Today was a slow day…

April 26, 2004, 9:41 PM

I was surprised. Today was surprisingly slow. Of course, it makes more sense when you think about it. It was Monday, and it was raining. Two things that keep people inside. But all in all it was a good day nonetheless. I’ve been minding my use of the squawk box at work, since people say I page too much.

Meanwhile, the smokers in the smoking room have been having some good-natured fun with me. After going in the smoking room once to talk to someone and being unable to breathe, since the smoke was so thick in there, I vowed never to enter the smoking room again. So when I need a section of newspaper that the smokers have in there, I have to ask for it. I open the door, and ask if I can have the section. They tease, once even blowing a big cloud right on it. Of course, they don’t mean it to be mean, but it’s amusing nonetheless.

I also had a lady who reminded me of Mecca from Potomac Hall today at work. I’m explaining what’s going on with her refund, and all of her options and asking how she wants her refund, and she’s giving me this hard, ugly stare. If her eyes were lasers, they’d have burned a hole in me in no time. Then she acted all arrogant and like she knew it all, and acted like I was an idiot for asking what she wanted me to do.

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Categories: Friends, Walmart

Today was a good day!

April 22, 2004, 5:42 PM

What can I say? It was payday. Payday always a good thing.

Interesting thing today was the amount of Today’s Special references I inadvertently threw in at work today at the Service Desk.

For instance, someone brought up a toy shark to the Service Desk for us to send off to get put back. I commented, “There’s that guy from my fin club again.” I don’t recall which episode of Today’s Special it’s from, but the reference is from a 1984 or 1985 episode, with Sam referring to that shark we occasionally see in his computer room.

Another one was to a coworker friend later on in the day, where I said, “The only person I know who lives in a department store is a mannequin and wears a magic hat!” Customer overheard me and recognized the reference as being to Jeff the mannequin, and mentioned a Web site about Today’s Special that they thought I should visit. That was amusing, because the Web site they were referring to turned out to be my own. Small world.

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Categories: Walmart

I place a strong value on consistency.

April 17, 2004, 12:14 AM

I have come to the conclusion that Wal-Mart could schedule me just about any weird hours that they want, just as long as I can have those weird hours for a few days in a row. For instance, this Saturday, April 17, marks the third day in a row that I will be working 2 PM to 11 PM. And then Sunday I do that schedule again. It’s nice because it gives me a chance to adjust and get a routine. Just like if I work 11 AM to 8 PM, I like to do that for a few days in a row, which I actually did last week. I think I could even do the 7 AM to 4 PM shift just fine, if I had it more than one day at a time. Usually when I work an early-morning shift (yes, 7 AM is early for me), I get it for like one day, and that is usually surrounded by evening shifts.

What gets me all screwed up is when my work schedule is all over the place, working early morning and late evening in the same week, often on adjacent days. I try to come to work fresh as a daisy every day. Of course, I shower with soap and all that, and would do no less, since I place a high emphasis on grooming and looking good, making sure that when I pass through those sliding doors in the morning that everyone looks at me and admires how nice I look and smell.

But when I say “Fresh as a daisy” in this case, I mean feeling it. You know how it is. Some days, you just are kind of dragging, and need a few swift kicks to get going. Other days, I am just light on my feet, and just all sunny and really exemplifying our happy-face mascot.

And consistency is what keeps me running full-steam-ahead.

Meanwhile, I’m still working on uploading the forums to their new location on my site. Same forums, but at a far more convenient URL.

Categories: Walmart

“I’d like to know if you all sell vibrators, but not the sexual kind.”

April 15, 2004, 1:00 AM

A customer actually did ask one of our associates that one time (not to me). But that’s besides the point.

You see, I have found a non-sexual vibrator. Let me tell you about my experience with my cell phone today. I went to DC as planned. I was planning to meet up with Dad midway through the day, since he was coming up to DC as well. Well, I was concerned with being able to hear my ringtone (which is Sakura Saku from Love Hina, a Japanese anime cartoon) on the Metro, with all the other background noise from trains and people and such. So I set it to ring and vibrate.

