Theft

Last week my mom mentioned she’d seen an article about how Home Depot and Lowes are dealing with a growing theft problem. My response shocked her more than a bit, so I thought I’d share (and expand on) it.

I’ve shared some articles here, in my links posts, about the theft problem, but it can be hard to really picture unless you’re actually working it.

The first thing you need to understand is that most companies have a policy in place that forbids the average employee from physically stopping a thief. We’re allowed, and encouraged, to be that annoying employee who won’t take “I don’t need help” as an answer. But anything more aggressive than that is forbidden. If we spot someone walking out the door with a cart we can ask for a receipt, but we can’t try to stop the cart, or grab their arm, or even really say anything more than “can I see your receipt”. Doing more than “customer service” can actually get you fired. Managers are allowed to be more aggressive, and Loss Prevention (or Asset Protection) employees are allowed to grab/stop/apprehend thieves. But the average cashier or sales person? Nope.

Now I have mixed thoughts on that. On the one hand, I’m glad I’m not expected to actually stop thieves, that’s dangerous and I agree that it’s not my job to put my life on the line for my employer. On the other hand: thieves KNOW this. They know they can load up a cart and not get stopped. So on more than one occasion I’ve wished I could do a BIT more.

HD, Lowes, and similar stores have been dealing with excessive theft for years.  It only increased during the Covid lockdowns, and never decreased after everyone was let loose.  

In garden: any power tool from Echo, Makita, Milwaukee, or Dewalt must be spider wrapped.  Any tool from Milwaukee and Dewalt must also be cabled or behind bars.  All other brands must be spider wrapped if they’re $150 or more.  All power tool batteries must be cabled. All generators, and all power washers over $150 must be behind gates or bars.  Anything locked up must be hand carried to the register by an associate. Oh, and BTW, with everything being forced to switch to battery power instead of gas you can guess how THATS going.

In Electrical they’re not allowed to stock out more than 2 at a time of the expensive breakers, and 90% of the smart home stuff has to be locked up. A huge selection of the speciality electrical tools are high theft risks. 

Plumbing has to lock up many of the thermostats and some of the fancier water heaters.  The smaller copper pipe fittings are also a huge theft risk. 

Many of the vacuum cleaners have to be locked up. 

Some 3/4 of the power tools in hardware have to be locked up or at least spider wrapped. Saw blades, from tiny to large, are also at high risk of theft. Power tool batteries again, anywhere in the store, require extra lockup.

Theres some variation between stores/regions in the specifics of whats locked up and how, but I’ll bet that even in higher end areas you’re going to see a larger number of spider wraps and cables than you did even 10yrs ago.

Read moreTheft


Been busy

I’m sorry for the silence.

On 8/9/2023 my Tibetan Mastiff Apollo crossed the rainbow bridge. He was 12.5yrs old. His health had been struggling for the last year, but the vet visit was supposed to be a routine check. Instead we walked out carrying his collar and harness and leaving him behind. His ashes are home, we haven’t decided where to scatter them yet.

I took a weekend off to visit my parents for their 50th wedding anniversary.

And I’m still trying to take my chainmaille to as many craft fairs as I can.

Back in May we added two new cats to the household. Siblings, barely a year old. So basically kittens in adult sized bodies. Its been, interesting, having two kittens at the same time.

So free time has been at a premium even when I’ve had an interest in blogging.


Life

Life has been nuts this last year really. Ok, life has been nuts since 2020 happened, but it never really calmed back down did it? Neither on the national or international level, or on a personal level.

I’m too lazy to go back and see what I mentioned on the blog, but I know I’ve not done much personal stuff the last couple years.

March 2022 I had an “achilles debridement” done on my right achilles tendon. Basically they went in, detached the achilles, removed the damaged portions and a layer of scar tissue all the way around, and reattached it with a titanium anchor. At that point recover is basically identical to the recovery of people who’ve torn their achilles. It’s not quick, at all, and while I personally heal quickly and easily, my recovery was complicated by the fact that I work at Home Depot. However by Sept or Oct I was mostly not limping by the end of the day. I will note, that despite the long recovery, the surgery was worth it. The pain levels in that foot have dropped to almost nothing.

