Friday, July 29, 2011

Doggie Bag Days Season 3: Day 41

As has been the case with my last few shifts, one of the first things I did was sweep the entry way before putting outside things that needed to go outside. After that, I think I took some empty hangers to the back and straightened things up throughout the store.
As it stands right now, skirts, shorts, and kids' clothes are fifty cents, adult pants (capris and full-length) are a dollar, kids' books are five cents, kid's videos, as well as exercise videos are ten cents, selected adult books (which were put in a basket for outside) are ten cents, and glassware is half off.  We still have more merchandise than space to accommodate it on the sales floor, but since we never turn away donations out of principle, the least we can do is put certain things on sale for a while.

Sometime in the afternoon, the manager sorted through a couple of bags of clothes, and I hung up and tagged whatever of it she approved. Shortly after that, she brought a barbie dollhouse and a radio-controlled car to be cleaned up as much as possible and put up for sale.  There was a part of the dollhouse that neither of us could figure out where it as supposed to go, but her boyfriend, who had come in to pick up the empty boxes (which he normally does on Fridays) figured it out.

Within the last hour or so of my shift, I marked down some baby blankets per the manager's request, and I basically ran the register until our evening cashier was in. After that cashier started her shift, I still had a bit of time left before mine was up, so I moved some winter clothing that had been hanging on a rack in the middle room to the back. (We're keeping more of the winter clothes that come in, but we're reserving them for when it's closer to time to sell them.) I moved some empty hangers there, too, and then I sorted through a couple of bags of clothes. (I think either the amount of clothing coming in has slowed down lately or one of the people who had started volunteering with us recently has been able to help move it further along. But we could potentially get slammed with more clothing over the weekend.)

That's been my day today. Who knows what the next week will bring?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Doggie Bag Days Season 3: Day 40

Today, I started off by sweeping the entry way before putting out the displays for outside. Our outside rack now contains skirts, and our buy one get one free sale on clothes has been replaced with having skirts and shorts at fifty cents each.
After I got the stuff outside that needed to go outside, I put some clothes that had already been priced out in their respective racks and then tagged some other clothes that were on the pricing rack (a few of which were rather wrinkly, so I ended up steaming them).

This afternoon, a few volunteers came in--one of whom ran the register--which was a good thing. One of them hung up jeans (which we had held off on for a while) while another tagged them. The manager was able to price more clothing today, and I put it out. The person who had been running the register for a couple of hours in the afternoon had to leave, so when the manager had to run a quick errand, I ended up taking over on the register up until close to time for me to leave.

That's been my day. I'm hoping we'll be able to accomplish more on Friday.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Doggie Bag Days Season 3: Day 39

Up until an hour before my shift was up, the manager and I were the only ones on duty yesterday. I swept the entryway before putting the "outside stuff" there. A customer who was on their way in referred to it as a "lost cause" as the leaves would probably be blown back in.
After that, the next order of business was to move some bags of flowers from the middle room to just outside the door so that the manager could take them upstairs. After that, I sorted through some bags that were up front that had shoes in them. Some of the pairs were fine either as they were or after they were cleaned up.The others had to be disposed of.

The rest of the day consisted mainly of either pricing and putting out merchandise, moving things around, or sorting through some bags and boxes, mostly of clothes. (I think most of the clothes have been sorted through, but for all I know, more may have come in today.) I tagged and hung up some men's shorts per the manager's request so that the respective section could be fleshed out.

Closer to the end of the day, a blue hutch came in and needed to be cleaned off, so I took care of that. By the time I cleaned it off and the cashier for the late afternoon and I put it in place, it was time for me to go.

So, it was a pretty busy day. My goal tomorrow will be to get more clothes tagged and ready to go and maybe get some dirty dishes washed up.

So yesterday was a fairly busy day. My goal tomorrow will be to get more clothes tagged and ready to go before the manager is in unless there turns out to be a more urgent matter at hand.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Doggie Bag Days Season 3: Day 38

Once again, I was pretty much in charge of the register almost all day as the manager and I were the only ones on duty (at least until four), and the manager had things she had wanted to get done.
We got some clothes and odds and ends put out yesterday. At one point, someone donated, among other things, some Christmas stuff including a tree. I think that stuff was taken to our storage attic for when it gets closer to time for it.

