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Ha! Awesome and big front page article on our crazy coupon days. Coupon days will be even more insane now. For non-coupon shoppers, I can wholeheartedly recommend Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays for calm, peaceful shopping. It’s like going back in time a decade on those days cuz everyone is coming Wednesdays and Thursdays.

This is my favorite picture. Both Stagey and I independently thought of those old Mervyn’s ads.

openopenopen
“Open… open… open…”

Next year will be different so enjoy the insanity until October when the coupons end. Hey, since I’m doing an ad anyway, we’re having a customer appreciation day today. 3-6 there will be giveaways, Rainbow bands, and other stuff. It’s at the 13th St. entrance (My total pet peeve is my co-workers who insist on calling it “Division”. Especially on the website. Grrrrrr.)

And don’t forget: closed on Pride, open on July 4.
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Tuesday night our Membership Meeting, after some perfunctory business, turned into a memorial for our co-worker who killed himself last week. I've rarely been so proud of my workplace and my co-workers and especially [livejournal.com profile] anarqueso who (lightly) facilitated it. I went to support my co-workers and friends who were having a hard time but left feeling like I had gotten a tremendous amount out of it. There was no rush, just 50 or so people telling stories that made people cry or laugh out loud. Tom had written a short goodbye letter to the co-op (Tom also wrote letters to other friends and family) which was read aloud. His last words to us were both heartening and awful. We (I assume all of us) took some solace in knowing that he took some of his last moments to reassure us that it wasn't our fault and to say he appreciated the community we've created. However, after those words were read, the realization sank in again: Tom was still dead, there would be no more funny Tom notes or inane pages that we could laugh at together.

Still, being together and sharing memories, and thereby reinforcing our own connections to each other, was so important that it's hard to put it into words.

[livejournal.com profile] anarqueso wrote up her account of the meeting which is poignant and more worth your reading time than this little short burst.

Demons

Oct. 3rd, 2008 06:12 am
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A co-worker killed himself yesterday. We weren’t that close. Indeed, I probably fought with him more about work issues than any other single co-worker I’ve had over the years. But I never stopped liking him. Really, he was mostly a sweetheart, an exasperating one to be sure, but a guy with a good heart. We could fight over x-mas music in the store, seasonal allocation of space, his ridiculous assertions about his department’s worth to the store -- and often in buyers meetings I would be the main force opposing him – but we’d run into each other at the Eagle or at the park near where we both lived for a long time, buy each other a beer and enjoy each other’s company.

In my co-op political work one of my main goals is to discourage the idea that our workplace is a family. For too long at our store -- and in too many other co-ops -- bad people and dysfunctional workers use that dynamic, much like in real families, to manipulate others, get their way, and skate on infractions that would get them fired from any other workplace in the country. This isn’t the time for that essay, but as I thought about the fact that, while that is true, it also only needs to be my co-op political line because there are so many ways in which that line is blurred already.

When death hits the store it’s clear that we are not a regular retail workplace. True, we didn’t close for the day, but workers stopped and took the time they needed. Some people left and there will be no discipline or reprisal. People made a quick altar* and began calling other co-workers who needed to know. Today was a coupon day** which generally means we are all at full speed, stressed and hurried. But when we got the news people cried, hugged, and talked and basically, no offense,*** ignored the customers as much as possible. Death didn’t make it us-and-them exactly, more just… well… like we’ve taken a loss and aren’t quite ready to talk about it to outsiders yet. It made us even more clannish than usual.

A few years ago a different co-worker was run over by a semi while riding his bike in a funeral procession for a bike messenger. That hit the store in the same way. That day -- and if memory serves me right it was right before Thanksgiving -- we even had a spontaneous moment of silence that someone called for over the intercom. I will never forget all of us stepping away from our work areas in response. The customers were confused but stayed quiet too, sensing that we weren’t playing, that something was really wrong.

