Just a lowly cashier complaining about the unknowing irritation you cause by everyday purchasing transactions.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Customers Are Impatient Assholes

I'd like to introduce a new way of measuring how my day working at Walmart went: the Quit-O-Meter Scale.  This scale ranks 0-10 and measures how annoying my day was.  Yesterday was about an 8 on the Quit-O-Meter scale.

Firstly, it was so busy and instead of giving my break after two straight hours I had to wait until my third hour to get a measly fifteen minute break.  While I'm thankful that I get a break at all, just think about how monotonous, boring, and irritating it is to stand in one place for over two hours during an endless stream of transactions.  My mouth was as dry as a cotton ball and I couldn't even leave to get a sip from the drinking fountain. 

Then, I get a young couple in line who places their condoms and lube front and center on their frozen pizzas.  They were practically jumping off the pizzas to high five me, they were that obvious.  And, it didn't help that their KY warming liquid lube was slightly leaking and I got it on my hand before I could throw the offending materials in the bag.  That was not very pleasant.  Oh well, I wiped my hand off on their groceries as I bagged them so whatever... But really, who places items like that in the cashier's face?!  Not that it's something to be ashamed about or whatever, but for fucks sake be discreet!  I really don't need to know that right after you get home and scarf down your frozen pizzas that you're going to be doing it.  Don't care.

I've now decided that while I'm waiting for the customer's transaction to go through and while the receipt prints, I am not going to even glance at the next person in line.  Why, you ask?  Because no matter what, if I look toward the next customer they are already ready and waiting to announce instructions to me even before the previous customer has left.  It's like they are so eager for their turn they cannot wait to order me around.  The receipt hasn't even come out yet and they are holding an item towards me to scan it or giving me special instructions on bagging.  A lot of times I don't even get to greet the customer before they are telling me what to do.    

People are such impatient assholes (and why do people fucking care about how things are bagged?!  As long as like items are together, nothing is smooched or cross-contaminated, who the hell cares?!).  What?  You don't want your chicken and your nail polish remover bagged together?  Oh... I thought they went together.  Silly me. 

But that's how people treat me.  I'm just some faceless person they can order around because they've allowed me to touch their precious items (speaking of... I've noticed that once the shit hits the cart, regardless of whether they've paid or not the customer already thinks of those items as theirs and therefore sacred).  I can't even greet them like one courteous human being to the other because they're all impatient to get out of the store.

Speaking of courtesy, please stop slapping the cash and change on the counter instead of handing it to me!  It's fucking rude to throw it on the counter so I have to scramble to pick up the money like a beggar would in the streets.  I don't throw your money down when I hand you your change so why would you do that to me?  Or what I used to get a lot at my last cashiering job was that I'd be bagging their groceries as I scanned them and before I could even plop the bag down and announce their total, they were already shoving the money in my face.  In. My. Face.  What the fuck happened to manners or decency?  People who do that deserve a roundhouse kick to the face. 

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Dead Toilet Lady

Something strange happened to me at work yesterday.  I went to the bathroom at the back of the store before going on my lunch hour and there was a woman who was in the first stall who was in there for the entire time I was.  I didn't hear her making any noises or anything while I was in the stall so it surprised me when I went to wash my hands that someone was in the bathroom.  I noticed her rather large legs were stuffed into pink, polka dot flat shoes and she wasn't wearing long pants (which was odd because it's been pretty chilly outside).  I shrugged it off and figured if I were trapped in the Walmart bathroom and feeling sick that I would want to be left alone.

Fast-forward through my lunch hour and I clocked back in and went into the same bathroom to wash my hands.  The pink, polka dot feet were still in the first stall!  An entire HOUR had passed and the woman was still on the toilet!!  Instead of wondering, "Jeez, I wonder what she ate," I began to wonder, "Oh my god, is this lady dead?!"  Maybe it was my overactive writer's imagination but I figured there was no other explanation for a person sitting on the toilet for over an hour other than they died in the stall.  

I was horrified and as I toweled my hands dry, I intently studied her feet for any sort of movement.  It was from this intense study did I notice how disgustingly veiny this woman's legs and feet were.  They were also a gray color which added evidence to my "Dead Toilet Lady" theory.  Two other associates entered and I made the observation quietly to them.  When I said, "She's been here AN HOUR!!!" in a forceful whisper, they were clearly as surprised and terrified as I was.   They joined in and studied her feet as well,

"I think I saw her foot move!" the one turned to me.  The other associate (one of the women who I constantly feel bad for because she's the bathroom attendant, now that's a job I would hate more than cashiering) just looked at me wide-eyed.  She was probably picturing what sort of mess this defecating woman could possibly create in the span of an hour.  I was satisfied enough that the associate had seen the foot move and I left to return to my register.  However, I did report it to one of my customer service managers.  But, for the next two hours until my last break I wondered intently if the woman would still be there and vowed to check when my break rolled around.

At a quarter to six I raced back to the bathroom, almost hoping the woman would still be there.   As strange as it sounds, my heart sank when I burst into the bathroom and discovered the first stall was vacant of any pink, polka dot flats and gray, ashy legs.  I had been secretly hoping that this woman in the Walmart bathroom would have become a real life Harry Potter's Moaning Myrtle (for anyone that hasn't read HP, Moaning Myrtle died in the girl's bathroom and haunted it... though, not from extremely long defecation).  

I know it would have been a terrible place to die: the Walmart bathroom.  But I couldn't help but imagine a group of paramedics racing through the store toward the bathroom to retrieve the body.  The bathroom would have been roped off and everyone would have later avoided that bathroom because "some lady died in there!"  It would have been the subject of late-night TV jokes and would have been in the newspaper.  It would have been interesting.... 

Friday, January 28, 2011

To Bag or Not To Bag?

