Is This What It’s Come To? Update

December 13, 2009

I know you’ve all been waiting for news on the continuing saga of our beloved looper doing a stretch at Walmart. Well, here it is. For those who have just joined us, part one may be found in the Caddie Chronicles.

Off-season Employment Part Deux

Re-reading my 1st mailing I noticed how angry and bitter that note was. I chalk a lot of that up to the fact that I really disliked my job and being tired from working (it was about 3am when I wrote most of it). Working hard at a job that pays nothing got the better of me. I APOLOGIZE for a great deal of what was written. In no way did I mean for it to be so angry. I also want to apologize to anyone that took offense to the way some things were said. I wanted to make this funny but what we want and what we get seem to always be different. People always tell me that I should do more with my humor, well, now you know why I don’t. Ha! Please take no offense to my ramblings.

That being said, here is my final installment, please don’t be offended. 🙂 Don’t get me wrong, I’m angry and bitter, but I mean no harm to anyone other than Walmart.

Aloha all,

I am sure you are all very, very anxious to hear more from my experiences within the loving, employee friendly, customer first corporation known as Walmart. Your wait is over! Last time I wrote, you will recall that I was two days into my seasonal six week employment. For the most part I was assigned to the produce area of the store and it honestly wasn’t too bad. I really didn’t have much in the way of instruction. Simply went thru the produce area, pulled fruits and vegetables to the front and added replacement product behind. If it was low, I went to the cooler and filed in the necessary area. Being the new guy, I took it upon myself to take the trash and cardboard to their proper places. The new guy always does the crappy jobs! I just volunteered before I was asked. Not to brag, but after a just few days, the full time employees, that worked in Produce, told their superiors that when my seasonal time was up they definitely wanted me hired full time.

Thanksgiving week was tough (as you all know). The produce section was as busy as liquor stores are on Prom night. On a personal note, my schedule for those days was just as wacky. Wednesday 3pm til midnight, Thanksgiving day 8 am til 2pm, then my favorite, Black Friday 3am til noon. Remember, I get no extra holiday pay and I was only supposed to work nights and weekends. I understand, its their big time of year and I didn’t want to be the “bitter, set in my ways old man” that I am, so I tried my best to go with it. I didn’t like it one bit and will tell you that a few hours before I had to go in on Friday, (laying in the dark NOT sleeping) I was swearing that I was going to pull a no show and quit. I didn’t and was there as promised. “Do the right thing, it always comes back to you.”

But let me go back a bit more. The first 3 days I would arrive, sign in, and get ZERO direction. Maybe someone would say “Go do what you worked on yesterday.” The 4th evening was entirely different. One of the main bosses called a meeting. There were about a dozen of us temps in the room as he spoke. He told us all about the Walmart way. That RESPECT was the #1 priority. Not only respect for the customer but for your fellow employees and especially for YOURSELF. Sounded reasonable.  He wanted verbal responses from us, so he asked, who can define RESPECT? You could hear the dust falling it was so quiet in there. He asked us all again, Finally someone eked out a low answer that he transformed into what he really wanted us to say. He then went on and on about how Walmart gives us 100% and in return expects 100% out of us. Simple enough.

In case you were unaware, I have a very difficult time with authority, especially when the authority is lecturing me on how to treat customers while filling my head with Corporate mumbo-jumbo. During his monolog, my Mumbo-Jumbo meter was deep into the red. I wanted to ask him if Walmart was giving us the valued Respect and 100% for the first 3 days where we received no instructions? I knew better than to ask that question. Later on, during the water boarding, trying to be funny he asked how many of us had ever shopped at Walmart? “Lets see your hands”. Looking around It was very noticeable that only 11 of the 24 hands were in the air. Both of mine were resting in my lap. He was very taken back by my non-participation. He asked me specifically, “You have NEVER shopped at Walmart JEFF?” Honestly, I have been in the stores with others and I did purchase my last passport photos there, but no, I don’t shop there per say. After getting the cold stare down, I Finally told him about the photos and raised my hand like the other sheep, ending what could have been my early departure from Walmart. Whew!

