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Can I afford it? Probably not. Was it tasty? Yes!

January 31, 2006, 6:10 PM

I went over to Martin’s after work to buy dinner, and again got the self-scan contraption to play with. It was also a heck of a lot less crowded over there this time, and so it was easier to navigate through the store.

This time, instead of a full-size shopping cart, I got a two-tiered shopping cart. Those basically look like this:

Two-tiered shopping cart
Image from Cart Wranglers

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Categories: Martin's, Shopping, Waynesboro

Do NOT preach your religion to me, and ESPECIALLY not when I’m at work!

January 28, 2006, 11:55 PM

I had a customer today at the self-checkout that REALLY got on my nerves. He rings himself up on the self-checkout. He pays. So far, so good, right? Okay. So after he finishes, he comes up to me, where I’m standing at the self-checkout podium, running the show. He has a question for me.

Now I consider myself to be very good with where things are in the store. I can point someone to just about any item in the place. I’m also very good with directions and know the area quite well, and can direct you on how to get just about anywhere. Seriously – other associates and also some of our managers have referred people to me for driving directions.

So the man hesitates for a moment. I’m waiting for the question. What does he want to know? He asks the question: “Do you accept Jesus as your lord and savior?” As someone who’s become strongly non-religious in the last couple of years, I take offense to complete strangers asking me about my religious beliefs (which I generally do not discuss because I don’t think most people want to hear what I have to say on the issue), and I especially find it offensive when people start forcing their religious beliefs on me in my place of business.

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Categories: Religion, Walmart

So I went and checked out the competition today…

January 27, 2006, 6:01 PM

After work, I went to the new Martin’s that opened behind our Wal-Mart store in Waynesboro. I got to use their pre-scanning technology, and paid for it all using their self-checkout machines (U-Scan, by the way).

All in all, I had a good experience. The service was friendly, the store was clean and well-decorated, and loaded with touch-screens. For the most part, the store resembles a Giant Food store (and indeed, Giant of Carlisle is the parent company).

I mentioned pre-scanning technology earlier. After you sign up for a “Bonuscard”, you have the option of getting a hand-scanner that fits into a little holder on your shopping cart. The shopping cart also has bagging arms built onto the cart, which employees attach bags to before you start. Then as you shop, you pick out your items, scan them, and bag them right in your cart. To take an item off, you just push a button and re-scan the unwanted item. Fun.

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Categories: Martin's, Shopping

What Schumin does on his “weekend”…

January 27, 2006, 12:51 AM

My Wednesday-Thursday weekend was fun. I got to accomplish a few things that I’d wanted to do. First of all, I attempted to visit the new Martin’s store in Waynesboro, that opened up next to Wal-Mart. I attempted to get in, but the store was so crowded that I ended up having to scratch that idea, since I wasn’t about to park at Wal-Mart and walk over to Martin’s. There were literally no parking spaces available in the Martin’s lot. I consider that too far of a distance to walk, plus I consider it rude to park in one business’s parking lot to patronize their competitor. I did, however, get the chance to fill up the car, since Martin’s has a gas station on its premises. I got to fill up for $2.19 a gallon, too, which is pretty good for Waynesboro at this time (the nearby Exxon and Citgo stations were selling at $2.29 a gallon).

After that, I took a trip to Roanoke, which worked out well despite that the friend I was supposed to meet up with in Roanoke never got back with me (so we didn’t end up meeting up). I ended up visiting my usual Roanoke spots, plus I also drove over to Salem, where I basically took a little driving tour of the town. So that was fun.

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“I nearly passed out when I heard you defending George Bush…”

January 22, 2006, 4:39 PM

As anyone who’s been around this Web site knows, I am very anti-George W. Bush. Thus why, when discussing a letter to the editor in the Staunton News Leader with some of my coworkers on my lunch hour, I surprised a few of them in that my response defended Bush. One coworker actually said, “I nearly passed out when I heard you defending George Bush.”

The letter was as follows:

I thought we fought the Revolutionary War years ago — the Boston Tea party included. Now President Bush has decided to make Washington, D.C. a smoke-free city. The Boston tea Party will turn into a smoke-in at the White House. Poor people enjoy a few things. One thing is a cigarette; another is an ice-cold beer.

Shame on you George Bush!

Ellen Edgar
Staunton

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Categories: Virginia local news

What “abandoned former Wal-Mart sites”?

January 21, 2006, 11:17 PM

In the Staunton News Leader‘s January 21, 2006 house editorial, they discussed about the Frontier Culture Museum’s plan for using some of its property fronting US 250 and Frontier Drive for retail in order to help fund the museum’s programs (the museum itself is back and out of sight from the front of the property).

What made my ears perk up while reading this was this paragraph about the facility that anchors all this development:

Remember too that the retail leviathan that anchors the area is an aging Wal-Mart. Those who recall all the other abandoned former Wal-Mart sites around Staunton can attest that this chain is not the most faithful.

I question the accuracy of this statement. I am not even going to touch the issue of how “faithful” Wal-Mart is, because it’s immaterial to the discussion.

