Caddie Chronicles

The following are compilations  from my compadres on tour. Only the "best of the best" make it to this page.

Is This What It’s Come To?

Off-season Employment Part One

Desperate times call for desperate measures. It is no different for career loopers who are not lucky enough to have a top player. Our Swiss cheese schedule makes it difficult for some to make ends meet so work that would be normally eschewed, is accepted at every opportunity. I would like to share the following email with you to illustrate my point. By no means do I share the same views with the company mentioned. In fact, I shop there many, many times during the year. To each his own.

I hope this finds you all well. This is just a tiny look into my new winter life as a Walmart employee. YES, that is correct, I am working for one of the worst things to ever happen to America!!

Allow me to paint the picture first. I, Anonymous, am broke! Duh! So I signed up for one of those temporary agencies and was hired the same day to do a to six week seasonal job at Walmart. Wait, it gets better. BTW I just finished my 2nd work day moments ago so I am writing this to not forget all the joy this job brings.

I am still a bit confused on when and what I actually do but this much I know, I will be working from 3pm until midnight, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday and one more week day which I will assume is Wednesday. My work assignment is in the heart of the ghetto (I was told a year or two ago, two employees went at each other with box cutters but that could just be an urban myth). Every time I hear clean up on aisle six, I cant help think another fight just got ugly. I will tell you that I am one of the OLDEST temp employees they have. I am definitely one of the whitest. Now, I don’t really have much of a problem with that because broke is broke.

Even though this was only my second day, I noticed I have an advantage with my pale exterior along with many disadvantages. My biggest advantage is that my superiors all assume I am a regular employee and never really ask anything of me. I normally work very hard in jobs like this so the time usually flies by (which it doesn’t here) so I am constantly wandering around the store looking for someone to tell me what to do. I am sure many of you could do that! The other people I work with either know each other or since they are all about twenty-something, they talk and joke which is fine. I’m too old I guess and no one really wants to talk much with me. Yesterday, (my 1st evening) my crew was assigned to the lawn and garden center to transform it into the Christmas palace. We took pallets full of X-mas crap, made everyplace but the US, and opened them up and put them on the shelves we had set up that afternoon. The guys I worked with were nice enough but I assume have never been in any type of store before. They felt it was ok to put up anything, anywhere, anyway. Now, I didn’t want to come on like the “old white know it all guy” so at first I played dumb (like that’s a stretch). After awhile, after moving the same stuff to different places, I decided to speak up. I tried making it seem like it was a group thing so it went ok, but sheesh! The US is full of some of the dumbest human beings ever made.

I will say that I haven’t lifted that kind of heavy box stuff in a very long time but I continued to do it quickly because everyone else seemed ok with just standing around. It was too boring. So you can imagine this morning I was very sore and tired.

Something else I had forgotten about was the mandatory 1 hr off for lunch, meaning I get to spend nine hours there each day while getting paid for eight. Lunch is unbearably dull.

At 5:30pm we all had to go to a store meeting where the “real white guys” tell everyone what "great deals" are coming up for “Black Friday" (crap like a 115 inch TV for $352 or some thing like that) and then after the three head white guys make inside jokes to each other about how great Walmart is, we have to do this group clap and Walmart chant thing. I had never seen that before (I could be killed if this information gets out) and refused to take part. Remember, you didn’t hear this from me. It seemed like it was out of a “made for TV” movie about cults. It was this shout and response thing like, Gimme a W, Gimme an A, Gimme an L, blah, blah, blah. What’s that spell? Who’s #1? All the while you clap in unison.

I so wished I was religious and could bring up the false idol commandment thingy to get out of it. Today, I never went to that thing. I guess they do it every shift. Amazing what they want from you for $8.80 per hour. I told one guy I don’t chant like that in church so I wont be doing that here.

One of the disadvantages to being so unique is that since I am wearing my name badge so people keep coming up to me asking where stuff is. I HAVE NO IDEA? Hell, I haven’t spent more than one hour of my entire life inside all the Walmarts combined and now someone is asking me where the Velveeta cheese logs are while I’m standing in the greeting card aisle. Unlike many other people, I will either walk them around or will try to find someone who knows. People normally get frustrated by then and leave since there never is anyone around. Oh, the people that shop at this particular store are not the upper crust of society. Many are HUGE and use the shopping cart to rest parts of their body on as they glide thru the store. An amazing number of shoppers seem to limp. What’s with that? English in non existent and their carts are full of children, and I mean full. Maybe Walmart sells children? I just don’t know which aisle they are in…yet!