So of course I had to have more surgery, this time to have my gall-bladder removed in Oct. The lab report stated “many stones present, the largest measuring 3cm in diameter”, no wonder it hurt.

The first week of January I had a “nasal turbinate reduction” done. Basically it’s a nose job for the inside of the nose. The turbinates are structures on the inside of the nose. I assume they affect something, but at that point I didn’t care. My whole life I’ve had a constantly mildly stuffy nose and been a borderline mouth breather. Even the mildest cold would make my nose so stuffy I had to breath through my mouth. Doctors shrugged and said “well you’re allergic to everything, take an allergy pill and a decongestant”. Sinus infections twice a year on the dot, but since they always cleared up with a course of antibiotics no one ever looked closer. Ended up into the ENT’s office for an unrelated problem, and after a CT of my sinuses the PA asks me “so, do you have trouble breathing through your nose? Cause, we can fix that….”. I’m here to tell you that breathing through my nose is freaking awesome. I had no idea.

Speaking of allergies….back in Feb of 2020 I had an allergy test done due to my various food issues (I remember mentioning that). It was the first time I had the blood test version of the allergy test done, and I was quite frustrated that the only thing it came back positive for allergies to was dust mites. It made no sense. I’d had multiple allergy tests done as a child-college student age, and they all came back as allergic to damn near everything on the test, plus I was still reacting to everything! But that was just as the world went to hell, so I never followed up on it. This last year in particular my skin reactions to things were getting noticeably worse and worse, and I finally asked for a referral to a different allergy specialist. A week of hell without any of my antihistamines, and I reacted to every single thing on the skin prick test. Including the two neutrals. The allergy specialist looks at the welts and informs me that that’s not allergies, technically, thats a hyperactive histamine response. Basically anything that irritates my skin is causing an overactive histamine response resulting in welts and hives. The good news is that so far that overactive response isn’t affecting my breathing. We’re going to discuss (at the followup) treatments for dust mite allergies to see if we can get a handle on what reactions I am having there. For now we’ve doubled my daily allergy pill and that does seem to be helping the skin reactions.

On March 12, 2023 we sent my elderly old lady cat Trouble over the Rainbow Bridge.

In the middle of all of this, Black Friday Weekend in Nov, the guy who’s the “head receiver”, the opening full time associate in the receiving dept at work, tells management to fuck off (about 9 months short of his 20th anniversary) and quits with no notice. Guess who’s the only non-management person (not already working in receiving on a regular basis) in the store with a clue as to how to run the receiving dept? For that matter, even when you take management into account I’m one of only two people with a clue as to how to run receiving and handle more than the basics, so yah.

They have not yet filled his position. They haven’t even LISTED THE JOB. The excuse (because yes, I asked, very pointedly) is that it’s not that simple to hire someone for that job. Which is true. It’s not a position you can drop some random person into and assume they’re figure it out. You need someone who works well by themselves, who’s capable of figuring weird things out on their own, who can handle multiple things getting dropped on them with no warning. Someone comfortable driving forklifts, and handling technology. And at the same time if that someone fucks up they could screw over the whole store, so you can’t just let them “learn it as they go” either. So, this is all true, I can’t argue, but it’s hard to get someone TRAINED if they’re NOT EVEN HIRED FOR THE JOB. And it’s hard for someone to get HIRED if you DON’T EVEN LIST THE JOB. My personal suspicion is that management is hoping that they can get away with the one less person in the dept because that’ll look nice on the numbers. Since he quit the only two receiving associates are a part time fellow for whom this is his retirement-trying not to be bored-job, and a young kid full time evenings who’s only been doing this for about a year. Neither really knows how to handle much more than the basics either.

