Thursday, September 13, 2012

Gimme a W, Gimme an A, Gimme an L....

I am at Walmart today. OK that already sucks, but here it is.  A Walmart opened in my neighborhood, and while I would have been fine with a Target or Kohls or Whole Foods, Walmart will do.   

We are a one income family so every penny pinched helps.  Especially when cereal is ridiculously cheaper at Walmart.  Seriously, why is it, that the same box of Honey Bunches of Oats is almost $3.00 more in the regular grocery store?  

Anyway, back to my point.  I am in Walmart, getting my cereal, and a box fan for the window... and a drill... and Kashi bars (again so much cheaper!) and I hear claps and a group “woo hoo.” OK? Not sure what that was, but I go about my business and again I hear 2 distinct group claps and a “woo hoo.”  I then see a group of Walmart Associates in a huddle in the middle of the store, and every time someone says something, the group claps twice and says, “woo hoo!”  

It was an employee meeting/pep rally/revival.  I was too far away to hear the content of the meeting, but my first impression was.  OH HELL NO!  They are making them hoot and clap?  At a meeting?  At the beginning of their shift?  They just got there!  Why are they making them do that?  Then I thought, well maybe they want to.  

NO, there is no way grown adults want to do that at work, in unison, before they start working.  Then I thought, that finding a job now is difficult and this particular Walmart just provided my community with 300 new jobs.  Kudos.  I do like that.  But in order to have a job there, do you have to pretend you are in love with Walmart?  I mean I liked working in many different jobs, but there was never a day where I would WANT to stand with my fellow coworkers, and management and clap and hoot, like I was at a ball game.  The only time that was acceptable was when I worked as a summer camp counselor.  And we did it for the 5-12 year old kids. 

"We need to talk about your flair."
It reminds me of the movie Office Space.  Where Jennifer Anniston’s character is being talk to about her “flair.”  OK maybe I am too cynical.  Maybe I need to lighten up.  But I almost felt as though the employees were being disrespected.  

It was like they were being told  ‘To work here, you have to fall in line with our over the top rah rah sessions and drink the kool aid.  If you don’t like it, well that is not an option if you want a job here.’  

Am I crazy?  Is it really that bad?  Maybe it would be fun to cheer and clap at my job.  Maybe they know more about what motivates employees then I do.  They sure know more about how to make money.  They sure know more about how to get that cereal for $3.00 cheaper.  

I tried to put myself in those employees’ shoes.  Standing in a morning meeting, in the middle of the store,  I would be so pissed if someone MADE me hoot and holler and cheer.  I would not be on board with that.  But if it meant feeding my family and keeping a roof over our heads, I would be doing backflips if need be.  That is where I feel like they have people by the balls.  

I know that there have been times, when I was working in the corporate world, where I have done and said things that I hated doing.  

“Yea, I’m gonna need you to come on in on Sunday.”
Once when I was an executive assistant, my boss, a middle aged rich white guy, came out of a meeting and handed me a crown.  No, not a crown for my head, which I deserved, but the crown from his tooth. It had fallen out while he was in a meeting and his first and only thought was to give it to me!

He grabbed my hand and put his tooth crown in it and yelled, “MY tooth! My tooth! Call the dentist and fix this now. This is an important meeting and I can’t deal with this shit!”  

This is the same man who would stand in front of my desk, eyes closed, with his hand on his forehead like he was Yeats writing a poem, to dictate a letter to an investor.  He was crazy.  He had his own CD.  He would practice his singing in his office and have me schedule his appointments with his vocal coach.  He also demanded that when I came in in the morning, I was to go into his office and open his blinds, arrange his mail and make him a cup of tea, so when he came in he wouldn’t have to do these things.  When he would leave, I was required to make sure his lights were turned off, his blinds closed and his desk straightened up.   

So I get it.  I know that we all have worked for crazy.  I know that although I hated much of that job, I did like some of it.  I also knew that to keep my job, I did not throw the tooth back in his face or mail obscenities to the investor, or spill the hot tea all over his perfectly coifed hair, or scratch his Jaguar in the parking lot.  

There is definitely a difference between a good job and a good paying job.  I have had many of both, not necessarily at the same time.  But I get it.  We do what we have to do. Walmart is no different.  I just hope that the people in the Walmart I was in, know that when I saw them in their meeting, I felt for them and it made me think.  ‘Do they want to cheer?’  I tried to smile and be extra nice to the Associates I saw that day and when I checked out.  Maybe I had no reason to feel for them.  Maybe they were cool with it.  Maybe they are not as cynical as I am.   Please tell me your work rah rah horror stories.  I have more but I need to save material for future blogs!  


Unknown said...

It sux, from an employee stand.point. Just so u know! Lol. At the first Walmart Iworked at 8 yrs ago, they did that stupid,ridiculous, degrading bs & I HATED it! The 2nd store I worked at did not but it was used as a threat, ie " I COULD make u do the Walmart Cheer...." uggg!

Momma O said...

It seemed degrading. I mean these were grown ass adults, being made to clap and cheer! I wouldn't have a problem if this was something they WANTED to do, but it obviously wasn't! BTW - Thanks so much for reading and commenting! You Rock!

Becky said...

I worked at one of those restaurants were you sang "Happy Birthday" en masse to diners that told you it was their birthdays. We didn't have to wear flair, but it's the same kind of place. Other than the birthday crap, it wasn't that bad. Really. But then, everyone that worked there had a very cynical attitude towards it.

Momma O said...

I guess if you can laugh at it with your fellow employees, it can be funny. Its these corporations that think they manufacture something that should be spontaneous. It just doesn't work, on any level! As always, thanks for reading and commenting, Becky!

RickO said...

I once held job where they tried to make us do a rap in unison about the virtues of the organization as corporate officers beat boxed and led us through the lyrics. That night I composed a pre-internet blog about the incident, ran off 200 copies in the office the next morning, spent an hour or two distributing the "hard-blog" throughout the building and walked out. Never felt more free in my life while tearing home in my 90 Jetta. ***To managers of all shapes and sizes, please know that majority of your employees just want to be treated with respect, put in a hard 8 hours of honest work, receive a pat on the back, and go home to our families***

animal loving ggm said...

In the 80's I worked for a Japanese car company. Yes we had to do some "silly stuff". BUT, they paid so well no one minded.

Tracy Campbell said...

Enjoyed your post. :)

Momma O said...

That is always good. Good pay always helps! Thanks for reading and thanks for commenting.

Momma O said...

Thanks Tracy! I appreciate you reading and commenting.