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No, the IRS does NOT owe me $90,000…

January 19, 2006, 4:55 PM

It helps to mind the decimal point. I was doing my taxes today, and it came up on my calculator that the IRS owed me $90,000 when I subtracted the lines as per the directions on the form. As nice as it would be to get a $90,000 payment from Uncle Sam, though, I looked at it and thought to myself, that’s not right and soon realized that I’d missed a decimal point somewhere along the way. Re-running the numbers produced the expected result.

I do my own taxes. I download the forms from the IRS’s Web site online, and filled them out. I figure for most people, if you can read, you can do your own taxes. Saves on money if I don’t have to pay Jackson Hewitt or H&R Block to do it for me. And it does make me feel a little guilty when friends of mine enrolled in tax-preparation courses and then I say no when they offer to do my taxes for me (for money, of course). I’m truthful, though – “No, thank you, I do my own taxes.”

And the most important thing? Sign your forms. There was one year I failed to sign my 1040 and they mailed it back to me with a little note that said that I needed to sign it before it could be processed. I signed it, and sent it back.

And I’m getting it out nearly three months before it’s due. Yaaaay…

Categories: Amusing

That’s one project completed…

January 16, 2006, 7:22 PM

I have burned EVERYTHING in my image collection to CD that was taken between August 18, 2004 and December 31, 2005. To give you an idea of what a project this was, I burned 29 CDs to accomplish this. But it’s all on CD now, which frees up a lot of space for other projects. What does this leave on the actual hard drive? It leaves my January 4, 2006 trip to Washington, and my trip to the Outlet Village on January 12.

And this was a project I was determined to finish as quickly as possible. I set my away message to “Burning about a year and a half’s worth of images to CD…” and vowed not to take it off until I was done. So there you go.

Otherwise, after not only that one IM that I told you about previously regarding something on Wikipedia, others have contacted me through Schumin Web to discuss Wikipedia. This has led me to put this on my user talk page:

Please do not contact me via The Schumin Web, Email, instant messenger, or any other private communication venues for matters regarding Wikipedia. I will be happy to discuss issues related to Wikipedia with you on my Wikipedia talk page, or any other Wikipedia venue. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.

I don’t think it’s that much to ask that what happens on Wikipedia is discussed through the discussion channels that Wikipedia provides, as it adds to the record for Wikipedia, and allows others to help in the collaborative effort, since everyone’s supposed to be there for the same reason – to create an encyclopedia.

Some people, though…

I had what I’d best describe as a “clearinghouse” dream

January 14, 2006, 8:33 PM

Ever have one of those dreams that seems to lump every dream scenario possible into one dream? I had one of those last night. Let me explain.

In this dream, I was in the DC area with Mom, Sis, and Chris Lysy (Sis’s boyfriend). They were with me to see a play. I was there for a protest. And I’m not talking about a small protest like the one that became Confirmation Demonstration. I’m talking about a big protest – one that would have a Black Bloc. And so I’d brought the backpack with me, with my Black Bloc stuff inside.

So I said goodbye to the three of them at Rosslyn, and headed back down into the Metro to go to the protest. I made a realization – I didn’t have something with me that I would need for the protest. I debated going back to Vienna to get it, but decided that I would just make do without it. Then I realized I didn’t have something else. Vienna? No. I’ll make do. This kept mounting. Then a Blue Line train came on the outbound tracks. It was an Alstom 6000-series train! By the way, in real life, these are not yet in revenue service, and are currently undergoing acceptance testing. And I missed it. The railfan in me was cursing the missed opportunity. I wanted to ride an Alstom. Things were not going very well, as I turned out to be missing a LOT of stuff that I’d need for the protest, and had a dilemma – do I go back to Vienna to get the stuff and miss a good chunk of the protest, or make do as well as I could. Decisions, decisions, decisions…

And then I woke up.

What a dream. This combined protests, that DC trip I took with Mom and Sis, and my love of trains all in one big dream, and also had a few “oh, crap” situations in there. All I have to say is what a dream. Especially since I’m usually quite well-prepared for protests and DC trips in general. Only time I’ve forgotten something for a protest was on J20 when I forgot the literature (the printouts from the Web that gave information about what was going on), and for that, I realized I’d forgotten it while I was still very close to the house, and turned around and got it. Time lost: ten minutes.

Categories: Dreams

I guess I’ll now be thinking about how things coordinate with maroon…

January 13, 2006, 5:12 PM

Today, I was just stunned. I’m sure many associates have fantasized about wearing the maroon vest of the Four-Star Cashier at Wally World. And as it turns out, I was selected as the Four-Star Cashier for our store for January. I was just taken back a bit. Still, I wondered how I’d look in the new vest. So I used an old photo of me in my old blue vest and adjusted it. Take a look and compare…

Wal-Mart vest in blue  Wal-Mart vest in maroon

I think I look pretty sharp in maroon, don’t you think? This also means I’ll finally be getting a new vest at work, as mine is on the verge of falling apart and really should have been replaced long ago. Seriously, I’ve had to make repairs to it on a number of occasions, and have even worn a hole through one of the pockets. So all in all, fun stuff. I was quite surprised.

