I normally blog on Friday's because I'm working at the desk and I have pretty much nothing to do other than answer phones and study the security monitor when we're busy. Today, however, I'm not working at my desk. I'm not even working the counter.
That's right, I'm not at work.
On a Friday.
And you know what rocks about this? I didn't even ask for today off.
Explanation? Due to some poor scheduling, I somehow wound up with fifty hours in one week. How did I do this? Well, I have no idea since I've worked the same days as always. Except for that one day last week when I took off Monday but worked Wednesday. That could have screwed everything up, possibly, but I'm pretty sure our weeks end on Wednesdays, so it wouldn't have mattered.
Either way, it's okay that I have two or three hours of overtime every paycheck, but not ten hours PLUS two or three. Manager gets a call when someone gets that much overtime when there wasn't inventory. So yesterday, while I was organizing our newest section of novelty gift items for people who want to buy musically themed gifts for friends or family, Manager said, "Hey, Chanel, do you want to take Friday or Saturday off?"
Obviously, I would have rather taken Saturday, but I knew that would be impossible before he finished his next sentence. "Raspy can take the phones for you."
My dreams of a lovely Saturday afternoon spent playing with my dog in the dog park, eating ice cream guilt free, writing an epically long chapter for my fan fiction, and generally doing absolutely no work on the first Saturday in I can't even remember how long died when he said her name. Raspy would not argue with him when it came down to working the phones on a Saturday, but she would not stay put, either. She would insist that she couldn't make money if she wasn't selling pianos, she would insist I was costing her money, she would leave the desk and security cameras unattended on our busiest day of the week just to make sure there were no lone customers wandering around the Piano Department. And sure enough, something would get stolen and then our Owner would be pissed.
Though I desperately wanted to be able to say, "I'll take Saturday off," I knew it would be irresponsible to say it, so I said, "Yeah, I'll take tomorrow off." Raspy agreed to phones because she's just Janitor Girl on Fridays and isn't allowed to sell pianos unless the Reverend calls in.
Now, of course, I'm remembering past times when Raspy was put on the phones so I could have a vacation or a day off for the Doctor or something. When he knows that she's going to be there for a full day, Reverend has no problem calling in so she can fill in. Never mind that she's there to fill in for me if it saves him a day of trying to find a way into work because he's too old and senile to be able to drive without killing someone. (I actually have no idea if this is why he doesn't drive himself or not, but it seems plausible.)
If Reverend calls in, Raspy will be put in Piano Department, and someone will have to be taken from behind the counter to do my job. Dizzy is off, Denominator is off, Manager is off, and Coffin always calls in or comes in four hours late because Manager is afraid to fire him because he's a Mexican and Manager doesn't want to be accused of being Racist. (Which he is, and he's also sexist.) So Coffin takes advantage and literally shows up when he wants to or calls and tells ME to tell Manager he's not coming in. He doesn't even have to talk to the Manager about it. Needless to say, Fridays always suck when I AM there, so it's going to be worse today.
I did call this morning to let Jay Jay know that Manger had given me the day off. Manager has a bad habit of giving people days off and then not telling anyone about it so that we end up calling the employee only to be told, "Manger told me I could be off. Check the calender." And it's never on the calender, so we have to call Manager to confirm, and then we're all pissed. Last Friday, we were short four people so we had FOUR employees working our second busiest day, and three of them were supposed to leave at six, so Jay Jay had to stay an extra hour because one person can't work the last hour at the counter alone.
Anyway, when I called Jay Jay before we opened this morning, he had not been left a note or given a call explaining that I wouldn't be there, so I had to tell him about my overtime. Then he asked, "Who did he get to answer? Is it Former-Nun?"
I dreaded this part, but it was inevitable. "No...it's Raspy."
He groaned. "Oh, this is gonna suck so hard. Damn it all."
Jay Jay likes two receptionists: myself and Former-Nun. We know how to answer phones properly and how to take messages and how to page properly. We are good at our job, and we're generally good at keeping customers happy on the phones and in the store. (Not always: some people are just assholes. Like that guy last week that sent the e-mail. He sent a reply to Manager's reply and also complained about Former-Nun, who he saw playing scrabble on her Kindle. Apparently, this is just as unacceptable in a fifty eight year old woman as it is in a twenty two year old woman. He was extremely pissed about it. And that's when Manager told him not to contact us again.) Jay Jay doesn't like anybody else answering phones. On Thursdays, when Former-Nun goes to lunch, I take over. But every other day, somebody who isn't one of us has to take over for lunch breaks. And Jay Jay hates it.
So an entire day of the least competent filler answering the phones is not something to which he can look forward. Raspy does not know how to put people on hold when multiple lines are ringing: she will ignore the other rings until she has the correct department, then put them on hold and page for one line. The proper way to handle multiple lines ringing is, "*name of store* Hold, please," and then going down the lines until all are answered and on hold. Then you go and answer the lines in order one at a time and connect them to the appropriate department. When you ignore the other lines, somebody behind the counter has to drop whatever they are doing to answer because, at all costs, the phones must be answered.
Raspy also doesn't grasp the concept of "take a message." When someone is with a customer, you take a message. When someone is on lunch, even if they are in the employee kitchen and can hear the pages, you have to take a message. If nobody picks up after two pages, you have to take a message. Raspy will sit there and page and page and page until the caller either hangs up, or somebody yells at her to take a message. And her messages never include the time or date, and never message. Just names and numbers and sometimes a department to direct it to at the top. Her method generally means we can't tell who called first, what department they called for, or what they were looking for so we can call them prepared with their answer with out having to stick them on hold again.
I feel really badly knowing that they're going to have problems with this. I'm afraid of what will happen. Maybe I will go in tomorrow to find the phone lines blew up from lack of answering. Maybe the message book will be completely full of names and numbers Raspy failed to pass on when someone was available. Maybe all of my co-workers will be picketing the front of the store on strike until Manager finds someone to have on call who can competently answer phones when either Former-Nun or myself isn't available to do so. Or I could arrive to have all of my co-workers throw themselves at my feet and beg me to never, ever leave on a Friday again, no matter what.
*smile* You know, I think I actually like where that thought it taking me.
Hail, Chanel! Queen of Customer Service!
The alternative to that is they all stone me when I arrive because they're uberly pissed at me for somehow winding up with a fucked up number of hours which led to their torture for nine and a half hours on a short handed busy day.
But I'm hoping for the praise. Of course, I could call to see how things are going...but then I'd just feel guilty knowing how badly things suck and it would ruin my day off. So I think I'll just go on ahead and finish my latte, hop in the shower, and watch rom-coms until Padawan gets home.
P.S. Congratulations to Doug over at I Like Cheese. He has a new bouncing baby.