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Wednesday
11/23/16

That one time I worked Black Friday

Posted by bostonki on November 23, 2016 in Uncategorized

I certainly have plenty of interesting stories to tell from the two years I spent working for a retail giant (“Mom, I want a diarrhea!”  “You mean a diary?”  “Yeah!”), but perhaps my wildest tales come from the three Black Fridays I spent there.  The first two years weren’t terrible.  I manned a cash register in the afternoon and evening for the family folks who nurtured their food baby all night instead of shopping.  Last Christmas, something possessed me to volunteer myself for an overnight shift, 6 PM to 4 AM.  I left the store the next morning vowing to never work another holiday in retail again.

There’s nothing like leaving Thanksgiving dinner before the food is even served, and arriving at work to a line already wrapped halfway around the building.  Inside, it’s a mess.  There are at least 60 employees getting aisle assignments, and only twenty functioning walkie talkies to go around.  Nobody was notified of where any special, big-ticket items in the store had been placed.  And the worst blow of the twenty minutes I had been there – I was in the toy department manning the Lego aisle.

At six o’clock, it was silent.  The 30 employees who were working electronics and toys all stood at the front of their respective aisle and braced themselves.  Within thirty seconds, you could hear the crowd beginning to make their way across the store.  Within a minute, you could see those first guests rounding the corners by the dressing rooms with their carts, running like there was no tomorrow to get their sweet little Mason his $400 BB-8 robot.

The next three hours were a blur.  I couldn’t see across the 6-foot aisle to the electronics desk, I must have answered a flat out “I don’t know where this item is” to a dozen people, and I got yelled at three times by my store manager for standing there not helping anybody because I was too overwhelmed to move.  Walkie talkies were breaking and we had to run around and borrow other employee’s, creating a huge chain of “I gave your walkie to so and so, and one of the ladies in clothing might have it at this point, I really don’t know”.  Our big ticket items were gone within an hour or so, and I made a mental list of items that I might have a temper tantrum if I had to field any more questions about, those darn Shopkins at the top of my list (I will never understand it, it’s literally like the Polly Pockets of FOOD, people).  Energy drinks were chugged and aisles were straightened up every hour and I know I got paid a few dollars more but I’m not entirely sure it was worth it in the end.

target-store-black-fridayApproximately how my workplace looked at opening on Thanksgiving night.

I’m hoping that this holiday season will be much more relaxing considering that I don’t currently work retail, but it gets me thinking as to how I’m going to spend my Black Friday.  I will definitely be staying for the Thanksgiving festivities this year (I want to actually devour some stuffing and cherry pie, instead of pigging out on pepperoni and chicken wing dip appetizers).  While there is a certain rush that can be felt getting half off at Bath & Body Works in the dead of night, is it worth adding to the stress of everyone stuck working it?  And if you are going, please be pleasant.  We don’t want to be there and we certainly don’t want you to be there.  Make their holiday season at work somewhat bearable.

Allow me to end this extremely depressing blog post with an accurate picture of all of us tomorrow.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday
11/16/16

The best things in life come from trees

Posted by bostonki on November 16, 2016 in Uncategorized

The best things in life come from trees.

No, I’m not talking about maple syrup (although that is a close second, and a stack of pancakes sounds really wonderful right about now).  I’m talking about books.

There is something so entirely magical about a page overflowing with words.  With every novel, you get to lose yourself in a world that is separate from your own.  Your sadness and loneliness is forgotten for awhile as you make friends with the characters dancing across the pages.  It is almost as if they’re existing right besides you.  When the plot takes a sharp decline and the character is in trouble, you use your empathy reserves meant for the people actually around you.  You cheer on the main character as they struggle as to make the outcome right.  They become your friend.  And at the end when you finally reach those dreaded last words, you cry.  You cry because there is nothing left to a story so riveting, so fantastic that you’ve read three hundred pages in one sitting.  You cry because you will never get to finish knowing this character.  You cry because it feels like you’re losing another friend.  But worry not, the next book you pick up will do just the same.

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I am currently in the middle of Go Set a Watchman, the sequel to my favorite American classic, To Kill a Mockingbird.  It’s been harder to get into than its’ older sibling (I’m about 130 pages in and the main plot is just starting to unfold) but nevertheless, I’m enjoying the return of now arthritis-ridden Atticus and Scout, who is a sophisticated New York-dweller.

