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HomeOpinionThe Papa Files by Vincent Cardegin

The Papa Files by Vincent Cardegin

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We had two trucks last night, yet this morning we only had seven pallets of new freight; usually it’s around fifteen. Four were charcoal, one was skyrat food, one was solid-packed with weed killer, and the last was six feet of various boxes.  Later, Senor Cargador pulled another eyebrow-high pallet of mixed items from the annex.  We worked on freight all day, and when I left at three, half of the annex pallet was still on the patio.

My collective name for freight that takes more than two hours to stock is Fright:

“How much freight did we have?” a second-shift worker asked me.

“We had a fright,” I said.

And if it takes more than an hour to bin the overstock, I call that a Frightful:

“Everything going good?” a friend at the break table asked.

“We had a Fright, and then it was Frightful.”

And indeed we had a lot of overstock to bin, four days’ worth in the back.  But we finally got it all up, except for the one of mixed items.  Shuffy did most of it, and I finished while he had to zone, which is pulling products forward on the shelves of many departments, and lately there’s a list that tells workers where to go for that.  It’s actually a cosmetic fix for a lack of proper stocking, and a few times when I was on the list, I stood perfectly still in an aisle when a member of management was walking by, and when he asked me what I was doing, and I told him, in my best mimicry of a hippy, “I’m zoning, man.”  But it took two hours to finish binning, and so it was Frightful.

After I came back from lunch, Snappy, our department head, made me get on a register, and I checked out one customer with eight items, and then the lines were down to zero.  What was the point of me doing that?  I am not a cashier, do not spend all day practicing that job, and will not remember most of what anyone shows me during any brief tutoring of how to resolve the particular problems of that job description.  All that does is stress me out.  So I call whenever I get on the register a Frightened.

A friendly member of management asked: “How’s it going?”

Me: “Well, we had a Fright, and then it was Frightful, and next I was Frightened.”

Management: “Humm?  What?  Why is the freight taking so long?”

Not long after my last break, we were without a cashier for about thirty minutes.  I had prepped the pallet of overstock weed killer, stretch-wrapping it, and forklifted it to GM, where Hardyboy binned it on top of the steel, and then I pulled a bale out, and a pallet of molded pools, and helped an automotive guy pull two pallets of rider-mower batteries from TLE to Garden where he stocked them on an endcap next to where our push-mowers are.  So I couldn’t get on the register, and I wasn’t going to.  My deal with upper management was that I only hopped on when the lines were long, not to cover breaks or lunches.  So I call this situation of management not scheduling enough register coverage, Screwed.

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At home, my wife asked: “How was your day?”

Me: “Well, it was a Fright, and later it became Frightful, and then I was Frightened, and after that we were Screwed.”

My wife: “Hmm?  What?  Take out the garbage.”

Reflecting on it now, it was actually an interesting day.

P.S. When I went on my first break this morning I found two Assmags and two Comags at Smacky D’s ordering breakfast.  When I was down to five minutes of my fifteen-minute break waiting in line, I finally grabbed a bottle of Starbucks from the cooler in front of a self-checkout, scanned it, and quickly drank it at the smoke table with only one cigarette.  Well, darn them!  They’re salaried, right?  Their income is another digit before the dot more than anything the workers make, right?  Couldn’t they call for a breakfast delivery from a Cordon Bleu or some such place?


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