Saturday, July 16, 2011

Help Wanted


So we have been working with a very lean staff for the past couple months, stretched super thin and trying to make due but upon learning that a staff member is leaving us to spend some time in Mexico the bosses knew it was time to toss some hooks in the water. Hooray!

I was thrilled when I saw the Help Wanted fliers on the counter when I walked through the door Wednesday morning, even more excited when I saw we were looking for not one but two people, and damn near exploded when I heard that they had run both adds in the paper. That was until the phone calls started. Holy shit.

I thought we were short handed before?! The phone has been ringing non-stop and the calls are coming in faster than Randy can keep up with. There have been a few nibbles on the online orders and shipping job but it’s the stocking and general maintenance position that has them coming out in droves. Unreal. And I’m trying to think of the kindest and least asshole way to say this but….some of these folks can’t even handle the calling to leave your name and number process of job hunting. I’ve been standing there with a pen and pad of paper in my hand, just trying to get their number so Randy can call them to set up an appointment. Line of customers waiting to get rung up for their purchases, delivery guys waiting to get checked in and people milling about in various departments of the store looking for wine advice and here I am, stuck on the phone with someone that finds phone number too hard. I’ve had them ask me to hold on while they get it…um, huh? Even had one guy pass the phone to someone else to give me the number, what the hell?! This general manager has been in full on flop sweats just thinking about half these folks working in the store. I have a new found appreciation for teachers, (well I always had it but it has been magnified the past two days) and people with basic people skills.

Just so you don’t go thinking that I am being too hard on folks or exaggerating, I submit to you, and actual resume that was handed over today….

On an index card

Playing on the B side


The guy was fifty if he was a day. Worked a whopping 18 years of those 50…merde.  

Help wanted indeed…..



Benito said...


If I lived in the greater LA area, I'd totally sign up assuming that I got to take care of the Eastern European, Middle Eastern, and South African wine sections. I could design such a lovely Pinotage display, and my Afrikaans isn't too bad. "Goeienaand! Kan ek jou help?"

I'm going to rip up one of these cardboard boxes from a wine sample and scrawl on it "WILL WORK FOR ÖKÜZGÖZÜ".


Samantha Dugan said...


Benito said...

The 2900km/1800 mile distance is something of a rough commute, but I still find myself thinking of goofy ideas like using Scrabble tiles and a woodburning pen to make neat labels for regions like Côte-Rôtie.

It would never be economically viable in Memphis (or perhaps anywhere), but I've always fantasized about a shop called "You've Never Heard Of This Wine" that focuses on the odd and obscure.


webb said...

Wow! Benito really wants that job!

I feel your pain, tho. We hired 80 people this summer for a project. Wait until you want a timecard - preferably on time - from your new clerk. Unless you fill it out yourself, ain't gonna happen!

We have a huge unemployment rate because at one end of the continuum the skills that we need are higher level than the people who apply. [You know, that phone number thing.] While at the other end of the continuum, the people have way too many skills and often in the wrong areas. It's training we need with a capital T. Very depressing.

Have a glass of wine and hope for the best!

Thomas said...

Oh, do I remember the joy of hiring for my wine shop:

The guy who couldn't understand why he had to be there on time when, "it was only a retail job."

The other guy who never figured out what time the store opened, especially when he was on the first shift!

The young lady who worked for two days before she asked for a week's vacation.

The woman who told me during the interview that not only didn't she like wine, but she never understood why people drink alcohol--I kid you not.

The couple who wanted me to assure them that I would give them the exact same hours so that they could be together all day.

The part timer who had a stable and well-paying day job who asked for a raise because his wife told him to do it, not because he thought he should have it.

The fellow said during the interview that his aim was to work at the shop so that he could get his wine at the big discount that we gave to employees--no other reason.

The best one, however, was the new hire who after a month there, we trusted to open the store. One cold winter day, as I was scooping up my dog's crap off the snow on a Manhattan sidewalk, my cell phone rings; it's she calling. There was a delivery guy there with a number of cases but on the invoice read Picadeli Merchants, our corporate name (the store's dba was is-wine). She wasn't sure if the delivery was for us.

When I asked her if she had ever read the name of the company on her payroll checks, she replied, "Oh, yeah, that's right. Sorry to bother you."

...and on and on and on.

Samantha Dugan said...

Yeah, for that shop to go you had better have a massive advertising budget and huge internet presence...and even then. You would be surprised how rare it is that people want to take a gamble on something new, especially when, to be honest, there is a reason many of those wines are not known. If you know what I'm sayin'.....