I don’t know if it’s true for everyone, but it seems like all the people I’ve known who’ve killed themselves -- either quickly or slowly -- were done in by their demons. I don’t want to expose or speculate on Tom’s demons but I know they were there. Still, it was a surprise. Many times I’ve known people who died too young but there was often an element of yeah-I-saw-that-coming about it. Not here. Tom was fairly resilient, or at least seemed to be. No one I talked to saw this coming though all agreed he’d had it rough recently.

Demons. We all have them to some extent, so what make some people’s so much harder for them to bear? I would never claim all demons to be equal but some folks certainly seem to be able to bear more than others. One person can bear a bad thing that can send someone else over the brink. Of course, these things are never really comparable because we never know all the demons that someone else has had to bear previously, right?

It was a hard, sad, confusing day at work today and I can imagine tomorrow will be the same as more folks find out or get to talk about it for the first time. If you are shopping, (and it is another coupon day) be nice and be patient.



***One of the things I love best about the store is that any worker can put a picture and a candle at the front desk to honor someone who recently died. I have done this myself too many times: Joe Strummer, June Jordan, Del Martin, Wendy O Williams, Ron Apple…
**Luckily after 5:45 almost everyone was home watching the debate so it was pretty slow tonight.
***I know I saw a few of you. Sorry if I didn’t seem happy to see you but at first it was all-engrossing and too much to try to explain
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What a busy May Day.

I started off the day dealing with entitlement on a bike. I don’t know what alerted me to the aggro guy on his bike but he was on my block coming out of an apartment. I don’t think I had seen him before, but he had a bike helmet and sunglasses so it was a little hard to tell. I felt him semi-staring at me as I walked down the block but, like I said, he was wearing sunglasses so I couldn’t tell 100% if he was looking at me. He was giving off that go-ahead-and-ask-me-what-I’m-staring–at vibe so, while I didn’t change my path, I didn’t try to make eye contact either. When I got within about 10 ft. away he swung his bike around and took off.

"Whatever," I thought.

Before I go on I want to mention a few things. I am sympathetic to bicyclists. I don’t think that safety on the roads is 50:50 bike /car. I think it’s more like 90% car because drivers are the ones driving the huge hunks of metal. Though I own a car, I walk (or take public transit) most of the time in the city so I know how scary reckless city drivers can be. Though many times bicycle politics can be ableist and self-congratulatory, I think overall they are for the good. Generally I feel solidarity with bicyclists. Hey my brother even has a bike blog.

Having said all that, here’s what happened. At the end of my block there’s a stop sign. A car was in front of the biker with his right blinker on. Driver stops at stop sign. Bicyclist doesn’t stop, passing him on the right. Driver starts forward turning right, sees bicyclist, jams on brakes and hits his horn (not just a toot, but he didn’t lay on it either). Bicyclist freaks out, jumps off his bike and starts yelling at the driver. I can’t hear the driver but the biker has his hands on top of the open window, leaning in, yelling things like, “How dare you honk at me!” “You almost hit me!” and “You’re lucky I’m nice, another bicyclist would have fucked up your car for honking.”

He’s getting louder and louder as I approach. They driver is being appeasing. Palms-up and everything, he’s trying to explain why he honked but the bicyclist keeps yelling at him, cutting him off. I can’t really follow his rant, something about people in cars are just button-pushers, insulated from the world. He shows no sign of slowing down. I think he may be gearing up to slug the driver.

I stand about ten feet away and say, “You have to calm down.” It is, after all, my block and I’m not going to ignore this and walk by. I say it softly and keep my hands at my sides. He ignores me, continuing his rant. But he knows I’m there. I say it again, the same way. He still doesn’t react or look at me but he finishes with a “Be more careful!” gets on his bike and rides away.

The driver pulls over, a little shaken and exploding with all the things he couldn’t say since he was defusing the situation: “I was signaling!” “He drove through a Stop on my right!” “I always yield to bikes!” I told him that the biker was an asshole and went to catch the N Judah.

