I'm not sure how long this blog entry will be. I am in a surly mood. As I write this it is late Friday afternoon. I won't necessarily finish it today or tomorrow for that matter. Just so you know, everything in my personal life is just fine. I am happy to report that all is well with me, my family, my car, my dryer, friends, Arlene and her family and friends. My surliness stems from my job. I know I know I'm lucky to have a job, and I've had this job for 42 years. Well my company is struggling. It has been a slow, miserable slide since 1999. The original company I started with was called Star Market. It was a wonderful company that took good care of us and the customer. I know it sounds like bragging but they were very innovative. Here's a bit from an article in a local paper from 1999 when everything changed. They were giving a history of the company up until it went defunct. The name is still around but that's only because they suddenly realized a few years back how stupid it was to change the name of a store and company that had been around locally since 1918. This is from the local Watertown Ma. newspaper in 1999.
" When Sarkis died in 1922, the victim of an automobile accident, Stephen was a
young boy, but he immediately assumed responsibility for supporting his mother
and three sisters and took over the management of his father's store. Like all
his family, he was a hard worker, getting up before dawn to go to the Boston
produce market for fruits and vegetables for the store. In 1931, when his
cousin John, Martin's son, graduated from high school, he joined Stephen, and
the two developed their motto, "Take extra good care of the customer, and the
customer will take care of you!"
Over the years, Steve and John Mugar (they had shortened the family name) kept
service in mind, developing, in cooperation with DuPont and the Union Paper
Bag Company, a number of useful innovations in the grocery business. It was
the Star that pioneered cellophane packaging for meat, stronger paper grocery
bags, unit pricing, employee benefit systems including profit sharing and time
off for school, and the use of the "radar range," as the first microwave oven
was then called, in the store's luncheonette in 1948. In 1963 the Star Market
was the first business to build a store using air rights over the
Massachusetts Turnpike, in Newtonville. Remembering the customer's interest,
Star introduced conveyors to take their orders outside where they could be
picked up. The Star developed a reputation for selling superior grades of
Me again. If you worked in the supermarket business around here and you worked for Star then you worked for the Cadillac of supermarkets.
I remember being a little kid in the '50s and going shopping at Star, with my parents of course. I was so fascinated with the bundle pick up. You would pay for your groceries and the bagger would put all your bags in a numbered tub and put it on a conveyer belt where it would disappear into the bowels of the store. You were given a numbered tile to correspond with the tub. Go to your car, drive around to the side of the store where your groceries would magically appear. Then someone would load them in your car, whether in the back seat area or in the trunk.
They were doing the "Whole Foods" thing before there was a "Whole Foods" at least around here.
Anyway to sum it up, we have been bought and sold several times since 1999 and things have been going south ever since. It has driven customers away and driven the employees to distraction. It has been tough.
Then there are the loony's that come through the door. Now it's not everyone, it's just every once in a while one of then escapes from the home. Yesterday a woman enters the store with a suitcase. Of course she makes a bee line towards me and asks, "Do you have scales in this store?"
I wanted to say, "What are you from, weights and measures lady?" I was mildly suspicious of where this was going. I asked her, "How can I help you ma'am?"
"I want to see how much this suitcase weighs."
"Ma'am, this is a food store." She gets a little worked up and says, "Do you know how much they charge you at the airport?!"
"I'm sorry ma'am all our scales are used to weigh food. We don't have facility to weigh a suitcase." She looked flustered, turned and headed off towards the other end of the store. I never heard any more about it but I'm sure she annoyed at least one more person.
Then again, the buy your groceries, check your luggage and get your boarding pass angle hasn't been tried yet. It could be our key to success.
Twenty two days to vacation. It would be an understatement to say I can't wait, but of course I have to wait. Still it's soon. There aren't many places around here where you can see the sun setting over the ocean. I won't say the name of the place. You know.
Ok it's now Saturday afternoon. Today was a first for me in all my years. For the first time I worked straight through from 7a.m. to 3p.m. Straight through with nary a meal nor a trajectory chamber visit to be had. I went from mad to bladder bursting mad. To tell the complete truth the one time I did see any management, because every time the store is short staffed they can't be found, he told me I had to leave 18 minutes early. I had accumulated an extra 18 minutes through the course of 4 days. And if I stayed till 3 that would be 18 minutes of crippling overtime. And you know me I would be living it up. I'd go to Vegas. Pick some show girls. That's right, I'd become a playboy.
Any way, I see I have digressed. Besides the bladder issues, I was mad because of the 3 people, me included, working three separate counters, when there should be a total of 7, couldn't take our state law required 30 meal break never mind a "coffee break". So you see today there were 3 pretty grumpy, squirming guys who were not having a good day. When I went to clock out, which is done by swiping a card or entering a number then placing your index finger on a little scanner, when it pinged me out, I was so agitated, I gave the time clock "the finger".
Alrighty then. I think I'll end this dirge. It's still Saturday afternoon and I've calmed down. As of now Arlene and I have plans to take what is called an "architecture tour" of Boston Harbor. It will leave from the same place as the tour we took last week, head out at 9:30 only, to the inner harbor. It looks to be a picture book day. Sunny high 70's, low 80's. No humidity. Of course I'll take pictures some might be similar to some I took last week but different times of day produce different lighting situations. And I have never gone under the Zakim Bridge to enter the harbor. The sun should be behind the bridge.
That's it. Over and out.
I'm outta here.