Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Noah Gets Trained

Noah - the former Stockroom Coordinator for the DU Bookstore and the future Stockroom Manager for the contract management company taking over - attended training sessions today in the building next door to the Bookstore. Noah, looking puzzled in the photograph above, learned that the new company has a no harassment policy. This probably means that Noah will no longer be able to use his favorite management technique - "hassle the hell out of everyone and get those boxes unpacked." Personally I believe in staying with what works, so I feel your pain, Noah!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The End Of An Era

Today was the last day of the DU Bookstore as an institutionally owned operation. The store is now closed and will reopen as a contract managed store March 6th. Today was also the last day for Sandy as an employee of the Bookstore. She was finally going to let me take her photograph to put on this blog, but unfortunately I forgot to bring my camera this morning in my haste to get to work by 9:00 A.M. (which is well before dawn, I think). Since Sandy left early today, I have blown my only chance to get her photograph. Probably for the best, since I truly believe she really is in the witness protection program. In any case, faithful readers will have to make due with my rather jaunty profile instead. Eat your heart out, George Clooney!

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Last Inventory

Today was the last inventory for the DU Bookstore as an independent entity. Marty - pictured above - predicted that it would only take a few hours, since we had so little merchandise on hand. I knew he had cursed us the minute he said it, but I was too polite to say anything. To be fair, it didn't take any longer than usual, but it sure didn't take any less time either. You know things are going slow when the staff starts disappearing into the break room looking for food written off in 1977 to munch on.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Republic Plaza!

I had a beer tonight at the Yard House, just across the 16th Street Mall from Republic Plaza. I have very fond memories of taking photographs of the Republic Building, the tallest in Denver. After 9-11, whenever you tried to take a picture of it, several men in suits would burst through the front door and chase after you. I, of course, would immediately run away, only to be back the following weekend to take another photograph of the building. Of course, I already had plenty of photographs of it - I just liked the cat and mouse action. Thanks guys! Another significant blow against terrorism!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Shredding The DU Bookstore Files

Tristy - the former DU Bookstore Director - and I met at the DU Bookstore this afternoon, where Tristy packed up her remaining papers and possessions and left very specific instructions on shredding assorted DU Bookstore files. This must be done before a contract management company takes over the store on Wednesday. After loading her personal files and possessions into her trunk, Tristy drove off in her Ferrari F430 Spider and I drove off in my Lamborghini, both of us feeling a great load has been taken off our shoulders. Let the weekend begin!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Taco Bar!

The DU Bookstore marked its final day of business as an institutionally owned store - after 148 years of independent operation I might add - with a taco bar for the staff. It was a sad day, with the contract management company moving out furniture, computers, and various unconscious staff members. However, free food seems to have had a positive effect on the staff. At least until all the stockroom employees got there and finished off every remaining morsel - still another tradition that I am sure will continue under the new management company.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Dave B. Is Leaving Too!

Dave B. is leaving the DU Bookstore after 17 years. Dave is the supply and food buyer for the Bookstore, as well as the Bookstore's promotions coordinator. Dave is also truly crazy, but that's a gift. He has always been willing to have his photograph taken for this blog, and if he too is in the witness protection program - like so many of the camera shy Bookstore staff seem to be - he doesn't seem to care. Thanks Dave and Good Luck to You!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sandy Is Leaving!

Sandy - pictured above - will soon be leaving the DU Bookstore after many years as the clothing buyer. Her last day will be next Tuesday. And yes, I know that the photograph above is just a represenatation of Sandy (and a damned good one, I might add), but throughout the years she has refused to let me take her photograph. She claims to be in the witness protection program and can't have her identity compromised. Ironically, a number of other employees at the DU Bookstore have told me the same thing when I have asked to take their photo. They can't all be lying, can they?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Portrait Of Trish

I asked Trish if I could take her photograph this morning, and she was immediately apprehensive. She asked me if I was going to say a bunch of insulting things about her. Frankly, I was hurt. I always try to portray every DU Bookstore employee in the best possible light and never fail to give them a compliment. I think Trish is still bitter about my taking her photograph right after she broke her nose and stating on my blog that it resulted from a bar brawl. I even complimented her on her famous right hook. So okay Trish, I apologize. It wasn't a "bar brawl" - it took place in the parking lot. Happy now?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Carol Returns!

