Thought Catalog

10 Brutally Honest Confessions From A Walmart Employee

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Flickr / Mike Mozart

Walmart is everywhere. And typically when you go into one, you don’t even notice the employees unless you can’t find something or you’re embarrassed about buying lube. While you make that mad dash for the self checkout, trying to hide your goods from prying eyes, here is what your cashier is probably thinking.

1. I don’t care what you’re buying.

Whether you’re a sixteen year old boy buying a box of Magnums, an eighty year old grandmother buying diapers, or a biker guy buying tampons and The Notebook, I don’t care. I’m more concerned about who is going to be covering my lunch break in an hour.

2. I see you shoplifting.

You may think you’re being slick by shoving that Blu-Ray of The Hangover (seriously, dude?) down the back of your pants. You aren’t. Or maybe you’re in the toy department where there are no cameras, and you’re stuffing your purse with food and condoms. Unless you stand in front of me and chug a bottle of Grey Goose, I don’t care. See, the first thing they teach you at Walmart is to never confront a potential shoplifter. Doing so opens the store up to so many potential lawsuits that Walmart would prefer letting a shoplifter go than confront them and risk someone getting hurt, or worse, being wrong.

3. For the love of God, watch your kids.

I know, your kids are perfect and can do no wrong. They are little blessings from God that would never misbehave, especially in public. And while you’re telling yourself that, your little gifts are running loose in electronics, tearing down displays and unwrapping DVDs. Oops. Now, I may not be allowed to say anything to you or your womb nuggets, but that kindly grandmother eying them just might give you an earful. I’m hoping she does.

4. “The back” is not a magical wonderland.

Even in a big box store such as Walmart, we can’t magically procure an out of stock item from the back. This is why, even if a computer says we have two in stock, I never tell customers we have an item unless I can physically lay my hands on it. I know you checked the website before slogging all the way to the other side of town, and I’m sure you think I’m hiding your item in the back. But the reality is that someone else could have bought the item while you were driving out. And if it’s not on the shelf, it’s most likely not in back.

5. The sales aren’t that great.

This should be obvious. Regular sales deduct only a few cents, and typically the prices rise just before a sale, giving the illusion of a good deal. Truly the only good deals come on returned or damaged items. If you’re a brave soul, you can get a decent deal by buying an out of box TV, surround sound system, laptop, or even vacuum cleaner.

6. I don’t get paid enough for this.

This one should be a no-brainer. Walmart boasts that over 75% of their employees make $50,000 per year and up, yet multiple studies prove that a disturbingly large amount of employees rely on food stamps and government assistance just to survive. I made $11.30 an hour and that resulted in me qualifying for $20 a month in food stamps. They didn’t take into account that nearly 30% of my earnings were eaten by taxes, or that I was working nearly an hour from home. Many people tell me to simply find another job. I have two degrees and still wound up at Walmart. Obviously “just find another job” doesn’t work anymore.

7. Most of us are still in school.

Walmart has been systematically driving small businesses into the ground over the past two decades. Most people my age and younger can’t remember a time before Walmart. They are everywhere, and even in a small town, you can usually find at least two or three. It should come as no surprise to know that Walmarts are crawling with high school and college age students looking to pay tuition, help out at home, or just make a little cash for the weekend. Keep that in mind the next time you stroll into Walmart and start yelling at the nearest associate because you can’t be bothered to look two shelves down for your favorite taco sauce.

8. We can’t tell you how we really feel — even if you are the most hateful person on earth.

People do it all the time. They want to return a product without a receipt, or that Revlon lipstick in blue corral #5 is out of stock, or they can’t find the seventh season of Game of Thrones on Blu-Ray (“What do you mean it’s not even on TV yet? I SAW IT HERE A MONTH AGO!”). No matter how outrageous your demand is, or how drunk you are, all we can do is stand there with a smile and apologize. Then we’ll go find a manager to deal with you while we go to the magical land of “in the back” and write a Thought Catalogue article about how to maintain sanity while dealing with difficult customers.

9. Treat me well and I’ll bend over backward for you.

This is the honest truth. Just showing basic manners and common decency makes people want to help you. I’ll remember you the next time you come to the department and I’ll be thrilled. I’ll show you all the secret deals, discounts, and great ways to save you a few extra bucks because I want you to keep coming back to me. People who do this, you’re the real MVP.

10. But treat me badly and you become the horror story I tell everyone.

Yell at me, cuss at me, treat me like a moron… I’ll be polite but I’ll find every excuse to avoid you. Work in retail and you can quickly suss out who has also worked in retail, and who treats retail workers like the scum of the earth. Customers who fall into the second group know retail workers can do nothing to fight back and, like people who use anonymity online to say things they would never say away from the keyboard, they act accordingly.

On the clock, I’m defenseless. But the moment I leave work, I’m using all the tools at my disposal to let my friends and family know about the customer who assaulted me because we did not have the precise TV she wanted. Your behavior will be immortalized, and while you probably will never stop, hopefully someone will see you coming and be able to hide in the crafts section with the stoned chick eating wing dings.

There you have it. Hopefully you’ve managed to escape your local Walmart unscathed. But in all seriousness, cashiers and associates are your friends. So next time you go to Walmart, treat them with a little kindness. Smile, wave, buy your stuff and get the hell out of there. TC mark

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