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Thermodynamics, You Take It From Here, Part 7

, , , | Right | June 7, 2022

I am at the grocery store with my roommate in college. They pick up a piece of hot food from the deli, do their weekly shopping for thirty minutes, and then check out.

Roommate: *Complaining* “My food has gotten cold.”

Me: “You pulled it out of the heater a half-hour ago.”

Roommate: “But I just paid for it like three minutes ago.”

Thermodynamics, You Take It From Here, Part 6
Thermodynamics, You Take It From Here, Part 5
Thermodynamics, You Take It From Here, Part 4
Thermodynamics, You Take It From Here, Part 3
Thermodynamics, You Take It From Here, Part 2

The Terrible Tuesdays

, , , , | Right | May 31, 2022

It’s seven in the morning on a Tuesday — a generally uneventful day. It’s just me and my boss and a beer vendor. I am watching a strange person pressing their face against every glass door of the cooler where we keep the beer. They eventually reach the cooler door where my boss and the vendor are talking. My boss looks at them awkwardly.

Customer: “Hey, got any good beer suggestions?”

Boss: “Yes.” *Points to a four-pack*

Customer: “Thank you.”

The customer turns toward where I am standing, smiling behind the counter, patiently waiting to assist them. They say “hello” to me as they start slowly trying to stuff the four-pack up the bottom of their jacket.

Customer: “I’m just gonna…”

He grabs a free newspaper and starts heading for the door.

Me: *Absolutely flabbergasted* “Uh, excuse me. Are you going to pay for that?”

Customer: “No.” *Continues walking very casually*

After wrapping my head around what has just happened, I tell my boss and we begin to hoof it down the main street after this person. After my kind words are unable to get our beer back from them, my boss makes a threat to call the cops, and our beer is retrieved. As my boss and I walk back to work, he exclaims:

Boss: “On a Tuesday morning… Jesus!”

No Need To Get Crabby About It, Part 2

, , | Right | May 29, 2022

Customer: “What’s in this crab cake?”

Me: “Which kind are you looking at?”

Customer: “This one.”

Me: “I can’t see through the case to where you’re pointing. Which one?”

Customer: “You don’t know what’s in your crab cakes?!”

Me: “They all have different recipes, and I can’t see which one you’re pointing to. There’s a sign on the front. Which kind?”

Customer: “This one.”

Me: “…”

No Need To Get Crabby About It

If Only He’d Saw The Solution

, , , , , | Working | May 27, 2022

When I was a student around fifteen years ago, I worked part-time in the fresh goods (meat/fish/cheese) department of a supermarket. One of the things we did there was using a bandsaw to cut up big chunks of bone and frozen pieces of meat into slices.

At the end of the day, one of the jobs was to clean the saw, which meant taking the whole thing apart, bringing it back into the dishwashing room, cleaning out most of the meat and gristle by hand, and then running it through the industrial dishwashing machine. Afterward, we’d put it together again. This whole operation would take about half an hour.

As there would only be one of us doing the late shift and closing up, there was a bit of a procedure to when we’d close the various sections. I couldn’t just stay in the back and wash everything; I also had to tend to whatever customers came in just before closing time. If we had been two people during the last shift, one of us could have worked up front while the other did all the cleaning, but our boss was thinking more about the bottom line than about efficiency.

I tried my best to be quick and efficient when cleaning and closing up, but because the supermarket remained open for an hour or two after our fresh goods section had closed, there would always be the odd customer coming over to us just before we shut down.

Back to the saw. Sometimes, customers would ask us to cut a specific piece of meat. No problem, as long as the saw was still open. Once I’d taken it apart, though, using it again would require it to be cleaned a second time. I, therefore, tried being efficient: if customers wanted a sliced leg of lamb, I’d have pre-sliced pieces ready. I always tried to make sure I had pork ribs, lamb, and other things already cut. That way, if somebody wanted something cut after I had started cleaning the saw, I could say, “Sorry, sir, the saw is being cleaned at the moment. I do however have what you want already made. How many slices would you like?”

This seemed to work okay, but once the boss found out that I dismantled the saw at least half an hour before my section’s closing time, he pointed out during a staff meeting:

Boss: “We always do what the customers want; keep the saw open until closing time.”

Me: “Okay, but you know it takes quite a while to clean, right? Waiting until the section is closed means I’ll have to stay longer.”

Sure enough, waiting until closing time before dismantling the saw meant I’d finish my shift about half an hour later than normal. There was nothing that could be done about that; it takes that long to clean. I tried being efficient, clearing the shelves and cleaning everything else, but even if the saw was the only thing left to do as the section closed, I couldn’t change the laws of physics. Then, this happened in a later staff meeting.

Boss: “The fresh goods section has been clocking out pretty late the last couple of months. Try to get things done quicker.”

Me: *Sigh*

In the end, I went back to doing things my way. It turned out that not reassembling the clean saw until after closing was the key, as customers would see for themselves that it was not in operation. That kept most of them from asking.

It’s Breast To Think Before You Speak

, , , , , , , | Working | May 19, 2022

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Years ago, when I was working at a deli/bakery, a regular customer came in. We were chatting a bit while I took her order and she commented on the pink ribbon I was wearing, asking me what it was for.

Me: “Oh! It’s for Breast Awareness month.”

She kind of looked at me funny, and then I realized what I had said.

I was mortified.

Me: “Breast CANCER Awareness!”

She started laughing! (Thank goodness!) I, too, laughed.

Me: “So… are you aware of your breast?”

That really got her giggling! I was so glad she was such a good sport about it.