If there's one thing that I cannot keep up with it is bagging choices.  Every person is different so I just usually end up using my better judgment and bag things the way I'd want it.  Unfortunately, not everyone agrees with me. 

First there's the people that are bag-o-phobic.  They want their fifteen heavy items bagged inside this cheaply provided plastic bag.  If I even make a move to bag a detergent or other chemical separately, they freak out and ask me to put it all in the same bag.  Detergent and food really shouldn't go together but I figure, it's their funeral (or potential poisoning) so I just do what they want.  Some customers also do not understand how fucking cheap Walmart plastic bags are and they hardly withstand any weight in them whatsoever.  

Then there are the people that want a bag for every single item.  So, I bag their groceries and turn the carousel toward them to have them take everything out of the bag that I just put in their bag themselves.  This is really annoying because if I knew that they were going to do that, I wouldn't have wasted the fucking effort to put it in a bag.

There's also people who underestimate the bags and double bag everything.  I understand double bagging a gallon of milk or a bag with two orange juice containers.  What I don't understand is double bagging two boxes of cereal.  What the fuck are they thinking?! 

The hardest question for a customer is: "Would you like a bag for this?"  If I look in their eyes I can almost see the wheel spinning with the hamster on it.  Their mouths hang open and if they had a scrolling marquee over their head, I would imagine it would say something like, "Processing... please wait."  I don't understand what takes them so long to decide.  I've recently stopped asking most of the time and just slam the shit in a bag, it saves a lot of time.

Or the people whom I do put their item in a bag and then they tell me, "Oh, I don't need a bag.  I'll save you the trouble."  What the hell, dude?  Did you NOT see me already take the trouble to put it in a bag and now you're telling me to exert more energy to remove the item?  It's not that I have a problem exerting the energy, what I have a problem with is you acting like you're doing me some sort of favor by "saving [me] the trouble."  When you do that, it makes me hope that you're item spills out in the car.  I know that's not very nice but I hate annoying fuckwads that act like they're helping me out.   Just take the damn bag.

Other bagging instances in which I do not enjoy are the self-righteous eco-friendly Moms with a bulging cart of shit (with containers that are obviously NOT eco-friendly) who want me to bag everything in reusable bags.   I do not mind the reusable bags for quick trips to the store for a few items.  In those instances the reusable bags are really helpful.  When it's a HUGE cart of items, those bags take forever and a day to load.  It's really nice when the customer is aware of how much more slowly the transaction goes when they use the reusable bags and decide to help bag their groceries.  That doesn't happen very often (especially when grocery checkout time means 'mentally' checkout for a lot of customers too). 

That's just one thing I hate: the eco-friendly Moms who think, "I'm saving the environment one reusable bag at a time!"  Yeah... but look at what your groceries are packaged in.  Look at all those produce bags you used!  Saving the environment, my ass.  There are a few people who actually give a shit, but the majority of Americans put on this show like they do.  They feel environmentally guilty for their gas guzzling SUVs that haul their fat asses around so they make up for that guilt in stupid actions like reusable bags.  Other than menial things like that, they don't fucking care.  

Remember when Sun Chips changed their bags to those completely biodegradable ones (that make a ton of fucking noise that's almost like an alarm to anyone who reaches for a chip)?  Americans were furious that Sun Chips would dare make their bags so uncomfortably noisy!  (As I'm writing this, I'm shaking my head... we can proactively get Sun Chips to change but Americans can't get off the couch long enough to go and do something else productive... like stop our government from taking away more of our civil liberties.) 

The fact is, Americans don't want to do anything that inconveniences us from our comfy and mindless lives... even if that minor inconvenience is a slightly noisy food bag!

I'll just leave off with a lovely quote from Bill Maher from Real Time on HBO about the Sun Chips bag controversy:

"You hear that? [crinkles bag]  That's the sound of tyranny.  That's the sound of jack-booted eco-thugs taking away you're unalienable right to be able to hear 'Ice Road Truckers' perfectly  while stuffing your face!... Oh sure, we could have made the ultimate sacrifice and, I don't know, poured the chips into a bowl.  Don't even think of it."  

Thursday, January 27, 2011

I Remember The Year $26.75!

Yesterday I received another religious pamphlet.  Why can't these people leave me alone?  Take your groceries and get out of here.  Could I really have a religious epiphany because I was handed something like this? (The only reason I still have it was so I could upload it on here.)  Just more proof of what I have to be subjected to.  It's not enough that I have to deal with assholes all day but I also have to save my questionable soul.

It was rainy and miserable yesterday.  It's bad enough that I have to ride the bus (because Virginia public transportation is unreliable and shitty) but riding the bus in the rain is so messy, especially when I'm wearing khaki pants! 

Not only that but the carts get all wet from being outside and it completely freaks out customers.  Granted, I hate a wet cart.  But when you have placed all your items in your cart and take them out and put them on the counter, how can you really wonder where all the water has come from?  I even had numerous people yesterday ask me to wipe of the counter (even though their items were already wet from the cart!).  Some woman was holding her bread in her hand until I wiped it off.

Anal Retentive Lady: "Could you wipe of the counter?  I don't know what that is." (pointing to the obvious water swipe on the counter)
Me: "Oh, it's just water from the last customer's produce."
Bitchy Lady in a bitchy voice: "Well, it's going to make my bread soggy."

There's something wrong with this logic.  No, it's not going to make your bread soggy because it is a sealed bag and there are no holes.  If there were holes, you'd have stale bread.  Duh.  So, don't look at me like I'm the moron or I'll slap you in the face with your loaf of bread.

"You look so happy to be here," some punky-looking girl with facial piercings and terribly hideous hair said to me as she walked out of the store.  What the fuck do people expect me to do, smile like a loony when I'm just standing there doing nothing?  No.  If I were a customer, it would freak me the fuck out to see someone standing there with smile on their face for no apparent reason.  I would probably avoid that register because I wouldn't want their crazy to rub off on me.  I stand there with a blank face and if anything I am bored, not unhappy.  And another thing, I work at Walmart... do you think I'm fucking happy?  I deal with people treating me like shit all day which is not exactly a joyous occasion for me.