Downtown, I stupidly thought the march was starting at the 1934 General Strike Memorial so I had to spend awhile finding the march (“Aha! I said to myself, ”traffic isn’t coming on this side of the street so the march must have started on the other side of Market St!”) I caught the last block and am glad I did because I got to see the ILWU Drill Team do synchronized steps and hook moves. As always, some wingnuts were there but at union rallies they are not allowed to speak. The biggest group in the worker co-op contingent were the Lusty Lady folks who kept a continual retort of “Yes, we’re in a union” to the questioning of other demonstrators.

I didn’t stay too long because I had to go drink beer in the sun and play badminton with members of my co-op at our yearly party in Stern Grove. God, my co-workers children sure have grown since last year.

I missed the Immigrant Rights rally because I ended up driving a co-worker home who nailed a pothole on the way down into the Stern Grove valley and wasn’t doing so well. In fact, she’s the “President”* and our Treasurer went down in the softball game. Of our corporate officers, only our Secretary was still standing at the end of the day.

Good thing we’re a co-op.

How was your International Workers Day/Immigrant Rights Day/May Day?



*As a California Corporation we are required to have a “President”. It is a position with no power whatsoever.
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My apartment is very San Franciscan. Drafty windows that vibrate in the wind like speakers playing Motorhead. No central heating, just drafty hallways that are colder than any upstate NY apartment when you get up in the middle of the night. A window in the bathroom that always needs to be cracked open at the top because there's no ventilation and it's the only way to prevent Sistine Chapel-worthy mold designs on the ceiling. I know it's Edwardian, not Victorian, only because that's the kind of thing you pick up living in SF for a couple of decades.

I love the banging of the windows, the smack of the rain on the glass, the sound of hail, even if it isn't hail, on the roof. This last storm reminded all of us who were here of the storm in 1995 that smashed up the Conservatory of Flowers.* I had separate conversations about it with both [livejournal.com profile] anarqueso and [livejournal.com profile] jactitation probably because we spent that storm in my room watching storm damage on TV. At least when we had power.

I love storms, but for the last few years I couldn't. My workplace is in the lowlands of San Francisco, in a formerly industrial area that never had an income base to demand drainage repairs or sewer modernization.** During heavy storms and hide tides, this city floods. Our little section of the city, really our two block area, has flooded the last few years whenever we get a heavy fog.*** Our store's backstock, a foot or so below street level filled with rain water and overflowed drains so often that we started expecting to close during every storm. I spent a few hours of one storm, when my arm was injured and I couldn't mop, outside our front door, rain blowing in my face, trying to explain that we were flooded to customers coming from areas just blocks away which didn't have our problems.

So Friday morning, when I got to work at 6:45, I expected to grab a floor squeegee, not a handtruck, and spend the morning pushing water and bleaching. I think all of us there did.

We've spent years, and a lot of money, trying to fix this problem. I mean there's nothing you can do in a storm like a few years ago when cars were floating down Trainor Alley and water poured in through the bottom of the closed receiving door on Folsom St., But Friday was a giddy day. All the worker-owners were happy. This was a big storm**** But except for two very small floods in one backstock area, we stayed dry and open.

So, hopefully, now I can go back to feeling the wind, worrying that the house will blow down, watching the umbrella carnage pile up on the streets and trying to figure out which trees will fall and which will survive. I really missed enjoying bad weather without worrying about being called in for emergency flood duties. Whoo-hoo stroms!

Edited to add: Hold on! Here comes storm #3. I can't here my stereo over the sound of the rain hitting the roof on my home office.



