Before the “climax”

I wanted to revisit an Odds & Ends post from over three years ago. It was at a mark before the climax of the Reign of Error. As per usual I decided to re-edit the post but largely kept my thought process as it was back then. My goal wasn’t to change much other than to make that post as readable as possible.

Remember I wrote that I ran into my former boss – the one who hired me at Fresh Foods in the beginning – at his new assignment. He’s now a store mgr at the very same store I had actually ran into him randomly in ’17. And near the end of 2019 I ran into him again at the very same store though in a different capacity.

The tone of this visit was different than two years earlier. For one I didn’t know this yet but at the time I was close to losing my job, dangerously close. I was very unprepared to let him know how close to the edge I was teetering. However, he was attempting to look out for me even suggested positions to apply for to leave the Hole.

At the time he knew that things were getting rough, I admitted it was the new regime. Of course when I met him much later he thought about what happened after he left and he mentioned some of his predecessors not mentioning /goofball.

He noted then that he’d write me a recommendation if I wanted to leave. With the situation of my attendance at the time even with his word, would have been a very tough sell. The situation I was in wasn’t my friend. I did think about it and was prepared to get to work on that, however, I just had to be late one more time.

I was tripping myself over this paragraph:

I also wish I could tell him that the guy who helped train him – as per an email that was posted not long before our old boss left our store – well he’s not happy. He’s worried that his coworkers and manager are talking about him behind his back. I also wish I could tell him that as a receiver the new boss elected to push me aside for some vague reason although I now know that it’s to put in people he knows. Again that’s his prerogative. What I didn’t want to do is make this situation so negative that he begins to wonder if I’m as much the problem. Besides his view of me having a good attitude is what allowed him to hire me in the first place!

I alluded to this in another post earlier this summer. One of the cooks in my department stopped me in the cooler while I was putting away product asking me if a coworker and /goofball had been talking about him. All I could say was that the coworker was actually sucking up to his boss and that no one’s name was mentioned at all. At this point he was insecure about his job and from what I heard because I eavesdrop sometimes he was suffering some health issues as a result of the drama at the Hole.

Consider what happened with that coworker is a sign of some of the changes occurring at the Hole under the man I would eventually identify as Roger at the time. He lost the assignment he liked the most although in his case he got shifted around, he even rightfully told his coworkers in the kitchen that if they didn’t have to also do breakfast, they could get caught up with their lunchtime production. He wasn’t wrong, however, he’s not in a leadership capacity.

The coworker even admitted to me later that there were some issues with the hot wells. I saw /goofball and a store manager working on the issues one morning. Even took some pics of the burned items on the wells. The coworker told me that he purposefully never mentioned the issues, he knew what to do so that they wouldn’t have these issues. However, since Roger came in on a sledgehammer of change the coworker held out on critical information.

Either way, not long after the encounter with my former boss I would experience the climax – which I hope to still share with you all before the end of the month. The ending of the story which I have shared was that part of the reason I returned to the company after a six month hiatus was the word of this old boss and Larry who took over my old dept at the Hole to come over to my latest assignment.

I never really told my old boss what happened near the end other than my disappointments. Perhaps he wasn’t that interested, but I thanked him for what the man who hired me at the other location had told me he had spoken for me. I had spoken to Larry since but never relayed that information to him and it’s worth it.

October – Dawn of the ‘streak era’

October has been something of a pivotal month within the last 6 or so years. I left The Show for a teller job at Gotham Bank. I also lost the job where I made the most gains in an unexpected fashion which we’ll explore further later this month (in addition to it being explored at different intervals and the aftereffects when it did happen)

I don’t want to dwell on either, but talk about what happened just about eight years ago. This time in 2012 I learned that an opportunity that I had lost became a dodged bullet. I had occasionally talked about a mgmt interview with a neighborhood cinema company.

To be fair I had an old “fiend” put me onto it. Earlier that year I saw a notice for this on that company’s website – I was a customer you see and often check showtimes. I really talked myself out of it because they were looking for experienced managers with a certain set of skills which I can’t say I really had. For example, I generally don’t use spreadsheets and evidently have no interest though if I wanted to be in business it’s a necessary skill.

Well Anthony put me onto it and was starting to get frustrated with the Show, and this was before the real weirdness that I got embroiled in. Also just note the year before I had largely kept my distance from him, however, as part of his rather paternal instinct or perhaps not even that he just needed an excuse to come around. So he was still giving unsolicited advice and I accepted this.

If I couldn’t be a manager at The Show, I could go elsewhere I figured. Of course when I did turn my resume in to that company there was a waiting game. First I got no response, Ant gave me another email address to send my info to and got a response. According to him he gave me a very good reference or at least put in a good word for me.

The theater owner gave me a basic timeline which ultimately got pushed back to near the end of that summer. Ant still found a way to get some money for a hot dog – literally that happened – and while I expected him to pay that back I told him to eat it for any updates. See I began to lean on him for information because I was ready to go.

Eventually she got back into touch with me, set up a date and time to interview which was a workday and I had a short turn around to get out of the interview and get to work later that afternoon. I felt very confident in my interview in hindsight did I show that for that role I was green. What I didn’t know back then is you have to do more than show you’re a hot shot to employees you have to do some housekeeping which depending on your level includes showing how much money the theater made.

What I had to learn in my later experience sitting on an interview panel for mgmt or interviewing to be a supervisor or interviewing to be a buyer is that you have to create a plan that has results. I’m giving you the basic idea but I hope you get the point have some new ideas and in some cases have some real numbers to back it up.

Well I thought the interview went well enough that I was waiting for the job offer and sadly none was coming. The notification of next steps especially after a follow-up email to her got pushed back a week – she did state a certain period to expect follow-up from her.

For Ant’s part he stated his expectations that if he knows about next steps then I’d know also. It seemed he thought we would be a packaged deal as he was part of that process as well. Over time I listened to the Hustler and start soaking in his own complaining about the company. With the weirdness around us I was starting to become unhappy. As I’ve stated on this blog a number of times I was ready to get out of there I needed this opportunity and thus put all of my eggs in one basket for this one.