I felt like saying to her: "Fuck off.  Oh yeah, and go and shave your head because after doing [that] to your hair, the only alternative is to just wipe the slate clean and start over." 

Every once and a while your total will resemble a year: $19.45, $19.36, $19.53.  And every time it's usually some old fuck who says, "Oh, I remember that year!" or "The year I was born!" They then follow up with, "But you're too young to have lived back then!" No shit.  Take your old ass and get out of here.  Reminisce outside, I've got a line going here. 

There's also usually a few times of day in which some guy will come through my line with his bachelor-looking foods (frozen stuff... Hungry Man dinners) and I think, "Hmm, lonely single guy.  Well, look at him, it's no wonder.  He's chubby, balding, and he just looks like he'd emit an odor of Fritos. Yuck."  As he's handing me the money, I take note of the ring on his left hand.  My world goes off-kilter and I am super surprised that this dowdy-looking man has actually convinced someone to marry him.  These dudes make Phil Donahue look sexy and they actually got someone to say yes to spending their lives staring at them.  Wow.  I usually then rationalize that the women they are married too have to be just female versions of themselves (ugly) and that they have come together in their ugliness to find companionship.  (Sorry, Phil.) 

As expected, the customers aren't the only weird ones at Walmart.  Sometimes it's the employees.  A woman (who, I unfortunately share a last name with...) was working at the register beside mine.  I was trying to be cordial and oblige her in chatting with me during breaks between customers.  She said a lot of random shit to me and she sounds a little slow when she talks.

Her: "I wanted to go back to school and be like a doctor.  But it's a lot of school."
Me: "What about nursing or something like that?"
Her: "Oh, I couldn't do that.  I hate the sight of blood."

How can you be a doctor and hate the sight of blood?  What does she want to be, a pediatrist?  (But don't you have to do normal doctor stuff before you pick a specialty?  I don't know if I'm analyzing this conversation too much... I might be.) 

Her: "This is soooo boring."
Me: "Yeah, not too busy tonight."
Her: "They always called me the quiet one in high school.  I only got in trouble this one time when I passed a threatening note on the bus.  They wanted me to be suspended."
Me: "Oh..." 

What the fuck are you talking about?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What's TMI?

There are some things that shouldn't be said in the grocery store checkout line.  Some things are a little too personal for such a public setting.  It seems that no one has any qualms anymore about letting me overhear certain things (and even other customers either).  Perhaps it's because I'm just a cashier and therefore not a real person and it doesn't matter if a person like me hears such things.

Your impending booty call is not something I want to overhear.  

"You can't take me for sushi but you want some butt?" my customer said over her phone as I rang up her order.   And who says "some butt" and isn't it supposed to be referred to as "ass"?

Your impending douching ritual is not something I want to overhear either.

The husband placed the Summer's Eve on the belt and turned to his wife in a voice above a whisper, "What do you need that for?"  I just shook my head and proceeded to bag the douche (Side note: Why do douches have such weird scent names?  Intimate whispers?  Island splash?  I just picture some lady in the tropics standing with her legs open as a wave crashes.  Yuck.)

"I like to use it after I have my period." Oh yeah, thanks lady.  Now I am picturing a bloody vadge, thank you for that.  

Your cashier doesn't want to hear about your bodily functions.  Don't talk about the condoms, enema, douches, pads, hemorrhoid cream, lube, or pregnancy test that I just scanned.  Your personal life is of no interest to me (most especially your body problems).  Just NO.  

I was reading in my book Generation Me, that this over-sharing of information is just another sign of how people have changed.  Years ago I highly doubt anyone would be displaying their douching ritual for the world to overhear.  Certain things were just not talked about and while the side of me with the psychology background says that's a good thing, in some cases it's not.  In cases where the information is gross and disgusting, I'd rather not hear about.  I've even had people on my Facebook telling the world and their friends how breastfeeding has made their breasts feel.  That is just something I couldn't care less about and I gain no benefit knowing. 

Is that also a sign of how people have changed too?  They think that just because something is happening to them, it is therefore important and something that other people care about?  People nowadays have no thoughts about the discomfort of others and you can see this in this chronic over-sharing of gross shit to the person that blasts their music out of their car windows to the person that lets the door slam in your face instead of holding it.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Nocturnal Cashiers and Disgusting Meat

I thoroughly enjoyed being away from Walmart yesterday but, all good things must come to an end and I'm working from 4-12am tonight.  I don't even know why they're making me work that late because the overnight cashiers get there at 10 pm and it's not even busy enough for all of us to be there until I leave at 11.

And let me just say this, the overnight cashiers are really strange.  I mean, it's no wonder they are on the night shift because most overnight shoppers are pretty freaky themselves.  It's almost like the cashiers are nocturnal (a lot of them would probably scare you if they were ever seen in broad daylight). 

There's one cashier who I call Whisker Lady because she has this huge mole on her face and there are whiskers sticking out of it.  I'm not talking little stubble whiskers either.  Those things are like feline whiskers poking out in every direction and it scares the shit out of me.  What makes it even worse is that they are multi-colored too!  The whisker shades range from white to gray to black (yes, there are that many).  When I'm next in line I have to force myself to not stare at them and I want desperately to tell her, "Look, you need to pluck that shit because it looks terrible."  I almost expect to glance up at her face and see her whiskers counting back change.  UGH!  How could you not notice that?!  The mole is bad enough but, the mole plus the whiskers is nearly vomit-inducing.  