*This isn't the best article about the storm but what a simile! "the monster windstorm that shook Golden Gate Park like a naughty child" . Issue alert!!
**it's truly a city-wide problem, but some things flow downhill
***Yes, that's an exagerration. But not much of one.
****Certainly the tide/rainfall combo wasn't the worst possible, and that's the single worse factor in San Francisco flooding, but last year we would have been shut down for hours in with this kind of rain.
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A customer came in the other day who knew her cheese pretty well. She asked smart questions and was looking for good cheese. She was intrigued by the new (legal) raw milk French ones we have in, Dome St. Estephe, Brique Des Flanders, Gaperon Au Torchon but rebelled against their insanely high prices. I couldn’t blame her though I bought a half of one of the Domes myself at like $9 for about 4 ounces. I didn’t do the math to get a per pound price and I’ll thank you in advance for not telling me.

She decided on a half of the new Jasper Hill Winnemere that I was plugging here the other day. I ordered 20 and got 4. (Boo hoo.)

Anyways, she started off a little wary with me then grew to trust me over the five minutes of cheese talk. I actually appreciate when I have to earn people’s trust. I figured we had bonded enough that I couldn’t offend her.

When she finished her cheese selections she asked, "You don’t carry foie gras do you?"

Now for those of you not in the Bay Area, we do not carry meat or fish even though most of our customers want it. Vegetarians started our store and though we dispensed with the other teaching of the convicted smuggler, child guru, cult leader, we have stayed true to that one. Meat questions however, are the most dangerous customer interaction. Even though I eat meat, and try to empathetically and without attitude tell people that we don’t carry it, sometimes folks still think I’m copping an attitude. Hell, I’m sure I’ve killed more birds than most of the people asking for frozen chickens, but people are drop-of-the-hat ready to assume self-righteousness on this issue.

Despite knowing all this I felt like I’d developed a trusting relationship with this anonymous customer and that she had a sense of humor. I went for broke.

"No Ma’am, we don’t carry any meat or fish so we certainly don’t carry the torture meats."

She heard the "no" imediately, but the rest took a second to sink in. She did a slight double take. "Well ok," she said, "but I don’t share your opinion."

"I’m sorry for the way I phrased that," I replied. "How about if I say, we don’t carry the torture meats that are extremely tasty?"

"Ok, I can live with that," she said starting to push her cart and finish her shopping.
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Since Friday at 7:30 AM:

-Worked every day
-Saw the Emperor Norton play ([livejournal.com profile] lifeasjuicy was great!)
-Ran into [livejournal.com profile] superchones and [livejournal.com profile] tlacuiloliztli and talked about SF public schools
-Greeted houseguests [livejournal.com profile] queen_beeanna and friend who are here for the Fancy Food Show
-Went to local bar and stayed out too late with houseguests
-Attended founders meeting of the California Artisianal Cheese Guild
-Schmoozed and gorged at a fancy cheese tasting coordinated with the Fancy Food Show
-Met up with a couple of old reps who moved away and I have had no contact with in at least a couple of years. They told me that they were talking about me at a cheese gathering recently. "yeah, we love your blog." So, who ratted me out?
-Chose not to attend food show during amateur/feed the world day (Sunday)
-Saw Wanda Jackson and Rosie Flores perform at Bimbo’s, the site of my high school prom. About 8 co-workers and [livejournal.com profile] beckastar were there.
-Bought new boots
-Cleaned the kitchen
-Went grocery shopping
-Made to-do list none of which is above

The next two days will be all Food Show action. Hott.
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Our worker party was fabulous.. It was at this weird place that was built by the Masons, There was an elevator operator, a 1909 Austin pipe organ, lush backdrops for the stage, and lots of architecture that looked like that hotel in "The Shining."

What the heck, it was our 30th anniversary party

Highlights:

1. All the workers dressed up fancy. Hopefully we’ll have pics soon. There’s one of me, [livejournal.com profile] dairryiere, [livejournal.com profile] ilipodscrill, [livejournal.com profile] anarqueso, and [livejournal.com profile] sweetchezus all together.

2. Lots of fun non-co-workers this year.

3. Hearing our mission statement sung to the tune of the pipe organ. "Organic food… organic food. … Democratic structure…democratic structure..."

