Don’t ask me how but Prime managed to catch the summer cold I had last week. Needless to say, he’s not feeling the greatest, so we stopped at my local Wal-Mart to grab some cold medication. Now, this is the same Wal-Mart where I worked for around eight years; it’s been through at least two remodels and multiple rumors of full bore renovations. In fact, the building is currently in a state of disarray, as it’s going through yet another remodel. I had known about this a while ago, but I hadn’t been in there since it had started.
That changed on Wednesday night.
To say that I barely recognized the place would be putting it lightly. The grocery self checkouts? Well, all of the machines are new. Gypsy Danger, Optimus Prime, Striker Eureka, Jazz, along with all the rest are gone. The “Shatterdome”–my nickname for the grocery self checks–is gone. The entrance to them is no longer an open space but an aisle that leads customers to the machines. The back of the self checkout, which is called “Scan and Go” now, is the area for Pickup orders and it sports a display with a screen. The grocery side of the store has new signage. The lights aren’t florescent anymore; now, they’re LED, and they are a lot brighter. The general merchandise side of the store is being moved about. The jewelry counter has gone AWOL. The place that I knew so well feels like a completely different store.
I almost miss the place. Almost. But then I remember actually working there and the feeling passes. Quickly.
Instead of semi-good times, I can only remember the stress. I remember the threat of being fired. I remember the low morale. I remember the long shifts. I remember being dragged into the Ad Office because I had been joking in the breakroom. I remember how spineless the CSMs were and how they allowed coupons fraud on a daily basis. I remember the customers who cheated us. I remember the serial Ad Matchers, the extreme couponers, the people who tried to match prices they had found via the internet. I remember the customers who would switch price tags, trying to purchase merchandise for a clearance price. I remember the migraines. I remember how management shut down the liquor store after a coworker was shot, but the store itself remained open.
There are other things. But I think you get the idea.
I don’t recognize most of the people who work there now; the cashiers change on a weekly basis. The floor associates are mostly unrecognizable, save for a few exceptions. Most of the CSMs are gone. As for management, I don’t care, as awful as that sounds. Management didn’t care about me, so I find it difficult to return the favor. There are some people I miss but on the whole, I can’t say that I miss that place. I can remember the feeling of dread I’d get as I walked into the building; I don’t have that feeling anymore. Yeah, my job at Costco is “an old person job” but I enjoy it. An eight hour shift now doesn’t seem so bad. Yes, there have been bumps along the way, but I’m in a better position now than I ever was at Wal-Mart.
When Prime and I left, I told him that I wasn’t sure if I even missed my former job. Honestly, that was being far too kind; I don’t miss the place. I don’t think that I ever will.