Well thankfully, for me, (not him) it is Randy that is having to weed through the applicants. Going to take weeks to get though all those people judging by the list of phone numbers, (sigh) that we have taken for him. Poor guy and the part that kills me is he is such a sweet and fair guy that he spends just as long with the people he knows won't fit, just giving them their fair shake...well he might have shaved a few minutes with the guy that submitted that resume. As for time cards, pretty easy with a small staff like ours, no card, no paycheck.

Those are priceless! The couple thing cracks me up because there have been q few applicants that have brought either their friends or girlfriends while they interview. They don't sit in or anything, just either wander around the shop or sit in the parking lot. Seems like a red flag to me, that and makes me wonder if they have a car, (which is kind of needed where we are) and therefore has me worried about dependency.

What is the deal with people not being on time?! Especially for first shift? Makes me crazy that.

trininista said...

Give Leroy the job! lol.

John M. Kelly said...

Everybody thinks they can stock and do general maintenance. Until they have to do it. Show up on time? Like Thomas said... Here's a few others I've dealt with:
"I need to get paid in cash."
2nd day on job: "Can I get a 2-week advance? My dog is sick and I need to pay the vet."
"Do you really need a mailing address and social security number?"
After a week on the job, where it was made clear that the job was to stack cases: "I'm not supposed to lift more than 20 lb." After two weeks, comp claim. After 3 months on disability, permanent disability denied.
"You can't fire me! I can't collect unemployment if you fire me! I quit!"

IF you have the chance, hire a veteran.

'na cica de vino. said...

hire meeeeeeeeee!

Samantha Dugan said...

Erm, I think we shan't but his "resume" did make me think of the times I have stood over the sink in the back kitchen, skewer in hand as I poked and scraped at the poo looking and brownie batter textured, gunk that gets built up in the drain. Now that, that job is pretty disgusting and might need Leroy. Thanks for the comment!

Samantha Dugan said...

Nice. Very nice. People simply amaze me. I was just raised differently I guess but, how can you not want to do your best, work hard and have pride in that? Sheesh, maybe I'm the weirdo.

You are way over qualified for these gigs. Not to mention, where do you live now?!

Oh and for the priceless, just got a "I need your help" spam comment on my last post. Perfect.

Valerie said...

*sigh* "If only" - If only you were here in Colorado. If only I lived in LA. If only my aunt had balls she's be my uncle. Someday I may commit to staying in the country long enough to get one of those job-thingies and work in a wine mecca such as yours.

Leroy has this much going for him: He knows the difference between TO and TOO. Most of these idiot posters I see on facebook do not. "Your funny" - "No, YOU'RE an idiot." Leroy? Guessing his heart's in the right place and he'll work his ass of.

Good luck with the hiring! xo

Valerie said...

She'd be my uncle, not 'she's be my uncle-n-shit'. Now who's the idiot?!

Ron Washam said...

My Gorgeous Samantha,

Hey, I know Leroy. He's one of my Connections on LinkedIn. I sought him out--his resume is better than mine. You didn't mention his blog, LeroyonWineandUnemployment, which is nominated for a Poodle for Best Writing.

Restaurants have those same hiring issues. I'll never forget a dishwasher who failed to show up for his shift. No show, no call. When he came in for his next shift the manager asked him where he'd been the other night. "Oh," he said, "I had something better to do." I think that sums up my work ethic too.

I love you!

Samantha Dugan said...

If you had met Leroy, well it's not his heart you would be thinking about...liver maybe. Work his heart out? He is like 50 and worked a total of 18 years, kind of a fail no? If you ever wondered what kind of cat is at that local bar, the one with no windows and opens at like 6:00 AM, well meet Leroy.Beginning to think that tape and record room might just have been in prison...

Ron My Beloved,
Oh I know you guys are "friends" he dropped your name, how do you think he got his foot in the door?! I cannot begin to imagine what restaurants have to deal with in the hiring process, got to be a reality television show there for sure. This had been very....enlightening to say the least. I love you too!

Do Bianchi said...

I miss working on the floor of a wine shop!

It's funny how people think of working in a wine shop as "a job that anyone could do."

It takes a lot of passion and devotion, no?

Good luck in your search lady! :)

Samantha Dugan said...

Really is one of the greatest jobs there is and you're right, not just anyone can do it...or should. The jobs we are hiring for are not wine sales as much as general stocking, cleaning, register and online order filling so passion is less important than a willingness to bust your ass. That being said, I was hired as a general worker and now, well you know.

Sara Louise said...

I'm thinking Leroy spend a good bit of his 50 years on the inside if you get my drift.
Best of luck Sam!
(man I wish I lived in Cali right now)