Posts from the ‘Paychecks’ Category

Making Sure it All Measures Up

Inspector Charles Sampson allows one of the summer youth to assist in the price check.

Inspector Charles Sampson allows one of the summer youth to assist in the price check.

Recently, the communications team was given the opportunity to step outside of the office and see what the folks over in Weights and Measures do on a daily basis. We loaded up the cars and drove to the newly renovated section of Columbia Heights. There, we went to Target and did a price-check. Price-checking is necessary because it ensures that customers are not being ripped off. The point is to pick up 85 random items and make sure that the figures in the computer correspond with the sales tickets/stickers that the consumer sees. It’s easy to be ripped off these days because not many people take the time to make sure that the receipt and the price tag have the same value.

Another thing that causes people to be cheated out of their money is total trust in computers. Inspector Charles Sampson said, “People tend to forget that OTHER people program computers, therefore there are bound to be mistakes.” DCRA only handles overages meaning that the companies only get reprimanded if they advertise that their products are cheaper than what they really are. Luckily for Target, when we made our visit, there were no discrepancies because fines can go up to $100 PER (wrongly priced) item.

After leaving Target we met up with another inspector, Lawrence Taylor, at Giant to see how they test scales. Mr. Taylor goes to the stores with his own weights to make sure that the scale is not faulty in its reading. After moving the weights to each quarter of the scale Mr. Taylor marks the scale with either a green sticker (certified) or a red sticker (uncertified). Removal of the sticker by anyone other than an inspector or someone working on the scale can result in a $500 fine.

Inspections such as these were thought to be unnecessary by some around the time that computers became more widely used, but it’s always important to have a real person monitoring the computers. Inspector Sampson says “it’s very rare that a store won’t have any errors.” DCRA definitely does a good service to the people of the District by making sure that they aren’t being taking advantage when they go shopping.

Summer youth, Kenneth Allen and Duane Bumbray assisted in the inspections.

Darion Parker

Advertisements

Benefits of Bringing Your Lunch

Fruit is always a great item to include in a bagged lunch.
Fruit is always a great item to include in a bagged lunch.

Some people enjoy bringing $10 or so every single day to pick up, order, or take out a lunch. Partially because the food is good, or maybe they’re just too lazy to make their own lunch at home.  As growing teens and young adults, our bodies deserve a nutritional meal more often.  It isn’t like you have to make a Caesar salad with light dressing and gourmet croutons early in the morning, but there are surely alternatives to the meals we limit ourselves to.

So, what is a good lunch to bring to work? Well, there are plenty of yummy, healthier options that can easily be made right at home. Take, for example, the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  You can use different types of flavors and breads, or you could make a nice deli sandwich or sub; just meat, lettuce, bread, and whichever cheeses and spreads you would prefer. You can also make salads, leftover dinners, or even bring in a frozen entree.

Grocery stores and supermarkets are filled with options. It just depends on how creative and involved you want to become when making your lunch. Youth employee Sardera Thorne says that she usually brings in leftovers that she cooks herself.  When asked what her ideal lunch would be, she said, “Soup.” Everyone has their own preferences.  Jazmine Singletary, another youth employee, likes both going out to eat and bringing in a lunch. When she has brought them in, she says she eats “frozen dinners and what her mother makes,” but she really prefers going out to buy lunch during the day. Her ideal meal would be chicken.

Looking at it from another prospective, my mother, DCRA Employee Cheryl Randall-Thomas, says she “prefers bringing in lunch because I don’t like how much it ends up costing,” which makes a lot of sense in today’s economy. She stated that “When you bring lunch, you know exactly what you’re eating (wholesome, not greasy, good amounts of food, etc.)” Her ideal lunch would be soup and salad, and she usually makes the lunch herself. Mrs. Randall-Thomas believes it is better to bring in a lunch from home because she has noticed that you can get more out of bought groceries over a week’s span than one day’s meal however, she still enjoys a hot prepared meal every once in a while.  Another Summer Youth employee, Jeremy Bennett, says that he usually goes out to eat somewhere everyday. His ideal lunch would be Chinese food. “As far as finances go, it would be better to bring lunch,” Bennett says about whether or not bringing in lunch is better than buying a lunch. It all just depends on how you are feeling a particular day, or even how your personal finances are measuring up.

Also, choose foods that won’t drag your day down or stuff you. It’s better to eat a single heave or main item with snacks on the side than a few heavy items or all snacks. There are also plenty of options for drinks to bring – sodas, juice, coffee, etc. After asking the opinions of some of the other summer youth employees, it seemed as if bringing lunch is the best way to go. Once you realize how much better bringing in lunch is, you’ll begin thinking of more meal ideas, and someone else may even envy your lunch!

Lesley Thomas

 

Spending that First Paycheck

The summer youth have been working hard! Just recently they were given

Van Crawford

Van Crawford

their first paychecks of about $30 for their attendance at the orientation into the summer program. The thought of money being given to the youth for their work pleased many of them. With the sensational feeling of being paid, many youth have thought of many different ways to start spending their money.

For most of the youth, their first thoughts were to use their debit cards on their lunch. The enjoyment of being able to buy anything for yourself, and especially something that you need or really want, has given these workers a great incentive to keep working. Although, with the limited amount of money in the first paycheck, the youth had to be careful not to get crazy with their spending.

Some youth say that they would rather just put their money aside and save it. Youth supervisor, Dajah Blackwell, has made the decision to save her money. She says she would much rather spend her money when she’ll need it when she goes back to school, at Virginia State University. On the flip side, splurging has definitely become popular with the recent paycheck. Summer youth, Darion Parker, has used his money for transportation purposes, food, and anything else he can afford. Summer Youth, Kristin Cousins, has a different outlook on the use of her money. She has given some money away, to help fund a trip to King’s Dominion with her school.

