Monday, May 20, 2013

A Startling Anthropological Discovery

Applicants, applicants everywhere, and not a job to work. Unless you try Walmart. They seem to have plenty of employees these days. And by these days, I mean Monday mornings.

Now that school is out, I can do my shopping whenever I please. Though I don't particularly recommend Walmart on a Monday morning. To start with, half the parking lot was gone. Yes. Gone. The whole blacktop surface was missing. It had just been scraped away by some heavy machinery. Yellow fake crime scene tape blocked off half of the parking lot. The half where we usually park. Not a space was to be had at the grocery end, so we put T-Hoe into a space almost at the Pizza Hut across the street.

On Monday mornings, it seems, every Walmart associate is required to grab a ladder or a cart, or in some cases a ladder AND a cart, in order to block as many aisles as humanly/ladderly/cartly possible. The blood in those associates' veins runs cold as ice. That chubby one on the third step of the ladder did not even flinch when I reached past her butt to snag a large pink bottle of Color Me Happy shampoo. The gal blocking the Charmin Ultra Strong with HER ladder turned to give me the eye like a hornet revving his buzzer just before ordering his buddies to attack. No mercy there. I was fortunate that a colleague hailed her to help with a case of unknown cleaning items just as I was deciding that leaves from the back yard would probably tide us over until next week. A short dude shoved a bread cart at me on the frozen food bin/bacon shelf aisle. Yeah. Looked me in the eye, then let it rip. He was as skilled at his job as I am at kicking my doorstop four feet over the threshold, leaving it jammed under the door just opened by an entering student. That cart of buns careened my way, made a quarter-turn, and set itself right by the frozen chicken strips, across from the Hillshire Farms sausage section. Go meat!

It was on the candy/snack aisle that I encountered the new hire. As The Pony went to fetch a Symphony candy bar requested by Genius, Newbie almost got out of his way! The Pony put the chocolate in the cart, and was then sent to complete his mission to find Velveeta cheese. I don't normally buy Velveeta cheese. I buy Marvella cheese from Save-A-Lot. It's the same thing. Genius and Hick like it melted with salsa for nachos. Of course Walmart does not put Velveeta with the other cheeses. Maybe that's because it's not really cheese. We've had this problem before. The Pony thought he saw it, and made three trips in search. While he was gone, Newbie came down the aisle to where I was looking at the Quaker Quakes Rice Snacks. Of course she pulled her cart, the better to block me. She was obviously a star at the training session. But THEN she proved her newbieness.

It was not the sleek haircut, and slacks, sweater, and flats. The wardrobe was a sure sign. She was dressed like a former executive. Okay, that might be stretching it. Let's make that a Backroads former executive. In any case, she was better groomed than a teacher. The coiffure alone ruled out that profession. Another clue was her svelte, compact, lithe physique. If Walmart associates were shelf-stocking gymnasts, Newbie would have been a gold medal contender. But it was her customer service that revealed her short Walmart tenure.

"Excuse me. Do you know where the Velveeta is?"

"Yes. It's on the aisle with the pasta and pizza crusts. About halfway down. On the bottom shelf."

I knew exactly what she was talking about. I remembered finding it there by accident a while back. But Newbie went beyond the call of duty. She started jumping like a leaping Masai warrior.

"It's on...aisle...FOURTEEN! Aisle fourteen."

I give her a month. We'll return and find her with a stained sweatshirt covering her dowager's hump, baggy mom jeans (acid wash) coming within six inches of her run-down New Balance, leaning on her cart full of empty cardboard boxes, huffing out a sigh that lifts her shaggy, graying bangs, frowning at anybody who comes near, biting her tongue to keep from cursing.

A good job is hard to find.


  1. Why is it that you have to hunt for the Velveeta? I have the same problem here in NJ.

  2. I have no problem with Walmart, probably because the nearest one to me is a hundred miles away. There was a possibility one would be built across the street from us but the community rallied together (not me) to keep it out.

  3. joeh,
    I smell a conspiracy. Pasteurized prepared cheese products should be allowed to share shelf space with actual cheese.

    I have 99 problems, and Walmart is 98 of them. They put almost every other retailer out of business. Only a couple of grocery stores and hardware stores are left in the county. Main street is bereft of clothing stores, shoe stores, jewelry stores, drug stores, the five-and-dime, and the bakery. Times, they have a-changed.