4. Watching our ex-sublettor and his housemate dry hump their way across the dance floor. When people asked who they were, I got to proudly say, "Dairryiere and I invited them!"

5. The next day at work trying to figure out who the people were who got found fucking in the "organ room". Supposedly a co-worker walked in on a woman with her dress hiked up being done by some dude who had his pants at his ankles. You know, a classic office party fuck scene except they weren’t balanced on the copier. I’m embarrassed to say I think they were guests and not workers.

Sorry if you were shopping and wewere all kinda hungover on Wednesday.

Found poem

Nov. 21st, 2005 10:57 pm
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no really. I found this in front of the grated parmesans. I thought it was a shopping list and threw it out when [livejournal.com profile] dairryiere exclaimed, "Wait, is that a poem?"

Memories light the corners of mind
of the kind
You were the sunshine in the rain
the pleasure healing in my pain
yeah

And like a distance star I see you your
light fade into the until memory
becomes pain. My love,
my world
is gone away.

I was seventeen when you answered
the call


Unfortunately it just ends there. I'm not sure it's finished. If you have an inspiration for an ending, feel free to supply it.

Also this paper smells really bad and I wish I hadn't touched it. Patchouli bad. (No offense to my friend who got tossed from Zeitgeist.)

ha ha ha

Oct. 19th, 2005 01:44 pm
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I never post from work. But I'm sitting here going over invoices and I hear another buyer, who's just gotten a CEO of some company on the phone, ask him, "OK, I'm baffled. Can you tell me exactly what is 'fun' about your 'fun pack'?"

I love my co-workers.
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I ended up working part of the closing shift on July 4 because someone couldn’t make it back from LA in time. Ha. Like I didn’t see that one coming.

I was ok with it though. Before my surgery I was planning to offer to work the shift anyway. I didn’t seek out holiday plans and much of my social network were either ignoring it, out of town, or working anyway. My workplace traded Pride for The Fourth as our day to be closed years ago and we’ve never looked back.

The streets were empty on my walk to work so I was shocked to find that at 5 PM there were quite a lot of people shopping. I helped customers and read the cheese department coop-baiting customer complaint that we were pissing away business because we refused to cube pounds of cheese for someone’s party. The complainant’s thesis was that in a non-coop he could appeal to a boss that would make us do it. Forget the fact that 1. he wanted us to do it on the spot 2. at no extra charge and 3. that no one had ever asked me to do that in 11 years of cheese work.

Work was pretty uneventful and I got off right at sunset when the explosions started. The streets were very family friendly, people of all ages and ethnicities watched as Dads lit off illegal fireworks on every block. One dad was lighting them off right in the middle of 14th St. making the cars wait while 15 ft. balls of fire shot up between lanes. I walked by when he reloaded.

Spent this morning arguing with a creditor above unpaid parking tickets from a car I sold years ago and which were issues before I bought it. $550 worth in fact. Even though I provided proof that I didn’t own the car when the tickets accrued he was trying to make it my problem. He said if I didn’t tell him who I bought it from that they had no choice but to go against me. I was all:

"I don’t remember the person’s name. It was 3.5 years ago and we weren’t friends."
"You have the city contract, go ask them who owned it."
"No, I will not contact the DMV, that’s your job. I have a different job."
"Will you please admit that it is absurd that since you’ve already acknowledged that these tickets aren’t my responsibility, that you are continuing to threaten my credit rating. Just admit that it’s absurd before we go any further." I asked this three times and he ignored it very smoothly.

The only reason I talked to him is because I was trying to get his assurance that they wouldn’t fuck with my credit. I asked for that assurance in writing when I sent them a letter in the first place. I should have just refused to have non-written contact with them but honestly the flailing interested me. Clearly, while they can cause me problems they know I’m not responsible. They wanted me to be scared enough to do their research for them, saying that they couldn’t get the information due to privacy laws. He kept implying things that were obviously untrue and contradictory about computers dumping information and that only I could request the information. He finally backed off when I said, "But wait, you work under contract to the city right?"

