Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Folding tables, go-backs galore

I was sad and disgusted when I walked into the Gap at the Flood building. It was a little after noon, the place was mobbed and I was taken a-back at the mess, everywhere.
I'm not used to the mess. I mean, yes, I was at one point part of the flock who made the mess. I forgot what made us do this, but for a few years, Eric & I would unfold things just to screw with the store. They did something bad and we took it out on them at every store we could.

I was on a mission to find short sleeved heather gray t-shirts in large for Eric. Easy peasy right? It's the GAP. Their empire is built on jeans and t-shirts. I figured that was upstairs and I thought to mill around downstairs first, to see if there was anything that caught my fancy. Unfortunately, the mess caught my eye. Three older women commented they couldn't be 'productive' in there, as they too scanned the room at the clothing carnage that lay all over the place - sweaters in mounds on the tops of the tables, folding tables overflowing with things that haven't been folded, too many fixtures too close together, people were bumping into each other just to get around the store.

I understand the want, the need to put out as much stuff as you can out onto the selling floor but if the presentation isn't there, it's actually counterproductive. I haven't worked in retail in over 10 years, but I remember the days of endless folding and straightening, restocking and cleaning out dressing rooms. Mindless & Sisyphian it was, but it helps customers find what they need and may even attract them to what they want.

I was so grossed out, I quickly made my way upstairs, hoping to find better conditions on the men's floor. I was wrong. I seriously considered getting a job there just to help out, that day. Three folding tables around the jeans, t-shirts and the kids area filled with clothes and most employees either at the cash wrap or manning the fitting rooms. After about 10 minutes of rooting around the t-shirts, I found the style and color but not the size I needed. I had to tippy-toe to reach a stack of t-shirts (no one around to see me put that stack back all messed up) to see if what I needed was there. Nope.

Still sad and disgusted, I walked to the Post/Kearny store. Clean, orderly, calm. Found the t-shirts and I even found a couple of things for myself. While the mess was virtually non-existent and there was a greater worker:customer ratio, it seems like the sales associates aren't as friendly as I remember them. They used to work like they were on commission. Now they work like they can't be bothered.

Friday, December 1, 2006

The feasting continues

And the drinking too. Last week was constant eating, but I don't feel like I've overdone it this year, like I know I have done in the past.

I took 2 hours off at the end of my shift today so Eric & I could start happy hour early. After running some last minute things at the post office, we were off to drinks at the Marriott's View Lounge. We haven't been in some time and thought it was time to go posh again for some cocktails and nibbles and to see how the City's looking from up there.

No nibbles, as it turns out. We ordered whiskey sours, a cheese plate and some pate but the kitchen guy was not there so our server comp'd us another round of whiskey sours instead. I can't believe we ate the whole bowl of peanuts and party mix. Our original plan was to have dinner somewhere in the Castro but that was too far to stagger to. The second round was much stronger so we needed to eat somewhere nearby.

I offered up Lulu or Buca Di Beppo, but even that was too far for Eric, and Buca's fun with lots of friends. Lulu just has lots of people we don't know and it's noisy. Eric is always ragging me that I've eaten there with others and not him, but he wasn't interested tonight.

On the way to dinner, we stopped at Needless Markup for the annual fruitcake. Eric likes fruitcake so we've been buying one as a part of our Christmas season rituals. Plus I get a tin when he's done. He grew up on the big generic bricks from the supermarket and I introduced him to the good stuff. One year, I waited too long and they ran out so I bought a rum cake instead, which was good, but wasn't the same. My thing is egg-nog. We'll spike it with anything we have on hand, anejo rum, bourbon, whisky. We still have some Black Label left over from Jennifer & Pepe's wedding (from 3 years ago!) and now we're using that.

Anyway, after the shopping (I was secretly hoping they'd be giving samples of something, anything to nibble on, but they weren't), we hobbled over to E&O Trading. We ate there once with friends many moons ago and tonight, they were closed for a private function. So Cafe De La Presse was our restaurant of choice. Neither of us have eaten there but I'd heard good things from our friend Mary.

Eric ordered another cocktail and I had a glass of wine. We had 3 yummy courses (I had onion soup, duck salad, and profiteroles for dessert) and coffee. Our server was very nice and the place was just filling up as we were leaving. It's funny, we like eating pretty early, but that's so we have time to chill and savor the evening's activities before going to sleep.
This past Sunday, we had an early dinner at the Buckeye for Uncle John's birthday. I also had soup (butternut squash) and duck (roasted with an awesome mushroom bread pudding), a slice of coconut cream pie and tea for dessert. Dinner at 5, home by 8, time to unwind and catch up on some crap TV before the start of a new work week.

Now Eric's asleep (he has to get up early to proctor the SATs) and I'm taking photos of the tops of wine bottle tops.