Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Doggie Bag Days Season 3: Day 29

When I had come to start my shift, a box of linens was waiting just outside the front of the store. So, I took those to the back when I got in.
As I normally do, I put whatever clothes had been priced since I had ended my last shift onto their respective display racks. After that, as usual, I transferred some clothes from the back room over to the pricing rack in the middle room. However, just before I was about to tag, I saw a note from the manager that said not to tag anything this time (mainly because there was a problem with the tagging gun) and to instead separate the summer clothes in the back room from the ones meant for the fall and winter. So, that's what I did with help from someone else on the staff. For the time being, we generally have summer clothes closer to the front of the room and fall and winter clothes closer to the back of the room.

After doing that, I looked through the box of linens that had come in this morning, pulling and stained ones to be recycled. Shortly after I did that, I put whatever linens we still currently have in the back room into two plastic boxes in order to help tame a donation pile in front of the back room counter a bit. I found some clothes in said pile (including a slip whose tag said it was from 1933) that had evidently fallen from the counter at some point and put those on the counter to be hung up. One bag that I went through this afternoon had some clothes in it (which I put aside for the manager to look at and decide what she wanted or didn't want to keep to put up for sale), but it mostly consisted of lotions, shampoos, etc. I consolidated those into two small bags that were still in the back room. I also washed a few mugs and plates.

So, yeah, it's been a pretty busy day for me. I'm not sure if I will be resuming tagging on Friday (although I think that clothing coming in has calmed down a little bit anyway), but if not, I'm sure there will be something else awaiting my attention.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My Day So Far

As I had mentioned in previous posts, I try to stay busy all day every day. This morning, I vacuumed the rug in my room, loaded/unloaded the dishwasher as needed, read a chapter of a book I am reading, and did my fifteen minute editing sessions for two out of three of my novel drafts, did 26 sit-ups and 26 push-ups, laundry, and survey emails.
I have some time left until I need to get ready to go to a photo shoot. So, until time for me to get ready, I plan to do my last fifteen minute editing session for the day and fill out as many online applications as possible. (Whatever I don't get done of the latter for today, I'll plan on for Thursday.)

In closing, it has and will probably continue to be a full day for me.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Doggie Bag Days Season 3: Day 28

This morning, one of my first orders of business was to bring in some bags of donations that had been waiting for us just outside the front door. (Evidently, the donation gnomes showed up over the weekend.)
I had gotten some clothes from the back room transferred to the middle room to be tagged and priced. However, I wasn't able to get to the actual tagging until later in the afternoon as there were more urgent matters to attend to such as trasnferring whatever full-length pants were on one of the front racks in the backroom to one of the racks closer to the back (as we're holding off on putting out any more full-length pants until further notice), and getting belts, shoes, purses, linens, and hats into recycle bags. While I was at it, I got clothing from one rack that was closer to a wall to one of the racks closer to the middle of the room so that it could be easier to access when it was time to transfer it to the middle room. I also washed a few dishes that had presumably come in on a previous day and steamed a few shirts that were wrinkled.

When I finally was able to get to tagging clothing in the middle room (after the manager had pulled a few items that she didn't like enough to put up for sale), I had probably less than an hour left on my shift. So, I ran some white-out on some tags that needed it. (There were up to maybe three or four that did.) After that, I looked for some colorful hangers to bundle up (since we're selling them in bundles of 10 at 3 bundles for $1.00) and then hung up a few things that were on the counter in the back room. (Surprisingly, we didn't get slammed with clothing donations this time, at least not when I was on duty. That could change by Wednesday when I go in.)

That's been my day today. I'm hoping that whatever clothing has been tagged today will be priced and ready for me to put out when I come in on Wednesday that way I can get more clothes tagged and ready to go and we can be all caught up on clothes (or at least put in more of a dent in them before we have another clothing ambush).

Friday, June 24, 2011

Doggie Bag Days Season 3: Day 27

I was kind of all over the place today either running the register, whiting out tags, putting tags on clothes, putting priced clothes out, or straightening things throughout the store.
As of today, we have a new cashier. I don't know what her hours will be.

At some point today, someone donated a cabinet. Unfortunately, some glass had broken inside of it. The manager and someone else was able to get the big bulk of said glass out, but I was needed to get out the smaller pieces.

