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Goodbye Brickyard – Part 2

The following evening was my third and final going away party. I called it the “Drink/eat this so I don’t have to move it” party. I wanted to get rid of as much stuff in my kitchen as possible so I wouldn’t have to move it or throw it out. I also wanted one more chance to play Cards Against Humanity before I lived with a four year-old and would have to watch my language.

If you haven’t heard of Cards Against Humanity, then you are missing out. Ever played Apples to Apples? It’s like that, but wrong. Just check out their website.

Two of my best friends from high school drove 3 ½ hours to come see me, which blew me away. But that’s what great friends do, right? Also a college friend, Sally, came by. I’d seen her by coincidence a few years ago, when we were both at the Butler bookstore during the basketball team’s second Final Four appearance (in a row!). But we just briefly chatted then. This gave us an opportunity to catch up a bit more and just hang out, something I wish I’d strived to do more with Sally while I was still in Indy. Patti also came, though not her two young girls, who I’d babysat a few times before. After all, it was a grown up night and no one under the age of 18 should be exposed to Cards Against Humanity. But she told me that when the girls heard I was moving away, they said, “I thought she was going to babysit us forever!” It was very sweet, but I have my own family to babysit for now.

When the crowd was down to just a handful of us and the game was getting old, we switched to another one of my favorite card games: Anomia. Basically, everyone has a stack of cards and they each take turns to flip one up in front of them. Each card has a symbol and a subject, like “Mystery Novelist” or “Famous Ghost”. If the symbols from two cards match, the players must name something from the other person’s card first. The first person to correctly name something, gets the other person’s card. In the end, the person with the most cards won, wins. It sounds pretty easy, but if you play it, you will find that thinking on the spot and under pressure makes for a lot of “uhs” and “ums” and will make even the smartest person look stupid. For example, I had to name a famous astronaut. Not hard: Neil Armstrong. But then I had to name a famous inventor. Because this card was with the same player as the previous one, my mind automatically went to my last answer and I’d blurted out, “Neil Armstrong!” So, after a few rounds and many, many laughs with that game, the party dispersed.

The next morning my mom arrived to help with final preparations and take my cat to her new home. Dad arrived a few days later and the next day we packed up the truck* and hit the road, leaving the Brickyard behind.

*Actually, I hired people to pack the truck for us. Best use of my money ever.

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Posted by on July 10, 2013 in About me

 

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Game, set, and lose

What’s more fun than gathering some friends and playing a rousing board game? Not much, at least to me. So when my store expanded our game section, I was excited. Not only could I keep up with the latest board games, I could also buy them at a discount. (We also expanded our toys section to include Legos but don’t get me started on that.)

Since the store had a stockpile of demo games, we set them in our cafe. Patrons took to them right away and our cafe sales reflected the extra time people were spending there. Kids especially enjoyed it, even if they couldn’t fully grasp the concept of some games, like Blokus.  This past Friday, a group of teenagers set up a game of Monopoly and spread out across the floor by the teen section.  Much of the staff didn’t think twice about it, figuring that they probably got the game from the cafe. I thought that they’d purchased it to play it because it looked new, unlike the games in our cafe. Surely, I thought to myself, four teens would know not to open product that wasn’t theirs.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

When I came back Monday morning, I saw that the Monopoly game was sitting in receiving, used and unable to be sold again.  I was pissed, as were several other coworkers who realized what’d happened too late.  What made four teens think that it was okay to open something that wasn’t theirs and use it?  Where did they learn such behavior?  I pondered this question to one of the children’s department staff and she answered simply, “Their parents.”  I nodded.  “I see it when they’re young,” she went on, “how the kids will use our product as if it’s theirs and their parents let them.”  She was right.  We’ve seen kids throw books, rip pages, take stickers, and put plush in their mouths, right in front of their parents who don’t tell them to stop and behave.  So, of course ten years down the road those same kids are going to think it’s okay to use something that doesn’t belong to them so can I really blame them for their shortcomings?

Yet I can’t quite grasp why a parent would think that it’s okay to do this, either.  My parents certainly didn’t let me behave that way (and I continue to respect product when shopping in a store).  I want to think it has something to do with the suburb in which our store is located.  It’s a wealthy suburb and sometimes I get the feeling from customers that they feel entitled to certain things.  But only a small percentage of people actually are like this, so it’s not necessarily that.  Also, I’ve been able to spot others who’ve never worked a day of retail in their lives and don’t understand that damaged product means loss to the store.  Sure, the company takes a hit, but the effects are felt most closely at the store.  As a manager, if we don’t make our sales plan, we can kiss our raises goodbye.*  And one thing that cuts into our profit is store damaged items.  That’s right.  Those four teens partook in a fun game called, “Let’s not give the managers any more money” or “Monopoly”.

*Wouldn’t you be pissed, too, if it meant the difference between making the same crap pay or making an extra $1040/year?

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2011 in Rants

 

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For the win

I love playing the license plate game, especially on long car rides. When we were younger, Jess and I played when the family went on trips. When we moved her from Denver, Colorado to Rochester, New York years ago, it was a four-day cavalcade of spotting license plates. Jess drew a crude map of the United States and we colored in the states that we saw.  Total we found 46 states (those not found: Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, and Delaware). Not too shabby.

My boyfriend Fred and I enjoy playing as well but we make it a competition, something Jess and I rarely did. Our first long trip together (we went to the Ikea in Cincinnati) we kept a running total. Even though I was driving, I pulled ahead quickly. On our return trip I wasn’t feeling well so Fred drove while I slept. Every once in a while he would wake me up to call out a state. When we got home, the game was over and I was the clear winner, despite being asleep for the last hour and a half.

On another trip to Cincinnati, I was driving again but this time Fred was way ahead. This trip we decided to count western states worth two points and Hawaii and Alaska worth five. At one point I had a golden opportunity to close the gap. Fred took off his glasses to clean them and his head was bent down. I spotted a van in the lane next to us and it had a yellow plate. I couldn’t read what state it was but I knew it was one we hadn’t gotten yet. I stepped on the gas to try to get closer before Fred noticed. Unfortunately, he looked up just as I was nearing the van and, with his glasses still off, yelled out, “Alaska!” for five points.

The license plate game has since evolved into a continual competition for us. There is no beginning or end, just call ’em when you see ’em. We’ll be in mid-conversation and one of us will slip in a state and then continue on with the original topic, like, “I was at work and – Virginia – this guy asked me the weirdest question.”  Sometimes if Fred is the first one to spot an out-of-state plate, I’ll hum and look away, pretending he didn’t just score.

The game goes on even if we’re not together. If one of us sees a rare plate, like Idaho or even Ontario, the other receives a notification text. Today, however, I spotted a plate so rarely seen in the Midwest that I had to call Fred right away. He answered his phone and I immediately said, “Hawaii.”. Knowing full well what I was talking about, he replied, “For the win!”

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2010 in About me, Everyday Life

 

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