So as the clock starts to tick and my confidence at an all time high at that point I wait for an answer. It seemed almost everyday for maybe a week Ant would text – he would offer no updates of his own – “did you hear anything?” And each time my answer was no. After one final time with no explanation he finally gave his own indication of an update “WOW!

According to him he got sent to the next round of interviews his own next step. He would be up for General Manager – and to be fair that call for experienced managers said nothing about what kind of managers that company was looking for. In my own head I was thinking something like supervisors or even senior managers and I was shooting for something resembling senior manager like at The Show. The power to really hire or fire.

Well the way I see it now she was making decisions or changing her mind as she went. Perhaps she had no clear idea of what she was really looking for. In my head if a GM was what she was looking for I definitely would say I’m not it. Not ready for that at all!

Not with my ideas for that theater. I would’ve tried to take some of the ideas from The Show which was a posh place to work or come to the pictures and bring it to the neighborhood. Bring a piece of downtown to those who may choose for their own reasons not to come to the movies in the heart of Chicago. There was a grill in the lobby that seemed to never be open when I do go to the pictures up there, how do we get that running on a consistent basis. The owner attributed this to a staffing issue….

Well anyway Ant suggested that I follow-up with her the next week and she finally told me the bad news via email. Yours truly didn’t make the cut for the next round, she wanted candidates with “significant management experience”. I was so bummed about that until I left the theater – The Show or $h!tplace – I was still whining and upset about these turn of events. I wasn’t going to leave anytime soon and that wrecked my confidence! It just seemed like such a sure thing.

I told Anthony what happened and he already begins to prescribe alternatives like look at other companies. I already hated job hunting I was loathe to do so because by experience it takes time and work. I was loathe to do so when things got weird at The Show. Then I got one great opportunity and after great anticipation dust!

This would set the tone for the next two years when after many interviews one out of 14 or 15 interviews I got no job offers. I’ve come up with one excuse for this, however, that may not be an explanation I was just on an odd streak that I was running until in 2014 Gotham Bank finally broke the streak.

So anyway this was an interview the Hustler wished me good luck and I hoped for the best, however, it didn’t work out and he wanted to be a listening ear. He proclaimed he might go a bit further and that was the conversation we had in an auditorium we were working when he said “I just don’t get you“. Turning that convo into one about how I was pushing him away.

Well this time eight years ago it was blasted in the press that the theater where I had my interview was shut down for a week. The theater owner’s company which operated the screens was evicted from the premises by their business partner who actually owned the facility. It was shocking and what that meant was that Anthony wasn’t getting the job either and there was no further opportunity for me with that.

Anthony had discussed possibly bringing me and some others from The Show to the neighborhood theater bringing their talents and work habits with them. He thought of me as an idea man and everyone else had their talents for good or bad. It just wasn’t to be.

Remember Ant likes to follow-up and often I liken it to groveling which is definitely beneath a man who is just stubborn and dominant. He likes certainty, however, after a while he no longer got a response when he tried to contact her. Perhaps the theater owner had things going on behind the scenes that she didn’t want to explain at all especially to those candidates she went forward with.

While I had continued to dwell on this for the last two years at The Show, as it turned out this was a momentary set back. Yours truly never fully let go of his idea of being a manager at a theater. I hoped for the best at The Show until it was just decided that it was time for me to move on. If they offered I don’t think it would’ve been accepted by me. In my head they waited too long for what is something they should’ve discussed but if they were in no mood to evaluate anyone for a raise….

In some respects years later I’m glad it never happened. The idea had occurred to me that yours truly would’ve crashed and burned. Considering the mgmt and the employees it would’ve been stressful when things need to run smoothly in my opinion. Even in perfect circumstances that doesn’t always work out that way.

Anthony would hang in there for at least another year to enjoy the rides in my mother’s luxury car and getting some money or even lunch paid on my dime on those late nite rides home. He would complain about pay as he seemed to have the need to nickel and dime any job willing to offer him a job. He would even try to suggest I try to nickel and dime jobs during that time when I was trying to leave The Show!

Either way that period just about eight years ago, was a hard lesson learned. A very necessary one at that.

Finally putting my eggs in one basket. Well that wasn’t really said at the time, that’s the situation at hand in that time period. However, that term would come up for another idea that the Hustler would just get into almost two years later. Another interview that actually never happened but he was deadset on.

Calamity: Reign of Error

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I wrote numerous times on this blog how I lost my spot on buy/receive at my former dept. at the Hole. All it took was for Rog to come up with more complaints as far as how I was doing my job. He made seemingly a snap decision in the heat of the moment to announce he would eventually pull me off. Reality was that it took about two months to do so.

See, it’s possible he made up his mind in that moment in the office. And it started off strange anyway. I walked by him twice one morning as I reported to work and this was one of those strange 9 AM to 5 PM shifts I started getting. The second time he told me that he needed to speak to me when I clock on. When Ruthless Roger wants to see you it’s rarely a good thing as I had to learn.

What I realize is that the day before I was in the office with Roger I looked on Fresh Foods’ Social Network and noticed he requisitioned for a new associate buyer. Wil was our associate buyer and he wasn’t going anywhere, so I figured if he was going to pull anyone it would be me. Self-fulfilling prophecy right there…still i think now just about three years later after the climax that he probably had started to swing in that direction anyway.

Think about it, officially I never had the job to remain on buy/recieve. At the very least we needed another receiver. Also I got hit with that attendance probation so even if he or anyone else had wanted to elevate me it would’ve been a difficult sell. And besides, I couldn’t really apply for it he made sure to remind me of it while we were in that office. I was in a difficult spot but with Rog’s personality would he have overlooked it, being by the book he couldn’t. Or perhaps he was building a case against yours truly anyway.

Wil tried to say, it might be him who’d get pulled. I couldn’t see it, perhaps he was right. At the same time he already has the job that I had hoped to get myself. And strangely enough he wanted to hire another associate buyer. Rog’s plan as he stated was to make Wil who’s already an associate buyer as the team receiver. None of this made much sense, but I look back on it now he was a tad all over the place.

