Wednesday December 02 , 2015

Boycott Black Friday, Dammit!

So I gave notice, two weeks because I’m nothing if not passive aggressive and the two weeks is professional but also gets me out of working Black Friday, so now I want to spread the word, which is this: Boycott Black Friday.

Okay, three words.

Whatever you need to do, tie yourself down, lock yourself up, do not go shopping on Black Friday.

And tell your friends, family, strangers, frenemies, trolls, colleagues to stay out of the stores on Black Friday, too.

It’s the least we can do for ourselves. Literally, as Bill Maher would say.


Sunny Ways in Paris

Just thinking about our governing politicians at the climate change conference in Paris and wondering if any of them will make a link between free trade deals and ruined environments and economies…


But Enough About Me, What Do YOU Think of Me

So just an update to “Our Lady of the Blouse She Must Buy After Closing”.

She did, actually, complain to head office, fudging the timing of the incident, as the righteous sometimes do.

The manager wasn’t working yesterday, so the assistant manager had to have a talk with me to clarify just what had happened, the customer always being right (as opposed to just being the customer), and so on and so forth and more of the same etc etc.

And so now I have an ending to the book I was stalled in writing.

It was while the assistant manager (we’ve had our ups and downs) quizzed me about timing/attitude that I realized my decision to deny a customer her right to shop, was a deliberate one.

Sure, maybe if she’d been nice, sucked up a bit, I would have made a different decision.

But maybe not.

Whatever, I have no regrets. In fact, I’m relieved that it happened the way it did. She shifted me out of neutral, made change happen, and it’s all good.

The assistant manager spent the rest of my shift playing a game we both like to play, she’s from the school of hard knocks and I’m from the house of soft landings, but we kept ending up in a tie.

It was fun, we were learning stuff, puzzling through how it is, action and reaction, adversaries on the same team. I’d be over in the corner folding sweaters, she’d come at me from another angle, but instead of a defense move, I’d just sort of ease her in to the parking spot beside me.

Because we both knew by then, I guess I’d probably decided when I told the customer “we’re closed”, that I was quitting.

So today I’ll give notice. It’s a skill I need to work on, knowing when/how to quit a job. It’s something we don’t learn in school but should, especially nowadays in this ridiculous race to the bottom of employment.

Anyway, having spent the past couple of years on the other side of the counter, I just want to remind you, dear reader, to be a good customer, lower your expectations so that you don’t expect much at all, and be nice out there.



Save the World – Stop Shopping

Maybe you’ve noticed, there’s no work like hard work, no working people like hard working people.

The job I do for money, as you know, is part-time and for minimum wage selling ladieswear to women who already have so many clothes that if you laid them hem to hem they’d circle the burning Amazon forest a grabillion times.

I had an incident last night at closing.

Extended hours have started but not everybody is aware of it yet so we were hoping for a quiet last hour in which to tidy and clean the store. Also, the manager I was closing with isn’t technically a manager so she’s a real stickler for the little details.

I like her, but she’s a pain in the ass.

Anyway, we were all three of us still working at the end of the day kind of chomping at the bit for closing time. It had been a long day of Christmas music and demanding older customers and we were pretty much done in. Finally it came, we watch across the way to see if the store opposite is closing, too, and I locked the doors.

Then we noticed a straggler had slipped in. We’re supposed to accommodate them but I just said, nicely, “Oh I’m sorry. We didn’t see you there. We’re closed actually.”

The not-quite-a manager was nervous, she’s not from these parts, but I said, “Oh relax. This one’s on me if anybody asks. But this woman is no more going to buy clothes than I am.”

She’s kind of a bag lady type who comes in the store from time to time. Not homeless, just odd. Sometimes she’s tries to return stuff she’s come across elsewhere. It can be awkward because she can be very insistent and the store will do anything to avoid controversy except pay cash for found stuff.

But she was all apologies and smiles and I ushered her out.

Just then, a middle-aged well-heeled ball buster showed up and immediately pointed to her watch.