When it comes to money, there are no rules or guidelines on how to best use it, the best advice is just to use common sense. Since there are so many possibilities on what to do with money, confusion arises on what to buy; and just as the old cliché says, “The more money, the more problems.” The summer youth have definitely worked hard for it though. They are already anticipating their next payday; some are even already planning their next purchase.

–Van Crawford

Payday! Helpful Spending Tips

Coin Jar

The Summer youth are pretty pleased about getting their first paycheck recently. The check was for about two days pay. This should give us all motivation to keep working hard. With each payday, the youth employees will understand how nice it feels to earn a reward or compensation for the work they do. But, with that, everyone needs to be aware of the importance of not spending it all as quickly as it comes. So, spend your money wisely and keep note that the money comes from the work you display on the job.

Many people find that the more money you have, the more they are tempted to spend. Being a teenager, it’s easy to spend and spend when there is a good amount to take from, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is a good idea to go that far. There are still lessons that we as teens and young adults have to learn about proper spending. You would be in a much better position if you have money saved to always fall back on. There are plenty of other tips and techniques on how to spend your pay wisely because people know how important it is and how smart it is to be careful and save your money. As Summer Youth employees, we are on the pathway to the real business world. So, practicing good spending habits now will help a lot in how we handle our money in the future.

TIPS TO HIGHLIGHT:

  • Remember to save – don’t spend it all in one day
  • Be aware of how much you have
  • It may be a good idea to keep your receipts from what you spend (especially if using debit cards)
  • When going to an ATM, be aware of your surroundings, of how much it is charging you, and choose an easy PIN number for only you to remember
  • It is smart to have a little bit of cash on you always just in case, so if you know you’re down to your last bit, save it. More money will come on your next paycheck!

–Lesley Thomas

Do You Know How to Use Your Debit Card?

creditcard

This year the summer youth program coordinators took a new approach with paying summer youth. Every two weeks, youth will receive their earnings on debit cards. Using debit cards allows the youth the opportunity to spend money in more places. What is a debit card? A debit card provides an alternative payment method to cash when making purchases. Some people refer to debit cards as check cards because they work the same as checks. The money is withdrawn directly from the bank account.

How do you use a debit card? A debit card is used inside businesses or at an atm. Debit cards can be used with a PIN number or can also be used with only a signature while making purchases. Debit cards can be used typically in the same businesses that accept credit cards. When using your debit card while making purchases, present your card to a qualified merchant or provider. They will swipe your card to pay for your belongings.  Debit cards have become extremely important and convenient.  They cut down on spending extra time at ATM’s or writing checks.

Using a debit card requires one to be responsible and to keep track of how much money has been spent. It is important that you check your account to be aware of how much money has been spent and how much is remaining in your account.  It is also a good idea to write down each transaction so that you have a written record of your purchases.  Also, pay close attention when your card is being swiped so you can be sure that you are not overcharged.

For extra tips on how to use your debit card check out these websites:

–Dajah Blackwell

The Importance of Time Management

The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) has decided to branch out and take part in helping better prepare the future of D.C.’s youth through the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) ’09. The program allows about 83 different divisions of DCRA/in the building. These youth employees are gaining and hoping to gain more knowledge about the important skills needed in the workforce. This includes good customer service, organization, computer, and time management skills. Time management is definitely one of the most important skills to have.

Many of the youth have discovered how important time management skills are through the program already. Balancing your time, being aware of the time, and not procrastinating are all apart of good time management. Some employees still have not gotten used to waking up this early to work, but still understand that it will pay off later on. They also realize time equals money, and being punctual will give/get them the pay.

Youth employees Whitley Lucio, Jasmine Williams, and Bryan Cyrus find that since the time is not too different from the start of the school day, waking up for work is not a hassle. Even though it is summer break, they attempt to come on time with positive attitudes every day. On the other hand, some like Nicole Claybrooks, Daeshanae Woodward, and Danielle Chappelle feel like it is a stress to get up in the mornings during what is supposed to be a vacation, but know they still must come to work maintaining good work ethics and manners.

Overall , the youth employees will learn throughout the program that time management is just one of the many essential skills needed in the working world. We all learn everyday that when we are late to work, not only does it lower our pay but also can harm our reputation as a good employee. Time management and organization are two of the key skills needed to portray yourself as a good employee. If you keep those in tact, the rest should just come easily.

DCRA Summer Youth Program Kicks Off!

(L-R) Dajah Blackwell, Lesley Thomas, Darion Parker, Willis Bradwell, Van Crawford

(L-R) Dajah Blackwell, Lesley Thomas, Darion Parker, Willis Bradwell, Van Crawford

Welcome to the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs’ new blog centered all around the 2009 District Summer Youth Employment Program.  Here at Building Blocks, we hope to chronicle all of the events and happenings at DCRA as 83  of the city’s finest  young people gain some of the skills necessary to prepare them for the working world.

I am very excited about the team here at Building Blocks.  I’m sure  you too will be amazed by some of the great writing, photography, videography and graphics that they will showcase.  Our very own Darion Parker designed the header that you see at the top of your screen and I’m looking forward to seeing what other designs he can come up with! 

Over the coming days, you’ll get to meet the writers here at Building Blocks as they publish their first stories to let  you know how the first week is shaping up.  So, add us to your blogrolls, make us one of your favorites in your bookmarks and check back here often!  You won’t want to miss a thing!

Shana Kemp
Coordinator, DCRA SYEP ’09 Communications Division