October 31st, 2006


Scott Adams is a funny man

From Electronic Voting Machines

I think about the history of ATMs when I hear all the nervous Nellies wetting their pants over electronic voting machines. I believe those worries are totally misplaced. Now don’t get me wrong – there’s a 100% chance that the voting machines will get hacked and all future elections will be rigged. But that doesn’t mean we’ll get a worse government. It probably means that the choice of the next American president will be taken out of the hands of deep-pocket, autofellating, corporate shitbags and put it into the hands of some teenager in Finland. How is that not an improvement?

Statistically speaking, any hacker who is skilled enough to rig the elections will also be smart enough to select politicians that believe in . . . oh, let’s say for example, science. Compare that to the current method where big money interests buy political ads that confuse snake-dancing simpletons until they vote for the guy who scares them the least. Then during the period between the election and the impending Rapture, that traditionally elected President will get busy protecting the lives of stem cells while finding creative ways to blow the living crap out of anything that has the audacity to grow up and turn brownish.

Hard Hat

Work compliments on the news-stand

I haven't posted any adventures in retail land lately. Cause really, it's the same stuff different day.

My basic schedule is this: I work at shelving until 11 a.m. Some days (Thursdays and Saturdays) I go home after this. Other days I work in receiving until 3 p.m.

As far as shelving, I am not consistently shelving the same areas, so I am not really getting particularly fast at it. If a shelver does the same shelves for a while, it goes a lot quicker because he/she instinctively knows what's on each shelf already. The shelver knows that shelf X ends with Marrs and shelf Y ends with Rand. I can then grab exactly what goes on these shelves, and I don't have to read the authors or titles, instead I'm looking for visual clues (colors, book thicknesses, patterns, etc.).

Today I was slower than normal. I don't know exactly why. I felt lightheaded some. Not sure if I didn't have enough nourishment, or enough water, or if it was just some random thing. I only finished two carts in 4 hours, which is 3+ cart shelves per hour. Our official standard is supposed to be 10 shelves per hour, though from looking at the official times the experienced shelvers are getting more around 6 to 8 shelves per hour. I can do around 4 to 4.5 shelves per hour currently. Well, except today where I was running at maybe 70% of that.

On the other hand, I did receive a nice compliment from the news-stand zone lead. The one area I have consistently been shelving is magazines. It's a bit different than books (obviously). The cues are totally different, though that isn't so tough, once you are looking for them instinctively. But also you gotta take the old magazines off the shelf as well. In books, once a month every book is scanned to see if it should still be on the shelf. If it's on the due out list, it gets yanked. Also at that time, the person doing the scanning is supposed make sure everything is shelved properly. This process is called zone maintenance. But the shelvers don't remove books. The same thing sorta happens with newsstand. Only it's pretty much only the zone lead who does that. But, in addition to that, when I put a new magazine on the shelf, I have to look for older issues of that magazine and remove them. Which wouldn't be too difficult except that we carry 3 or 4 versions of some magazines, and other magazines all have similar titles. For instance, we must have 6 different versions of Vogue magazine: U.S., U.K., Spain, Italy, Russia, and France. I'm probably forgetting others. And every quilting magazine (we gotta be carrying like 20 of them) uses the same stylized Q, so the visual clues are tough there. Other differences: all magazines must go out. For books, if there's no room, I may massage books up or down a shelf to create room, but if that won't work, the books go back on the cart to be shelved another day. In news-stand, I have to make room somewhere. If that means moving 5 or 6 magazines to make room for one, I gotta do that. I've been doing this every day since week one, so I've gotten fastest at this. I average around 5.5 to 6.5 shelves per hour here (well, except for today).

But on top of this, the zone lead told me today that I do this very well, that most shelvers suck at doing news-stand.

By the way, for those of my friends who think I can't take compliments well, I can. Recently, I've been getting grief because I rolled my eyes and otherwise displayed a dismissive attitude when I received compliments for my hair cut. See, I didn't cut my hair. So getting 30+ compliments over that just fall on deaf ears. It's also like telling me that my previous hair sucked, which I happen to disagree on. And only Jason and his family ever complained about the long hair. And only recently. If the previous hair sucked, the person should have told me. So mostly hearing these compliments feels like everyone wanted to join my Bubblehead Validation Brigade. But receiving compliments about something that I've actually done, like make an excellent pie, or shelve an magazines awesomely, well, that feels good. And I can accept those compliments quite well, thank you very much.