One thing I had figured with Roger was that he was going to bring in people he knew. It made sense whether I liked him or not. The buyer he installed Rog had known from his old store. And I had no real issues with the guy and he was out the door by the time I was no longer assigned to these shifts by October.

If you want to see the story as I saw it when I wrote it at the rough conclusion of the Reign of Error I will direct you to Denial. I had a friend read this story and he wouldn’t beat the $h!t out of me for. All he could do was conclude that Ruthless Roger wanted to sink me for reasons only he knows.

I even tried to warn Mr. Boastful who claimed any screw up he’d be vocal about but he can be cocky sometimes announcing as he was going to interview “I don’t care I’ll kick his ass”. Referring to the other person that Rog knew who was also interviewing for associate buyer and that person later got the job we learned.

Mr. Boastful was going to replace me. There were a few dry runs with him at one point especially before the interview. He got a real easy homework assignment for the interview which as hardly related to the job Mr. Boastful was seeking “How do you expect to move up at Fresh Foods?” That was so incompetent, however, after this interview he would ultimately be assigned to buy/receive and yours truly will be relegated back to the floor.

He couldn’t even contain his thoughts as he’d come around and state that “Oh, I feel so bad”. I’m trying to keep my head up, but in my mind he’s trying to rub it in. Like I said he was being very cocky, “but you know I really do” he’d exclaim. Of course he also depended upon my expertise occasionally when he was receiving since I knew how it went for the most part.

How bad was the reign of error? Well I no called no showed twice and both were on accident. In my head both times I thought I had a day off and as it turned out I was supposed to have worked. Since I had to go to work so early in the morning I was very studious about coming to work on time I got out of the house at around 4 AM to catch my morning train to the Hole. However as far as points for tardies I was already under the gun.

I was having issues being on time for some of those mid shifts before I started those buy/receive shifts. Then I starting getting those weird mid-shifts again once Roger took over our team. And for a couple of them before the attendance probation I was late.

At Fresh being over half-hour late is half a point. Being over an hour late or otherwise absent with no real excuse is a whole point. Being absent from work on what I thought was an off day gave me a whole point and another tardy put me over the edge.

Gary actually called me the day I wasn’t at work. While Gary didn’t express any indication that I’d be served with disciplinary action, Roger definitely hit me with it. Gary was cool about it, however, when I came to work the next day on my off day Ruthless Roger made sure to serve me the paperwork in an office. Not only a whole point for tardiness, but another write up for a no call no show and made sure to remind me that I can’t do this but two more times in a year’s period or I’m gone! Let me also remind you this was the first time in over two years at the Hole that I had done this.

Let me remind you of another post where I stated that I got a break recently from one of the assistant managers in my new assignment for making the same mistake. From what I can tell it wasn’t held against me and it won’t likely come up until I make enough points for paperwork.

The second time, no one called me and this was within days after Roger told me he was pulling me off buy/receive. When I did come to work on what was my actual off day Wil told me I was supposed to work the day before. I made short work of the receiving that needed to be done on the day that actually was my off day. No one from mgmt reported in – actually Arielle had called out that day. I made sure to utilize that sick time PTO to avoid getting another point which would definitely get me separated. Then I told Wil and our buyer that if it’s cool I’ll go home for the day.

Quick note: on that day I saw Rememory after getting off a bit early.

Rog came looking for me the next shift when Wil said I shouldn’t go to him which I didn’t. Something tells me that Ruthless probably decided to blow this up into something major, Mr. Boastful even had something to say about it. Don’t get me wrong it was something major, however, I should’ve kept in mind who I had been dealing with. He was by the book and whatever it prescribes he was going for it. At this point in my over two years at the Hole, these were the first two fluke no calls no shows I’ve had there.

How did I get that probation? I don’t know if it’s even been addressed here, but I had a real tough time coming to work on time the year before. What it takes to get an attendance probation was getting three final warnings and two were during the previous year in a rolling 12 month period. While at the point I got served with that I was barely at that point and got hit with it. A store manager was with another assistant mgr Rayna who was trying to be understanding but was interrupted by the store mgr which was strange. He wanted to be sure whether or not I was upset while yours truly was trying to be as cool about it as possible.

I thought this was just another write-up, wrong I was getting hit with something I didn’t expect. Of course while Ruthless wasn’t there that day his name was on the write-up. I knew what this meant, the chances of me becoming the team’s next buyer or receiver had hit a roadblock and this was not long after that first no call no show. Of course a week or so later – perhaps Rog didn’t know or perhaps he did and attempted to make right – he still seemed committed to allowing me to eventually take on the role permanently. Then he changed his mind at some point…

After Ruthless wrote me up for the second no call I tried to work with him asking for set hours. He railed against previous mgmt allowing some people to get weekends off. He used that to justify denying my request and at that point I just walked out frustrated. Roger was going to make this more difficult than necessary, but that was when I knew I was under the gun.

However, my mind was on beating this until it became clear if I was tardy one more time it was over. Sadly that came to pass, the Climax of the Reign of Error.

2017

The irony of 2017 is that during the course of that year before reaching the climax of the Reign of Error, I had done a series of posts over the weirdness at The Show. While writing those posts I was experiencing my own weirdness at the Hole and it started during the summer a very short time compared to the last few years at The Show.

As 2020 is considered a year of great calamity for many around the world due to the pandemic of course and in this country we have unrest going on – by the way something’s going down in Louisville and other places in America as always I hope for the best.

Anyway this post is titled 2017 and for yours truly personally this year proved to be a year of calamity. It was a personal calamity more than anything, but it started off great and then it just turned 180 degrees in a territory where I never expected to be. I’m specifically talking about the job at the time, I just didn’t expect that I’d be out the door.

Well that wasn’t the only drama of that time and I mean a boss who was just very by the book and very unwilling to offer a break. Just looking for things to complain about. Of course this is something I’m continuing to hash out as time goes forward so I won’t dwell on this too much.

I also consider Planet Hustle. This proved to be the last year I really spoke to Anthony the hustler. It seems from roughly the holiday season through the last time I really spoke to him that summer we just weren’t on the same page. Perhaps we never were as he had his own ideas on what was necessary for me and I had my own. He’s willing to blow off my own ideas while bullheadedly promoting his own even if I show no interest.

