Archive for July, 2008

Attention Kosher Shoppers

Posted in Me, Rants on July 29, 2008 by frumpunk

I’ve spent the past week or so working at a kosher grocery filling in for someone on vacation. This isn’t the first time I’ve been working retail. I used to work in PC Services for a Circuit City and would sometimes help out on the sales floor, besides dealing with my own customers and their computer woes. This is however, my first time dealing with exclusively kosher customers. Most of you are at least decently polite, some even nice, but sad to say the best kosher customers pale in comparison with the best non-Jewish customers. (Someday I hope to find that guy who offered to buy me lunch, and the guy who’d come in to talk books with me and thank them for being so awesome.)

The customer is always right? No. No you’re not. Do you really think that you’re an omnipotent figure in the store just because you came in to buy some yogurt and Bisseli? Treat the staff with respect. And stop being stupid and semi-arrogant. It hurts worse if I’m genuinely trying to help you. I deal only with the fridge products, but when no-one else was around and a woman who made alliyah came to me asking her to find some beef powder stock that they apparently don’t sell in Israel and she wanted to stock up, I headed to the storeroom to find some more for her. There were two on the shelf and the system said we had twenty four in stock. I check the computer and start climbing shelves looking for that elusive little box. Suddenly someone shouts my name. Seems Mrs Alliyah had gone to the checkout and paid for six packs telling the girl that I’m just getting her some more. Now I’m being shouted at because it’s my fault the line is held up because she’s waiting to bag her cubes. Who goes to pay before they have every item in hand? It’s the equivalent of going to the register empty handed then sending you kid to go find each item on the list while the line builds.

To the parents of the kid (I assume and hope it’s a child) who puts his fingernail through the foil seal on the yogurt: can’t you do the honorable thing and pay for it? It must be pretty noticeable that the kids playing with yogurt. That gets thrown out even though the rest are okay because it’s sold as a pack of six. So I guess you’re over the issur of wasting food as well as stealing.

Please stop assuming that everyone who works in the store knows everything about everything and every product in the store. We all have our sections. I know as much about the snacks as you do. I hope you read this, hambeast female who waddles over to me and says (verbatim) “can you get me a bag of plain chips?” My polite “sorry?” was because I wasn’t sure if you were asking A. if we sold plain chips. B. If you were asking where the chips were. C. If I could physically go and get you a bag of chips. After you responded with a simple “bag of chips?” I pointed to where the snacks were. (Right next to where we were standing. Then you looked at me as if I were an imbecile and repeated “bag of chips?”. I explained to you that I knew what a bag of chips was and tried to explain that I didn’t understand what specifically about a bag of chips you wanted to know. Turns out they’re all sold in big bags of six (Jewish shop, of course snacks are in bulk. Who’s ever only got one kid?) and you wanted me to find you a single, as though I hid them somewhere far away from the other chips. On the same note, when you see me working putting things in the fridge, I would think you could safely assume I’m not a chef. I’m wearing jeans, a tshirt and have Sublime leaking from the headphone hanging loose from my neck because I can only keep one in in case someone has a question. I wouldn’t have thought I gave off the impression of being either a chef or butcher. But that doesn’t stop you from asking me how best to cook a brisket or whether those hot dogs are good for a barbecue. Wrong part of the food chain really. That’s like asking a Realtor their opinion on how best to block-pave a driveway.

Do I have that brand of humus? No. So what’s the closest thing to that? I responded with “every other type of humus”. It’s just chickpeas you know. It’s all the same until you get to the fancy ones with toppings.

We put a type of yogurt on clearance. To anticipate possible stupidity I printed three sale and price signs and put them in front of the whole shelf so as to avoid people asking if the yogurt is still on sale because it “wasn’t right in front of the sign”. Is it the exact same thing as what appears to be on sale? If yes then it is too. Besides which, every single flavor of that brand was under the same sale, and they were all blanketed by signs. The signs say simply “Yogurt Brand. Was 1.49 Now .99”. That didn’t prevent me from having this conversation with a frum woman: “So these yogurts used to cost 1.49?” “… Yes” “And now they cost .99?” “Uh, yes.” “Okay!”. And I thought by doing this I would avoid what happened to the freezer guys when a single flavor of ice cream cake was on sale and everyone kept going to the register with the different flavor, that was not behind a sale sign, and indeed even had a regular price sticker in front of it and getting indignant when it rang up for full price. This either led to them running back to the freezer to get the right one or leaving it there to melt.

