Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Day 27

Nothing of great importance happened tonight. It was slow, and I took some time to finish more CBLs. This time, "Expanding Your Skills I & II," then Loss Prevention (which, in a rare bit of entertainment, touched upon what to do if taken hostage -- the solution, of course, being to faint!).

So all I've really got is a story.

A woman with her two young children spilled kitty litter all over my station. Most everything goes in bags, except large items and those medium-sized ones with handles (like milk or juice jugs, liquid laundry detergent and some types of pet supplies). The kitty litter was too big for a bag, so I set it on top of my "lazy jane" like I set most other large items (I call that spinning, trundle-type thing that holds the bags and has a triangle area for larger items an top a "lazy jane" for no other reason than that no one knows just what it's called, and spinning trundle-type thing, etc. is just too long to say every time I talk about it).

So anyway, when the customer grabbed it to put in her cart, she grabbed by the cap on top and not by the handle. The cap, apparently, was not secured tightly, and she pulled it off in the process, spilling lemon-fresh kitty litter all around my lazy jane. At first, in order to explain her accident, she blamed it on the rather vague "they," as in: "They didn't screw the cap on tight enough." Okay, so far this isn't much of a story. In fact, it doesn't ever become much of a story. I'm telling it more to make an observation. But we're not there yet.

So I called over for a manager to help me clean it up. As I was scooping the kitty litter into bags while my manager swept it from the floor, the customer again shifted blame to someone other than herself. But this time, instead of blaming it on "they," she blame-shifted to me, saying, "He undid the cap so that it came off when I lifted it." What!?! With my manager standing right there, the customer's telling him that I inexplicably unscrewed the cap, for unknown reasons, in order to make this huge mess at my check-out stand. I discreetly said nothing, implicitly accepting the blame in order to not cause even more of an incident. Which (finally) brings me to my point.

I've seen more hurried, stressed out mothers in the last two weeks than I've seen in my entire life.

It's in no part encouraging; in fact, it's down right depressing. I know parenting, when I finally get around to it, is going to be tough. But I've seen some bad mojo working on moms here at Wal-Mart. Will I snap at my kids like that every time I'm in a check-out line? Will I have to resort to swift smacks to the behind just to get them to calm down for long enough to get back to the car? I know it'll be a bit different because I'll be a father, but still, it's a bit horrifying to watch good parents go bad in a moments of stress-induced weakness.

But there are the calm parents -- like the one who looked tired beyond belief, her kids sitting it the cart singing excerpts from the Wizard of Oz, who humored her kids even though they were being a bit bratty (but in a cute way, because of her gentle response). There are times like that when I realize that things won't necessarily be as bad as they could be. It just takes heaps of patience, and kids who sing, rather than kids who are crankily crying or throwing fits because their mom won't buy them the Kit-Kat next just inches away from their cart. Which makes me think, as a company, we're not doing much to help buy stacking chocolate-covered sugar right next to the registers.

Just another thing to file into the "Needs to be Changed When You're Able to Blackmail the CEO" bin in the back of my mind.

And on a final note. I've been asked in the comments section how much I make, which I'm surprised that it took me this long to finally think of posting. For the record, I make $6.70 an hour. I'm part time, because of school, so I can't work any more than 34 hours a week (but I'm not even guaranteed that many hours every week). I get my first paycheck on Thursday, and I fully intend to let ya'll know what I get.

I bet you can hardly wait.

Today's Sales: $4,000


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