For a few years, I worked at one of the busiest Wal-Mart Supercenters in the world, the one on Front Beach Road in Panama City Beach, Florida.  I am sure there will be a great many tales told from that place, I was going to do a “Tour of Doody” blog on Walmart, but Jesus Christ, I worked there 6 years through the MTV Spring Break Years.   I could write a whole library of 1,000 page books on my time there.    BUT, I was going to tell my friend Earnie this story, and was like “Nah, I got a blog you can read instead of me typing that out again… then I looked and didn’t have a blog…. so here I am, typing it out again, so I don’t have to type it out for Earnie.  Fuck that guy.

So  it was a cold Panama City Beach night, in the dead of Winter (I’m serious, it would get down in the 20s, this night was high 20s or low 30s), and I was working in the Garden Center, and one of my duties about an hour before quitting time was to take the forklift, and move pallets of mulch (or any tall full pallets) to close off the ends of the corral area where all the stepping stones, bags of dirt, etc. were.  WELL, being that it was FUCKING FREEZING, I was going too fast to try to get it all shut down, and I tipped over a pallet of mulch.  So since I knew I would be out there picking up these cold ass wet plastic bags of cold wet ass mulch, I was like “I’m gonna get me some gloves for this task”.

First… let me give you my “mad drip, dawg” run down of what I was wearing.  Being that it was COLD out, I was in my jeans, my heavy black leather vest, and wearing a black beanie and my black boots.  I mean, I was pretty much a “cold weather stud”, ladies… feel free to start flipping your bean… dudes, just start wishing you were me.  I was wearing my Wal-Mart name badge on a lanyard over my jacket identifying myself as  not just a Wal-Mart associate, BUT… A forklift operator.  (cue the sploosh from the ladies).

Now I know it’s hard to believe, that a Wal-Mart employee wouldn’t know where something in the store is.  But believe it or not, I couldn’t for the life of me think of where I could find some gloves.  So I headed over to hardware, and as I walked through the Toy Department there was an older lady (granted  I was maybe 26 at the time, so the older lady was probably 50), and two younger girls, who I assumed were her daughters.   So I smiled, and nodded and said “hi” or some form of greeting we’re supposed to do when we pass a customer.  And I get to hardware and can’t find any gloves.  So the guy in Hardware said “You should check automotive, they usually have some with the mechanic stuff”.  So off I went!

And who do you think I saw on the way to Automotive?  The three ladies… once again, I smiled, nodded, and said “Hi” and kept walking, I get to Automotive, and there’s NO GLOVES.  So I start talking to one of the Automotive guys and I’m like “I don’t know why I’m blanking on where to find gloves” and finally he suggest I try softlines (That’s top secret Wal-Mart retail code talk for clothing department).  So off I go!

And I know you’ll never guess who I saw on the way to Softlines…. So I’ll just tell you, it was the SAME THREE LADIES.  So I once again, nod, smile, say hi, and keep on walking.  I get to softlines, and they have gloves… but they’re not like the work outside and crap gloves, they were like fashion mittens and such…. so I talk to one of the girls over there (She saw the forklift operator badge and couldn’t resist striking up conversation), and we finally sort of brainstormed Sporting Goods might have something in camping and fishing, or at least batting gloves might work…. SO, off I go to the Sporting Goods department.

I know, I know, but YES, SERIOUSLY, I ran into the same three ladies again, it was FUCKING CRAZY…. I don’t really remember the daughters too much, but the mother kind of reminded me of the country singer JoDee Messina, kinda chunky redhead.  And that’s really  the main thing that made me realize it was the same people each time, I was like “Oh it’s like the old version of JoDee again.  So FINALLY i get some suitable gloves, and I make my way back to the parking lot, and GUESS WHO THE FUCK IS CHECKING OUT AT THE GARDEN CENTER REGISTER.  So I walk past and I say “Hi Zoey” to the cashier, and go out and fish my hidden water bottle out of the pallet in the patio (It was cold enough that it was on the brink of slush, like PERFECT water drinking temperature) and the ladies walk out the doors so I smile and say “Have a good night”, and as I’m screwing the lid back on my water, I see Zoey  waving me into the register.

“What’s up?”

“Did you see those ladies?”

“Yeah, I told them have a good night.”  (meanwhile now I’m thinking “Shit, they saw the forklift operator and were telling Zoey they wanted me to have a 4 way with them”)

“They said you  were stalking them and freaking them out, but I said ‘Frank?  He’s probably the nicest guy at the store.  I have it on good authority that he has a massive schlong because of that forklift license too'” (okay some of that might not be true).

I started laughing and said “Well they did seem to be in every department I was in, I was hoping they didn’t think I was thinking they were stealing”. 

And with that I went back to the parking lot restacked the pallet, and closed it all down and just as I was back inside I get paged “Frank in Garden Center, the Forklift driving stud muffin, call (whatever number the office was), so I called back and my Manager Melissa told me to come back to the office.  When I get back there, it’s like EVERY manager in the store in the time crowding the room.  I was like “Shit, they found out those ladies wanted a 4 some and now they’re trying to get in on the Frank Train”.  But instead they said “Were you stalking and trying to rape our customers?”

So I told them that whole story and we were all laughing, so Melissa (she was so awesome) said “Hold on, I told her I’d call her  back and let her know we had a talk with you” and she put it on speaker phone, and that lady was SO FUCKING UNHINGED, I started thinking “damn, maybe they were stealing stuff if they’re doing this loud of a guilty dog bark”…. First off she fucking lied, she said “We are three very attractive women, and we shouldn’t feel like we’re about to be raped or killed by people working at the store”.  Then SHE COMPARED IT TO 9/11, she said “In this day and age of terrorism, we shouldn’t feel like victims walking around shopping”… Everyone in the office did a wide mouthed stare at each other with that one.   Melissa explained that since it was cold and I worked outside, I didn’t have a vest on (they were dressed just like me) and she said “Well your employees shouldn’t be allowed to dress like  criminals”.  (A jacket and a beanie hat).  And she was INSISTING that I lose my job because I walked past her and said Hi.  It was bananas.

So when Melissa hung up, one manager Holly said “Okay Frank, you have to wear a pink hat now so you aren’t so scary looking”.  Then there were some other cracks about the woman being a psychopath, and I said “Can I go back to work now?” and they  dismissed me without any charges.  Then I said “For the record,  they weren’t attractive at all, I  wouldn’t have fucked any of them, not even for practice”.  And totally impressed the entire management staff.  Ahhh the things you could say in an HR office 20 years ago.

But yeah… that was my induction into W-alquaeda-mart or something.  

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