Regardless consider this pattern, during the holiday season in ’16 – this was when my mother was in the hospital undergoing treatment – he pays me back some money he borrowed. This is when he decided to reopen the case of what happened with Jack V being employed with Finer Foods. And then here’s how the pattern come full circle, by the time of the episode One final drop he decided he needed to borrow more money.

The main crux of that situation is that as time went on he began to let me know what he really thinks of me. And as time went on I had to think about some of the statements he’s made towards me. Does one have to associate with someone who seem to have such a low opinion of them?

Worse still I call it a situationship not a friendship because as we’ve explored on this blog there was a reason he wanted to connect. He wanted help or support, but then turns around and says your life is out of order. He’s even more out of order than he realizes. Yes I’m talking about the requests for money on occasion. Good riddance.

As I’ve explored the situationship and the Reign of Error at the Hole were two main events that came to a head that year. One was years in the making the other was in a period of months. One situation I’ve learned to laugh at, the other I’m still processing the data compiled over nine years.

However, once the Reign of Error came to a head it helped make easier my decision to blackout communications with the Hustler. I’ve stated that he’d make me feel worse about the situation I found myself in. I get the idea that he’d never let me hear the end of it and will turn it into you should’ve listened to me about Finer Foods. It’ll be about his solution…

And once he’d start calling again – perhaps he needed something – during a time where I was unemployed helped me keep my resolve. Although even when I did go back to work, I still never went out of my way to contact him again.

So we’ll go back to the Reign of Error in the next post. Hopefully tomorrow if not soon as there were some revelations I hinted at earlier this summer that’s necessary to address. It’s not something I spoke about in the many times I spoke about the situation with /goofball.

Finally, I used climax for a reason. The day I got led by /goofball to store mgmt to be “separated” from Fresh Foods was a very dramatic moment and it was wrong in my mind. However, I used that term to say it wasn’t the end of my story and the reason I could laugh now is because whatever happened – oh to be the fly on a wall – it was really the beginning of the end of /goofball story. When I arrive at my last day at the Hole the title of that post will be Climax.

Now that I’ve dealt with 2017, perhaps 2020 isn’t this year of calamity for myself after all.

Complacency

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When I started going into a new direction in talking about Roger – my very last boss at The Hole three years ago – I made sure to note in some of the earlier posts about being complacent, taking things for granted, and even getting comfortable. I was in a different position than I had been since I started with the Fresh Foods and it was going to be taken from me.

I often noted that I got let go based on attendance – well in fact tardiness. I was having some issues with the man I’ve began to later refer to on this blog as Ruthless Rog. My gut tells me for some reason he was targeting yours truly and it was probably true for the whole department he probably had his eye on everyone. And if I wanted to be left alone I was in the wrong position as at that time my role meant I had to work with dept. leadership.

I stated in the latest installment that Rog had found something to complain about and made a big show of it. He pulled me into an office to let me know about fruit flies, keep department clear of food debris, and take away boxes. He also once called me out publicly for not being in full uniform while he’s on the floor. Like I said he was already looking for some excuses and he was going onto the attack.

I was in such an odd holding pattern by this time as well after that earlier bull$h!t I did try to have a discussion with him as far as my position. Even said I’d be willing to go through the process i.e get interviewed even if it meant I didn’t get the position. Part of my own ego is that well I wouldn’t have minded it if they handed me a role as part of the buy/receive staff, but I was willing to interview for it. I made sure he knew that so that he wouldn’t think that there was a sense of entitlement on my end.

I could also allege that he himself just walked in at the right time to take on the role of our department mgr. I doubt he had a particularly rigorous process…

And that was before the disaster, the attendance probation. The strangest part is that even if I could say it was all orchestrated, he still seemed willing to let me take on the role as part of the buy/receive team. This was less than a week after getting hit with that probation. Allowing me to fully take on the role according to him meant changing some codes or what not. And even got some further training on the role I’d be involved with.

Again allow me to remind you, by the time our acting dept. mgr. had departed for her newest assignment it was never settled as far as whether or not I’d officially get the position with the buy/receive crew. I didn’t want to press and possibly have it look bad on myself, however, who knows if things had worked out differently if I had tried. Still, since that was never settled before Rog took over we’re living in the reality of the so-called “reign of error”.

Perhaps most of us on the team were unsure about him. I heard from someone who’s a tad more familiar about Rog than I was that some mgmt at the Hole seemed uncertain about him- especially if there were familiar with him from the store he came from. They didn’t want to talk about Rog with this guy, he got the feeling that anyone who knew him wondered what he was doing there in his role. Perhaps he was in a position he didn’t belong and they knew it.

Meanwhile I still had to work with him and unlike the start of my time at the Hole I wasn’t as optimistic as things seemed like they weren’t going in the right direction. Hell, remember a guy I dub Mr. Boastful, he was getting in my head about it. Perhaps people were talking and he wanted me to know people were talking. I was trying not to be part of that discussion or have that in mind head but he insisted on bringing it up occasionally.

Of course I would later find out that Mr. Boastful decided he wanted my role. He had his eye on it and was a step ahead of me on communication as far as seeking it out. He knew something was going to happen and it would prove to be an opportunity for him. It’s a role he still have to this although he’s moved further along with himself leaving the Hole recently. I wonder if he still has the outspoken and stubborn attitude.

Funny thing is one of our longtime associates who got promoted to supervisor when we still had our acting dept. mgr. noted one handicap about Mr. Boastful which is he was often not very organized. Very quick and efficient as far as his role, however, there were some little things he never seemed to be able to get done. He just prioritized differently as I had in some aspects of my role.

Either way, I’m just going to stop there. There is a reason I talk about the complacency and it involved my attendance. I feel as if I should leave that for the next installment and to further discuss how Roger had arrived at finally just making his decision as far as my role as he had. And the point where our working relationship seemed to have become fractured.

