Friday, September 30, 2011

The Bookstore To Be Outsourced?

The headline in the DU Clarion says it all. Is it possible that the DU Bookstore will be outsourced, after being independently run by the University of Denver since 1864? Marty - the General Merchandise and Textbook Manager (pictured above) - made an impassioned plea to the Outsourcing Committee, along with the Bookstore Director, for the DU Bookstore to remain independent. I have told Marty several times now that if the DU Bookstore is truly outsourced, he should not feel guilty, even though it will all be his fault. Keep a stiff upper lip, Marty!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Bar Fight!

Just kidding, actually. I fell off my bike last Sunday, and went for X-Rays at Kaiser today, since my right arm did not seem to want to improve. Whenever I think of X-Rays, I think of Hall of Fame Pitcher Dizzy Dean, who was once hit in the head with a baseball. At the hospital, he told reporters that they "took an X-Ray of his head, and found nothing there." Today, Kaiser took an X-ray of my arm and found at least one, and maybe two breaks. This is great news! I can probably milk this for heartfelt sympathy for maybe 6 months or more! Perfect!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Checking In With Stuart

It has been several weeks since I last talked to my friend Stuart, so we went out for beers and dinner tonight at the Old Chicago on Colorado Boulevard in Denver. I remember that years ago we went to the opening of Fenway Park - a long forgotten restaurant - in that same location. Over the years, a number of different restaurants have opened - and closed - in that same spot, until Old Chicago opened there and wound up staying. The most amazing thing of all is that over the past 20 years or so, since we had dinner on that long ago evening at Fenway Park, neither of us have changed a bit. It is so spooky - could Denver be the true Shangrila?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Student Night at the DU Bookstore

Tonight was "Student Night" at the University of Denver Bookstore. We invited all DU students to come by between 6:30 and 8:00 P.M. to get 20% off on gifts and clothing, free ice cream from Ben and Jerry's, granola samples from Love Grown, free pens, and drawings for 8 $25 DU Bookstore gift certificates. Pictured above from left to right is Tim, from Pens, Etc; Dave B, the Bookstore's Promotions Coordinator; and the "Love Grown" woman. The evening was a tremendous success. Thanks for all your work on this event, Dave! Just because you're crazy doesn't mean you can't do a great job!

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Really Big Week!

Dave B. is looking forward to all the events taking place this week at the DU Bookstore. First, Dave B. is in charge of "New Student Night" at the DU Bookstore, which takes place tomorrow night and is expected to draw thousands of people. Also tomorrow, the DU Clarion will be publishing a major story about the store. Also this week, there might be a major announcement about the future of the Bookstore from the university's administration. Finally, the results of a major Human Resources survey of university employees is scheduled to be released. Dave can scarcely contain his excitement, as the above photograph shows.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Sunday Gentleman

Irving Wallace - a hack if there ever was one - wrote one good book in his lifetime, called "The Sunday Gentleman." Evidently back in Colonial times, wanted criminals could not be arrested on Sunday. They could come into town, eat, drink, and enjoy themselves, without fear of arrest. Irving Wallace, always on a tight schedule to produce potboilers, would spend any free time he had writing stories that he really wanted to write, without having to answer to editors. He put together a collection of non-fiction stories that were eventually published under the title "The Sunday Gentleman." After a very long week working at the DU Bookstore, I also felt like the Sunday Gentleman today - free to go bicycling, have a couple of "Mile Hipa's," a plate of buffalo wings, and even hug a fiberglass cow or two. A day to stop worrying about work and just relax. Thanks, Irving Wallace, for that one gem in your career.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Saturday Morning With Trish

Trish helped me open the DU Bookstore this Saturday morning. She was impressed with the quiet and the clean smell of the store before we opened the doors. Trish says the place smells like a gymnasium by 3:00 in the afternoon, and that by then everyone should go home and take a shower. I assume she is including her co-workers in that assessment. That strikes me as a bit insensitive, but hey, Trish calls it as she sees it.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Joe Sweeps into the DU Bookstore Stockroom

Joe helped receive textbooks in the DU Bookstore's stockroom this past August, spent a week out on the sales floor as a cashier, and is now back working in the stockroom. Joe says he now knows all the dirt at the DU Bookstore. In fact, among his other duties, it is now his responsibility to sweep it up on a regular basis. He tells me that Noah, the DU Bookstore's Stockroom Coordinator, still whips his employees, but it is now done in a kind of mentoring fashion. A "win-win" situation, as we say in the business world.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Free Lunch!

