*Sings* Georgia!…….GEORGIAAAAA!! Never knew I could be blessed and cussed out at the same time, until I moved to Georgia. I had only visited the state once in my life at 14 years old before moving there in 2016. The trip was to Atlanta and based off the short three night stay, I had assumed the whole state was a black history riot all the time. However, this town was much more slower and drawn out. Even if you hit the highway you’d see acres upon acres of cotton fields and boarded up wooden one bedroom shacks in the middle of them. Clearly retired “Uncle Tom Cabins”, or several billboards advertising their WORLD CLASS BOILED PEANUTS!!! I instantly noticed the difference in everyone’s demeanor and priorities. This store was located in South Georgia in a town known for nothing more than their highschool football teams. In fact the city was pretty much split depending on who you, more than likely were a fan of. People literally relocated from one side of the city to the other for their child to play for a certain highschool!
Names have been changed within this post to protect the character and individuals I will be discussing. However, I am sure that if they were to read this they would most clearly know who they are and perhaps others. I do not write this post with the intentions of demoralizing or shaming any person, especially since most are still currently people I would not mind knowing again. These stories are REAL and TRUE.
The first store I worked at had a female store manager that took off for every single one of her son’s games. It did not matter if the store was on fire! She would have called 911 on her way to the game and hoped the inventory trucks still got unloaded on time. She could have played football herself seeing that she stood nearly 6 ft 6 and 4ft wide. I’m sure if she did play her name would have been “icebox”. Anyways, as a store manager she was extremely emotionless. Nothing ever startled her or caught her off guard! Someone could scream suddenly behind her and still she’d turn as naturally as if someone had said “madame, May I have a word”. Looking back I realize Wal-Mart had probably made her dead inside like so many others! There were times I too could have been being held at gunpoint and still been thinking about what I’d have for dinner when this whole armed robbery thing was over. Being at the store breakfast, lunch, dinner, weekend, morning, afternoon, night, overnight, Christmas Eve, Easter, New Years, Black Friday and thanksgiving had that affect on ya, go figure. Nothing begins to mean anything if it doesn’t deal with putting a MOD together or INVENTORY!
I stood out like a sore thumb being new and an assistant manager already coming to the store. When I arrived I did not have an ACTUAL department to be over! Therefore I ended up being a “floating” assistant manager aka “the salary managers trash bin for miscellaneous shxt they didn’t want to do or have time to do”. I seemed to be a bit of a threat even still, this I picked up instantly being that I was often asked by other black managers and department managers about my education with side eye glances up and down and how long I had been with the company. It was clear that while there were a lot more BLACK employees there were not as many BLACK managers. They were few and far in between so me dropping out of the sky was the talk, up until I decided to leave for Greensboro, NC six months later.
I appreciated working with a few more African Americans than I had at my previous store in North Dakota. (Remember I came to Georgia RIGHT AFTER North Dakota, then moved to greensboro, then moved back to Georgia…..yea….I know….EXTRA ASF!!!). Anywho, so I’m looking at all my “brothers” and “sisters” and it’s clear that I’m from out of town. Every woman within 100 miles it seemed wore a gold grill with lashes as long as whole hair extensions (They had Leslie in Wal-Mart 2.5 BEAT by at-least a yard).
One of the Co-managers in particular by the name of Sandra was a sista but had a vibe like she would look out for you best she could however, “wasn’t about to let a freshman take her spot”. She was married to a store manager at another store which made her almost DOUBLE the “Wal-Mart Status” of a black woman in leadership. It had never occurred to me that my education was such a sought after and valuable accomplishment until I realized so many DIDN’T HAVE IT!
Sandra was a dope educated black woman, she stood tall and bold around 5’7, with short natural hair, brown shiny skin with her make-up beat at all times and round pouty lips. Many of the white managers seemed intimidated by her, since her husband was a store manager and she knew her stuff. I looked up to her because I saw the power she held simply being a black woman with education. She didn’t take no stuff, but she also played the game. The game caught up with her right before I left for NC. She was under investigation for allegations that she had went off on staff members proclaiming herself to be the “head nigga in charge” which offended them a great deal and they thought was racist….imagine that.
