The following is a journal of the experiences I've had while working for a certain company. I assure you they are the absolute truth, or at least the truth as I remember it. These tales have not been embellished in any way, for it is my belief that they need no embellishment. To protect the reputation of the company, I choose not to reveal their name at this point.
"Oh, I suppose I'm doing okay," said the latest faceless member of the unending stream of people that came through my line. "How about you?"
I shrugged as I turned my attention to the mound of products heaped onto the small conveyer belt that lay before me. As I began my dreadful task of ringing up the multitude of items the man wished to purchase, I glanced up at the clock. 8:05. Terrific. I had been here a whole five minutes so far. That meant I only had nine hours and fifty five minutes until I was allowed to go home. With great woe, I continued checking the man out.
As the day progressed mind began to wander, and I checked people out without conscious thought. 'Do penguins get married?' I thought to myself. 'What did the seven dwarves do with all the diamonds they gathered?' The minutes crept by, and I stored up my boredom like a flood of water held in check by a flimsy wooden dam. Finally, as I watched the woman in front of me dig through her purse for a twenty cent coupon, the dam broke.
"How will you paying today, mam?" I asked politely.
"Wassat?" the old woman asked.
"How will you be paying today?"
"Okay mam, we have a new policy regarding checks. In order to get a positive ID, we'll have to take a blood sample."
"How's that again?"
"Yes mam. You see there's been a lot of problems with stolen or counterfeit checks lately. So in order to get an absolute identification we've decided to start taking blood samples."
"That doesn't seem right," the woman said.
"I know man. I agree it seems a bit excessive, but I'll get in trouble if I don't follow the rules." The lady just looked at me, trying to decide whether or not I was serious. With a perfectly straight face I went on, "Don't worry mam, it only takes three or for days to get a positive ID. After that, you can pick up your groceries a t any time."
"Are you serious?"
I nodded. To save time, though, we can print your check for you. All you need to do is sign at the bottom."
"I think I'll just go someplace else."
"Suit yourself," I said, as I began to void out her items. Then, cheerfully, I added, "Have a nice day."
By the time I finished voiding the last item out, the next lady stared at me, an angry glare in her eyes. "Welcome to Walm...."
"Young man, what's the big idea of making me wait like this?! I've been standing here...." I tuned her out. It was amazing how long she could continue without taking a breath. "And furthermore...." she continued.
"Mam, there seems to be a stampede of water buffalo behind you." She didn't even blink, as she continued her tirade.
"Mam, is that your husband over there hitting on those two high school girls?" Again there was no response, save her unending complaints. Giving up, I scanned her potato chips and batteries. "That will be $8.34"
Without even pausing or breaking eye contact, she took the money out of her purse and thrust it at me. "And your vest doesn't even match your shirt!" she continued, "Not to mention...." I handed her the receipt and she walked away, still shouting. She didn't even take notice of the horde of buffalo, now grazing behind her.
"Hi, welcome to Walmart!" I said, as I turned to face the latest customer.
"Man, people like that should be shot!" the lady said, referring to her predecessor, who's shouts could still be heard from the parking lot.
I looked at the lady, "Actually, mam, that was my mother."
"Oh, I'm so sorry. I didn't realize."
"Yeah, she's been going through a rough time since my father died last month."
"What makes it worse is that he left all his money to his mistress, and due to his gambling debts the bank had to foreclose on the house."
"Oh, I'm so sorry!"
"Then last week when my younger sister joined a brothel, Mom kind of snapped. She was forced to put my little brother up for adoption. She probably sold a few pints of blood just so she could afford those chips and batteries. But she should be okay," I paused, "Unless she heard what you said. That might have made her start drinking again."
"Oh! I'm so very sorry!" the woman sobbed, as she ran, crying, from the store.
"Have a nice day!" I shouted after her.
"What was that all about?" asked the next lady in line.
"Who knows," I shrugged, "Welcome to Walmart. How are you today?"
"Alright, and yourself?"
"I'm fine," I said, as I scanned the lady's items. After I finished, I said, "That'll be $83.71."
"Okay," she said, as she produced five crisp new twenties from her purse.
Taking them, I said, "Mam, I’m afraid we may have a problem."
"Oh? What's that?"
"Well, I believe these bills are counterfeit."
"That's right mam, you can tell from the ink. It's just slightly darker than it should be. We've been told to be on the lookout for counterfeits. It seems there's been an increase in production recently."
