Saturday, March 31, 2012

First Bike Ride of The Year!

It reached 80 degrees today, so I took a break from closing the books on the "old" DU Bookstore and went for my first bike ride of the year. It was great to bike downtown and enter the wonderful world of wackos that is the 16th Street Mall. Two women dressed as characters from Alice in Wonderland, a frat kid wearing a beanie, street kids dressed in costume and forming a circle in the center of the mall, and teenagers with hair every color of the rainbow. In other words, not nearly as crazy as usual. Still early, I guess.

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Ghosts Of Mary Reed

I mentioned to Chris - who is helping me close the books on the "old" DU Bookstore this month - that the Mary Reed Building, where we work, is haunted by ghosts. A couple of days ago, she mentioned that she has actually seen a ghost - along with a ghost cat - walk past the doorway of our office 3 or 4 times now. In point of fact, I have also seen a white blur going past the door several times. I checked out Phil Goodstein's book, "The Ghosts of University Park," and found out that the Mary Reed Building is "spook central" in this part of Denver. Who you gonna call?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Lee And Me And the White Sox Versus Cubs Controvery

My friend Stuart took great exception to yesterday's blog concerning White Sox versus Cubs fans. Stuart was outraged that I paraphrased what Lee Elia (seen in the photograph above along with my handsome profile) said about Cub fans. He actually said - in a profanity laced tirade - that 85% of people in Chicago work for a living, while the remaining 15% come out to Wrigley Field every afternoon to boo the Cubs. After only 20 games into the baseball season, Elia felt he needed to lash out at the abusive fans, and did so in a very flamboyant way. Stuart feels that I am "dissing" Cub fans, using this one example of their bad behavior to paint all Cub fans as evil. In defending his north side brethren, I am surprised he didn't mention some very few White Sox fan meltdowns, such as "Disco Demolition Night," when several local DJs blew up thousands of disco records between games of a doubleheader, resulting in the entire stadium rushing onto the field and causing a forfeiture of the second game. Of course, those fans had an excuse - they were drunk. What excuse could those Cub fans possibly have?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Celebrating With Stuart

Stuart and I celebrated at the Old Chicago in Lakewood tonight, though for the life of me I can't remember what we were celebrating. Beer tends to do that to you. Stuart is from the north side of Chicago, while I am from the south side of the city. The north side is home to the Chicago Cubs, where the manager once said that 99% of Chicagoans were decent, honest, hardworking human beings, while the remaining 1% came out to Wrigley Field each afternoon. The south side is home to the Chicago White Sox, whose games are attended by the good, simple, hardworking people of the south side. Need I say more? I know I am stereotyping here, but I don't care.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Second Day Of Rush

Marty (see photograph above) was down on the sales floor of the DU Bookstore today, helping out customers during the second day of rush. I noticed that Marty was wearing his new official DU Bookstore polo shirt today, which was designed to keep wayward employees from trying to blend into the crowd and avoid detection by students seeking help. In the background of the photograph, at the information desk, is "Brittney," the DU Bookstore's new Assistant Manager. "Brittney" has told me many times that she does not want her photograph taken because she is in the witness protection program. I'm sure she wouldn't lie about something like that, so hopefully this blog is not popular with organized crime figures - at least not anymore.

Monday, March 26, 2012

John Is Beardless!

I stopped into the DU Bookstore this afternoon to see how the first day of rush was going. This is, by the way, the first rush I have missed in 28 years. Unfortunately, I have to close out the books on the old DU Bookstore before I can join the new store. I am dealing with this disappointment as best I can, what with having to give up a week of 12 hour workdays and all. In any case, I was shocked to see that John (see photograph above) has shaved off his beard. He told me he decided to give mutton chops a try, but that it was a big mistake and he is now in the process of growing his beard back. Personally, I think he simply lost some kind of bet. Probably has something to do with this whole "March Madness" thing.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

A Doubleheader!

