Wal-Mart had taken it’s toll on me by the end of the first inventory but the truth of the matter was, I needed the distraction now! It seemed with everything else going on in my life aka: unstable marriage, dad being diagnosed with leukemia and moving three times in two years, the only thing I felt I actually knew at this point was WAL-MART. Even the ever changing customers and employees seemed to be more stable than I felt inside. This was the LAST STORE but by far to me the BEST STORE. Same Drama, Same chaos but a BLESSING in the end.
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.
I had recently ended an abusive relationship with a great friend of mine in Greensboro named Graham when I decided to move back to Georgia. I had become intimate with him during my separation from my spouse and dealing with the many other emotions that were running a current through my body at all times. I began to lean on him and allowed myself to be comforted by him sense I had known him for over 5 years as a friend. Graham was attractive, intelligent, stable (financially) and made me feel good by listening to me and accepting my flaws…..or so I thought. If you read my blog entitled “ The Boy is Mine” you will read in detail about how cute flirtatious aggression can quickly escalate to a full on stalker and fatal attraction.
Graham went from a supportive friend to a whimsical lover to a crazed lunatic that would threaten to find me at work and do me bodily harm or be waiting for me at my apartment downtown. I remember one afternoon in particular, I had decided to break things off with him and attempt to rekindle whatever friendship was left instead. He became highly upset and accused me of wanting other people or better yet my ex back. He felt played and betrayed and decided “I needed to pay for what I had done to him emotionally”. He was waiting for me in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart in Greensboro that afternoon, I spotted him immediately since he was not parked too far away from my car. He attempted to get out and talk to me. I had nothing more to say due to the numerous threats and slanders he had thrown over text and phone the past 12 hours!
I got in my car, locked the doors and took off! Graham took off behind me and it became a high speed car chase down Bemiss, Summit and I40 for my life! I lost him at the NCA&T exit and made a quick dip for my apartment. I had just took a deep breath and held a sigh of relief before seeing his bright red car turn the corner only two streets behind me, and his light had JUST TURNED GREEN! I raced to the parking lot of my apartment, jumped out of my car, slammed the door and locked my car all while racing to my front door clutching my keys and book bag! I fumbled to open my apartment before Graham was able to gain on me, I watched in terror as he JUMPED THE CURVE and came to a screeching halt in front of my door. He jumped out of his car just as I turned the key and slammed my apartment door closed shut! He persisted to kick my DOOR until he realized someone would see him and took off. I felt like I was in a real life HORROR FLICK! I had to file a form 50B restraining order as well as take him to small claims court for repairs of which he never paid. The last time I saw Graham it was his mugshot taken in Mecklenburg County for charges of Cyber Stalking and Failure to Appear, he has attempted to reach out several times via FB to rekindle a friendship or conversation. I saw he was currently dating a well known R&B singer’s daughter and they are also in a domestic partnership of violence.
After all I had went through with my spouse I was ready to end it and not look back, hence putting my brand new home I bought 6 months prior up for rent and moving to NC in the first place. However, the options I had explored during our separation seemed to be ALOT WORST especially the latest addition! My spouse and I began talking and visiting one another again and we decided I should move BACK to Georgia to give our marriage one last chance. I assumed I would be working for the same Wal-Mart I worked at previously but instead I was assigned to a store across town.
I was happy about this since I had wanted to work for this store originally anyway, when I found out they had an African American store manager and several other black managers. I was warned about the store manager Mr. Kelly’s stern and sarcastic personality. I had met him once before at the previous Georgia store after an extremely botched inventory. He and some of his associates came to assist. He seemed like a pretty down to earth guy that had managed to retain some humor, in spite of Wal-Mart’s daily floggings. Never woulda thought he was picking up pxssy in “pick-up today”. Rumor was floating throughout the store that Mr. Kelly had the hots for several Pick-up today and overnight girls. Upon findings of an investigation and verbal confirmation of a participant, he would lure them with money to hotels and have his way with them. This did not shock me for the first time being that I was no stranger to hours of sexual harassment CBT’s, only to still be asked if I’d “like my nipples sucked in the claims cage or family restroom”. It was confirmed when Kelly stopped coming to work and a chunky Hispanic fellow resumed his position.