“Oh can I come in and buy a shirt? I know what I want. Let me in and I’ll buy it.”

But I couldn’t very well let her in when I was ushering out another “customer” so I said, “No, I’m sorry. We’re closed.”

Also, the not-quite-a-manager (and never to be one) had closed the cash.

“C’mon, it’s just 6:00 now! Let me in!”

But suddenly I’d had enough of all of them and fuck her so I just said, “No, sorry. We’re closed.” Again. And locked the door. Again.

And as I was doing that she got really angry and shouted, “I can’t believe you’re doing this to me! You just missed a sale! And I’m complaining to your head office about this!”

So I added, “Okay. You do that.” And walked away from the door, a little bit confused that she would think I’d give a shit about a missed sale.

Later I called her a “stupid bitch” to the not-quite-a-manager and then had to clarify that I hadn’t called her that then, I was calling her that now.

English is not her first language so that part took a while.

And I told her, “Look, it’s on me. When head office sucks up to her by coming down on somebody I’ll make sure it’s me. I’ve been looking for an excuse to quit before Christmas anyway.”

But that just upset her more because the thought of someone quitting before Christmas is horrifying even to a not-quite-manager.

The thing is, when I left the store I was kind of looking over my shoulder in case the crazy bitch wanted to harangue me some more, something I’d probably respond to with less decorum than that used when I was on-the-clock (although not, actually, since it turned out the not-quite-manager had clocked me out at closing, which was a good minute or two before I locked the door for the final time).

But then I realized, of course she wouldn’t be heading for the bus like I was, she’d be driving her own car home.

I always said that if it got to the point where I really didn’t like the customers anymore it was time to quit (total lie, I’ve never said that) so I’ll keep you posted, but, in the meantime, I’ve certainly had enough of feeling like I have to qualify as “hardworking” to be a real citizen.

There is no virtue in work and definitely no virtue in retail.

Save the world – stop shopping.



From One State of Grace to Another

There’s an inevitability to the TPP train coming at us that no amount of reason can stop, I suspect.

We’re just witness to the crossing of i’s and dotting of t’s.

Money always wins at the Game of Money.

And JT already said on the campaign trail, loud and clear, “Liberals are free traders”.

Never mind that the TPP isn’t free and it’s not trade, it’s how it is now. Governing politicians abdicated their responsibility to properly regulate the marketplace some time ago.

Multi-national corporate entities are our new gods.

I blog about my latest gig, working in retail, because people who haven’t fallen from that state of grace afforded by birthright need, I think, to know how it is for those of us who have.

And it’s fine, but it’s not what any of us expected, and the people who tend to get elected to government will not likely experience it and so can and will ignore how it is.

There’s a lot of blinders wearing in politics. The truth doesn’t set politicians free, it inconveniences them.

Christmas is the big shitshow of retail and it’s coming up while Syrian refugees, whose plight we’re in part responsible for, scramble for survival on the other side of the world.

My Conservative friend trotted out some vintage propaganda in the car yesterday but I just said no, not today, I’m not up for blaming the other for our own excesses.

Not today. Not tomorrow. Not anymore.



Fuck Off, Saudi Arabia, Because It’s 2015

“Well maybe that’s your experience on a bus, Peter… a lot of people take the bus every day to go to work.”

Yes, we do. In fact, my round trip plus a coffee and muffin cancels out one whole hour of a five hour shift, which is the most we can get at the store I work in right now.

Usually the shift is less than five hours so that, by Ontario law, we don’t have to be given a break.

Anyway, the quote is JT zinging Peter Mansbridge, who thought he would point out the unlikelihood of Team Trudeau riding the bus together to Parliament for their swearing in – ever riding a bus together again.

My guess is it’s been years since any of Team Trudeau took public transit, but whatever. Lots of people don’t, I guess, although lots of Ottawa public servants certainly do. I suspect they’re they only reason OC Transpo survives.

The thing is, JT had already pointed out that the bus ride was just a practical team-building and showcasing exercise, and that the limos would be taking over soon enough and that would be the end of it.