Which leads me to… why can’t you put it back if you don’t want it? I can understand if you’re at a Wal-Mart and the section it came from is several zip codes away, we’ve all been there, but it really isn’t a big shop. More to the point, you usually pick it up, examine it, then put it on whatever the nearest surface your hand finds is. The right shelf is right above! Maybe a few inches to the right! You don’t even have to walk, just rotate the arm and you save me a hassle! See, what you did there is mess up the arrangement of products, also, you probably just pushed something else back into the shelf so no-one can see it until I pounce on the unwanted item and return it to where it was, usually the next shelf. It also makes me lose track of stock if it gets pushed somewhere because I didn’t see it in time, messing up my next order of it because the stock system reports we still have some stock, but I can’t find it. Don’t even get me started on putting frozen/refrigerated stuff on a regular shelf.

The expiration date is the expiration date. Do you really have to point at the date printed and ask if it’ll keep until then? I’ll let you in on a secret: to the contrary, many things are fine for months past the expiration date. There’s a reason it says “Best Before” not “Edible Until”. Besides the point, do you imagine I have access to the secret knowledge bank of REAL expiration dates, because the ones printed are a farce and a mass retail joke on you, the consumer?

Going back to my original, “customer is always right” thing. Even if that were true, you’re not more important than other customers. It’s late on Friday and the place is packed with people being sent by their wives to get whatever they forgot until now. I’m helping out at the menial job of bagging because I’ve finished topping up the fridge and the cashier is cute and nice to talk to. At my place we let you wheel the carts to your car so you don’t have to carry your bags. But you sir, wanted me to take it to your car for you. I told you I couldn’t and you insisted it would “only take a minute”. I eye the growing line warily, as making the cashier bag as well slows the process down by two thirds. The combination of my desire to get you on your way and out of here, combined with you nagging and tugging my arm led me to be wheeling your cart for you up the incline that is our parking lot. Oh, you drive a Land Rover. Nice, maybe I’ll get a tip for this one. We get to your car where you coerce me to load it all in your trunk. I throw it all in there, at which point you wished me a cheery “Good Shabbos” and went on your way. Back at Circuit City, if I carried your computer to your car for you (as I’d sometimes do if you were old, frail or just nice and I wasn’t busy) I could often expect at least a dollar from sweet ladies driving old Mazdas. Did I mention how much I like your Land Rover?

Lady today, around 5.30: I like how it’s alright to shout “he’s just a man, he doesn’t have any seichel” at me when I asked that older woman if she wouldn’t mind walking the other way around the aisle as I had three pallets of meat I was putting out that would be a pain to move for every customer coming through. You said I had “chutzpah” and a lack of respect for the elderly. If I had been that older woman, I would have been offended at you for implying she couldn’t walk herself. She seemed to be doing alright until then, she wasn’t exactly in a motorized wheelchair. Oh, and that other lady next to you apologized to me for what you said. I didn’t consider it worth my job, but I did want to retort how you were a woman, so obviously you lack the emotional and mental strength to shop by yourself. And of course, you ended your diatribe with the golden words “don’t you know the customer is always right?”

Phone + Camera = Random Pictures

Posted in Me, Music on July 24, 2008 by frumpunk

I’ve been away for a few days and working nine hour days since then so my blog suffers. During lunch today a great post formed in my head and I mentally added throughout the day. If it comes to fruition it’ll be a drastic departure from my usual stuff.

Here’s a pic I shot of where I went last weekend in all its two megapixel cellphone glory. Cookie to anyone who figures out where it is. As always you can click the picture to open it full size.

And this is a random flyer I saw. What’s wrong with it?

