1/07/2008

Osco memoirs, Part 2

I invite those of you who missed Memoirs of an Osco Clerk to scroll down and get up to speed. By the way, if you can relate to what you read here, let me know. I LOVE hearing about others' first jobs, particularly if they froth up into a rage as they tell the story.

And now for Part 2 of Memoirs...

Set the ad/Pull the ad

The twice-weekly newspaper sales ads were the ubiquitous, labor-intensive, tedious responsibility of the lowly Osco Clerk. Osco ran two ads per week. Our job was to stock the sale items, sign them with the sale price, and tag every son-of-a-bitching piece of on-sale merchandise with a price gun. Remember, we didn't have laser price scanners at Osco until the early 1990s. We keyed prices by hand. Therefore, accurate pricing was crucial.

So, the task detailed above comprised "setting the ad." You stocked the merchandise, signed it and priced it. Once the sale ended, you had to "pull the ad." That is, you had to undo everything you did 3 days ago. Working from a copy of the sales ad, you'd track products down like a bloodhound in a necktie. You'd pull the sign. Then you'd rummage through the merchandise and pull off every damn sale price tag. This probably doesn't sound too bad. But remember that our ads featured 40 or 50 items. And sometimes our ads would feature feminine hygiene products. Try sifting through boxes of Summers Eve douches and not smelling like a fruity cooter for the rest of the week.

Depending on what days you worked, you may not have set the ad you were currently charged with pulling. Therefore, you were unaware of new places somebody else stocked the ad items. When you missed an on-sale price tag or the sale sign in front of the merchandise, the boss would remind you in a "aren't-you-the-biggest-idiot-on-the-planet" tone of voice. I never understood where a 35 year-old assistant manager got his balls condescending to a 16 year-old high school kid with -- more than likely -- a much brighter future. I remember thinking to myself "If I'm supervising a drugstore when I'm a billion years old like you, I'll go to the hardware aisle, locate a nail gun and take aim at my head. Clean-up, aisle 14!" Who knows? Maybe the boss intuited the pending irony and figured he'd take his potshots while he still could.

"Hey, LBB. You missed the Planter's Peanuts on the end-cap of aisle 17. We had to sell 3 cans at the sales price. Your mistakes are costing us money."

Really? Maybe if you didn't stock them in 5 different fucking places, that wouldn't happen. Well, that's what I said in my internal voice. Externally, I bowed my head in shame. God forbid Mrs. Smith made a run on our stock of Planters Peanuts at the unbelievably low price of 2 for $5! Gee, boss. Do you think we'll have to file for Chapter 11?

Such were the trials and tribulations of setting the ad/pulling the ad.

Speaking of sales ads, I never understood the concept of "on-sale." When a retailer puts something on sale, they're admitting that yesterday's price was a rip-off. It's as if they've been caught cheating, and now promise to play fair: We tried to butt-fuck you out of your money, but you were too slippery. Don't be afraid to come back now that our prices are reasonable. But don't wait. The sale ends on Saturday and by Sunday morning, the corporate butt-fucking recommences.

36 comments:

Mo said...

My first real job was telemarketing. I learned a lot, but mostly about hanging up on people.

R.E.H. said...

Seriously... this is too reminiscent of my current job!

Sunday before closing - pull the ads, Monday morning set the ads! We do almost weekly (or bi-weekly) ads, and I absolutely hate it.

And we don't settle for 50 products or so... the other day I faced over 300 pricetags to swap.

Excuse me while I start looking for a nail gun...

honest john said...

pure rubbish, and I haven't read past the title.

random moments said...

This reminds me of the year I was promoted to Scanning Coordinator at an increase of 50 cents more an hour! All I heard was promotion - little did I know I'd be doing the ad grunt work you just described, all by myself plus hand key it all in our dinosaur of a computer! Muahaha! Boy did my boss get me on that one.

I used to love when old bittys would come in with 25 jars of peanut butter the day after the sale was off but with an old, stepped on ad sign that had fallen just under the shelf stating the price it was on sale. The sale sign obviously had the SALE EXPIRES DATE but they still refused to leave without that pb for sale price. Who needs 25 jars of pb!??

A Girl, A Boy, and Me said...

My first "over the counter" job was in the fine dining restaurant biz. Free food, free booze and being 16 priceless.

Plus the cash was AMAZING.

Jahooni said...

what is OSCO? a grocery store?

Jahooni said...

what is Honest John's problem?

Does he realize that his blog is actually a form of flattery to LLB because doesn't the saying go "Flattery is telling the other person precisley what he thinks about him", Dale Carnegie

honest john said...

