The only thing I take seriously is my Freedom. And Bacon.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Leaving My Giant

Most people I know who work on the Front End are always looking to leave Giant.
I know very (if any!) people who really enjoy working at Giant. What they do love are most of the customers (unless you work on u scan, then you dislike everyone because computers are the problem, people). I never intended to work there very long, but my *&%$^*( sister-in-law made a snide comment asking if this job was going to "stick." Because I'm a writer, I've been, well, writing. Sporadically. Following through is a challenge for me. I get distracted. I like to do research. I have binders full of research. It's like I have my own University. My education is paid for by grants from my husband (the third one, the one I refuse to take his last name for fear of jinxing it since husbands last as long with me like a meat bone lasts with a hungry dog.
Anyway. Because my in law dropped her snide remark, I set out to prove her wrong; I lasted through many manager changes, cashier graduating highschool to go to college, crazy holidays seasons and winter storms. A front end manager became sick and died a few months later;easily one of the most likeable of all the managers we've known.
I promised myself this was going to be my last year there. I'd adjusted to life there, the money was okay (but far from great). Working at the front desk was by far the best position I'd worked in since I'd been there. But then, literally, within 3 days, my whole life changed.
Years ago, I'd worked as a store detective - loss prevention agent for Bloomingdale's at the Willow Grove Mall. I worked with a great bunch of people - all have moved on to become cops. It was such a fun job, if not the best. My first morning on the job within 15 minutes of opening,  I spotted someone stealing and from then on, my name had a permanent place on the leader board. I seemed to have a natural talent for spotting shady people, and the fact I fit right in the customers gave me the element of surprise. I looked forward to work everyday. But then my co-workers all moved to police work, I got divorced, and moved on.
On LIVE PD, Saturday the 14th, they were following a woman that had "allegedly" shoplifted 3 bags worth of stolen items. As time was running out on the show, I was worried the show would end without being able to see the conclusion of the Walmart thief. I was so excited. And when they apprehended her, I was relieved.
Sunday, I was working at Giant when the manager began noticing someone stealing items from bath/beauty area. His nickname for me is "Mrs. Columbo" because I have an eye for shoplifters and have prevented or stopped quite a few. "Mrs. Columbo - get ready to call the cops." He pointed rolled up papers at me like a baton and then said, "Come with me."
Well, my blood was flowing, my boring day turned into an important day. YES! We were on the hunt. All of the managers were in on it and, in the end, the would be shady 'shopper' dumped the goods and left, which was technically a win.
After that incident, I walked back to the service desk and between the Walmart job on Live PD, the incident at the store, I knew I was wasting my time at the front desk.
In fact, a few weeks prior, I'd sat down with my manager and told him I was tired of all the shady customers I was seeing at the front desk.
The "lost receipt" on this empty bag of frozen shrimp that tasted bad (yet they kept eating it!). Or the people that return canned items from food banks (food that we don't even carry). My boss told me these shady customers were built in to the system, and that I shouldn't let it bother me so much.
But it does.
I grew up with parents trying to teach me from right and wrong.
As a teenager, movies, songs, books, encouraged readers/watchers/listeners to rebel against tradition. And lately, it seems everything is backwards and growing even more so: criminals have excuses declare themselves victims, good people are painted as evil people.
Most of my customers at the front desk were wonderful, honest people, but those shady people frustrated me.
On Monday I was supposed to try a 2 hour cake frosting class at Giant. But I didn't want to do it. I didn't want to go back to bakery. And after watching that Walmart job on LIVE PD and our little caper on Sunday, I did something I rarely do. I called and said I wasn't going to take the class after all. And then I used those hours I would have been working to apply to a few loss prevention jobs. My computer wasn't working, but I didn't give up, I used my husbands computer to apply. Within 15 minutes I received a phone call from one of the companies (one of best in asset protection in the business). Interview on Wednesday, luck was with me, the second manager was there so I was able to have my second interview, and was hired.
It was all I could do not to turn cartwheels on my way out the door. (Because I'd have ended up in the hospital and unable to work both jobs!)
The next week I'd taken off vacation (months prior as my family was shore-bound), so, in essence, I had three more shifts and at Giant and I was done.
It's amazing how life can change for the better in a matter of days. I'm frustrated I didn't figure out where I belonged sooner.
No matter where you are, if you're stuck in a rut, pay attention to things that happen around you, take action, and never give up hope!


Sunday, July 1, 2018

I'm Kind Of Glad He's Dead - Second Chapter


“It is error only, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry.” ― Thomas Paine

