I'm a one man team/ when I get mad I turn green
04 February, 2003 :: 7:04 a.m.
I thought I had gotten all the venom out of the wound. I thought my rant about walmart would suffice and I would be able to go back to being happy again...or at least what generally passes for happy. I thought wrongly.
I walk into work last night and stop to talk to Teri for a few minutes...then I head back to punch in...the night meeting (held back in the break room and no, we don't do no stinking cheer--they've tried, we've refused) is already over and Koeth, Robert and Tom are heading up front and talking about some bullshit that sounds to me like yet another moron manager decided we need to keep a box count. Great.
A box count is relatively simple and in and of itself nothing majorly evil. We just count all the cases of freight that we put up and give that number to management. It's not that it's evil; it's that it is stupid. We're supposed to waste time in our night counting all of the boxes that we work so that we have some sort of verification that yes, we did something other than stand around all night. The other problem, it's not representative of anything. Someone somewhere inside the home office (send bombs to Bentonville, Arkansas) sat down and came up with some sort of chart which varies by department and says this many cases should be worked per hour. But it's never been enforced in our store through all of the management changes. Every once in a while they try and it goes away in about a week. Generally the manager that instituted it realizes we work our asses off most nights and don't need to be babysat or checked up on.
Grocery for some reason is different. From the beginning they've had a box count and still do...but there's is different. They spot all of the freight they get in a given night down each aisle, the person working that aisle then works it until done...but they count every case, whether it goes or not. On the general merchandise side, we are only supposed to count the boxes that actually go on the shelves...anyway, they can then divide that number by how long it took you and see how many boxes per hour you are doing. At least that's the grocery side...on gm, they just ask at the end of the night how many cases you killed. But, as I said, generally they start to realize that how many pallets you kill is more important (yes, I love the fact that we refer to it as killing also)...so as long as we get say, 6 pallets in housewares and send back one or none, we did good. But Sean, the new night manager (billed to us before he even arrived as "the king of overnights"--if that doesn't automatically make you hate someone, what will?), has decided that we must go back to a box count. One of the main bitches about this in the past by people on gm is that it doesn't take into account a lot of other stuff...first of all, we spend time on the stuff that doesn't go (we usually aren't psychic and don't know without checking whether something will go or not) so why don't they count when they do on grocery? Also, it fails to consider how much time you spent making room on risers for shit, how much time you spent showing customers where things are, dipping fish, cutting keys, mixing paint...all that happy crap. So if you get caught up in an hour's worth of customer service during the night and an hour of working risers to make room for things, and maybe another hour changing out features, they don't divide your boxes by the 5 hours that you had to work them, they still divide by 8. Also, it varies by department how many you are supposed to work...maybe in toys you are supposed to throw 40 boxes an hour, but in hba you are supposed to throw 30 and in pets you are supposed to throw 70...it's arbitrary. It's based on a system developed by people sitting at computers who've never in their life worked freight.
This new system though is evil...not only do we have to give the box count, but now, say you finish at 2 with your new freight, the box count is divided by 4 because that's how many hours you spent working it. But then you have to account for pretty much every minute of the rest of your night...if you spend half an hour changing features, you right it down; an hour folding towels that come in break packs (hard to explain, but basically a lot of stuff that doesn't come in full cases, gets thrown into big boxes, then separated at our store by department and delivered in shopping carts to said departments) for domestics; an hour helping grocery or chemicals zone (pull stuff forward on shelves so they look all nice and pretty in the morning instead of half empty)--you basically have to write down how you spent every minute of your night to justify what you got done or didn't get done. Now anybody with a job knows that some days you bust your ass from start to finish and other days are more laid back and you tend to maybe goof off or stop to talk to someone for a few minutes here and there. That's how it goes. Personally I would love to stay busy every minute of most nights because the time goes faster and I feel like I've accomplished something...but it just doesn't work that way. Plus, none of the other shifts have to justify how they spend their time. I'm hoping that other people out there experience what happens here in Mansfield...you got to walmart in the middle of the day and need help with something and have to search and search to find someone. It's usually because first and second shift are gathered in a group or a couple of groups talking somewhere in the store instead of covering the areas they are supposed to. I don't have a problem with people sociializing at work...you spend a lot of time there working with these people, you should be able to talk to them if you so choose. But they literally will wander the store for hours and avoid doing anything that could be confused with work like they are avoiding a toxic waste spill.
