Thursday, May 26, 2005

Yet another ungodly week

...and it was a short week, to boot.
TUESDAY was one of the busiest weekdays I have ever seen in over four years of working for Price Chopper. And most of the volume came between 4 and 9 p.m., so I didn't really see the full effect until I walked in the next morning and immediately wondered


Tux went to the vet Tuesday evening. He had a moderate limp and the eye infection we had already treated him for had recurred in the other eye.
The limp came from sheer wildness. He's sort of within reason waking up in the morning, but even then he can cover the thirteen stairs to the main floor in just over a second. In the afternoons, when he's been cooped up all day, he can better that time significantly. (Give him two minutes in the morning and maybe five in the afternoon and he's reverted to his standard attitude of "but if I do that, it means I have to...move!" But before that, he's hell on four legs, and I'm sure he hurt one of them in that seven minute span of time.)
The vet diagnosed, of all things, a food allergy, so our pet is now on hypoallergenic food which, suprisingly, doesn't cost too much more than the Purina we'd been buying. To clear the eye infection, we give him drops twice a day (and let me tell you just how much Tux hates this...) And until one week after he stops favouring his leg, he is to be leashed at all times. Again, this is not what the dog would prefer.


Going to work today brought more than its usual share of unpleasant surprises. As I said above, the sheer magnitude of the sales Tuesday evening had to be seen to be appreciated. To make matters ever so much worse, cashiers started calling me up to their tills about three seconds after we opened, all of them with the same complaint: leaky bags of 2% milk.
As of open Wednesday morning, I had 219 bags of Neilson 2% milk in the store. On a usual Wednesday, we'll sell about 160. Barring a continuation of Tuesday's barrage, I felt reasonably comfortable with the stock level.
Unfortunately, as I discovered right quickly, there were more than three leaky bags amongst that 219. Considerably more. It took two of us almost two hours to get a full count of damaged bags: 183.
A quick bit of math will show my level of saleable 2% milk to be 9 crates, or 36 bags. Once again, anticipated sales for the day: about 160 bags. You can perhaps see a problem here.
How come I didn't notice all these damaged bags when the delivery came Tuesday morning, you ask. Good question. The simple answer is that all the bags looked fine. Not one of them was leaking milk on to the floor. Somehow, one of the interior sacs in almost every 4L bag had ruptured in such a way that the milk had simply displaced the sac. Until you picked the bag up and felt a simply couldn't tell there was an issue.
That's not to say there was any excuse for that milk ever to have left Neilson Dairy.
Of course, I called Neilson Dairy the instant I even began to suspect the magnitude of the problem. They told me they'd get a replacement skid out to me as soon as possible. From Georgetown: charitably an 80 minute drive away.
It took exactly 472 minutes to get that milk to me. By some miracle, Wednesday daytime was even slower than Tuesday evening was busy, so we didn't run out of milk. Still, we could have and certainly should have; we would have, had I not gone through all those damages to pick out the few saleable units.
This is just the latest in an ongoing series of problems I have had with Neilson since I started at Price Chopper. If I had any say, we'd have changed milk suppliers long, long ago. Unfortunately, there are vast sums of money at work here, and in the grocery industry, money often trumps common sense.


We all know just how I feel about heat, humidity, summer, sun, and anything along these lines. Still, I don't generally bitch about the temperature until it gets above temperature, that is, 68 for all you folks who haven't noticed Canada went metric 29 years ago. (At least once a week, somebody asks me for a "pint" or a "quart" of milk and I have to restrain myself from informing them that we haven't carried that size of milk for nearly three decades...)
Anyway, why was it that tonight, with an outside temperature of 13, a window wide open, and not one but two fans blowing air around, I seriously considered going to sleep in our chest freezer? Honestly, I thought I was going to go up in a fit of spontaneous human incineration.


Hooray: I have milk! And none of it's leaking! But what's this? None of Wednesday evening's work has even been touched! And I have five skids of ice cream coming in today (novelties on sale next week), two large skids of yogurt, and...oh, do I really have to list all of today's shit when yesterday's shit is staring me in the face?
I got through it. Somehow. With help. Now there's just one more day until the weekend. I wonder what tomorrow will bring?

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