OK I took the virtual nail gun to my head and read this piece of pointless trash. Then the flattery accusation by your idiot jahooni. Sending him flattering comments is what YOU idiots do, jahooni. GET A CLUE! Trying to analyze my insults into envy or flattery is called denial. YOU all suck...deal with it.

As for this post: What exactly was the point? What happened out of the ordinary that made it even worthwhile to write? What did you do to make the story worthy of a post? NOTHING. It's like a boring diary excerpt. You have really hit rock bottom LBB...and your fans are following like good little zombies. Pathetically inane.

Loving Annie said...

Geez, what a nightmare. Stocking the same thing in different aisles ? Changing prices every few days ? Ugh.

The only good thing about that job is probably every one you've had since has been better !

Breazy said...

LOL! Oh goodness, I am remembering a job I had with a drugstore chain several years ago.

However, my first job was in a deli. I learned a lot during my time in that deli..did I mention that my aunt and uncle owned it? I wouldn't trade that experience for nothing but at the same time I will never work in the food industry again.

Take care!

NWJR said...

LBB, how in the name of all that's holy did you ever wind up being a Capitalist?

Tequila Mockingbird said...

i sift through boxes of douches all day at work too. well they arent in boxes, but in rolly chairs, or the conference room or asking me shit in a whiny voice.

oh, and i think honest john needs to honestly put the real gun to his head because he sounds like a miserable dick.

Samantha_K said...

You see, to me 'sale' doesn't mean, "yesterday we ripped you off" it means, "Nobody will buy this crap at full price".

Just sayin'.

My first job was at the city pool. I wasn't a lifeguard, I did the ticket taking, etc...I got all the benefits of being a lifeguard, but I didn't have to go in the people-filled water. Public pools make me want to vomit. Very unsanitary.

It was a great place to get a date, though...
(oops, sorry. I did the dotdotdot thing, and not even on purpose!)

katie said...

fruity cooter! haha! gotta love it..

these stories are fabulous,LBB.

i used to hate the secret shoppers when i worked at the ole Country Store in Stone Mtn. Park in GA. I got fired for telling a secret shopper to find their own damn pecan cheese log. shit, how was i supposed to know i was bitch slapping someone that worked within the company? oh, well.....

The Thinking Man's Babe said...

What a treat - two very fun posts. Is Osco still around? If it is, it's a miracle; imagine the havoc you could have wreaked with just a couple of adjustments on that damned price gun. It kills me how inefficient corporate America can be and how trusting they are of people who get paid peanuts.

Bennet said...

Now that I think about it, the job was with in walking distance, but this means the "freedom" of the car granted means you couldn't really use the excuse:" I'm driving to work" to sneak away long distances unless it rained.

Yes, fond memories of my own working at a store deli on weekends when I was a teen. I remember one morning a man named "Jervis" yelling at me because I had not made enough doughnuts to sell. I was later tempted to drive to his near by local pharmacy to offer him free doughnuts with my own added "secret special Jervis glaze" but I chickened out in giving it to him in the last minute....

Since then friends have coined the phrase:" Don't Jervis the Dounuts!"

Bennet said...

http://battlebennetthecapt.blogspot.com/

Fantastagirl said...

I worked in a grocery store, we used to make the new guys stock the " female products" aisle ~ they would be soo red faced, was so much fun to make them miserable for the 20 minutes before the shift mgr would find out.

Dave Morris said...

FUCKING retail. I worked at Wal Mart for about 6 months. Straightening was my favorite part of the job. (and by "favorite," I mean "the part of the job that made me consider killing every person I saw picking up something and putting it back down crooked or in the wrong place."(

Little Wing said...

"We tried to butt-fuck you out of your money, but you were too slippery. Don't be afraid to come back now that our prices are reasonable. ".......
absolutely hillarious!
One of your best blogs LBB!

Stacy The Peanut Queen said...

Better a fruity cooter than a vinegar one. Wooooo.....

Sudiegirl said...

First - "fruity cooter" sounds like a rejected kid's cereal. "Hey kids, try some Fruity Cooter!"

Second - I remember OSCO! There was one within walking distance of my dorm in college. Great place for cheap wine.

Susan as herself said...

I have worked all sorts of hell jobs--- a few of them retail. But never in a store like Osco. (I stuck to places like specialty food stores or gift shops, etc. MUCH simpler.)

The Osco job does seem to be HELL. You poor thing. But I am sure it made you the man you are today. Heh heh.

Little Wing said...

