Friday, October 15, 2010

One Grenade...

OK, so what does a school of fish have to do with why I hate working at Wal-Mart?

I work in the wireless phone department. I sell cell phones. In our store, the Wireless phone department, otherwise known as "The Connection Center" is sort of a sub-department of the Electronics department. Both departments are under the same manager.

Incompetent as my Department manager is, she's not the problem. My problem is with my co-workers. In my department, the Connection Center, there are two full time associates and one part time associate. If we are scheduled properly, there should be at least one associate in the wireless kiosk all the time it is open.

I am one full time associate. The other full time associate is a young man who has been employed by Wal-Mart longer than I. He has been a department manager in the past, but isn't one now. Apparently, he likes being a department manager and he fancies himself to be an assistant store manager now, since he rarely spends any time actually in the cell phone department. Instead, he flits all around the store, helping all other departments stock, reset modulars, and whatever else needs to be done.

That, in itself, is not necessarily a bad thing, but it consumes the majority of his time, even when there are no other associates present to man the cell phone kiosk. If no one is working the cell phone desk, no cell phones will be sold.

The other associate, the part time one, actually does more in the wireless department than the other full time associate. But she considers herself more an electronics associate than a wireless associate. Now, we are all required to help out in both departments when needed, but often, when she is needed in the Connection center, she is pre-occupied with "helping" one or more of the electronics associates, even when they are quite capable of doing the job by themself.

Not only that, but she is a chain smoker, and disappears from the department at least once every hour to go outside and smoke. And when I say "disappears", I mean she sneaks away without telling anyone she is leaving the department. That is something that's been expressly forbidden continually by upper management. It is not difficult to simply tell someone you are going to be out of the department for a few minutes, yet she continues to sneak away at least once every hour.

Also, there is something going on between her and a certain other associate. I'm not quite sure the extent of her relationship with this man, but all the associates in the store suspect there is more going on between them than a mere friendship.

Both are unmarried but the scandal has to do with their disparity in age. She is mid-twenties and he has grandchildren almost as old as she. No one can explain why she continues to hang around with this man. She has gone to management about him in the recent past complaining of sexual harassment, and he was warned, but still she buddies up to him in public as if they are lovers. Everyone finds this behavior inexplicable.

But, besides all this, this guy she is so friendly with stinks. Badly. When he walks by, one can smell a horrible odor that follows in his wake. He has been warned multiple times to clean himself up but apparently, he doesn't believe he stinks, or simply refuses to comply. Plus, he is a liar. He tries to explain electronic equipment to customers when he has no clue what he's talking about. he tries to pass himself off as an expert. He's not.

Any other company would have fired this malodorous malefactor long ago, but not my Wal-Mart.

There are a few other associates in the Electronics department I haven't mentioned yet. I have problems with them, as well. Although I like them generally, they have an annoying habit of backstabbing me when they are around the aforementioned other two associates, the smelly old guy and the young chain smoker girl.

They all hang together during working hours and continually talk about me behind my back. They think I don't know, but I've heard them. They accuse me of not working. They accuse me of not helping them enough. They go to our assistant manager and tell him I don't help them. Their complaints against me have cost me real money by affecting the result of my yearly review. Apparently the assistant manager depends on the word of these very unreliable employees over his own observations.

I liken the behavior of these other associates and co-workers to fish swimming in a school. I wish I could get a hold of the video taken by the security cameras iun our department just once. I would fast forward the tape and watch my co-workers flit back and forth en masse just like a school of fish, all reversing directions and turning this way and that way as if they all have one mind.

That's what they do. Walk all around the department all together in a little group, working, helping each other (which is good if they need that much help, but most of the time they don't), and complaining about other associates who actually work.

Meanwhile, I do my job. I don't have the time or inclination to join this group.

One would think this is all I need to be unhappy with my co-workers. But that isn't all. They don't help me, either. While stocking the shelves in the electronics department, when they come across items that belong to the Connection Center, instead of putting them up as they are supposed to do, they simply deposit them on my counter and expect me to put them up whether I am currently busy or not.

Then, every time they get a chance, they run to management to complain that I don't help them.

That, by the way, is a complete and total lie. I help them constantly. When I don't have Connection Center work to do, which is my first priority, I busy myself doing whatever needs to be done in the electronics department. I keep busy all the time. I don't disappear every 10 minutes like they do, and when I have to leave the department I find someone and tell them where I'm going and why. They do not extend me the same courtesy.

This little clique sticks together so closely, it is comical. On observance, I can't help thinking, "One grenade would get you all".

Since no one at Wal-Mart seems to care that these things go on, All of these things are just several more reasons why I hate working at Wal-Mart.

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