I've read in a couple of news magazines in the past about how some hospitals and other businesses have started giving employees cards that transmit a signal so that they know where you are at all times, how much time you stopped in one spot, pretty much everything about where you went and what you did during a day...they know how long you spend in the bathroom for fuck's sake. Isn't this some sort of an invasion of privacy? Do you sell your soul to a company when you sign the paperwork to be employed there? That's about a sneeze away from the telescreens in 1984. Apparently it's AOK though. What's next? Are they going to demand a stool sample as proof that the reason you were in the bathroom for 15 minutes was because you were taking a shit? What if you're sick but decided to come to work and do your best anyway? I just find the whole thing really disturbing and this new box count policy seems to be heading in the direction of giving us those badges that transmit where we are at all times. I know this is sort of a slippery slope argument and I know that often times these are bad arguments based not based on logic, but we've already got people in government that would love to see us all implanted with microchips that can be tracked so doesn't this seem like a step in that direction...I mean those badges, not the box count...that's rather low tech, but still feels invasive. I guess it just pisses me off that they can't look at the end of the night and see that I've busted my ass, that I have to prove to them every night that I really do work.
In totally unrelated news. Blaise Brill was on the Springer show yesterday. And first off, that reminded me that there are two people in the world that I legitimately hate. He being the other one. If I saw him laying on the ground injured, I would probably walk up and kick him in the ribs a few times for good measure and then maybe stand on his throat until he was dead. Anyway, for those of us who know him it came as no surprise that he would agree to appear on Springer to brag about the fact that he's been cheating on his latest girlfriend. He has two kids with two different girls, he's cheated on,manipulated and used every girl he's ever been with. He's been in jail at least once that I know of and as of several months ago he was awaiting a hearing for parole violation. He's a completely and utterly worthless flesh bag. Sadly I don't have television, so I missed the whole spectacle, but that's okay, I've been subjected to enough Springer in my ifetime to know pretty much how it went. The best part though is that since they taped the show, he and the two girls have been bragging about how they were going to be on Springer. If that's something you are proud of, please direct yourself to the nearest gun, bottle of pills, exhaust filled garage, etc. that you can find and end yourself. You have not and never will do anything positive for the human race. But that's just my opinion.
In school news, I missed Brit Lit yet again yesterday. Class is at 11, I woke up at 10, went to the bathroom and inexplicably went back to bed. I don't know... I have to go to the bookstore shortly and pray that they didn't lie to me on the phone last night, that they actually do have the intro to art book i need because the first test is due by next sunday at noon. Woooo. Five chapters of art history to get through by then. It's not my fault though--mostly--I didn't have money for the book at the beginning and I decided the other books were more important. Intro to art is online, so it's not like I need the book for class discussion or anything. The other books I do need for that purpose. When I had money, they were out, Barnes and Noble was out and Amazon said it would be a couple weeks to ship it...the bookstore said they had another shipment due at the end of the week. When I went back, they were already out again (apparently the shipment was like 15 books--there are 300 students enrolled online, plus an actual class of probably about 40 and they had not even close to 300 in the initial shipment, so stupid me thought they'd be getting more like 50 in. I need to stop assuming things). Then I had no money, so I didn't bother. Last week I had money and they were out again. Last night they said they had 10 and this was just before closing time, so when I go up in half an hour, they best still have one for me...otherwise I'm likely to turn green, turn 7 feet tall and start trashing the place.
Ok. So I guess I should get dressed and get to the bookstore.