Saturday, October 23, 2010

When did I become an adult..

.. And when can I go back to the way things were???

I feel like I've finally, officially, irrevocably, impossibly, and (in many ways) retardedly become that adult that I would always pretend to be when I was playing "House" at the age of nine. I have an apartment, I live with my boyfriend, I have a roommate, I have more than 1 job, I cook for myself, and I finally get mail on a regular basis with my name printed on it in uppercase letters.

I went on a non-vacationy vacation.

After working and packing through the weekend, the bf and I got on a 16 hour greyhound up to Portland. What a terrible experience. As horrible as this sounds-- you really do see a lower class of people. Not to say that they're poor, but... not usually the type of people I find myself around. There were loud people sharing their life story for the entire bus to hear. "Thugs" playing rap music, and yelling at you about stepping on their feet. And people who looked like they were lost immegrants (there's no way to tell if they were). It was very strange. My knees hit the seat in front of me. I did not sleep.

Upon arrival in Portland, it was like an avalanche of activity. Luckily my dad fed us first.

The week was spend balancing out the time between my family and the boyfriend's family, trying to see friends that we really wanted to see, me getting work done for a deadline for Magik*Magik Orchestra (working on the computer whilst talking to my mom, or until 4am after a bachlorette party!), running around with my best friend trying to prepare for her wedding, the actual DAY of her wedding and being the maid of honor.... Man, that was a harder job than I expected!! And having to do this without a car of our own. Thank goodness my parents were so generous with their vehicles.

It very much was not a vacation.

Being home, but not being home with my family because I had work to do. Constantly worry about if I'm going to be able to pay rent. Wondering how I'm going to get to this certain place at a certain time without a car. Can the bride pick me up on the morning of the wedding? Does she need anything? Am I going to have time to see such-and-such-a-person? What time does my dad work? Will he be okay with me taking his car? Does Keenan's family still want me to come over on friday?

It was all very stressful. But something clicked.

I was happy to come home to San Francisco and continue MY life as I had left it. I feel like I have earned this place that I sleep in (even if we do have a leaky window and the occasional bug problem). I have earned my position at work and am valued there. And for the first time, I felt like Keenan wanted to be a part of this life that we created here. It's completely changed our dynamic and how we work.

Aka.... We're starting to do our finances together. GASP!!!

Now, I've never done this before with a boyfriend, but it's hard!! Taking the time to sit down and figure it out!? Man, who wants to do that? I'd rather make a stew!!

So I did. It included a butternut squash (which I've never cooked with it before), lentils, and various vegetables and spices. All made from complete scratch. It was a huge success.

Anyway... But on top of doing my finances with my significant other, I was thrown back into my retail job. We greyhounded back from Portland on Monday, arrived on Tuesday at NOON, and I was downtown working at Sur La Table by THREE PM. Not to mention that I closed for the first time on my own. I had trained the week before I left, but had never done it by myself. It was a bit worrying. I was reassured the day after that the books looked good. Whew!

Since getting back to San Francisco, I have worked every day and even took on a few more unexpected hours. Tomorrow (Sunday) will be my sixth day working in a row. I will then have two days off, and go back to work for 5 days. One of those days being my 23rd birthday.

So let's make a list here:
*Maid of honor in my best friends wedding and all the responsibilities that go along with that
*Financing with my partner
*Worry over rent and bills
*Going back to work after a working vacation and putting in long hours
*Working on my birthday
*Finding out that my loan repayment will start next month (Ohgodohgodohgodohgod)

Yeah. I feel like an adult. And a large part of me wants to put everything in storage and just move to Hawaii where my brother, his wife and my nieces live. Work a part time job at his restaurant, and live on the beach all day long. But at the same time, I think I've become an adult I can be proud of. I find myself taking pride in the the fact that I can handle these things. In the fact that I have a apartment with food and a warm bed to come home to after a long day at work. I feel like this is, in many ways, a successful life.

Too bad barely making it isn't enough. With my impending outstanding loan to pay back (both federal AND personal at alarming amounts), anything under the headliner of "FUN" is out of the question. So I find myself making up for my lack of away-from-the-apartment-experiences in the culinary arts.

It's hard to explain what happened the last few weeks in a short blog. But I wanted to update on my goings on before returning to my Favorite Customer of the Day rants. Although this whole blog REALLY is meant to talk about my experiences in life after college. I suppose that growing up would be a part of that.

