#160 - Look Back In Anger, Part One

#160 – Look Back In Anger, Part One

Time to do something a little different! As you can probably tell, in the next few strips we’ll be shedding some light on what happened the first time Nate worked at the Food Baron.

Clearly the years have not been kind to Bill. Here he is compared with his most recent appearance in the present:

It’s not just the hair. Note the slack jaw and defeated expression. I wasn’t even trying for that shit. That’s just Bill. He’s a perfect example of what happens to you if you invest too much of your soul into the grocery industry, a phenomenon I’m sure many of my fellow supermarket expatriates can attest to.

A Note on the Chain of Command

I’ve had a couple of questions before about how Nate could score an illustrious Bookkeeper job as a high school dropout, and since I’m throwing around job titles in this story arc I thought it might be a good idea to do a rundown of who does what.

The chain of command for the Food Baron Front End goes as follows, with the present-day title holders, if applicable:

Store Manager (Bill)
Assistant Store Manager (Arne)
Customer Service Manager (Tracy)
Bookkeeper (Nate)
Front End Supervisors
Cashiers
Baggers
Purvous

Cashiers don’t technically have any authority over Baggers, but if they ask a Bagger to do something, it’s generally expected that the Bagger should do it.

Here’s the tedious part, which will interest you if you’re into accounting or just painfully bored. Bookkeeper in a grocery store is pretty much a bullshit title. It does involve doing the close of business procedures for the previous day and investigating where the money went if it isn’t there for some reason, but it doesn’t require actual accounting experience or education. In some stores it’s called “Assistant Customer Service Manager”, but aside from a couple of hours of paperwork in the morning and more authority than the other Front End Supervisors, you’re usually on a register.

None of these jobs explicitly require a high school diploma, so although I will say that Nate has a GED, it wouldn’t have mattered anyway.

Transcript

Three Years Ago

Nate: Customer Service Manager Bill! Congrats on the promotion.
Bill: Thanks, Nate!

Bill: Word on the street is that you’ll be filling my shoes as Bookkeeper.
Nate: I don’t know about that. Do they hire 18-year-olds for that sort of thing?

Bill: Sure, why not? I personally plan on being Store Manager by the time I’m 25.

Nate: Wow, I’m not sure if I should encourage you or pity you for that.
Bill: Food Baron For LIFE!

Posted on November 29, 2010 at 12:00 am in Treading Ground. Follow responses to this post with the comments feed. You can leave a comment or trackback from your own site.

54 Responses

  1. Hooray for flashbacks. Will we be seeing more sexy shenanigans?

  2. Kevink says:

    D= Back to the year 2003?! Put on your “Moon Shoes” kids, its gonna be a time warp!

  3. Ryutso says:

    I hate that chain of command.

  4. Those moustaches (on Bill in particular). They look so porn star. Actually, all moustaches make me think of porn stars. A couple of female ones too, come to think of it – the internet is a hella scary place, isn’t it kids?

  5. Cartoon_Eric says:

    Sweet! Flashback time!!!

  6. Justme says:

    It’s almost like the aging effect the presidents go through! Wow, 3 years and all that hair loss…

  7. tWiCHY says:

    oh noes bring the NSFW back, :D just kiddin, exposition is slightly important too

  8. Stephen says:

    wait what the hell does purvous even do besides be purvous of course?

  9. connor says:

    Bill looks like the love child of Silent Bob and the Pringles mascot.

    Maybe I’m looking into things too much.

  10. Ray says:

    wow poor Bill, i can see the defeat on his face clearly in the present, and the hope in his eyes 3 years ago, it scares me to think of what happened to cause such a change

  11. OverlordLaharl79 says:

    Thank god I got out of the supermarket game(only reason I’m going back in is I need money for school)… wonder what happened to make Nate go back?

  12. Jarome says:

    you forgot to add two to the chain of command; Cart pushers and Maintance

    • Fauxlosopher says:

      The cart pushers are baggers. The position is sometimes referred to as ‘utility clerk’ but pretty much they’re the store bitch. They clean bathrooms, mop spills, face products, all kinds of nonsense.

      • Finagle says:

        Actually, at Wal-Mart Supercenters, the Cart Crew and Maintenance Crew are two separate positions and neither bag groceries except in extreme cases where a customer has three or more carts full. Otherwise the Cashiers handle bagging groceries themselves.

        This probably doesn’t apply to the Food Baron, since they don’t have a General Merchandising section. I’m just pointing out that Jerome isn’t wrong in all cases.

        • Nick Wright says:

          Yeah, I wouldn’t count Supercenters in with your standard supermarkets. Food Baron is more of a traditional grocery store.

          • Curator says:

            In crescent city, literally the smallest wal-mart in the world (although soon to become a super center) we have both separate cart pushers, and maintenance, although maintenance is often asked to go get carts when pushers miss work, or its some old lady they hired for the job to be nice…

            Maintenance are wal-marts bitches, we literally do EVERYTHING in the store, when worked for wal-mart as maintenance, I did everything from clean bathrooms, to helping set up the schedules (I wasn’t allowed to schedule my own shifts though, or the shifts of the other maintenance ppl)

            heres the list of my duties,lol.. in order of how much they suck… (1 being the worst)

            1.Do managers work
            2.Clean bathrooms/get garbage
            3.Cashier
            4.Stock
            4.5 clean up after the stockers.
            5.Do safety teams work (including making a much more efficient system for doing safety checks and recording the results, which I specifically made so it would screw management up the ass if there was ever a mistake on the safety checks, and hid that fact in such a way the management doesn’t know to this day…lol…basically made it to where the shit will STAY uphill for once!…ok, that part at least was fun…)
            6.Customer Service…Most where actually fairly easy to deal with and help, except a few crazies, and a lady who tried to convince me to get into the back of her rape van…no joke!
            7.Get customers fish…I like fish…
            8.Unload the trucks
            9.help with carry outs.(thats how the rape van lady almost got me! the ladies upfront specifically called for me to help her, cause they knew how crazy she was, and thought it would be a funny prank,lol… I must say, I did find it rather funny, after the fact,lol)
            10. Push carts.