Odds & Ends – Pandemic edition

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To start I feel as if it’s normal for me to post more than twice a month on this blog, unfortunately I feel as if I fell far short. Yes we’re looking at a blog of a self-professed older male virgin who can’t say he’s made much progress on losing his virginity. Right now all I can talk about is what I can do within the bounds of my life to improve it.

The way yours truly sees it, if I can get control over some aspects of my life particularly the job then it’s possible to get somewhere. I haven’t forgotten about my goal about making six-figures in a job eventually it might not be at Fresh Foods, but I’m getting to work on that goal. Even if it means it has to be done on my own i.e. without having a job.

Also it helps to avoid certain subjects that have become a very draining topic. That’s not to say there won’t be points where they won’t come up it just means it helps to come up with other subjects. It’s my life and as I get old it’s up to me to make something of it. Until that day when it’s over which I hope is decades away I won’t stop especially as long as I’m in good health. And that’s another goal to keep sight of even in a time where this bug seems to continue to get attention.

I got something to say about Rog since I long had published another story about him this month. I want to somewhat expand upon last month’s installment. It will have to wait until the end if you want to see it.

* First off I want you all to know that I actually did speak to Larry who currently runs my old department at the Hole. The last time he was at my current assignment was at least early last month while my original management was out of action do to our department catching one case of this bug. I definitely asked about the currently vacant roles of associate buyer and receiver.

Not much different of an answer he gave from one of his assistant managers who also helped out in that critical time. I already know that at whatever point two of their buyers/receivers moved onto other jobs within the company it was decided about Larry’s level that they weren’t yet allowed to post for those positions. However, there were plans to replace then and when the time is right they likely will.

Of course as a sign of the times since a lot of Fresh’s stores operate in less than ideal circumstances due to this bug that means my current dept and old department don’t need the staffing it used to. Case in point I got sent to another department as a result. We don’t have the same offerings we used to and thus don’t need to people that we had staffed.

Still Larry gave a rather rambling answer just noting the current situation. And I understand it’ll probably be a minute before the world gets back to normal especially depending upon what effective treatments or vaccines will be available. However the basic baseline to start staffing like usual he stated would be during the holiday season. He only stated he’ll make sure my management can get the word out on their needs and just told me to keep an eye out. And then asked for some lunch meat and cheese.

* While I was very late on it I got my job review done recently and got another raise. I wasn’t as timely on it this year which I owe to this bug and what happened to the mgmt team. It’s always great to see that in spite of the current situation I still got a raise. I was starting to get a bit worried that any possibility of a raise would be determined by my new team and that they may choose not to give me another 2 cents on top of what I had been making up to that point.

Still I can say unequivocally admit that it’s always a good thing to learn something new. I feel a bit more confident in what I’m doing, however, will there always be rookie questions on my part yup. There are days when yours truly feels very over working in a new department, however, I just have to get on with it.

I can say for at most two months I worked in another department due to this ongoing pandemic. So I can say there’s that going, there were people around me who suggested I should figure out what else I could do in the store and learn. With this being said, yours truly isn’t done.

Although in my case I feel as if I missed the boat here. Yours truly should’ve went to a department that’s likely always be needed in an “apocalypse”. So once I had that conversation with my boss before the change I realized perhaps the better move was to the butcher. Even if civilization is falling people still gotta eat which means people still need food to cook. It’s a safe profession to be able to provide meat to people.

* In my current department we had a recent out of the blue change. We lost one of the assistant managers suddenly. We were told during a huddle recently I just heard there was a meeting with our HR people and he just decided to leave for personal reasons. He seemed cool if not cantankerous.

What I do remember for the last few shifts that I worked with him I got wind of some of his war stories. For example store managers wrote him up for having an opinion as one of the store’s managers although from a department mgmt level to store mgmt. He seems to know is stuff but I never got any airs from him.

I made a mistake as far as my schedule one day – not long after the changes (and I’m giving you a hint to the direction of what happened three years ago at the Hole) – he didn’t write me up and no sign that I will face any disciplinary action for it. I’m sure that if that was an issue it would come up eventually he just told me to work that day and it’ll be good. He wrote in my time on a day where I should’ve been off. And try to pay attention and not let that happen again.

I worked an hour early on one day recently I felt like a long haul, however, it was an extra hour of pay than scheduled. It also didn’t hurt that I got the next day off after that. I see that the team had posted to replace that assistant manager so who knows what’ll happen eventually.

If I may offer my read my gut tells me there were some issues with the guy already that our HR department knew about. They sat down with him and he realized his best move at this point was to move on. Perhaps something was going on in his life also, then again that’s his business only he knows and only he needs to know.

* I got some news that our department will begin to get back to normal either later this month or at some point next month. I was actually leaked this by someone who went to my current team with me. He says by sometime in August this experiment and transfer might be over depending upon whether or not our now former department makes sales.

In a huddle our dept mgr said as much about what’s going on at the store. We’re going to start to get back to some form of normal. Our floor space will go back to what it used to look like before we began our mitigation efforts. The store even took away those signs which designated certain aisles one way.

At some point our store had regulated how many people were in our store at any one time. We closed off entrances to that effect, if not to limit capacity certainly to control where people came into the store. You can only enter or exit at one point and with the limited capacity arrangement you had to stand in line to shop if associates weren’t letting anyone into the store.

Considering were still in a time of rising case counts in other parts of the country we’re still mitigating any potential spread. For example if you want to eat buffet there’s still someone around to help with your selections. I think that’ll be problematic for a bit of time and may limit business, however, all I can say is we’ll have to see how this return to normal will work out. In light of current circumstances I’m rooting for it.

* Ah yes what do I have to say about Ruthless Roger?

How I wrote the post last month was a bit ridiculous I will admit, but considering the times we’re in it seemed fitting. One day in the break room our local newscast was filled with stories of racism, racism, sports, police brutality, racism, human interest or a person doing right by someone, then more racism. I couldn’t wait to get out of the break room to get away from the TV.

Either way I had reflect on some things from over three years ago and as much as I could dismiss many of it some things fit. I’m still a long way from know what was in Rog’s heart back then. I get the feeling he was under pressure and had some quirks which led him to some of the decisions he had been making. So some of his decisions may well been based on race or some excuse to get rid of people for reasons only he really knew.

