Saturday, December 17, 2011

Chapter MMMDIV: In which Fractions Am Hard!

I don't talk much about work. Because you don't care, and I'm not supposed to.

Still. Here is an installment of Boring Tales from Retail:

We missed the sign on a display, this week. A price changed on Little Debbie snack cakes. Christmas Cake Little Debbies went down in price some 17 cents, going from 3/$5 down to 2/$3. The display still had the old price. A customer pointed this out. It was our mistake. I apologized for our negligence.

"I still want the sale price."

"You're getting it," I said. "You're actually getting a better price."

The look I received in reply might have been the same if I'd said roofing shingles taste like butterscotch.

We did the math. It was a pleasant conversation. By its end, I thought that I had been successful in helping her navigate the Tempestuous Sea of Ciphering Fractions.

I later learned that after doing the math for them, it was considered Tricksie, I suppose. The customer still wanted the 3/$5 price, when they got to the register.

The cashier gave it to them.

The customer is always right.

"I know a good deal when I see one."

Any media types out there? I'd kinda like to do the Contact thing. Beam messages out into space, only in the hopes that some badass Independence Day style spaceships come destroy a few cities, as opposed to the philosophic conundrum posed by the aliens in Contact.


I, for one, welcome our new alien overlords.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Moment zen....

Eh. Shit happens. Then you scream at Wheel of Fortune contestants like they stole something from you. And you move on.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Listens, this day, 11 December 2011

Woke up this morning, and I wrote! May keep writing while football is on mute. And, football will most definitely be on mute, as Joe Buck is calling the Titans game.....

"The Bitch Song" Henry Phillips
"Lord, Search my Heart" The Blind Boys of Alabama
"Upstarts and Broken Hearts" Dropkick Murphys
"Heading for the Light" Traveling Wilburys
(A fun song....actually need to take this one out of the writing mix, because I stopped to listen instead of writing)
"Starlight" Muse
"Radio Song" R.E.M. (With KRS-One)
"What a Crying Shame" The Mavericks
"CC Rider" Old Crow Medicine Show
"Somebody More Like You" Nickel Creek
"Trucks, Tractors and Trains" The Dirt Daubers
"Rainbow Connection" Willie Nelson
"A Matter of Time" Shooter Jennings
"Hey Tonight" Creedence Clearwater Revival
"Set Down, Rest Awhile" The Blind Boys of Alabama
"Just Couldn't Tie Me Down" The Black Keys
"Levelland" Robert Earl Keen
"I Walk the Line (Revisited)" Rodney Crowell
"Dance Tonight" Paul McCartney (Don't you fucking judge me!)
"A Face Like Billy Joel" Da Vinci's Notebook
"The Foggy Dew" The Young Dubliners

Monday, December 05, 2011

Chapter MMMDI: How to Lose Your Small Business Its Customers

A couple weeks ago, my friend Shyam and I wandered north to Knoxville to eat some Indian food and catch a movie. I recommend the Malai Kofta from Sitar, though I think it's likely a Hindi phrase meaning Musical Tour of the Digestive Tract.

I also recommend the flick 50/50, despite my longstanding grudge against Seth Rogen. Why a grudge against Seth Rogen? I dunno. Maybe it's because of his stupid laugh. Or maybe it's his lucking into fantastic roles with little to no discernible acting ability. Or maybe it's the self deprecating humor and curly hair, which touch a little too closely to home.

Still, 50/50 is a fine flick, and I recommend it. It's one that I'll watch again down the road.

Anyway, on our trip back, we detoured through Madisonville. We took the route I used to take home from work when I was working up near Tellico Village. As we were passing a store front, I think I was telling a story, and stopped. I though I'd passed a Wine and Spirits Store. In Madisonville.

Huh. Couldna been.

Sure enough, though, we passed another, and another.

Found out via the interweb that Monroe County passed liquor by the package. Not only did Madisonville have it, but so did Sweetwater, a small town some 10 miles north of here.

I had a rare, rare day off today. Not to make too much of a disgression, but the workload's been difficult even for a holiday, and poor communication between myself and another store led to me having to make a trip I didn't need to take yesterday. So, over a 60 hour period from Friday to Sunday, I worked something like 38 hours. So, my today was spent in part cleaning my shithole of a house, and then wandering out into the world before Cabin Fever overtook me completely.

My travels (which included a stop at the Oasis Men Call Buddy's Barbecue for some Pig Nachos), took me up toward Sweetwater.

I decided to stop into one of the new liquor stores in Sweetwater, mostly to look around, but perhaps to pick up something medicinal.

I'm a beer guy, mostly. Beer Snob is a better way to put it. But, I'm not above a bottle of whiskey or vodka, from time to time. I thought maybe I could find something for a snort, while there. But, the main thing I was loking for was something from the higher gravity side of the beer family. The selection at the first store was slight. There's a sad obsession with Mike's Harder Lemonade at these type spots in this neck of the woods, and this place had them in spades, but beyond that, there wasn't much to choose from.

Thinking I was just going to grab something else, I decided to ask the guy walking around the store if they were planning on expanding that line.

"No," he said, disinterested, not even looking me in the eye.

"Oh," I said. "You've got a couple."

"Yep," he said.

"You're not going to get more?"


Clearly, we'd developed a good working relationship, what with his never having once stopped what he was doing to look me in the eye. So, I decided that I was going to describe what I'm looking for. Specifically, they'd have a customer in me if they'd put Dogfish Head 90-minute in as a regular item.

"We're not going to carry a lot of that stuff."

"OK." I told him I hoped they changed their minds, because I drive to Knoxville or Chattanooga to pick the stuff up, and would grab it from their store if they carried it.

It was only then that he looked at me. And said "I don't think we're going to carry it."

I wish I could say there was a long discussion. There wasn't. This man wasn't wanting my business. For whatever reason.

Wandered up the road a way, and found another of the establishments that had opened. This one (Wine & Spirits 660 New Highway 68) was a more enjoyable outlet. Had a nice conversation about beer, in general, with both gentlemen working inside. Smart guys who knew their beer. Hoping their knowledge of product extended to the wares on a certain side of their store, I then asked for a recommendation for a bottle of wine to give as a Christmas gift, for I am Vino Ignoramus.


I'm up on my soap box. I guess the point is? Don't be a dick.

I work customer service. And I'll grant you, it's tough, sometimes.

I also grant you this: The Customer is Not Always Right. There's an agreement there, between customer and client. The customer occasionally asks the impractical, and downright impossible. Sometimes, that truth has to be distributed.

However, if you're in a small businss, opening your doors relatively recently? Treat your customers better. I don't need my ass kissed. I would like to be shown respect, and not be treated like a dumb asshole.

Even if that is what I am.

And if that's the case, your competitor got this dumb asshole's money.

Anyway, two addenda to this post.

1.) The two businesses in question are strikingly similar in name. It's why I didn't mention the problem business until now. I'm just not that strong a communicator. I had an issue with my service experience at Highway 68 Wine and Spirit. I won't go so far as to say they're a bad store, but based on my experience, I probably won't shop there again soon. I had a very good experience at Wine and Spirits 68, and while it won't be an every week thing, they'll get a little more of my business if I head back that way. I was pleased.

2.) A Twitter conversation with the helpful folks at Dogfish Head has brought me the information that Dogfish isn't distributing in Tennessee for the time being. They pulled out simply because their core service areas weren't receiving adequate service, and they were at maximum brewing capacity. Which is a fair answer. (Plus, if I really, really, really need some 90 minute IPA, I can still head down to Beverage World in Ft. Oglethorpe, Georgia...still a favorite haunt....)

So. That's been the day. Woot.