Friday, October 29, 2004

Day 51

Good nights end in disaster. This is my new motto.

Everything was okay until about 11:45pm. Because my shift was 6 hours tonight, I wasn't going to get a break for lunch. Not a big deal, because I ate before I came to work. But there's this rule here that you can't work more than 6 hours without a break. At six hours, your register locks you out, and you aren't allowed to make transactions.

I've gotten these warning before, and left before the lock out happened. Tonight I figured was no different. I started getting warning, but since I clocked in three minutes late tonight (6:03), at 11:45, I thought I had a good 18 minutes. Wrong.

So after I sell this guy a phone card. It locks me out. And I'm on register 11, the tobacco register, the one register that is supposed to never close. Oops. So I holler to my CSM, who runs to get another cashier on the register to take my waiting customers, while I'm also talking to the guy who I just sold the phone card to, because he just tried to use it on his cell, and it won't work.

I take them to the CSM podium (leaving the tobacco register unmanned for 30 seconds, my first big mistake; nothing was taken, but something could have been taken, and that's the point). After the CSM gets someone on 11, he comes back, and I ask him if there's a way to confirm the card was activated. He said no, that it wouldn't have let me sell it if it hadn't properly activated when I scanned it. They went to get another one for an exchange, while my CSM was called away to mix paint for a customer. BTW, who the hell buys paint at 11:58 on a Friday night?

I should have left right then and clocked out, but didn't (my second big mistake of the night). I stayed with the customer, because I didn't want him to think I was passing his problem on to someone else, because that's what you're supposed to do at Wal-Mart, where the Customer is #1.

We go to another register, to do an exchange. But now, the phone card company won't receive our request to deactivate the old card, so the register won't let us refund his money. Now the fun really starts. We page the CSM; he's still mixing paint. We try again, no luck. We page the manager on duty, who shows up and does nothing -- just tells us to try it again. He doesn't even really talk to the customer. (In his defense, we were really short-handed tonight, and it looked like he'd been running around from department to department fixing problems since he got there.)

Miraculously, the card deactivated when we tried it again. But it wouldn't activate the new card he grabbed, so we tried it another couple of times, getting a response on the register that the host wouldn't respond (stupid card company). So we gave the man his money back, and wished him well.

I clocked out 10 minutes after midnight, for a total of 6 hours and 7 minutes. I asked my CSM on the way out if that would raise any red flags. He told me the store could receive a fine for it, and that I should bring it up tomorrow when I got to work. So it looks like I'm in trouble again, because we didn't have the manpower to take care of a customer the way we should have.

Did I mention how much this sucks sometimes? Because if I didn't, I should have. Because it does.


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