"Yes, but they gave us your name."

"Well, those tickets back in 2000 and 2001 were mailed somewhere right?"

"Uh…"

"Maybe you should go figure out who they were sent to and go hassle them because this really isn’t my problem."

Explosions, work, and creditors. Happy Birthday America!

May 1

Apr. 30th, 2005 10:25 am
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In honor of International Workers Day, please comment with your best workplace sabotage story. I just got my internet back, (an hour of tracing exactly which cable was defective, fun!) and I have to go to work, but I'll write a good one up for next week. Wildcat worker action, strike support, individual maintance of one's self-esteem, flat out vengeance... let's hear it all, workers.

Post anonymously if you feel the need.
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I’ve always wanted our store to have a marching band. What a great way it would be to start the day! The band could start in the back parking lot, form a procession down the loading dock alley and come around the front of the store. I’m partial to them playing the Internationale, but we could make up a co-op anthem. The band leader, rotated every day of course, would carry a key over his/her head instead of a baton. Make a big theatrical performance of unlocking the store for the day and letting in the queuing customers. Then the band would march through the wide aisles past the bulk food, the produce, and the cheese into the worker-only area. All the workers setting up for the day would immediately know we were opening when they would hear the band coming down the aisles.

It would beat the hell out of the "We’re open!" page.

And at the end of the day the procession would be reversed, shooing the customers up to the registers where the band would play until the last person was checked out. A perfect way to end the day.

The end of the day on Saturday was odd until I figured out what was going on. As often happens when an event goes on in the city, it has an effect on the store. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what the event is, we’ll all just notice something odd. Sometimes it’s pretty obvious, like the rush we can get after Saturday Giants games when everyone is wearing baseball hats. Other times it’s more obscure. For example, "Did you guys notice a lot of our customers were dressed like clowns today?" "Why does everyone have their faces painted with peace signs?" "Is it just me, or is everyone dressed slutty today?"

I had forgotten that Saturday was The SF Fetish Ball so I didn’t get it at first when suddenly all the customers started looking, depending on one’s orientation, either way hott or way slutty. It was [livejournal.com profile] dairryiere’s first day back at work and we bonded at gawking over the same big, mean-looking, punk femme. It’s so nice to have her back.

Right before the BMLPF, there was a couple at the counter wearing PVC, leather and not much else. They were just this side of hanging all over each other. One woman was obviously the cheese top, pointing out the Brillat Savarin, leaning in close and saying, "This is the kind of cheese you eat in bed with crackers, after sex." Since I’m a bigger cheese top, I offered that eating it with apples or pears wouldn’t get crumbs in the bed. I think this challenged her cheese dominance as she whisked her friend away quickly. With the cheese, of course.

Instead of the fetish ball, we rushed over to the Make Out Room to catch [livejournal.com profile] susanstinson read at Writers with Drinks. Unfortunately we arrived just in time to see her leave the stage. Oh well, Thursday at A Different Light I’ll have another chance. I heard she was really good.

Too many LJers were there to name drop them all. But hello everyone.
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Thursday night was crazy. First, at about 6 PM, the compressor for the freezers died and for some reason the alarm system didn’t go off. A customer came up to me and said, "You know, the ice cream is soft" to which there is no response possible but, "Oh shit." Cooler malfunction, not maggots or mold, is truly my worst fear. Obviously it’s even worse for frozen food.