Another thing that is vomit-inducing: packages of meat.  I mentally cringe when I see packages of meat on the checkout belt that are not in one of the provided meat bags.  They are there for a reason: so the meat juice doesn't leak everywhere.  There's nothing worse than reaching for a package of meat and feeling the sticky, sopping underside of the cellophane that has blood leaking through.  For one, I can't just run to the bathroom to wash my hands because my line is a mile long.  Two, I have to briefly wipe my hand off and continue scanning your items (which may contain produce out of the bag) and I now have gotten blood germs on the rest of your groceries. 

The worst: those giant bags of chicken parts.  Yes, chicken parts!  I don't know what would inspire you to just buy a huge bag of random chicken legs and pieces but just the thought of reaching my hand in that bag to retrieve meat for cooking makes me sick (I don't even like to touch the outside of the bag).  Those bags always leak too!  It's almost as if someone stuck a naked chicken in a blender and threw it in a bag, it's that juicy and disgusting looking.  Surprisingly, we sell a lot of chicken-blender bags and I can never construe why.  The pieces don't even look like they could be turned into anything remotely appetizing. 

The second worst: cellophane-wrapped cow tongue.  I don't see it at all on this side of the country but, in Arizona we sold a lot of tongue to Hispanics who shredded it for tacos.  I don't think I've ever had it but I've seen it cooked and it looks just like regular beef.  However, when you buy it it looks just like a ripped out huge-ass tongue.  And I always hated the way the taste buds felt as you accidentally scraped the cellophane against your hand while bagging it.  SO GROSS!

Now that I think of it, if I were to rate an All-Time Worst Meat Sale it would have to be the time I sold a complete cow head.  It was wrapped up, with a price sticker on its forehead and staring at me with frozen cow eyes.  Luckily, I didn't have to touch the damn thing or I would have just quit my job and stormed out of there.  No way am I touching a dead cow head.  

We occasionally sold tripas (which is farm animal intestines) that was in just a disgustingly squishy package that contained the intestines, blood and other juices.  I didn't like that either.  

Who eats this shit? 

Monday, January 24, 2011

The New National Pastime: Consumption!

I've been trying to force myself to write a post all morning. I have been unsuccessful so far because the last thing I have wanted to think about has been work.

All days at work are sucky days because you have to be there instead of sitting on the couch watching "River Monsters" while eating frozen pizza. There are okay days, shitty days, and days where if you don't turn off your brain you're going to be bawling on someone's groceries. Yesterday was the latter kinda day.

I guess it was emotional fallout from the night before because we went to go look at a second car (with lots of hope in our hearts that this car would be awesome and I'd finally get my wheels back to go and find a better job!) and nothing with the car worked out. It was a great car but the financing and payments really didn't work out for us. So, we're still a single-car family and I'm still fucking stuck at the Wall.

I started my shift giving breaks to other cashiers and as I was standing and waiting to relieve someone, I couldn't help but feel like screaming. I was standing in the middle of a huge crowd of people waiting in line. Kids were screaming, people were loud and there was just so much movement, noise, and people. It was one of those times where there is just too much stimulation that your senses are overwhelmed and all you want to do is find anywhere you can be alone and quiet. It was at this moment I fully realized something which I hadn't thought about: Walmart is the embodiment of everything I hate.

-Typical fat Americans buying more food.
-Loud kids.
-Meaningless jobs.
-Huge corporations and "being a part of the Walmart family" (fucking gag me).

Just by looking at all the customers yesterday, it is no wonder that George A. Romero modeled zombies after consumer America. They shuffle, stumble, form unintelligible noises, and CONSUME. Eat and consume, consume and eat! That's all anyone in this country seems to do and Walmart is the place where it all seems to go down. And I fucking work there. I facilitate that behavior that I despise so much. I'm a consumption enabler.

And for the record we have the shittiest registers and debit machines that I have ever encountered. Every register that I went on yesterday (because I had to give breaks to people) had something wrong with it. I'm sure the machines see their share of wear and tear (wow, that really rhymes) and people beat the hell out of those things. You know the little pen that's attached that you write on the screen with? Someone shook it like an ink pen yesterday and I nearly busted out laughing. People think that by stabbing the screen with the pen that it'll magically work better. It doesn't. If anything you are making it worse.

A lot of the cashiers are really piggy too. I'm sick of going on a register and there's trash and junk everywhere. No one cleans up after themselves and I don't know how they can work in a trash heap. What sort of impression does that leave on customers too?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Early Shift Pains

I worked yesterday morning from 7-330 and it was the earliest shift I have ever had while working at Walmart. I arrived at my register, still waiting for the coffee to kick in and wake me up, and Mindless Cashier Girl (who I mentioned before, the one who "respects bagging choices) was at the express lane next to me.

"Good morning, sunshine!" she turned to me with her snide smile and ugly glasses.

Now, since a young age I have been extremely touchy in the mornings. My father used to sing an original song called "It's a Happy, Sun-Shiny Day!" whenever I refused to get up at an appropriate time. Mornings and I do fine when I am left alone to wake up on my own, I don't need anyone beaming at me and telling me what a wonderful day it is until I wake up.

When she opened up my day with this shitty line, I immediately had to calm myself down and resist the urge to grab the hand scanner and repeatedly hit her in the face with it. Instead, I opted to make a little joke,

"Morning... I don't know who I pissed off to make me come in this early!" Apparently she didn't get my joke because she just plainly stared at me like someone had shut her down to reboot her, her blank and beady eyes stared me down. I then had to uncomfortably explain my joke, "You know... because I've never had to work this early before."

She must have not realized how she had tempted fate earlier by calling me 'sunshine' because an hour later when I was returning a hand cart, she turned to me and said, "Smile!"

Oddly enough, she hardly ever smiles. On very few occasions have I seen her smile, and it's not a very attractive smile at that. It's one of those where they look at you, smile, and you shudder inside and think, "UH!" and hope they stop soon or look at someone else. She doesn't show her teeth, just a mouth smile and it wrinkles her face and looks pretty ugly, actually.