 

Wednesday
11/09/16

It’s been a long year

Posted by bostonki on November 9, 2016 in Uncategorized

Thanks to the most recent American election cycle, 2016 has been a long and excruciating year.  Election coverage dominated news stations, newspapers, and social media.  I’ve avoided Bert’s as much as possible unless the TV’s were off and the pancake line was short.  Lies were told, ridiculous things said, debates heated, the country divided more than I have ever seen in my lifetime, and it finally came to an end last night.  Donald Trump will be the 45th President of the United States.  What will happen next?

As a woman, it’s only natural that I be concerned.  Of course, I did not appreciate the sexist comments and leaked videotape footage that have hit the scene.  I know many LGBT activists who are worried about respect and the stability of their fundamental rights.  The same extends to the Latino and Latina population, as well as the disabled.  While I think it is exceptionally unlikely that any fundamental rights of the above groups will be taken away, it is important to think about how these groups will be viewed and possibly treated differently under a Trump administration.

Will there be unruly protests from people who have supported Clinton?  Will the Republican Party (many of its’ members whom were discontented with Donald Trump’s ideas) become more liberal in nature or undergo an identity crisis?  How will the American economy prosper under a businessman rather than a politician?  Will America really become great again, and in what sense?  These are all questions whose answers will be unfolded in the days and years to come.  All we can do right now is (if you voted for Trump) celebrate, or (if you voted for Clinton) keep in mind that the sun will rise each day and life will go on.

Keeping in mind the times before the election flew completely off the handle, here are some pictures I dug out from the Bernie Sanders rally at Alumni Arena back in March.  We stood in the rain for three hours (and Mike bought a $20 Bernie beanie that he lost the next day) to hear him speak, so naturally we both ended up with terrible colds that dragged on for a month.  We were close enough to see the detailed wrinkle contour on his face though, so it was well worth it.  Man, I miss Bernie.

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Wednesday
11/02/16

I am officially a statistic

Posted by Marketing & Communications on November 2, 2016 in Uncategorized

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, college students change their undergraduate major an average of three times before graduation.  I read that statistic before starting classes freshman year and didn’t believe a word of it.  College students can’t really be that undecided, can they?  Three semesters later, I have become living proof that statistics don’t always lie (unless they are said by candidates who neglect to fact check before a nationally televised debate).

I came in freshman year as a biomedical sciences major, with aspirations to go to medical school a few years down the road.  The pre-med culture, amount of chemistry labs required (four too many), and a particularly… interesting… job at a Gross Anatomy Lab steered me away from that.  Leaning away from professional programs, I changed my major to biological sciences, and tried out biochemistry/molecular biology research.  For the second time, I hit a dead end.  The overall lab experience, not to mention the complicated topics with DNA mismatch repair that my Ph.D mentor was working on, were far too drudge for my personal interests.  I realized that in all honesty, I’d learned all the biology I cared to learn and groaned when I looked at the courses I had left to fulfill.

Take a step back.  Think.  What are you doing when you’re happiest?  What sorts of things do you feel like are important to you personally, that need to be brought to the world?  Is there a passion you’ve had since childhood that you’ve stuffed down or hid for whatever reason?

Starting this spring, I will be majoring in psychology with a hopeful minor in education.  Education has been something near and dear to my heart since my first days of primary school (I can’t even count how many hours I’ve spent playing “teacher” with my grandparents).  I’d love to make a career out of it (but in administration or curriculum development, since my patience is dangerously low with young children).  Psychology resonates with me for more personal reasons.  I would love to learn about cognition, as well as the biology behind how the human brain and mind work, and what happens when its mechanisms falter (mental illness, specifically).

Now for some good, old-fashioned motherly advice.  Don’t listen to anybody but yourself.  You are the only one who knows what your real passions are.  People are going to tell you to stick to a route you hate simply because you have the capabilities to do the coursework and succeed.  They will try and tell you that you’re “too smart” or “not smart enough” for whatever your heart desires.  They will try and talk you out of pursuing a major that they see no possible career path for (a graduate-level degree or special certification solves that problem, folks).  And they will most certainly try and talk you out of it because they forgot what it was like to have a dream of their own.

And that makes me completely okay with being a statistic.