When I can’t pull a story out of the present, as with the writer’s block I had yesterday, I share with you a story from my life.
One of the reasons I talk about Walmart frequently on this blog is that I was a janitor for a store in southeast Charlotte, North Carolina for a year from 1999 to 2000. (That’s a regular Walmart, not one of the Supercenters.) It was pretty mundane, actually. I cleaned and buffed the floors at various times around the store. On occasion, we’d also remove the wax and re-wax a given area of the store, which I was never all that good at. I would also vacuum and sweep the carpeted floors when I wasn’t giving the floors their often needed wax-ons and wax-offs. If emergencies arose, such as spills, or if they needed an extra hand to make sure someone got to their car safe, I’d likely be called to tend to it.
Let me put it to you this way: 16 years and change from having worked there, if you gave me the tools and asked me to do the same job today, I couldn’t remember it to save my life.
A few months after I started working there, I wasn’t the only member of my family there: my mother began working at the same store, which is probably why I stuck around so long.
The one day I’ll always remember was the shift leading up to Black Friday of 1999. My boss Steve, a great guy, was working everyone over as if the store’s appearance was a life or death struggle. You know how it’s said Christmas sometimes turns normal people into maniacs? That was us that night. My goal was to keep a low profile and do whatever my higher-ups wanted.
Remember that this was 17 years ago, and Black Friday that year is probably a cake walk compared to the “zombie apocalypse” it is now. The store re-opened for business at 6:00 am the day after Thanksgiving. Usually I got off work at 6:30, but they told me to take off before the store was besieged by shoppers, as the next shift was already in place to handle them. I left around 6:02, and I was lucky not to be knocked down by the hordes of people who came in, frantically looking for the best deals to put under their Christmas trees.
Just another one of the many stories of my Forrest Gump like existence.