Monday, August 26, 2013

How To Be Asshat Party Rentee

Working in the wedding/party rental business is something I never thought I would be doing. That being said, that it goes without saying that prior to working in the business, I had no idea how inconsiderate people were when renting items. Now, not all people are inconsiderate - many are considerate. Many people actually follow the directions, and return their rented items clean and on the right day and time and tell us, "please let me know if I forgot something." Dishes and silverware, for instance, are often missing a plate or a few pieces of flatware. We simply call the rentee about it and they look again and find what's missing was accidentally put with their stuff or something. But it's typically the inconsiderate ones you remember most. Probably because you spend you free time at work complaining about the latest asshat who refused to pay for the items returned broken.

So here's how to be an asshat party rentee:

1. Don't read the fine print on the contract that you signed. Because reading it tells you that you are responsible for any and all damage to items rented while in your care. But keep on believing that if you never read it you won't have to abide by it. Wallow in your ignorance.

2. Don't return your rented items on the specified day and in the specified time. Never mind that it's all on your contract that returns are X day from blah to blah. If you don't feel like returning you trailer load of rented items for an extra day or so, it's no big deal. Those items don't need to be cleaned and re-rented for someone else's wedding next weekend. Nope. Not at all. Because it's all about you.

3. Fight tooth and nail to not pay up for items you broke. Because who wants to pay out an additional $80 or so for a 60" round table that you loaded wrong in your truck (after specifically being told not to load it in such a manner) after paying $200 for your rental contract to begin with. So keep fighting it.

4. Put staples in gazebo or wooden arches that you rented. That whole bit in the contract about damaging items and us telling you to not put staples in our wooden items was meant to be ignored. Again, no worries, those items won't be re-rented to other couples for their weddings, so really, deface our property all you want. Knock yourselves out.

5. Don't follow directions when it comes to our dishes and glassware. The piece of paper sent in roughly half the crates that go to you for your event that says, "Dishes and Silverware must be washed and clean of food; Glassware: Do not wash! Dump out liquid and place glasses upside down in crate" is just so we can waste paper. Also? We love dirty dishes and glasses with liquid still left in them because you were too lazy to dump out the liquid as specified in the directions. We love plates with food still on them as well. Provides us with a much needed snack and beverage. So thanks for thinking of us.

6. Reserve a large order and bring a mini-van or a wanna-be truck (like a Ford Ranger or the like) to fit all your 8' tables, 200 chairs, linens and dishes. Because we can totally pull a Harry Potter and package it all up in a teeny tiny box or bag and load it up with no problem whatsoever. We make sure to hire only the best from Hogwarts for your convenience.

7. Make a reservation and don't bother to pick it up. And make sure to either not set your voicemail, make sure your mailbox is full, or have your phone tell us that you're "not accepting calls" for when we try to call you to remind you to pick your order.

8. Pay no mind to the delivery agreement. We only just say we do curbside delivery but we'll totally set everything up for you at no extra charge to you. Because our delivery guys have nowhere else to be and no other clients to deliver to that day. They'll also schlep your rented items all over the place because it's much cheaper than joining a gym.

9. Also pay no mind to the fact that we ask that you have everything tore down and chairs stacked for our guys when they come pick up your order. Again, our guys have nothing better to do than to stack (or in some cases re-stack the chairs because you can't follow simple instructions) chairs and schlep your items from the back 40 because you didn't understand us when we said to have everything ready to go for the delivery guys.

10. Grill us about our delivery/pick up charges. Never mind that gas is $4/gallon and we have to pay people to drive and load and unload your items. Remember, we hire only the best from Hogwarts to fit all your rented items into a teeny tiny box that we just send to you via the floo network so that whole "delivery" thing is a total hoax.

And that's just a few ways to be asshat with your rental business, whomever they are.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

I'm Tuckered

Mom and Dad went on vacation for a week to Oregon with some friends. They left last week. They shall return this Thursday.

Thursday can't come soon enough.

I have the few hours a week I work at the party rental place. And now my few hours on my weekend gig as a Pet Nutritional Consultant, wandering around a pet store. I have the house to take care of. Laundry. Cleaning. Watering the plants. You know, the usual.

Granny has been here at the house this past week, so I've made sure she had her breakfast and put a lunch in the fridge for her. Fed her dinner. She took me out for pizza the other night.

