Frontier Former Editor

February 2, 2010

More reasons why Walmart must be eliminated from the face of the earth

Conversation between me and a Walmart employee about two weeks ago, between snows . . .

Me to Walmart employee: “Do you have any snow shovels?”

Walmart employee: “We’re out.”

Me: “Are you geting any more in?”

Walmart employee: “No. They’re a seasonal item.”

Me: “But it’s still winter for a month and a half.”

Walmart employee: “There’s no demand for them after winter.”

At this point, there are two responses roiling in my mind . . .

Me, talking in my mind: “You f***ing moron, it’s still winter!”

Me, opening my mouth: “Never mind.”

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December 21, 2008

Workplace sanitation and Russian military aircraft

My current employer (‘a leader in solutions for the business community’) apparently hasn’t a clue when it comes to solutions for its community of workers.

Case in point: Restroom facilities.

On Friday, we had staffers from our client (‘a leader in solutions for bank customers that ISN’T getting bailed out yet’ – not a bad selling point these days) visit the site to see how well we can do the job at about 75% of the cost of the client’s regular employees. Of course, so as to not show the visitors what heathens and savages we are, we were barred from using the front restrooms so they could mess them up, have illicit sex in private, etc.

Perhaps more details is required here. The building has four restrooms: a mass facility each for male and female and each capable of handling about 8 simultaneous excretors (I don’t frequent of surveil the ladies room, so maybe Chuck Berry could come in handy here), and a one-holer for male and female up front. During daytime hours, the building has about 300 people working.

To add to the normal hilarity, maintenance will shut down one mass facility – usually during peak break times – for cleaning.

I won’t begin to address the age-old ‘potty parity’ issue here except to say that our corporation needs to revise its standard floor plan for new call centers.

Back to Friday.

In the midst of trying to impress our client, our computer link with the client’s customer service software crashed for three hours. I was on my extended midday break and missed that fun, but they saved some for me for my evening shift.

A sequence of two e-mails announced that the men’s mass facility would be shut down that day since the single water shutoff valve handled both mass rooms. Since the visitors had left, the two front one-holers would be men-only.

Five minutes later, the internal e-mail service announced that both mass facilities would be shut down for construction, leaving one one-holer for men and one for women that evening. Even with about 100 people on evening/night shift, the front plumbing was running pretty heavily.

That arrangement persisted all day Saturday., when about 250 people were on duty.  Now, applied probability and statistics pretty well guarantees that, even with just adults in the user group, someone’s going to have some sort of catastrophic or extended incident during their visit. And even more application makes it likely that someone having such an incident will not have the decency to clean up after themselves.

That held true. In euphemistic terms, if Lee Harvey Oswald had dropped about two or three mils on his sighting on John F. Kennedy, the lower interior of his limousine would have looked much like the adjacent floor and wall tiles of the men’s toilet.

Saturday was an interesting day. When the computer system crashed again across our building and our client’s main facility, it was a relief when several of us were given early outs. Missing two hours pay was worth it to get the hell out of there. Otherwise we might have been assigned in shifts to burn diesel oil on drums of human waste.

What of Russian military aviation, you might be asking? The site manager had sent out another e-mail Friday, congratulating us for suitably impressing the client delegation  and for the wonderful military-themed bulletin board honoring our client’s main customer base. As I was heading out the door, one photo on the board caught my eye since I’m a bit of  an aviation enthusiast.

Amid all those photos of American servicemembers sacrificing themselves and defending our freedom was a photo of a Sukhoi Su-27.

Do svidaniya

December 12, 2008

Hot oily hens, or chicken soup for the dumbass

Yes, one of the entries in David Letterman’s ‘Book of Top Ten Lists’ for new marketing names for KC has finally come true.

Rub a dub dub, three idiots in a sink
Rub a dub dub, three idiots in a sink

According to the New York Daily News:

“Four months after a Burger King employee lost his job for taking a bubble bath in a restaurant sink, three scantily clad teens were fired when they turned a basin at their northern California KFC into their personal hot tub.

“They landed in hot water with the chicken chain’s management when one of the bikini-clad dimwits made the same mistake as the Ohio Burger King employee – she posted photos of the dippy escapade on MySpace.