Also, I’m digging the cover of ‘The Boxer’ on the new Me First album. Not such a fan of the rest of the tracks apart from ‘Only The Good Die Young’ (thought I might be biased due to being distantly related to Billy Joel) but I haven’t really given the rest a chance yet. I’m sure they’ll grow on me. How sad is it though that when I saw a track was called ‘Rich Girl’ I thought it would be a cover of that Gwen Stefani song that stole the melody from ‘Rich Man’ from Fiddler on the Roof? Says something about my knowledge of the classics.

Todays Joy of Tech

Posted in Funny? on July 16, 2008 by frumpunk

Rings true for me.

The Hardyberg Boys

Posted in Israel, Kashrus, Politics, Rants on July 14, 2008 by frumpunk

So the latest international scandal in the old mining village of charediville is the case of the smuggling chassidim. Otherwise known as “the type of story I would never hear about if I didn’t read Mishpacha”. (Incidentally, I once tried to start a conversation at a Shabbos table about something I read in Mishpacha. Before I got a chance to explain what it was everyone laughed at me for mentioning I read Mishpacha.) The story of the young bochrim who were caught smuggling cocaine through Japan? Apparently they agreed to smuggle, but they thought it was art, or so Mishpacha said.

If you missed it, it’s been the topic of all the editorials for the past three weeks or so, and is also apparently the cause of chassidim worldwide being stopped for extra security checks. Personally, I’m wondering how one would confuse art with white power. The way you’d smuggle art is quite different as well, I’d imagine. Here’s a hint: neither Monet nor Rembrandt ever painted on small granules of anything. They may have been on small granules of things, but they never painted on them with the notable exception of Michelangelo’s three day bender when he did a large Iron Maiden mural in the Sistine Chapel that he later had to paint over. I noticed the initial letters on the subject seemed to convey the idea that the Japanese government are showing their anti-Semite colors by arresting the boys. One column inch I particularly enjoyed was a bit talking about how the Japanese prison system has been in touch with Chabad to provide the boys teffillin and have also been cooking their fish on foil and serving it on plastic as they were instructed to do so that the boys could eat kosher. This was one page after an article mentioning how cruel and inhumane they were being treated and the Japanese system is in general.

If nothing else it’s been a boon to Mishpacha, who after several months of lazy issues have managed to milk this for all its worth, even doing a full feature on customs officers in Ben Guerion to see if they really are pulling aside all chareidis.

Decisions Are Difficult

Posted in Funny?, Me, Rants on July 10, 2008 by frumpunk

I was grocery shopping yesterday and we needed to pick up some toilet paper. Right in the middle of the aisle was a big pack on sale which announced on the package that it contained 33% More! I was about to put it in the cart when I noticed the type next to it was from the same brand except this kind had different packaging that announced it to be Stronger Than Ever. Next to that was another kind by the same brand which announced itself to be Now Even Softer. And finally the last type proclaimed to the world Now With Puppies! (I kid you not. And these were all from the same company.) So do I want more, stronger, softer or puppies? Talk about freedom of choice.

It reminded me of that classic Jerry Seinfeld bit where he discusses how every kind of pain medication now seems to be Extra Strength. You can’t buy regular strength now even if you wanted to. But then you also could buy the Long Lasting version. And right next to that is Quick Acting. So when do you want to feel better, now or later?

In the end I did the Jewish thing and bought the version with 33% extra. Though while sitting on the throne earlier I did ponder what it would have been like if it had been softer, or with puppies. Could have been a whole different experience.

Blurring The Lines Of Sanity

Posted in Purim, Rants on July 7, 2008 by frumpunk

Someone sent me this ad from last Purim. Can you tell what’s wrong with this picture and what are your thoughts on it. Click the picture to open it full size.

Oh Dear

Posted in Me, Shidduchim on July 4, 2008 by frumpunk

The Shidduch Score Test -- Make and Take a Fun Quiz @ NerdTests.com's User Tests!

What does it mean?

Your shidduch ranking is below average, nebach. With much Tehillim and tears and brochos from the Munchausener Rebbe, there is a slight chance that you will be set up with someone who might deign to consider you (but don’t get your hopes up too high.)