Meet the Microcosm Staff: Jeff Hayes, Warehouse Manager

jeff hayes music studioMy quest to interview all the Microcosm workers about their work and lives and favorite things has finally reached our warehouse manager, Jeff Hayes, who has been here longer than just about anyone else. Instead of a picture of himself, he chose to submit a photo of his recording studio. For an even better picture of the soul of Jeff, check out his staff picks Superpack.

What do you do here at Microcosm, and how did you end up here?

I like to call myself a “box-pusher.” But it could also be called “Inventory Control” or “Warehouse Management” or even Shipping/Receiving..? I mostly put everything (books, zines, shirts, patches, stickers, buttons, butt-bags, etc..) where it goes, so I know where everything is. Then I constantly count them all, over and over again, to make sure the numbers are correct on the website. And somehow they still get off every so often. I put most of the new stuff up on the website. I order more stuff when it’s low. I pull most of the orders. Sometimes I ship things off. I do a lot of t-shirt folding, re-arranging, box lifting, and a million other things. And I answer a lot of the emails from our wonderful customers. πŸ™‚ 

I’m not exactly sure how I ended up here but I’m certainly glad to be here. πŸ™‚ 

Inventory management is more complicated than most people realize. What is it about it that you especially get and enjoy? Is there anything that you wish more people knew about this side of things? 

It seems so simple in theory… When we get, say, 20 new zines into the store, I enter the information into our site for the product page (title, description, isbn, price, weight, so on…) then I put the number 20 into the Quantity field. So, it stands to reason that, as our site automatically takes away 1 when someone buys 1, it will go out of stock right when we really are out of that zine in the store. And most of the time it goes just like that. But often times it doesn’t. Because sometimes we’ll sell the last one in our storefront at the same time someone puts in an order on the website, or a few of them could be at a tabling event so I don’t have them here in the store to ship off… There’s so many things that could make that number incorrect. 

I’d say one of the hardest things to keep track of is the shirts. A lot of times the women’s and unisex cuts get confused. They’re actually pretty hard to tell apart sometimes, and the shirt companies often don’t label them correctly or at all. So someone might sell a women’s ME and think it was a unisex ME and they’ll put it in the system that way. So then we will basically have one too many of one and one too few of the other when they run out of stock. I do a lot of arguing with our website. It sounds like I’m just complaining but it’s all part of the job. I actually enjoy trying to keep track of it all. I like it when everything goes according to plan, and I like playing detective to figure out what went wrong. πŸ™‚ 

What do you do when you’re not on the clock?

Mostly music. I master and score stuff for Joe’s films, and I make my own music. I have a little home studio that I’ve been building up for a while and someone has to drag me out of it every once in a while. I like to take walks, it’s always an adventure in Portland. 

Favorites! What are you most into right now?

Books: I never have time to read all the things I want to, but somehow I still manage to read most of the Tape Op magazines I get. My stack currently consists of Mad Science, Humor, Modern Recording Techniques, How to Stay Alive in the Woods, Girl in a Band, Carsick, The Infinite Wait, and more… Who knows if/when I’ll finish them. 

Music: Radiohead has been my favorite since forever, and Blonde Redhead and the Notwist are always up on the list, but currently I’ve been really into Portishead, Fenton Robinson, Benny Carter, Curtis Mayfield, and I can’t stop listening to Stephen Malkmus/Pavement. There’s obviously tons more I’m not thinking of. I really like listening to random things on Bandcamp, also. 

Movies: David Cross’s new movie HITS was pretty good. I watched this movie the other day called Tabloid. At first it didn’t look very good but I played it anyway. I thought I’d shut it off any minute but it just kept getting crazier and crazier and before I knew it it was over and I was floored. It was pretty nuts. Oh and Muscle Shoals is pretty great! 

Places in PDX: Well, I reeeeaaallly miss the Vegetarian House, but uhhhhmmm… Purringtons is pretty cool. So is Brass Tacks Sandwiches, Homegrown Smoker, Old Town Music, Trade Up, Control Voltage, The Waypost, Voodoo Donuts, Sizzle Pie, The Doug Fir, Wonder Ballroom, The Abbey, El Nutri, Townshend’s, any of the bridges I can safely walk along, Irving Park, any of the weird little neighborhoods I stumble upon, the list goes on and on and on… Microcosm! 

 Places outside of PDX: The beach. The woods. 

 Snacks: Yes, please! 

This is part of a series of interviews with Microcosm workers. The last interview was with publicist Tim Wheeler.