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February 23, 2007

disappearing acts, and the after-effects.

so, im sure by now several people have taken notice of my extended absence from irc/chat/etc. im still alive (you were hoping i was gone for good, weren't you? i just know it. dont lie.)

the last few months have been real... whats the word im looking for... 'taxing', maybe? i dont know. it mostly started with some problems at work. verna quit the day before thanksgiving, and i didnt get any days off for about three weeks. it sucked. we had hired someone else right before verna quit, veronica. well, veronica is a lousy coworker, to say the least. one week she's whining about needing to go home early because shes having 'really bad cramps', among other things. then the very next week, im talking five days later, shes suddenly pregnant. verna and i both told judith not to hire her. we knew the kind of person she was. i mean really... tattooed on eyebrows? fat girl, my size but shorter, wearing skimpy shirts and way too tight pants. a chola chick if there ever was one. we werent impressed.

so judith immediately becomes buddybuddy with veronica. verna quits because she sees what's coming. we hire michaela the same day. judith and veronica practically ran her off. and she could have been a good employee. i guess we'll never really know, considering she quit two weeks later. veronica was threatening her to the point that she was literally scared to come to work. im not kidding.

so then we hired erika, who i might add is extremely cool. she's one of the most awesome people i've ever met, and we get along quite well. in fact, we've become pretty good friends. and then my appendix decides to let me know i dont need it anymore. the day before im supposed to start training her. im out of work for three weeks. during this time, they (judith and veronica) have essentially trained her in what kind of worker NOT to be. its a damn good thing that erika has a decent head on her shoulders, or else id be totally fucked at work. ive spent a lot of time undoing the things they did. she learns fast. shes also learned that she cant trust them. i had little to do with that. she found out the hard way.

the store literally 'went to shit' the three weeks i was gone. not kidding. even sherri and mara noticed. sherri came back at new year (while i was still out) from maternity leave. while i was gone, sales dropped, backroom turned into a disaster, paperwork wasnt completed appropriately, among other things. to name a few.

about a week and a half after i came back to work i had a very bad experience during one of my day shifts. im not going to go into detail about it, but suffice it to say that it fucked me up for a good three weeks or so. someone i absolutely cannot be around, at all, came into the store. it went downhill rapidly from there.

that's what prompted my disappearance from the internet. i know it sounds weird but if you knew the entire story it would make more sense. we'll suffice it to say that this person used to stalk me, and did some very bad things to me. things i have never been able to get over. it was that bad.

i simply couldnt talk to anyone. it was extremely hard for me to be at work, especially working by myself. i shut down completely and basically went into hiding. couldnt go anywhere, do anything, talk to anyone on the phone, much less in person. i almost couldnt function. at all.

and then we had inventory. that was a fucking blast. (im lying.) mara, from the carlsbad store, came up to run the inventory shift. she got here at about 230. i was working 9-6 that saturday, coming back at 845 to do the inventory shit. judith was supposed to be in at 130... she didnt show up until almost 5pm. mara was not a happy camper. topping that off was the fact that judith lied to her and to sherri (our district manager), telling them both that there was no overstock in the back room, nothing in the bathroom, nothing in storage, everything was out on the walls. that was a big fucking lie too, considering there were THREE cartons of unpacked hair accessories (barrettes, headbands, etc) in the bathroom. THREE cartons of 'build-a-bags' (school supplies-type kits). every fucking bin (about 30) on the wall in the back room was full to overflowing. there were FIVE boxes of markdowns stacked in the back room. not to forget all the overstock in body jewelry, sterling silver earrings, and other shit out front. you'd be pissed too, im sure. mara told me that in a WELL ORGANIZED store, it takes four hours to run a complete inventory count. do the math: we started at 9pm... and finished at 5am. thats how bad it was.

but it gets better! judith and veronica had 'hired' a bunch of their friends to come help. we split into "teams" of two, though i chose to work alone, because i know i would work better/faster, without someone else getting in my way. mara was showing every 'team' how to use the inventory guns. she and i both happened to overhear the following statement: (veronica's friend to veronica) - why cant we just start already? (veronica responding) because that BITCH hasnt shown us what to do.