The unusual part of this past week has been that I've had to help out Nana as well. A few weeks ago she broke her foot and is now in a boot. She's been needing help with her laundry. Her complex has a couple laundry facilities close to apartment . . but one is down some stairs and the other is three buildings away with no stairs involved. She can't really do stairs and the other one is a little far for her to walk as she's supposed to stay off her foot. I've been going in to do her laundry every other day. On Sunday my grandfather wasn't feeling too hot, so they asked what my schedule was to see if I could drive them to the doctor. (Nana's boot is on her right foot so she can't drive). I didn't work on Monday but was coming in to do her laundry after the weekend, so she made the appointment for after my grandfather's dialysis.

We get to the doctor's office and they take him in 4o minutes late and he comes back out at 5pm as the office closes. He's had a sore throat but his physician couldn't find anything wrong and so recommended he go to an ENT specialist (who just happened to be right across the street). The office called Tuesday with an appointment for that afternoon. I worked from 7am to 1:15 then ran over to Nana's to take her and Sonny to the doctor's. Well, the real appointment, we discovered up on arrival, was at 3:15 but they told him to go in at 2pm so he could fill out new patient paperwork. It took them about a half hour to do the paperwork and they went in a half hour early and we left he office before his scheduled appointment time.

Then we drove over to the pharmacy. Then back home. I dropped them off and ran back home. Gathered up all the trash, loaded it in my trunk and took up to the top of the driveway to the garbage can and put it for collection. Then I vacuumed the kitchen, then started on dinner and took a cold shower because I'd been sweating all day and felt gross. (I washed 1200 chairs for 6.5 hours this morning and it was muggy and hot. Ick.). Boyfriend got home just as I was putting dinner on the table and had him come visit with us about his two days in Sacramento for two job interviews. (Send good vibes!! We're really hoping one of those pulls through!!). Cleaned up dinner and finally sat down. Besides waiting in the doctor's office, I haven't really sat down since 5am. Ugh.

So now, I'm going to fold the load of clothes and then go to bed.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Pure Asshatery: The Story of an Asshat Job Description

Even though I am working part-time, I am still looking for additional part-time or full-time work. It is completely and utterly amazing how tough the market is. I have been applying left and right and one bite I had was Macy's. I might have actually taken it, however, this is why I didn't: The pay started at minimum wage, in mens shoes/luggage (I mean, really?), commission, and only guaranteed 5 hours per week. Let me repeat that last bit for you - 5 hours per week.

Are you fucking kidding me?! That doesn't even pay my gas to drive into town and back home.

Another bite was Petco, for an assistant manager position, but they chose to hire "in house". My most recent bite was a secretarial position at my old high school. In which I got a rejection letter exactly 4 days later, meaning they already had someone in mind and had those letters sent out lickety split. Thanks for wasting my time and making me wallow in self pity and cry for an hour. I appreciate it. Because as a girl I don't cry enough.

What I am finding is that not only are some job titles a tad bit misleading, but even the job descriptions are very misleading. Because when you read the fine print, you realize there is no way in hell you are actually qualified for that job.

Prime example: In the Sunday paper I noticed a job opening for the newspaper that, by reading the classifieds, I felt I was qualified for. (okay, so I totally "noticed" it like 3 months ago) Here's why:

Clerical - 25 hours per week
The Newspaper is seeing an office clerical person to work in our operations department.
Must be detailed oriented and have the ability to use excel with a high degree of accuracy. Data entry experience preferred, customer service and able to work independently a must.

Now, forgetting the grammatical error of "detailed oriented" (I mean, seriously? The newspaper can't even proof-read their own crap?), this sounds like something I could totally do. (Also remember I saw this in the physical newspaper). So I went online to apply at their website. And it was there that I realized how unqualified I really am for this position (also? that I apparently have been misinterpreting the word "clerical" all this time). Here's the job description from the website:

Performs work within the technical area of the packaging department for production of daily newspaper packages and other products.

Key Activities

The primary processes you conduct in

Learn and understand all packaging safety rules including chemical safety, hearing conservation, etc.

Properly set-up and load the inserting machine to allow for maximum efficiencies and minimum stops, ultimately producing a completed insert package. Must understand all light settings and drops.

Properly set-up and run the sticky note machine, ensuring quality application/placement and efficiencies.
(Hey! Sticky notes! I know about those! Oh wait . . . )
Properly set-up and run stitch and trim machine to produce quality trimmed standard tabs and/or pony (mini) tabs.
(sewing is involved?)
Properly set-up and run the in-line inkjet printer to produce quality package with clearly printed addresses on packages.

Properly set-up and run commercial and newsprint stackers, utilizing different bucket sizes.

Jogs and stacks publications onto carts, pallets or conveyors. 
(They want me to jog??)
Must be proficient in make-up of bundle keys (identification) and zone draws according to circulation manifest.

Counts, straps, and palletizes bundles of product for distribution according to manifest draws, bundle keys, or pallet tags.