My very first job yesterday was to look for a missing two year old. Not sure if she was ever found BTW. Today, two people asked me where they could find the paper, that you hang from your ceiling, that you twist. I didn’t know that was an item we sold so I went with them to places I thought it might be. Twisting sections? Ceiling paper sections? At first we had no luck but then I stumbled upon something called Crepe paper. DUH! She said she wanted to hide her ceiling. I don’t want to say anything bad about them but… I was wondering who was going to put that paper up? Couldn’t they just as easily throw food on the floor. Who would notice the ceiling then? They were amazed I found it. BTW, (secret) I went to the cards and birthday area.

Another thing, I have been there two days and I have yet to meet my supervisor. When we come in I go to an office area sign-in and put my time down all at once. Today, I took advantage of this by leaving at 11 and not midnight because no one was going to question me as I walked out with the others (he’s old, he must be leaving now). I am racked with guilt so I wont do that again FYI.

Today, myself and a young Hispanic gentleman, I would tell you his name but I could not pronounce it, were assigned to take what was left of the Christmas crap and put it up in the boxes it was shipped in. The most upper shelf of the lawn and garden/Christmas palace center would be the final destination. Again, when you look at a shelf, you will notice that similar or identical items are placed directly with, or next to, those same items. This I believe is so when someone wants that item, BAM! There it is, or is not. My co-worker had a difficult time grasping that concept. As I handed him some heavy boxes of crap, he would put one to his left, one to his right, sideways, long ways upside down and behind him.  Finally, I tried to show him, without preaching, how it should go. Didn’t turn out perfect but it worked out. It also took him a long time to pick up on the fact that I would struggle handing him some 40 pound boxes while going up the ladder and that a little help would be nice. He finally got it, as I nearly tipped the ladder over, almost falling to my doom. Made him chuckle.

The guy who showed us what to do yesterday and the first part of today seemed very surprised I returned. He kept telling me that I was doing a great job and that’s what Walmart looks for in hiring full timers, and to stick with it. He was sure I would get hired (so I have that going for me). Who knows, maybe $9.38 isn’t too far behind!! Hope I don’t jinx it.

We did that for a while until I as fed up waiting for my co worker to decide what box went where. After that, I took charge. Busted through it and was done. Some guy comes back and asks us how much more we had left. Six guys all stare at him and I say almost done. He asks if anyone would help him? Again, after the 15 second staring contest, I volunteered and bolted away from my buddies and was sent to the meat department to help there.

Well, when I get there I was informed I wasn’t needed, so back I go looking for that guy to tell me where to go now. He sends me to the produce guy who says he doesn’t want my help but reluctantly takes me. He shows me how to stock the produce area. He was an ok guy. It’s not big time science but much easier than pushing 40 pound boxes up 10 feet while balanced on a ladder.

It’s now about 7pm and the store had lots of grocery shoppers. I helped a Korean guy find bread that was cut into squares! Then helped a woman, in seven inch heels, find the Tapia family bag and a man wanted to know where to find AA batteries. At 8:30 I took lunch. Thank god for that delicious McDonalds. Forty-five minutes later, being bored, I went back to work.

The produce guy was done so I did three laps until I found a different guy who said he had a lot of temps to look after. Told me to just go ahead and push a cart around and take the stuff that wasn’t in the right aisles, put it in the cart and take it to customer service. They would handle it from there.

It is amazing how much food is stolen here. I’m finding half-empty bags of everything everywhere. Pulled products to the front of the shelves and straightened up (people are pigs). Did that for about forty-five minutes and did it well might I add. Then another lap later and I was talking to that same in charge guy and he told me to just keep doing that because he had to keep his eye on the temps. OK. That’s when I figured out that I could do what ever I wanted to as no one was going to think any different of me. Half of them think I am some kind of boss so they want nothing to do with me and the other half could care less. Since I do not understand Spanish, I am unsure what the third half thinks about me but I have a pretty good idea. I will say there are a boat-load of people that work here. Not sure if they all make the big money I make though.

My thoughts right now are to work the next two days at the very least and see how I feel. As long as I have something to do the job is ok for a few weeks. If this was my life, I would be having second thoughts about my life! Wait a minute damn it, this is my life!!! I’m also supposed to start a four week UPS thingy during the day, which seems somewhat interesting, but they don’t seem too excited about getting me started, and they don’t promise even 20 hrs a week, BUT that baby pays $9 per hour not a lowly $8.80

I have a ton of trepidation about next week. I am sure they want me to work Thanksgiving. We also have tickets to see some play next Saturday that I would have to eat and I have NEVER been in, around or even out during the Friday after Thanksgiving buying orgy. It just sickens me to even think about it. On top of that, I am ready to snap because of the same CHRISTMAS music I have endured already. ENOUGH! I think its the same songs they played when they got Marcos out of the Philippines. I guess when you don’t have much, Walmart is there for you but damn, this country is doomed. We are imbeciles and no damn Muslim is going to take that away from me. If you’ve never been in a Walmart, you have to go to see what I am talking about, and now, I work there.

