Tuesday, January 15, 2013


That was one heck of a holiday season.  Sales were actually flat or slightly less than last year, but they showed an increase because of the rising price of basic foodstuffs and the continued high cost of petroleum.  The company did turn a profit however, by using the standard practice of cutting hours. (If anyone talks about how the American worker is getting more productive, I think they are missing some basic points.)

To me it's getting to the point of being counterproductive.  For example, we had a small increase in hours the days before Black Friday, but they were slashed the next day for Cyber Saturday.  There is really no innovation anymore; the response to on-line shopping is not to meet it head on, but to give up and cut hours to save money.  It's getting to the point of being ridiculous. I've written about the troubles we've had with out sewer system, and they came back this winter.  The basic problem stems from the fact that the sewer line runs next to the loading area.  Decades of rumbling trucks have caused a slump in the sewer line.  Normally there's not too much trouble, but cold weather combined with...  it's better explained with song:
That's about the right size.  

...can cause material to settle and solidify in the slump.  We will defend our old style toilets to our last breath, because they use enough water to push everything out of the slump and on down the line.

Anyway, the toilets began to flush slowly, then not at all.  the plumbers came out and did what they could, but all left without truly fixing anything, because the toilets would back up again the next day.  The last time I was in the restroom with a plumber, he flushed the toilet to see what would happen.  Of course the water level in the bowl started to rise...  and then stopped inches from the rim.  hmm, so I pulls off the tank lid and see that the float has been adjusted so that the tank fills at most halfway, if that.

Here's what happened, although I have no proof.  Some idiot says "If we use half the water we normally use every day in our stores, we can save x amount of dollars on the water bill every month.  If we multiply that by y number stores and multiply that by 12 months a year, we save a number that makes me look innovative."  Even bigger boss says "Make it one-third. Send out the word to the DMs."

I'm also starting to run in to Obamacare.  You know that stuff about companies cutting back full time staff in order to escape health insurance costs?  Yeah.  It's starting to hit hard. Try telling a new employee that they can only get fifteen hours a week, they can work another job but have to be available when we need them and the schedule comes out the evening before the new work week begins.  And you have to have a car.  They look at you like "I can't afford to fuel a car on fifteen hours a week, much less buy one."  That's when I push the employment packet across the desk and point out the insurance plan:  How to Apply for Government Cheese.  Because Your Company Cares.  No lie. Got a hotline and everything.