Assist with daily preventative maintenance and complete associated documentation.

When/if driving, ensures vehicle is under weight, performs maintenance checks on company vehicles; logs findings and reports any problems to supervision.

Operates forklifts and pallet jacks, loading and unloading pallets and other packages as necessary; maintains department and insert warehouse in an orderly fashion.

Submits accurate, effective reports in a timely fashion as required.

Participates in monthly packaging departmental safety meetings.

Keeps packaging production area safe, clean, and organized.

Correctly handles recyclable materials (as assigned) to receive best overall recovery of salvageable materials.

Works well with employees of the packaging department and other departments.

Handles all other duties as assigned.

Education & Experience/Certifications

Generally, minimum of two years of experience in newspaper packaging department required.

Must have forklift certification.

Must have acceptable DMV report and meet state required and/or company required insurance minimums.

Skills & Abilities

Excellent problem solving and basic math skills.
(Yeah, that's a big fat NO)
Excellent people skills. Must be able to work well and constantly communicate (both written and verbally).

Must be able to work in a fast paced environment and meet all deadlines.

Must have solid organizational and computer skills including good working knowledge of general business software programs.

Must be able to operate and have solid understanding of all material handling equipment including forklifts, clamp trucks, walk behind lifts, pallet jacks, etc.
(Um . . . NO)
Must be able to stand for long periods of time. Must be able to repeatedly and for long periods of time lift and load stacks of insert products into packaging machinery.

Exposure to paper dust. Exposure to constant machine noise.
(Dust = Mess. NO)

Um. Nice. How the fuck is that a clerical position? How do you call this a "clerical" position at all?? You're running machines and forklifts. I have been inside newspaper printing areas and trust me, what this position isn't is clerical. Just because you're employed by the newspaper does not make it a "clerical" position.

The only other semi-logical explanation is that some dumbass mixed up the job descriptions.

Either way, talk about an asshat move, local newspaper.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

My new weekend gig

I survived my first weekend of my new part-time weekend job as a "pet nutritional consultant". I have to take several Advil, but I survived.

I can also honestly say that, for the most part, being a PNC is actually quite boring. Let me tell you why. It's a lot (and I mean  a lot) of wandering around the store.

On Saturday, I showed up at 10am for my first 4 hour shift at a local pet store. I met the store manager and he showed me where the vendor log book was so I could sign in and out and where the pet food I was representing was.

I was already armed with the exact amount of coupons I was allowed to give out, brochures, business cards - all cleverly attached to the tablet so I wouldn't lose a thing. Now, the deal with my "demos" are that they are "roaming demos". Meaning, I meander through the entire store and talk with folks and perhaps switch them to the brand of food I'm representing.

There was a lot of foot traffic on Saturday because a local rescue group was doing adoptions. However, I'm guessing the rescue group feeds Blue Buffalo, because every time a dog got adopted, one of the volunteers would walk the new dog owners right over the Blue Buffalo aisle and place a bag in their hands or their cart. Hmm. 

I greeted folks and if anyone looked like they were overwhelmed or it was obvious they were "looking", I politely asked if they had any questions regarding pet food. Most people were receptive and glad I asked if they had questions, because then they wouldn't stop asking questions.

One gal saw me and said, "Do you work here?" Saw the food brand on my shirt and went on with, "No you don't." And put her hand up in my face and walked away. Biatch. I didn't wanna talk to her either. After watching her (aka spying), she had an empty bag of cat food and was trying to find it in the store and then because the store didn't carry it, was comparing labels with other brands of cat food. Sigh.

Mostly I wandered. I meandered. I moseyed. I felt like I walked 10 miles. Very slowly.

I did more walking than I did talking. I did manage to give out all but one coupon and sold a couple of bags of dog food.

On Sunday, I awoke to being very, very sore from the hips down.

But I soldiered on. Sunday was much slower for business, so I was even more bored as I meandered about the store. Most of the associates ignored me, even though I'd smile at them. I think they're just pissed they have to work for minimum wage. (However the dog trainer and a couple of associates on Saturday were very nice).

I spoke to a few people. One young (and rude) couple asked if I had a puppy food. I showed it to them and they said, "Yeahthatsgreatthanks." And was gone. I could have handed them a bag of Ol Roy and they would have said the same exact thing. Sheesh.

One elderly couple asked me where the clipper oil was and I showed them. (I've learned where a few things are) and then they asked about shampoos and then about food. The entire time they thought I was a store employee (happens a lot, even though my shirt is black and employee shirts are blue). I visited with them for probably 20 minutes or so and when they found out I wasn't a store employee they were so shocked. But they thanked me several times for my help.

