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Friday, July 29, 2016

A tiara, teens in hoodies, and waiting in line at Walmart.


Good evening

You know, I am at a point in my life where, yes, I will pay a little more for American made and yes, I will pay a little more for good customer service.  

So why I made three trips to Walmart in the last week is beyond me.  That said, before I get to the main part of today's blog, I have to make a point about the minimum wage.  Much has been made about should it be raised (yes) should it be $15 an hour (probably not quite that high) and all that.  I have some thoughts I'd like to share, and this is pretty much based on my experience during two trips into the Walmart yesterday afternoon.

When I entered the building the first time, there were two young men in hoodies (it was warm, not as warm as it's been, but certainly NOT "wear your black hoodie up over your head like a gangster when you're actually a 17 year old white kid from Waukesha" cool.) standing outside the building. They were cart collectors. They stood right outside that half door where the cart collectors push the carts from the parking lot. The door was closed. I figured they were waiting for someone to come open it. No big deal.

I did my shopping, took me about 50 minutes.  When I left the building, the same hoodies where standing there, still leaning on the same carts (I know this because the amount of carts inside the building was the same or less as when I entered, and the amount of carts they were leaning on were the same.)  still chatting with each other. I stopped and stared at them  Why?  Because I am old enough now where I don't give a fuzzy fig whether or not idiot slacker teens in hoodies who have standing there for almost an hour doing NOTHING notice that I'm staring at them.  I even listened to them chat.  Apparently one hoodie was training the other.  To do...

Anyway, I had to go back into the store.  I forgot one thing and it was the thing I went to Walmart to get in the first place.  I walked back to the doors where the hoodies were STILL chatting away.  (Door was still closed. Now, the button to open the door was just inside the main entrance, some thirty feet away from the hoodies.)

I got my items and also  picked up a couple gift cards.  The cashier who helped me was a trainee.  His name is Taron.  I mention this because this young man was splendid.  He was clearly nervous.  His trainer, a young lady who's name I did not get, walked him through the first gift card. He tried to make eye contact with me and chat me up, which was probably difficult for him since on the outside the two of us have very little in common.  He got the gift cards done and he smiled and thanked me.  I told him starting a job was hard but that he would get it. He appreciated that.  

And then I went back outside  (some ten to fifteen minutes after I reentered the store) and the hoodies were still there, but trainer hoodie was calling someone on his walkie talkie to open the door.

Yes, the two  young men, both in pretty good physical condition, were unable to walk 30 feet to press a button, so instead they stood outside chatting and doing nothing for an hour or more.

Now, I agree the minimum wage should be raised.  No one who works a full time job (40 hrs or more)  should be living under the poverty line.  I understand that raising the wage will hurt smaller companies. (Not Walmart.) I've suggested that we base minimum wage on the size of the company (the parent company, so Walmart can't go and become a string of franchises and plead that it's a small business.)  If your brand name/parent company employees X you have to pay Y per hour.  I also think we need to raise the wage based on education. I suggested making the wage graduated based on age, but Hubby pointed out that everyone would just hire high school kids because they are cheaper. So basing the wage on education would keep employers from simply hiring high school kids and letting kids go once they're 18.  Also, it would possibly encourage more kids to stay in school. (I'm an employment analyst.  One thing people need in this world is a high school diploma. If you don't have one, get one for the love of all that is holy.)

The two hoodies do not deserve $15 an hour. No one who does their job that way does.  But Taron does.  I realize in the end it'll all wash out the way it should, probably.  Maybe. Probably not. the hoodies will have Daddy pay for everything and they'll continue to be hoodies their whole lives, just chatting when others are working. Taron, however, will probably work at the Walmart forever. I hope not.


BUT, you did not come here to read about my opinions on minimum wage.  No, instead I'll tell you about my OTHER trip to Walmart.  This time to return something.

Yes, I know.  I bought something at Walmart that I didn't like, couldn't eat and decided to return. Don't even remember what it was.

Got in line at about 5:40 in the afternoon.  I make this point because hubby and I were going to go to a 7 PM movie and I figured I had plenty of time to return a couple things to a couple places.



And I would have had the time, had it not been for the old man and the tiara. 

See there was this older, fluffy lady in a scooter.  Normally I wouldn't have noticed her, except she was wearing a tiara.  And not a plastic one either, this one, while probably not real, was pretty and looked like it cost something.

Which means she was wearing it seriously.

I've worn tiaras. I've been called "Princess," and I say that nickname with all the sarcasm I can muster.  Sure, yeah, I'm a princess.
Right.

But I don't take any of it seriously.  And yet, here was this lady...in sweats I might ad, wearing her tiara without it being a joke. This was part of her ensemble, like earrings or shoes.  

There are some signs that you can watch for if you're in a rush and you need to stand in a line but you're not sure if the person in front of you is going to take a long time or not. If someone has more than one child with them, if they are wearing cartoon character lounge pants and they are over the age of 18, and...IF THEY ARE WEARING A TIARA ANYWHERE...then yes. They are going to take a long time.

Had I not had to stand in a long line behind her while she made MULTIPLE RETURN TRANSACTIONS  (some for cash and some for credit...oh yes, it was fun to watch the 90 year old guy on the other side of the counter try and keep up.) I wouldn't be writing about it.  But I did. I spent twenty solid minutes waiting, along with a large collection of the Walmart faithful. all of whom were returning something...and many of those items not only didn't have tags....many of them looked very much USED.  But whatever.
On our way to Walmart, but we left our tiaras at home.
Have to go get them.

So this woman gets to her final transaction, this time it's a credit return.  She needs to sign the pin pad. Now, she's sitting in her scooter, parallel to the counter.  The pin pad is about ten inches too high for her, from her seated position, to sign.

I know she's alone. I know she's using a Walmart scooter. Therefore I know she's walked at least 25 feet from her car to the store. And if she can walk 25 feet then she can stand up and sign the pin pad.

Nope.

No, instead she took her own sweet time and tried to parallel part CLOSER to the pin pad.  This involved a lot of beeping. Beep, backward two inches.  Forward two inches. Beep, backward two inches. Hit the counter.  Beep forward three inches.  Beep backward two inches.

It didn't take forever. I mean, forever is forever, and clearly I'm here, sitting at my desk and not still waiting in line.  So no, it didn't take forever,   But by this time and was almost 6. I had been in this line of huddled masses for nearly twenty minutes.  Normally I would have just come back another day, but I was on a quest to return all my returns and I'd invested time in this line and this return was going to happen!

The fifteen people in front of me  (the people in this line looked like some kind of triage area in an ER. Just about everyone had a cast or a sling or a head bandage...I felt left out.) all groaned every time this woman tried to manuever again.  FINALLY the 90 year old man, who had been watching the clock and announcing to no one in particular that he was DONE at 6 and he WAS NOT STAYING LATE found some kind of mobile pin pan for her to sign. Where was THAT five minutes ago when she started trying to get closer to the counter?

Finally done with all of her returns, Tiara Lady revved up her scooter and drove off, nearly running over the pillows the couple behind her were going to return.

Not that tire tracks were going to make those pillows look worse. I don't think "new" pillows could look worse.

So from now on, the rule is if I buy it at Walmart, and I don't like it, I'm not returning it. I'll just give it to Goodwill.  They have shorter lines.

As for the movie, yes, we did get there on time. Barely.  (I had two other stops I had to make.)  What did we see?

I don't even remember.



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