Category Archives: Kotter”

Conundrums in Life


I think having been raised mainly during our

country’s seventies period of civil disobedience,

fighting for civil and women’s rights, I tend to

question authority. Having spent some time in my

life, generally acting like a ‘hippie,’ I tend to

not do well under authoritative bosses.

Our boss, held a big meeting about safety last week.

We convened in the largest ‘conference’ room with

both heavy bulk and the bin order fillers together.

This is rare, since we all have divergent focuses

and different ‘dangers’ attached to our jobs. We

also, traditionally during the past five years of

my employment, been ‘at odds’ with one another.

My safety concerns are protecting my body from

lifting and pushing hampers on lines or pushing

a cart filled with hampers. I also am not too

crazy when they stock things far above my head

that are heavier than ten pounds. I am fine,

using my ‘lifting pose’ with my legs apart and

using their muscles to heave fifty pounds up

onto the rollers or onto a cart, from waist-high

shelving or lower.

As we entered the room, we had lined up, written our

names on lined sheets with complicated information

that I noticed some of the employees needed to check

their name tags for. Two forms of identification,

which include a four digit number, mine is easy to

remember: 2347 and then, a longer ‘code’ which is

367650. The second one, sometimes with six numbers

catches some of our simpler minded people or older

ones. That ‘job’ completed, we sat on metal folding

chairs with a pencil and a ditto. Some use their legs

to answer the questions before we even watch any type

of movie. I laughed and elbowed my friend, Tammy,

because as soon as the lights went out, one of the

older guys leaned back and fell promptly asleep!

His name is Vincent and I always call him, “Vince”

or his whole name, but there are some who call him

“Vinnie” which always makes me giggle, thinking of

Vinnie Barbarino. Yes, that tells you what kind

of silly stuff I used to watch; “Welcome Back,

Kotter.” (John Travolta was cute in those days!)

That made me ‘wax nostalgic,’ for a few moments.

Nothing like the lights going out, to get you


Then, the different crises situations were played

out, like if someone would somehow pass the guards

and have a weapon, what we were supposed to do.

Then, if someone’s mood or attitude had recently

changed, we were told to mention this to our

supervisor, as this is “suspicious behavior.”

Anyway, you can imagine the variety of about 35

minutes of such situational choices and procedures

were shown in this safety movie to us.

When we were finished, there was time to fill out

and complete your questionnaire. Our boss asked us

if we had any concerns or safety issues.

Since practically everyone likes to take time away

from work, a deluge of inane comments and questions

began. I raised my hand, since one of the examples

given of “terrorism” was for an infiltrator, within

the work force, to get in an area where combustibles

were stored. Possibly then, due to anger or depression,

catch the explosive materials on fire.

I had a question,

“Why has there been a black garbage bag covering our

exit sign in the ‘bomb shelter?’

(This is the all concrete room, where pallet riders

pick up cases of aerosol paints and other flammable

car products below where I sometimes am placed. This

area above the riding equipment area is called the

‘Aerosol Room.’) I mentioned that Nick and Corey,

heavy bulk men, had also noticed this. It also has a

sign that says, “Do not use this exit” anymore.

“How, if there is a fire or an explosion will we

make it to the front, where the door is, or the back

of the building, where the docks are?”

The manager smiled and jotted this down, saying,

“We will check on this and thank you for bringing

this up.”

Another person raised their hand and asked,

“When are they going to move the carbuerators

and other heavy things from the top shelf in

the Mezzanine? That should be considered a

‘safety issue’ since they could fall on our

heads or strain our back and shoulders.”

The manager again smiled, nodded his head,


“This has been brought up before and I will

refer the question, in an email memo, to the

cycle count and stocking people. Are there any

more questions?”

I gave you the only two that were pertinent to

my life, that were not just plain ‘stupid.’

A conundrum, typically, has a puzzle or a twist.

It is sometimes a complicated problem. I have

something more to tell you.

I decided on last Friday, racing around on our

half day, trying to beat Melvin and Tammy in

our best “TGIF” attitude, to write down on a

piece of paper, any products that I had to

climb the attached ladder on my cart to the

top and grab a heavy or awkwardly sized item.

I turned in about twenty products in a neatly

printed list, with their location numbers to

my boss. He told me he was going to pass it

on to his boss’ boss, Ted.

Yesterday, Ted came up to me, telling me that

many of my locations did seem to have heavy

products but they were not going out too often.

This meant, he said, that their frequency of

outgoing products did not meet the demand of

moving them. I asked if they could be moved to

the floor or second shelf level instead of the

sixth shelf. I could not (honestly) understand

why it mattered how often they went out, if

they were too heavy to hold above your head,

while climbing back down the cart’s ladder.

He also followed me to an area that I told

him and gave him two more items, that were

dangerous. They were metal couplings with

‘nipples’ on each end, looked like little

mufflers. I said that the way they were

stocked they were dangerous, as you needed

to pull them forward in bin boxes, which

given a little extra tug, come crashing

on your head!

I got dramatic,

“They are like missiles, Ted! I can see

eyes gored out or head injuries.”

This morning, Thursday, Ted came to our

morning start-up meeting, where we get our

numbers for the day, how many hours we will

working and perform our warm-up exercises.

While we were doing exercises, Ted told us,

“You are NOT to give me any more lists of

items, that were not dangerous due to low

frequency of picking.”

Several of my tablemates rolled their eyes,

raised their eyebrows or otherwise indicated

they knew he was talking about me and worried

how I would react. I was quiet at lunch and I

was silent as I drove to the library and here

is my rant:

Why ask us for our opinions if you don’t want

to know the questions! And you don’t really

want to fix the problems!

Wonder whether that dummy took the black garbage

bag off the EXIT sign yet, if the door is fixed

and we have a proper exit in case of espionage?

Ha! Wouldn’t it serve him right if I called the

Fire Inspector?!