and that was about the last straw. during our 'break', sherri called to check our progress. she got to hear about all that, and more. so now, veronica and judith are both on sherri's last nerve. they're jumping on it. their days are numbered. ive been assured of this not only by mara, but also by sherri.

for the last couple of weeks ive been working both stores. ours in roswell, and the one in carlsbad. mara's store lost a couple of people during this time. both were shit employees anyway, but she didnt have anyone else to work, to hire, to train. so ive been driving down there a few days a week for two weeks now, on my 'off days' from the roswell store. its a 75 mile commute, one way, from my house to their mall. its starting to get really old, really fast. but i must say i do like working there. if it wasnt so far to drive, i wouldnt mind putting in a permanent transfer to work down there. their store is four times bigger than the roswell one. everything works like a well-oiled and finely-tuned machine. last week, they re-hired a former employee, brianna. she was good to work with. hopefully they're hiring someone else, but i still have to go down two more times next week.

im missing my store, but mostly because its my 'home' store, more so, i miss working with erika. ive been calling her every day that im gone to check and see how she is, to tell her i miss her, and that ill be 'home' soon. i can tell she's been pretty lonely without me, because she calls too.

and the calls... sherri's been calling the carlsbad store every day that ive worked there, to see how things are, to make sure im doing ok, to just... talk. she says that even though im not 'at home', im still her eyes and ears. she asks me things, i tell her what i know. i have nothing to hide, im doing what im supposed to do. we've talked several times over the past two weeks about the status of my store, what the problems are, what can be done to fix them. mara tells me that sherri intends to do some 'housecleaning' during her monthly visit. i can only hope that she shows up soon, because we need it in the worst way.

last friday, when i worked at the roswell store, we had a major disaster with the registers. our main crashed due to faulty wiring in the display and we couldnt get it to come back online. i called mara to see what we could do. we did all the maintenance and took all the pre-calling steps that we could do before actually calling the register technicians.

erika and i ended up prying open the register with a screwdriver to get the cash drawer out, at the direction of the technician who said he would have parts fed-ex'd in saturday morning and wold be there at 10am to 'fix it'. our registers, according to him, are so old, they quit making the parts 15 years ago. he was 'lucky' to find a spare. 10.5 hours of disaster friday led to 4 hours of cleanup on saturday morning/afternoon. there was no way in hell i was going to dump all that shit on erika and leave. saturday was to be my day off, but i ended up being there four hours while the guy dismantled our computers, cash registers, and did his magic. i knew damn well that veronica wouldnt know what to do when she opened saturday, because there was no way to shut down the registers friday night. we ended up shutting down the store in the middle of the day to do friday night closing and saturday opening. it was a fucking mess. but i took care of it though. i knew that judith would be completely worthless in attempting to clean up the mess when she 'felt like' coming in to close that night. i guess i went 'above and beyond the call of duty', because something relatively unexpected happened from it.

note that i mentioned before that id talked to sherri several times in the last couple of weeks. in more than one of these conversations, we discussed promotions to certain available and currently unavailable positions. in no uncertain terms did sherri tell me that judith was on her way out, and that she wanted me to be the manager. her exact words were "well... i cant make you the manager without promoting you to assistant first." that was last week. she did, however, give me a bit of a surprise yesterday.

she called carlsbad, knowing that i was working that day. she started asking me a bunch of 'personal' questions like: whats my social security number, whats my pay rate, whats my employee id number, what was my hire date, etc. and then she says... 'ok, now that thats all done, ill go hand this to the postman. i asked what she was talking about. she told me that she'd just filled out my change of status form. i am now officially the assistant manager at my store. i was a bit in shock about this. i mean, i guess i knew it was coming, but it was still somewhat unexpected. not knowing when, why, how...in previous conversations we had discussed erika becoming the assistant. which is where the "well... i cant make you the manager without promoting you to assistant first." line came from. sherri assured me that once i was promoted to store manager, erika would DEFINITELY be the assistant, hands down. no questions asked.