Every worker who could, tried to move the savable frozen food to the small backstock coolers. We immediately started giving away the ice cream because once the temp goes up at all it’s unsellable. Customers were excited. As [livejournal.com profile] ctrhotpink described it in her journal "We had crates of ice cream in front of the store and, apparently, there is a trail of empty pints, lids, spoons and puke from here to midtown. Were people binging then purging so as not to waste any???" Even [livejournal.com profile] atakra made a post asking for people to come eat ice cream someone brought to his apartment. Punk rockers I didn’t know started showing up saying, "I heard you guys are giving away food"

When this was as under control as it could get, I made it to my conference planning meeting were we disposed of tasks and added more to our list with frightening equivalency.

But then was the event I’d been looking forward to for the past few weeks. A reunion of The Dicks at the Eagle. Was there a better night to hear a band who’s most famous song contains the lyrics "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, look at your son. Maybe you once loved me, but now I’ve got a gun. You better stay out of the way, I think I’ve had a bad day"?* The secret of The Dicks was that they, like the Big Boys who were also from Texas, were about fighting back against the Reagan revolution, against the red necks who wanted to beat up punks and not accepting the power of those people as absolute. And I’ve always had a thing for punk bands that I found a little scary.

I had to be there because I missed their under-publicized reunion a few years ago and I hadn’t seen them for 20 years at one of the punk shows that changed my life. I have never seen the Eagle more packed. If you’ve never been there, it’s not really set up for shows. There’s only a space of about 15 feet from the stage to the bar. We made our move to the front as the second to last band finished but so did everyone else. Combined with the fact that the only "women’s" bathroom is on the stage, the crowd was doing that uncontrollable surgy thing from 15 minutes before they took the stage. Only the fact we were so densely packed kept me on my feet. After a few songs I started to feel hot and melty just like that Double Rainbow.

I love that they made no attempt to look punk. Dianarama, who’d never seen them, said she thought the singer must be their manager when he took the stage. He immediately referred to himself as an "old queen"** who’d stop the show if people started acting stupid. "You know I’ll do it too." He even invoked a one song penalty on the audience when someone tried to stage dive.

They sounded great. It’s not like the songs are that complicated or anything, but man, it was like 1984. I know it’s pretty much self-imposed, but my last week or so has been filled with crazy stress. There are some things that one a cathartic punk rock event can fix. I needed this show bad. Thank you Gary Floyd.



* FYI for non-punks: reading punk lyrics literally misses the actually meaning. Oh yeah, I guess Mudhoney covered that too but I kinda ignored that whole grunge thing cuz it, uh, sucked.
**I heard that he recently greeted the 20-something editor of MRR on the street with the phrase, "Hello little boy who wishes it was 20 years ago."
*** I saw [livejournal.com profile] nux_vomica, [livejournal.com profile] atakra (nice to finally meet you. Did you get any pics?) and [livejournal.com profile] magpiesf there too.
**** I was surprised they didn’t play "No Fucking War" or "I hope you get drafted".
*****oh yeah, "I’ll tell you something, and it’s true. You can’t find justice, it’ll find you."
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I need more sleep and I need more time. Annoying family obligations, working more hours than usual, nursing injuries that I’ve obtained from working too hard, holiday things that I actually want to do: it’s hard to get through the holidays healthy and sane.

Believe me, I know it’s a cliché to write these things. But I do sometimes wonder what it would be like to work one of those jobs where you get time off at this time of year rather than work twice as hard. I’ve worked some form of retail every year since I was 17 and for some reason this year is getting to me. At least I don’t work in a mall and have to hear Christmas songs all day. My picture would be in the papers if I still had to survive that every year.

I did have a wonderful time on Thursday night though at our Winter Worker party. Instead of just a show of co-workers bands, our party committee moved it away from the leather bar and rented a space where we could have kids too. A lot more people came and we invited all the other co-ops and a few nice customers and vendors too. By 11 everyone was dancing and we’d filled the place up. It was advertised as "dress to impress" so there was a nice mix of suits, rented tuxes, Goth runway fashions, punk formal, and a smattering of fetish wear. If we can only ditch the crappy co-worker bands altogether next year it’d be perfect.