"I.... I had no idea," the lady stammered.
"Shouldn't be a problem," I said, "Tell me mam, do you have a lawyer?"
"Just a precaution, I assure you. It's just that you may be in a lot of trouble here, and I thought you might want legal representation present."
"Are.... Are you sure? I mean is there a supervisor or something that I could talk to?"
"Certainly, mam," I said, as I set my light to flashing. "It should be just a moment." With that, I sat back and waited for the CSM to appear. (For those of you fortunate enough to have never worked for this particular company, CSM stands for Customer Service Manager. They're the supervisors over the checkout lanes. All day long they stand behind a little podium in front of the registers. The only time there not behind the podium is when you need help. When that happens, strangely enough, they're nowhere to be found. At any rate back to the story:)
We sat there waiting. I tapped my feet and checked my watch. We waited. Finally, I gave up. Quickly, I scribbled something down on a piece of paper, and ripped it into pieces. "Mam, I'll be right back," I said. And with that I went off in search of the CSM.
After a long and tiresome hunt, I finally found him crouched behind a display of cereal boxes. Panic struck his face, as I discovered his hiding spot. "Oh, Jeremy. I didn't notice your light flashing. What's the problem?"
"The lady in my line tried to pay with these," I responded, as I handed him five pieces of notebook paper, which I had scribbled $20 on.
"Okay," he said, "I'll talk to her."
We marched back to my lane, and the CSM confronted the customer, who had dozed off.
"Mam," he said, as he poked at her.
"Huh, wha?" she replied as she woke up.
"Mam, I'm afraid we can't accept your money here."
"I honestly had no idea it was fake."
The CSM rolled his eyes. "We believe you mam. But I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to leave."
"Am I in any trouble?" the lady asked.
"No mam. Just next time bring real money, okay?" The lady shot him a dark look, then walked away.
"Have a nice day, mam." The next person in line had curled up and fallen asleep inside his cart. After several failed attempts to wake him, I simply gave the cart a shove, and started ringing up his items. There was a loud crash, and a moment later the confused man walked back into my line.
Quickly, I scanned the man's items and placed them back in his cart. "Have a nice day," I said, as the man paid. I turned to the next customer, "Welcome to Walm…" There was a tap on my shoulder. I turned to face the man, who still wore the same confused expression on his face. "Can I help you?"
"Could you put these in bags?" the man asked.
"Bags," the man repeated. "You just tossed my things back into the cart." The man paused. "I…. I need them in bags."
"I see," I replied, "Unfortunately, sir, bags are only available to our platinum customers now."
"Yes sir. If you're interested in becoming a platinum member, I can sign you up right here. It's only $19.99 a month."
The man looked at me with his usual confused face. "What do you get?" he asked.
"I'm glad you asked, sir. In addition to receiving unlimited free bags, you have all your bagging done for you by trained professionals. Also, you get a complimentary receipt with every purchase, unlimited use of our restrooms, and the option of returning items that never worked."
"I see," the man said, with the confused look I had grown so used to.
"Also," I continued, "starting next month, shopping carts will be available only to our platinum customers. So, shall I sign you up?"
There was brief silence. Finally, with a note of resignation in his voice the man said, "No, I'm fine." With that, he walked off with his cart full of things.
"Have a good day," I said, as I crumpled up his receipt. "Now then, where were we?" I asked, as I turned back to the next customer. An angry old lady, who looked kind of like a wrinkled potato, stood before me.
"Young man," the potato began, "I've been waiting in your line for nearly an hour."
"My apologies, mam. It's been very hectic today."
"I demand to speak to your manager."
"I'm sorry mam, he's not here today."
"What's his name, then?"
"Who's name?" I had been imagining what the lady would look like with a glob of sour cream on her head.
"Your manager's name!" she said angrily. "Of all the stupid, no good…." Her muttering trailed off.
"Certainly, mam," I said, "My manager's name is Beelzebub."
"Beelzebub, mam. That's B-E-E…."
"Do you think I'm stupid?"
"I'm sorry mam, I don't follow you."
"You honestly mean to tell me that your manager is named Beelzebub?"
"Yes mam. That's right. Frank Beelzebub."
"Frank?" the puzzled lady said, "So you're not saying that your manager is the Prince of Darkness?"
"Prince of Darkness?" I repeated. "Oh, no mam, you're thinking of Phil."
"Phil," the potato lady responded.