Today was a red letter day. First, lunch with Valarie, and later on, beers and burgers with Stuart. Valarie and I worked up an appetite this afternoon power walking around Sloan's Lake, had lunch, and then did another lap around the lake. Valarie is looking good and doing very well, and we both got some good exercise. That evening Stuart and I also got some good exercise hoisting beer mugs. Never stop working on your upper arm strength, I always say.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Replacement Fee Time

Last Monday was the deadline to return rental textbooks to the DU Bookstore, and after almost a week's grace period, we started charging students who did not return their rentals the replacement fee for those titles. It is not something we enjoy doing, but our wholesaler will be charging the Bookstore the same amount for the missing books. Unfortunately, a fair number of the credit card numbers we tried to charge were bad. That means I will have to pick up the Bookstore thugs - Marty and Doug - and start paying some nocturnal visits to make collections. Such is the dramatic life of a Bookstore employee.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Derek Is Back

Derek has rejoined the DU Bookstore as a rush cashier. As faithful readers may recall, Derek used to be a loss prevention assistant at the Bookstore. He would catch shoplifters, taser them, and then throw them up against the wall and frisk them. Sometimes he would interrogate these suspects in the loss prevention office for hours. The new management at the Bookstore does not allow employees to do this to its customers - only to its staff members - and what fun is that? Derek has therefore opted to become a cashier.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Chris & Darrel Take Charge

Chris and Darrel are the heart and soul of the "old" DU Bookstore, working hard to close the books on the institutionally owned store. Darrel has been working during his lunch hour and on weekends for the Bookstore, in addition to working his regular job as Budget Officer for the Chemistry Department. Chris has increased her hours from 18 to almost 40 to help out with all the paperwork. As soon as I get done watching all the spring training games on cable this month, I have every intention of helping out, too. Everyone has their priorities, after all.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Maria's Last Day!

Today was Maria's last day at the DU Bookstore, and she celebrated the occasion with lunch at Jordan's with her fellow "old" Bookstore employees. She also brought in some cupcakes to celebrate her last day at the store (see photograph above). I assume the stockroom employees ate most if not all of them. Some things just never change. Best of luck to you Maria!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

These Are Not Phantoms

Once again the question of whether or not I am running a string of phantom employees has come up. The "old" DU Bookstore's payroll has been increasing, despite being closed for almost a month, as we prepare to return rental textbooks to our distributor. Joe and Pat (pictured above) are definitely not phantoms, and have been working very hard to get the rentals shipped out. And besides, I have no need to get extra cash by hiring a phantom staff - not with all the kickbacks I get. Give me some credit.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Carol Steps Up!

For the past week, Carol has been helping the "old" DU Bookstore take back textbook rental returns, one of the final tasks before the institutionally owned DU Bookstore fades into oblivion. Starting tomorrow, Carol will be training with the "new" DU Bookstore, getting ready for the start of classes next week. As a mater of fact, I myself with be joining the "new" DU Bookstore as "Team Lead Sales Floor" next month. Hopefully this new position will not interfere with my afternoon nap each day. I would hate to have to nap under the textbook write-offs, hidden from view, like back in the bad old days.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Here At Last! Another Bestseller By David N. Hoyt!

It's here at last! "From Rome to Granada - A Photographic Essay" has finally hit the bookshelves! Another bestseller by world famous photographer David N. Hoyt. My sister Susan and brother-in-law George (see photograph above) are enthralled with the book and can't put it down. And the reviews have been great! Can a call from National Geographic be far behind? After all, I did let my subscription lapse.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

At The Ready!

John and Trish wait expectantly for their first customer of the day this Saturday morning at the DU Bookstore. They make an excellent Saturday team, if I say so myself. Once I join the "new" DU Bookstore next month, after closing out the books of the "old" store, and if I wind up in charge of scheduling the staff, I intend to schedule John and Trish every Saturday. When I mentioned this to them today, they protested, but my mind is made up. Don't thank me guys! You've earned it!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Maria Gives Notice!

