“Hi, I’m Ron Farrell, the Manager and you must be Will Morgan, my new Assistant Manager. Welcome to what awaits those that escape South Central and most of the other stores in this region. Your former District Manager had glowing things to say about you. I think you’ll fit just fine, when you get accustomed to the new surroundings.” Will thanked Mr. Farrell and was still in the process of trying to comprehend his new surroundings. “Come on back and we’ll get a cup of coffee and go up to the office for a chat. You have a lot to adjust to.” The first thing after arriving in the office was the traditional count in and signing off for his change fund and keys, which Mr. Farrell; conducted by cordially counting the fund out to Will and Will simply verifying the counts, which came to $1,000. “This is your credit verification card and I know you have never had reason to use one in the other stores; but we get usually two or three a day for more than $500 and we have to key in for an approval code.” “How much business do you do here?” “Oh a typical day is about eight to ten thousand and the weekends can get to fifteen or twenty five. We do a lot of bulk purchases for some of our better clients. You’ll have to get used to referring to customers as clients and it’s always Mr. or Mrs. followed by their surname.” We have two stock boys on days, one for deliveries and the other for maintenance.
We also have two Third men and usually a Trainee! At night we have two or three primary cashiers, two stocks, a Security service guard that escorts clients out to their cars and helps with their bags. You must never leave the front of the store at night, when you are the only Manager and you’ll have to get used to learning a lot of people’s names. The stocks and Third and Trainee, when you have one, do all the deliveries, fetching and stocking. Your job at night is to oversee expedient customer service and cleanliness.” Will did not contain the question any longer. “This is Little Price, right? I’m in the right place?”
Mr. Farrell responded with a smirk and slight nod. “You’re in the right place and the place that can provide your future, if you learn to go with the flow! By the way, this is your Security card and on the back side is the main office call in number, in case you come up with something that you need help responding to, such as customer inquiries or job lot pricing. There are only four stores that have that access number. “I thought job lot sales were illegal?” “Well it’s not illegal; just a practice Little Price doesn’t encourage other than here and Beverly Hills and a couple of the Orange County and San Diego stores. There are no further discounts beyond our advertised prices; but agreements can be concluded by the Buying Department and a given client and on those deals the client usually has a tax exempt card and those sales are not handled in the store, it would ruin our charts and annual sales projections. Those orders are typically delivered directly to the client.” “I have a meeting this afternoon at the Main Office, so I’m going to turn you over to my Senior Third. He’ll introduce you around, show you where everything is and give you an overview.” “Mr. Cubbinson, would you come to the office please, at your convenience.”
Will was overwhelmed with what he was trying to absorb. He suddenly felt terribly inadequate and terribly ignorant and most of all, terribly out of place. A young man came to the half door of the office, unlocked it and stepped in with a huge smile and benevolent, warm acknowledgment of Will. “You must be Mr. Morgan, our new Assistant! I’m Jack Cubbinson; but everybody calls me Cubby or Jackie. Which ever you prefer; welcome to Palos Verdes! I’ve been here 18 months, so I’m pretty accustomed to all the nuances and convolutions that occur, so I can be of assistance to you, if you have questions.”
Cubby was wearing pleated slacks and a custom white shirt with embroidered initials on the cuff and a pair of shoes that were obviously, exorbitantly expensive and a hand painted, silk tie. Will was feeling the role of an urchin from the bowels of 19th century London. “Mr. Cubbinson, I would like you to take Mr. Morgan around and introduce him to everyone and give him the grand tour.” “Absolutely Mr. Ferrell, I would be most happy to!” “You can put your change fund back in the safe for the time being and by the way, we do not day lock the safe here. That is absolutely against policy and we follow policy to the letter! I’m perfectly aware of what element you have come from and I as a matter of fact had to endure that for almost two months, before my transfer was arranged to Palos Verdes. Mr. Cubbinson will now give you your first exposure to your new world.” “Mr. Cubbinson, I won’t be back after my meeting, I’m sure it will go on for quite awhile, so put me out on the board for the day; if you would be so kind?” “Most happily!” “Since we’re already back here, we’ll go down to the break area and see who is there. I understand you did time in Inglewood, I would believe that would be atrocious!”
“Ah, well, yeh, er yes, it was an education!” “You’re catching on already.” Jackie was obviously bemused at Will’s stuttering, fumbling attempts at self improvement in language and rising to the occasion. As they entered the break area two of the employees were sitting at the table, chatting and smiling. “Ladies, this is Mr. William Morgan, our new Assistant Manager. Mr. Morgan, this is Patty our lead cashier and Yvonne, our Cosmetician. They are two of our prime assets in this store and very knowledgeable.” The thing that was distracting Will to some degree was the array of coffees and teas and the large refrigerator along with paper placemats and matching napkins. Jackie caught the absorbing gaze that Will was displaying. “You’ll find things are quite different throughout the store than you are used to. Let’s proceed back and give you a view of our single stockroom. I think you’ll be impressed with that as well.” As they were excusing themselves and Jackie was showing Will the magnetic board with all the employees names and spaces for on duty, off duty and assigned.
Will managed to form his first literate question. “You only have one stock room! It must be huge?” “Well, not really. Oh, we do have a coded key pad and I’ll show you the code.” When the doors were opened by Jackie an expansive, ordered stockroom came into view. There was a conveyor belt leading from a locked small steel door on the exterior wall that lead to a wire mesh cage that was obviously the liquor storage area. A Valuable Sundries lock up with a heavy metal door and ordered shelving throughout that delineated the various departments by category. There were a set of metal doors that opened upon a graded ramp from the alleyway.
The alleyway itself could easily accommodate two large cars with a line painted in the middle to designate the separation and an area where the trailer rig was to be parked. “A bit different than you are accustomed to, I would imagine?” “I’ll say and then some!” “Let’s get this all locked up and I’ll get you out to the floor, several of the regulars are on today and they are just dying to meet you! I see you came prepared by wearing your working clothes. It’s a bit different here! Assistant Managers don’t stock or pull loads. I’m sure all of the employees will understand, not to worry, after all, you are just in your first throws of stepping up!” “I’ve heard ghastly stories of what takes place in those stores and I’m sure they are true; but I would love to chat at a length, at your convenience about experiences you have had.” “Well, I’ll be happy to answer questions and possibly get into some details; but not today. I don’t think you have any idea of what that world is like.” Mr. Cubbinson was almost tittering at Will’s comment. “Well, no, you see my Father and Dale, Dale Stroud, the Head of Personnel arranged this position for me and they golf together regularly and came to the conclusion that this experience would be beneficial to my future. I’ve only been in this store as Trainee and now Third Man. I really don’t have any intent of enduring this much longer. I have my degree in Art and I fully intend to open my own studio, very soon! Mr. Farrell is aware of that and he has really encouraged me in that direction. He’s a wonderful man!” “Where did you attend?” “College, oh no, I was never in college, I came directly from the Navy and was lucky enough to find this job and things have progressed in such a way I haven’t as yet been able to think about starting.” “Oh my! Well, perhaps you can enroll at St. Mary’s for some night courses?” “I might look into that, now that I’m seemingly going to have more time for focus.” “Oh my yes; you must!” The remainder of the afternoon was acclimation and introductions to the staff and a fairly easy explanation of Will’s duties. At the end of which; Mr. Cubbinson introduced Will to the other Third that would be on duty for the evening with Will. “Mr. Morgan, this is Gary Long. Gary, this is Mr. William Morgan, our new Assistant Manager. Gary is quite capable and has been here, what, almost a year now? He came to us from the Torrance store, where he was in training and has proven a most valuable asset.”