Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Remember Folks... It's Not Your Clerk's Fault...

So apparently last night the computer system running the gas pumps, credit card and check verification systems took a big ol' dump all over itself, resulting in there being several hours of no gas, no credit cards, no checks, cash only. (The pumps would work, but since the credit card information couldn't be transmitted you couldn't pay at the pump, and since the pumps weren't sending anything to the registers you couldn't pay inside...)

Oh yeah, and no loyalty cards either.

See, the store I now work for is part of the group that owns a couple of large grocery store chains as well. In trying to tie in all of their stuff, apparently, they've instituted a few perks for customers using their loyalty cards, like a gas discount and a point system... for every dollar of applicable merch in the store you get a point, and if you get such and such points in a month you get a higher gas discount.

Now, everyone loves a gas discount, and since the cards are free and easy to use, most people in the area have them and use them, if they fill up at our store.

Problem is, when the system crapped out, and got reset, somehow the gas pumps decided that there was no such thing as a valid loyalty card anymore. The cards have a magnetic strip and a barcode, and the newer ones are linked to your phone number, if you want, so that if you forget your card you can (supposedly) still get all your benefits. I haven't been able to get that to work yet but no one seems really surprised when it doesn't.

It was probably about five thirty this morning when I got my first grumpy customer saying that the cards wouldn't work. The pump said invalid loyalty, please enter phone number. After that, it was all downhill. People would come inside before pumping their gas and demand that I go out and show them how to get their cards to work at the pump, in spite of the line of customers stacked half way to the back of the store. As I tried to explain that I could apply their discount inside before they paid only if they prepaid, or they could fill up, then come inside and pay and I could apply their discount then, I was trying to check out other people attempting to get drinks or breakfast or snacks on their way to work, but this didn't faze the irate people, they by god wanted their three cents a gallon off.

And when they would pay at the pump with a credit card, and come in and demand their discount, and I figured it and handed them a handful of change, they got even more snippy, even though I had clearly told them that I could only apply the discount to a credit card purchase if they paid inside.

The system allows us to pay out the loyalty card discount after the fact, but not to refund that amount to a credit card. When you're talking thirty some cents as the largest pay out for the card I did, it's understandable that they're just not set up for that.

But I swear, by the time I got off work at one, I was ready to absolutely beat people. Not because they wanted the discount, not because they were grumpy that it wasn't working right, but because they refused to understand that there wasn't a damn thing I could do about the pumps.

"Go hang up the nozzle, and hit cancel until you get back to the first screen you usually see. Don't put your cards in the pump, just hit pay inside and select your fuel grade, pump your gas, and then when you come inside and pay, I'll apply your discount."

Simple, right? Apparently not. My ass got chewed so hard that "I'm-sorry-but-our-system-fried-last-night-and-its-not-quite-right-yet-but-we're-working-on-it-and-I-can-get-you-your-discount-in-here-if-you'll-just-hand-me-your-card-thank-you" was just about on automatic as a greeting as soon as a pissy looking customer stepped in the door. And even getting the discount, whether in change because they didn't listen or on their gas because they decided to pre pay or actually follow instructions, didn't resolve their grumps, in a lot of cases.

Instead, I, as the newest employee (and everyone who is a regular and used to getting their fuel discount knows I'm the newest) got ass chewing after ass chewing about how we should fix that because it's just such an inconvenience for them.

Well, here's a news flash. We had absolutely no freaking control over what was happening. The only thing we could do was log a helpdesk thingy, which the manager did as soon as she finished transmitting her paperwork at about eight. At noon they contacted us back wanting to know what the pumps were actually displaying, so she went out and tried to make her card work and then called them back and told them. When I left at one, it still wasn't resolved, and only time will tell if it will be at five in the morning when I open.

The moral of the story is, I had a miserable day because customers just didn't seem to realize that I had no control over the issues they were having.