Dale and I had been friends since I joined a volunteer emergency medical services (VMSC) corps  when I was in my early 20’s and Dale was just a few years younger than I. Our volunteer days were in  late 80’s early 90’s (think Madonna, Whitesnake, Wham).
Also popular back in those years was the movie Top Gun. People joked that Dale looked a bit like Tom Cruise (Dale’s image would change drastically over the years but to give you a reference point, he did look like Cruise and was short in stature also).  I never had any interest in Dale and he never had any interest in me (except this one drunken night and that was simply him being drunk, he tried, but nothing happened except him peeing on a fire hydrant and dropping a cigarette on the apartment rug).
Dale’s best friend was Alex. Alex was also a volunteer with the EMS unit. Dale and Alex had been friends since high-school. They did household construction jobs for family and friends. Vacationed together. Worked together. Volunteered together. Dale left his landscaping job and became a cop, and Alex followed him, becoming a dispatcher and then a policeman in the same department.
Dale was somewhat of a timid pitbull, mostly bark, little bite, not out to make friends.  Alex was a more of a Labrador – loyal, a hard worker, a good friend. Alex was the peacemaker. The listener.
They were always together, short dark haired Dale and tall blonde hair Alex.
Dale was also one of those friends who thought he knew better than anyone. He had strong opinions about people, ideas, situations.  He was content grumbling behind closed doors, or loudly to his friends,  but when it came time to actually make a difference, Dale would often make excuses rather than speak up and be heard.  He’d say to me: “If I say something, it won’t change anything.” “No one will listen to me anyway.” “It’s not worth the bother.”
He was often better at giving advice than he was asking for advice.
Dale had “Showoff Syndrome.”
We all have various things we like to show off. Bodies. Cars. College Degrees. Houses.  
Dale, however, had a terminal case of Showoff Syndrome.
I fist noticed it when he started dating Deandra*. Dale was in his early twenties and Deandra was a senior in high-school. She joined the VMSC. Her parents were wealthy, she was a bit spoiled, and she was pretty and got along well with everyone.  Dale told us he disliked her because she was prissy and pretentious. But everyone liked Deandra, especially the guys, and Dale ended up dating her. It seemed odd to me that he had been so full of dislike for her, yet when they started dating, he loved to show her off, but still would complain to us that she was pretentious and prissy. He complained she was all about show (best diamond, designer purses, fancy cars), but the thing he didn’t realize was; that’s exactly why he was attracted to her. Because she was someone he could showoff. And he had no problem giving her all the expensive things she asked for.  And because she was a few years younger, he often liked to tell her how she should act and do things. It made him angry when she wanted to do something on her own, or learn something from someone else. She had designer taste and he catered to it. The spent more than 5 years together, through her college and into part of her pharmacy education. They got engaged. Like most relationships, they had their highs and lows. But most of the time he seemed unhappy (and so did she) and it was no surprise to any of his friends when she broke off the engagement.
Dale always had to have the best of everything himself.  The biggest truck with all the gadgets. And he would keep that truck clean and shiny. He bought the latest iPhones and computers.  His living room was like walking into a TV showroom. He had the latest greatest systems that were always upgraded. He had DVR’s that recorded downstairs  and had them hooked up so that he could send the shows he had recorded upstairs to his bedroom TV.
How could he afford all these things? He lived with his mom who had been divorced and single since Dale was in elementary school.  
 Dale’s friends gently suggested, as he grew older, late twenties, early thirties, late thirties, maybe he should think about buying his own place. After all, his only sister had married and started a family of her own. Maybe Dale should spread his wings too.
But his sister getting married was the excuse he used in order to stay at the house. Because now, Dale often told me, he was the only one who was going to be able to take care of his mom. The funny thing was, his mom was working and in good health, dating, going on vacations, painting, very active, literally until the last few months of her life.  
Those closest to him knew he wanted that house. Indeed, he put much work into it, always updating it, always a construction project. In his mind, the goal was his mom would sell the house to him, and he always promised her she could live in the house. We’d had many conversations where he was frustrated that his mom wouldn’t sell the house to him. His mom was afraid Dale would kick her out of the house. Where most men would long to have privacy and space of their own, Dale wouldn’t even contemplate the thought of leaving that house.
After Deandra breaks off the engagement, Dale is not happy. For years he harbored anger. Not anger that he ever acted out on, just anger that stopped him from moving forward. Anytime someone offered to play match maker for Dale, he would refuse. His excuse in the beginning was that he didn’t trust women. That he had been broken hearted (and didn’t see it coming – yet we all did).  
There was a time he made out with one of his co-workers, Carla*.  Both of them were relatively new to the police force at the time. Both were drunk. She was dating someone else. As far as he’d ever told me, it was a one time thing.
As the years progressed, it seemed everyone but Dale had grown. Dale did change in physical appearance (don’t we all) however, his weight morphed, he kept his dome head shaven and for a-while he was so obese he reminded me of a Weeble Wobble.
It’s not that nature has been unkind to Dale; it’s that he has been unkind to himself. I had suggested he work out, but he said, “No time! I’m busy doing so much with work and fixing up the house.” Or “Work made me gain weight, the shift work makes it impossible to eat healthy.” This is somewhat true, but it’s an excuse. I know many men and women who work shift work and they are able to find time to eat healthy and workout. After Gabby came into his life,, he had lost some of the weight, but was far from looking like Tom Cruise. Now, you might feel I’m being somewhat mean here, but to understand this story, you need to understand how Dale grades women on their appearances, which is something that has always bothered me.  
When people suggested women for Dale to date, he either claimed they weren’t good enough, or   
they came with ‘baggage’ (divorced with children). Some friends offered to set him up with a single woman and he took one look at her picture and said “No!” Apparently, she wasn’t attractive enough for Dale. His complaint to me? “She wasn’t thin enough.”
He had his standards, he told me. It was all I could do to not say to him, “Have you NOT looked in a mirror? Your belly hangs over your belt, you have so many chins you could claim them as dependents on your taxes, your bald head is shaped like a dome, and you sweat when it’s only 10 degrees outside!”
It was frustrating, to say the least. It’s like me walking into a BMW dealership and then presenting them with my paystubs.I would not be driving away with a BMW.