When I wasn't busy with a customer, I'd either be straightening displays or pricing stuff according to the manager's specifications.

That's how my day went yesterday. I'm not sure what will happen in the coming week.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Doggie Bag Days Season 3: Day 37

When I got there this morning, the cashier on duty forwarded a memo from the manager that I was to put some kids' clothes on the rack that we currently display outside. Since she didn't leave any specific guidelines on that, I basically went with my gut and put out there some of the more attractive and/or more expensive items from both the infant sections and the older kid sections. I put out there some shirts and shorts, and in the case of the girls' clothing, some skirts. I didn't see anyone select anything from said rack, but a few did browse it at least.
After that, I washed some glass jars and bottles that the manager had brought in on Monday but that neither one of us had been in a position to clean off, and that was something that needed done. The bottles were easy to clean on the outside, but I had trouble getting to the dirt at the bottom on the inside. There wasn't anything that was long enough or narrow enough to help with that, and swishing soapy water in them only did so much. I noticed that the boxes were dirty on the bottom, so I would either try to get some boxes that weren't dirty on the bottom or find some newspaper to line the boxes with.  I had maybe gotten one or two boxes of that done before I was needed to take over on the register as our morning cashier had to leave and the manager hadn't quite made it in yet.

Another thing that needed to be done was our general section for curtains, tablecloths, bedding, etc. needed straightened, so I did that. I had gotten on a roll at that time, so whenever I wasn't busy with a customer, I'd find another area to straighten.

When the manager and her son came in, and thus one of them was able to run the register for a bit, I picked up where I had left off on washing the jars and bottles. I maybe had a couple of them left to do when the manager had to go run a quick errand and thus needed me to run the register for a bit. She also had some clothes priced and ready to put out, so I took care of that. There were some pieces of clothing that I had trouble telling if they were for kids or adults, so I made my best guess.

When the manager returned, I was able to finish washing the jars. Around the time my shift was up, in light of it being so hot out, the manager offered me a ride home after whatever customers were around were gone even if it meant closing the store for a few minutes.  (She said that it had a tendency to slow down closer to the end of the day.) I accepted the offer.

After I had finished up the jars, while I was waiting for the manager to finish up a conversation with a customer, I steamed a couple of pieces of clothing that had been set aside as they were wrinkled and then tried to straighten things up a bit. When said customer left, the manager and I took the things that were being displayed outside in, and then she drove me home.

That's been my day today. I'm hoping that on Friday, we'll get more caught up on the clothing as we have a lot of it in the back. For a while, we didn't have a lot of room on the kids' racks, but I think it's getting better, which is good because we have a lot of it waiting to be tagged, priced, and put out. We'll just have to wait and see what happens with that on Friday.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Doggie Bag Days Season 3: Day 36

Yesterday, I was put in charge of the register almost all day. The manager and I were the only two people on duty the whole day, especially since one of the people who normally comes in on Mondays was unable to come today due to a family-related engagement. During the time the manager was able to run the register before she had to go run certain errands (for which she had been in and out), I started to sort some bags of clothes in the back that had come last week but that apparently nobody had been in a position to deal with.
It had been a pretty busy day. I had made several sales within the first half of the day, tried to wipe down some books per the manager's request, and periodically straightened things up throughout the store. Plus, some donations came in. The manager's son came in and took over on the register around the time I normally get off (or shortly thereafter).

That was my day yesterday. I'm not sure what tomorrow will bring.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Doggie Bag Days Season 3: Day 35

There wasn't a lot of focus on clothing yesterday. One of the first things I did today was take outside a couple of tables and a rack that go outside at this time. Sometime in the morning, the manager had to go buy paint, and since her son, who has been accompanying her on her shifts (or parts thereof) elected not to go with her, he ran the register while I mostly straightened things up throughout the store.
One of the main priorities today was to make the room devoted to children's clothing and toys more presentable. So, by request of the manager, I put some very small toys in one box for ten cents and some slightly bigger toys in another box where everything in there would be a quarter. Otherwise, I mostly tried to simply straighten things up in there. At one point, I came up with the idea to re-organize the books in that room in such a way that hardbacks were on one side and papaerbacks were on the the other.