When the problem is computer related, I.E. the credit card reader on the pump or such... don't get cranky at the clerk. They have no secret knowledge, as I can now tell you with certainty. There's no mystical handshake that magically fixes glitches in that kind of stuff. The thing that controls all that stuff is pretty much a magic elf box to us. We have no way of altering, fixing, corrupting, or otherwise effecting the thing.

So be nice, be patient, and listen. I promise it'll make things seem so much better if you just pull your panties out of that knot and take a breath.

I feel so much better now....

Friday, July 23, 2010

Blogging Forecast:

Light, with a chance of scattered snarky commentary.

See, I got a second job this week, so I'll be even busier than usual. I'm in training at one of the local stop'n'robs, which is not the best job in the world I'll grant, but it's still more money in the pocket which is always good. It's honest work, no more or less demeaning than digging a ditch and decidedly less sweaty if people will just remember not to turn the thermostat down too far and freeze up the AC.

I have a feeling I'm going to wind up muttering a bit about co-workers and customers, but I'll try to make it the amusing stuff rather than the old refrain of "customers suck, coworkers suck, when does my paycheck show up?"

It shouldn't be too hard, considering my second day on the job I got beaned with a 20lb bag of ice, and proceeded to tell the manager that N was trying to kill me, since he'd stacked the ice bags that had fallen on me (after the vendor had stacked them exactly where N had told him not to.) She laughed and said "You can't kill her yet.. for one we need her, and anyway, her insurance hasn't kicked in yet."

So far the company hasn't seen fit to activate any of my stuff... the online forms needed to finalize my paperwork (so that I can, you know, get paid...) have vanished and my code for the register doesn't work yet either. I also can't take any of the tests that I supposedly have to pass in order to work there because I don't seem to exist in the database that keeps track of what employees scored on the various tests (for proper handling of alcohol and tobacco sales, health department regulations, company policies with ridiculous acronyms, etc.)

In other news, we just got back from another trip up state, and on the way home, just outside the next town north, I swear I saw three cops playing rock paper scissors to decide who had to haul the creepy nutjob lookin dude who didn't appear to be wearing much more than the (clear) thin rain parka that cops in this area carry to hand out to hikers and bicyclists when there's a storm overhead.

At least, that's what it looked like to me. There's an outside chance that the two sheriff's deputies were actually shaking their fists at the State Patrol officer in a threatening manner, but it sort of looked like they were pretty much in sync so I'm guessing it was rock paper scissors.

(Yeah, I really am pretty sure the dude was naked as a jaybird under that parka. Only pretty sure because he was sitting on the side of the road, but unless he was wearing a flesh-colored unitard, he definitely didn't have a shirt on, at the very least.)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Enter To Win

Or I'll win it instead!

The Firearm Blog is hosting a contest for Lucky Gunner for a thousand rounds of .380!

If I win, I'll be using the ammo at Blogorado.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

..... Seriously?!?

Not long after I posted about the Nook drama, dad txted me to let me know I had received a package from Barnes and Noble. I figured it was part of my accessories... although it would have been extremely quick shipping if that were the case.

But then I picked up the box... and it was remarkably similar in weight to the one that had contained my Nook....

Naw, I thought to myself. Couldn't be. I opened the box and breathed a sigh of relief when I saw the case I had ordered.

But... that was an awful lot of foam in the bottom of the box...

Yes. Another Nook. Sent from a fabulous, wonderful, sweet, caring, silly man who really ought to be better at this whole secret thing, considering his background. (Sorry, couldn't resist!)

Really, I am one lucky little shit, to have friends, and family, and readers, like I do.

Of course, I'm letting this post serve as official notice that I really, really, really want a 2010 Dodge Ram 2500 with seat warmers, a tool box, fifth wheel hitch, grill guard, and not essential but highly desirable, a bed full of ammunition.

*wanders off to wait for its magical arrival...*

Nook Drama

So, not long after I posted my drooling lovefest for the Nook and professed my deeply held desire to own one, reader Mike commented.

