Sunday, September 24, 2017

the latest work injustice

First, here's what I love about my job:  the selling part. And, it happens to be the only thing I get paid to do.

I also believe that I work for the best store (in terms of inventory), on the best floor (5th), in the best section (The Advance, where the edgy, cool designers live), in the best location (right near the escalators) and for the best director.

That being said, it is hard to stay motivated when every day there seems to be some new policy that makes me, and every other selling associate, unhappy.

Our company cafeteria closed today. Hot soups, freshly-baked goods, and hand-made sandwiches are gone. Instead, we'll now have machines to house the food we may want to eat.

And, beginning October 1, our commission rate for helping other store or corporate employees drops to almost zero.

So imagine this fictitious scenario (that could absolutely happen, as it has many times in the past).

A woman comes in. She needs many many things. I run around pulling options. Climb ladders looking for the right size. Search our system to see if the item she wants is available at other store since we don't carry it in our store. Go to another floor since the back stock for something she wants is three floors down. Make a tag for an item that doesn't have one. I spend two hours with her. And then she leaves the fitting room a mess. Unhung clothes everywhere. But she's buying twelve items, so I'm happy.

She goes to pay, and pulls out an employee credit card. She has never once mentioned  that she works for the company (which is the courteous thing to do).

Her items total $4,000. But that $4,000 becomes a lot less when the generous employee discount is applied.  

This has always been the case. And this is fine.

But in a week, the commission earned on employee sales will be reduced to almost nothing.

If I help a non-employee with the above purchase, I will yield a commission of about $250. But if that same $4,000 purchase is made by an employee, I will soon yield a commission of $19.

Same effort.  Same time commitment. Same opportunity cost for the customers I was unable to help while helping this customer.

So am I supposed to provide less service? 

Should I ask every customer before helping them if they work for the company? 

Do I direct employees to find their own clothes in the stock rooms? Maybe even create and distribute a diagram of where all the stock rooms are located?

Should I say,  "Hey, we barely get paid helping you, so can you at least hang up all the clothes you left on the floor and bring them over to our go-backs area?" 

Or do I just flat-out say, "I'm happy to open a dressing room for you, and ring up anything you want to purchase, but beyond that, you're on your own."

Of course not.

I know I always have the option of leaving. The problem is I like what I do. Mostly.

Monday, September 18, 2017

back to reality

I leave my apartment and discover it's raining.

I return to my apartment and get a raincoat.

I get to midtown and the streets are blocked with big metal barriers and police everywhere.The corner I need to access to get to work is cordoned off. The UN is in session and our President is in town. 

No one can get through. And the line keeps growing of people waiting to cross 50th and Madison. A man behind me (not in this photo) asks not to be photographed. He is carrying a legal-sized file folder with his name and cell number sprawled across it in big block letters. Impossible to not see. I point out that his privacy may already be compromised; he laughs.

Eventually the block is opened and we are all allowed to pass. 

This is how my day starts.

I begin work at 9:30 today. 

I am intro-ing a screening tonight of Kingsman: The Golden Circle. Shari's coming with me. I skip lunch to leave at five, as the screening starts at seven.

Around four I feel a little faint, having eaten only a muffin for breakfast.

It's a slow day, but around 4:30 I start helping an incredibly nice woman. Around 5:30, she is just getting into the dressing room. By 5:45, I cancel my evening plans. 

I find a replacement to intro.

I tell Shari I can't come.

And I finally leave around 7:30. 

I grab a Via.

Traffic home is worse than this morning. 

There are two other passengers beside myself in the car. One is a young girl, plugged in and quiet.

The other girl is sitting in the front seat complaining to the driver the entire way. To accentuate her displeasure with the ride, she forcibly slams the door upon leaving.  As if the driver created the traffic! People like her should be banned from shared cars. She makes everyone miserable.

I stop for a grilled tomato and mozzarella cheese sandwich at the local diner before coming home. 

Life as usual continues.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

jess and dan's wedding

I love when the bride walks down the aisle. I think it's my favorite part of the wedding.