Carol has returned to the DU Bookstore this week to help us out with textbook returns. She graciously allowed me to take her photograph, but afterwards told me that I had caught her with a box cutter in her hand, so I better not be intending to say anything negative about her on my blog. I quickly assured her that I had no such intention. That's what I like about Carol - she takes a very straightforward approach. If Noah, the Stockroom Coordinator, had been as direct, I might not have made up all those horrible lies about him. Oh well, too late now! Welcome Back Carol and Tough Luck, Noah!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Time For Reflection

This week will be a time of reflection for the staff of the DU Bookstore. Friday will be the last day the Bookstore will operate as part of the University of Denver. After 148 years, the DU Bookstore will close after this date and be turned over to a contract management firm. It will be a major change for much of the staff. Many of us have worked for the University of Denver for many years (it has been almost 28 years for me) and we will now be employed by a new, privately owned company, with all the adjustments that will entail. All I have to say is "another pint, bartender!"

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Next In Line Please!

I was emptying the trash at the DU Bookstore yesterday, and found that all of our "next in line" signs were being tossed out. The Bookstore will be taken over by a contract management company starting February 29th and so everything must go. My friend Valarie - the former Operations Manager at the University of Denver Bookstore - designed these signs to be used during the busy first days of each quarter. The signs appeared after one particularly strong-lunged temporary cashier caused permanent ear damage to some staff members while trying to attract the next customers in line. Once Valarie distributed these signs, the change was stunning. All the cashiers suddenly became mimes, waving their signs, gesturing, doing everything they could do to attract the eye of the next person in line except speak. Personally, I felt the need to say at least something - "next please" - but then again, as everyone likes to tell me, I'm a bit on the eccentric side (i.e. crazy).

Friday, February 17, 2012

Darrel's Last Day

Today was Darrel's last day at the DU Bookstore after 10 years as the Account's Payable Supervisor. Starting next week he will become the Budget Officer for the University of Denver's Chemistry Department, and so we had a potluck for him today in the Bookstore's break room. There was a lot of food, which is a good thing, since we had a lot of extra stockroom people working here this week. For as long as I have worked at the Bookstore - and we are talking 28 years now - I have found that the stockroom staff tends to eat like half starved wolverines. And I mean that with all due respect. Good Luck Darrel!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Checking In With Noah And Dave B

The DU Bookstore staff is working hard to get the store ready for it's conversion to a contract managed store. Noah (in the photograph on the left) and Dave B (on the right) are working on - actually, to be honest, I don't know what the hell they are doing. They are going through a huge pile of junk on the floor, looking at each item, and then for the most part throwing it into a garbage container. However, I am sure it is a critical step in the conversion process. Way to go, guys! Keep up the good work!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tony Talks!

Tony, the Quick Copy Center Manager, reminisced this afternoon about his time with the Police Auxiliary Association in Aurora. The group's purpose was to improve community relations with the police, and involved guest speakers from the police department, ride alongs with the police, and other similar initiatives. Tony tells me that he even worked with the police in preparing them for the Democratic National Convention in 2008. Tony would pretend he was a protester, and the police would practice their choke holds on him, use their night sticks on his head, taser him, etc. Thanks for sharing, Tony. This explains soooo much.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Maria In Control

Maria is the DU Bookstore's Textbook Coordinator, and as such it is her job over the next week or two to return virtually every textbook in the store. And she is handling it beautifully! We were going to hire some extra staff to help her finish all the returns, but she is doing such a good job on her own we've decided not to. Got to think of the bottom line, after all. Good work, Maria! Keep it up!

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Visit From Chris!

I was a bit surprised to see Chris, one of our used book company reps, sitting in Acting Bookstore Director Marty's chair this afternoon. Chris works for the company that will be taking over the Bookstore starting February 29th. I thought to myself that these guys move very quickly and asked Chris if he was taking over for Marty. Chris told me that Marty was just at lunch and he was simply printing out a report of the books he was purchasing. I keep asking Chris to make the checks out to "cash" to simplify the bookkeeping, but he seems to have a problem with this. Just trying to keep things simple, Chris!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

One Week Until Spring Training!

It is a mere week until pitchers and catchers report for spring training. The Chicago Cubs report this coming Saturday, while the Colorado Rockies report Sunday. It is a great time of year, when every team has a chance to win it all. And here's a baseball tip: if you know a Cubs fan, be sure to get a sizable bet down with them before the season starts. Cub fans are notoriously optimistic during spring training and the start of the season - before reality sets in and the team starts its annual collapse (usually one week after opening day). Be sure to move quickly!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Saturday Morning At The DU Bookstore

Lauren (pictured above) and I opened up the DU Bookstore this morning at 9:00 A.M. It was a very cold day, but at least the Bookstore was nice and warm. We were planning to eliminate heat at the Bookstore in order to make the bottom line, but it was decided to lease out the store to a contract management company before we could institute that change. Probably a good thing, too. The Bookstore staff are a pretty surly lot these days. I'd hate to see what they would be like working in the store if it was a bit on the cool side - say 15 degrees.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Two New Employees For Noah!