Categories: Walmart

Photographing the Waynesboro Outlet Village before it all comes down…

January 12, 2006, 6:38 PM

Today, I went to see the Waynesboro Outlet Village for what will likely be the last time. The January 6 issue of the Staunton News Leader ran an article discussing how the Outlet Village will be demolished this summer to make way for a new shopping center.

Let me tell you… the Outlet Village is a “dead mall”. When we first moved to this area in 1992, the Waynesboro Outlet Village was alive and full of stores, and most of them were factory outlet stores. Then in the mid-1990s, something changed (I think a management change is what did it), and stores started to leave the Outlet Village, leaving the place in its current form. As of my visit today, there are five stores in operation. Let me name them: Liz Claiborne (which was having a going-out-of-business sale), Paper Factory, Tile Visions, Virginia Metalcrafters, and the Artisans Center of Virginia. All of these stores are isolated from each other in the Outlet Village as far as location goes.

Then there are also a number of non-traditional tenants, as there’s a nonprofit computer refurbishing service in one location, as well as One Child at a Time, aka OCAT, in another building. In other words, a few spots are filled up with offices. This is nothing new – I was hired by Borg-Warner Staffing for CFW Information Services (later Telegate) at the Outlet Village. Borg-Warner had offices in 7F. Borg-Warner, like the rest of them, is now gone from that location, having presumably folded up shop there when Telegate closed their Waynesboro call center in April 2002.

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Categories: Outlet Village, Waynesboro

And we say goodbye to Richard White, it seems…

January 11, 2006, 11:39 PM

According to this January 11, 2006 press release from Metro and this January 12, 2006 Washington Post article, it seems that Richard White (Metro’s General Manager), and Metro will be parting ways.

But don’t expect to see Richard White sitting next to the street escalators outside Metro Center chasing away the pigeons. According to the Washington Post:

Because three years remain on White’s contract, he will receive a severance package that includes a cash payment of $238,000, continued health insurance and an annual pension of $116,000 for the rest of his life. Upon his death, his spouse will receive $58,000 annually until she dies. He also receives a SmarTrip card good for free travel on Metro for life.

They also said that White has told his staff that he is considering job offers in the private sector. So it seems he will be landing on his feet.

Replacing him as General Manager is Dan Tangherlini, who is director of the DC Department of Transportation. He also served as an alternate on the WMATA board.

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Categories: WMATA

Schumin Web tattoo?

January 9, 2006, 6:04 PM

As you may know, my site’s tenth anniversary is coming up in about two and a half months. And I’ve been thinking about how to celebrate it. I want to get myself something for it. What I really want is a custom engraved ring to commemorate the anniversary, but there’s no money in my budget for that. I’m still working on what to do for the anniversary.

One thing I’m certainly not doing is getting a tattoo to celebrate it. I have no tattoos whatsoever, and have always found tattoos on other people to be very low-brow and un-classy. I also think that it’s far too permanent. If you get a tattoo, it’s there, and it’s not going anywhere, regardless of whether you’re twenty, thirty, or ninety. And I don’t know of anything I’d want to have drawn on my body that I would know for sure that I’d want to have on there twenty years down the road.

That and I can’t stand pain, and I understand that getting a tattoo really hurts.

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Categories: Myself, Schumin Web meta

4 AM on the way home from DC means…

January 7, 2006, 12:49 AM

First of all, yes, I get home LATE when I go to Washington. VERY late. It’s actually “tomorrow” for the parents when I’m just finishing up my “today”. If I’m not home by four in the morning, I get a call on my cell phone from Mom, which is basically what I call the are-you-alive call. And the call’s purpose is usually just to figure out when I am and determine when I’ll be back home.

Usually when I get this call, I’m in or close to Harrisonburg. One goal for me for the ride home is to be at least as far as Harrisonburg if not past it when I get that call.

On my December 21 DC trip, I never got that call. And when I got home, I was like, “Why didn’t you call me?” And it’s funny – first few times when Mom started calling, it did annoy me slightly. Now I enjoy them and come to expect such things. In fact, the reason that not getting called that time bothered me was because I was so ahead of schedule that I wanted to brag about how ahead of schedule I was. Just like, “Aha, look at me!” And I never got to do that, sad to say.

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Categories: DC trips, Family

“You have to be smarter than the objects you’re working with.”

January 1, 2006, 10:36 PM

Sometimes, people just say the darndest things. A customer told me today, “You have to be smarter than the objects you’re working with.” I nearly burst out laughing. Why? Because while he was referring to the bag of dog food he was putting up on the belt, I was thinking about it from my own perspective. The object I was working with was the gentleman in front of me. And you have to be smarter than the objects you’re working with, according to this gentleman.

My exact thought came in the form of a quip from Judge Judy: “I’m very smart, and I will still be smarter than you even if you live to be five hundred.”

It took everything in me to keep from laughing at this man, because he didn’t realize just what he had said…

Categories: Walmart