            • Curator says:

              oh, and floor waxing and general maintenance when I worked nights, not part of my normal job duties though, thats normally left for night maintenance, I didnt really mind it though when I had to do it…

    • Nick Wright says:

      Fauxlosopher is correct. And there really isn’t a maintenance person on-staff. Contractors are called in when necessary, and things like floor waxing are handled by vendors.

      • Fauxlosopher says:

        I’d hope I’m correct, I was a utility clerk at Dominicks/Safeway for a year. That job really does make you hate everyone above you.

        • Nick Wright says:

          I did almost 10 years across multiple companies (Piggly Wiggly, Winn-Dixie, Bi-Lo, Food Lion, Wal-Mart, Family Dollar,) and I’ve worked everything from Bagger up to Store Manager, so yeah, I feel your pain.

          • Snowfire says:

            I worked in a supermarket here in New Zealand for a year. Started out as a grocery assistant (stocking shelves). By the end of the year, I was doing my job, my managers job, the job of the stockroom staff, forklift/reachtruck work, the cleaners job, pushing carts and ordering stock. Oh and meeting with merchandisers from external companies to help them sort out where to put their stuff.

            I was getting paid $0.50 above minimum wage, and only because it took 4 department managers arguing on my behalf to get me that $0.50 raise.

            My one stroke of genius was having them change my contract to say that I never had to learn how to work the checkouts. 3 monts later, the boss stated that all grocery staff need to learn to use the checkouts. His face when I pulled out my contract and showed him that part was priceless.

  13. Jaded Cynic says:

    Yeah, this ‘Org Chart’ is pretty much accurate in supermarkets world-wide; it’s not just USA. Technically Purvous (Purvis?) has the job title “Bagger” (around here it’s “Front End Clerk” but they get paged as baggers as well as ‘price checkers’), but he’s the *Special*Needs*Bagger*, everyone is careful to ‘filter’ his job duties to suit his abilities and circumstances. (Sorry for the blatant PC-speke, I don’t know what came over me there).

    And yeah, three years up in ‘management’ for a groc. store sounds about right to destroy a good person’s spirit; even from the early comics, Bill doesn’t have the ‘corporate amorality’ to let him survive the task of herding cats AND keep his soul; he clearly *cares* too much about making everyone happy. (not enough ‘fuck ’em’ attitude to do what HAS to be done and not worry about the fact that “you can’t {please} all the people all the time”)

    AND yes, speaking as someone who has worked in the field of accountancy for a fair bit, “bookkeeper” != “accountant” (those guys get pretty anal about their credentials and the terms used for people in their field…but then, it’s a bit of an occupational hazard, isn’t it? ^_^)

    • Shinami says:

      While my job isn’t a grocery store, it’s still pretty bad at pizza some times. x3 My boss has the attitude of “I wanna be friends and make everyone happy~!” and takes it personally when people quit. I believe you can already picture the Hell Hole that is my Pizza Hut from the way you “spoke”(er..typed?) in your comment. X3

  14. Off Duty Ninja says:

    I now officially now know too much about the grocery business. I felt a small piece of my soul die just reading about it. How do people do it?

  15. Same Ol' Bob says:

    Man, after giving five years of my life to Food Lion, my soul is but a solemn splinter of what it once was.

    That being said, Bill from 3 years ago reminds me of Freddie Mercury. I have no clue why.

  16. EcchiKitty says:

    I currently work as ‘Assistant Night Crew Manager’. Now, as Night Crew, were are the store bitch to begin with. Our core job is to take product off the truck, fill it to the shelf, and handel all the endcaps and displays.
    As Assistant Manager, I carry a set of keys. My keys are flawed, so they don’t work on half the doors. I’m supposed to keep the crew on task when the Manager isn’t there, but I have no actual power to repremand, just make recomendations for a repremand. Plus, I’m salary, which means when my 10pm-7am shift lasts until 8, or 9, or 10, or 1pm…. I’m spending that time working for free.
    Still, better then being unemployeed.

    • EOI says:

      You have my sympathy… Im in a very much similar situation execpt that I dont have the actual title (thus they dont have to pay me anymore then anyone else) and i dont get salery which means when my shifts ends thats it. But yeah beats unemployment but not by much.

  17. Jack says:

    I admire younger Bill’s conviction. Misplaced as it is, passion is awesome.

  18. Math Geek says:

    At least they have polo shirts. When I was a lowly bagger/stockman/truck unloader/box crushing/bathroom cleaning/cart retrieving bitch, I had to wear a white dress shirt, black or tan dress pants, a blue apron and a fucking clip-on bow tie. That sucked balls. Ah memories!

  19. MaciaPaladin says:

    So, just out of curiosity, when you talk about “supervisors” are those more BS titles like “Produce Manager” and say like Jimi’s title of “Frozen Food Manager”?

    • Nick Wright says:

      Produce and Frozen Food Managers are department managers, which would be just under CSM and Grocery Manager in the grand scheme of things. They are department heads but they don’t hold a key to the store or have anything to do with the money.

      I should have made a full Org Chart. Maybe next time!

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