Don’t Steal From Your Employer

Today there was a big debate on Facebook about a news story that Cracker Barrel fired an employee for giving a homeless vet a free muffin. Almost everyone on that thread wants to boycott Cracker Barrel for being heartless and not supporting our vets. Sorry, but not many businesses can allow employees to give away their products or services for free. Cracker Barrel has an excellent training program and goes to great lengths to make sure their employees do not pilfer from the restaurant. Be honest - it is basically stealing when you do that. He had been written up 5 times for doing this. I would have fired him, too. If he had paid for the muffin himself would be one thing, but stealing from your employer to “do good” is not OK.

Everything in that store costs money – even the little packets of mayo and sugar. It is the employee’s job to provide the product and collect money for it. One of the biggest problems retailers have is employee theft. You cannot allow employees to just take or give away whatever they want. Cracker Barrel will survive this PR issue just fine. They make good food, have unique gift shop items and are conveniently located across the U.S. They will not go out of business for firing a guy who was stealing from their company.

Cracker Barrel has a very thorough training program and clearly stated policies and procedures. Employees are not allowed to give away food or other products. They are allowed to pay for the food or products themselves and then give it away. But they are stealing if they give away anything for free.

I have worked for restaurants and bars and run several businesses. When I was a bartender at a free pour bar in DC, the boss would come in and actually count the number of liquor bottles in the trash and then tally numbers against the days receipts to make sure we were not over-pouring or giving away free drinks. 

My step daughter worked for a convenience store and was allowed to have all the free soda she wanted while on her shift. She could not have free soda if she was off her shift and could not give free soda to family or friends.

Have you ever asked for a cup of free water at McDonald’s? They tell you no, because they have to charge you for the cup. Now they charge you for extra dipping sauce and other condiments, too.

It would be nice if maybe the employers had a charitable policy of dedicating a certain amount they could allow to be given away to homeless people or customers in distress, but most do not. If you are going to work for somebody else, you have the obligation to look out for that employer’s best interests – and stealing from them is not the way to do that.

Air Conditioning is a Modern Convenience

I grew up without air conditioning, but the houses and commercial buildings were built differently. They had huge windows, several feet of roof overhang, floors raised up off the ground, high ceilings, screened porches, you didn’t turn on the lights during the day unless you needed them for a certain task or safety, and on the hottest days we had fans.

None of the schools I went to had air conditioning until my senior year in high school when they built a new library and put air conditioning in the library to protect the books. The students’ comfort was not even considered.

Now we live, work and shop in air conditioned comfort. It is unusual to be in a house or building that is not air conditioned. If I ever get the chance to build a cabin or small house, I hope to make it as energy independent as possible and not have to depend on air conditioning to be comfortable most days.

Kids Get Fall Break Nowadays

Not that I am any kind of geezer who complains about the “Good Old Days,” but it bothers me a little that today’s kids go to school on a totally different schedule than what I had to observe when I was in school. Around here, they start back to school the first week of August, which is more than a month earlier than when we started back the day after Labor Day, and that ends their “Summer Break.”

Then, the kids here get off two weeks for what they call “Fall Break,” then they get “Winter Break” and then “Spring Break.” Notice the pattern? They have removed references to holidays. Also, they have shortened what we called summer Vacation to just 2 months, instead of three. That is because they spread that other 4 weeks out during the year to give them longer “breaks.”

Maybe the kids like to have “Fall Break,” but what on earth do all the parents who work do with their kids being home for two weeks in October? I don’t know many employers who are going to happily let the moms stay home for two weeks, especially no one who works in retail when they are ramping up for the Christmas shopping season. There is not much to do in October – it’s too cold to go swimming or fishing and there are no festivals or fairs or anything fun to do with kids.

I think the school administrators are trying to gradually force year-round school on everyone and by sneaking in a few days here and there they are hoping that nobody notices. That annoys me greatly. I don’t agree with year-round school and I LIKE having the kids out of school for three months in the summer. And I like having time for the kids to play sports, go visit family, and just have fun being kids. What do you think about year-round school?

Bored With Facebook

Facebook has been a part of my daily life for over 3 years now. I actually don’t remember when I first discovered Facebook and signed up. I do know that I am not as eager and enthusiastic to reconnect with people as I was when it first came out. To be honest, I have purged my friend list down from close to 600 friend to a more manageable and peaceful 200 friends. The purging was hard to do, but necessary for my sanity. Too many trolls and nasty people polluting my wall every day. And those people who post YouTube videos every two minutes for an entire night drive me COMPLETELY NUTS!

But once I deleted all the drama people and the troublemakers, Facebook has become boring. Maybe I’ve just gotten my use out of it and it is time to move on to something else.

Last of the Re-Runs

I don’t know about you but I am pretty much sick of the reruns on TV. I think it is ridiculous that I pay a huge cable bill – about $200 per month to Comcast for cable and internet – and there is not one damn thing that I want to watch on TV. How many channels are there now? Three hundred cable channels with TV shows? How many movie channels? And then there are the music channels, On Demand, Sports, etc. I don’t even know how many total channels but the numbers on the remote go way up over 1,200. And there are re-runs and the same old, same old crap movies.

Thankfully, some of the shows I like are having their premiere TV series shows next week. The one I am looking forward to the most is the new season of Sons of Anarchy. I am curious to see how the story line develops. I know that the writer, Kurt Sutter, had no idea he would be writing this series for 5 seasons when he started this. It was actually obvious last season that he was burned out on his original storyline and was just grasping at straws to give us something that made any sense at all, as long as people were getting shot and stabbed and beat up – he didn’t care of it made any sense any more.

There will be a handful of new shows coming out over the next couple of weeks that looks interesting from the previews they have been running. Nothing particularly comes to mind, but I will have to start paying attention and write out  a calendar of show premieres that I want to watch so I don’t inadvertently make plans on a special premiere night and miss one.

Even so, I don’t like much of network TV anymore. The cable channels are putting out the best new shows. I’m looking forward to SOA, Person of Interest, and then a long wait for the next season of Games of Thrones. Anything after those three shows are really just mind gravy for me.