As far as the changes at that point in time it was suspicious that a lot of the people we had before he arrived on the scene officially by July ’17 were no longer with us by the end of the summer or even earlier.

A few things I had to determine which we’ll explore. First off I’ve always stated he was by the book – so in what ways was he by the book with yours truly. Next, was Roger’s personality just the type to just clash with everyone. Did he have such an ego where he just had to correct people according to the rule book? Those are a few issues to consider.

Regardless with that bias episode I hope you understood what my point was. As always if you’re not entirely clear about something feel free to leave a comment. I don’t mind clearing something up for you.

Unfortunately with the way the world is going right now we’re not getting away from the racial issues anytime soon. I wish we could, however, the media and the people taking to the streets are obsessed with it. It’s just too bad we went from a world already in a crisis to a world in yet another crisis.

I want this pandemic over and I want the continuing crisis over racism to be over. Main thing is I want it over with the right way. No more shutdowns and definitely no more protest that makes clear who the real racists are.

Stay safe and be well.

July 2017

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So this time just about three years ago, Rog was fully installed as the dept mgr – essentially my direct boss at the Hole. I can’t say it started of well and worse still we knew he was coming for a whole month. There was some time for the transition.

From what I’ve observed our acting mgr knew him and I had believed she paved the way for him. Essentially our dept didn’t have a permanent boss since about February when our last full dept mgr had left. So the man who would ultimately become Ruthless Roger on this blog was going to be that guy for the foreseeable future.

There were a few rough spots to see here. Perhaps I was naive, however, for over a month I was helping our team’s buy/receive crew and it was somewhat expected that I would get the role permanently. I had no idea if it would be given to me nor was there any expectation that I would apply once it was available. Alas with my then current dept mgr leaving in the near future that still wasn’t clear.

A couple of colleagues suggested I go to Morley to ask about the position because although the acting mgr would likely make the requisition his hands would be on it. All he could tell me at that point before Roger came around was that we’re going to have a new dept mgr. Evidently he had no answer either.

Basically I was in a weird limbo where I would get shaken out in the future. All it took was to start my tardies, I hadn’t yet crossed that threshold when Rog started and I was dangerously close to it. However, that would be one ball to drop and it did before the end of July ’17. The other which shouldn’t have really surprised me and I’d have to accept if it had is that Roger would’ve wanted to pull me from this anyway. Install his own people as he had during the time yours truly remained at the Hole – i.e. buyers or supervisors.

Either way once our acting dept mgr finally did depart to another state – she remains with the company to this day – there was still some uncertainty with my role. I wasn’t “yet” going to be either an associate buyer or receiver officially. Even another dept mgr gave me some advice on the subject I couldn’t say there was a real agreement though certainly an expectation. As it turned out the agreement or expectation didn’t turn out the way I had hope. And I hope to tell that story in the near future.

As for Rog, well one rough spot I noticed right way and this happened before the transition is that an associate in our dept asked about communication between shifts on her station. She said she tried communicating and tried not communicating – yeah disastrous response I thought at that time – and all he could say is always communicate. Great advice, but I don’t recall him really saying anything in that moment that helped that situation then.

We had one good convo one morning and while I was talking about the position I was about to take on seemingly. We just talked about how in moving up you need to know about numbers and you also have to know how to handle people. Rog would say that he wanted to be a supervisor because he knew and liked dealing with people (using the rule book). However, to handle numbers and people is a delicate balance.

Did the negative side start to come out? I wrote about the one time Rog called out for not being in full uniform one morning he came to work before the store even opened. Remember I get on the train at 4 AM get to work at 5 AM the store opens at 7 AM and usually mgmt for our department don’t report in until about 6 AM. So he found one thing already to pick on, with his infamous words “I’m not trying to pick on you, but you need to be in full uniform. That’s not just from me, that’s from corporate“.

Another time later I was just coming from a 15 minute break one AM and he stopped me as I was going back to the sales floor. He wanted to pull me into the office about keeping the department clean while receiving and take extra care of the boxes so that we can take care of fruit flies. It was a signal in my mind he was looking for things to pick at, he was just getting started finding things to complain about. Also, he had just arrived and I started to get this bizzare vibe from him and it wasn’t good.

I knew what he might have been talking about. While I was trying to receiving and put away items some edibles fell onto the ground and I needed to clean those up and some boxes got left which might have been an issue with him. My mother noted the many times that we talked about this he may just have some OCD issues. Another Rog victim I referred to as Danny just stated for the record that Ruthless was just bossy who wanted everything his way. As he learned as a porter in our department there could be very little room for error with goofball. I also had to learn that with him….

To set up the next post in this continuing series, the tardiness came to a head. After just about two months of working 5 AM to 1 PM doing buy/receiver all the sudden and this didn’t help my efforts to avoid yet another tardy all the sudden I got schedule to do mid-shifts on the sales floor. Yours truly could’ve questioned this with the scheduling manager but I never had. This was a W.T.F.?, all the sudden I got the gears switched on me and no warning which could’ve helped. However, our dept was beginning to have some staffing issues which would start to get worse as that summer went further along.

It wasn’t just yours truly as one should during this period Wil our associate buyer had to do a shift on the floor himself. Unlike me I knew my role on the floor, I’ve known him to do different things other than customer service as I had. It wasn’t a struggle from my eyes, however, it was something different for him I’m sure. When I tried to return to the Hole over two years ago he told me about Rog after he had long departed the scene, “He stepped on a lot of toes trying real hard to be very strict“.

And from what I can tell over a year after my sudden departure from the company at that time, it all backfired on Rog by the time I did get rehired….

 

Bias

In writing this post, its something topical that belongs on my new blog I started earlier this month. It’s fitting, however, it goes in a different direction than where national headlines have been going at this point aside from that bug and the unrest.

To start I can’t say I’ve had many negative interactions with police officers. There was one memorable incident and it happened during a time of increased security efforts in the city. I was at a bad place at a bad time doing what I was doing. Thankfully so far I’ve not been stopped by police or even encountered a police officer with a severe bias against orange people….