This store had a happy little Indian woman at the door that could have been related to the guy that plays “Mr. Beane”. She was always over zealous about seeing me walk in. It was like sitting in a paper dress awaiting a Pap appointment and your nurse coming in singing and dancing with the speculum in hand. Nothing could bring her down, rain, sleight or snow she was always SO VERY FXCKIN “HAPPY TO HELP”!! Soon as I walked in she’d start crooning and swaying as if Oshun herself had just graced her with her presence! At first it was flattering then it became down right nerve wracking, especially since most days I wanted to slip into the store UNNOTICED and go straight to the managers office to atleast try to get emails, plans and meeting notes situated before I was taken to the ground in key turns, questions or other random disasters. I began going through the grocery entrance since she was always at the home goods entrance, until one day she had switched doors! I began going through lawn and garden, always she would rotate between the three doors until I felt the need to drive by all the doors to see which one she was at before entering or if I didn’t see her I would rather walk through the auto care center located all the way on the back of the store.
Overall, I admit it felt more like a family than any other store because it seemed everyone knew everyone outside of work. You seriously had to watch what you said about anyone because it was very possible you were talking about their uncle, aunt, cousin, niece, nephew, brother, sister, girlfriend, boyfriend, grandma, grandaddy, baby mama, baby daddy, momma or daddy! Especially if they were Haitian! This store was over ran with them, meaning that at any given point one of them could have gotten pissed off for being held accountable, terminated or just been having a bad day and decided to set the entire store on fire or hurt some folks!
Any given day you could potentially get ran over crossing the parking lot to the entrance of sliding doors by a mixed paint colored box impala, containing one of the Haitian men that worked in the auto care center named Valentine. He was 80% cocoa black skinned with small pink pouty lips like you’d find on a doll, locs to his behind and a gold oral grill. You could hear him coming a mile away but could not figure out from where until he was on your heels…LITERALLY! He would speed through the parking lot blasting something Kodak Black.
Your last sight: The grill of Valentines Impala
Last sound: 🎶📻“LIL KODAK, THEY DONT LIKE TO SEE YOU WINNNNNNINNN, THEY WANNA SEE YOU IN THE PENITENTIARY.
Last thought: OH SHXT!!!!! Well.. atleast I have enough FMLA & Sick time accrued 🤷🏾♀️*shrug*
*Car screeches* 🎶📻 “I NEED ME UH LUL BABY WHO GON LISTENNNNNNN, 👀👀👀 GIRL I DONT WANNA BE THE ONE YOU IGGIN!! 🧎🏿🚙 💥💥💥💥
My time in apparel will forever be remembered fondly for the many personalities I met. One girl named Natasha was Haitian as well and worked in the fitting room of apparel. She too had dark mahogany skin and baby doll lips. She was a petite girl and usually pleasant to be around…….when she was around! She called out every other weekend and spontaneously throughout the week as if she only worked to say she had a job and see her homegirls Shalita and Brittany (The Mink Lash Sisters). One faithful day she must had miscalculated her points (since it was often a game played among the apparel and overnight associates “Get a point, Use a point”) and called out. It was her last write up and we were to the point of termination. I called her to the office with the write-up prepared. It always amazed me when I wrote someone up or terminated them for absences because part of the conversation is showing them the exact days they called out; they would stare at the computer screen dumbfounded as if a victim of identity theft reviewing false charges on their credit card for the first time! As if someone called out for them and they simply didn’t come to work for some other reason!
The Mink Lash Sisters (Shalita & Brittany) would not be caught dead without atleast 3ft of lashes and somewhere chewing and popping bubble gum. They took turns answering the phone at the fitting room, putting away returns and running the jewelry counter. Shalita was good for making 1 cart of returns last 8 hours. Brittany ran the jewelry counter and shoes and would often threaten to quit based on quarrels with another jewelry/shoe associate named Rita with long waist length locs. The department managers where the best part! Especially the one over ladiesware that had gold on the teeth that were left, wore colorful weaves daily and several gold chains at different layers all roped and tangled around her neck. She had a huge butt and liked to show it off but it was lumpy and extremely high like a botched booty shot job done in a back alley.
