The Ants are back, or they will be next week when the endcap changes out to condiments. They’ve been hanging out in the back of the sign cabinet since last summer. This sign is about three years old. They’re fun like old friends visiting.
There’s a lot of changes at the place where I work. Last year we were preparing the store for the annual owners visit. They came to our region. We cleaned, painted polished and added to the existing mural with neighborhood and community focused art, working long and hard, everybody did especially the artists and then we de-decorated signage. No more hanging signs. I brought home my favorites, gave some to the other crew members and the rest went into the dumpster.
In the previous three years we created Value signage all over the store. They were clever, silly, funny and they were everywhere, on every post on any bare space. More, more they said, give us more, make them pop, make them HUGE, and we did. I created value signs that were placed along the bottom front of the dairy, egg, meat and cheese cases which were repeatedly crushed and wiped off by carts. I kept a steady string of extras. The orange juice guy got crushed? Here’s another.
It’s a new year, new directions. I have an almost six year library, as I call it of blackboard art. When we change out the endcaps I look through my library, choose an appropriate one, either for the art or because it has a big $2.99 already on it, paint the last product to black, paint in the new item and it’s ready. I set it up that way from the beginning. It’s quick, efficient, inexpensive and I added to the library so we had seasonal boards.
They don’t want art on them now. It’s not about the art it’s about the product, they said. The blackboards should take no longer than 90 minutes. I will still use my library until I am told otherwise. I won’t be making new art on boards unless I am instructed to. They referred to the artists as elitists. When I was hired six years ago I had to show my portfolio and create a sign there in front of the captain. I did half a black sketchbook full of them the night before. I was the first one hired for our store. I was Artist 1.
Last year our titles were changed to crew member, no more specialists or Demo or Artist or all the ones striving for manager positions. They issued special new Crew shirts with oars on the back and the big word CREW. We call them our Camp Counselor shirts.
It’s taken some getting used to. If you want to be an artist go somewhere else and be one, they said. It’s okay I am one at home. I am on the floor a lot now, engaging, learning to be a regular crew member.