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Cogeno
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Saw this dead deer on the side of the road. What the F**k is taking the highway department so long to remove it? Wasn't there when I arrived at ten minutes after seven AM!

I took a photo, so it's the lump in the center of the photo.

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Are new hires just... not a thing anymore? Since the spring onslaught I think I've heard of only 5 new people being hired, all but one of which quit shortly after starting. We are hemorrhaging personnel like nobody's business, and have hired basically no one to replace them. Every department only has a skeletal crew scheduled at any moment, so if anyone calls in sick, as they frequently do, there is no coverage for the entirety of their shift, our darling customers always let us know in a colourful yet unflattering way what they think of this state of affairs, and there's no end in sight.

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On 11/5/2021 at 8:27 PM, T3G said:

Are new hires just... not a thing anymore? Since the spring onslaught I think I've heard of only 5 new people being hired, all but one of which quit shortly after starting. We are hemorrhaging personnel like nobody's business, and have hired basically no one to replace them. Every department only has a skeletal crew scheduled at any moment, so if anyone calls in sick, as they frequently do, there is no coverage for the entirety of their shift, our darling customers always let us know in a colourful yet unflattering way what they think of this state of affairs, and there's no end in sight.

Understaffing is a problem. Better to kill the problem early on, because then you won't have it later.

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20 hours ago, ASzy said:

Understaffing is a problem. Better to kill the problem early on, because then you won't have it later.

I agree, but that runs smack into the issue that someone in charge has to decide to solve the problem except there's an incentive not to because that person in charge is getting a better financial return while the place is running understaffed by saving on labour costs.  That means management's going to be perfectly fine with letting the whole understaffed problem go sideways indefinitely unless customers get angry and they start losing business over it worth more than the labour costs being saved.  It's crappy for everyone else though, both the staff and the customers are getting screwed.

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3 hours ago, Wayside Observer said:

I agree, but that runs smack into the issue that someone in charge has to decide to solve the problem except there's an incentive not to because that person in charge is getting a better financial return while the place is running understaffed by saving on labour costs.  That means management's going to be perfectly fine with letting the whole understaffed problem go sideways indefinitely unless customers get angry and they start losing business over it worth more than the labour costs being saved.  It's crappy for everyone else though, both the staff and the customers are getting screwed.

Exactly describes where I used to work.  It was a high stress high volume workplace and we were always faced with people quitting, booking several days off or on 'stress leave'. Those of us left to do the work busted our tails off. Of course management saw that we could handle it and didn't bother to hire more staff until things got beyond critical. The real cost is that it took a mental and physical toll on those of us that were dedicated enough (or stupid enough) to show up every day regardless of health impacts. It was a vicious cycle which could have been avoided with proper staffing levels.

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4 hours ago, captaintrolley said:

Exactly describes where I used to work.  It was a high stress high volume workplace and we were always faced with people quitting, booking several days off or on 'stress leave'. Those of us left to do the work busted our tails off. Of course management saw that we could handle it and didn't bother to hire more staff until things got beyond critical. The real cost is that it took a mental and physical toll on those of us that were dedicated enough (or stupid enough) to show up every day regardless of health impacts. It was a vicious cycle which could have been avoided with proper staffing levels.

Some of the same problems exist where I work.  We always manage to scrape by so management doesn't feel the need to staff the place adequately, but it really wears out the existing people.

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13 hours ago, Wayside Observer said:

Some of the same problems exist where I work.  We always manage to scrape by so management doesn't feel the need to staff the place adequately, but it really wears out the existing people.

The fact that both my parents work in environments like that, it's taking tolls on both. My mom actually switched jobs because of this. To cap it off, I'm starting to job-search because today I turn 16. My choice of workplace is definitely not a fast food place; but I'll do what I have to.

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7 hours ago, ASzy said:

The fact that both my parents work in environments like that, it's taking tolls on both. My mom actually switched jobs because of this. To cap it off, I'm starting to job-search because today I turn 16. My choice of workplace is definitely not a fast food place; but I'll do what I have to.

Happy Birthday 🙂

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4 minutes ago, Bus_Medic said:

Door troubles?