But just incase you were disappointed in the lack of retail fun, here are some my latest Favorite Customer Experience of the Day:
1. A woman walking up to me and just staring at me and pointing at something. She's been in the store... I know english is her first language. Um. I'm pretty sure we learned to use our words at 2 years old.
2. A woman today came in and I literally had to ask her 15-20 times to repeat what she was saying. Turns out she was wondering if we were hiring and if she could have an application. Yeah, no way she's getting hired.
3. If you walk into a store and an associate happens to walk by you and say hello.... DO NOT GET DEFENSIVE!! I've had people wave their arms at me saying "I'm only browsing!" Excuse me, ma'am. I was Just. Saying. Hello.
4. We have these butane torches for creme brulee and whatnot. A gentleman asked me if I had any butane so that he could see how the torch worked and how large the flame was. I told him that I could not do that because once we do that, both the butane and the torch can no longer be sold. But in my head I'm thinking "NO I'M NOT GOING TO LET YOU HAVE AN OPEN FLAME IN OUR STORE! DO YOU THINK I'M RETARDED??!!" What if he decided he didn't want it and put it back on the shelf without us knowing? What happens if someone else comes along and just turns it on? Cause people like to turn things on if they have an on/off switch. 98% of the time nothing happens, but we still do it!! I was proud of myself for being calm, but I really just wanted to stare at the guy, then walk off without saying anything. He might have taken that as being rude though...

Tomorrow is my Friday. My "weekend" will be spent singing and playing guitar with Keenan at the bus stations to earn extra cash, hopefully going to yoga, and hopefully a date on Tuesay for sushi as my bday dinner since I'm working Wed (that being the day of my birth).

I still have my neon sticky notes in my slowly deteriorating apron, and I'm writing down my favorite people just for your viewing pleasure. Stay tuned.


Monday, October 11, 2010

We're people too.

My neon green sticky notes came in handy today. A couple people came along today and were well worth writing down.

A pet peeve of mine that I had left off my list a few posts ago, was the customer's need to want. Mostly, for the price of free.

At SLT, we have what are called Jura machines. These are coffee machines that range from $1,200 - $3,000. They're actually pretty cool. I'd never buy one, but for people who DO drink a lot of coffee, they're pretty cool. So. To help us in selling these machines, we have demos out that people can try. However, if you do not know what you're doing, it's very very VERY easy to make a mess (and believe me, do people like to push buttons). Which is one of the reasons that having these machines out is so annoying. It's fun to show people who are genuinely interested, but for the customers who want, they're a pain in the ass.

Today's charming customer was an older asian man, who didn't speak much english. I found this out when I went up to him to see if he needed help, and he shoved his paper cup in my face and said really loudy that he wanted coffee.

Okay, there are numerous things wrong with this situation:
2. I do not need you to speak loudly in order to hear you, just clearly (I had to ask him a couple times to repeat what he said.... Okay... maybe I asked him to repeat himself a couple more times after I understood him... cause he made me angry.... Don't judge me retailers-- you know you've done it too!).
3. Do you realize how rude you are being? Yes, we offer free SAMPLES, but that does not make you entitled. If I give you a sample of coffee, you want milk. If I had given it to you with milk, you want sugar. If I had given you sugar, you want a specific brand. This is why I hate this. The coffee was free in the first place, okay? If you want more, go down to Peet's coffee and BUY one. I know that providing all this is part of what I'm supposed to do, but after a while you just get sick of people continually wanting more from you.

Free stuff being handed out is awesome. We can all agree on this fact. But I've found that as soon as you say that you're giving something away, the most annoying, selfish, and ridiculous customers seem to bee line for you. Even when I'm at the knife display, standing there with some knives out and a couple carrots, I've had people just run up to be all excited and asking me what I'm demonstrating and can they have some. Really?? My job is to show you the product. Yes, I'd be happy to show you how the Jura machines/knives/etc work. Here, let me show you!

"Oh, I just wanted the coffee. If you're going to go through the whole shpeal, never mind."

I find this so infuriating. I am more than willing to show a customer a good product. It's one of the aspects of my job that I really enjoy-- the fact that we do actually sell some awesome stuff (and a lot of crap, but that's so that we can make a deal for the good stuff).