“The photos included captions such as “haha KFC showers!” and “haha we turned on the jets,” and were filed under a gallery called “KFC moments,” according to the Record Searchlight newspaper in Redding, Calif.

“The story broke before the unidentified girl could scrub public access to her profile. On her MySpace page, the girl listed herself as a 17-year-old worker at the Anderson KFC near Redding.

“”I’m a KFC worker, they are my best friends and my family,” she said on her site.”

 

Guess I’m doing Taco Bell for lunch today.

July 30, 2008

Addenda, or how to get murdered by ax

My last assignment at Roy Rogers was as a senior assistant mgr/troubleshooter at the franchise Roy’s in Warrenton, Virginia. Besides having the pleasure of that holiest of rarities in Northern Virginia – going to work on I-66 when everyone was leaving and thus having an relatively empty highway out of Fairfax County – I got to see just how well a franchisee adhered to Marriott/Roy Rogers quality standards.

Of course, during my first week, I tried to sample the milkshake/soft serve machine and was told by one of the hired hands that it didn’t work .

“And why doesn’t it work?” I asked gently, sensing that the question might be construed as an attempt to elicit sensitive information.

“Well, the health inspector told us it was broken,” said hand replied cautiously.

“I see,” I said, already knowing the worst. “Did he happen to leave a note as to why it was broken?”

The lucky employee led me back to the store office, where I discovered the inspection and safety file book for the establishment. Sure enough, the last inspection report included words such as ‘bacteria count,’ ‘odor,’ and ‘final warning.’

I told the employee that it was his lucky day, and gave him some petty cash and a shopping list including stiff-bristle toothbrushes (a running theme with my days at the Double R Bar . . .), a gallon of bleach and three surgical masks.

Upon his return, he, I and another employee unlucky enough to answer ‘not much’ when I asked what he was doing pulled the machine to the back of the kitchen. Amazingly enough, the tool kit for the machine’s maintenance was as it had never been used – well maybe it made perfect sense. I removed the side panels and immediately was forced into a Hobson’s choice: vomit or laugh and vomit.

There was enough curd to supply several varieties of repulsive European cheeses to the next 20 wine tasting parties in Warrenton’s fox-hunting community. I’d only expected cheese for 10 parties.

Suffice it to say we got the machine clean, sanitary and sparkling in about an hour. I surprised myself in my ability to motivate two teenagers to get off their “lazy, filthy asses and don’t ever let something like this happen on my watch again or I’ll run you through the goddamn roast beef slicer on ‘shaved’ setting – you got that?!!!!” Well, it was calmer and not quite as blue, but the sense of murderous intent got across.

One day later, we were serving milkshakes, sundaes and strawberry shortcakes (Stiletto and Sled will remember those . . .).

After that, things went amazingly well given that I demonstrated that I could scrub cream cheese from machinery with the best of them.

Then there was the day of the flaming chicken fryer (another theme in my career at the Double R Bar).

It was after the dinner rush (maybe Neil Young could get another album title out of that), and I’d asked the first employee mentioned earlier in this post to drain, clean and refill the chicken fryer with shortening. The process is relatively simple: you turn off the fryer, screw in a drain spout at the bottom of the fryer, open the spout valve and drain the oil into a filter/pump, spray filtered oil back into the fryer until the solids were drained, turn off the pump, scrub out the fryer, close the valve, disconnect the drain and filter, pack solid shortening back into the fryer, turn on the power until shortening is melted, add shortening to bring it to full, turn off the power and close the lid.

They did pretty well except for one step – the first one about turning off the fryer. Within seconds of draining the fryer, the heating elements managed to ignite the film of oil left after draining. Naturally, smoke drifted throughout the store and the fire alarm went off while I was sweeping the dining room. I ran back and saw employee 1 and his buddy standing and wondering what to do.

I said “DO THIS!” and cut the power and closed the lid. Just then I heard a banging at the back door. I opened the door and was greeted with a firefighter poised to chop a hole in the door with a fire ax. The ax, of course, was aimed pretty much at my sternum.

I turned, looked at number one employee and said, “It’s for you.”

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