Thank Dr. Ogden for the Blog Assignment

A web log starring Brent Vatne, Andrew Pope, Anho Sham, and Eric Van Wieren

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Visitors during graveyard…

Here’s a new story from a friend that works at burger king, it’s a rather interesting read I must say which gives me an insight to the people that visit during graveyard shifts (which I do consider working on). Well here’s his little glimpse of working at BK that he told me about:

I work at Burger King on Hastings Street, which is half a block away from the PNE. My work is usually pretty laid back, unless there are events at the PNE. When there are events at the PNE such as hockey games and when the fair is in town, it gets really busy and I am constantly making burgers for the hungry customers that consume burgers faster than I seem to make them. When I first started off working there I was working a five to ten shift, which is only five hours and I worked so hard that there were beads of perspiration dripping from my forehead. I think I worked so hard because my manager constantly gave me choirs to do and there was the amusement park half a block down the street, which supplied endless hungry customers. All this hard work made me think if it was worth it so I decided to work the graveyard shift where there are no managers and we only do drive thru.

This week at work was pretty easy going; it consisted of chatting with my fellow coworkers and making a burger once in awhile. As usual once it gets past four in the morning no one really shows up, except for the very “interesting” people that seem to show up at that time at night (or in the morning what ever you prefer). Well the first of our “interesting” customers that dropped by to visit us was around four thirty in the morning, her name is Debbie and we believe that she sniffs “rock” because one of her nostrils is bigger than the other one, also she is always very jittery and usually very emotionally unstable. We can hear her coming from a distance because she is usually hassling people that are eating in the parking lot for money. The reason that we can hear her is because we have an intercom system to take drive thru orders. Well she walks up to the window to order a milk shake, but just her luck we ran out of milk shake mix. So she starts crying in front of; not knowing what to do we ask her is there anything else she wants before we go back to our conversations. She then begs us to give her a few packs of jam and sugar; so being the nice people that we are, we donate to her a few packages of jam and a handful of sugar. It was actually quite awkward to watch her mix the jam and sugar together and eat it, but then she comes back after a few minutes. This time she wants to purchase frosting, so we give it to her, but on top of that she asks if she can get some chocolate syrup. We told her that we don’t have any left so we just give her the frosting, but then she starts crying again. This time we just ignore her because if we keep supplying her with sugary substances she would be here all night.

The next “interesting” person that comes by our drive thru is in the car unlike the previous customer. This person is a “lady of the night” an “escort” we assume this because she has an overly sized chest and usually wears very skimpy clothing. Tonight we actually get some evidence to prove that she is a “lady of the night.” She has a very unique voice and I have memorized she orders because she comes by every night. Her order is the double Vegi burger with no ketchup or mayonnaise, with a side order of large fries and diet Coke. After making the order I go and give the order to her, to my surprise I saw what I did not wish to see, her purse was filled with condoms; not five condoms, but like hundreds! We usually just joke around and call her the escort lady, but after seeing an eyeful of condoms we were pretty convinced that she is one, unless she is really addicted to sex.

Note: After reading about these types of 'interesting' people, I still consider working during a graveyard shift mainly because I feel that I'm more of a night person then a day person. To me it seems that it's part of the job to meet new people, and these are no exceptions.


Tuesday, March 29, 2005

If I were a can of beans, where would I be?

The bane of all retail employees are, ironically, the very people that ensure their employment - customers. I heard that groan, son. I don't have much trouble with customers myself, they are a kind, well mannered people. Like any species, there is an occasional bad seed, I just try not to let it spoil the entire crop. I can recognize most customers within just one year of work, and have even began classifying them intro groups. There are a few types of customers that irritate me, the first of which can be short or tall, young or old, fat or skinny, but always carrying the wretched stench of cheapness (one of the five most unattractive scents a man can wear). They're from a gang called 'The cardboard box thieves' (who the hell came up with that name? a little more creativity, please). The strange thing about this breed of customer is that they are never regular customers and are never buying anything from the store, but somehow they feel they have the right to ask to for the cardboard boxes we would otherwise compact and recycle with all profits going to charity. Also, they look like jerks. Grumpy old ladies also look like jerks, although it's hardly their fault that menopause left them with long, curly, strongly rooted facial hair or their mouths are morphed from sagging skin and deteriorating muscles into a permenant cat-like frown. They like to curse out the managers for not carrying their favorite brand of flour that they've been buying at our Safeway for years or for raising the price of Cheerios by ten cents (we didn't carry the brand of flour for 8 years, and the Cheerios price never changed). The worst type of customer is the dirty bottle returner, or rather, they were the worst type until I discovered that I don't have to count their bottles/cans if I deem them too dirty. Please, before you return your bottles and cans, make sure they're empty so they don't spill everywhere in the bag and make it all sticky.. it's for your own good.


Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Security at Staples

Well, I would like to start off by saying that I actually do not have a lot of work experience. Throughout my life, I’ve only worked as a volunteer and have not participated in the actual job market. My volunteer experiences are much more different than the experience that can be gained through actual jobs because people treat you so much nicer since you’re not getting paid. So instead, I’ve decided to tell stories that my friends have told me about their jobs and the unusual days they have encountered during their experiences in the working world.

I’ve decided to start off with a friend that works at Staples, a high school buddy of mine that I’ve come to known quite well. One day when we were chatting, he told me about an interesting story that happened to him during the afternoon where a regular customer walked up to the software section and an employer walked up and asked if they required any help, seems normal right? But this guy was an obvious idiot and said no in such a suspicious way that it caught the attention of the manager (he was shifting around and seemed very nervous from such a simple question). Since he caught the attention of one of the managers, that particular manager told my friend to follow the guy and slowly, my friend waved in a fellow co-worker to watch the same guy and repeated this procedure. In the end, there were eight guys all wearing red shirts watching him. This gave me a chuckle when I imagined half the employees in the store walking around in one section surrounding this one guy until he leaves the store. This seemed rather amusing and I asked my friend what security procedure do they have if they encountered a thief. He explained to me that all they do is surround the guy until he leaves the store. They’re not allowed to do much incase the suspected criminal has some sort of weapon. Their security measure is pretty much just taking pictures of the suspect and reporting it to the police, nothing more then that.

To me this type of security seems rather…useless. It doesn’t do much, but I can see how they don’t want to get injure for something this small (insurance?). I asked him what would happen if the guy didn’t ‘notice’ he was being watch and actually attempted to steal…I was quite surprised when I was told that all they do is call the cops and usually the thief just drops the item and leaves the store. After this, we then proceeded to talk about other things which is rather unrelated to this topic, but when I sat down and thought about this subject, I was rather puzzled. With this type of security, it pretty much means that people who attempts to steal are able to get off with no charges—
nothing happens; there is no gain but no loss as well. My friend told me that the cops come pretty fast, but in my mind, I wondered how often do they actually catch a thief. It seems rather simple for someone to escape and wouldn’t it be very obvious that something is wrong when you have eight guys wearing bright red shirts following you around? I wonder if the security procedures are the same at other retail shops. It seems rather irrelevant and useless, but I guess their mindset is ‘If it doesn’t affect us, it doesn’t really matter’.


Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Search and survive.

Why is it that getting a job has always been portrayed as 'easy' to me, yet I can never come across one. Even John Mills seems to pick up the paper and come across a job which he gets with almost no difficulty. I have heard the same from my friends who have jobs. 'I just handed in my resume and they phoned me back a couple days later.' Bullshit. Ive done this many times, but the only way I have found work is through knowing people, connections, without these I doubt I would have ever been employed. Right now I am applying to save-on until I find anything better, and I figure that just 'handing in my resume' isnt going to cut it. So the plan now is to talk to the manager, talk to my friend who works there, make him talk to the manager, and with a bit of luck, maybe I'll wind up with a job. The problem with this is, I go down to talk to the manager, and the lady at the customer service desk tells me he won't be in until the next day, but she has no idea when, because they dont have a schedule. I decide that coming around 5 the next day would serve well. I show up again, this time to be told that he isn't in again; so again I ask when he will be in. The workers pulls out a shedule of the managers shifts which apparently didn't exist the previous day and tells me he's on vacation. Thats some nice luck, no edge on the competition I'm just one of the hundreds of qualified applicants. I find it funny how many employees I come across that are completely incompetant at what they do, no matter how simple of a job. I wish I could go to the manager and tell them 'You see your employee Mike over there, I can do that job ten fold better than him and I am willing to prove it in a job challenge.' This is where I would put on a uniform, and with no training, be a far better employee. I beleive this is the way you should get jobs, by upstaging current employees. So all of you be ware, one day when I reign supreme you will have to literally compete to get your job, the way it should be done! That is all for now, hopefully I'll have more later this week.

Post Scriptum: Excuse the minor cussing, it was fitting.

PPS: If you know of anywhere that is hiring msn me or aim me at or offlinephobos respectively.


Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Night Shift

Last summer I was encouraged by my parents to get a job to pay off several debts that I owed to them. Because of my lack of skills and experience I was forced to seek employment at the PNE. I was offered a position on the graveyard shift, doing security work, and I begrudgingly accepted. This basically ruined the remainder of my summer, but I sucked it up and went to work. I was assigned to guard the stables the first night, and being the coward that I am, was terrifed of spending the night in the dark, alone with a bunch of farmyard animals. About halfway through my shift, just as I was starting to drift off to sleep, one of the horses got loose from its cage, and began running through the barn. Having no training for this sort of event, I radioed into my foreman, and asked for help. A very long hour later, help arrived, and I was relieved from my position in the stables, and I gratefully was transferred to guarding the 'Shaw cable booth.' I spent the remainder of my job watching movies, eating mini donuts, and killing time.


Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Everett "UFCW" Jelly

The most fun activity at work is to train a new employee. Responsiblity? Ha, just blame mistakes on them. The majority of newbies are scared and will do anything you say. I just love being the boss. Of course at one point, I was new. One of the first employees I met was a stout chap named Everett Jelly (ironic last name), and he trained me in shortcuts (see: laziness). Mt. Everett has been employed at Safeway for three years, and has an impressive repitoire of 'time saving techniques.' His knowledge of our union, the UFCW, is unrivaled by anyone of our position. He has their phone number memorized and everytime he recites it he'll play down the achievement by telling you that he learned it the first time he dialed it, because it's an easy number to remember (4343101, I had to look it up and I've dialed it twice, I suppose he's gifted in memory). During the Christmas of 2004, Everett warned a salvation army change collector not to help customers get shopping buggies, because it was 'taking union jobs'. Everett's union knowledge has more use than just scaring the kindness from the hearts of charitable war veterans, it is necessary to ensure that his rights are not infringed upon by management; an event that occurs far too often.

Last Saturday at 3:00pm I received a call from an assistant manager, whose nickname is synonymous to a large, feathery, yellow character on character on "Sesame Street" (and by synonymous I mean the same as). He called to inform me that, although I hadn't been scheduled, I had no choice but to work on Sunday at 10am. I tried to deal with the situation the way I always do - making up things I have to do; obligations that no sane person would ask another to ditch merely to work at Safeway. Magically, it was my best friend's birthday Sunday and I was working on a midterm paper all night, I just didn't have the time. No dice. Resignedly, I accepted the shift, but warned that if the request was against union policy I would call him on it. I got in touch with Everett and explained the situation. He told me that within 24 hours of a shift I had the right to decline it. Equipped with this new knowledge, I called back and told my manager that I would not be present for the shift on Sunday and that I was not at fault, according to union policy. He said "Ok" and hung up. Before we continue with the story I need to explain why I would go through all of this trouble just to inconvenience my boss. I don't like being tricked or forced into anything, especially by an authority figure who thinks he can push anyone around with a complete disregard of their rights. Half an hour later, another manager called and pleaded that I work 2pm-10pm, a better shift, and told me that if I didn't he'd have to come in on his day off. I like the guy and he was honest, so I did it for him.

If you're in a union make sure you know what you're entitled to and have a union contact available, in case you feel you might be getting taken by management.


Thursday, March 03, 2005

Safeway - Because we care

I began working at Safeway in January of 2004 as a grocery clerk, half way through my Senior year in High School. I'd had oddjobs in the past at my Uncle's mill but this was my first real job. Throughout my posts I will detail my experiences with my favorite colleagues and experiences at the workplace. I'll begin with the best friend I've acquired through Safeway, his name is Leif.

Leif worked in the produce and has since quit Safeway to pursue his education at UBC (in the same halls John Mills once learned in), where he now resides. Most of our stories, although very "Mills-ean" in fashion, wouldn't be very appropriate for an educational blog. I was always happy to close (to 'close' is to work until 10pm, the time that the store closes at) with Leif because we'd have fun, get lots of work done and the time would pass relatively quickly. We originally connected on the grounds that we are both part Norwegian; I'm sure you all know Leif Erikson, the famous explorer. 'My' Leif's last name is actually Cabeza Erikson, go figure. We found mutual interest within musical taste. Leif introduced me to Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Scorpions and all of the other great Rock/Metal bands. "Safeway owns us," was one of his many philosophies. He preached to me that Safeway dictates our lives by choosing when they want to schedule us to work. Safeway decides if I'm going to have a good weekend or if I'll be stocking shelves 4-10 Friday, 130-10 Saturday and Sunday. The employer owns the employee's time and thus owns the employee. I've come to accept this theory as the truth, and I hope to avoid a career where I'm put in such a situation. There's so much more to say about Leif, but this is all you get.

Tribute to Leif Arman Cabeza Erikson:

(His hair is exaggerated, but the resemblance is uncanny nonetheless)


Wednesday, March 02, 2005


Although I've not had to deal with the same sort of jobs that John Mill's has described- the chimney scraper job sounded dreadful- I myself have had a foray into the tedium of the workforce. I've worked in the physical labor field, digging ditches, laying pipes, hauling construction goods, getting yelled at, and eventually getting fired. My boss seemed just as a much a part of the system that Mill's describes, but I, like many naive youth, wished, and still wish to escape the shackles of our modern idea of 'work for retirement'. I'd like to spend the rest of my life doing as little work as possible.


Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Job Hunt

The end of the term is in sight, and a long 4 month break waits. I need a job, something that pays decent, something that can maybe get me out and moving to other parts of the world. So the hunt begins and I look through classifieds and just about everything else hoping for that perfect job. Maybe it will come.


Monday, January 01, 1990


Looks like we're the first group to have our blog up and ready to go. Bonus points awarded here.
We've decided to focus on "The Book of Jobs" chapter in John Mill's "Thank Your Mother For the Rabbits."