may make us sound like a pair of soppy teenagers, but it’s true. I never expected to find true love at my age, or indeed at any age, if I’m being honest.

It’s a truly weird feeling, to be so totally in love with someone that they are constantly on your mind. This must be what neurotypicals feel a lot of the time. I’m just now beginning to realise what I’ve been missing all these years, and I want  it to last.

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