So part time me has been working my home dept of Garden/Seasonal, and alternating days/weeks with receiving. If they schedule me for an additional 2 hrs per week for to many weeks in a row I’ll be technically full time. At the same time this is happening my home dept is ALSO short handed, and we’re now headed into crazy season (aka upstate NY spring). Oh yah, crazy season affects receiving too, not just garden….I gave them an ultimatum this week. They need to pick one dept and schedule me there. This constant a week here and a week there is driving me batty. I can’t keep up with what’s going on in garden because I’m spending so much time in receiving. At the same time, because I’m not officially a receiving associate I don’t have access to the receiving email, and I don’t get various messages and procedure changes info, and I’m spending just enough time back there that everyone assumes I AM getting that info. When I was vacation coverage everyone mostly remembered I probably didn’t know because I wasn’t back there that often. My frustration levels are spiking through the roof and my tolerance is dropping. Pick one. I’m at the point of not caring, just pick one.

This past Monday at work, covering receiving of course, I managed to tip a (thankfully unloaded, though if it had been loaded it wouldn’t have tipped) freight cart over on my foot and ended up with a hairline fracture of my right big toe. Plus way more bruises than I initially thought. Plus I apparently strained the hell out of various things in the push to try to get out from under the cart before it hit, cause wow I’m sore as hell.

My chainmaille business is slowly taking off. Having to work most Saturdays at Home Depot puts a crimp in my ability to hit craft shows (this would be a bonus to working in receiving all the time, Saturdays off always), but I managed to score a spot at a HUGE event in the middle of May, so we’ll see how this goes.

So thats my life right now. I have a ton of links and memes to post if I can get a moment to breathe.


LawDog’s blog

I discovered LawDog’s blog years ago. If you’ve not been reading it you need to do so. He tells awesome stories from his childhood and officer of the law days. And he has a good head on his shoulders when it comes to identifying bullshit.

However, its possible, that when you click the link above it may not work. Or that the front page will work, but not the older stuff.

See, when the Nordstream pipeline had its issues LawDog dug up his memories as a child of an oilfield engineer and typed up a couple posts. And they went viral. And then some idiot decided he needed to be punished for it and set bots to blowing up his bandwidth allowance.

I have issues when it comes to letting the idiots win. So when another member of the community pointed out that LawDog’s posts are still available via the WayBack Machine I decided I had to help share the love.

Nordstream

Nordstream II

The wayback machine can be slow to load, so be patient with it. And bookmark LawDog’s blog’s main link while you’re at it. He’ll be back up on Nov 1. He’s worth reading. Don’t let the idiots win, k?


All fixed

The cause of the commenting problems has been fixed and the plugin turned back on. My tests show it appears to be working. If you’re still having problems please contact me via the contact form.


I was going to add this to the memes run

But its not really a meme, and it deserves its own space

Note: I took the screenshot myself, not photoshopped

Edited to add: yes, I have a problem with the messaging, because $70 less is still twice what I was paying before. But my REAL issue with it? You’d think the White House could afford to have a proper editor look these things over for miss-spellings….


Garden and flowers

Since I was on crutches and generally not mobile during the garden prep season I didn’t really do much of a garden this year.

Some peppers in pots on the back porch. Some melons in the raised stock tank beds.

A zucchini plant, a pumpkin plant, and a cucumber plant.

I picked two tires to become (hopefully) permanent plantings, Bakers Creek seeds had hardy figs that are supposed to be hardy down to zone 5, which I am. Apparently they’re more bushes than trees here, so this should work about right.

The rest of the garden is going to hell right now. I’ve weed-whacked it, put down a pre-emergent, and roundup, and its still full of weeds and grass. 3 years of neglect coming home to roost I guess. I’ll have to decide how I want to go about getting it back into a condition I can plant in as I continue to become more mobile. I’m off crutches except for work at this point, but the ankle is still not back to full strength (probably another 6 months per the ortho), and so there’s limits to how much I can do at one time.

The fennel in the tractor tire bed is coming back, as are the snap dragon flowers, I’d also planted some purple balloon flowers for early color and as you can see they’re doing well too.

I also planted some flowers in the half barrel planters by the back porch.