"Yes mam. Phil owns Frank. He owns all of us really. It's a standard clause in the Walmart contract. Upon beginning work here, you sign your eternal soul over to Phil."
The potato lady looked at me in silence. I imagined her standing next to a man with a head shaped like a T-bone. Finally, she shouted, "Young man, I demand to speak with whoever's in charge here!" That's when I grew tired of her. The lady continued, "If you think you can jus…."
"SILENCE!" I bellowed. That single word came out booming, as it echoed off the far walls of the store. I concentrated on the lady, who now stood, quietly, with a frown on her face. I focused all of my energies on her. There was a brief flash of light, and a small popping sound, then the lady was gone. I stepped out from behind the register to see a small charred spot on the floor with a single wisp of smoke rising up from it. I stepped back behind the register, picked up the telephone, and dialed *96. (The numbers you push to get on the intercom, for those who are interested) "I need maintenance to register 14 for a cleanup please. Maintenance to register 14 for a cleanup." I heard my voice echo loudly through the speaker system, as I hung the phone up. "Hi, welcome to Walmart," I said as I faced the next customer, "How are you today?"
It took a minute before anything happened. Then, suddenly, my arm grew dark green, as scales replaced my skin. A forked tongue darted out of my mouth. My clothes ripped apart, as my body stretched and grew. A snout stretched out before my eyes, and a powerful tail emerged behind me. I had transformed into a seven foot tall lizard man.
The customer stood frozen, as I leapt across the register. I lifted him above my head, and gave out a mighty roar. Then, quickly, I devoured the man.
As I turned, people ran, screaming, from the lane. Only the most stubborn stayed, those who refused to leave before they had purchased their laundry detergent. A single blast of fiery breath made even them flee.
With great glee, I ran through the store, pouncing upon unsuspecting victims. A kid rushed out of the sporting goods section; a football helmet on his head. He charged at me, madly waving a titanium bat above his head. Reaching out, I crushed the bat as if it were paper. One quick blow from my mighty tail sent the boy flying to the far end of the store.
It wasn't long before the National Guard showed up. Hordes of soldiers rushed in. Their bullets bounced harmlessly off my steel-like scales. Some soldiers, I batted around for a while, others, I simply ate. Then a tank rolled through the automatic doors. It's huge barrel turned towards me and fired. The blast knocked me back, and I hit the wall with a thud, knocking over a display of Furbies. Again the tank fired, and as the blast struck me, my name badge fell to the ground. It read: Hi, my name is JEREMY. I'm here to help. The tank fired again, but I was having far too much fun to quit now. With a great leap, I soared over the soldiers heads and landed in front of the tank. With my powerful arms, I lifted it by it's large cannon barrel. I swung my makeshift weapon into the army of soldiers and sent them all to the ground. Then I hurled the tank into the air. It landed with an explosion in the cosmetics department.
As more soldiers ran in, I decided I had had enough. Turning on them, I let loose one last blast of fire, and charged straight through the side wall to get outside. The battered soldiers looked up to see bricks still falling from a gaping hole in the wall, and my departing figure. The tattered blue vest on my back read: At WAL*MART our employees make the difference.
Once outside, I ran around the corner and shrunk back to my normal form. I couldn't help but feel proud as I looked at the chaos I had caused. With my newfound sense of pride, I walked back into the store.
Soldiers could still be seen lying everywhere. Bricks had fallen from the walls and ceiling, and lay scattered around the store. The fire system had been activated, and sprinklers sprayed water down on the mess. The CSM still stood behind his podium. I walked up to him. "I seem to have misplaced my nametag," I said, "Could you tell me if you see it?
He turned to look at me; his hair damp, and glasses cracked. "Jeremy," he said, "We've had over seventy five complaints about you tonight alone."
"Seventy five?" I echoed in disbelief.
"That's even more than Hitler got when he worked at Walmart."
"Hitler worked here?"
"Yeah, before the war. When he left, he said his time at Walmart had been inspirational."
"I never knew that," I said.
"At any rate, I'm afraid we're going to have to let you go."
"You mean I'm fired?"
"I'm afraid so," the CSM said.
I raised my hands high into the air, and threw my head back. "Victory!" I bellowed. Out of nowhere the Hallelujah chorus began to play. My head held high, I began my march to the door. As I walked by, one of the other checkers threw her hands together. Then, others began to clap. Soon, all the employees stood in applause. As I stood before the door, I turned and bowed. Then, I turned back and marched out into freedom.