(Sorry, my sentences do go on and on, I am not a writer).

Anyway, I finished up on Friday and had that inner feeling that I did a good thing. I could have quit, should have quit, but I said I would be there and I was. It was no great achievement. Nothing that doesn’t happen a million times a day all over he world. I decided to do the right thing, even though deep down I somehow knew it wouldn’t matter.

BTW, I wanted to mention that on two different occasions a customer approached me asking if I was the manager?  The first time a man in the checkout line told me that the employee working the register didn’t smile (it wasn’t me). He told me what a horrible image that was and how I should remind all the employees that something as simple as a smile can really make a big difference. He then told me about how he broke his back many years ago but always wakes up and smiles no matter what. The other customer asked me how he could apply to work at that particular store. I listened to both of them assuring the first gentleman that I would mention the smile story and confessed to the second that I was nothing more than a temp myself and gave him the name of the company I got this job through. Both of them said “God bless” and shook my hand. Respect shown and returned! I still believe You don’t need to be told how to treat a customer. Do unto, that should be simple enough. Sheesh.

Finally, with a solid night’s sleep under my belt and with what I felt was the most difficult part of the six week assignment behind me, I went to work on Saturday. It was my ninth day out of the past ten. I signed in and noticed it was a bit less crowded than It normally has been (obviously because Black Friday was over), and went to the produce section. On the way in I noticed the large banana area needed more so I went to the back room, threw five boxes of bananas on a cart and pushed it out to start my day. 30 seconds into banana refill, or BR as we call it, one of the guys I work with says,”Hey, what are YOU doing here?”  I jokingly replied “I work here. Why?” He said all the TEMP employees were fired last night!!!! I assumed that meant everyone BUT me since no one mentioned anything, and these guys kept telling me how they want me full time, plus I am such a really great guy! Just ask me. I told him I would go back and check it out.

I went to find the boss who gave out the RESPECT speech a few days earlier and waited patiently while he was on the phone. Finally he says, “Yeah Jeff, what can I do for you?” I tell him that I heard a rumor that all the temps had been let go and was curious if I was one of them. He says “Yes, we told everyone yesterday.” I jokingly said. “I guess Everyone but one.” He then repeated his statement that everyone was notified yesterday. I wasn’t going to argue. Why would I come into a job I hated,with a 25 minute drive, if I had been told I was fired the day before?  I was pissed! I felt I was doing the right thing, hated it, but did it anyway and once again, the right thing kicked my ass. He then said I should go out to the Employment kiosk and fill out an application because they really loved the way I worked and wanted to hire me!!!! Come on, your kidding right? Apply to a company that just fired me. I lied an told him I sure would, then handed my really cool JEFF badge to him and asked why this came about?  He said Corporate decided to terminate all third party employees (the people in Produce told me that the “temps were all stealing”).Who do one believe?  Looking at him, I wanted to ask what the definition of the word RESPECT was, but knew nothing good would come from that. Plus, I hate the sound of dust falling. Spooky. I slowly turned around and left that store for the very last time, wiping away the tears as they welled up in my eyes.

The moral of the story is two-fold.

  1. WALMART is exactly what I knew it to be.  Who remembers the saying? WE ONLY SELL AMERICAN MADE PRODUCTS!
  2. Doing the right thing always works out in the end.

Today I  picked up my check for $286.46. So according to Walmart, 100%=$286.46.

Inside secret: I blew it all on whores and Mallo Cups! Well, not all of it. Whores are expensive! But I will admit, I do love those Mallo Cups. Which are NOT sold at Walmart!

PS. Don’t cry for me. I start another seasonal job with UPS tomorrow morning as a helper. I just pray this place doesn’t ask me any vocabulary questions! Sheesh!


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