Friday, September 15, 2006

Of Crickets and Crystal Rock.

This thursday, I walked into the office and all of a sudden, I heard a cricket chirping in the office of Jeff,our sales manager. Quietly sitting out of sight in the darkened office, Mr Cricket bypassed security and HR and practiced the chirps which he would need on the sales calls. We have added several salespeoplefrom other branches to help out the office. But this one seems to be the right employee to help out our papercraft operation.
We have some tough customers that sometimes reqiring much digging for answers to the general deductions and complaints that they often have. Mr. Cricket's serene voice would give cheer to whatever surroundings and is quite a clever marketing technique to use.
Our office walls were freshly painted with a coat of yellow and hanging on that coat are several French Impressionist painters such as Monet and Degas. The scenes depict life in France. A good outlook to have in an international business that takes place from London to Connecticut.

On a recent afternoon lunch hour , I spoke to Michael, one of our warehouse employees with a very pleasant disposition. I shared that I was leaving early to attend my writing workshop. Ever since, he has called me the new Ralph Waldo Emerson. I haven't as of yet shared the writing that I have done but have given the topics of inspiration, nature and my faith. He asked if he was ever part of my pieces. Well now you are Mike!!

Another one of my favorite warehouse pickers is Leighton. He has a gentle personality that always encourages me and even at times when I may not have a happy face. He likes to sit at the corner of the round table-sitting at the same table. When the warehouse fellows are sititng together, you can hear a loud laughter coming from the lunch room wherever I am=whether at my desk or in the warehouse office looking up the data that I need to for my work.

Another change to the work for the warehouse is that they have their own space compared to a toll booth or pallets where much of the work had to be processed.
Modernization does have its positive points. Definitely!!!

I have realized thorugh these 16 years of work within the wholesale industry that a lot has changed. From being around the corner from my Apartment to being almost 20 miles from a home was a stretch for me. The old days found me in the office being run by a family. And being given the chance from the street and a reference from Fairfield University to embark our company into the 20th century with a computer system. From long days from 7am to well into the night hours, it gave me a good perspective on how to run and operate a business. Dealing with the people that sometimes are difficult has taught me over these years to have patience with people and to keep moving forward with them and adjust to them over time.
I remember one particular day when I came back from vacation and had to make a 1:00 deadline. I ended burning the midnight oil that shift. My first time not having left the days work and continued through the night running between the computer room and my office to complete my runs of invoices and price updates.
Kind of interesting to greet our workers as they came in. And that next day, I was a little less energetic. But the work got done in the nick of time and felt good to be finished. Now the work gets done by a core group of 4 customer service employees and a purchasing department. No longer are sales orders crumpled and tossed through the window at Charlotte or Jeff. They are properly entered and coded and priced right then and there.
We went from a city environment to being more in the country now. It is a much longer commute but being able to hear the rushing of the brook located right outsdie the office to hearing the birds and getting a fresh aroma of the salt air nearby is good.
Having a phone system that is computerized is a big help since I don't have to jump from one desk to the next to pick up competing calls. And being able to have a voice messsage system means not losing calls either!

This past thursday, Michelle of customer service was stirring her cup of tea and uttered "my spoon has melted into a soupspoon" with a gentle laughter. The tea water set by crystal Rock must be a little hot. Some of us say it is not that hot but when pouring the water from the water "cooler" it definitely steams up the cup and plumes of heat arise from the descending water. Having my cup of tea is a favoroite part of my day at work being able to have my granola bar with it and to fill it up several times during the morning. At times we have been suprised when the 50 cents goes into the soda machine and a lottery of diet cokes falls out from the slot as a lottery won. Free soda for a while for some of us. Never for Nestea though.

Finally, when I walk into the warehouse I do not have to worry of who may be coming from behind an aisle with the Hi-Low trucks. I listened carefully to their beeps and even beeped myself like a road runner-"Beep Beep, coming through." It is a good to have an aisle to walk through where the trucks are not allowed so I can feel safe passing through.