Jessica looks angelic. She is a beautiful bride. Her dress is exquisite, and it is veiled by her happiness.

here comes the bride, accompanied by her parents, Jill and jimmy
There is something very emotional watching two people commit to each other for a lifetime. Dan and Jess are unwavering in their belief of the other.  They are lucky; they have found the one. The one who will make them each stronger and better. Who will love them unconditionally. And who will be there at the end of each day (metaphorically speaking, of course). To hear about their successes and disappointments, both big and small. To protect them from life's many furies. To make them feel safe. Safer than they'd be alone. There is more joy in two than in one.

The second best part of a wedding (in my opinion) is getting to talk to the guests, relax, and indulge in an impossibly abundant and overwhelming amount of incredible, diverse food. 

There's the meat station, including lollipop lamp chops with mint jelly. passed mini grilled cheese sandwiches with mini tomato soups. A sushi station. Three kinds of fries. Mini burgers. Different kinds of pizza. Shrimp tacos. A raw bar. An Italian-food station. And an open bar. And everything is so good. And we are hungry, having not eaten since 11 this morning.

All this before dinner is even served.

Chloe is a huge hit as the flower girl, but her real talent and interest seems to be dancing. She moves to the beat, mesmerized in front of a talented quartet. She demonstrates more rhythm than most adults.

Amanda and Jason, her parents, are very proud.

As are Valerie and Abbey, her grandparents.

It's nice to get all dressed up for a joyous occasion. 

My family likes getting together, and  the youngest generation never shuns the oldest one.

my mom (almost 88) with Alexander (almost 25)

my mom dancing with jack (21)

The two grande dames are out there on the dance floor until one am. Their energy surpasses many half their age.

Phyllis and Rita (94)

After the appetizers comes dinner and dancing. The band is phenomenal, and the food continues to be outstanding. Everyone is having a good time.

adam and rachel

adam, jason, jack, alexander, michael (my mom's 5 grandsons)
The speeches continue, and the bride and groom are clearly touched by the kindness and sometimes unexpected revelations imparted by those speaking.

A little after one, many of us board the bus that will take us back to our hotel. Some stay on for a post-wedding party.

It's been a glorious celebration for Jess and Dan.

May their future be filled with as much joy as they both embodied tonight.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

day of

Jean, my mom and I meet at a local bagel place for breakfast. Au naturel.

After brunch, the three of us go to nearby salon (with good YELP reviews) that I found online, Madison Taylor. Last time I had my hair and make-up done for a big event I walked out looking like a transvestite. My instructions this time are more explicit: very little hair-spray, and make-up that's not overdone.

Everyone is competent, helpful and friendly.  We all leave happy with our outcomes.  

But it's a humid day. And my gorgeously twisted long locks, so perfect in the day, abandon me by night.

The chartered bus that will be taking us to Hewlett Harbor where the wedding will be, leaves at 6:10. But we meet a few minutes early to grab a few pre-wedding photos.

Jean, Jim and Jack (Sally is in Spain studying)

My mom convinces me that my top is not too sheer, and though I hadn't planned on wearing it, in the end I decide it's the better choice. 

Oh, and it's the camera, not the makeup, that's providing that very-natural-no-make-up look. 

Friday, September 15, 2017

jess and dan's rehearsal dinner

I am most comfortable in casual clothes. 

When I am going somewhere where attire is important, I get anxious. And if it's black tie, my level of discomfort is heightened.

Tonight is Jessica and Dan's rehearsal dinner. Jessica is Abbey's niece, and all our families are close. 

I have a few options and begin the day trying them on. The festivities are all in Long Island, and the out-of-town guests are staying in Garden City. So today is clothes-D-Day.

The dress I want to wear tonight, a great crepe Carven dress I bought last year and have never worn, will not work. Today will be in the 80's, and the dress is meant for winter/fall. So I go to my back-up, less-exciting dress. A plain, slinky black Helmut Lang.

Next I try on the beautiful Alexander Wang one-shoulder dress I plan to wear for the wedding. I look in the mirror. How did I not see this before? The slit on the left side of the dress is about eight inches above my knee. The sheer paneling helps mask the slit, but leg — lots and lots of it — is meant to be seen.  There is no way I can wear this dress. 

