My favorite part of inventory on Saturday evening was when I leaned in toward the supervisor and said, as nicely as possible, "I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't inventory the socks while you're on the phone."

Woof, as my friend Greg would say in college. The part that really bothered me was not her tardiness, or her ineptitude, or her habit of laughing inanely as a way to get around my and my boss's requests for some activity (she spent an hour and a half on the phone with tech support trying to fix something on her laptop - more on that in a moment), but the fact that she lied. Several times. The most obvious moment was when she was on the phone with her boss, who my boss had called to get her moving, and she declared that she had six people scanning the store.

Hmm. I only saw two people in maroon shirts scanning. Went to the stockroom. Three more. That makes five. At that point, I was trying to let things go. We had chocolate from Ethel's. We had Perrier water left over from our last event. We all had something from Starbuck's. Food is a necessary antidote to stress. We discussed birthday cakes, and the need to eat more cake in this store, which lags way behind my old store in both cake-consumption and desire for cake-consumption. And wierd requests, too. I asked my manager, whose birthday is in February, what kind of cake she'd like. Angel food!! What? Not chocolate? With chocolate icing? My amazement made one of the scanners, a nice one who was very good at her job, smile and look up. (This request was bested only by the associate who asked for a spice cake with a molasses buttercream icing in November. )

So, dilemma: do I get her the angelfood cake that was her first thought, or do I go with chocolate, which she then claimed to prefer? I'm concerned about Stockholm-syndrome cake requests.

We would have been finished with the whole inventory by 8:30 if we'd had a different supervisor for the team doing the scanning. I eventually had to become the Tough and Mean Boss-person and take charge. I clapped my hands together and told her that we needed to start scanning. I co-opted the phone from her as she was whining to her boss about equipment failures and asked him "what are we going to do now to solve this problem?" I suggested that going to the supermarket 10 minutes away to buy a new memory stick (I think they carry them) made more sense than driving a memory stick an hour and a half from the northern suburbs. I questioned whether they needed some sort of magical, anointed memory stick, or if just anyone would do. When she advised her employee that she would need to back out of every scan in a cumbersome way because we, the store staff, had started her on ticket 75 instead of ticket 1, I looked up from my work and announced, "the area at the front of the store is ready, and you can move her there now." My manager looked at me, said "whewwww," and went back to her work.

And at the end of the night, at 10 p.m. instead of the 7:30 p.m. finish that would have been possible (the nice scanners complimented us for how well-prepared we were), as she set up her laptop for me to do my evaluation of the team and the inventory, her last defense against fate was to tell me that I could score things anyway that I wanted, but that I should be aware that if I gave them a low score, that I would receive a phone call. A fruitless threat. It's the only time that I've ever completed a survey with 1's and 2's.

I didn't realize until she had left that I was supposed to have a print-out of the evaluation to send to my corporate office. How quickly can you say data failure? Woof.


Zachary said…
Hi Janet,
Thanks for visiting my blog! Lindsay and Steph both do wonderful work and I've always enjoyed their blogs too. If you want to send your address so that I can send your gift, please send it to and I will get something sent out this week.
Have a great day!
Hi again Janet,
That last comment I left accidentally signed in under my son's blogger ID. This should be the correct one.