What I Learned This Week: #201

Monday, June 21 – Sunday, June 27, 2021

The Week in Multi-Tasking: There’s a thing in retail called “recovery” and it is almost as dramatic as it sounds. Recovery is an attempt to overturn hours of shopping to put the store into a fresh state for the next day. It’s a reset, and an important part of keeping a handle on the way the store looks.

Generally, recovery is the last thing you do. In my TJ Maxx, we recover for the last hour that the store is open, a time when customer traffic is tailing off and some ya-hoo isn’t going to come right behind what you’ve just recovered and have their way with the merchandise.

This week my young manager asked me to recover for my entire 3.5 hour shift because the District Manager was due to visit first thing in the morning. Oooooh. The District Manager! Oh, My.

I have been with the company for 22 years, and I know 3.5 hours of pure recovery is the more boringest way to spend a shift no matter whose coming. I told her I would make my part of the store beautiful and I would also put out merchandise from the back room while I was doing it. Two things at once. She was not happy, but I know stuff that she doesn’t. Like the DM wants a tidy sales floor, but he also wants an empty back room. Two things at once. I made her nervous until the last hour when I went to full recovery. Luckily, I didn’t have to recover her from a blown gasket.

The Week in Grumpy: Met a friend for dinner ’cause she was feeling “grumpy,” so grumpy, in fact, she thought she was having a mid-life crisis. Turns out, oysters, hush puppies, and beer and good conversation, are a (temporary) fix.

Oysters in the Mid-west aren’t even that good, but whatever. Hush puppies are fried dough and fried anything is good no matter what part of the world you’re from.

The Week in All-Staff: My work had it’s first large staff gathering since March 12, 2020. I didn’t work there at that time and was hired mid-pandemic. I did not recognize some people! But we ate a large sheet cake and got back to basic work rituals.

The Week in Movies: When I got home on Friday something was happening on the lawn outside my window. There were a couple barrels at one end. I looked out a little later and a black strip of plastic had been laid down. I look out a little later, and they had inflated that thing to a large movie screen. Ah, that’s how they were going to achieve movies on the lawn.

The film was Perks of Being a Wallflower, a pretty good little film, but kind of serious for summer lawn viewing. The sprinklers went off at one end of the park for a few minutes. Fireworks from the Reds game drowned out a little dialog, as did a few passing motorcycles. The whole thing was perfect!

The Week in Sloppy Joe: I have some ground beef in the freezer that I have to use or lose. I went for a recipe I cut out of Bon Appetit in 1991 for Summer Sloppy Joes, a recipe I like so much I have both the cut out and a hand written copy. I assume I had planned to give the handwritten copy to someone, but never did. I’m not finding the recipe on line, so I’ve got a collector’s item.

30 years after finding it, the recipe holds up pretty well. These days I tend to cut back on the amount of meat recipes call to focus more on the vegetables. I also found a chili sauce that has a lot more flavor than the Heinz chili sauce from my childhood. It was funny shopping for chili sauce with my 80 year old Mom. When I need an obscure ingredient, she kind of gets into helping me find it. She’s good at it. While I was thinking about it she walked me right to it. She said the last time she bought she was probably making Sloppy Joe’s, too. In fact, I do have to look up what to do with the rest of the jar. I have no idea.

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