The University of Denver launched it's "Ascend" campaign for faculty and staff today with a free barbecue from "Famous Dave's." The Ascend campaign is meant to get faculty and staff to donate to the university, but during lunch with Chris, Ceci, and Darrel, we were not approached to donate anything at all. Back home in Chicago, if you had a city job, you gave the required donation or you were out of work. DU could learn a lot from the Cook County Regular Democratic Organization. Perhaps a field trip is in order.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Playing Hooky With Robin & Caitlin

Wednesday afternoon was the Colorado Rockies last home game of the season, so I played hooky this afternoon and went to the baseball game with Robin and Caitlin. I brought my "Blurb Book" along to the game, which features photographs of both of them - among other friends and relatives - and both Robin and Caitlin actually liked their photographs! A first! It was a great afternoon, although it did reinforce the fact that the Rockies truly stink - they lost their 7th game in a row this afternoon 4 to nothing.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Tail End of Rush!

Jan (pictured on the left) is a seasoned veteran of the the DU Bookstore's rush periods, while Emily (pictured on the right) is a new student employee. They are both enjoying the tail end of rush, when most of the time things are very quiet, interrupted only by the occasional frenetic on-rush of hundreds or maybe thousands of customers. We at the DU Bookstore have always suspected that groups of students wait outside the Bookstore for a critical mass of customers to be achieved, before descending on the store. After almost 28 years at the DU Bookstore, nothing has ever been discovered disproving this theory.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Keeping Up the Pace!

Noah is trying to receive all of the desperately needed shipments arriving in the DU Bookstore's stockroom as fast as he can. Today he was by himself, single-handedly trying to process all the boxes that were coming into the store. I kind of feel sorry for Noah - the DU Bookstore's Stockroom Coordinator - when I see Brittney (one of the textbook buyers) beat him with both fists until he checks in her shipment. On the other hand, it is a great motivational tool and helps keep labor costs down. Way to go, Noah and Brittney!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Back To Normal

Starting this week, it is back to normal (or as close to normal as we can get) at the DU Bookstore. We are back to our regular hours - no more Sunday openings, no more 7 o'clock closings. We are once again the Shangrila of Metro Denver employers, providing the good life to our many employees. Life is once again wonderful. Let the good times roll !!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Celebrating With Valarie!

Yesterday was the last day of "Rush" at the University of Denver Bookstore and I celebrated the end of 11 straight days of work with Valarie, the DU Bookstore's former Operations Coordinator. And I am not bitter that I had to work 11 straight days until 8:00 P.M. each night because Valarie left the store to return to school. But in any case, Valarie is just two months away from getting her degree at Metro, and loves her job working with the Denver Public Schools. Don't worry about us at the DU Bookstore, Val. We'll just keep keeping on.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Marissa Helps Out!

Marissa (pictured above) is an employee of the University of Denver's Athletic Department. She has been working this week at the DU Bookstore, making sure that all the DU athletes get the books that are required, and nothing else. This is important, since one mistake and DU might be relegated to the Southern Croatian conference, which will significantly increase travel costs. Thanks for the help this week, Marissa!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Pizza For Everyone!

A rival to Nebraska Book Company - our main used book suplier - bought pizzas for everyone at the DU Bookstore today. I hate to badmouth them, since they helped us out during rush and all, but Nebraska Book Company never buys us pizzas anymore. They are currently in Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, and have to get committee approval for a pizza purchase. By the time it has been approved, the Nebraska guys have been gone for 3 weeks. Does that sound like some kind of scam, or what?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Chris Remembers!