So I go to Plan B. 

I recently bought a big tulle skirt by Simone Roche, to wear with a simple black Wolford top. When I try this on in the light, I see that the top is totally sheer. It didn't look like this when I tried it on in the store this past August. Ugh! I find a simple black Wolford top that'll work. Not as pretty. Very simple. But do-able.

I know I won't be noticed whatever I wear as long as it's appropriate and fits in. I don't want to be the one whispered about for being too old to wear anything too sheer or slitted too high.

The dinner is being in held in The Polo Lounge at the hotel. Jess and Dan are radiant. 

My mom and Rita both look beautiful. They are as vibrant as the couple-to-be.

Alexander is coming from Philadelphia, and arrives showing his long trip.

But soon he too is relaxed, changed, and hanging out with his cousins.

(clockwise from left) Adam, Rachel, Alexander, Michael and Jack
The speeches are all fun, heartfelt, and revealing. Dan makes a great emcee.

We don't often get together, and it's nice to do it for joyous occasions like this.

And, I even am able to wear shoes that aren't embarrassing.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

second opinion

Three weeks ago I injure the top of my right foot.

I see my podiatrist, who concludes I have a stress fracture. He recommends a cast (not a boot) for six to eight weeks. The thought is too depressing, so instead I do nothing. 

My sister gives me the name of a foot specialist she has used, Dr. Steven Sheskier. I make an appointment; it takes a week and a half to get in to see him.

In the meantime, I hobble around in my Nike sneakers, walking almost nine miles, three times a week, and have the best week at Saks since I started almost two years ago. I think it's the sneakers.

I still have swelling.  My foot still aches. But surprisingly, my right foot hasn't gotten worse. If anything, it seems to be getting better.

Today I finally see Dr. Sheskier. He examines my foot. Asks me to walk on tiptoes. Takes some x-rays. And then gives me his diagnosis.

"First, the chances of your having a stress fracture are zero." He emphasizes this point by making his thumb and forefinger into a circle.

What I have instead, he tells me, is a contusion —that means that I ruptured some blood capillaries. Or, more simply put, my foot is bruised.

Dr. Sheskier gives me some topical medication to help with the swelling, then sends me on my way.

I still can't get into my heels for a wedding this weekend, but that kind of bad news is easy to  accept.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

paper junkie

My dad's company was originally called The New England Paper Supply Company. Despite the name, I don't think any paper was ever supplied to anyone. 

Both the name and purpose of my dad's company were later changed. He went from being in the junk business (as it was called then) to the more appropriately described recycling business. My mom's license plate, RCYCLE, still reflects the industry my dad grew up in.

As a child, we would love when my dad brought home comic books (Archie being the most coveted) and magazines (as an aspiring actress, my favorites were Photoplay and Modern Screen). But he also brought home lots of paper, and once an old wooden school desk. 

Soon after, our finished basement became our little classroom. My sisters and I, along with our friends, would play school. Looking back, I don't remember the details of this activity, but I remember doing a lot of it. 

I write all this because I'm guessing my love and appreciation of paper began back then, even though no one else in my family seems to share this love. For me,  writing on good paper feels better. Even if it's scrap paper, or keeping track of endless lists of things to do. The paper I write on matters.

Even my printer paper isn't the typical 20 or 24 pound. I use 28-pound-bright-white and for a little more money, it makes a big difference. Well, to me it does.

To justify the added cost, I always print on both sides. And even though I rarely print anything that leaves my house, on the rare occasions when I do (for a BAFTA meeting, say), inevitably someone will comment on how nice the paper is.

Four years ago, I got some nicely-packaged (and personalized) paper as a gift at a bridal shower, and loved it. 80- pound, bright white. Recently I was about to run out, so I looked on the bottom of the lucite holder it came with, and found the name: Graphics Embossed.

All this to say, that if you like good paper, and don't want to spend a lot, this makes a great little gift, and, it's perfect for those endless to-do lists. 

I think my dad would be happy knowing that a little bit of the business he built and loved rubbed off on me.