Bill, aka the Crazy Clock Guy, aka Hey You (tallguy) wrote,
Bill, aka the Crazy Clock Guy, aka Hey You

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Work, work, work

I was on a business trip in New Jersey last week. The company I work for held their annual sales conference, and they wanted to show off their new warehouse and attached retail outlet store. Yours truly is the retail system expert, so off I went to sunny Secaucus for a week.

The trip actually started off pretty well. I landed on time Sunday afternoon, and rather than going straight to work, I sort of blew it off, checked into the hotel, and took it easy for the afternoon. I pretty much figured this would be the only real down time, and I was right, but more on that later.

That evening, I had dinner with my mom and sister. I really do love my family, but I can only take them in small doses. Two hours at Outback was just about right. As an aside, my sister will be coming out to Indy in August for the Brickyard 400. I think that Kat will be out of town that weekend.

Monday and Tuesday weren't too bad. Monday was a setup day, and I was pretty much left alone. That evening, I took advantage of the hotel's happy hour pricing, and got a little tipsy on dollar drinks. Tuesday was training, another pretty easy day. That evening, a bunch of us went into the city. I got there too late for evening mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral, but I did a circuit of the statues and lit a bunch of candles. Dinner in Little Italy (gnocchi and chianti at La Nonna; a small taste of what I missed in January), then back to the Waldorf to meet the others.

Wednesday was the big day, the start of our sale. Almost at once, we ran into technical issues. Normally, everything is shut down after 5:00pm, so we have a database backup and upload scheduled to run at 7:30pm...which was right in the middle of our busy sales period that night. Our systems slowed to a crawl, and nothing says "oh shit" like having to tell the new COO of the company that the cash registers are down. Amazingly, we managed to recover within a few minutes, and we closed on time and balanced both registers to within a dollar.

Thursday was a frickin' nightmare. They had setup a bus schedule to shuttle people from the Waldorf to our NJ stores, but people were refusing to leave after their allotted time was through. These elegant, refined women were literally throwing clothes on the floor, pushing and shoving each other out of the way, and in some cases, trying clothes on by stripping down to their underwear in the middle of the store. We were overwhelmed, and having two registers manned by inexperienced office workers just wasn't cutting it. The lines were out the door, and the only way they could alleviate them was to cut off the barcode tags, get an imprint of the customer's credit card, tell them that we would ring them up and charge their card when things eased off, and either get their shipping address or let them walk out with the clothes without knowing if their card was any good. The store closed at 7:30, but we didn't get out of there until well after 9:00. Both drawers were off by several thousand dollars in credit cards, but we were so tired, we just didn't care, and left the drawers until the next day.

However, the warehouse store was closed on Friday morning, and the warehouse was closed all day, because that was the day of the big company fashion show at the Waldorf Grand Ballroom. Work-wise, this was a pretty easy day. I got to have a little lie-in, waking up around 8:30. The office staff and I took the bus into the city (for my money, the best way to travel during rush hour) and got to see the fall and holiday runway show at the Waldorf. There's maybe a dozen items I liked; the rest was either too trendy or just not my cup of tea. The fashion show was over by 12:30, plenty of time for me to get to the 1:00 mass at St. Pats. After mass, my afternoon was my own. (For the most part: apparently after I left, the CEO announced that the store would be open, and convention attendees would receive the same special discount as the previous two days. Some quick phone calls with the store manager took care of them). Normally I would love to go to SoHo or the Village, maybe stop by a museum, and just walk around. Problem: I'm in a wool suit, and it's hot as balls. Lunch in Chinatown and a few cups of my beloved bubble tea, and I was done.

I had another reason for leaving the city early. I was taking part in a Rocky Horror cast reunion that evening. There will be a separate journal entry just about that, so if you want the sordid details, you can check it out. The important thing was that after the reunion, I didn't get back to my hotel until 5:00...Saturday morning.

I was a wreck Saturday at work. We still had to finish up the end-of-day from Thursday. I also realized that I forgot to send the end-of-day sales report to our inventory control person, so she was going to have literally thousands of inventory adjustments to do on Monday morning. Up to that point, the week was kind of fun, even with the nightmare which was Thursday. From Saturday morning on, I knew it was going to be some ball-busting hard work. I wasn't wrong. Saturday afternoon was another day of being bombarded by spoiled harpies, and another day of long lines, putting aside our carefully planned design for the sake of appeasing some impatient whiners, and another day when our credit cards were off by nearly a thousand dollars. By 9:00, all I wanted to do was go to the hotel and sleep, but our VP decided to take the office staff out to dinner. I was a zombie, but I sure couldn't say no. Two hours and two bottles of wine later, I got back to my room and managed to take my shoes and socks off before collapsing into bed.

Sunday morning, and thankfully the last day of the sale. The day did start off well; I went to morning mass with the VP and store manager, so that re-established me in their eyes as a nice Catholic boy. Things were quite a bit slower, but people still wouldn't leave. Our 12:00 closing time came and went, and we actually had to shut down the registers with customers still in the store so we could run our regularly scheduled system maintenance. FINALLY, 5:00 rolled around, and I left for the airport. Naturally, even that was fouled up. Bad weather elsewhere in the country delayed our plane and crew from arriving in Newark, and my 7:00 flight didn't leave the ground until 10:00. After a very exhausting week, I got home at 1:00am.

Let this be a lesson: the best laid plans of mice and men don't mean squat when management decides to pull the rug out from under you.
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