Now I keep my cell phone in my right front pocket when I’m out and about. So there I am railfanning on a Rohr train, on the Blue Line between Pentagon City and Pentagon. Next thing you know, I feel this fierce vibration on my leg, and Sakura Saku starts playing. Let me tell you, I nearly SCREAMED when that thing started vibrating on me. That’s definitely one way to wake up a 28-year-old rail car. I’m sure the other passengers would have really appreciated it if I’d let loose with a scream. As it is, I jumped up from my railfan seat when that thing went off on my leg.

Needless to say, I will never, ever, ever, ever, ever put my phone on vibrate again.

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Good morning!

April 12, 2004, 4:33 AM

My goodness, I hate mornings! But that’s what my day’s going to be today, as I have to work the 7 AM to 4 PM shift at the Service Desk. I don’t know what it is about me, but I’ve never been able to handle the mornings like I do the afternoons and evenings. I so can’t stand mornings. I’m no good before at least 10:00. Those 11 AM to 8 PM shifts on the Service Desk have spoiled me. Thankfully, though, I don’t get these early shifts that often.

Also, I had an interesting thing happen to me last night. I was investigating a troublemaker on the forums, and was zapping some rather obscene posts that this individual posted. All of a sudden, the posts reappeared, plus the forum went out of maintenance mode (which basically turns off the boards temporarily), which I put it in while Entangled Web moved me to a new server.

Turns out that while I was working, the DNS change, which usually takes a couple of days to propagate across the Internet, reached me while I was working on the forums. Thus I went from my site on the old server to my site on the new server. And in an area that made it through just fine.

The forums weathered the move just fine, but you know one thing that didn’t? The main site. Now before the DNS change reached me, I had made a small change to the splash page on only the new site (changing the © date to 2004, which I’d been meaning to do for a while) so I would know that it had cut over. Turns out I didn’t need to. The site looks like a bomb hit it! Basically what happened is when they moved my site, they didn’t get it all over there in all the right places. So now I have to fix it all up and get it running right again.

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Server moves and long lines…

April 11, 2004, 12:09 AM

Well, today was an interesting day. The day before Easter in Waynesboro reminded me of just before Christmas in Staunton. Totally slammed. My father even commented to me when I got home that he drove past Wal-Mart and it looked like we were mobbed. My reaction? “You’re not kidding!”

On the Service Desk, our line was “out the door”, curling out of our little cave and out to near the restrooms. And that’s with three of us on there. Talk about busy.

And I also got to be a cart pusher for about an hour and a half. I, along with a cashier, helped one of our regular cart pushers with clearing the lot. I’d done it once before, and helped show the cashier (who’d never done it before) how to use our cart machine (which basically pushes a long line of carts automatically). And so in showing her the ropes, I tell her, “Make sure you’re not standing in front of the cart machine when you start it up, and don’t get in front of the cart machine to stop the carts. It will knock the wind out of you.” And the biggest offender when it comes to doing that is me. Without even thinking, I’ll be standing in front of it, staring at the machine, and start it up with the remote control, and have to quickly get out of its way. Or we’ll be taking it with a line of carts to the next cart corral to load them onto the machine. Without even thinking, I get in front of it to try to stop it, quickly realize I’m going to get run over, and then quickly get out of the way again. I nearly got the wind knocked out of me by that thing today, but I managed to get away in time. Yeah, I can be a great example sometimes. Watch me tell you how to use the cart machine safely, then watch as I show you how I learned the power of that cart machine. But we got the job done, and I managed not to get killed while doing it.

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Categories: Walmart

Probably the first to do this…

April 9, 2004, 9:46 PM

Okay, let’s talk about all-time dumb thing. I had to get a new box cutter today at work. Why did I have to get a new box cutter?

Promise not to laugh?

I dropped it in the toilet.

So that was embarrassing. I must be the first person in Wal-Mart history to have to get a new box cutter because their old one fell in the toilet. It literally fell out of my vest pocket while I was using the facilities.

Meanwhile, a customer cut me off as I was coming into the parking lot today. A coworker, who once nicknamed me “Reckless” after I inadvertently cut him off one time in the lot and also “Crash” after I managed to run one of the electric sit-and-shop carts into a wall while I was parking it after a customer finished with it, got a tremendous kick out of it because it was the whole idea of “what goes around comes around”. So I was amused.