Maria and Marty pose in front of the "new" DU Bookstore this morning, right after Maria announced that she is giving notice to devote more time to her studies. Maria started working at the DU Bookstore last year, and in her first week at the store turned the returns area of the Bookstore's stockroom from a dangerous jungle of textbooks needing return into a clean, efficient, and amazingly uncluttered work space. Maria probably saved many lives as a result, since those ceiling high stacks of books would have killed someone if they ever collapsed. She is only one quarter away from getting her library science degree from the University of Denver, and we from the "old" DU Bookstore wish you the best of luck, Maria!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Big Changes For The Quick Copy Center

Tony - pictured above - is adjusting to the fact that he can no longer let University of Denver departments charge Quick Copy purchases and have them automatically billed to their respective organizations. After the recent change in management at the DU Bookstore, departments can now only use university credit cards (P-Cards) to make a purchase -even if it is for only for 35 cents. Plus, most department employees don't have university credit cards to use, thus creating even more issues. Tony says he is just following orders, but I secretly believe he is behind all these changes. I know from experience that Tony just loves to "stir the pot." Way to keep things lively, Tony!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Checking In With Wally

I ran into Wally in the "new" DU Bookstore's stockroom today. Under the new management now in place at the store, Wally is working in the stockroom instead of at the information desk. Wally says he is happy to be in the backroom, since he no longer has to be nice to people. Of course, it is hard to ignore the fact that Noah, Maria, and occasionally Dave R. also work in the stockroom. Does this mean Wally can take out all his frustrations exclusively on them, or that he simply does not consider them people? Time to explain yourself, Wally!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Rental Return Fever!

It is finals week at the University of Denver, and the "old" DU Bookstore has a rental returns table in front of the "new" DU Bookstore this week. And yes, during slow periods we do make faces through the door at the employees in the store. Chris - in the photograph above - stands ready to either take back rental books or turn around and make faces at Trish behind the cashiers desk - whatever the situation calls for.

Monday, March 12, 2012

A Team Player

Darrel - pictured above - is definitely a team player. Although he accepted the position of Office and Budget Manager for the University of Denver's Chemistry Department, he is still working part time for the "old" DU Bookstore, helping us to close the books on the operation. I took his photograph today not only to acknowledge his contribution, but also to prove to the Payroll Department that the "old" Bookstore still indeed has a staff, and that I am not running a string of phantom employees - at least not anymore.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Transistor Radio

I worked on closing the "old" DU Bookstore's books yesterday at our undisclosed location somewhere on the University of Denver Campus and brought along my transistor radio to listen to the Colorado Rockies spring training game. The radio works, but it takes a little work to get it going. Because of this, I thought it might be time to replace it with a newer model, and asked Barry, the Bookstore's technology guru, where I might pick one up. Barry informed me that they no longer exist. What? The radios I listened to WLS in Chicago with when I was a kid and to Harry Caray broadcasting the White Sox games no longer exist? An outrage! It seems to me like they were very popular just yesterday. And no, that does not mean I am getting old.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

A Visit With Dave R.

I stopped by the "new" DU Bookstore this morning on my way to what I can only refer to as "an undisclosed location" to work on the "old" DU Bookstore's books. I chatted with Dave R. for a while, and he seems to be doing quite well under the new management. I must say that all the new contract management people now working at the Bookstore are very friendly toward me. This is despite the fact that I heard through the grapevine that some were not pleased with my mentioning their company's name on this blog, especially in relation to my whimsical and playful comments. Plus, this past week I called to have the telephone billing changed from the old DU Bookstore to the new company, after which DU Telephone Services called the Bookstore to inform them that Dave Hoyt ordered all of their telephones disconnected within the hour. It also doesn't help that Doug, one of the Bookstore's textbooks buyers, is spreading the rumor that the reason I am not working this month in the store is because I am in jail. No matter - I am sure I will be welcomed with open arms when I join the new DU Bookstore April 2nd.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Trish Soldiers On!