It took all my strength to NOT react to her second annoying attempt at my cheerfulness. I wasn't standing there with a frown, I just... stand there pretty neutrally. I'm not the type to smile like an idiot for no reason, I'm just not bubbly. I'll never be bubbly or extraverted. Those activities wear me out and seem rather pointless. I'll never be a small-talk person either. I'm here to work, greet you, check out your items, thank you and send you off. I may throw a joke here in there in the mix (but they usually don't get it anyways and then I feel stupid for trying).

Between a lull in customers I actually caught her weirdly staring me down from across the cashier walk-way, it was kinda creepy and made me give a wide-eyed "What are you doing?" look back at her. Needless to say, I am not looking forward to seeing her around the front end. She's freaking weird.

Yesterday brought to life a new pet peeve I have: people who read my name tag and think that gives them license to call me by name. I have never had the necessity to call a cashier/server/anyone out in the consumer world by their name. I don't like it because when they come up and say, "Hello, [name]!" My instant reaction is, "How the fuck do you know my- Oh, name tag."

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Eating Food While Shopping... FOR FOOD

For the first time in about three months, I went in one of the other Walmarts in our vicinity. It made the one I work in look pretty ghetto. Even the scanners made a less offensive *beep* noise (which I didn't think was possible, I thought all scanners sounded the same). It was weird to see people who work at Walmart that I don't know, almost like I was in a parallel universe.

Today will be one of the shortest work days that I have ever had at Walmart, 5-10. And while that would, under normal circumstances make me happy, tomorrow I work the same hours. So instead of having me work a regular 8 hour shift and be off tomorrow, they've screwed me and made it so there's only one day this week in which I am not at work (yesterday) but I still went to a Walmart!

One of the most typical "American" thing nowadays is Walmart. But you know what's even more typical, fat "American"? Standing in line, getting a bag of chicken strips, popcorn chicken, or potato wedges from the Walmart deli and taking the bag with you so you can eat while you shop for more food. Stereotypical, fat ass American.

If there's one thing that I absolutely loathe (among many, many things), is moving along the checkout belt and coming across open food. I don't care if it's a box of crackers, juice box, or the greasy popcorn chicken bag that has your greasy fingerprints all over it... I hate it all. It is very disgusting for multiple reasons:

1.) If your food is open there is a chance that I could touch it. Do you know how many things I touch in a day? And now my germy fingers are coming close to your open food. Yeah, it's gross.
2.) I don't even want to touch your fingers when you hand me money (because I hate that awkward, stranger hand touch that sometimes happens during a money exchange *shivers*) so what makes you think I want to touch anything you may have had near your mouth?
3.) Eating before you pay IS stealing, dumb ass. There are times when the card doesn't go through because despite your best wishes, hoping the money is there does not equal it being so. I've had people eat grapes before I get a chance to weigh them and that's THEFT!
4.) Giving your screaming brats food to appease them shouldn't be a condition for their good behavior. For one, that's just making us fatter because you're giving food to kids just because. And two, you're giving your kid food that doesn't belong to you yet. There's nothing more disgusting than weighing a spit-covered apple with a toddler bite out of it. That kid could have eaten it's own feces or something and now I have to touch it (and you're letting your kid eat an unwashed fruit that a cashier has now touched, doesn't that strike you as fucking disgusting?!).
5.) When you hand me an empty chip bag to throw away it makes me think that there was a chance you might have just thrown the bag away in some trash can around the store and completely stolen the chips since you ate THE ENTIRE BAG.

You can't just open a bag of tampons and plug one in while you're shopping around, why then do people think it's okay to forage for food around the grocery store?! There is no taste testing at the grocery store (unless you come across those little booths surrounded by people looking for free food).

To me, this act of taking and eating what doesn't rightfully belong to us yet is just further proof of how indulgent and selfish a society we are. I'm currently reading a book called Generation Me that basically explains how children of the 70's, 80's, 90's and into the 2000's have an astounding sense of self-entitlement. I see examples of this everyday during one of the most mundane of life's activities, grocery shopping.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

You Look Lonely

I hear, "you look lonely" on a daily basis and sometimes multiple times a day. It usually happens when there is a slight lull in customers (which has happened a lot lately in the post-holiday season). I take this time to restock bags, clean up my space, wipe up the nasty blood and chicken juice that has stained my register belt, and look at my watch and count the hours until I leave. I am by no means lonely. So when you come up to the register and say that phrase, it takes every ounce of my self-control to not say, "No, not really. Beat it." Oh, and how nice of you to appease my loneliness and give me more work to do... does that sound like you're being generous? No. I don't care if you come up to me to be checked out but please don't act like you're doing me some favor by doing so.

Yesterday I had a very memorable (for all the wrong reasons, of course) old Motorized Cart Person and his old doting wife ("doting" is used loosely). The man rolled up behind his wife who was pushing an additional cart and before I could greet her, she was already pronouncing instructions for me. When that happens, I know this is going to take a while and be really irritating.

"This is going to be a separate cash transaction."
"Bag these two together."
"I'm going to need this double-bagged."
"I'm paying for my pharmaceuticals separately."
"I need the receipt for that one so I can give it to my daughter."

She took her time placing each item on the belt, one at a time and as I scanned she watched the price read-out like a hawk. Eventually I finally got done with her separate pharmaceutical transaction and she was having her husband put her credit cards away as he struggled to stand near the bagging carousel. He set a card down on the outside of her wallet as he was struggling to put the rest of her receipts away. There was one guy in line behind her, a Hispanic guy buying a DVD and a shirt or something and I saw her give him a sideways glance and whisper to her husband,

"Put those cards away, don't leave them out with these boys around. Very foolish, Joel. Very foolish." And this is what the man's face permanently looked like:

Like a whipped, sad puppy. He also looked like Mr. Magoo with hair and a mustache. I felt bad for him because I know that he's got to be subjected to talks like that all the time. He's a grown man being treated like a child, it was kinda sad. Besides, no one was going to steal the cards and they were right next to me so it would have had to have been some sort of Ninja-thief to even make it over to where the cards were. Dumb, old lady.

