Monday, November 25, 2013

Grocery Store Holiday Survival Tips

So most of you who follow me know I manage a grocery store and have worked in one for more than half my life. I am used to working holidays, for me it just comes with the territory I have no bitterness. I actually enjoy the energy and excitement of the holidays at work, just not how exhausting it is! Last year each day leading up to Thanksgiving I posted some tips on my Facebook page and got lots of likes and comments- this year I am just going to pop them into a post for you. These are just my personal tips and can vary among regions but as a rule I think they are pretty universal.

When to shop- early in the morning, like when your store opens. Most things are fresh and full, all of the most experienced employees and department managers work mornings, if you have any questions they are there to help. Also the morning help has other people they can call to check if the lines back up. After 7-8 at night all of the "closers" are by themselves. Sometimes they are newer less experienced help and again are alone trying to get everything cleaned and ready for the next day. The store and assistant manager have gone home and the supervisor or night manager is busy closing registers- end result departments low on product and lines can back up. So you would think why not schedule your help when it's busiest? Well. Because you can't get any thing done with people pushing carts all around and asking you a bunch of questions!! It's a double edged sword.

What day to shop- the week before people! Get everything except your fresh vegetables way ahead of time. You will get the best selection and have less craziness. If your buying a fresh turkey- people tend to think that they need to get it a day before so it's the freshest. Fresh turkeys have a 6 to 10 day shelf life- most likely the turkeys on the shelf today will have the same code date as the ones we put out for the next 10 days, so just look at the code date and if it's before Thanksgiving just buy it. You need at least 3 days to fully defrost a turkey with out going to a lot of extra trouble-but many of you will be buying one Wed and asking us how to defrost it!

Too late for the week before? The week of Thanksgiving gets progressively busier, Monday- crazy busy especially around the 4-8pm hours, Tuesday-all the people who want everything fresh, but don't want to wait until last minute will be there. Wednesday- procrastinators will be there and all the Tuesday shoppers who forgot stuff they need - so more crazy. Wednesday is insanity all day long and we start to run out of things. Wednesday at a grocery store is hands down the busiest sales day of the entire year- but don't let that stop you, everyone else will be there too.

Take a list and go to the seasonal area first! That is the big barge like displays at the front entrances-usually. Okay people- the shelf only holds 8 cans of fried onion topping, everyone buys one, so only 8 customers get to buy off the shelf and bam it's out of stock! That's why we build gigantic seasonal displays- yet people still insist on going down each aisle to shop. Yes, those same aisles that have all of the cardboard displays getting in your way! Go to the huge displays on the perimeter of the store you will find most things you need, then you only have to go down the aisles for a few things- so much easier.

Speaking of aisles- now you know why we put all those annoying cardboard displays (shippers we call them) down the aisles- because the shelf will not hold all of the product we need for the holidays. So why drag your entire cart down the aisle??? Leave your cart at the end- keep your purse on you- and walk comfortable down the aisle to get your chocolate chips ( which by the way were probably on the seasonal display!)

Speaking of purses- I have worked in the richest and poorest of neighborhoods- I can tell you that wallet thieves love nice neighborhoods during the holidays- please people keep your purses on you and keep them shut!

Bakery/ Service Deli tips- if you are making a special order, do it 3 to 4 days in advance. No more than 6. Why? Well they have a clip system for orders that is one weeks worth. So if you are order over a week in advance there is a better chance it could accidentally get made early- then your order gets tossed away when you don't come for it. Or it could fall off the clip. Then you come for it and no order! It seems like it would be totally obvious but sometimes there are multiple people involved and not everyone is sharp enough during this busy season to notice-so don't order too far in advance or trouble could await you.

Spice advice- spices are usually divided by brand/sweet or savory/then alphabetical order. So find the brand you want, look for the savory or sweet, then look by name- super easy.

Can you check in the back? NO, I can not! We have a little saying in the grocery store, it doesn't sell from the back room. Almost all holiday grocery items will be out on the sales floor- so don't even ask to check the back, check the seasonal area or those annoying shippers! Or look above on the cap shelves sometimes extras are up there.
Here are some exceptions:
Soda and beer- holding power is small on some of these and vendors usually do have more stocked up in back
Spirits- we don't put a lot out because thieves love to steal them when it's busy- so we usually have extra locked up in back or at the service desk.
Wines- but only the popular ones- like Kendall Jackson Chardonnay if there is only one row of them on the self- they are usually not popular enough to have extra in the back so pick something else.

So what's in the back? It's our backstock which is usually half cases and loose items that didn't fit in shelf plus extra paper goods, 24 pack waters, soda and beer- looking for that one packet of obscure gravy is like looking for a needle in a haystack!

Staff- most grocery stores are closed shop unions. We can not just hire a bunch of seasonal help to take all of the hours of our union employees for the holidays. However that puts us in a tough situation. Even if I scheduled all of my help 40 hours a week- I still would not have enough help to cover all of the sales I do. Why don't they have more people in the deli? Well I do, but they are working around the clock right now, so this is all I have! Why don't they have enough baggers? Well they are all working, trying to keep up with double the carts, double the go backs, triple the questions (can you look in back for me?) and on top of that some of them know how to check- so they may even be in the check stand. A lot of the clerks are students or this is there second job or they are under 18 which legally limits their work schedule. That's where all the baggers are!

Calling the store- as noted above we are all pretty busy- can't get anyone in the deli on the phone? That's because they are helping customers at the counter. I wish I had someone to just answer the phone all day- but I don't. I try my best, but the number of calls jumps tenfold. If you have a special order make it when you are in the store in person. If you want to call and check if we are in stock try early in the morning- again all the managers, office clerks, department managers all work in the morning lots more help

Having mercy- as a rule most of you already know it's going to be crazy. So coming in with a lot of time and patience will help. Expect lines, expect busy aisles and expect grumpy employees (although we try to keep our spirits up! It can be hard after the 70th person asks you if you have any 20lb frozen butterballs left, when you have been out for three days and want to slit your wrists every time this is asked- are you sure, can you look in back? Lol!