Yes. PCC car got a new set of doors and the rear doors all work fine but the fronts haven’t since the original ones were removed and the replacements installed, and jam up pretty badly.  One got stuck completely which locked the motor up and blew the fuse, which was lucky that the fuse went before something else did.  A friend and I got the #2 door working for the most part yesterday except for an edge case where it can be a bit temperamental if someone pushes on it after it opens.   Today is going to be more work to see if the #1 door can be sorted out.

We don’t think the replacement was hung properly and we know the original one wasn’t when it was installed because some of the holes for the mounting hanger were redrilled.  One of the cam switches also appears to be making poor contact and/or closing late so we had a meter on it while running the door by hand, but other than that it looks like purely mechanical trouble.

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This morning I had a customer come to the customer service desk with pliers and a palm-sized pack of electrical connectors to check out (issue 1). It was quiet however so I indulged him. He paid for his $12 purchase with a $50 bill, and then demanded not one, but TWO plastic bags to help carry this heavy burden.

People suck

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2 hours ago, T3G said:

This morning I had a customer come to the customer service desk with pliers and a palm-sized pack of electrical connectors to check out (issue 1). It was quiet however so I indulged him. He paid for his $12 purchase with a $50 bill, and then demanded not one, but TWO plastic bags to help carry this heavy burden.

People suck

4B57A53C-CA0C-4D9D-9C33-65EA58AE0A52.thumb.jpeg.a48c3178a04ed1e7e775262b94c47952.jpeg

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One of the things we found yesterday is that the wrench set in the toolbox in my truck tops out at 3/4” and we needed 15/16 yesterday so a stop at Harbour Freight (I know, I know but it was available) this morning.  Unfortunately they don’t sell individual wrenches so I had to buy a whole set to get the large ones I needed that my set didn’t include.  No bag. No fuss. No headache.  I don’t understand why customers walk into stores looking to cause problems. You’d think they’d want to pick up what they need, get out and on their way back to what they were doing.

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5 hours ago, Wayside Observer said:

 I don’t understand why customers walk into stores looking to cause problems.

No kidding.

I saw something today after I posted which was even worse then what I posted about at first. We had a worker who was assisting a customer with a large and heavy load heading towards the doors, at the same time as a customer showed up, bypassing our entrance hall that was packed to the brim with carts, and began snooping around our returns carts, deciding that a discarded circuit breaker was no problem and the cart was his now. The worker with the heavy load and the customer crossed paths and the heavy load "collided" with (more like scraped up against) the shopping cart. No one was hurt, because DUH, but the customer began yelling at the worker that he had crashed into him on purpose. Now, of course, anyone with half a functioning brain cell was able to see that this was an accident, that nothing had actually happened to either person, the cart, or the product, and that there is zero motive for any retail worker to randomly crash into a random customer they don't know and will never see again, but the customer then approached me and another co-worker who were standing at the desk and watching this unfold in sheer disbelief. Queue song and dance, paraphrase:

Customer: "Is that guy blind or something? He hit me!"
Me, and the poor worker who had been involved in this, protesting: "It was an accident."
Customer: "He did it on purpose! He hurt me!"
Me, again: "It was an accident."
Customer: "No, he did it on purpose! Why doesn't he watch where he's going?!"

Luckily the other co-worker was there as at that moment I had to excuse myself from saying something extremely unprofessional. The co-worker asked if the customer wished to speak with a manager, to which he just kept repeating "He did it on purpose! He did it on purpose!" over and over before eventually leaving. On reflection, it was most surprising that he didn't demand a manager (and indeed, I didn't see any manager come by to ask us what had happened for the remainder of the shift) as this would seem like a prime excuse to throw a temper tantrum and get a free product, or at least a massive discount off of one. All in the name of "good customer service".

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22 hours ago, T3G said:

This morning I had a customer come to the customer service desk with pliers and a palm-sized pack of electrical connectors to check out (issue 1). It was quiet however so I indulged him. He paid for his $12 purchase with a $50 bill, and then demanded not one, but TWO plastic bags to help carry this heavy burden.

People suck

Wow. If it was me, I would not even need a bag! I got two hands, and two lightweight products that have no business being in a bag, in  my eyes.

My job hunt is as yet fruitless.