By the end of the day, the manager was able to get a few clothes priced so that they could be put out. However, a few shirts had to have the wrinkles steamed out of them. So, I took care of that before I headed out.

That was my day yesterday. I'm not sure what Monday will bring.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Meanwhile, Back on Job Seeker's Row

As you may or may not be aware, I am in the process of looking for a job. As I'm generally at the Doggie Bag on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday,  I've been doing whatever pertains to my job search on Tuesdays and Thursdays, mainly requesting, filling out, dropping off, and/or checking on applications. I still haven't had any luck.
Since my return from my out of town family-related business, I have applied to seventeen places. In most cases, either the place is not hiring, has hired someone else, or has a policy that if they have a position and want to interview me, they'll call me (thereby discouraging follow ups). I've got three applicaitions to submit tomorrow, two that I'm going to try to obtain, and one to check up on. I also have one other that I plan to fill out this week and turn in on Tuesday.  From there, I will have six places for which I will need to whip up a resume unless it turns out that they are not hiring and would thereby have no interest in looking at a resume. (It might be a difficult customize a resume for each and every potential position since a couple are, as far as I know, so similar in nature.)  After I've applied to (or crossed off those that I am unable to apply to) every place that is on my list of places to try to apply to, I will turn to newspaper classifieds and see if there's anything there I'd qualify for.

For the job hunt (at least the parts that take place outside the home), I generally dress up, and that involves a black business jacket and wedge heels. Because of our weather being what it has been lately, I generally carry the former with me and put it on when I get closer to my destination. The latter were the best that I could do for shoes that were plain enough to wear on the job hunt in good conscience despite the fact that I generally go on foot. (Driver's ed. didn't go over so well for me ten years ago as I'd get so nervous behind the wheel. I haven't really had a chance to try again since then.) On Tuesday, I took a bottle of water for me in order to have some hydration en route and bought another somewhere on the way home. I might have to do that again.

Job hunting hasn't been easy, especially not this time of year. But given what I have at stake (student loans to pay off, living parents to avoid letting down, any hope of ever living out on my own, etc.), giving up is simply not an option for me at this point.

Doggie Bag Days Season 3: Day 34

The first thing I did today was take some empty hangers from near the register to the back room. There were some untagged clothes waiting for me on the pricing rack, so I tagged those that were in acceptable condition and pulled the ones that weren't. (Unfortunately, the stain and hold gremlins are not taking the summer off any more than the clothing fairy is.) After that, I attempted to fill the pricing rack with as much season-appropriate clothing as I could. I had to be a bit selective though since some of the racks had more room than others. I tagged whatever I was able to transfer from the back room to the pricing rack that was in good condition. I think I had it almost entirely filled up when the manager needed me to run over to the bank to get some change. (Sometimes we run low on change. It happens now and again in  businesses where a register is somehow involved.)

After I returned to get change, I was going to return to filling up what little space was left on the pricing rack, but the manager and someone else were in the middle of something in that area so I inspected some clothes in the back. Whatever was in good condition (as far as I could tell) I set aside for the manager to make the final judgement call on, and whatever was in bad condition I put in a bag to be recycled. One of the most interesting pieces of clothing I dealt with today was a shirt that said, "I'm a workaholic. Every time I think about work, I need a beer." But when I ran out of clothing to inspect, I more or less tried to straighten things up in the back, doing things like picking up trash and taking emptied bags to the front. In the last hour of my shift, I tried to clean up the mess of hangers behind the counter in the back, putting some in bundles of ten. I also had to fill up the section devoted to hangers that we were selling (still at three bundles for a dollar) as it had gotten empty. (It's mostly colorful shirt hangers that we're selling at this point. We no longer use them for the sales racks, at least not for the adult clothing, but if they are donated to us, with a piece of clothing on them or otherwise, we set them aside to be used in the next bundle.)