One gal I spoke to had a dog food bowl for a huge dog, and it turns out she recently adopted an English Mastiff that had been in a bad home. She has two other female Mastiffs and a Lab. A half hour later I knew her entire story. But that was okay. She may never buy the food I'm representing, but in my humble opinion, it's just as important to have a rapport with the customers as well.

Most times these people are repeat shoppers. I don't want them to know me as the pushy food rep. I want them to know that I truly do care that they gave a dog a great new forever home. That they want to find a shampoo that won't make their dog itch. Which cat litter I would recommend for their brand new kitten, Quentin Tabbytino. I want them to know that I am more than just a food rep. That I know other things as well.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Girls Weekend

Just after the 4th of July, I set off after work for the Bay Area which is where BFF lives. While I love spending time with BFF, I abhor driving down there. It's about 4 hours from Redding, for starters and the traffic is terrible. Not to mention to get to her place, it feels like I have to change freeways a dozen times, when in reality it's only 3 or 4 times. The things you go through for your BFF.

She has been telling me for years that I should go to her fair as it's the "most awesome fair ever". This year she clenched it by telling me that the band that sings my all time favoritist song ever will be playing at her fair. My all time favoritist song is "Fishin' In The Dark" by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and has been since it came out in 1987.

I asked for a Saturday off and headed down on Friday afternoon. I made real good time, so BFF gave me directions to her office so I could see where she works now (she started working for a school district about a year or so ago now). I'm jealous - she has her own office.

That evening we decided to hit the fair since BFF said there was an exhibit she'd like to see. Well, the little brat, she never told a soul, but she entered a short story to the fair. What she found out earlier that week from a co-worker was that she had won FIRST PLACE. What she didn't know until we got there and I had a screaming fit is that she not only won first place, but she won BEST OF CLASS as well!!!  We spent about a half hour standing admiring her ribbons and taking pictures and hugging. I am so proud of her. She's a talented writer and would love to write a novel. I think this is a step in the right direction. Besides, now she is an "award winning author". hehe.

After the excitement, we grabbed a bite to eat - her from the Greek stand that she loves and me from anything that wasn't Greek or vegetarian. We rode a couple rides and then watched the nightly fireworks. What was extremely cool about this fair is that admission was $16 (which seems steep, but wait . . .) which includes your rides. Meaning, you don't have to buy tickets or wristbands to ride the rides. The drawback is that the lines are pretty long. Also? Any shows they put on that you want to see? Included in your admission. So all the concerts, shows, etc. you don't have to pay for. All you pay for is food and souvenirs. And they do fireworks every night at 9pm. So after our couple of rides, we each grabbed junk fair food and plopped down by the pond to watch the fireworks. It was so cute, there was a little boy (maybe 4 or 5 years old) sitting in his mom's lap, and as the fireworks started he yelled out, "Yaaaaay! July 5th!!" Everyone around him started laughing, and I told him, "Exactly right! I'm pretty sure something important happened on July 5th!"

Later that evening, back at BFF's apartment, we managed to stay up til 3am talking and catching up on everything. So we slept in til about 10am the next morning.We got up slowly, taking our time, grabbed a bite to eat and then went to the fair again. We were a few minutes late to the concert because we wound up having to park in BFE (literally). We got to the Nitty Gritty concert and it was standing room only. I found it hard to believe simply because they haven't released anything since the late 80s and I figured the Bay Area was anti-country music. Especially old country music. I was wrong. We stood in the back and enjoyed the show. They were funny and played all their old goodies and a few I hadn't heard. 

I about lost it when they finally did play "my" song. I was so happy. Also I couldn't believe it took me 26 years to hear "my" song live. I nearly cried I was so happy. I loved it. I absolutely freaking loved it.

We left the concert shortly after "my" song to go watch the Chinese Acrobats. BFF said it was a very popular show and that they constantly turn people away once they reach capacity, which is very quickly. We just made it in. (whew!) It was a very entertaining and cool show. I don't know how those people do such things, really, so amazing.

After the show we rode a few more rides and then met up with BFF's cousin and her cousin's partner so we could show them BFF's ribbons. It was so wonderful to finally meet them as BFF talks about them all the time. At BFF's story and ribbons more hugs and pictures ensued and as the two ladies are professional photographers/videographers they wouldn't stop until they got it just right. (lol) Once pictures were done, we all grabbed a bite to eat. BFF went to her Greek food stand again, and the cousin and partner went somewhere, and I went (again) to anything not Greek and not vegetarian. We rode some more rides and then grabbed some more junk fair food to plop down and watch the fireworks again.

All in all, it was an excellent girls weekend.