It was Mansbridge suggesting that the stunt brought to mind a bus ride to summer camp, adding that they should be singing “Kumbaya”, that inspired the comeback.

Gratifying it was. I’m so tired of “Kumbaya” snark, aren’t you?

Right, peace is for children, war is for adults. Got it.

But I’m also tired of the chauffeured limousine status quo, the implication that governing politicians are adults in need of sequestering from the childlike public who take transit.

I believe quite sincerely that an end to limos would be the only real change necessary. Forget everything else and remember public transit.

What else am I tired of… oh yeah… the constant drumbeat that the Finance portfolio is somehow more important than Environment, Justice, or Health, and that giving it and Foreign Affairs to men negates the “because it’s 2015″ answer to the question of why gender parity in Cabinet.

I’m tired of that, too.

The Finance Minister’s job is to placate the Bay Street Suits who speculate and make money from money while providing no useful product or service to Canadian society.

Of course it has to be a man.

Even better that it’s a man who’s played the game and knows where all the gaping tax loopholes are to be found for exploitation by all our wealthy parasites so that he can close them.

I bet he’s just chomping at the bit. Think of the revenue it would bring in to our depleted coffers.

But you know what would be refreshing is if Team Trudeau, now that it’s achieved gender parity, were to insist that doing business with the Saudi royal misogynist mafia is wrong “because it’s 2015″.

That would be great and real change, too, and I can hardly wait for it to happen.

Okay. Holding my breath. Wish me luck.





Men’s Lip

Not sure about Prime Minister Justin’s promise that 50% of cabinet positions will go to men.

Studies have proven over and over and over that women will work harder and for less money.

Oh well, time will tell, I guess.


Stop Baby What’s That Sound

Why Christmas, of course.

So yesterday I opened with the store manager while one of our occasional workers who’s trying to get a job supply teaching but good luck with that in Ottawa these days unpacked the rest of the November collection.

Cripes, late in the season much HQ? The November collection is supposed to be over by November, stupids!

Anyway, we were doing infill, which is replenishing sold product and moving as many sale items from the stock room as we can jam into the sales racks, when the music came on.

The Beebs, actually, or, at least, I’m guessing it’s The Beebs, singing “Sannnta Claus Is Coming to Town, Sannnta Claus Is Coming to Town, San-ta Claus Is Co-ming to Town”.

The store manager stared at me in disbelief, “Oh my God, Sooey. It’s too early for this. We haven’t even had Remembrance Day. Could they not have waited until after Remembrance Day, at least?”

I don’t know how I missed that she has no control over the music piped into the store but clearly she doesn’t.

It was a longer than usual shift for me because one of our new hires is delicate, but also conscientious, and when she’s sick she stays away until every last germ is gone. She won’t last because if there’s one thing retail depends on it’s employees coming to work whether we’re sick or not.

But anyway, the thing is, not only are our customs not into The Beebs, if that’s who it is, and I’m pretty sure it’s The Beebs, but three of them actually went out of their way to complain about the store playing Christmas music before Remembrance Day had passed.

Because they’re the age to notice that sort of thing, as I guess the eedjits at HQ aren’t?


It’s going to be a long holiday season, I can tell already.



Department of Har


Sooey Says, Government Armchair Strategist

I don’t plan to blog much about politics anymore because “enh” but it occurred to me this morning that the best way for JT to get around Conservative senators threatening already to block his legislative agenda would be to appoint all the NDP MPs defeated in the ABC vote that helped elect him Prime Minister to the Senate.

Lots of good people to Pinko up the Senate while the Canadian Left goes about finding itself.

Also it would relieve the NDP of its stupid policy to abolish the Senate, a stupid policy that really is more trouble than it’s worth, and let it move on to… better.

Hey maybe even appoint Tom Mulcair to the Senate. Keep him busy and out of the way while we go about it. And when I say we I mean whoever the Canadian Left is who isn’t me because I’m more into complaining while I secretly enjoy downsizing and living on as little income as possible than I am into politics now.

Okay, that’s all. Carry on, PMJT.