Later on, someone donated mutiple boxes of stuff, much of which pertained to an apple theme. Some of it was ceramic stuff, which I washed.

That's been my day today. I don't know what next week will be like.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Doggie Bag Days Season 3: Day 26

Today, I started out by putting out clothes that had been priced. I also drew red lines through the price tags on the shorts on the outside rack (which are at fifty cents at this time) in order to make it easier to keep track of which ones came from that rack. Then I inspected and tagged whatever clothing was on the pricing rack in the middle room. After I tagged everything that was on that, I transferred what I could from the back room to said rack.
I ran out of room on the pricing rack shortly after the manager had shown up in the afternoon. Around that time, someone donated a bunch of vases. Most of them needed to be washed, so I did that until there were more clothes ready to be tagged. After I finished tagging, I finished up washing what was left of the vases. After that, I ran some white-out on some tags that had been taken off on clothes that evidently had overstayed their welcome on the sales floor and were therefore being recycled.

When I finished all of that, I used what few minutes I had left to clean up a pile of hangers some in the back room.

In closing, it's been a pretty busy day. I'm hoping I can get more of a dent made in the clothing on Friday.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Doggie Bag Days Season 3: Day 25

Today has been a very busy day for those of us who were on duty. Most of the time I was either tagging clothes, putting out clothes that had been priced, covering for the manager on the register (as she was in and out of the back room throughout the day), or straightening up parts of the store.
As of today, we have an outdoor rack consisting of shorts that are 25 cents each. We're also doing a sale on clothes of buy one get one free.

An hour before time for me to leave, another volunteer came in and took over on the register. I guess she's covering one of the shifts that the cashier that had recently left us used to have.

That's been my day today. I can't wait to see what Wednesday will bring.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Doggie Bag Days Season 3: Day 24

Today, getting a lot of clothes priced and put out was a high priority today. I spent a lot of the day either tagging clothes or putting them out. There some formal dresses that had been on the sales floor for a really long time, but since they had overstayed their welcome there, they had to be recycled. There were also a few garments that were wrinkled needed the steamer run on them, so I took care of that as well.
For a short while, the manager's boyfriend, who comes on Fridays  to pick up whatever empty cardboard boxes we have to be recylced, was around for a little bit. While he was there, the cashier had brought to the back room some books that had to be recycled, so he joked about "all the knowledge" that she was throwing away.

It turns out that said cashier has gotten a job somewhere else (though I don't know whether or not it's through a program she's involved in), and today was her last day with us. Within an hour before time for me to leave, those of us who were on duty (including the manager) had a little goodbye party for her. I'm hoping we'll see her again sometime.

That's been my day today. I'm hoping we'll get more of a dent in the clothes next week.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

My Day Today

Today, my plans in the morning were to buy a Father's Day card for my stepdad (the content of which I'm not going to mention just to be safe), turn in an application I had obtained and filled out on Tuesday, follow up on three convenience store applications I had turned in during a previous week, and request applications from a couple of liquor stores in town. In the afternoon, I would read a chapter of Candle in the Window (a book I'm currently on), do surveys that I had been invited to by email, give the three novel drafts on my computer 15 minutes each of editing time, do 26 sit-ups and 26 push-ups. If there was anytime left before five after I had done all of these, I would work on cleaning my gmail box until five.
I was successful in most of theses endeavors. I got the card and turned in the application I had filled out. When I did the follow-up at one conveniece store, it turned out that the hiring manager was on the phone at the time, so she had the cashier on duty get my name and my phone number. At the second place I followed up at, I supposedly had come at what would normally be the right time, but something came up with the owner of the store. The clerk on duty there said that as far has he knew, they weren't hiring at the moment, but he could be wrong. At the third store I followed up at, the assistant manager said that the manager hadn't started the interviews yet but would be in a couple of weeks.

I didn't really have any better luck with the application requests either. At the first store I requested one from, the staff member on duty said that he did not personally have access to the applications and that the owner was not in. (Unfortunately, the times that he said the owner would be in were times when I'd normally be at the Doggie Bag.) At the second store that I requested an application from, I was told that they weren't hiring, especially since the summer tends to be rather slow for them business wise. Oh well, at least I tried, right?

