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Yesterday was my last day at Things Remembered, although I may work for them as an engraver during Second Season (May – June).  But I could no longer manage one of their stores with a clear conscience.  Their payroll is one of the smallest in my twenty years of retail management, and most of the time, each employee works alone in the store.  Though my manager worked valiantly to get more hours for the store, it simply fell on deaf ears.  I could no longer accomplish all that was required.

 Next week, I begin a new adventure!

 I will work with Wayne and Candi, helping them establish and grow their delivery business, concentrating on the pool permit side of things.  Hopefully, we will also find a regular delivery route before the pool business slows down around August.  This is a step of faith for us, as we are leaving the world of salary dependence, and moving into the realm of commission-only support.  I really believe it will work, but it will certainly take a lot of work!

One of our biggest concerns is health insurance.  Alma certainly needs it with her condition, and I’m experiencing basic age-related health issues, as well.  In order to provide for that, I’m starting work with Starbucks this next week, also.  Although we will pay COBRA for the next three months, after that we can be covered by Starbucks insurance, as long as I continue working at least 20 hours a week.


Things Remembered has completely consumed my resources.  There is a constant river of urgent projects, all demanding completion NOW!!!  Each manager (Regional Manager, Training Manager, Loss Prevention Manager, Merchandising Manager) has their personal agenda of what projects must be completed and what the deadline should be.  Not to mention the customers, who would like for you to take some time to sell to them, and then complete their small engraving project.  Sorry — no time for customers!


Yesterday is a case in point.  I have assignments, with deadlines, from Merchandising and my Regional to complete.  Loss Prevention has just compiled a list of about twenty more projects — with deadlines.  The store is open 11 hours, and I have 12 hours of payroll for today.  That extra hour is for opening and closing.  I work alone from 9:30AM until 5:30PM, at which time my Assistant Manager comes in and works alone until 9:30PM.  My eight hour shift was spent completely on selling product and engraving that product for the customer.  All these other deadlines loom, but there is no time to spend on them.


The company sets a finite number of weekly payroll hours for the store; that number is 99.  The store is open 84 hours, leaving 15 extra hours, which are used to cover the store’s peak selling times, when one person simply could not handle the customer traffic. Extra assigned projects are simply not taken into consideration.  

Assumption #1 is that there is enough down time to accomplish all these tasks.  Assumption #2 is that, if there is not enough time, the salaried Store Manager will work on his own time to accomplish the tasks.

Well, we’re in the middle of the two-week stretch to complete organizing the store, and there is still so much to do. Alma and I still feel very overwhelmed, and then we’re coming up on the Mother’s Day week, which is — second to Christmas — the busiest week for Things Remembered. We’ve not had a break now for over a week. We’ve been at the store every single day trying to organize some aspect of the “disaster.” It’s getting some better, and the employees are finally beginning to feel that there may be something beneficial about what we’re doing, which I think is a major accomplishment.

When Angela came in for the meeting tonight, she said the store looked better, and the “upper room” looked a lot better! There are still displays that need to be completed, drawers and overheads that need to be organized, lots of paperwork still needing to be caught up, and more shelves in the backroom that need to be organized.

Then, on Friday, we unpacked three boxes of little $10 mini-totes that are really cute, and should sell well, but we have no place to display them. We tried to think of some ideas, but nothing seemed to work very well. I think Alma’s idea to drape something over the boxes, and display the totes on top of them may be the best idea of all. We just don’t have any other really good way to do it.

We were also measured for new carpet last week, but don’t know when that’s going to happen yet.

I really appreciated Tabitha coming to the store Friday night and helping out. Usually Friday nights are very slow, but Alma and I were inundated with customers, one of whom was placing a wedding order for almost $500. Tabitha helped to organize some of the replacement “plates” on some of our product, and produced a list of plates that needed to be ordered, which was very helpful. Product that is unusable because of missing plates is one of the real sore spots for our Regional Manager.

Sara, one of my partners at Starbucks, came into the store Friday night, just to see me, and, it was so busy, I couldn’t even talk with her, other than to say “Hi.” I was really sorry not to be able to chat with her for a few minutes.

Alma and I have spent so little time together over the last couple of weeks. Friday night and last night, we went to IHOP to eat at almost 11PM, and spent about an hour there just visiting with each other. It was a good time, but we were both so tired, that we didn’t really do much visiting.

July 2018
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