Gimme a W – Gimme an A – Gimme an L – Gimme an M – Gimme an A – Gimme an R – Gimme a T – what’s that spell? Walmart! Who’s #1? Walmart! YOU RE BEING ASSIMILATED! RESISTANCE IS FUTILE!

$8.80 per hour. I guess its better than selling sperm? (I think they have half gallon jugs, made in Egypt, on aisle 12. Three per family ONLY). Sheesh!

On a funny note, I have been to the Capital, the home town of Walmart. Yup, Rogers Arkansas. I bet not many in that store can ever say that! Got laid there too. Once in a car and four times in bed!!!

Be safe and enjoy your lives because according to the Mayans, it will all be over very soon.


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 Mallow cups! Well, not all of it. Whores are expensive! But I will admit, I do love those Mallow 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!


The Parking Lot Win

This was written in my personal journal one week prior to to Portland event. There are updates in the story as some of you probably know.

It was all about grizzled, tour veteran caddy, named Mark “Greenvan” Hamilton. He was in the parking lot two weeks prior to the Nationwide stop in Kansas City, Kansas. He won with former PGA tour player Rich Barcelo.

I was in Kansas City myself, working for Scott Harrington. Scott is one of my favorite male golfers. He’s close to getting to the “big show” as it is called. That week, I told him that his time will come. He hits it 300+ and there just isn’t enough spots on the big show. Next year will be his year, this year was mine.

Another week on the Nationwide or go to Portland without a job and get one. I called my regular player Nari Kim and she did not call back. I knew she was in Japan doing Q school. I choose to jump on a plane and go to Pumpkin Ridge up there in Portland. The LPGA is the tour I worked and was confident in getting a job.

This is the way of life for some caddies, a different city each week, with or without a bag.

Bully was working for a young Korean player who was friends with M J Hur. They asked Bully if there were any tour caddies available, with him being my roommate and traveling buddy, he called me over. So I got hooked up for the week as we caddies say.

This is not the first time I have worked well with an Asian golfer. In 2001, I worked a lot for a player who, later that year, after firing me before The British Open, became rookie of the year. I remember her father saying, before he fired me, that It wasn’t about him or me, it was about their daughter. It took me another two years to figure out what he was saying. Now I know for sure.

A couple years later I finished the first two events of the year on American soil with a fifth in Tucson and fifth in Phoenix, then missed cut at the Dinah Shore and was fired. No biggie to me at that point. It’s not about me, it’s about the daughter, which is fine now that I know. I’ve probably got Sunny Lee the biggest check she has ever made on American soil in Reading, PA. She is a good person who I would caddy for in a heart beat like a few more.

Then there are others I would never caddy for again. Like the one who pointed to he monkey head cover and then pointed to me three times.

Some say that I’m lucky. I’m not lucky, I’m blessed. So I guess I’m lucky to be blessed.

Some say that I cry and grown men don’t cry. I’m crying as I write this section.

My father cried when they said he stole a bail of cotton in North Carolina and went to jail for many years. I got my good heart from my father and crying from him.

When you see me go to the front of the tee box on the first hole of play for the day, throw up some grass, then take off my hat and pray, I get that from my mother.

I’m lucky to be off of liquor and crack for 22 years.

I am lucky. So, if you want to rub my head, do it when I throw that grass in the air on the first hole of play. When I remove my hat, you can join me and pray. I’m lucky I have the power of prayer. Lucky to have the job that I do.

Mike “Country Club” Troublefield


3 Responses to Caddie Chronicles

  1. […] access: I’ve added a new page. “Caddie Chronicles”, under the category “Additional Stuff”, will be the permanent home for “the best of the […]

  2. Lee says:

    I know who has the monkey headcover on her hybrid, did she really do that? I worked for her my first LPGA event in 2009 and was tagged the “big loser” on this blog. Who worked for her in Houston?

  3. mike lawlor says:

    I still love your site and will say once again that I think you should consider writing a book about your career on tour. It would be fascinating as well as revealing. Have the best Christmas ever and a safe, healthy,happy and prosperous 2010. Hope to see you in Rochester.

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