Saturday, September 20, 2008


So, it's been a little over a month since I have moved to Brooklyn and so far things are going pretty well. So well in fact that I have already received my first promotion. I am the new head cashier. Now for those who know me probably thinks this is a little funny, I mean I do. I have had chances before to be a head cashier before but turned it down. I kinda hate being stuck at the registers all day. So why would I accept a job that would pretty much do that? Well, A) in the past when the opportunity presented itself, I was already a lead so it would have been a lateral move and not a vertical one. So, I would be taking a job with more responsibility but for no more pay. When I transferred stores, my new store didn't have a lead position open so I had to settle for just a bookseller position. Which was fine because I was hoping that I wouldn't be there for long. Either something would open in the store or at the home office. and B) my new store is set up differently then my old store, so while the position is the same, I would also be in charge of all the displays around registers (with my fellow head cashiers) and there is always at least one other cashier ringing, giving the head cashier to work on those said displays. So, I wouldn't be completely stuck at the registers all the time. I have pretty much done everything else in the store. I have worked at the registers, info, on the floor, kids, receiving, magazines and yes, in the cafe (don't ask me to make anything, though) so really this was the next step for me. A new challenge for me to conquer. Yippee! I am a little nervous about it. I mean, I know I can do it but all the paperwork is a little intimidating and then there are the customers. I want to do a give good customer service but I also don't want to have the customers walk all over me. I really don't like the mantra "the customer is always right" because let's face it, they're not. I mean, I'm sorry that the book didn't turn out the way you thought but you should checked that before the two weeks were up. Oh, and I'm sorry that you didn't like the book your friend gave you and even sorrier they didn't get you a gift receipt but you're stuck with it now and the excuse that I didn't know doesn't fly with me either. The return policy, like in most stores, is on the back of the receipt. All the customer has to do is turn over the receipt and they would know that they were over the 14 days. There is a fine line between sticking to the letter of the law and doing what's best for the customer and the store. Everyone keeps telling me that people in Brooklyn are ruder then the Midwesterners I'm used to and I keep telling them no they are not. New Yorkers, at times, can be more aggressive but really they are not any different then anyone else so I'm not really worried about that. What, I'm worried about is who do you say no to and who do you make the exception for. I would hate to be the reason someone stopped shopping at the store but on the other hand, they probably were not a good customer to begin with. So, tomorrow I start my new position. Too bad, I'm learning how to open first because I would have loved to have slept in but I have to learn how to do it eventually. Wish me luck!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Good Times Good Times

Last night after work, I went out to a bar with some people I work with. We went to a bar called the Dram Shop. It was a lot of fun. It was the first time that I spent any time with my coworkers after work so it was a really kind of a bonding experience for me. It also reminding me of going out to the bars in Iowa City after work. I really miss you guys! We got off of work around quarter to midnight and I left the bar around 3am. I left early. From what I was able to gather, NYC bars don't have to close at a certain time, as long as they have customers who are still drinking, they can stay open until 5 in the morning if they want and apparently some of my coworkers have took them up on the offer on more then one occasion. In fact, some of them are such regulars at the Dram Shop that they went there on their lunch break and had dinner and beer before returning to work.

On the way to the bar, I was telling my friend David where I live. He gave that face, like really? It turns out my neighborhood, Sunset Park was once a not so nice neighborhood. In fact, as recent as 10 years ago, Sunset Park was in the midst of a Gang Turf War between the Mexicans and the Dominicans and most of the fighting was happening in my area of Sunset Park. It got so bad that when it was reported there was a shooting in Brooklyn, it always was in Sunset Park. Things that I wish I didn't know but thanks to the increase of police in the neighborhood and the end of the war, Sunset Park is a safe neighborhood again. Now, this was a surprise to me because as I walk around the neighborhood I see a lot of families. They sit on their stoops at night, playing cards and talking so obviously they are not worried about being shot. This was the first time anyone had ever mentioned anything negative about Sunset Park so it never occurred to me it was anything other then safe. But don't worry friends and family. It's safe now.

