Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Flying J-ack of All Trades

I'll be honest and admit that I wanted to quit after my first day at Flying J. And after the second day...then after the first week...you can see where this is going.

But that was back in the middle of November and by some force of willpower, determination and perhaps divine intervention I'm still there. And keep in mind, I've had maybe 30 minutes worth of training. That's right, despite being there since November, I've not completed any of my J-Training (That's what they call it) which is required by all employees.

But lately I've been getting a lot of notice from people higher in the Flying J food chain. Last week my manager (Who shall be known as K) pulled me aside just before my shift was to start and threw me into a room with a lady from head office.

"Yeah, just talk," instructed K as he left the room.

Both and I the woman from corporate (Let's call her CL-for Corporate Lady!) felt a bit awkward because I don't think either of us knew what this was about or what we were supposed to say. We just stood there for 10 seconds until I decided to break the ice with some lame ass humour.

"My hobbies include cooking, reading, boxing...and even though I don't look like it, I do like to lift weights," which earned a laugh though whether it was genuine or not doesn't matter. It turns out that she wanted to see me because apparently I'm getting a lot of praise, not just from other employees but from customers as well.

You know, while I am appreciative of positive feedback, I would really like it if it was said to my face instead via proxy. I mean, it pisses me off when people talk shit behind my back, imagine how annoying it is when they're saying good things behind your back.

I could sort of tell though that I was progressing a lot quicker than people who had been hired months before I started. Right now I work at the fuel desk, the restaurant as a cashier and shortly I'm going to be getting training to dispense propane...though I have a feeling that's unlikely. It really is quite a juggling act. I've got to go to fuel desk, then relieve restaurant cashier for her two breaks and half hour lunch as well as do my best to maintain the store cleanliness. Also I've been put into the position of head cashier, which means that on top of taking an inventory of all cigarettes and cash, if there are no managers around, the buck stops with me. Which also makes it very awkward when some dillhole comes screaming about something I don't know about because I haven't been trained in that area. My advanced apologies to Mr. and Mrs. Dickhead.

Yeah, it also seems that I have good customer relation skills. Which isn't that surprising to me. I've always worked good with people who aren't assholes and who have the patience to let me help them. One time I had to call a credit card company to correct something that went wrong with a female trucker's transaction. I spent about 15 minutes on the phone and genuinely felt bad for the lady because if this wasn't corrected, she would have to pay for the fuel and not get reimbursed by her company. When I was all done I just leaned in on the counter and said, "Listen, even though this wasn't my fault (It wasn't-someone else made the mistake), I still feel bad about this happening and the whole waiting process. If you want, just go to the fountain drink, get whatever drink you want in whatever sized cup you want-it's on me."
She seemed really surprised and satisfied with this result and in a way, it satisfied me too.

A lot of people I work with don't know how to deal with people. One night a few weeks ago, one of my cashiers had a customer at his till. The customer had given the cashier (who shall be known as G) the money and if he had offered a penny, he wouldn't get a buttload of change back. However he did not have a penny. Usually in these cases, I just shrug it off, throw a penny of my own in there or just pretend that I threw a penny in there. Because when they check our numbers at the end of the day, a penny isn't going to sound a lot of alarms. Instead, G-who can be a real dick if he wants to be-decided not to offer a penny. I was very close to walking down to his till myself and throwing a penny but by that point it was too late. The customer was furious (I can understand his point of view-It's a fucking penny, G!) and vowed never to return. Instead of ignoring what he said, G retorted with how his till had to balance at the end of his shift or he would get in trouble (Again-It's a fucking penny, G!). The customer cursed G out to which G replied loudly, "Eat shit, sir!"

Either G was just being an asshole on purpose or he's worried about pennies that badly. K was there to hear the last few words and later spoke to me about it because he was just surprised at what happened. He seemed to be more on the customer's side than G which didn't surprise me because it's a fucking penny! Plus he should have really said something to G about telling a customer to eat shit. If that customer was mentally unstable or just a bigger dickhead than average, G would most likely be trying to fight off the customer and I think it's safe to assume that G can't fight to save his life. In fact if you hear a grown man ask the question, "Who do you like more, Liza Minelli or Judy Garland" then I think we can assume that he can't fight at all. Maybe like a girl but that doesn't count too much.
Bad customers cannot be sworn at. You've got to be firm with them and at the same time, very calm. I'm studying a lot of Marco Pierre White's techniques on this.

Right now there's a lot of hinting that I might be up for promotion as soon as my 90 days are through (Trust me it's felt a lot longer than 90 days already). Now what is involved in this promotion, I have no idea, I intend to ask K about it. But if it means more money, then maybe I'll stay longer than I thought I would

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