"Get me your address," he said, "and I'll send you one."

My ingrained discomfort with people giving me expensive gifts (remember, I told the fam to go together on it in that post...) warred with my lust for the little device for a while, but in the end, lust won out. I asked Mike to drop the cash in my tip jar instead of giving out my address, and he graciously understood my desire to protect my sooper secret identity.

"Just don't spend it on anything responsible, like a kidney or tuition." He said.

The money arrived and I... got a little excited. I immediately went to Barnes & Noble's website and began ordering my nook. Only to have Farmmom message me in IRC saying "DON'T ORDER A NOOK I HAVE ONE SITTING RIGHT HERE!"

With just a touch more profanity.

See, Farmmom and Mamaw had conspired and ordered me one for my birthday before we ever went to Denver and I got a chance to play with one.

It arrived Tuesday, a few hours before I tried to order one for myself.

So, I emailed Mike and explained the situation, and asked if he would prefer I return the money or solemnly swear to spend it irresponsibly. He told me to splurge, and so I ordered the accessories I wanted, and transferred the rest into my bank account (it should be there in a few days, damn PayPal for being so slow!) to buy ebooks.

The items I ordered have been shipped and will hopefully be here in a few days. Pictures to go up when they arrive, as proof of my being irresponsible.

And I'll just say here that I have the coolest readers ever, and a big Thank You to Mike for the sentiment and the mad money.

Each and every one of my readers rock, just for being here and reading... but to know that I have readers who are willing to throw down hard earned cash to make a person (me or not) smile... well. That's just amazing.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Range Report:

I suck.

Ok maybe I don't suck, but I am seriously out of practice. Went out with the intent to murder a few little plague carrying varmints today and managed that... but very few.

I just need more time behind the trigger on the 10-22s in order to get my skills polished back up.

Used to be I could lob one out there about three hundred yards and not be completely amazed if it hit a prairie dog... today... well yeah, I sucked.

Anyway, .22 ammo is cheap and plentiful and I'm sure the 'rents won't complain about me borrowing their rifles to get some practice in killing the little rodents... because I gotta get my rifle skills back in shape before Blogorado or I'll embarrass myself....

In other news, while I make fun of him for driving a girl car, Justin's Element is actually pretty snazzy for parking on a hill and killing furry plains creatures with. Since the back seats are completely removable you have a nice place to prone out in the shade and wait for the little buggers to show themselves.

(I gave him enough crap about that this weekend that I felt like I needed to say something nice, publicly. It helps that it's also true.)

Friday, July 9, 2010


Snuck away last night with Justin from Way of The Multigun. (Did ya'll hear he's being sent a Hi-Point to settle one of those long lived internet arguments?)

Anyway, between discussing the vagaries of GPS navigation vs following someone who actually knows where he's going (sorry, Farmmom, couldn't resist) I mentioned that I wanted to fondle a Nook.

So Justin immediately found a Barnes and Noble and ferried me there, where we spent twenty minutes playing with the display models and I came away with a one word opinion:


No really, this can serve as official notice to the family as to my birthday list. That's all I want. Go together, get me the Nook, (the Wi-Fi version please) and a B&N gift card to buy some books, and I'm content.

Ok, I'd really love to have the rear cover in gravel and this case too but I won't get greedy.

Seriously, my 20 minute handling review:

Love the size, the feel, and being able to turn the page both ways on either side of the screen. The touch screen seemed to have a few moments where it didn't really want to respond, but it was a display model and god only knows how many people have handled it since it's been calibrated. I love the ability to view your library as covers. The interface is fairly intuitive (for me, anyway) and the e-ink display...

Ok, I haven't had a chance to play with e-ink before. I've never handled a device that had the technology, because I live in the back of beyond and we don't have newfangled things like bookstores or electronics stores. So you'll have to forgive me if I'm all excited about something everyone else in the world already knows about.

