But before we get into all that, I'll share some secondhand customer tales from none other than my favorite produce guy. Yesterday he experienced the baffling phenomenon of customers who will insist on asking every employee in the store the same question, expecting to get a different answer. An older 'gentleman' approached him in his department, wanting to know where the 2/$5 bags of golden potatoes were. Pip explained that we currently didn't have any as they sold out over the weekend and no more came in on yesterday's truck. OG then demanded to know why they were being 'falsely advertised'. Pippy apologized and said that he wasn't personally responsible for advertising or ordering potatoes, and that there really wasn't anything he could do, but we did have red potatoes. OG then proceeded to curse a blue streak at him and announced he was going to find a manager and returned with one of my CSMs, who ended up telling him the same thing and was annoyed when she realized OG had already talked to someone in the department. He told her and Pip both that he was going to call corporate on them. Almost straight after that, a lady came in asking him where the sweet onions were.
"We don't have any ma'am we have white and Vidalia."
"But no sweet onions?"
"No ma'am, no sweet ones."
"No sweet ones?"
*sigh* "Okay then . . ."
Not five minutes later, the customer returns with Sheldon, the candy dept manager, who tells Pip he's helping the lady search for sweet onions. Repeat first situation, only the lady didn't get quite as ugly as the guy. Listen people. If we tell you we don't have something, we don't have it. If we go to the back and look for it for you, and still return and say we don't have it, we DON'T. HAVE. IT. We're not hiding mountains of, in this case, potatoes and sweet onions in our backroom and cackling at each other with evil laughter at the idea you're not going to get to purchase them. The produce guy cannot pull them out of his rear or conjure them up with a magic wand. Even more baffling is why you'd find someone in a completely different area and expect them to know better than a person working in the actual department.
Now for Shiny stuff
I wish it hasn't taken me 27 years to learn to be happy with a simple life and the simple things in it. So while yes, I do work at Wal-Mart, making crappy wages on crappy hours, I'm happy. I still live at home with my parents, and that's ok too. Then there's Pip, he makes me smile so much. There have been times where I find myself growing continuously pissed off at the Rhonda Rednecks and Welfare Queens who come through blatantly abusing the system, and then he'll walk by with a big cheesy grin on his face and tell me to smile. He always laughs when I do. And then I forget all about how angry I am. Or then there are times when the customers are pleasant, I'm already having a good day, and his coming along and doing this makes it even better. Yesterday was one of those days. I made sure to go find him before I started so I could confront him about the note he left me Monday, and I told him I thought it was cute. He made sure I knew that he didn't really hit my truck, but that I could wash it because it's really dirty. He passed by my lane later and asked what time I was going to lunch.
He made a face. "But I'm going at one."
"You can go at two."
You see, as a cashier, I have no say in when I go to lunch, or the flow of the front end could get seriously messed up, the CSMs will get in trouble, and we'd get in trouble for getting them in trouble. People like Pip who work in departments have a little more liberty in when they go to their breaks. I didn't think much of it, and I actually thought he'd just go at one when the schedule says he should. Oh well, it was worth a shot. But when 2PM rolled around, I started heading towards the back and I look up to see him leaving produce to join me. He asked what I was having for lunch, a bottle of water? I said I'd probably go to Burger King since I had coupons.
"K, I'll ride with you." He'd followed me halfway back down the hall before stopping and going "Oh! Uh, that is if you don't care." Oh STFU and get in my truck, you. I'd pack you up and take you home with me right now if I could. Not that I used those words, mind, as much as I would have liked to. It probably would have alarmed him, no doubt. But of course I don't mind. While I can't say that I stop being entirely clumsy and awkward around him, I am happy to say that a good portion of it ceases to be there. He's just . . . there, and I can actually have a conversation with him that doesn't end up with him staring at me like I grew a trombone out of my head or something. If I do do something dumb, he just laughs at me, in the 'laugh with you' kind of way. BK is hardly a mile away from Volde-Mart and on the same highway and I couldn't remember where the turn lane was to get in, then I nearly drove right past the entrance after that. This is nothing new for me, LOL. He also said "You look funny carrying a purse". For some reason I think that's the best compliment anyone's given me in a long time. It's true, I don't normally carry one; pretty much everything I need can go in my pockets. I'm great like that. We didn't spend the entire hour holding hands or gazing soppily into each other's faces or anything, it was just lunch out with a friend. But it was nice. I probably shouldn't be so awestruck that someone has known me for several months, seen me sweaty, frumpy,(really, we had some hot, nasty days on remodel) trip over chairs and benches, and have countless blonde moments, and still want to be in my company. Yet I always fret about whether something I said to him was really stupid or off-putting and sit lay there at night thinking he's going to do his best to avoid me the next time he sees me. But he always finds me and shadows me the next time anyways, and I'm always surprised. Pleased, don't get me wrong, very pleased, but surprised.
And that's where my analyzing comes into play. Our lunchtimes were scheduled at different times yesterday. He found out when mine was and adjusted his own; he didn't have to do that. There was any number of other Volde-Mart coworkers he could have passed that hour with. Later on in the day I was covering the people greeter's break and he came over with the excuse of bringing a shopping cart back there to me, but then waited for several minutes while I put some returns stickers on items for customers so he could tell me about Potato Man and Sweet Onion Lady. Then 6'o clock started approaching and I left the front end to make my way to the time clock. I look up and there he is again. We walked to the back and clocked out together and then walked outside together, although we were joined by that time with another of our remodel buddies. Is he just that desperate for company?I know he's a talker; he enjoys being around people and running his mouth about whatever crosses his mind, but why me? Does he like me as a friend or is he testing the waters to see if something bigger is possible? On Monday, he was talking again about his 18 year old niece, who is about 3 months pregnant now, and we got to talking about having kids, having kids young, etc. He was flipping out because his niece's friend seems to be jealous of all the attention she's getting and now wants to get pregnant, too. Because they're best friends and all this shit. We were trying to wrap our heads around why anyone would want to do this, and I mentioned that even pushing 27 now, I still have no desire to pop out any kids and wouldn't have hurt feelings if I never did. Pip already has two kids and the very last thing he ever wants are anymore, you see. I always wondered if maybe he was reserved about me because he'd think the typical "Oh, she's still young and probably dreams of raising a baybee". I've been wanting to tell him I'm child-free by choice since I heard him say he never wants anymore kids, but I didn't want to be straightforward to the point of grabbing him by his shirt collar and shouting it to the rooftops like a zealot. I dunno, it just seems now that I've mentioned it, he's wanting lunch and following me around the store even more than usual.
^ See what I mean about over-analyzing?
Anyways, it was a pretty great day. My customers were pleasant for the most part, or at least indifferent, and then all the little things happened that made me smile. Catching up with someone I hadn't seen in a while, a funny remark from a fellow cashier, Nature Boy beating the side of my truck, thrilled to death that his girlfriend parked by me and the four of us walked out together, and then closing my door for me . . . just little things. Nature Boy is a funny little guy.
Then I get online this morning and see that Pip has posted things like 'yeah well whatever' and 'I wanna run away as fast as I can to the middle of nowhere' and my heart sinks a little. He seems so happy at work but I know he gets bothered at home. He says he usually just locks himself up in his room with the TV because he doesn't get along with his Dad. I wish I knew why he was so unhappy. I wish I knew what I could do to help him, or what to say. I guess all I can do is just be there and see what happens.