Saturday, December 21 – Sunday, December 22

Saturday was a 5-hour workday at my job at the Major Home Improvement Retailer.  I had thought that I’d be doing on-the-job training, but there was a last minute change of plans.  My trainer wasn’t available, and there was a need for a worker to help out in the parking lot.  That, of course, turned out to be me.  Of all the things I have pictured myself doing at work, fetching shopping carts was most distinctly not among them.  Not that I can complain: the store can’t operate without a lot attendant, as a new employee I don’t have much say in the matter, and I was getting my regular pay.

It turned out to be much more difficult work than I ever would have imagined.  And not just in a physical sense, either.  While most stores have just one type of shopping cart, the Major Home Improvement Retailer has four: regular carts, flat carts, lumber carts, and sheet goods (plywood and drywall) carts.  There have to be some of each type in all four carts corrals and at the store’s two entrances.

For the first 90 minutes of my shift I was running back and forth trying to get the carts properly distributed.  Once that was done, I had to keep up with the carts that customers were leaving in the lot, occasionally helping people load things into their vehicles, and even sweeping the cigarette butts and other trash from the concrete apron in front of the store.  By the time my shift ended I was completely beat, not to mention having a much greater respect for people who do this type of work all the time.  At least I had the advantage of unusually warm weather with no rain or snow.  I then went to a “flow arts” show not far away, at which a family member was performing.  It was an excellent show, though as it was a standing rather than sitting affair my feet were quite sore indeed!

Sunday at work was completely different. Employees who work in the main merchandise departments (paint, hardware, garden etc.) are required to have “product knowledge” of their departments, in other words they have to know about the items sold, how they’re used, what to recommend to customers, and so on.  It can be quite detailed.  Anyway, given that I’ll be working at the Pro Desk pulling customer orders, I had figured that I wouldn’t need specific product knowledge, I’d just have to know how to do my own tasks.  Wrong.  It turns out that I’ll have to acquire product knowledge in no fewer than three departments, namely lumber, building materials, and millwork.

I ended up spending my four-hour shift doing computer training, delving into the intricacies of lumber.  Many, many things I didn’t know about it, and that’s putting things very mildly.  I made it through dimensional lumber and partway through boards, next time I have to finish boards and head off to plywood and drywall.  After that, building materials and millwork, what I imagine is that the latter will be the most complicated of all.  Never would I have guessed that this job involves such extensive training.  But hey, it’s paid training.


Published in: on December 25, 2013 at 12:19 am  Leave a Comment  

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