Noah, the DU Bookstore's Stockroom Coordinator, will have two new full-time employees working for him when the Bookstore is turned over to a contact management company next month. Noah runs a tight ship, and it will require a lot more of his time to properly hassle his two new staff members. This will mean less time supervising the employees at his coffee shops out in San Francisco (see previous posts). Tonight I imagine the staff of Noah's Coffee Shop on Market are dancing in the streets of San Fran.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Closing The Books On The DU Bookstore

Chris (pictured above) will be staying on temporarily with the University of Denver after the DU Bookstore is leased out to a contract management company beginning February 29th. Chris will be helping me close the books on the DU Bookstore after 148 years of being institutionally owned. After the books are balanced, we will both rejoin our colleagues in working for the contract management operation. The University of Denver has estimated it will take 3o days to finish up balancing the books and completing the financial statements, but I am beginning to think it might take longer - much longer. Perhaps as many as 7 years longer. "Hey Craig, maybe we'll finish up next year" will be my typical response. You need make sure everything is absolutely correct, right? Right!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Lunch At Pete's With Roddy!

I had lunch this afternoon with Roddy (pictured above), the University of Denver's Photography Professor. In a little over an hour, we solved all the problems of the world, and had a nice lunch, too. There must be a way to make some money doing this. Perhaps we can have people mail in $20 along with a self-addressed stamped envelope, and we'll mail back our solutions. Heck, we'll even wave the fee for elected officials. Give us a call, Rick Santorum.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A New Policy

Marty, the Acting Director of the DU Bookstore (pictured above), instituted a "Be Nice or Leave" policy this week. If people refuse to be nice and also refuse to leave, they will be immediately waterboarded. This new policy has been greeted with great enthusiasm by the Bookstore's employees. Over 90% of the staff has volunteered to administer the waterboarding, and some have even specified the particular person they want to waterboard if the opportunity arises. Another successful process improvement!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Darrel Is Leaving!

After 10 years as the Accounts Payable Supervisor at the DU Bookstore, Darrel is leaving to become the Budget Officer at the University of Denver's Chemistry Department. Darrel is a great employee and we will all miss him, although he has promised to still help us out as we close the books on the DU Bookstore and get ready to be taken over by a private company. Good luck to you and thanks for everything you've done for us, Darrel! We appreciate it!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A Super Sunday (For Estate Planning)

Today was Super Bowl Sunday, and before I went to the Yard House on the 16th Street Mall in Denver to watch the game, I stopped at the Barnes and Noble across the street to buy a book on estate planning. It has recently occurred to me that some day I might actually die, and I want to make sure the villa in Tuscany, the estate in Nice, and the apartment in Paris - not to mention my luxury condo in Denver - wind up in the right hands. Plus, my friend Valarie gave me two photography books by Sebastiao Salgado for my birthday last year, on the condition that I leave them to her in my will. If I die unexpectedly without a will, Valarie will kill me.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

What Is Art?

As part of our monthly feature " Free Day at the Denver Art Museum," today we try to answer the question "What is Art?" For this, we need to quote the Supreme Court Justice who attempted to define pornography: "I can't define it, but I know it when I see it."

Friday, February 3, 2012

Snow Day

Today was a snow day for the University of Denver. By this morning 12 inches of snow had fallen in the city, and a lot more in such places as Highlands Ranch, Roxborough Park, and Wheatridge, where some people are foolish enough to live. I spent part of the day trying to decide where to travel to use up the rest of my excess vacation days, a popular activity now that the DU Bookstore will soon be taken over a contract management store. I just got back this week from San Francisco, and over the past year have visited Spain, France, Italy, Boston, New York City, and Washington D.C. Where to next? Northern Europe, Greece, Turkey, Israel, Pittsburgh? Well, I hear Pittsburgh is kind of nice. Maybe there.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Marty In Charge!

Tristy's last day as the Director of the DU Bookstore was this past Tuesday. She is leaving the store to become the Director of Budget and Finance for the University of Denver's School of Natural Sciences and Math. In her place, Marty - pictured above - is now the Acting Director of the DU Bookstore and will lead the store through the transition from being institutionally owned to being a contract management store. As faithful readers will remember, Marty can often be found lying on the floor in his office, stretching his "bad back." I understand the need to exercise his back, but why does he always seem to be snoring, with eyes shut tight? Probably just a sinus condition.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Return To Reality (Of A Sort)

I returned to the DU Bookstore this morning after a 6 day vacation in San Francisco. One of the many staff members who welcomed me back to work was Dave B. (seen in the photograph above). I really enjoyed San Francisco a lot, although while there I remember thinking to myself that they have an awfully lot of strange characters out there. However, after spending a full day back at work, I now realize that the DU Bookstore is no slouch in that area either.