Trish - shown in the photograph above - is staying on at the DU Bookstore after the change in ownership of the store, and she actually seemed kind of happy to see me when she walked into the Bookstore this morning. I have been working in an undisclosed location for the past week closing out the books of the "old" DU Bookstore and haven't been around the store lately. I think Trish misses my playful insults, my fun-loving little jabs, and tongue-in-cheek personal insults. I'll have to remember to step up the pace and significantly increase the number of wise-ass remarks I make to her. As I have been told many times, I definitely know how to win friends and influence people.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

All Eyes On Valarie

I had dinner tonight with Valarie (the former Operations Manager of the DU Bookstore) at the Highland Tavern, a popular bistro in an up and coming neighborhood of northwest Denver. Valarie is still pretty sensitive about having her photograph taken, so I consider it a major victory if she doesn't cover her entire face in a scarf whenever I try to take a photo. At Valarie's graduation party a few months ago, her family and friends all insisted on taking photos of her, and were complimented on their efforts effusively. Whenever I take a photograph of Valarie, it is always the worst image of her she has ever seen. But I'm not insulted. Not at all. Not much, anyway. No big deal. What, me worry?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Surprise Visit

Tristy - former Director of the DU Bookstore and current Budget Director for the Division of Math and Natural Sciences - paid a visit to the old DU Bookstore's remaining two staff members today at their secret undisclosed location (and no, it is not a cave). Tristy is very happy with her new job, although she did mention that the division has over 5,000 separate budget numbers to monitor. That seems like an exaggeration, but you never know. Good luck with that, Tristy!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Noah Shows Off

Noah showed off his name badge today at the DU Bookstore, identifying him as the Bookstore's new Shipping and Receiving Manager - a major promotion. Noah is excited about his new role, but is worried that the store's new management might tighten things up at the store, refusing to let him keep the stockroom at below freezing temperatures and not allowing him to wear shorts 9 months out of the year. I personally feel the changes will be good. I have a feeling the new management team will whip Noah into shape - perhaps quite literally.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The New DU Bookstore Opens

The new DU Bookstore opened this morning at 8:00 A.M. John - in the photograph above - is seen waiting at the cash register for a customer to appear. The store is now being run by a contract management company out of Illinois and it has agreed to retain the previous store's staff. I stopped by the store this morning and most of the Bookstore employees seemed near normal, after quite a stressful past few weeks. Of course, that is only an illusion, since as far as I can tell, virtually none of them have ever been even close to near normal - and I mean that with all due respect.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Perfect Disguise

As mentioned in previous posts, the location of what is left of the old institutionally owned DU Bookstore must be kept secret, as we close the books on the Bookstore operation. Therefore I find the need to wear a disguise when entering or leaving that location. Yesterday I tried out a clown costume, which I have to admit was a bit over the top. Today I came up with a more conservative disguise (see photo above), which will allow me to blend in a bit more with the campus scene (at least the scene on this campus).

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Secret Room

I worked today closing the DU Bookstore's books in "The Secret Room," the final home of the institutionally owned University of Denver Bookstore. This location must remain a secret at all costs, and so I have to enter the building in disguise. Today I chose a clown costume, and therefore was able to enter (and leave) the building unrecognized. Or do people just say "Why is a clown going into that building? Oh, that's just Hoyt. What a nut!"

Friday, March 2, 2012

Greetings From An Undisclosed Location!

Chris - pictured above - has worked in the DU Bookstore's Accounting Office for many years, and is now helping me to close the books on the store, now that it has been taken over by a contract management company. What is left of the institutionally owned DU Bookstore is now operating from an undisclosed location somewhere on the University of Denver campus. We were originally going to be working out of the underground bunker beneath Campus Security, but word got out and the location had to be changed. The closing of the books is, of course, a top secret operation. We even have to sneak out of the building in disguise.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Long Goodbye

Wally (on the left) and Tony (on the right) hang out in the DU Bookstore's employee hallway after the store's 20,000 pound safe was removed from the Accounting Office after 28 years. The floor around the safe has buckled a bit since it was installed, and employees have long had a pool going on whether (and if so when) the safe might fall through the floor into the University of Denver's Chaplain's Office. An extra side bet was whether the safe might fall right on top of the Chaplain himself. Now no one will win, except of course the Chaplain.