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Inventory Fun

July 1, 2008

We did inventory this week. Three days of sorting, counting and recounting.

I actually really enjoy inventory. I probably would have enjoyed it more this year if I wasn’t so exhausted. But I still found myself delighting in the activity from time to time. I truly do love to count and organize things. And that’s what inventory is all about.

Warning: the rest of this post goes into unnecessary detail, summarizing the activities of each day of inventory. I can’t imagine why that would be interesting to anyone else. But… I wanted to write about it, so I did. Read at your own risk.

Sunday was just the managers. We spent about 12 hours getting both stores ready to be counted. Most of my time was spent checking 10-digit item numbers on stacks of EGS CDs. This was the day that I kept imagining the number 3 when it wasn’t there.

Monday, the cashiers came to join us. I spent the day working with my recently married friend Darin on team X. (The other teams were labeled A-F. They each had two cashiers and a manager. Darin got the special letter because he was working alone on a special “fun” section.)

X seemed to be an appropriate name for us. We were the first and only team to kill one of the handhelds. (Which wore a post-it labeling it as “crabby” for the rest of the day.)

Team X. We kill ’em ’til they’re dead.

Alicia was in charge of one of the hardest sections in the store. As we were prepping on Sunday, she mentioned that mine was the only section she would want to have even less than her own. And it’s true… the EGS stuff is pretty tedious and… well, unpleasant. But maintaining EGS media is a large part of my job in the bookstore, so I work with that stuff every day (thus making it considerably easier for me). I probably would have been horrified to have anyone else working on that section.

David jumped in with Darin and I for a little while towards the end of the main store count on Monday. I think he just wanted to be a part of team X… because we’re so stinking awesome. Ummm…. yeah…

While David was with us, it was especially fun. I got to jump back and forth between double-checking Darin and David… so there weren’t really any dull moments. By the time we were done, Darin and I had counted all of EGS and half of the conference and Bickle media. And David, Darin, and I had counted all of the candles, oils, cards, and art.

Starting around 4:30 PM, we transitioned over to the FSM store. Actually, everyone else took a break, but Josh and Andrew needed to leave early and Darin and I were hoping to get out of there a bit sooner as well, so we worked through the break instead.

FSM ended up being a lot of fun as well. Because no one else was there, I was able to utilize as many of the handhelds as I needed. I was spot-checking for Andrew and Josh and double-counting for Darin, so it was actually very helpful to have the extra handhelds, as I had a lot to keep up with. I had Darin using three of them for a while, and Josh and Andrew were rotating between two.

I think that was my favorite part of the day. I pretty much never stopped moving.

Josh and Andrew had a pretty tough section: office supplies, candy, jewelry, and water bottles. It was tough primarily because they were working with things that had MASSIVE quantities. But… Josh and Andrew are pretty much amazing. It feels like they counted about 25% of the first store. So they were definitely qualified to be working with the intimidating numbers.

The large quantities made spot-checking a little slow. But, again, the challenge was fairly exciting.

Fortunately, Andrew and Josh finished up right before everyone else came back from their dinner break. That allowed me to get everyone going on their sections (David and Kristen were late in getting over to that store) and keep up with Darin.

So… counting was a lot of fun. But, by the time the night was over, my brain was only partially functional. Which is unfortunate… because it was date night (rescheduled because I will be out of town for the rest of the week). I didn’t have much capacity for conversation. Or decision making (and this was supposed to be my week to choose where we went and what we did). Or… well, much of anything. Quite sad, really.

And, at last, we did all of the final double-checking and error-finding today. The most tedious and least enjoyable part of the entire task. (You don’t want to find counting mistakes because it means that we messed up. But you WANT to find counting mistakes because it feels like you are wasting your time if you don’t manage to find and fix at least a few things.)

Biggest error (involving me) that we (we meaning Amber) found today: Darin and I completely skipped one of the EGS boxes. I don’t know how we did it. The box was marked like it had been completed.

Oh my goodness… I think I might have just figured it out! I wonder if that is the box we had just finished and saved when we killed the handheld that day. I thought we were OK, but maybe that count never made it.

Well, either way… we missed a box. An entire box. Sigh… I’m not perfect after all.

Andrew, Josh and I also found one mistake in the upstairs warehouse when we checked that today. (I took a few people over to do inventory in the warehouse for several days around the middle of the month.) The mistake: I had entered a quantity as 2… when the box CLEARLY said 3. (And the expected quantity was even 3.) I REALLY don’t know how I did that one.

So, that was a long, drawn out explanation of inventory fun. And the reason it was so drawn out is because I really love this stuff… all the little details of what we were doing.

And… writing all about it gives me a sense of closure with inventory. I’m done. Officially done. The cashiers will return tomorrow to put the store back together and make it shopable. But I will be in Texas with Eddie James Ministries. So I am done. DONE.

Though I love it, I think I love the fact that it’s over even more.

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6 comments

  1. yeah, more like 35%…

    you and darin were the bestest, team X until were all dead.

    i love how you wrote over 20 paragraphs on inventory. my summation of it would have been:

    never again, never again…


  2. I almost said 33%. (Well… actually, I wouldn’t have stated that as a percentage.) I ultimately decided to be generous to everyone else.

    You didn’t count the paragraphs, did you? Because… if you did…


  3. I have mixed feelings about the focus on enumeration, but that it makes you happy makes me happy. And you made it interesting, too.

    Team X. I like that. I also like the fact that you’re reasserting dominance over the technology. 😉 Sometimes you do have to kill a few.

    I like it even more that I will likely see you before this day is done. :-D!


  4. no, just kinda guessed… after i got to 15


  5. Wow… I hope you didn’t do that during inventory. I guess that would explain how you finished so quickly… only counting 75% of it and estimating the rest.


  6. i’m not gonna lie, thats what i did the whole time, joshua too…

    funny thing was, we both said the same number every time…

    think about THAT!



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