Otherwise, I’m trying to figure out this new control panel that my host gave me. I think I’ll get it figured out eventually, but it’s going to be fun in the meantime figuring it out. Fun…

Categories: Walmart

What a busy day it was today…

April 8, 2004, 11:13 PM

Somehow, people can smell when there’s only one of us on the Service Desk, and so as soon as it’s only me on there while the other person goes to break or something, everyone and their mother decides to come to the Service Desk with a return, a list of a bazillion money orders, and a few MoneyGrams. And of course let’s not forget people cashing payroll checks, too. Lots of stuff.

Meanwhile, as plans currently stand, the van will be MINE by Monday! That’s right, MINE! No longer will it be my parents’ car that they let me use. Now I will own it outright.

I’m talking this car:

The Previa

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Categories: Toyota Previa, Walmart

An unexpected but fun evening

April 7, 2004, 12:43 AM

I had an interesting evening. After a Risk Control Team meeting and a cashier meeting at work that I had to attend on my day off, with three hours in between them, which basically shot my whole day, it was nice to have a change in evening activities.

Basically, after the cashier meeting, my friend Katie (who works with me) and I went over to her house and basically just visited for a while, and I also got to meet her mother, as well as a friend of theirs. Then Katie and I went out to this Chinese restaurant in Waynesboro on Main Street next to El Puerto. All in all, we had a good time. Then after that, we went back to her house, looked at some Strong Bad Emails (I made reference to the “Thnikkaman” at work once, and so we looked at that), and then noting the number of pop-ups on her computer, cleaned out some junk on her computer.

I don’t know what it is about me… a computer has an issue, it’s like something itching. I’ve got to fix it. So now all those evil pop-ups are gone. Especially when one of them said, “Decide who wears the handcuffs tonight!” That was a surprise, needless to say.

So all in all, it was a fun evening, with two friends hanging out for a few hours. And it’s always nice to be able to get away from work, too, since even after a day at work, I flip on Nick at Nite, and there’s a Wal-Mart commercial. So it was nice to have a change from the usual.

Categories: Computer, Katie, Walmart

What a productive day!

April 6, 2004, 12:05 AM

This was a day where I let my organizational skills shine. That Service Desk was looking fine. Everything was arranged in shopping carts and ready to go when I left.

And I came up with the best term for the Service Desk area. It’s a cave. See, in Supercenters, recall that it’s a gymnasium-style ceiling. So the ceiling is very high. So then you go into my little cave, and it’s a lot lower ceiling. So it really does seem like a cave. And I’m the monster who lives inside that cave, hehehe.

Still, my bosses when I was an intern at the Office on Youth last summer said I had great organizational skills. Today, I proved them right beyond a shadow of a doubt.

And Tuesday I am off. Off is good. Means that I can do everything I always wanted to do but couldn’t because I have work.

Still, next week is when I next go to DC. This week is just whatever. And I don’t mind it, because I’m going to hit up the Chatter Bus tomorrow, among other things.

So that ought to be fun. I love coffee.

Categories: Food and drink, Myself, Walmart

April 1!

April 1, 2004, 11:57 PM

Wow… I haven’t written to you all since Tuesday morning.

Anyway, I have to say that I was successful in my eradication of the virus on Sis’s computer, which was W32.Pinfi. With over 3,000 instances of it, someone really did a number on that machine. But we got it all cleaned up, and she’s back online. Thank goodness. As it is, I was working on her computer until 1:00 AM, and didn’t get home until almost 4:00. That was a LONG day.

And I found out that we missed something on Becky’s computer, which I fixed on Monday night in Harrisonburg, as the W32.Welchia.B virus reappeared. Seems we missed something. So we’re going to make another trip up to fix that. And meanwhile, I’m going to do a little research to find out why the blasted thing came back.

Meanwhile, pouring the candy from a broken bag of chocolates into the trash reminded me of an oft-repeated dream I’ve had. From time to time, I have dreams that I’m at work. Now in these dreams, I know I’m clocked out, because I don’t have to go into work for a while. So with that, I then think, “I’m working off the clock, how did I get into this?” and “I’m working off the clock! I’m going to be in so much trouble!” Etc. The dreams tend to revolve around the fact that I’m working at the Service Desk, and doing so off the clock, and how did I get into this.