What I can attest to is what I’ve only started to begin further hashing out – wait what am I talking about I’ve been hashing out for over two years now. I’ve had a number of bosses with varying personalities over the years and it’s either gone very well or it hasn’t. I could say I dealt with quite a few personalities at The Show and whether or not some of them had issues with me because I’m orange or because I’m a man or just because. My read on a fraction of those situations was that these just weren’t situations yours truly was going to come out good in.

The most recent encounter with mgmt that I wasn’t coming to win with was the man variously referred to as /goofball or Ruthless Roger or Rog. And any evidence of his bias as a red male is just based upon what I know about him or what I’ve seen with my two eyes or even hearsay.

I’ve written a lot about this over time. Once he took over my old department at the Hole he surely but slowly began to clear out the department. A few likely quit and others were likely let go although a few of them were seasonal workers. Some I wasn’t too upset to see go, there was one young man who could be quite argumentative with both mgmt and customers – especially at a company expected to bend over backwards to please customers. I could say if this was initiated by Rog, he might have in those situations used being seasonal as a way to ease them out of our dept.

However two of the more bizarre things I heard of for two workers from the Hole involved the temp log. It’s often been accepted practice that if you write down temps you made an honest attempt to measure the temperature of product. Well allegedly both of those unusual cases were accused of not doing so and they lost their jobs. I ran into one of them once I arrived at my new location and they said the regime of that period of time  – “reign of error” –  they sure were picking she’d state.

In another case we had a crew in our dept dedicated to making breakfast in the morning. One guy also orange seemed to come and go as he pleased he gets in very late and often leaves very early. Once Rog took over that was the end of that and ultimately he found a way to nudge him out of the way. It surprised me when this man – when I offhandedly said he’s the breakfast man – he was quick to say no he doesn’t do breakfast anymore. I tried to ask him what happened but he said he can’t say much of anything because he was written up on a final warning for being a “troublemaker”.

He wasn’t happy with the changes and couple that with him making the crew – they were green –  who would normally make food for the lunchtime crowd now had to make breakfast. They weren’t as much of a flowing machine they would normally be because they had the added responsibility for breakfast. Even the guy who got nudged out the way told them that they wouldn’t be behind on everything else if they weren’t having to also do breakfast. Everyone agreed.

I remember one day one of the green people had a talk with red Rog. I termed it as a suck up session based on what I was hearing while receiving in the cooler. While the green person was talking about customers, Rog was undeterred in implementing the new system. “It’ll get better he declared” and my view of this is that it pretty much didn’t until he was removed from his position as dept mgr.

And my orange “brother” came in an huff asking me if Rog and the green person was saying anything about him. Nah, I told him the green man was sucking up to Rog. He was trying to keep his job. That calmed him down as I told the brother the truth as I saw it.

My orange brother I learned was having some health issues. He left work early a few times to attend to it and I had to piece together a story by listening. The Reign of Error was beginning to take its toll on some of us. So if you remember a guy I refer to offhandedly a few years ago as Mr. Humphries – also a not very ambiguous about his sexuality orange man unlike the TV character I referred to him as – was trying to encourage the other orange man. Basically saying “feel bad for [Rog] because the bad he’s doing is going to come back to him”.

To go back to that green man for a moment, he couldn’t even escape Rog’s “ruthlessness” (I’m purposefully contradicting myself here as I don’t think Roger is particularly ruthless as if he had been he’d still be in a position of authority at Fresh Foods). In the dept mgmt offices a screen was up with one of the assistant mgr’s email. It was Larry from his new store where he had transferred to as a dept mgr months earlier at that point he was inquiring about the green man as he applied for a job up there. By the time I left that store by October ’17 the green man was still there, and he’s still there now where by the very next year in ’18 Larry would return to my old dept.

So something blocked it and my suspicion is that Rog found a way to write him up for something to effectively stop the green man from transferring. I did see him walk the plank with Rog pulling him aside. As I’ve began to learn when Rog pulls you aside it’s rarely good. I’ve seen it way too often.

I guess this begs the question. Do I think Rog had a bias against anyone who isn’t red? I’ve spent most of my life trying not to read into things and not looking for things to be upset about. It took me most of my life to realize everyone isn’t going to deal with you honestly and straightforward. Sometimes I haven’t always conducted myself that way either.

Regardless whether I wanted to acknowledge as others seemed to have a vested interest in making me acknowledge as my new role was beginning to be snatched away for reasons only Rog knew, something was up. And I suspect that whatever was up helped get him removed from his mgmt role with the company not long after I got let go. I heard a rumor that confirmed this though there’s no way to confirm that on my end. Someone stated that he referred to orange people as a bunch of gangbangers. And depending upon who hear that or who he said that to, it was a bad thing to say within a dept that had issues of respect issues at one point.

If that rumor is proven to be true then I viewed that as a man whos just nervous and perhaps holds some prejudicial views of certain people. It’s a lot more than just he’s a generally loathed person. But to be honest I just don’t know and will only speak of my own interactions with him in future posts.

Finally I just want to add that in one post I made reference to Rog’s racist suburb. What I heard about him once I learned he was no longer the dept mgr at the Hole is he used buying a house in the suburbs to move on. There were a lot of opinions on that and none of them seemed good – especially from those supervisors who knew a lot more than they could let on.

Either way I made reference to something that did occur in a suburb of Chicago late last year. Something happened at a Buffalo Wild Wings and the staff handled it badly and they got bad press. Some staff lost their jobs and who knows about the red man who had issues sitting with orange people who initiated that whole incident.

I know I wrote a whole post insinuating racism. Yours truly is a long way from proving it, but with the news cycle being what it is this was just my accounting of what I suspect to have encountered just about three years ago. And perhaps a case could be made as far as whatever bias Rog had that yours truly was wrongfully terminated. Of course as also been written he wasn’t the only one involved with that and at least with another person involved with that situation the other domino fell.

I don’t want to celebrate anyone losing their job – even if they did deserve it – the thing is it’s just a sight to see what karma comes back to bite them in the long run.