I know a grocery store is not a perfect place, I know my employees and policies aggravate all of you. I got a taste of that when I was off work with my broken ankle. WHAT? I am out of milk? I HAVE to go to the STORE???? Arghhh, so I get it, it's a chore... I wish I could make it better and I do try- but hopefully this post gives you a little peek behind the curtain of a grocery store and makes it no so aggravating for you! In a nutshell-shop early, shop the seasonal display, don't drag your cart down the aisle, and relax and take your time!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Paper Christmas Village With Xyron Frosted Windows

xmas final final on Make A Gif
make animated gifs like this at MakeAGif
Yay! Holy cow I made a an animated photo! I just really wanted to show the before and after of my adorable little paper houses! No template necessary just watch my video tutorial and I will show you how it's done! The Star of these little houses though is my Frosted Window Technique using my Xyron 5 Inch Creative Station! Seriously I actually impressed myself with one lol! So here is a little home tour of my houses I made with American Crafts- Bundeled UP and Peppermint Express Collections.
Here are all 4 sides of House 1 Made with American Crafts Crate Paper Bundled Up Collection

I used a Petaloo Pointsetta, made some icicles with some hot glue and added a few mirror snowflakes from Michaels. The Chevron Straws are from Queen & Co. and I got them at Hobby Lobby

The rooftop glitter is a mix of Martha Stewart Tinsel Glitter and Clearsnap Winters Frost

Snowflake and wood fence from Michaels
The Next House I made with American Crafts Peppermint Express

All you need is two sheets of card stock and one sheet of American Crafts Peppermint Express Remarks Stickers! Aren't they cute?

Just used some good ole fabric store trim

Now here is another one from Bundled Up. I love Pink for Christmas. I gave this one a little more of a vintage feel by Adding vintage book paper for the roof. I also shortened this one by chopping off 2 inches. This house pattern is easy-as long as you keep it 8.5 inches wide- you can really make it from 6 inches for a smaller house to 10 inches for a high rise.

I added some Prima Pebbles to each side and used the Bundled Up Standouts and Layered Stickers too.

So I wanted to give you a close up of the frosted windows. Too cool right?? Watch my Vid at the end and I show you how to do it!

I love how with just a little turn, you can create a whole new look!

So what are you waiting for! lets make a Village!


Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Very Personal Craft Project

Today on Graphic 45's blog I am sharing a very personal project. I had my Dads glasses after he passed away in just a little shadow box sitting on a shelf in my Craft room. I decided to make more of a memory box shrine for them and you can see it on G45's blog today HERE!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

My Authentique Petaloo Mini Album-see it here for album making tips!

Hey friends pop over to the first day of the hop to see my mini. I got so many comments on my good ideas for making minis I didn't want you to miss. AND if you make a comment you will be entered to win a very cool prize package! GO HERE!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Handmade Holidays Blog Hop- Toilet Paper Roll Gift Card Holders

Hi everyone welcome to the hop! I wanted to make a project that was super compatible with using all of the great companies featured today on the hop- so although I didn't use everyone of them- I am adding in some ideas and options that you can use all of your stash for! Let's start by saving all of the toilet paper and paper towel holders. So many cool crafts to make with them! I manage a grocery store in real life-so I am not a holiday shopper-it's gift cards for all. However I do like to give those cards in a unique and fun gift card holder-handmade with love!

{Can you believe these are toilet paper rolls! I left mine au naturale before I sprayed them with new iZink Pigments. These are imported all the way from France and are being distributed by Clearsnap. You can use any of your sprays including- Stephanie Barnard, and Colorbox Spritzers}

{a single roll will make one holder, a paper towel holder will make 3- just eyeball cutting it into thirds. Flatten and press down with a bone folder- you can seal bottom edge with any glue or adhesive or use a stapler. If you want more true colors and a less rustic look-paint your rolls with a white acrylic base before you spray.}

{For this one i used iZink Tomato. Just drop a few drops with a little water in a spray bottle and spray away. I then used Colorbox Pigment Ink in gold and My First Colorbox Stamps "Snow Day". Use your favorite Sizzix die cut- the Framelits will work awesome. I edged my Graphic 45 die cut shape with Donna Salazar Mix'd Media Inx in Schoolhouse. I layer on a small piece of burlap to echo that natural look then added a vintage button all with hot glue}

{this one is iZink in Opaline-then stamped with the My First Colorbox stamp- I used a stapler to seal up the bottom of this one}

{This one is iZink inTurquoise then stamped with black pigment ink using my Clearsnap Rollagraph "Word Words"}

{this one is iZink in Silver and I used Donna Salazar Mixed Media Inx in Schoolhouse with a Colorbox Art Dauber to make the dots-love these!}

{To finish them all off I used the leftovers from the die cut- cut them 2.5 inches wide and about 4 inches long-inked them in coordinating colors using Colorbox Queties. I used some plain jute twine for the tie}

{I used Graphic 45's 6x6 12 Days of Christmas paper pad. The backs are all solid to make sure you have room to write on your gift card. To attach your gift card just use your tape runner or a glue dot!}

{These little carriers can be hung from a tree too! Hope you have a great handmade holiday!}
4 More blogs to go- you can do it!!!!
Sizzix – Eileen Hull Designs
Nathalie Kalbach
Tanner Bell
Jennifer Priest
Vicki O'Dell
Denise Hahn <----------you are="" here="" span="">
Courtney Chambers <------go courtney="" here="" next="" span="" visit="">

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