I adore the e-ink display. I've heard the hype that it was just like looking at a paper page, but I figured that it was just a better way of displaying things in the sun, and the just like paper thing was hype. It's not *just* like paper, but it's very close. Farmgirl approves.

It's a lovely little device and I want one... oh how I want one....

Of course my want is only increased by seeing five books in a quick glance through the sections I shop that I have been waiting for and want very much that are available in hardcover for more than I can afford to spend, versus half the price in e-book...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Busy Busy

So, yet again, (or still, depending on how you look at it) life is kicking me in the butt.

Got the Paso Finos in Friday and have been working with them, so far the biggest problem is tack fitting (halters and such, tiny heads!) and *catching* the buggers... they're not horrible they can be caught when they realize you aren't going to give up... and when they remember that the first day when they refused to be caught they ran their butts off.

Rode the sorrel one yesterday and didn't have any major problems, for not being ridden for a year I think he's doing well. Need to punch holes in the bridle before I get on the black because it was just a touch long for the sorrel and if it's long for him it's definitely going to be long for the black.

Riding them any more will be delayed to this weekend though, as today I have too much to do to get ready to go to Denver tomorrow. Farmmom has an appointment, and we'll be up there over night. Four pm appointment plus five hour drive one way? No way I'm coming home afterwords.

So we'll be playing in Denver tomorrow afternoon, picking up some odds and ends for us and for Blogorado, remembering why exactly we don't live in the city, you know, the usual.

Then it's home to life kicking my butt again. This weekend my other family is taking Little Brother's dwarf race car to Garden City... the track there wants to honor him, and I think one of the brothers is going to drive it in the race he was scheduled for. There has been some gentle hinting from Other Dad that he'd like for me to go with them, but since I'm going to have company in this weekend that all depends on whether he wants to go or not.

Sister hasn't been gentle or hinting at all, flat out telling me that Other Dad wants me to come, and that she could use the moral support too, so if there's any way I can bat my eyelashes or show some leg or something, do it.

We'll see if I can pull it off.

Anyway, blogging to resume on a fairly normal schedule... well... whenever I can. This weekend though, I'm pretty well going to be out of touch, because I can be and because I kind of need to be for a few days.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Races

It's been a busy week with more to come, and that, along with the lack of anything really interesting to post about, explains the lack of bloggery.

Friday and Saturday nights, though, I did something I've never done before. I went to the races.

No, not horse races (although I've never been to the nearby horse races either) but dirt track automotive races. Specifically, I was there to cheer on the men of my other family.

W, S, and J all race in the econo or hobby truck divisions so at the nearby track that means they all race in the same race. Imagine, if you will, a Farmgirl, hanging out in the pits, up near the fence of the back side of the track, watching the cars go, feeling the engines roar (believe me, you feel the roar of those engines...) and screaming out "Go W Go S Go J!" as her friends all speed by, roughly bumper to bumper.

Yeah, eventually I gave up and cheered for W since he was in the lead of the guys I cared about on Friday night.

Last night though, there was an extra special bit of redneck fun. See, that particular track has a "race" called Anything Goes. Basically, you scrape together whatever car you can, load up yourself and a passenger, arm the passenger with squirt guns or water balloons, and go participate in what really amounts to a demolition derby with liquid filled projectiles. To win, you have to knock over an old Ford van, and every race weekend that the van survives, the bounty on it goes up. The bounty is sitting at four hundred dollars, now.

There are no cautions, no restarts, and no real standard for the cars, as far as I can tell.

Oh, and did I forget to mention they soak down the track and turn it into a slimy, soupy, slippery mess for this race?

Gawd, it looks like fun!

If I had the disposable income, I'd totally have W and S help me put together a car for it. Alas, I don't, so a car to go bang into other cars with in the mud will have to stay on the back burner, although I may see if I can talk the Fam into donating one of the old junker cars for the project and talk W and S into building it for themselves, if I can ride shotgun.

Who says rednecks don't know how to have fun?