P.S. Maybe this shouldn't be mentioned to my mom. She worries about me enough as it is.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Today is the seventh anniversary of 9/11. I feel a little bad that I was annoyed when I was awoken this morning by church bells because today is my day off and I really wanted to sleep in. I had forgotten that today was September 11th, so you can imagine how absolutely terrible I felt when I turned on my TV and the ceremony for the anniversary and on. I turned it on to hear a New York City cop, who joined the force in honor of her father who died when the towers fell. She was followed by a two sons of a maintenance man and then a family from Japan, who flew to New York to honor their father who was working for a Japanese company who had an office in the World Trade Center. I was in tears, so I turned on MTV for something shallow and with no redeeming quality to it.

It got me started thinking about 9/11 seven years ago. I was a freshman in college and I was in my third week of school. I had an early morning class and I had decided that I would go back to my dorm room and take a nap before my next class. I got on the bus and there were guys talking about how the United Nations got bombed or something, I was only partly paying attention but it made me curious. I got back to my dorm room just in time to see the second plane fly into the second tower. I didn't take a nap that day or do much else. I don't think that I even went to class for the rest of the day. I do remember watching it in disbelief. It was like a bad movie but I knew it was real. I was still somehow removed from it. I was in the safe Midwest, what could happen to me here. Well, now I am living in the city where it happen. My friend Justine, from work told me a week ago, that she's not afraid of hurricane's or other storms that if there is going to be a tragedy it's going to be an another terrorist attack. But I can't worry about that. I have moved to New York to experience something new and not get all schmaltzy on you but it would be a disservice to the memory of those we lost if you are always looking over our shoulders every time we leave our homes.

So, today is a day of remembrance. A day to remember our lowest of day and maybe one of our brightest because for one day, one week, we as a nation and as a world, came together to help and support each other. The attacks on the World Trade Center may have happen on US soil but it was attack on the developed world. People from all over the world died when the towers fell and that should not be forgotten. We need to remember who connected we are to our other countries and if we are to survive we must learn to live with each other. We may be struggling here in the US, with the economy but we must not forget those who are suffering around the world too. 9/11 brought us all together. Let's hope it doesn't take another tragedy to do it again.

Edit: I am looking at my window at Manhattan and I can see the spotlights representing the two towers. It's a very sobering thought to think that if I had moved here seven years earlier, I would have a view of the twin towers.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Waiting for Hanna

I have a pretty nice view of the Manhattan skyline from my apartment but it is so overcast that I can't even see it. Not even an outline of the skyline. Obviously, this is just the first act of Hanna for us in New York. We had rain last night around midnight but apparently that is just the warm up for today. We are supposed to get slammed today but not as hard as the Carolinas, so no complaints from me. It's kind of funny. Just last week, I was talking to my new coworkers about weather and how living in the Midwest has prepared me for a lot of different weather related catastrophes but hurricanes kind of scare me. Like Tornadoes do not scare me as much as I know they should. I did have a minor freak out about the floods because it was a lot closer to my apartment then I ever thought the flood waters would get. I have been through several snow storms, thunder storms, hail, wind, heat and humidity. You name it, if you have ever lived in the Midwest for any amount of time, you have lived though it but hurricanes is a whole new thing. My coworkers found my revelation funny. Why I don't know? Apparently hurricanes don't scare them either or really any kind of weather disaster, they are more concern with terrorist attacks then anything that a hurricane or tornado could do to them. Well, that really didn't soothe my fears but just give me more. Thanks a lot Justine!

So here we are, a week later, with Tropical Storm Hanna. I am pleased that she is no longer a hurricane but she is still going to wreck havoc here. Brooklyn is actually below sea level, so flooding is a possibility. I'm not so worried for my apartment because Sunset park is the highest point in Brooklyn and I am only a block away but I really don't want to go through that again. I have food and coke and the day off so I'll be fine for today. I close tomorrow night so I don't have to leave here until after 3pm. I can only hope that will give the city enough time to dry out because I have no idea if the subways will flood or not or whatever. So, today I'm just going to stay in and hope for the best.