Honest John has became desperate for attention.
He left me a comment on my blog that wasn't very nice.
The good news is that I banned him and didn't publish the comment. But I saved it.
I would guess I am not the only one of LBB's readers this happened to.
I think it's time LBB shooed this pest away.
He is obviously a very disturbed person.
He is just another stalker, a bully if you will. A very bitter man. He needs to be reported for harrasment.
I shall report him.

Effortlessly Average said...

I'm totally going to name my next punk band "fruity cooter."

themuttprincess said...

My first job (at the ripe old age of 15) was as a waitress at a old folks home. With 30 year olds telling me how to fold napkins and where to put the salt and pepper as if their expansive knowledge of table-setting was better than mine. HELLO! These people need the assistance of someone to eat, it doesn't matter where I put it!!! Plus, getting felt up by an Eighty year old when you are 15 is not fun either. That has to be the worst job I have ever had!!!

Scottsdale Girl said...

Osco used to be my true love, but now I am a Walgreen's girl.

Little Wing said...

Ok, I reported him to Blogger.
I gave Blogger his blog url and the comment he sent me this morning that proves he is nothing but a bully and a hater.
I don't suffer fools gladly. I don't care to be called vile names on my blog simply because I chose to read LBB.
I suggest if there are other girlies he is doing this to, they should also report him.
His blog of hate pretty much says it all.

Lightning Bug's Butt said...

Thank you, Little Wing. Readers like you give me a sense of pride.

I hope others follow your example.

Superstar said...

Retail is the middle man we will never be able to shake from our Modern American Culture...The thinkg that gets me, is they all charge a 100% mark up so when they give us a 30% savings, the store is still making money and the consumer is still over paying...

So, did you get fired for missing the end cap peanuts?!?!?!? I want a good bed time story, w/ my sick head cold and tissues....

Throw me a bone!!!

Ari said...

Ohhh GOD. The AD. Master of all retail slaves! I liked it when my job became just to change all the shelf price tags because it was a grand opportunity to walk the store, working as slowly and wasting as much time as I could. This was in the post-scanner era of course.

Peter said...

We had to sell 3 cans at the sales price. Your mistakes are costing us money."

Wasn't selling 'em at that price why we had the ads up just yesterday... how come its sending us broke today???

honest john said...

Whhhhh...I'm telling on you! For the information of all, what ever I sent to L Wing was never going to make it to her blog...she's a gutless moderator who decides what comments she keeps and what she gets rid of.

I do hope blogger bans me. Then I won't have this compulsive urge to continue this self abuse. You suck because you suck, not because I am a bully or a stalker or anything else having to do with me. YOU SUCK BECAUSE YOU SUCK! When you realize that, perhaps your lives won't be so empty that you think you need an idiot like LBB to entertain you with his garbage.

And once again, he ONLY responds to comments pertaining to me. Count back this post alone any questions his readers ask in their comments, and ask yourself why he refuses to devote time to answer ANY of them. Yet he trips all over himself to answer to ME. The only one who had the balls to take pokes at his delicate ego. You are all sheep.

Lawrence Buford Buchanan said...

LBB, I hope Osco puts TALENT on sale. Buy all you can because you're fresh out! Please stock up if you plan to continue blogging. And while you're at Osco, ask about their return policy. Maybe you can get a refund for all the crap you've posted here!

JohnnyCakes: Honestly, you lack the chops to be a heckler. Do a Google search on "kindergarten blogger." You may be able to impress THEM with "You Suck."

Have you become so jealous that you've taken to harassing LBB's READERS? You don't have enough imagination to spare; you'd better concentrate on LBB.

If you don't learn some manners, LBB may moderate your half-witted ass right off his blog. Then NOBODY will read you.

Becky said...

Let's see my first job was at a Wendy's when I was 15, I lied about my age. Since I had red hair, everybody thought it so witty to call me Wendy. Even though, I never wore pig tails, nor do I have any clearly visible freckles on my face. I was so exhausted after my first night on the job though, I swept and mopped the dining room floors and bathrooms... never again! I don't mind cleaning my own house, but a filthy rat ridden restaurant... The fucked up pranks we played on people, the asst. manager put a cigarette in someone's fries one night... Surprisingly there was never a complaint about it.

MsPuddin said...

The fact that you worked there in the early 1990’s makes your old job seem that much harder. I’m sorry, really I am.

And I always wonder about people who look down on me, but they are like 100 years old managing at McDonalds. I’m sorry, what did you say? You never graduated high school and you have four babies? Sounds fun.