I was able to keep busy this afternoon. After I at lunch, I read the chapter Candle in the Window that I had planned on reading (as I've set myself a goal to read one chapter of whatever book from my reading list that I'm currently on), went through my survey emails (only to find out that I was either too late or I ended up not qualifying), gave each of my novels 15 minutes of editing time (which I try to do every day), did 26 sit-ups and 26 push-ups. (These days I try to do match my age in these. I've got to do something to get some exercise into my life.) I had roughly an hour left over after I did all of these, so I worked on cleaning my gmail box until five, as that has piled up quite a bit lately. (I had more than 10,000 emails in there. I was able to get it less than 10,000 before five, but I still have a LONG way to go on that.)

Yes, it's tempting to stray from "The Schedule," but so far my piddling around on my non-Doggie Bag days, either at home or in public, has been minimized. Having a schedule/task list for each day (around Doggie Bag hours for Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and all day on Tuesday and Thursday) has helped me in predicting the day, and that it can be a full and productive one at that. It also goes to show that if I formalize plans to do something (especially if it's something that I've slacked off on), then I'm forced to do it, which will rule out thoughts of "I'm bored" and/or "I don't feel like doing that". I found that with longer tasks, such as the editing and the email box cleaning, it helps to allot short-ish amounts of time to it each day and thus it can be treated as a finite task that is over with once it's done rather than something that could drag on indefinitely (which is not a plus for me given my short attention span). 

Having said that, I try to keep the schedule semi-flexible. For instance, ideally, I will have lunch between 12 and 1, but this is not always feasible as sometimes, I'm not home from my errands (both job-related and non-job-related) until after one. I would also need to work around any appointments I have (such as a photography one that I have a week from this coming Tuesday) and anything else that comes up. I hope that the structure in my life that I'm trying to develop this summer will carry over into other seasons.

Doggie Bag Days Season 3: Day 23

One of the first things I did today was put out some clothes that had been priced (though I may have put a few in the wrong place by mistake). The rest of the day I mostly tagged whatever clothes I could. I had run out of tags at some point and went somewhere not too far away to buy more, sometime after my shift, I found out from the manager that there were some extra tags in the closet, thus my buying the ones that I did was not really necessary. (Either I had not gotten the memo about the extra tags or I had completely forgotten.) Needless to say, I felt like an idiot last night (and still do) for my dumb move. (I had over an hour left on my shift. If it was like, within the last half hour or so, I wouldn't have messed with it but instead directed my attention on some other task.)
At one point I had used the steamer to de-wrinkle a pair of otherwise nice khaki shorts. After I did that, I had decided to give the steamer to a chance to cool down before putting it up. But did I ever remember to put it up? No. And of course, I'm hoping I'm not in too much trouble in the event it should come up tomorrow. (And I really need to stop doing dumb stuff like that if I wish to be a good example for the rest of the staff.)

At some other point yesterday, one of my colleagues brought it to my attention that some of the racks, especially the one for men's shorts, didn't have much on them. There had been some other day when the manager had me price some men's shorts as the respective rack for that literally left a lot to be desired. So, I took the liberty of pricing whatever ones I (or rather someone else on the staff) was able to find that were in decent shape, priced them, and put them out. I'm hoping that it's 1) okay with the manager that I did that and 2) I wasn't too off the mark in the pricing. If I've messed up in that area, that's another strike against me.

Obviously, yesterday wasn't my smoothest day. I don't know if I'm going to be in trouble tomorrow, but I'm hoping that on Monday at least, I can start over on a clean slate.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Developing An 8/9-5 Mentality