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4 minutes ago, ASzy said:

My job hunt is as yet fruitless.

What kind of job are you seeking? I got my start in the printing industry. Most people never even think about that field. Pay is usually above minimum, they will train you on different machines. There are different departments, Printing, Bindery, Dispatch, Sales, Reception etc.  You are not really working with the public like retail or hospitality which can be thankless jobs sometimes.  

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28 minutes ago, captaintrolley said:

What kind of job are you seeking? I got my start in the printing industry. Most people never even think about that field. Pay is usually above minimum, they will train you on different machines. There are different departments, Printing, Bindery, Dispatch, Sales, Reception etc.  You are not really working with the public like retail or hospitality which can be thankless jobs sometimes.  

Something that I can do; I'm sixteen, remember that. That automatically shortens my range of jobs I can get. I can definitely work at Hobby Lobby, a local grocery store called CashSaver, and fast food chains. I'm not going to work at HL because they're a bunch of stuck-up Karens, CashSaver's Off limits because my mom goes there almost every day, and as said previously I will not work in a fast food chain because of how the workers get treated. After being yelled at by literally anyone who comes in, I wouldn't be able to come home and be nice to anyone. Which is important. But we're getting off topic. I'd be more than happy to talk about this job hunt in PM.

Not that I'm saying I wouldn't work there if I needed to; I'm just not going to until I know I can keep my emotions in check.

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3 hours ago, ASzy said:

Something that I can do; I'm sixteen, remember that. That automatically shortens my range of jobs I can get. I can definitely work at Hobby Lobby, a local grocery store called CashSaver, and fast food chains. I'm not going to work at HL because they're a bunch of stuck-up Karens, CashSaver's Off limits because my mom goes there almost every day, and as said previously I will not work in a fast food chain because of how the workers get treated. After being yelled at by literally anyone who comes in, I wouldn't be able to come home and be nice to anyone. Which is important. But we're getting off topic. I'd be more than happy to talk about this job hunt in PM.

Not that I'm saying I wouldn't work there if I needed to; I'm just not going to until I know I can keep my emotions in check.

Sorry, I forgot you were 16.  Still the printing industry is something to keep in mind for later, as it generally is overlooked by persons seeking work. You work with the same bunch, and it can be fun. There are work deadlines, but usually not unreasonable ones.

I worked in a candy store p/t when I was semi retired. It was fun and the customers were generally always happy (like a kid in a candy store).

Good luck with your job search. Don't be afraid to ask around and network.

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19 hours ago, T3G said:

No kidding.  Here we go with WTF 1:

I saw something today after I posted which was even worse then what I posted about at first. We had a worker who was assisting a customer with a large and heavy load heading towards the doors, at the same time as a customer showed up, bypassing our entrance hall that was packed to the brim with carts, and began snooping around our returns carts, deciding that a discarded circuit breaker was no problem and the cart was his now. The worker with the heavy load and the customer crossed paths and the heavy load "collided" with (more like scraped up against) the shopping cart. No one was hurt, because DUH, but the customer began yelling at the worker that he had crashed into him on purpose. Now, of course, anyone with half a functioning brain cell was able to see that this was an accident, that nothing had actually happened to either person, the cart, or the product, and that there is zero motive for any retail worker to randomly crash into a random customer they don't know and will never see again, but the customer then approached me and another co-worker who were standing at the desk and watching this unfold in sheer disbelief. Queue song and dance, paraphrase:

Customer: "Is that guy blind or something? He hit me!"
Me, and the poor worker who had been involved in this, protesting: "It was an accident."
Customer: "He did it on purpose! He hurt me!"
Me, again: "It was an accident."
Customer: "No, he did it on purpose! Why doesn't he watch where he's going?!"

Luckily the other co-worker was there as at that moment I had to excuse myself from saying something extremely unprofessional. The co-worker asked if the customer wished to speak with a manager, to which he just kept repeating "He did it on purpose! He did it on purpose!" over and over before eventually leaving. On reflection, it was most surprising that he didn't demand a manager (and indeed, I didn't see any manager come by to ask us what had happened for the remainder of the shift) as this would seem like a prime excuse to throw a temper tantrum and get a free product, or at least a massive discount off of one. All in the name of "good customer service".