What's even worse, is when they DO make a mess with the machines (because they don't know what they're doing), they do not appologize, just quickly run away. I'm not talking about a little spill. I'm talking steamed milk and coffee everywhere. All over the counter, the machine, the cabinet it sits on, and the floor. At least have the decency to bring it to our attention, appologize and offer to help clean the mess you made!! Don't just run away like it didn't happen, WE SAW YOU DO IT, YOU IDIOT!!

Having worked in retail for quite a while now, I swear that I am now the nicest customer you will ever have. I go into a store assuming that all the employees do not want to be there. This has proven helpful in many ways. When an employee is then super helpful and nice, I am very surprised, grateful and enthusiastic in return. Also, if I'm super nice, I tend to get better service. It just makes sense-- if you're an asshole, expect them to be an asshole back. A cashier's main objective is to get you rung up and on your way. Treat them nicely because they're just trying to do thier job. We don't get to have many interactions. We just try to be fast, civil, and efficient. Having done this job, this is all I expect from them. Sadly, this isn't enough for a lot of people.

Anyway, a good example of rude behavior and the karma that ensues from that-- a woman that came in and was extremely rude about a cake stand. A cake stand. She had put it aside earlier today. Now, the procedure for this is that if you're still looking, or will be back shortly, we put a "Still Shopping" sign on top of your things. If you will be back like... in 6 hours or something like that, we write a hand written note saying that the items should stay put until the end of the shift. I guess she left for a long time and someone didn't write a note, so it got put back. Why clutter the counter with shit that's been sitting there for hours? Obviously the customer left. She came in, said she had something on hold. There was nothing behind the counter and nothing in the stockroom when I looked. I couldn't find it, so I asked her what the items were, and I would go and get them for her. Her response?

"Well, the girl in the red over there put them aside, why don't you go and ask HER where she put them??"

First of all, the girl in red? Yeah, she's been working here for a couple weeks. She would have put them in the most obvious place-- like where we put all of our holds. Secondly, you're attitude is not helping your case. Thirdly, I am going to be wasting MORE time by asking her than just pulling the item from the floor because I know she's going to say they were behind the counter.

So I go an ask her, and I end up having to pull the stand off the floor, just like I knew I would. As I was passing my coworker, I explained the procedure in a few sentences to her (I seriously was taking like... 10 seconds) and the woman stalks up to me and says "Can you finish this later, I need to catch the ferry."

Which brings up ANOTHER pet peeve, and we get this a lot being at the Ferry Building. If you are in a hurry, it is not my fault. If you are a jerkface about being in a hurry, you're going to get slower service. Plain and simple. We are human beings. If you're mean to us, we are most likely going to be mean back. Maybe you should have scheduled your time better rather than coming into my work place and putting your lack of timing on me.

I passed her off to a coworker to be rung up, because I could no longer trust myself to be nice to her. However, the item did not have a tag on it. So when my coworker was looking for a tag, I appologized for just blantantly passing her off on him. I explained that she was really rude. My coworker looked and me, then said... "Oh. Well then I'll take my time getting this sku number."  This is just one example-- Do not be rude to people at their work place. If they're blatantly being rude, then fine. There ARE occasions when the staff can be rude. However, I know for a fact that I was being nice to this woman.

I went and talked to the coworker in red about the situation, and she told me the woman said she would be right back when she placed the items behind the counter... meaning that we were in the right to have put them back.

Sigh. This was at the end of my shift, too.

Maybe this does not seem like a big deal, but it seriously happens a lot. And I get tired of it really fast. This woman could have easily said "Oh, well it was a cake stand" and I would have happily got it for her and rung her up. But instead she had to infer that I was incompetant in my job, and place whatever bad thing happened in her day, on me.

It's like watching monkeys. The alfa monkey will pick on a smaller monkey to make him feel big and important. That monkey will then go and pick on an even smaller monkey to make HIM feel important and to inflict on someone else the pain they've gone through. Have we seriously not evolved from this?

And please don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I'm a saint. I have definitely been that rude customer. The difference is when I started out being nice and realize that the only way I will get a solution is to put my foot down. This still doesn't mean I'm a bitch. It means that I'm no longer super sweet and understanding. I know how to play this game.

As of clocking out at 6:15pm today, I am on vacation until the Tuesday after next. Oh what sweet bliss it will be to not have to deal with customers. I expect to come back to work refreshed and slightly nicer than when I left. One can hope.