When I'm not at the Doggie Bag (which I've given frequent accounts of), at church on Sunday, or have some other engagement on any given day, it's very tempting for me to be quite lazy in the day, despite all the things that I could and/or should be doing. I was especially susceptible to this on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
This month, though, I've been striving for more structure in my life. This week, I've come up with the idea of a schedule/task list to keep me busy from either eight or (at the latest) nine in the morning until after five at nights. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I generally schedule in job search stuff and other errands to run that day (such as taking recycleables to the college campus bins) and maybe some chores around the house (such as laundry, dishes, maybe some outdoor work).  On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, most of the hours are occupied by my shift at the Doggie Bag. However, for all of the days of the week, I want to make sure to do any online surveys for which I get invites for (at least before five) as well as accomplish the following, before and/or after my shift at the Doggie Bag and before or (most likely) after having done my job search stuff:
  • Read at least one chapter of whatever book I'm on
  • 15 minutes of editing for each of the three novel drafts I have on my computer (this is one of those tasks that takes an indefinite amount of time to fully complete and one for which my short attention span doesn't handle very well; so, if I can commit to at least some time to it, I can feel as "accomplished" as I would with a more finite task)
  • My age in sit-ups and in push-ups
If I complete, the above tasks and anything else I have planned for that day, before five, I will find something else to do, such as cleaning my gmail or weeding the patio to keep me busy at least until after five. But I intend to get the reading, editing and exercising tasks done every single day, even if they don't get done until after five. I also plan to do those three things on Saturdays when I have time on my hands at home as well as before or (more likely) after church on Sunday. If nothing else, it'll keep me from having that "I'm bored" feeling in my head. The difference between the weekends and the rest of the week though is that I won't be on as rigid of a schedule on the weekends. But getting the reading, the exercising, and the editing time out of the way will make me more free to do other things guilt-free. What I might do is place myself under the rule that I won't do extracurricular web stuff until those three things are done. (Believe me, that's a weakness of mine.)

Well, that's what I've come up with so far. I may have to make changes further down the road.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Doggie Bag Days Season 3: Day 22

Most of the day, I was either tagging clothes or putting them out after they had been priced. One of the higher priorities in that area was capri pants in order to fill the gaps in the respective rack.
This afternoon the guy who comes to pick up our clothing to be recycled came. He said that he wasn't able to make it in last Thursday like he normally would've as something had come up. It was a relief that he was able to come today as we had a LOT of bags. From my understanding, depending on the condition of the clothing collected, it's either sent to third world countries or scrapped and made into a new garment. The manager and I handed the guy the bags to be loaded into the truck.

After that guy had left, I resumed tagging clothes but also brought up a set of bowling pins (which had shown up last week) up to the register so that the cashier on duty could price them.

In closing, it's been a pretty busy day, and I'm sure Wednesday will be as well.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Doggie Bag Days Season 3: Day 21

As of either today or yesterday, the bargain room we have had for a while is no more. It wasn't working out as well as the manager had hoped. So, the room that we had been using as the bargain room will be used to accommodate kids' stuff instead, and the "bargains" will be throughout the store.
One of the things that needed done today was for a bowling pin set to be cleaned up. I and one other person did that. After that, I cleared some stuff from the "bargain shelves" per the manager's request and brought it up to the counter up front. Some of the items had to be re-priced before they could be placed elsewhere in the store.

In the afternoon, I mostly tagged some clothes and attempted to get some mens' shorts priced and put out because, according to the manager, the new rack for that didn't have a lot of them on it. I'm hoping I've gotten the prices at least pretty close to what they should be. I'd probably need to dig through the clothes in the back to find more. I stayed a little over what I normally do in order to get at least some mens' shorts out.

That's been my day today. Who knows what Monday will bring?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Doggie Bag Days Season 3: Day 20

Today, I made it my business to get as much clothing from the back room transferred to the pricing rack in the middle room and tagged as I could. This ended up taking longer than I had anticipated as some of the clothing I had transferred to the middle room turned out to have holes, stains, etc. that were not caught in the back and had to be recycled, thereby leaving space for more. One of the most interesting pieces of clothing that I tagged today was a t-shirt that said, "Lead me not into tempation, except in quilt shops."

Before I was able to start this, though, someone came in with some donations, mainly books, clothes, and one of those plaster projects. They had come in the back to drop it off. After they left, I noticed that there was a drawer sitting outside. I didn't know what it went to, but it seemed silly for it to be just sitting outside our back door, so I took it in and cleaned it out. There was very little in there that was salvageable, though.

I had roughly forty-five minutes left on my shift after I had tagged as much passable clothing as space on the pricing rack would allow. So, I straightened up the area I was working in and then went to the back and part put away hangers and part went through and/or hung up clothing.

I'm hoping we'll get more clothing out this week, though we'll probably get more periodically. Lucky for us, though, tomorrow night will be when some people will be coming in to help. I won't be there for that, but I hope it goes well.

This Summer

When I was still going to school (and I use the term "school" loosely) summer meant time off from school, or when I was taking summer classes (which I did for two summers in college), less time at school.
This is my third summer since I finished college. The first summer I was in college, I was living with my dad and was usually working on stuff at home (most of which had me behind a computer) more often than not. The second year, last year, I was out of town looking after my nephew.