That's been my day today. I'm not sure if more clothing will come in between now and Friday. If not, I may be able to catch up on whatever clothing we do have provided I don't run out of room on the sales racks.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Doggie Bag Days Season 3: Day 33

The first priority of the day was to bring in some donations that were waiting outside the front door, so I, as well as someone else who had come in shortly after I had, did that. After that, the manager and I got a couple of tables with ten cent and twenty-five cent stuff outside. Then, I put outside the tank top rack and our sign which notes whatever sales we have going on at the time. (This time, it's buy one, get one free on the clothes.)
I was in the back room most of the day, sort through boxes and bags that contained clothes. One other person and I put whatever clothing would not be acceptable (because of a stain, hole, etc.) into a recycle bag and set aside whatever was in good shape for the manager to look at whenever she had the chance. We ended up getting some bags of clothing throughout the day. One thing I tried to do is separate summer clothes from fall/winter ones in order to make it easier for the manager to get to the summer clothes since that's our current priority.

 A couple of times in the day, I ended up having to cover for the manager on the register as she needed to step out for whatever reason. (The former may have been that she needed to move her car, but the latter was because of an errand.)

The only clothing I ended up tagging today was whatever mens' shorts I was able to find per the manager's request in an attempt to flesh out the corresponding section. (I was only able to find three or four that weren't stained or otherwise not sellable. We just don't get those as often as we get ladies' or childrens' clothing.)

The manager left for the day shortly before I did (and after our afternoon cashier showed up). On her way out, she said that maybe I should leave early for the day given how hot it was in the back room. I took her suggestion after I finished up going through a box of clothes. I ended up leaving fifteen minutes before I normally would.

In closing, it's been a pretty busy day.On Wednesday, I'll probably have clothes to put out as well as a few to tag.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Doggie Bag Days Season 3: Day 32

The first priority of the day was to clear out boxes of stuff that was in front of the register, whether said stuff needed to be put out, taken to the back to be washed (such as the case with some of the dishes), or disposed of. There were a couple of items that were impossible for anybody on the staff to identify, but they were in good shape and put up for sale. (According to someone who wasn't on duty today but is on different days of the week, "Whoever needs it will know what it it is.")

At various times of the day, I was either tagging clothes, putting out ones that were priced (and because some of the racks have filled up, I've had to be more selective about which clothes to transfer to the middle room to be tagged, priced, and put out), washing up dishes, taking freed up hangers from the register to the back room, or going through bags or boxes in the back. If there were items understood to have a default price, such as socks or CDs, I'd put those out straight away. If it was clothing or linens, I'd put it in a bag for recycling if it was torned, stained, etc., or set it aside for the manager to look at if (as far as I knew) it was in decent shape.

I'm hoping to get more clothing tagged and ready to be priced and put out next week, provided that the corresponding display racks have the space for it. (It's mostly the adult racks that have space.) Then again, we might run out of space or appropriate clothes and/or the priority might be elsewhere next week.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Doggie Bag Days Season 3: Day 31

I was late getting in today as my sister and her boyfriend had a funeral to go to, and someone needed to look after my sister's 9-year-old. I ended up going in sometime after 1:30.
I had thought that the manager would be in by the time I was, but she wasn't. (She had come in maybe a little over a couple of hours before closing time.)  I mostly transferred what I could from the back room to the middle room according to what space on the pricing racks would allow and tagged whatever was worth keeping. (There were a few items I had to put in the recycle bag as they were stained.) When I finished doing that, I mostly either straightened things up throughout the store or restocked some of the hangers in the back room.

I'm normally out two hours before closing time, but I stayed an hour past when I normally leave in order to make up for time this morning that I wasn't able to make it in on account of, again, the babysitting. I had thought of staying until closing time but changed my mind. I might do, say, an extra hour on Friday and/or on Monday, but I'll just have to wait and see.

Monday, July 4, 2011

My Fourth of July This Year

Normally on Mondays, I'm at the Doggie Bag. However, it was closed today for the Fourth of July. I didn't have any other engagements today, so I pretty much spent the day at a park within walking distance of my house.
I left sometime after nine or ten in the morning. In anticipation of swimming at the park's aquatic center in the afternoon (since it was free today), I wore my swimsuit (a skirted tankini that had red-and-white stripes on top and was a solid navy blue on bottom) under my t-shirt and shorts. I packed a towel and sunscreen (which I ended up applying mulitple times throughout the day) in a bag, and my mom slipped in a couple of bottles of water so that I could stay hydrated.

