Boy, howdy. Yesterday was one hell of a week!
Actually, Monday through Wednesday were all pretty challenging, especially from a staffing point of view…which is directly under my umbrella of responsibility. But it was all family situations, with one associate being out all three days and two others each being out Tuesday and Wednesday.
That’s a lot, trust me. We generally staff 17 sales associate shifts per day, so missing three is almost 20 percent of our staff.
The cool thing was how the leadership team and remaining associates – support and sales – all pitched in to do more and keep the stores staffed and fairly presentable. Our solution wasn’t perfect, but it was way easier than the last major staffing incident, namely Snowmageddon 2017.
The hard thing was that I had scheduled a new hire orientation five hours into my shift, which wrapped up at 2:00, so my time to get stuff done was between 6:00-11:00 am. Instead, I was pitching in to cover lunch breaks in stores.
Me, being so classically me…I still wanted to wrap up some loose ends and leave knowing I had accomplished some tangible tasks. I had pretty much pinned my recent sleep walking on anxiety over unfinished projects at work.
I guess you could call my 13 hour day yesterday therapy.
True to Xtopher form, though, I friggin’ enjoyed it all! From the sweaty, shiny, logistical me that desperately needed a shower after the second round of schlepping miscellaneous stock I wanted purged from our stock room so we can get it better organized to the earlier, rested, Puckish version of me who spent his downtime while covering breaks mentally amusing himself.
I was heading down to cover a lunch on A concourse at 7:00 – I know, my team works crazy early shifts if their lunch is at 7:00 am! – and my boss says, “Hey, hold up! I’m on my way down there to do this publications audit.”
“Well, I’m gonna be there for a half hour, why don’t I just do it between customers?”, I offer. Not that I don’t wanna walk down there with him and hang out watching him work. I really enjoy his company. But logistical Xtopher didn’t see why I couldn’t kill two birds with my stone for him and let him get other stuff done. Plus, I know the recent publications focus from our corporate office has been an extra task for him, and he didn’t exactly have a bunch of free time at work to begin. He agreed and I was on my way.
I walked into our A concourse store to see one of my favorite players refilling drinks in her cooler. She was the only person in the store at the time and hadn’t noticed my stealth arrival.
Obviously, I had to mess with her a bit.
She moved from the drink cooler to the cabinet her non- H2O beverages are stored in without noticing me, so I moved into her register area, still staying in her blind spot. She was standing back from the cabinet looking to see what she needed in the cooler. Then she squats down about halfway to get a view of the lower shelf…and just holds that pose for about 20 seconds.
She’s probably late 60s and she’s doing body weight exercises at work. Good tip!
She breaks out of the pose and goes to grab something out of the cabinet, finally noticing me as she turns to put it in the cooler. “Oh, I didn’t see you…you caught me exercising!”, she laughs as she realizes how long I’d been hiding outside her field of vision. That laugh of hers and sense of joy is why I enjoy working with her so much!
Anyway, I shuffle her off to lunch and get started on my audit.
I get a lot done since A concourse is uncharacteristically quiet for this time of morning – it’s where the Horizon and small craft Alaska fights depart, so a lot of regional commuter flights. When people finally start coming in, I notice a lot of…not kids, but I’m thinking college aged guys. I’m thinking that they may be a bit younger as I observe a couple of them – a single kid and a group of two – realize they know each other and start chatting.
I’m thinking they may be heading out to check out schools, making them younger than I thought. But I’m thinking how exciting that adventure of touring colleges away from home and without parents must be.
My next customer is in that same age range and I notice as he’s paying that he’s wearing a team wrestling jacket. It’s the PNW, so it’s fleece. Duh. As he’s leaving, he runs into a dad/son team and they’re chatting. I overhear bits and pieces of the convo, including him calling the older guy “coach” and the older guy asking if he was heading out to the NCAA something or other.
So, I’m back to thinking college aged kids. Probably heading to some collegiate wrastlin’ tourney. Usually when school sports teams pass through the airport it’s more obvious because they travel in packs and wear their team sweats. I guess it makes sense that wrestlers are a bit more independent acting than team sport athletes.
Still, when the next customer walks up, I chuckle instead of making small-talk about his trip as my brain amuses itself by comparing my musings with these kids to the infamous Captain Oveur from Airplane.
Then I remember – chagrined – that my ‘phew is about the same age as this kid and that the kid in the movie actually shares my nephew’s name and is not named Johnny, as I previously thought. I go back to my audit with a renewed focus.
There will be time for Gladiator movies and Turkish prisons and being a dirty old man later.