Oh brother.

I got to see one first hand this morning at a restaurant.  I went in and the hostess was tied up with a dispute involving an Uber Eats driver who was there to pick up a huge order with 40 items but the restaurant’s system said the grand total was $2 while the driver’s phone said it was $20.  Even at the high end of the two at $20, that’s 50 cents per item which isn’t plausible, and the hostess didn’t want to put the order into the kitchen before getting the billing straightened out which enraged the Uber Eats lady until she finally left.  Meanwhile, I’m sure whoever got on Uber Eats and made this huge order probably had a bunch of increasingly hungry people on their hands with no food coming.  I finally got a table once the Uber Eats lady stormed out of there.

As for the recalcitrant PCC car with the new doors, all work now except for the #1 door.  That one needs to be rehung.  The guide roller brackets were attached by translating the drill hole positions from the old door leafs to the new ones with varying degrees of success and on the #1 door, the elevation is out and it’s dragging and binding up against the top of the door track. It’ll be filled in, marked off in-situ, then redrilled and remounted.  There was also some cam phasing issues with the #1 door which we got sorted out.

The #2 door has actually got some severe cam phasing problems with the bottom two cam switches that control the closing field on the door motor where they remain closed at all times.  Fortunately they’re both also in series with a relay that opens slightly before they’re supposed to open so it’s actually ok for the opening cycle because the close circuits are still being broken.  For the close cycle, the cam switches need to be closed to energize the close field in the door motor anyways so that’s fine as well. The car’s run fine like this for years so we left it since it isn’t causing an over current situation or energizing both fields in the motor at the same time and locking it up or anything like that, but it is on the list to fix up properly albeit fairly low priority.  The picture I posted previously with the multimeter in the door mechanism compartment was to validate the cam switches were making and breaking for certain electrically rather than just by visual inspection alone.

Tomorrow, it’s going to be an investigation into why one of the 600V body lights circuits stopped working.  All the bulbs have been checked already and are good.  Even if not, they should short circuit when they burn out so the rest of the series string keeps working if one goes out, so this is going to be a chase through the circuit to see where it’s getting broken.  I already checked the fuse fronts for continuity and they’re good. But wow, everything is so crusty and layered up with thick copper oxide I’ve already had to change out my old meter probes for a set of new ones that are factory sharp and it’s still been a lot of scraping and gouging to get onto clean metal in order to take reliable measurements.  So we’ll see what’s going on with that and repair it if possible, if not, leave a detailed description of what needs to be done to fix it for the friend who usually repairs the pesky problems with the PCCs.  Sadly, he’s having to care for a very ill family member so he isn’t around much these days.

Someone brought in a vintage telephone ringer box and was alternately trying to get it to work off a 6V lantern battery or 12V AC transformer with no success.  The telephone ring signal is 80-120 volts, 20 Hz so neither of those is high enough voltage to do it. The DC might have moved the bell striker to one side and held it there if it was a lot more than 6 volts and the 12 volts AC off this transformer wasn’t going to do it either.  I asked if they did a continuity on it with a multimeter to see if any of the coils had gone open to rule out that potential problem and the answer was, “Well, if you’ve got one.”  Since I had, I did, and the coils are good, it should be just a matter of getting the right AC ring signal into the box to make it work, but the comment about the multimeter left me kind of took me by surprise.

That’s WTF #2.  No multimeter in the trolley museum workshop?   I’m going to have to ask about that tomorrow.  They may be sticking to traditional tools and methods, but even classic analog VOMs a Triplett 630 or Simpson 260 or AVO  can do continuity checks, but that said I think there’s definitely reason to have at least one 600V CAT IV rated multimeter with several good sets of CAT IV test leads with sharp probe tips from a reputable manufacturer on hand because they make troubleshooting things like this sooo much easier.   Friends of Philadelphia Trolleys bought a Fluke 87V and that meter is usually in that one friend’s tool kit. I’ve got my Agilent/Keysight stuff including the remote instrumentation stuff that I demonstrated briefly for a couple of friends on Saturday and one of them really, really liked the wireless remote logging display when he realized what it meant in terms of ease of troubleshooting when I started working on that streetcar.  Yes, you can live without it, and in the old days people did, but in 2021 why wouldn’t you enjoy the good tools that are available?