Another brand of customer I hate (that I've seen nearly everywhere I've worked): The "I-Know-Someone-Who-Works-Here" People. Just because they know someone, they think they are allotted special privileges. I had some pompous, rude asshole trying to price match a DVD without the Target ad yesterday. Don't these people know that I have to have proof or you could just make up any price you wanted to? What the fuck, people? Use your pea brains.

He walked up, told me that he was price matching. I asked for the ad and he looked surprised when I said that I needed the ad to price match. Upon realizing that this man would be extra difficult, I decided to call in reinforcements.

Me: "Let me go ask a CSM."
Asshole: "Well, is [so and so] working?"
Me: "Uh... I don't think so. Let me go ask a CSM."

Well, the CSM wasn't going to price match without the ad. And, the customer was astonished because, "I've never had to bring it in before!" (You know what that tells me? Our cashiers suck ass and they don't do their job thoroughly.) The CSM luckily found a Target ad, verifying the moron's claims that the DVD was $16.99 at Target. He didn't even thank her for going out of her way to find the ad. What an ass.

But, being an ass is the most common symptom of The "I-Know-Someone-Who-Works-Here" People. You know someone who works at Walmart, huh? Yeah, well so do millions of other people, buddy. You're not special!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Customer Germs

I'm blaming one of my customers for giving me a cold. I have never gotten sick so frequently in my life but, I also have never come into contact with this many germs in my life.

Speaking of germs, I have noticed something that people do that gross me out: fail to put produce into bags and place it on the belt. Let me tell you, that belt is probably the dirtiest thing in the store (except the public bathrooms!). It gets blood from the meat, chicken juice and customer germs all over that thing. I try to find time to wipe it down but sometimes there isn't time until the lines get shorter. I thought it was common sense to not put open food on something like that but apparently it's not. Also, I'm touching your food to bag it. Your open broccoli is coming into contact with my fingers which touches anything from chicken juice to sticky soda to leaking soap. Yeah, put it in a bag.

I've discovered another brand of customer: the Onesiders. They unload their carts and put one item each, in line and leave one side of the belt completely bare. This causes the next customer to not be able to put their things up because they've taken up more space.

All through my shift yesterday it was pouring rain and I'm so glad it was the weekend because that meant that I had the car! Before moving here to Virginia, I lived in Arizona where we hardly got any rain at all. And when it did rain, the roof of the local Walmart would leak and there would be buckets all around the store to catch it all. At the time, I attributed it to shitty local construction companies. Now, I can attribute it to shitty Walmart construction because our Walmart had buckets and puddles everywhere too. I can easily understand the Arizona Walmarts not standing up to the rain because it was the desert and hardly ever rained. But here where it rains quite a bit? Seems like the building was cheaply built, to me.

I was simultaneously asked to return a tray of chicken to the meat department and stand with a mop to watch over the puddle (so some stupid, sue-happy customer didn't walk into it). So, for a few minutes I'm sure I looked ridiculous standing with a tray of chicken legs and a mop. But, I feel ridiculous everyday working there.

Monday, January 17, 2011


How can people be so blatantly rude? There have been many occasions when I greet a customer, look them right in the face and say, "Hello" and they just fucking stare back at me with a blank and emotionless stare. Or the old:

Customer: Hi! How are you?
Me: Fine, how are you?

And they never answer. It is then clear to me that they never cared in the first place. I mean, not that I especially care how they're doing but it's nice to be recognized that you actually said something to them.

When a customer compliments me, I feel added pressure to be nice to them because they bestowed that compliment. It is then that usually everything goes to shit and screws up and they think I'm an idiot.

I hate the bluetooth. It has gotten so hard to figure out who is insane and who is not. An example of this would be a weird, non-feminine girl I work with who came through my line with her hair falling over her ears so I couldn't see that she had a bluetooth and wasn't talking to me. She makes a habit of making semi-inconsequential statements so I thought she was talking to me. She had a few items and a donut and she was taking a bite out of her chocolate donut and was looking at me while saying, "If you come over here I'll give you a bite of this donut." I wrinkled my nose, shook my head, and said, "No, thanks." But, she wasn't talking to me which made it pretty uncomfortable.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Wingdings (This word is in my head.)

I managed yesterday to get a cell phone shot of the woman who wears the horrible hat. I'm actively looking for another opportunity to get an even better shot in hopes that I might be able to post it here (with her ratty face blurred out of course). That picture needs to go on People of Walmart, it's THAT bad. We'll see if I can get a shot today... it almost feels like I'm a wildlife photographer. Hell, that fucking hat IS wildlife. My brother asked me if it was the rat hat:

Usually, I sit on the left side of the bus. I switched it up yesterday and to my extreme surprise and happiness, we passed a florist with a 'help wanted' sign in the window. I called before I clocked in at Walmart and they are hiring and especially need people for Valentine's Day. This would be a complete blessing if I could squeeze in there. Positives: not Walmart, not groceries, less annoying people to deal with, I wouldn't have to take the bus. Negatives: still not a Psych career... but it's an improvement. Before I leave for work today I am definitely going over there to fill out an application. Just the thought of not having to be at Walmart anymore made me infinitely more cheerful at work yesterday. We'll see how it goes, I'm keeping my fingers crossed!!