April

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We’re going to go through the month of April and usually I might give you the flavor of the month from years past. This time we’re going to stay a tad current and I’ll have to admit I didn’t do the post expected last month. We’ll do some of those posts this month.

Well in this state a stay-at-home order was extended for the rest of the month. Which is certainly a bummer because I’m ready for the world to get back to some semblance of normal. This bug going around is really something and I know people are freaked out about it. I find myself taking my own precautions from it, however, I get the feeling we’re going to be wondering what were we worried about in the first place.

I noted last month that if I had been still working in the cinema business (certainly depending upon where I was on the “food chain”) I’d be sitting at home. I could hardly afford that right now and I’m glad to be working in an industry that is considered essential. Yeah it would be cool to ride this pandemic out at home, but like I said I don’t think I could afford that. I just have to do what I need to do and be very careful on public transportation and out in the world.

I’m still making some plans for my YouTube channel. I’m at 32 subs as I write this which was a very high growth curve from the start of March where I only had four subscribers. What can I do to cause further growth? I already announced some plans, but then what about beyond that?

I will be celebrating two years in my “reboot” with Fresh Foods this month. I had been rehired this time two years ago, and I know this seems to be a recurring theme now is the time to start making some plans. I have an eye on a couple of situations at the moment one of which includes my former boss – the one who hired me to the company years ago – with his new assignment as a store mgr. I saw that he posted for a new dept mgr at his store (which is the same dept where I am now and it was the dept he hired me for five years ago). I’m also keeping an eye on my former dept at the Hole, as some unexpected changes had occurred there since I’ve returned to the company.

A young lady that I’ve connected with over the years from Hillman College last month sent me a pic of herself. She has a knack for chopping off her lush hair and dying her hair exotic colors. When she asks about her next color I always suggest her natural color, and that was the pic she sent me her latest chop with her natural hair color. She gave me that and I think she likes me *says the teenaged boy who knew nothing about girls*….

As always I hope you all are safe and be well. Let’s get through this month, I feel this will be a difficult month with all the measures put in place by the different levels of governments in America. They say we might see a peak this month, the main thing is I can’t wait to see the point where we’ve flattened the curve on this bug.

Back to the modern day

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Before the new year I actually ran into my former boss from the Hole, the one who hired me before the store opened over four years ago. What I didn’t know at the time was that when I ran into at a local Fresh Foods store that he had been promoted. In fact, and the irony is I had last ran into him at that store just about a mere week before getting let go from the Hole over two years prior.

He was still an assistant store manager at the time and was only at that location to help them out. Seemingly knowing how rough things were at the Hole he seemed to be suggesting that it’s time to leave for a moment too bad I didn’t see out help or advice with the situation I had been in. It was cool running into him then and even better he expressed interest in returning to the Hole or possibly being at that store. Two years later not only did he return now he’s running the operation.

I expressed interest in working with him again and he said he’d reach out to my leadership as  far as opportunities at that store. I made sure to note and thank him for how I returned to the company, he stated it was the easiest letter of recommendation he could write. I hate to note the disappointment of what happened and got the peaks and valleys statement, I guess ups and downs. We parted as he was actually speaking with someone else at the time, and all I did was stand off to the side hoping to wave at him once he looked in my direction.

With this said I just had to get the word out and especially reached out to two people who I thought needed to know. One of whom is Jill who is no longer with the company. The story as far as this is most interesting and likely could keep her out of the company.

Jill was the one who told me that Ruthless Roger was no longer the dept mgr of my former team at the Hole. She also was the first to note who was going to take over the department who was dubbed Larry once I found out. I never returned to the Hole incidentally after that also within weeks of that communication she was also let go. This was first told to me by a colleague who was long gone by the time of the “Reign of Error“.

I wrote an accounting of what happened with that as I encountered a colleague Bill when he was leaving work one day. There was a fight at the store and from what Bill told me it sounded as if Jill was just caught up in some young cantankerous young woman who probably didn’t want to be at work that day. I could believe no hands were being thrown and it does sound like they had to be pulled apart or separated. And unfortunately Jill lost her job and for her aggression the other party well she’ll figure it out one day.

So Jill who herself could be a tad cantankerous was also very good at her job. She was even associate of the year at our store. And then this which I could say was the result of a leadership vacuum. Larry hadn’t yet arrived to take over the dept full-time and chances are if none of the assistant mgrs wanted to step up to run the dept that left someone from store mgmt to run the team.

Incidentally when I mentioned that Morley had been let go (she already knew by the time I reached out) she expressed a strong reaction. She said his termination served him right, yeah like I said strong reaction. As it turned out she wasn’t the only one, and it seemed Morley had made a few enemies who were happy that he lost his store mgmt position. WOW!

Anyway I told others about my plans with regards to Jill including my mother and they advised that I needed to stay out of it. Jill suggested forwarding her number to our former boss, I merely send her his email telling her to congratulate him and mentioning that there was an open position available at that location. Though I pledged to give her word of a position at my assignment once they become available.

All the same I was advised to stay out of this because I just don’t know enough about what happened with her back then. I don’t know who fired her, and I got a word of another colleague and her word about her actions in that incident. In fact she termed her dismissal as a “wrongful termination”. The one I presumed fired her is no longer with the company (the one she expressed a strong reaction), however, no idea if it was him.

So either way I hope she got in touch with our former boss. In theory he could hire her over and dept mgr’s head but I know in the workplace that’s not so easy. I think they have good rapport so I don’t foresee any issues as far as her returning. However with this company she might have a much easier time than working two jobs to make ends meet. And she is one person who I believe deserves a second chance.

Which I have to add, I intend to write a tad more about what happened that led up to the Reign of Error. As stated often I’ve only learned to laugh at what happened over two years ago. Come to think of it my second run with Fresh Foods led to yours truly getting two raises before the end of his first year back. One was a hike in the minimum wage, another was a regular raise which was barely anything, and then the last one was the company raising the price floor. If Rog wanted me gone, he’s gone from the company and my paycheck is looking much better. Of course that’s not the only measure.

Starting next month I will set the scene. What set off the chain of events that led to the Reign of Error?