And apparently, I've had this ability for a while and didn't know it. A couple of weeks ago, one of the managers, whom I'll call K, gave me what I thought was temporary administrative rights on my register. He had injured his foot, and he wanted to minimize the amount of trips he would have to make from the office to the registers. I assumed that the admin rights would be taken back once he healed, but every day I was on register I would try to do an item void and every day, it would work. One of the other managers, Y, eventually told me that I would retain the admin rights. But I thought, based on what K had told me, that I was limited to performing those functions on my register. But then yesterday a third manager, A, told me that as far as she knew, I could perform those functions on any register, and when we tried it out, I could. Then Y said something about geting me to fill out some paperwork for a background check, which is a requirement of the CSS position, and today A told the other booksellers that they could call me for voids and exchanges and so on. So I don't think I'm officially a specialist yet, because I've not filled out the paperwork, and because I haven't yet worked there 90 days, which is another requirement of the job.
One disadvantage of sort of having the job but not really having it is that I'm unclear on where I stand with regard to the quasi-managerial responsibilities that come with the job. The CSS is more or less responsibile for the customer service area, and thus has some degree of authority over whomever is working at the registers. Which would be nice, because there's this one particular employee, let's call him E, who is kind of bugging me with his lax work habits. Today, he and I were both supposed to be doing recovery, i.e continuing the job of straightening the shelves in the wake of Thursday's inventory. And while he did so, he did it rather sloppily in my opinion, and I think he spent as much if not more time hanging out at the customer service area talking with X and, more to the point I think, H, the cute new female bookseller. I wanted to grab him by the lapels and shake him and say, "paperback fiction and sci-fi is still a mess! I think you skipped the Mc-W aisle in hardcover fiction! There are subscription cards lying all over the floor in magazines! There's a full basket of recovery sitting right here! Random lines from Office Space are not necessarily funny in and of themselves!"
And so on. But I'm not sure it's really my place to say something like that to another employee. In theory, that is something the CSS can and should do; just the other day, I overheard the evening CSS, N, say that he would have to talk to H about the dress code (she was wearing jeans). But I'm not a CSS, officially. I'm just another wage slave, albeit one who is much older than him and who can correct his mistakes on the register. And I certainly don't want to be one of those guys the younger employees mock for being overcommitted to the job, like I did to Al the Big Ticket Guy when I worked at Toys R Us back in the 1980s.
It's because of that experience that I can sympathize with the kids like E and X and the recently departed V, who don't seem to take their jobs very seriously. I was the same way when I was their age. And I have to admit that occasionally I succumb to temptation and glance at a magazine or flip through a book while I'm working the registers. But I don't make a habit of it, and I always keep an eye out for customers and (more importantly) the MOD. I suppose that good work habits are something you grow into. But knowing that doesn't make it any less frustrating in the here and now.