One more day and then I get Saturday off... I swear, Walmart has been so dead it's no wonder they haven't sent people home. I would be quite willing to leave early, no doubt about it. For the last two hours I was doing re-shop which I completely suck at it. I really try to find where shit goes but I usually end up with like two or three items that I can't find where they go and I just shove them somewhere after I look around and make sure no associate can see me. Whatever. I don't care. The people that work in the specific section should be dealing with that crap. And for the record, the people in the ladies' clothing department totally suck. Signs are always wrong and a customer will often tell me they got a $15 shirt off a $10 rack. They suck.

You know what makes me feel awkward? Standing in a group of women as they recount their birthing experiences. That happened yesterday. Trailer Park Girl recounted nearly giving birth to one of her children in her front seat (wow, that's really far-fetched... was it parked in your front lawn of your trailer?). Another girl (I call her Lazy Girl because she's always away from her register) told of getting a spinal tap. Hearing these stories makes me feel very awkward because 1) I have nothing to contribute to the conversation and 2) I don't fucking care. Why do a lot of women act like the fact that they gave birth is something completely new and not something that millions upon millions of women have had to do? The way they were talking reminded me of war veterans reminiscing about some battle. It's annoying. Maybe it'll be different if I have any kids someday. Or maybe I'm not a typical girl. I don't like talking about manicures or pedicures (never had either) or boys or anything else girly. I'd rather talk about more interesting things. Like politics, zombies, true crime, psychology, or some stupid and funny movie.

I've noticed something: some People of Walmart WORK at Walmart.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Hat Angers Me

Uncle Buck

Now, when I watched this movie before I always thought that this scene was funny because I thought, "Why would the sight of a goofy hat anger someone?" Well, I can now totally vouch for that. One of the cashiers has been wearing a similar hat for months which she's now changed to make an even worse combo: one of those ear-covering headbands AND a loose beanie which sits high on her head. She makes the rest of us look like idiots. I'm surprised that anyone goes to her line because she looks like a fucking weirdo. But, the sight of both different types of headgear does illicit feelings of anger from me. I absolutely hate her hats with a passion. If she came off as a nice, friendly person I would feel bad about this. But, she's one of those cashiers that are friendly to the customers and then treat her fellow cashiers at a distance and/or rudely.

Yesterday I lucked out and for the last hour and a half of my shift I got to do some lame Computer Based Learning. Fine with me. I'd so rather be sitting on my butt far away from customers and taking tests on stupid shit. Yesterday I had the lesson on inappropriate behavior. It was all I could do to stifle my laughter on some parts. It touched on sexual harassment (which, that's a separate CBL and I cannot wait to do that one!) and it showed a picture of a very heavy set female associate with short, curly hair and glasses (which only served to emphasize her chunkiness) and a decent looking guy putting his hand on her shoulder. She was doing a very funny and uncomfortable-looking sideways glance toward him. Apparently this was an example of unwanted touching but it left me wondering, "Would [this] guy really go after [that]?" I guess it's possible. Maybe he's into heavy set soccer moms?

There was one woman yesterday that gave me a headache. She had a huge cart load of stuff and I was being helpful by getting another cart, loading what I had already bagged while she could unload her cart onto the belt. But, as the transaction progressed, I was doing it less out of niceness and more out of a want to get her annoying ass out of the store. She was one of those people that regardless of how light the fucking bags are, she's got to double bag everything. That plastic bag containing two chip bags? Yep, double bagged. I can totally understand the heavier items being double bagged but bread and chips?! Wow, you really don't give a shit about how many bags you're sending to the landfill, huh? She's probably got her own pile of bags in the landfill. It got to the point where I nearly double bagged her head and smothered her. And for the rest of the day I had a headache. Thank you, Annoying $530 Order Woman. (Yeah, that's a lot of stuff!)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sam Is Watching You!

I woke up pretty late today because I am overly tired from the trip home and from working all day yesterday. So instead of having six hours to hang out before work, it was reduced to three. Why did I even leave when I just have to be back so soon?

Yesterday was the first day I had to commute in the rain and luckily I found an umbrella. It was windy, cold and wet at the bus stop and since I forgot my new gloves at home, my hands were numb by the time the bus got there. Pair that with a wet dollar bill that wouldn't go into the fare machine, accidentally brushing the bus driver with my crazy non-collapsible umbrella (and gaining a dirty look from her), and not being able to see through my rain soaked glasses... it wasn't a fun commute. Oh, and the crazy half Japanese/White guy was at the back of the bus spouting philosophical crap to other passengers that either of them understand and saying everything so loud that I could hear plainly at the front of the bus. Why does it seem that only nutcases ride the bus?

It was a very slow day yesterday. Probably because everyone has spent their food stamp money already.

You can tell it's the new year because a lot of my orders contained a huge amount of diet food. And honestly, the people who bought it really only had to lose like five or ten pounds (if any) which is really annoying.

We have a new zone manager (whatever the hell that means, I'm guessing she manages the cashiering section?) and she came up to introduce herself to me in the most annoyingly perky and optimistic way. She also waited until I was actually helping customers so I couldn't rightfully pay full attention to them or what she was saying in my ear. I did catch a bunch of bullshit that new managers say when they get on the job and are optimistic and excited to tackle new things and blah blah blah. Then, after a few months she'll realize that nothing's going to change and she'll have to accept her dreams of a well-oiled cashier machine are futile.

But, I'm sure I made my own mark upon her memory. While I was gone they've implemented a survey thing where we right our name on a sticker, place it on their receipts so we can get their feedback and they get a chance to win $1,000. While in the midst of explaining this to me, I'm sure my eyes glazed over and the words "I don't care" appeared like a scrolling marquee. She was saying some shit about the cashiers being at their lowest something or other... (speed? morale? happiness?) I was only half listening because I was busy and her high optimism and excitement over something so trivial to me made me zone out. She basically said, "And you want our numbers to be up, right?"