Chris represents a used book company that is a rival to Nebraska Book Company, the DU Bookstore's main source of used textbooks. He is married to Kim - featured in yesterday's blog. When I mentioned the incredible brawl that occurred between Chris and the Nebraska employees at the DU Bookstore last year, Chris remembered it instantly. Chris and Chuck - from Nebraska - were fighting it out over which company was the best used book supplier. Tristy, the DU Bookstore Director, eventually broke up the fight and marched both of them out of the store. I don't know what happened after that. I suspect they went over to the Stadium Inn and drank beer. That's what I would have done. Thanks for the memories, Chris!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Close Call!

Kim - a textbook buyer for a rival company - had no idea that the Nebraska Book Company reps were also working at the DU Bookstore the last two days. It was a good thing, too! The last time both reps were at the store at the same time, fists were flying. It was just like the bar brawl scene from the movie "Donovan's Reef." Bodies were flying all over the place, knocking down displays, destroying fixtures, and who knows what else. Finally, Tristy, the Bookstore Director, marched all of them out of the store, leaving massive destruction behind. At least that is how I remember it.

Monday, September 12, 2011

John And Lori Are There For The DU Bookstore!

John and Lori are helping out at the DU Bookstore during the 1st two days of classes. John is our sales rep from the Nebraska Book Company, while Lori is our sales rep from Connect to One (our web site provider). Both John and Lori are from "ruralness" challenged states -Nebraska and Utah respectively. Nebraska is overrun by cows, while Utah is of course overrun by mountain bikers wearing strange little biking outfits. Hopefully both John and Lori will get a break this week from having to deal with such affronts to nature.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Big Day is Tomorrow!

Tomorrow is the first day of the fall quarter at the University of Denver. Dave R. (pictured above) has been waiting for this day since he started working for the DU Bookstore in May. Of course he has heard many times the stories of the massive crowds, the cashiers fainting and then being revived by cold water in the face - and then being lashed to their registers so that they could carry on. It is all very well and good to hear these stories, but quite another to experience them. Congratulations Dave -tomorrow you'll get to see it all first hand!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Feeling The Joy!

Today was hellishly busy at the DU Bookstore. Still, Dave B. (pictured above) said he could "Feel the Joy at the Bookstore." Dave B. was once known as "Mr. Clicker," the buyer of the classroom clickers used by students in almost every DU class. He was removed as the clicker buyer when it was discovered that classroom clickers were not a beauty product. Dave is not bitter about this, even thought his Drugs and Sundries category experienced a massive drop in sales without the clicker revenue. What a stand up guy! Thanks Dave!

Friday, September 9, 2011

A New DU Bookstore Procedure!

Wally (pictured above) is now processing web orders in the DU Bookstore's stockroom during the rush period - as opposed to on the sales floor, with all those pesky customers bothering him. While Wally is processing these orders, no other than I - David N. Hoyt - am pulling the textbooks being ordered. There are thousands of titles to pull, most of them being ordered by students who want to pick the books up at the store. We are not yet charging for this service, but I think we better start. We pull the orders, process them, and all the student has to do is show up. This service is definitely worth five or ten dollars, or at least a six-pack or two. I definitely intend to take this up with the Chancellor.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

John Joins the DU Bookstore Team!

John - a June graduate of the University of Denver - is helping out the DU Bookstore as a cashier during the start of the fall quarter. John has just begun working at the Bookstore, as opposed to several of our cashiers, who have worked in the stockroom before starting work on the sales floor. Fortunately, John does not carry the scars that these former stockroom employees carry. The constant beatings, the verbal harassment, and all other manner of torture has taken it's toll. On the other hand, these stockroom employees are much more easier to manage. A broken employee is a manageable employee! Thanks for your groundbreaking management technique, Noah!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Radical Change!

Joe has moved from the DU Bookstore's stockroom to the sales floor this week, helping to cashier during the start of the fall quarter. It is only Joe's second day on the sales floor, so he still has a bit of that "deer in the headlights" look. On the other hand, Joe was very happy to learn that sales floor employees aren't beaten on a regular basis in order to make them work harder, unlike back in the stockroom. This will give him time for his bruises to heal. At the DU Bookstore we call this a "win-win" situation.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

"For Pete's Sake, It's Brian"

"For Pete's Sake, It's Brian" was Trish's reaction when she saw Brian start working at the Bookstore this morning. Brian hasn't worked at the DU Bookstore since last fall, so it was a surprise to Trish and everyone else that he decided to come back again this fall. It has been such a long time that he has worked for us that we had to do another background check on him, just to make sure he hasn't been holding up any convenience stores in the meantime. As a matter of fact, Brian's wife Pat is also working for us this fall. They both turned down working in the stockroom, but wouldn't miss the excitement of Rush on the sales floor for anything in the world. Welcome aboard guys!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Thanks Dan!

