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Firing line.

Cindy Vaughn, front-end manager, Shop 'N Save, Collinsville, III.: People never understand this business until they work in it. My husband will ask me why I spend so many hours working late, rather than why I am late. I always tell him what happened. When people are slow leaving, there is nothing that you can do but wait for them to leave. Computer failure can also really make the hours fly. I guess I could name 25 valid reasons to tell my husband. He's heard them all, and I believe he knows the answers by heart. He's pretty understanding for a person who isn't in this business, where late hours can be routine.

James Mays, manager, Piggly Wiggly, Blytheville, Ark.: I always tell my wife that once we get it straightened out, it will get better. Many times I will get stuck when one truck comes in late. Because the driver was late in getting here, I'm late getting home. Refrigeration problems or a store meeting can--and often does--cause the same kind of problem. It takes a special person at home to understand and, thank the Lord, I have a special person who understands most of the time. It's rough on both of us.

Jim Close, assistant manager, Bob's Finer Foods, Huntington, Ind.: I have an advantage, but not a solution. My wife met me working in this store before we were married. That's the advantage. She knew the hours I had to work then, so she had some idea of what our marriage would be like. I try to show an interest in her day with the children when I come home. That sort of helps her understand that my life with her is important too and it helps her forget the long day. Like I said, it's not a solution, but it does help keep our married life more harmonious, by letting her know I also understand.

Terry Jackson, store manager, Kroger, Decatur, Ala.d If my day is going to run over 12 hours, and I see it coming, I get on the phone with the sad news to soften the blow. We have a 3-year-old daughter who likes to eat on time and when it comes to mealtimes, she is less understanding than my wife. Once I get home, I apologize for being late. That usually is enough. My wife understands the type of business that I am in, and that there are going to be unavoidable late days from time to time. Sometimes I know the day will be a long one before I leave the house. In that case, I will always let her know ahead of time. This way she can plan her schedule too.

Wayne Faron, assistant manager, Dierbergs, St. Peters Mo.: I'm kind of fortunate. My wife has had a pretty good background in the business world, so long days and extra hours aren't new to her. I'm smart enough to phone her when I see things stacking up and I know I'm going to be extra late. I also listen very carefully to her voice so I know how big a smile I'm going to have on my face when I come home, or if flowers will be necessary. Seriously, she's very understanding and knows that I'm late because I have to be, not because I want to be.

Jimmy Dillinger, assistant manager, Shop Ezy, Walnut, Miss.: My wife is very understanding. Most of the time when I have to stay late, she knows that I have a good reason for doing so--like recounting the money. If she's asleep, I'll wake her up and let her know I'm home. I believe she really understands that I'd rather be home than working late. That doesn't mean she doesn't get irritated. About the longest day I have had since I married was a 14-1/2-hour day. She didn't say anything, probably because I called home. The irritation comes from messing up a scheduled event or a dinner date and that sort of thing. Then I don't argue, I just listen.

Wayne Starman, owner, Wayne's Fairway Foods, Owatonna, Minn.: That's an interest question. As a rule, I phone first and let my wife know that it's going to be another late one. "Don't worry about supper" is the usual closing of that early conversation. "I'll explain everything when I get home," also helps. I've been married to a wonderful woman for 23 years. I was in the business when she married me, so she knew a little of what to expect. Thus far it has worked out very well. Phoning first is both thoughtful and helpful in keeping the peace.

Robert Moses, assistant manager, A & M Supermarket, New Castle, Pa.: I just tell my wife that the work has to be done. When we were first married, and for a number of years after that, she didn't understand. However, when she bought her own business, she learned why long hours were necessary. Today, I have no problems coming home late. Quite often, my wife works 12 hours too. When her employees leave at night, and she is there alone, she has to finish up the day's work. We both have learned to adjust and to live with hours you can't control.
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Title Annotation:supermarket management
Author:Rigney, Pete; Vaughn, Cindy; Mays, James; Close, Jim; Jackson, Terry; Faron, Wayne; Dillinger, Jimmy
Publication:Progressive Grocer
Article Type:column
Date:Feb 1, 1984
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