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One computer down, and one more to go…

March 30, 2004, 8:39 AM

Well! Monday night at Becky’s (the person whose computer I was fixing) in Harrisonburg was productive and fun. It was determined to be the W32.Welchia.B worm, after a Norton Antivirus scan was run. We also did some general housekeeping, running my favorite “spyware” cleaner, Ad-Aware, as well as getting rid of some unused programs.

We also had a load of fun that evening. We went to Chili’s on East Market Street for dinner after running the system scan, and then while we were out, went to OfficeMax to see if we could cash in on the “STORE CLOSING EVERYTHING MUST GO” sale going on. I didn’t get anything, but Becky and her roommate both found something. At 50-70% off, it’s quite a deal. Becky’s roommate got a DVD-RW for like $75, which I thought was pretty darn good. Amusing product: A do-it-yourself divorce kit. It’s actually a little box that supposedly has everything you need for getting a divorce. No wonder it was marked 70% off. I’d love to hear testimonials of people who used it: “I got a divorce-in-a-box and look at me now!”

After OfficeMax, we went a little bit down the street and headed over to Wally World, a store that all of us are much more familiar with. We bought some stuff, and we had a blast, and I brought my cell phone with me, and so we have pictures. A sequel to the Wal-Mart photo set from 2000? I don’t know, but I definitely got enough to make a photo set out of it for Life and Times. That will also mark the first time that the cell phone gets some extensive use with the Web site. But we had a blast, buying up some junk food, some stuff you want to keep away from the “bad ol puddy tat” (you’ll see), as well as hamming it up with the “quintessential Wal-Mart item”, Spongebob Squarepants, etc., etc., etc.

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Categories: Computer, Friends, Shopping, Walmart

And we said it, and it was.

March 28, 2004, 4:21 PM

No sooner did we say it, and another one said, “Here, smell this nasty meat!”

Pee-yoo. Gross.

Anyway… otherwise, I have two wonderful days off. Time enough to feel refreshed, and ready to come back to work and smell more nasty meat.

So there you go. And to Harrisonburg we go on Monday. I can’t wait. I get to see a friend and fix their computer, and I also get to run some errands while I’m up there. Generally just going to take care of a bunch of odds and ends while I’m around, and visit the old alma mater (that is also a frightening term to use, right along with “alumni”). I’m going to walk around campus and say, “Ah, this is just as I remember it!”

So fun.

And thus the first of the days off. And so there you go.

Categories: Walmart

Here, smell this nasty meat!

March 28, 2004, 4:28 AM

One of the things about working at the Service Desk is that customers sometimes want to show you exactly why they’re returning the products. This is usually the case when they’re returning food items, usually meat. Customer comes up, says politely that the meat was bad, and then insists that I smell it up close (despite it having a rather pungent aroma from a distance).

It’s for stinky, nasty meat, and other things like that which is why Wal-Mart should issue clothespins to the people on the Service Desk. Why clothespins? For our noses, duh… Though for attacking the customers would be amusing, too.

Meanwhile, I discovered that lifting up the center clip on a till looks surprisingly like a certain profane gesture, which got a couple of laughs.

Meanwhile, Sunday is my last day before a “weekend” off, which will be fun. Going to Harrisonburg and Blacksburg. All up and down I-81. So that ought to be fun. Visiting and fixing people’s computers.

So there you go.

Categories: Walmart

Whee, today was an interesting day.

March 26, 2004, 12:21 AM

I worked register! As in cashier. That was an interesting change after working Service Desk for weeks and weeks and weeks.

Though you can tell I still have Service Desk on the brain when I’m on register. My service desk greeting is usually “Can I help the next person?” or “How can I help you?” and so on. On register, it’s “Good morning/afternoon/evening. Did you find everything all right?” When I’m not thinking, I’ll say “Can I help you?” instead of “Good morning”. The problem is that on the Service Desk, it’s not immediately obvious what they’re there for. They could be there to make a complaint, return something, send money, and so on. On the register, we know what they’re there for, for the most part. They’re checking out those six cartloads of canned corn.

The other thing is where I get my ending goofed up. On Service Desk, I say, “[Amount] is your change, and if you would please sign on the dotted line. (They sign) Thank you very much, have a great day.” Since they have to sign for a refund. On register I say, “[Amount] is your change, and here’s your receipt, and have a great day!” I get some weird looks on the register when I ask them to sign on the dotted line (which I say out of habit).

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Categories: Walmart