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Not sure what the squirrels in my neighborhood got into, but I've had to dispose of three dead ones from the yard so far. First one I found on the day they were sweeping the street, so I left it in the gutter to get wisked away with all the other crap that accumulates in the road over the summer. (Dog poop, leaves, gravel, trash, dead garter snakes, birds, etc.) Then the next day I found another that had likely fallen out of the tree in front. Waited a couple days then scooped that into a paper sak, and double-bagged that and put in the trash. Then the next day yet another! So scooped that corpse up and did the bag thing again. Yuck, I hope that's it. Though I half expect to find another tomorrow at this rate. A couple weeks ago I found a heavily chewed mouse or rat poison bait box in the backyard, so I'm guessing that had something to do with this. I'm just glad I found and disposed of that before the dog got into it :o

Then as if finding dead squirrels scattered around the yard isn't already enough WTF, trying to find disposal info. on what to do with them was equally bad. Animal control specifically states do not call about wildlife for any reason unless it's a danger or inside your home (i.e. a raccoon gets in an open door or something). No info. at all regarding disposal of dead animals on the city trash page, just call your waste hauler. Okay, I am not spending 20 minutes on hold with a WM customer service center in Chicago, just to get an answer off whatever generic script is used for every other customer in the US. The County's disposal info page on what to do with says no animals of any sort in the trash, bring them to one of these facilities for disposal, and lists the waste-to-energy plant my trash gets taken to anyways and a landfill down in Burnsville. Okay I am NOT loading what are basically dead wild animals in my car and driving them somewhere with no clear instructions on if there's a special drop-off point or something. So into the trash bin they go. Bin gets dumped by a lift, and then everything is dumped into the burner pit and turned into ash at the waste plant, so probably sanitary enough.

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14 hours ago, MVTArider said:

Not sure what the squirrels in my neighborhood got into, but I've had to dispose of three dead ones from the yard so far. First one I found on the day they were sweeping the street, so I left it in the gutter to get wisked away with all the other crap that accumulates in the road over the summer. (Dog poop, leaves, gravel, trash, dead garter snakes, birds, etc.) Then the next day I found another that had likely fallen out of the tree in front. Waited a couple days then scooped that into a paper sak, and double-bagged that and put in the trash. Then the next day yet another! So scooped that corpse up and did the bag thing again. Yuck, I hope that's it. Though I half expect to find another tomorrow at this rate. A couple weeks ago I found a heavily chewed mouse or rat poison bait box in the backyard, so I'm guessing that had something to do with this. I'm just glad I found and disposed of that before the dog got into it :o

Then as if finding dead squirrels scattered around the yard isn't already enough WTF, trying to find disposal info. on what to do with them was equally bad. Animal control specifically states do not call about wildlife for any reason unless it's a danger or inside your home (i.e. a raccoon gets in an open door or something). No info. at all regarding disposal of dead animals on the city trash page, just call your waste hauler. Okay, I am not spending 20 minutes on hold with a WM customer service center in Chicago, just to get an answer off whatever generic script is used for every other customer in the US. The County's disposal info page on what to do with says no animals of any sort in the trash, bring them to one of these facilities for disposal, and lists the waste-to-energy plant my trash gets taken to anyways and a landfill down in Burnsville. Okay I am NOT loading what are basically dead wild animals in my car and driving them somewhere with no clear instructions on if there's a special drop-off point or something. So into the trash bin they go. Bin gets dumped by a lift, and then everything is dumped into the burner pit and turned into ash at the waste plant, so probably sanitary enough.

Lack of clarity is a problem.

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Last night after supper I realized the garbage was full, so I tied up the bag and put it by the door. Generally, the rule here is that the next person out the door takes out the garbage.  Anyhow, room-mate took off to the grocery store and to the vendors last night and DID NOT TAKE THE GARBAGE WITH HER. 

This morning room-mate took off to the mall to get some eyeglasses adjusted and still DID NOT TAKE THE GARBAGE WITH HER. 

I hope they adjust her glasses so that she can see the garbage by the door next time.

Yes, I took out the garbage today.

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