but still i cried when sherri told me she promoted me. she asked me why i was crying. i told her it was because i was very sad for erika, because she deserves it just as much as i do. she's worked so hard in that store, at times, even harder than me. shes pulling more than her fair share of the workload, just like ive been. hell, for a month, she pulled MY workload. the three weeks i was out on medical leave... the week id just come back and was on light duty. we worked together. i couldnt really fulfill all of the requirements of my job when i was still on light duty, so she picked up my slack. sherri asked me if we should wait to tell her next week when she comes down. if it would be better coming from her. i immediately responded with a definite, strong, NO. i told sherri that it would be best coming from me. and that i would rather tell her sooner than later. i wanted to tell her, and i wanted to do it in person. i am not a coward. i did tell her though, that when she came down, i really would prefer for the three of us to sit down and talk privately about it, and about other things going on in the store. i want erika to know that sherri and i both have her back, that we want her to hang in there. that she isnt being tossed to the side.

and i cried almost all the way home from carlsbad. i cried last night

i feel like i owe her. she is my friend. my ally. and even though we've only known each other for a couple of months, we have become very close. we are very much alike in many ways, but we are unique persons in a world where people are all the same. where what changes only gets worse. where everyone wants to be just like everyone else... we are different. when we're together, people stare at us. seriously. two similar-looking, pasty white goth-girls. dressing alike, talking alike, thinking alike. sadly, our friendship reminds me a lot of those silly little middle/highschool teenage girl antics. you know the ones.. 'hey susie! lets wear the same outfit tomorrow! ok!??' 'sure jane, lets do our hair the same too, why dont you bring your stuff and spend the night and we can plan everything out and help each other get ready in the morning' 'awesome susie, thats great! see you in awhile!!'

except we arent really like that. it DOES look like it though. we wear very similar outfits to work, dress in practically the exact same style of clothing when we do go out outside of work. same skin tone, similar eye color. black hair (though hers is obviously dyed, since her eyebrows are a very light shade of brown) hehe. we like the same games, avoid the same foods, listen to a lot of the same bands. and through all this... erika has emerged as one of the best friends ive ever had. she is easy to talk to, non-judgmental, caring, kind, and compassionate.

today i broke my best friend's heart. i couldnt wait any longer to tell her about the promotion. i had to tell her in person. it couldnt wait. i couldnt in good conscience sit there and keep it to myself for a week. so i went up to the store today, when i knew that judith would be gone or getting ready to leave. while erika was working, before veronica came in.

and i dropped the bomb. when i came in i said hello to judith. then i stepped aside with erika and told her that i needed to share something with her. that judith needed to hear it, but to not take it so hard because i would talk privately after judith left. and so i open with this:

sherri called me yesterday when i was working at 6816 (carlsbad store). she promoted me to assistant manager. she told me that she did this because our store should NEVER have been running without an assistant for as long as it has. we havent had an assistant since october. oct 9, my start date. the date our manager quit. judith was the 'assistant' so she ended up as the manager, but only because she had 5 weeks seniority over me, and id just started that day. she didnt really get moved up officially until mid-november. but regardless, we didnt have an assistant manager for all this time. judith seemed to be in a complete state of shock. i think she started freaking out because i KNEW that she had been promising erika the assistant manager position for several weeks now... even back when i was out on medical leave for the appendix. what judith didnt know is that erika and i had already been discussing this. she basically went white as a sheet and said 'ok, well, im leaving for the day. see you guys later.' and i tell her, see you at 530 tomorrow, but i might be in early. you come in at 130. see ya then.

and then erika and i talked privately. she burst into tears and i immediately felt even more shitty than i did before. she says to me, 'im crying because im happy for you, but im also crying because im sad for me. please dont take this the wrong way. thank you for telling me. for being honest. for not hiding it.'

and i still feel like ive stabbed her in the back.