Maybe I'll have a good greyhound story!!

Until then, be nice to your cashiers. We're people too.


Saturday, October 9, 2010

Human Rights

I know that I said this blog was going to be about music and retail, but I really feel the need to talk about something else that really gets me riled up.


I read an article, posted by a friend of mine, before going to work this morning. It was about 9 guys in New York sodomizing and beating (with CHAINS) three homosexual men. 2 were 17 years-old and one was 30.

This brought me so much sadness. I feel like lately, the gay community has really been in the news lately. And I'm almost glad. I say almost because it's all been terrible. But at least we're acknowledging that this community exists and that these events are now happening. It's opening people's eyes!!

Living in San Francisco for the last 5 years, I sometimes forget that being gay just isn't as accepted everywhere else like it is here. In SF, no one really gives a crap if you're gay. For a while at my job, I felt like I was one of the only straight people!! (Although it was entertaining to compare types when a cute guy would wander in). To me, I see gay rights as just as important and on an equal level as women's rights and racial rights. As it should be.

Denying a gay person the right to legally love who they love, IS WRONG.

That's what we're argueing here, love. Who am I to say who thousands and thousands of people should love? Some argue that if we allow this, people can marry whoever and whatever they want. Um.. can a sheep sign a marriage certificate? No, I don't think so. No matter what, even if you do not give these people their HUMAN FREEDOM, HOMOSEXUALITY IS STILL GOING TO EXIST!! You aren't going to get rid of it! If anything, it's becoming a larger and larger community!!

I just can not see how people are so against this...

When Prop 8 was a huge deal in California, I made sure that I was going to be able to vote (I voted No, obviously). And the day I found out it passed, I came home and looked at my roommate (who was gay (this is an old roommate, not current)). He is one of my best friends and because of a large group of religious zealots (and other groups as well, I just know this was a large one), he is not seen as equal to me. He is a white male. He is a college graduate and very talented. If you stood him next to a bunch of random people, he would not stick out as obviously different (well... he did do drag a few times....). But because of his sexual preference, WHICH IS NO BODY'S BUSINESS BUT HIS OWN, he can not marry the man that he would want to spend the rest of his life with. I felt so angry and upset for him.

We have the right to not disclose any sexual information to anyone. We are allowed our privacy. Why not these people?

The religious aspect.

I understand that there are people who consider themselves religious, that firmly believe that if you do not believe in the Bible, Christianity and Jesus, you really WILL go to a firey hell for all eternity. I understand that these people feel the need to prevent this from happening. They see it as helping people, not converting. They are genuinely concerned that if you do not live the Christian life, you will burn in hell. And this is okay. That is THEIR HUMAN RIGHT to believe that. And in some ways (and some people are just freaking ignorant, intolerant, and close-minded) they are trying to prevent other people from burning. I understand this.

But I still think that homosexuals have the right to love who they love. You can still try to convert them to heterosexuality, that is your right. You have the right to believe in what you believe, so why shouldn't they get the same?

It is not a choice. It is something you know about yourself. Just the same as a heterosexual knows that they like the opposite sex. It's. The. Same. Thing. We are just conditioned to think that one is right and one is wrong.

As a woman, I am given rights. As a homosexual, they should be given their rights.

It doesn't affect me personally, other than I will get invited to more weddings.

Love is love. In whatever form it takes. I do not think we have the right to take it away from others.

Okay, and breathe.


Friday, October 8, 2010


I told myself that I wasn't going to update this blog all the flippin time, but here I am. Day 2.

As I was at work today, I had double checked that my neon green sticky notes and good pen were secure in my 3 year-old apron (I've been getting some crap from my coworkers. So what if it has holes and may be a little stained? This baby has been with me since the beginning!!!). I avidly awaited a super annoying customer to come up to me just so I could write it down, then blog about it later. *Sigh* I know.

In truth, I've been telling many of my friends that someday, SOMEDAY, I will create a book based on retail customer etiquette. Because sometimes... people are just flippin' retarded.

All I got today was a woman, looking at the japanese rice bowls, asking me if we had other bowls without "ridges" on them. Now, I define ridges as grooves.. say... on a knife. These bowls were quite smooth all around. I asked her what she means and she just points at the bowl. You know. Without ridges.

Me: Um.

Without the little stand connecting on the bottom?

Lady: Yeah. Ridges.