Me: "Well, I'm only supposed to be seasonal."
Delusional Manager: "Oh, so you'd like to not be seasonal, right?" *smile, hopeful look*
Me: "Uhh... do I have to answer that right now?"
Crazy-Happy Manager: "Yes, if you can."
Me: "Well, I have a degree."
Perky Manager: "So do I."
Me: "Yeah, well I don't want to work in customer service."
Manager: "Okay, well we can talk about this later."

The customer then interrupted our interesting exchange by contesting our price of our Crisco. Nice going, moron. For once I was having an interesting conversation with someone at work. I'm guessing she didn't expect the conversation to go that route.

But, she made me feel like I should [want] to work there as a cashier or at Walmart in general. Fuck you. It's not my fault you have a degree and settled. Yeah, you have a degree and you're a manager at Walmart... but still... you work at [Walmart]. And why should anyone care of I really want to work there forever? I show up, do my job, leave me alone. She can come at me again with a conversation like that but she better be ready for a battle.

I'm starting to think that I'm beginning to sound like a whiny baby, stomping my feet and throwing a fit while screaming, "I have a degree!!" Some other cashier talked to me yesterday and was surprised when I said I didn't like working at Walmart. What the fuck is wrong with these people? It's like they've been imbedded with a Sam Walton microchip. I guess I should shut up with the Walmart-hate, it might get around. But seriously, would they get rid of me for not wanting to work at Walmart yet I show up and do my work like I'm supposed to? Can they fire someone for not desiring to work there?

Ever look at a kid and then at his/her parents and think, "Wow, I'm so glad they aren't my parents!" I had one of those kids yesterday who grabbed two candy bars, put them on the belt and when the mom saw that there were two she said to the dad, "He owes you for one." The kid look incredulous and said, "But, you said I had a good report card..." So, this kid gets good grades but they can't even buy him two candy bars? That's fucked up.

While clocking out yesterday I noticed a new picture of Sam Walton that was comprised of inspiring words and the question, "Who inspires you?" next to it. I wanted to fucking gag. The only thing that inspires me about Walmart is that I know I want to do anything to get out of it. And not only that, but in the personnel office there are a few more pictures of Sam. Look, I know he started the company or whatever but do we really need the multiple 8x10's? While you're in the office if feels like Sam is constantly looking over your shoulder.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I Forever Hate Gardenias

It's my first post of the New Year! And with the new year comes new and better things, right? Yeah, well... wrong. I'm still working at Walmart because I went in after getting home yesterday evening to check my schedule and I'm on 2-11 for the rest of the week. Remember when I said my co-worker had 17 hours starting the new year? Well, she must really suck because I've got 32. You'd think that because I have eight less hours a week that I would be there less days. Not a chance, I've still got the same two days off because they just shaved off an hour or two here and there. Dicks.

Fuck, how do people get fired from this place? Despite being fast on the register, I really have done my shittiest job ever because I just care that little about my position. I show up late, I've called off at least three times in six weeks, I don't really smile, I do a half-ass job at the tasks I'm given (when I'm supposed to put something back in a department and I can't immediately find it, I do a quick glance around to check for other associates and shove the item on the shelf somewhere). Seriously, what do people have to do to get let go from Walmart?! (Perhaps... write negatively about Walmart on an internet site?) From my experience at least, you have to be a complete and utter social failure to get fired from Walmart. Am I just blessed (I'll use the term loosely) or do they let everything slide?

Things I Haven't Missed:

1.) Dumbasses.
2.) The ugly, rude, old chick who wears a fur-lined cap with ear flaps INSIDE at her register. I want to rip off that hideous hat, light it on fire, then throw the ashes into the toilet. It's THAT bad.
3.) Trailer Park Girl and her prancing she does around the registers. You're a cashier, get over yourself.
4.) The monotony of scanning items.
5.) My sore back from bending over and filling bags all day.
6.) Everything about Walmart.
7.) Riding the damn bus.

Since I was home this last week I visited my old place of work. Now that job I did try my hardest to do a good job despite having to cashier. Lucky for me I got to do many other things in the background and I didn't have any contact with customers. Being there did bring back some memories that I'd like to forget. I saw regular customers that I'd like to forget.

One of my absolute least favorite customers was wonderfully missing this week so I missed out on seeing her. I call her Fuschia- Gardenia Lady. She is short, portly, and middle aged and wears her hair extremely long and usually parted half-way with a scrunchie sitting on top of her head. Sometimes she wears her hair in a tight and unflattering bun. Her face is very chubby and the first thing you notice is her hideous shade of fuschia lipstick that she wears with every outfit regardless of whether it coordinates (does fuschia lipstick ever look good exactly?). The scent that proceeds her and lingers far after she is gone is the strongest gardenia perfume that has ever been manufactured. Forever she has ruined the scent for me and every time I smell it, I immediately think of her.

She was a regular customer who asked for help with the ATM every single time she came in. It's not a slot machine or some sort of difficult puzzle to master before you can get out your cash, it's an ATM and a very easy one at that. Despite an easily readable picture of how you swipe your card, she always scanned it wrong. After helping her it was all I could do to not swipe a twenty for my trouble.

She always asked for things we never had. And the things we did have, she had to give her review on every product. 7 UP, I will forever hate you for adding antioxidants to your Cherry 7 Up. For months (and even to this day!!) she swears she can taste the antioxidants and she doesn't like the way they taste. I don't know what the fuck antioxidants taste like, but she could taste them. It's also not like I have a direct line to the factory in which I can just pick up and tell them to change their formula. I just sell the shit. I don't even bring it into the store, don't tell me about it!!

It was always a blessing to see her go but you could always smell her for the next ten or so minutes and be reminded of her. Yuck.

Lastly, she had no clue what my name was but started calling me Nicole. My name couldn't be further from Nicole, but I never corrected her. That way, if I ever went postal on her ass after a day of irritation she would complain to my boss about "Nicole" and he would have just thought she was nuts because no one named Nicole had ever worked there.