Ever so often managers would rotate responsibilities and resume programs and directions for a new department other than the one they had previously been in charge of which was genius to utilize as an excuse to give people that worked hard, shxtty departments to FIX! Overnights was one of those departments, the backroom continued to overflow until pallets were LITERALLY coming out of the doors near shoes, because freight was not getting worked in time. I was moved to overnights and couldn’t complain since I had a 4 on 3 off schedule and could actually have a piece of a LIFE.
I recall an overnight associate by the name of Reggie that decided he WASN’T FIRED! I was forced to terminate him due to excess no call no shows. However, the following day to my surprise I see him in the evening planning meeting amongst the other associates. I thought he was there to attempt to plead for his job back but he hadn’t bothered! He simply went to the lawn and garden area and began unloading boxes!
Manager Jan: 👀Reggie….Hi…whatcha dewin?
Reggie: Just workin hard boss lady 🥵
Manager Jan: 👀👀👀
Manager Jan: Do you remember our conversation last night Reggie? You were terminated…..
Reggie: Yea, I remember…I understand…Imma do better.
Manager Jan: I’m sorry but you aren’t eligible for rehire before 6 months…
Reggie:……..nah….I can’t wait that long ma’am😪
Manager Jan: 👀👀👀👀👀👀👀 Then you should have thought of that when you kept calling out!
Reggie: TRUUUU you right..I was bullshxttin but I get it now. *starts stocking again*
Manager Jan: 👀👀👀👀👀👀😂😂😂 I am short tonight 🤷🏾♀️🤷🏾♀️🤷🏾♀️ smh whatever!
I was able to hire Reggie back and he refrained from calling out as much but still did every other weekend so I learned to accept Reggie for who he was and plan for it…the alternative was to allow myself to be short staffed night after night and hear a lecture from the morning manager’s when their inventory was not on the shelves, zoned and ready for them to do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING the next day, while talking to me about productivity. The only way to make the overnight stock employees work faster was to threaten a shorter lunch break, stock the inventory yourself or TRY TO HIDE IT (In the crates in the backroom or in an empty slot in the steel, you could also attempt to find a spot on the action alley to place a huge pallet of OVERSTOCKED SHOES which would only end up back in the backroom the following night for you to stock all over again!!
One particular manager that I liked on a personal level was named Shelby (Code Name: Peaches), she had a huge Georgia peach booty, with shoulder length black hair that she would either have styled in some braided do or straightened to hang down her back. She was one of those down to earth managers that also did her job by the book. She showed just enough concern for her associates personally to allow them to feel supported and cared for, just before she hit them with the whammy of a write-up, termination or final discussion. To be honest she was my first observation of a black woman that could manage both, being attractive AND in charge. Before meeting Shelby, I had assumed all black women in South Georgia with education or rank under their belt’s were either total bxtch’s or got ran through by just about every support manager, assistant manager, co-manager, so on and so forth. Even the store manager Kelly had attempted to flirt with her here and there between young Pick-Up-Today girls, but she seemed uninterested in a flirtatious way that said “You want me, so I’mma use it to my advantage and you STILL will never hit” (Well except for a rumor of her dating another manager that was about 10ft tall). Male associates in the store hated to see her coming, especially if they knew they were playing around or not working to their full potential, but they loved to see her walk away 🍑.
The entire time I had been working for Wal-Mart I had taken SPECIAL care not to get drawn into the “work husband/ work wife” junk some of the associates called each other as a slick way of claiming each other as DLF buddies. Several support managers tried to no avail, even an overweight assistant manager with short locs that must have thought we would connect on a deeper level both being greek affiliated……nah. Even though my marriage hadn’t worked out I still had no intentions of dating someone I worked with, as this would be extremely overwhelming not to mention if it didn’t work out. I’d have to continue to see them every day!! How I ended up engaged and the mother of the child of an EX HARDWARE/AUTOCARE associate is beyond me!!!😅 but eh 🤷🏾♀️ life 😘.