Me: Are you looking for other japanese bowls? Without the stand?

Lady: No. Just bowls.

Me: Oh. Well.. We have many bowls in the entire store... not just in the one little corner... (We ARE a kitchen store?).

Lady: I'll have a look around then.

This little exchange baffled me. Maybe I'm the only one.

Sadly, the one day I was ready for the crazies.. had to be a normal day. But, man. If a customer DID come in.. I was ready!!!! Just so I could tell YOU guys!! All three of you!!

Some of my other pet peeves in customer service are:
*Being told what we do and do not have in the store. I think after three years, I'm pretty sure of what we carry, and no I have never seen a spatula with two hands that will grab onto a cheese sandwich so you can flip it over.
*Asking me if I work here. Did the apron and name tag not give me away?
*Whist manning the knife display (please keep in mind it's a KNIFE display. With knives. Everywhere! Behind me. In the glass display infront of me. ON the counter in front of me. Maybe someone is trying to cut carrots and I'm trying to help them and you just barge up with your napkins.) NO I AM NOT A CASH REGISTER!! 
*Asking me if I'm a cash register. I'm pretty sure I'm a human.
*Yelling at me because there is a policy that I can not change JUST for you. Yes, you may speak to the manager. And when I go and get the manager, they proceed to ask ME what the policy is. After working there for this long, there are only 3 other people in the store that have worked there longer than I have.
*In return transactions, it is awesome if you have the receipt. We love it when you hold onto your slip of paper. However, I can not give you all $500 back in cash to you from my til. 1. There isn't that much money IN my til. 2. The return policy is on the back of your receipt. I'm sorry if no one explicitly TOLD you the entire return policy, but I find that if you have any questions, regardless of what store it is, you can usually find it on the back of the receipt.

There are more. But I think I'll wait, with my sticky notes, for when they happen. Just so you and I can revell in the stupidity together.


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Why Hello!

Well hello, Blogger World.

I'm just going to act like this is the first time I've met all of you, although starting out-- most of you will probably just be friends of mine.

I feel like I am stepping into this world a bit late and out of the loop. I am not a blog reader. Nor do I blog much. However, it has occurred to me that I definitely have some strong opinions about a lot of things that I feel are common themes in this universe of post-college life that so many of us find ourselves in.

Maybe I should start reading other people's blogs....

Anyway. I am not particularly special. I am a recent graduate from the SF Conservatory of Music, earning my BM in Composition. Yes, this sounds extra special to many (mostly to people who are NOT in the music world), but mainly I just went to college for something I have been doing my whole life. I survived and now I must find out what I am going to do with this $100,000 degree.

That's where the retail in my name comes from. I am (newly!!) a shift manager at a Sur La Table. If you do not know what that is, you've probably heard of William Sonoma who is our arch-rival (booo!! hisss!!!!). I have been working this job for three years this month. I mainly wanted a job that would earn me a little bit of extra spending cash (and a little bit less in personal loans), and it turns out that I actually like my job!!

As luck would have it, 5 months after graduation, I have been hired (or I think.. hopefully... officially hired) as a Compositional Assistant to Magik*Magik Orchestra. MMO (for those few who don't know-- who ARE those people?) is an orchestra for hire started about three years ago by the amazingly talented Minna Choi. To name drop so you know how cool we are, we've worked with Johnny Greenwood, Sting, Narada Walden, Death Cab for Cutie, The Dodos, and Mike Patton, amoung others. My job mainly involves production management (telling my friends where to go) and doing the grunt work of the compositional arranging and orchestrating. So far, it's only been a month but I have really enjoyed the work. I'm learning a lot.

So, there are my two main sources that occupy the time between waking and sleeping. I also live with my boyfriend, in sin and happy about it. I'm trying to get back in shape by running-- I hate running. And I read like no buddy's business. Any suggestions for fiction and sci-fi are sooooooooooo welcome.

My main reasons I wanted to start a blog is because I feel like a musician with a part time job NOT in their college field, is so so so common. We face the same problems and can all connect over the hilariousness that comes from being in these two completely different worlds.

Basically, I want to rant and rave about the horribleness that is customer service, and what the music world means to me. I find myself hilarious and outspoken. You may or may not agree. Whatever. I think I'm

I'll try to be as honest and as open as I can-- my bosses may actually read this thing......

But encourage me that you care, and subscribe!