On my bike ride this Labor Day Monday, I found a passport and checkbook near Washington Park belonging to somebody named Dan. I hadn't been planning to take an overseas vacation anytime soon, but suddenly opportunity seems to have knocked. I tried to call Dan and ask him to drop off several major credit cards too, but he seems to be unlisted. Tomorrow I will call his bank and ask them to relay my request. Hopefully Dan has a large line of credit on his card.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Rush Week Begins!

Rush Week has begun! The freshmen class and their parents decended full force on the DU Bookstore today. We were busy from the time we opened until the time we closed. I tried to get some "action" photos of the employees, but since everyone was ringing up sales as fast as they could, it was hard to get people to pose. In point of fact, I was beginning to think the Bookstore staff would start throwing things at me if I took one more photograph. Okay, fine! I will go with what I have. So much for artistic integrity.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

With Apologies To Clement C. Moore...

Twas the night before Rush Week, when all through the place, not a creature was stirring, not a single Bookstore face;

The lanyards were hung by the registers with care, in hopes that wide-eyed freshmen soon would be there;

The employees were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of textbook sales danced in their heads;

And Wally with his earphones, and I in my cap, finished stocking the textbook shelves, all in a snap;

When out in the hallway there arose such a clatter, I sprang from my office to see what was the matter;

When, who to my wondering eyes should appear, but Doug the Textbook Buyer, with his usual sneer;

More rapid than eagles his foul moods they came, and he whistled and shouted and called each employee by name:

Now Darrel! now Marty! now Jan and Flo!

On Brittney! on Noah! on Chris and Joe!

To your place at the registers, by the Bookstore's front wall!

Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,

Down the stairway Store Director Tristy came with a bound;

She was dressed all in fur from her head to her foot,

And her clothes were all tarnished with sales stickers and soot;

A bundle of merchandise she had on her back,

And she looked like a peddler just opening her pack;

Her eyes - how they twinkled! her dimples how merry!

Her cheeks were like roses, her nose like a cherry;

A wink of her eye, and a twist of her head;

Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

She spoke not a word, but went straight to her work,

Filled all the register counters with merchandise, then turned with a jerk;

And pointing a finger at a spot past the floor,

And giving a nod said open the door;

She sprang to her office, to her team gave a whistle,

And away she flew like the down of a thistle.

But I heard her exclaim, ere she walked out of sight,

"Happy Rush Week to all, and to all a good night!"

Friday, September 2, 2011

First Friday With Valarie!

My friend Valarie and I went down to First Friday on Santa Fe Drive in Denver tonight. Since I last saw her, Valarie finished a full load of summer classes at Metro, drove to Michigan for a vacation, drove her daughter Cheyanne to college in Spokane, and worked every weekend preparing her daughter and son's house in Red Rocks to be rented. In her spare time, she volunteered her time with various non-profits. Now she has started fall classes at Metro and is once again working with a non-profit connected with the Denver Public Schools. We had a wonderful time on First Friday. It was great people watching: we saw a man in a pink tutu and clown's nose dancing down the street, a skinhead wearing a kilt, and an older woman dressed as a fairy princess. Just another Friday night in Denver. Is that scary or what?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Cheryl Joins the DU Bookstore Team!

Cheryl has joined the DU Bookstore team, helping us out as a cashier during the fall "rush" period. Cheryl works at DU's Center for Teaching and Learning, and is working for us evenings and weekends. She is one of the few employees who I didn't steal from Noah, the Stockroom Coordinator. I have to admit it is fun to see Noah's reaction when he learns that I have stolen still another employee from him. On the other hand, Cheryl is full of positive energy, not having been subjected to the inevitable beatings Noah uses to boost stockroom productivity (legal since the passage of George W. Bush's "Unleash America's Productivity" Act). Sounds like a win-win situation to me.