The best act (whose punny name escapes me at the moment) was a drag king act, lip-synching and dancing to ‘60s soul. The two Black performers had purple ruffled tuxes and afros wigs bigger than their shoulders, the white member went for the "Jazzy white guy" look with a less ornate suit, beret, and twirled mustache. The audience rushed the stage at the hot sex lust that their songs provoked. I love my co-workers.

Unfortunately my memory of the event is not good since I ended up chugging a lot of drinks. You couldn’t bring drinks from the live music room into the kids/karaoke/formal photo room, or vice versa, so before I realized I could just hide a drink in both places, I kept hurriedly finishing them in order to mingle. Receiving cheese in the walk in was no fun the next morning at 7:30. I apologize if you shopped there on Friday and felt like people weren’t very friendly. Most of us were hung over.

Well, except for the co-worker who came in while I was baling cardboard at about 1 PM. Singing, soaking wet from the pouring rain, and staggering a little, she announced, "I just got up. I think I’m still drunk!"
gordonzola: (Default)
Ok, do you think it's ok to post a fake missed connection for a co-worker when they always complain that "only produce workers and cashiers" get attention. you be the judge:


Posted on: Sat Jun 21st 01:13 PM
Studmuffin handling the pastries (M for M 6/21)

I just went shopping for a loaf of bread but I was distracted by your hot buns. Do you use those latex gloves anywhere else but the bakery section?


I guess question #2 would be, what percentage of Missed Connections are actually real anyway?

Phone Fun

Apr. 13th, 2002 10:23 am
gordonzola: (Default)
People complain that the internet leads to rudeness that you’d never get away with in public. But they forget that before the internet there was the anonymous phone call. Yesterday I got a call at work. (Edited to prevent reader boredom)

Me: Hi, you have a question about coops?
Caller: Yes, I wonder why you call yourself a coop when you’re not.

Me: (Knowing this won’t be good but trying to figure out which way it’ll go) What do you mean?
Caller: (long lurching story about living in Vancouver and working at a coop that was all volunteer-run and that sold food to members at cost, convinced farmers to go organic and was 100% good in every way.)

Me; We’re a worker-coop. The members are the workers here. We believe in workers controlling their own workplaces. You’re describing a buying club coop or a consumer coop. We’re a different kind of coop.
Caller: I don’t understand.

Me: San Francisco had a network of volunteer buying clubs in the early ‘70s that was falling apart. People in that system decided to open collectively-run storefronts so that working people and, say, people with kids who didn’t have the time to volunteer, could also have access to healthy, unprocessed food at lower prices.
Caller: So basically you have a parasitical relationship to the unwashed masses,* exploiting people’s need for food in order to enrich yourselves. I just don’t understand why you call yourselves a coop.

Me: (still trying to be nice) Look, what you described in Vancouver is great. We just do something different here. We have a 200-person workplace with no bosses, everyone gets a wage they can live on in San Francisco, it’s a great place to work and our prices are cheaper than other natural food stores. If you want a buying club, you should start one. We’ve offered assistance in the past to people starting buying clubs.
Caller: So basically you’re saying that you’re going to continue your little Mafia at the expense of the unwashed masses. (Long rant, again about Vancouver and volunteerism, blah blah) you’re no different than the Ford Motor Company.

Me: (interrupting) If you think we’re no different from Ford, there’s no point in us having this conversation.
Caller: Oh, so now you’re going to talk over me. Is that how you work there? Does that make you feel like a big man?

Me; C’mon you are so full of crap.** You aren’t letting me get a word in.
Caller: (Again with the rant on our parasitical relationship with the unwashed masses, and Vancouver, and that we are nothing but capitalists with a fake coop. Blah, blah, blah. Then he hangs up before I can reply.)

*He must have used the phrase "unwashed masses" 10 times in our conversation.
** Yes, I actually said, "crap" instead of "shit". Customers could hear me and I was still trying to be relatively nice.

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