I saw her storm out of the office one afternoon after two hours of talking to three other supervisors of some sort and she never came back. The next time I met Sandra she had invited me and my partner to her church. They welcomed us being a same sex couple and this made me feel comfortable worshipping while being who I wanted to be. From the outside looking in she seemed like a very stern high and mighty person but I learned that she truly was caring and a woman of God. I appreciate her friendship even still and recently surprised her and mailed her a necklace I wore in one of my photos on FB, because she said she liked it.
Many managers at this location had become managers due to YEARS UPON YEARS of experience and working their way up from a cart pusher to a cashier, to a CSM, to a department manager, to a support manager to an assistant and because I waltzed in on the higher tier of the food chain based on education alone I was often seen as “fake manager”. It was strange how I received more help and guidance from my white counterparts at the first store I was at in North Dakota and now here at a store where I thought BLACKS would be more successful because they weren’t the “minority”.
One assistant manager named Sarah was extremely helpful but this poor girl had the body of a 75 year old woman! It seemed each step pained her and she often walked as if the very tips of her toes were on fire. Every other week she would come in with some new brace on her leg, arm, neck or wrist. Every time she would say it had something to do with an immune deficiency type disorder that basically made her body depreciate faster……. I had never heard of this but it seemed serious and Wal-Mart gave no fxcks. She was held accountable for coming in tardy during inventory even though she was in a full back brace connected to a helmet and waist length hand grips to keep her spine straight. She was only coming to do computer work due to her condition but she was still late.
Brenda the personnel coordinator was the plug when it came to the T on ANYONE in the store just about, but it always came with a fee. You would have to exchange drama for drama with her so you always left feeling like you had the upper hand on someone else but Brenda still had the upper hand on you! The “reach around” is what one manager called it named Chad (a 45 year old, alcoholic emo that often sat in the managers office playing games on the computer instead of planning for the overnight shift). Brenda was a dark skinned ghoulish looking woman that often wore waist length corn rows that spread like tree roots from the crease of her neck over and down her mole splattered hunchback. She had a body shape of “penguin” from Batman under her clothing. She would plan Sunday meetings with us managers to all sit down with her and have breakfast. A demented and tortuous act she often got pleasure from as I could tell from the way her eyes bulged from her head as she looked at us all knowingly from the head of the table. The tension was always as thick as the scene on soul food when they had the first Sunday dinner after “Faith fxcked Terry’s husband Miles).
Everyone would know what they had said and the unnerving possibility that someone else knew about them too, if they had talked to Brenda. So it was like a last supper breakfast every Sunday with a communion of fakeness and lies. Trying to encourage a conversation was like getting distant relatives to agree upon the distribution of a will. It always ended in all the managers fighting about what the other managers weren’t getting done that was affecting what they had to do!
Chad the emo was the fatal victim of one of the last supper breakfast hunger games. A overnight manager by the name of Bobby was extremely pissed off due to never being able to get his stock on the shelves before morning due to the trucks not being fully placed on the floor at the start of shift. Chad had not been planning this due to more important space alien invasions to conquer via Microsoft, therefore he quickly got defensive.
Bobby: Man if you wanna play damn video games all day you can sit at home with my son
Chad: YOU DONT KNOW WHAT MY LIFE IS LIKE BRO!!! I HATE IT HERE!!!!!!
All the other managers: 👀👀👀👀👀👀👀
Chad:😪 guys this place literally sucks the soul out of me….and I can’t go anymore…..I quit. I truly felt Chad on that. At the time I had been fighting to maintain my marriage and tell myself I was content being in Georgia alone with my spouse’s homophobic family working a never ending rat wheel of task. I felt like CHAD!!! I HATED IT!!! So the day Chad quit was the day I decided I did too, I agreed to obtain the marital separation put in my transfer to Greensboro leaving GEORGIA far, far behind me…or so I thought….Wal-Mart tales Part 3.5 (South Georgia part 2) “The Last Store”.