I have worked in 5 different Wal-Marts since 2001. Out of all the time I've worked at those Wal-Marts, only once have I been asked to work in a department outside of my own. And that lasted about 10 minutes. Other than that, I have never worked in any department that wasn't mine.
That is, until I started working at this one. It is a common occurrence in this one.
Ironically, this is the first Wal-Mart in which I am not supposed to be asked to work elsewhere in the store. At all. The Connection Center is supposed to be manned at all times while it is open. If the wireless sales associates cannot man the Center for any reason during Connection Center hours, the Connection center must be closed. For instance. If my schedule calls for me to work the hours of 8AM to 5PM, and any other wireless associates fail to show up to cover the rest of the open hours, the Center must be closed down for the day.
So, with that in mind, this is what transpired today:
I arrived at work at 8:00AM, and, as usual, began to busy myself straightening up my area. I have to do this everyday because the overnight associates continually dump everything they find just lying around somewhere on the Wireless counter and on the floor behind it. If I had a day off the day before, the mess is doubled. Obviously, no one will keep the area in order if I don't.
On the counter, behind a shopping basket someone left sitting on the counter, I discovered an open package of Febreeze air freshener refills, with two refill bottles inside. I am used to picking up after other employees, so I thought little of picking this up as well.
One of the little bottles inside was broken, and when I picked up the package, shards of jagged, broken glass scattered all over the counter and the floor. This made me angry. It's one thing to leave open packages on the counter in an expectation of someone doing one's work for them, but it is quite another to leave broken glass lying around, that could possibly cause serious injury to an unsuspecting associate.
After cleaning up that mess and disposing of the broken glass, I then began my daily tasks, which include counting all the cell phones and entering the count in the inventory book. This is when I discovered that the little chain smoking girl had failed to record the sale from Thursday evening in the logbook. I wrote about that sale in my last post.
This happens occasionally, although it shouldn't, but nevertheless, when it does, I simply record the sale in the book myself. It's no big deal. I don't mind covering my contemporary's mistakes. Except, to record sales in the book, I have to get certain pertinent information off the hard copy of the contract.
Today, I could not do that. Why?
Because the little chain smoking girl misplaced the contract. Both copies. They are supposed to be filed in the appropriate carrier's file in the file cabinet, but they weren't there. I spent the better part of the next two hours searching in vain for the missing contracts.
Because of my fruitless search, I didn't get to the inventory book before I opened. It took me longer than usual to finish my inventory. My morning routine consists of dong the inventory book first, then stocking the shelves and peg hooks in my department.
About 11:30AM, before I was halfway done, our section's Zone Manager came by and requested that I go to the Stationary department to stock the shelves, which hasn't been done for at least a couple of days, if not all week. The woman who manages that department has been absent for weeks, except for a token appearance a couple of times a month.
I didn't argue, and I didn't turn her down. I did, however inform her that I need to finish putting up the freight in my department because it is my first priority. She looked over my shoulder and observed I still had quite a few boxes of freight on the floor behind my counter. She asked what was in them, and I replied, "Most are pre-paid phones that need to be stocked but there are a couple of boxes of electronics items here, too."
She told me she would get a certain smelly old lecher to help me so I could get the stationary aisle done. I've mentioned him before, also.
He came over and inquired about the contents of each box. After I told him, he picked up the two boxes containing the items from the Electronics department, saying, "The other boxes are yours. I'll let you do them."
I continued to stock my product for the next thirty minutes, and then, broke for lunch.
One hour later, I returned to my department and finished the rest of the stocking. My "help" had only put up the items that were in the electronics department and ignored the items from the Connection center.
Just as I finished the last of the product, the Zone manager returned to inquire why I hadn't started the stationary department yet. She stated she didn't know I had gone to lunch, and then, I made the mistake of kidding her. I said, "Everybody goes to lunch here."
This angered her. On reflection, I suppose she was under no small amount of stress. Apparently, someone higher up had levied a deadline on the lower management. Anyway, she summoned me to the office and shut the door behind us. Sitting there in the office was my assistant manager. The same one who once told me I should refuse to help customers if by helping them, it would make me go overtime, and who told the chain smoking girl she wasn't supposed to finish a transaction for me so I could leave on time.
Both managers began to upbraid me about my attitude, and it was at this time that my assistant manager pointed out that other associates had complained I don't help them in electronics. This is a blatant lie.
Well, since he had breached the subject, I took the opportunity to inform him that I knew my so-called co-workers complained that I don't help them, and that they are lying. I then told him they never help me, but instead complain constantly that I don't help them. I told him they are hypocritical, complaining about me when they never lift a finger to help me. I also explained to him that I work in the electronics department probably more than twice as much as I work in my own department. I suggested he sit down and watch the security tapes to see for himself whether I help out in electronics, and if my hypocritical co-workers help me. I said he could pick any time during the day at random, and watch the tapes and see for himself. "Don't take my word for it", I said, "See for yourself".
He actually seemed surprised.
Then, he assured me he would talk to them, to which I replied, "No, don't. I don't want their help. I would rather do it all myself. That way I know it's done right". And then, I added, "Have I ever complained that they don't help me?"
He agreed that I hadn't.
I continued, "That's because I don't care if they do anything or not. I only worry about what I do. I mind my own business, and if they want to work or if they don't, it means nothing to me. Every job in this store pays the same. It doesn't matter what I do, it all pays the same. That's why I never complain about being asked to do work that isn't in my department. Can you say that about my co-workers?"
Of course, he couldn't. The smelly old lecher guy never gets asked to work in other departments specifically because he has such a bad attitude. Management has long since quit asking.
My assistant manager knows this, and so does every manager in the store.
I made my point.
But he didn't abide by my request not to talk to my co-workers. Later, as I walked through electronics on my way to my last break, I spied my smelly co-worker trying to ascertain where the cell phone cases were supposed to be stocked. That's my department, and it's probably the first time he ever even attempted to do any work related to the Wireless department.
At last, I am vindicated, and my Benedict Arnold co-workers have been busted.
We'll see how it goes in the future.