Friday, October 21, 2011

Party City Coupon - 25% Off

Here's a Party City coupon I was sent in the mail for 25% all Halloween items! The only limit is that it cannot already be on sale if you use the coupon. Coupon can be used online or in a store.

Print out the coupon here: Party City Coupon
Online coupon code: PCXHR3

Coupon will expire after tomorrow!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Working at Panera Bread - Pros and Cons

Well, this is the last stretch, people. I'm quitting my part-time job at Panera Bread to work a couple hours a week as a writing tutor at my university. I just couldn't keep up with all the work, and when I asked for less hours, I didn't get them. So I gave them my note of resignation earlier this week. I'm a little sad, but also a little happy to go. To help job-searchers who are considering a position at Panera Bread, here is a list of pros and cons about working there:

Pros-- (let's start off on a happy note, shall we?)
  • Safe work environment: There are tons of posters around my workplace that tell you who to contact in case you ever feel you're in an uncomfortable situation. Given that at my last work, the environment was extremely racist and I felt sexually harassed at times, this is a plus.
  • Regular customers: There are regular customers that you will get to know. Talking to them is a lot of fun and they can be really helpful for those damn MindShare surveys.
  • Great benefits: Even part-time employees can get benefits.
  • Employee discount: The employee discount at my work was 65%. That's a hell of a lot. You have to use the discount around your workshift, though. If you want to use your discount outside of work, you have to apply for an employee certificate that will get you 50% off any corporate store. You can give these certificates to friends and family as gifts.
  • Food: The food's pretty good, but there are definitely some unhealthy items you'll want to avoid.
  • Clothing: Aprons are washed for you every day. All you need to worry about is your polo and pants. 
  • People: There are mostly young people working at Panera. We'll get into why in the cons, but everyone is really nice and friendly.
  • Environment: You'll work indoors, only occasionally going outside for trash or umbrellas. The store doesn't smell like greasy, fast-food since there are no deep-fryers. I never passed out once when I worked here, but I did faint several times at Portillo's and I think it was because of the fryers.
  • Great training: You'll get paid for your training AND there will be plenty of it. They have a beginners course called Planet Bread where you get to sample some of the food, and they also have a website that takes you through all the things you'll need to know.
  • Good pay: The pay is pretty good. I got paid above minimum wage at my work, and there are opportunities for raises during certain times of the year.
  • Breaks: Panera actually gives you the legal break time of thirty minutes for every five hours you work. Some places will make you sign your rights away (like my job at Portillo's) and you'll be stuck working ridiculously long shifts with almost no breaks. 
  • Really fast-paced environment: Count on taking a good, three-hour nap after every one of your shifts, especially if you're working in the morning. You'll never have a break and you'll be constantly running around trying to get all your side-work done. Only younger people work here because it's ridiculously busy all the goddamn time; they're the only ones who can keep up with it.
  • Order Procedure: The system is pretty decent for filling out orders, but you'll lose your voice at least ten times. I guarantee it. This is because you have to practically interrogate the customers when they order. Here is a typical scenario with someone just trying to order a bagel: 
    "Hi! How are you today? Do you have a Panera card? You don't? Would you like a Panera card? No? Okay, what can I get for you? A bagel? Which bagel? Would you like that sliced and toasted? Any cream cheese? Would you like a drink with that? What size of drink? Is that for here or to go? Anything else I can get for you?" 
    And then lunch is even worse: "Hi! How are you today? Do you have your MyPanera card? Would you like one? What can I get for you? Is that a going to be a U-Pick-2? It is? Okay, what soup would you like? Would you like bread, chips, or an apple with that? Anything to drink? Would you like a bakery item for ninety-nine cents? Would you like that bakery item on a plate for here or in a bag to go? Is the rest of the order for here? Anything else? May I have a name for the order please? Now I'm going to read back your entire order." Every single transaction will be like this. Every, single one. That adds up. And if they change their mind on getting something, like a bakery item, it's a pain in the ass to reorganize their order. It's a bit complicated to explain, but  if you work as a cashier here, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.

    • Food: Yes, the food is good, which is a pro. But the food is also really unhealthy for you. You need to learn how to eat right here, and be careful what you order all the time.
    • Hours: If you ask for time off, there's a chance you won't actually get it.  
    • Restrictions Due to Rigorous Procedures: Most of this is in place due to health concerns, but some of it is ridiculous. I got yelled at once because I reorganized the bakery to improve our productivity. All I did was move some forks and knives to the other register so that cashier wouldn't have to run back and forth all the time. It wasn't dangerous, it wasn't in the way, it just wasn't "how things are done." Yet....
    • Contradictory Instructions: No one knows what they really should be doing. Always just listen to the general manager. I've gotten so many different answers/orders from managers that are completely different than what another manager said. This is probably at every job, but it's also here. They only end up shooting themselves in the foot.
    • Shifts: You'll always be held over your shift. When they say on your schedule you'll be out by 1:30, they actually mean, "We'll be pulling your drawer out at 1:30. You'll actually get out around 2:00 or 2:30." You'll never get out on time unless it's really slow, which is rare.

    As you can see, it's a fairly nice place to work, even with all the cons. I really did enjoy working here, but I got really tired after my shifts and I wasn't getting the hours I wanted. Because of that, I've decided to quit. But I do encourage those who think they can handle the challenge to give Panera a shot. It really is a decent company to work for.

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