This year is different. I am living with my mom and stepdad, who both have full-time jobs outside the home (though my mom's schedule is the most consistent of the two), so while other than needing to be home in time for dinner, I can pretty much come and go at will. And because my sister has opted for someone else to look after her son this time, I will likely be staying in my hometown for most if not all of the summer.

As I am not a student at any academic level anymore nor am I involved in any profession where I get summers off, the term "summer vacation" means nothing for me now. I plan on staying busy throughout the week. I'm involved with volunteer work at the Doggie Bag on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. As of this week, for Tuesdays and Thursdays, I plan to have some sort of task list in order to obtain and maintain structure in my life. After all, if I wish to be a proper adult, a sense of order and routine is a must. The tasks will include, but not be limited to: filling out surveys (if I get emails for them), picking up/filling out/dropping off applications (especially since I lost nearly three months of potential job search time to really bad weather followed by a family emergency), reading at least one chapter of whatever book I'm on, and editing my novels, if not starting some other writing projects. I'm sure if I do the aforementioned, if not more, my Tuesdays and Thursdays will be just as full as if not more than, the other days. The TV, which, when I was growing up, could run for any given amount of time whenever I was at home, will not have a role in my day. In fact, I have recently resolved to leave mine off at least until after 5 PM each day. I also plan to keep sleeping in and downtime (at least before 5 PM), to a minimum on weekdays if not on the weekends.

That's what's going on with me at this point. Barring anything unforseen, I'll be back in later to give you all an account of what's been going on at the Doggie Bag today.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Doggie Bag Days Season 3: Day 19

Evidently, the clothing fairy had shown up either over the weekend or this morning as there was a bag of clothes waiting for us. I mostly went through bags and boxes of clothes, separating the good ones from the bad ones. (There was a short time in the morning though, when the manager had to go take care of something and needed me to cover for her on the register. I managed to sell a few things when I did.) One of the more interesting items I came across in the clothing I was sorting was a t-shirt that said, "Mom likes me best." It was a large and presumably cut for an adult. Otherwise, I would've considered getting it for my nephew as a joke since he's going to be a big brother in late August (Lord willing).

There were probably two or three people that donated stuff today, usually multiple bags and/or boxes of stuff. Some of the things donated today included, but were not limited to, glassware, a metal tray and cup set, a wooden tray for serving breakfast in bed, and some stuff for Christmas or Halloween. Someone else took care of washing up some of the glassware so that it'd look nicer for the sales floor.

That's been my day today. My goal for Wednesday is to get what I can hung up as well as thin out the pile of winter stuff that we have if that isn't done by the time I'm in next.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Doggie Bag Days Season 3: Day 18

There were some clothes on the pricing rack that must've been put there yesterday, and some were even on top of it because of lack of room. So, I tagged the ones that were good and discarded the ones that weren't.
I mostly spent the day either putting out clothes after they were priced or inspecting and tagging them after transferring them from the back room to the middle room. I had set a few things aside that needed the lint brush run on it whenever I or someone else got to it. Some of the clothes I had gone through on the pricing rack had to be discarded because of stains, holes, etc. which left some room to put more stuff on the racks. By the time I had finished tagging as much clothing as could fit onto the middle room racks, it was almost time for me to go. So, in the last few minutes of my shift, I cleaned up the area I was working in and returned the tags and relevant equipment to the front counter for safe keeping.

We didn't have a lot of clothing come in today until shortly before time for me to leave. Of course, time did not allow me to take care of that, but maybe next time I will be able to.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Doggie Bag Days Season 3: Day 17

Today, I started out by transferring some clothes from the back room to the middle room so that I could get a final look at them before tagging them. (There were some that had stains or snags or something and therefore did not make the final cut.) I mainly focused on adult shirts.
The other things I did today were go through a couple of bags of shoes and wash up some glassware (including what one of my colleagues guessed to be a fancy shot glass) that had come in. Sometimes stuff that is otherwise sellable is a bit dirty or dusty when it comes in. There were maybe one or two things that I didn't know what they were, but according to someone else on the staff, even if we don't know what something that comes in is (which happens from time to time), surely whoever needs it will know.

That's been my day today. I wonder what Friday will bring.