The plan was that I'd look around at various booths, watch a medieval demonstration at 11:00 AM, eat lunch, go swimming in the afternoon, and watch the band that my stepdad's in play in the evening.  The only part of that plan that fell through was the medieval demo. I had gone to information booth to ask where that would take place, but according to the persone there, the people who were going to do the demo had cancelled on that. So instead, I looked at some booths and classic cars (as there was a car show going on today), had an early lunch (cheeseburger and French fries), and looked around some more until time for the aquatic center to open.

I was at the aquatic center for nearly four hours, as that was how long it would be open today. It was open from one to five. I was in the main pool most of the time, but I also went down their water slides and through something called the "Lazy River" where you ride in one of those floating tubes in a, for lack of a better term, whirlpool. At three, everyone had to get out of the water for a few minutes for a routine procedure known as a "safety break". (The pool in my sister's hometown has the same thing each day as well. I'm not sure what all's involved.) After the safety break, we could re-enter the water.
I think I had exited the pool for good and started getting ready to leave when the announcement was made that the pool would close in fifteen minutes. I had officially left the aquatic center shortly after the "five minutes until closing time" warning.

By the time I had left the pool area, my stepdad's band had already shown up at the park's band dome and started setting up as they would be playing within the next hour. I didn't see my mom there right away, but she came while they were still setting up. (She goes to most if not all of the band's gigs, in town or otherwise.) My stepdad had some lawn chairs available in the back of his vehicle, so my mom and I sat in those throughout the gig. The band had shirts (which normally run for $13 but were on sale for $10 for today) and frisbees with their logo for sale. One little boy was up in front off and on dancing to the music. My mom offered his family a free frisbee. (I think they accepted.)

After the band was done, I rode home with my mom who had chosen to drive instead of walk given the hot weather. (My stepdad had stayed behind as the other bands were borrowing some of his equipment.) My mom had invited people to come watch the fireworks from the front lawn (as our property is situated to make for a pretty good view). She even had a canopy with refreshments on the front porch. Nobody that had RSVP'd to it actually showed up. However, someone had called her, and she invited them. That person accepted the invite. There was also another family that was on its way to find a spot for the fireworks display. They were walking with their lawn chairs. My mom invited them to use our yard as well. (The father in the family graciously thanked my mom afterwards.)

Yeah, it has been a pretty eventful Fourth of July for me today.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Doggie Bag Days Season 3: Day 30

One of my first orders of business today was to put some things outside such as a rack of tank tops, two boxes of items that were being given away, a container of bundles of hangers (which we're still selling a three for a dollar), and a couple of tables of items sold at either ten cents or twenty-five. I tried arrange the items on the table so that it could be at least somewhat cohesive. (For instance, there was some color coordinating involved, and I put bathroom items within close proximity of each other.)

I was able to resume tagging clothes today. The clothes that did get tagged were eventually priced and put out. After that, I started bundling up some hangers in the back until the manager called me up to the front to straighten things there. (According to her, it had been an exceptionally busy day.) I checked the racks for empty hangers, hung up stuff that was off the hanger, made sure that garments of like colors in their respective sections were within close proximity of each other, and straightened up the shoe sections.

Another thing I did, per the manager's request was put some vases from the top shelf into a box, and the vases from said box would be sold at 25 cents apiece. The next step was to consolidate the vases on two separate shelves onto one, so I did that. Another thing that needed done was to move place mats, napkins, etc. over to the same area as the linens. The manager said that we could even thin those out, so I pulled some napkins and placemats that looked like they had seen better days to be recycled. I also emptied out a box that basically contained baby socks, hats, and other pieces of clothing. The hats and socks I was able to put out straight away.

Within the last ten minutes of my shift, I got a few more clothes tagged. Shortly before I left, someone donated multiple boxes of clothes. I didn't go through them myself because of timing so I'm not sure how much of it will be added to the summer end of our clothing stock (which recently has appeared to calmed down in the back some), and what out of it if anything will be held onto for fall. I'm sure the boxes will be sorted through sometime next week.

I'm not sure if I will be going in on Monday since it'll be Independence Day here in the US. (Nobody confirmed or denied to be that the store would be open then; I wouldn't be surprised if it's not as we were not open on Memorial Day.) If I don't go in then, the next time I will be in will be Wednesday.