Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Cashier of the Month

Saturday, January 28th was a big day. It started like any other as I was waiting beside the time clock to punch in, until a friend called me over to the adjacent bulletin board. “Isn’t that you?” he asked pointing to my name on the Cashier of the Month poster for November. Even though November was for a couple of months ago this was news to me (I would later find out that this was a mistake and I had won the award for January.) Early on I had decided to give the job my all and transform into the model submissive worker, rather than try to sabotage their operations in petty ways. So I would go outside to push carts with a smile on my face, never say a word when my break was an hour late, and thank them when they asked me to watch the door. I figured this approach would allow me to garner the respect of my co-workers as well as learn about operations from supervisors grooming me to climb the ladder. This part at least played out perfectly; Cashier of the Month was a bit much. As a “Four Start Cashier” I was entitled to fabulous prizes like a maroon vest and… well, maroon is much cooler than blue.

In addition to this I had received another award earlier in the week: two “Good Job” pins. The front-end manager caught me during a lull and staged an awkward little presentation in appreciation for all my hard work. This may not sound like much but these pins are hard to come by and a big deal at our store. (The pins themselves are very clever, sending a message to the uninformed customer not about an associate’s performance, but how WAL-MART has good jobs.) After three of these pins you can trade them in for a bigger pin and one share of stock. For someone so new to the store to have earned two pins already was unheard of. “Whose butt are you kissing?” demanded one of my co-workers from the photo lab. I explained to people that the two awards were not for any extraordinary work, but rather due to the guilt that my supervisors felt for jerking me around between the service desk and layaway. That is until a friend pointed out “they have done the same to me and I never got anything for it.” Touché. Yes, these accolades were a product of guilt, but they also came my way because I had played the game. Or put another way, I had done a little butt kissing.

But it didn’t end here. That same day, after making my way to the sales floor I found the Front-end Manager and my favorite CSM awaiting my arrival. They brought me back to Personnel and after a couple of playful attempts to scare me into thinking I was in trouble the CSM told me I was moving back to the service desk. She was more excited about this than I since she still felt terrible about my being forced back to layaway because of her mistake not coding me. I of course never bought into this explanation, recognizing it for what it was, a larger effort to deny employees the raise they had earned. (Afterwards we had a member of management code me to customer service, a laughably quick process that only took a few strokes on the computer.) Besides, three weeks after my transfer I had still only been back to layaway twice, remaining at the service desk for the rest of the time.

As we continued to talk I found out that a spot had opened up for me when the young woman who had taken my spot had been moved to another department, not something she was especially excited for. In addition to this I had once again leapfrogged several longer standing and more qualified female associates, namely the woman who had been with the company for six years and worked primarily on the service desk, never receiving the 20-cent raise she deserved. Some twenty minutes later we closed the session with my supervisors speaking flatteringly about my performance and encouraging me to apply for a Customer Service Manager position next time it came up. My future was bright. As I walked back to the sales floor I knew my project at WAL-MART had run its course. I had gotten what I came for and to stay any longer would be counter-productive. It was time for me to quit.


Anonymous said...

Hello Associate, I see, after reading your blog, that no one has made comments. I am an Associate in TN, and thought I was the only one who felt the way I do. However, it does seem now that the problems we face here are EVERYWHERE. I have been with Wal-Mart for 3 years. Have been through the same things you have. There are 2 things you mentioned that really 'hit home'. Having your Christmas ruined by being at Wal-Mart and the change you found in your general attitude. I can only hope that I can 'buck-up' and get the hell out of here before I completely lose what is left of my mind.

somewhereinky said...

Please do not quit, you have not seen it all, you have just begun to be taken into the fold you will see so much more

somewhereinky said...

This is only the tip of what you will find out, you will find out so much more now that they think you want to advance. Belive me you have so much more to find out

george soros said...

Barbara Ehrenreich would be so proud of you.

NightStalker said...

Interesting thoughts. I enjoy your articulation of the events. "Unfortunatly" I work, er, 'slave' at Wal-Mart myself... and be glad your getting even that much recognition. I can bust my ass each and every single day, show up all my fellow associates, carry their workloads, make them look like shit... but in the end, all the managers will offer me, is a pat on the back and job well done.

And this is all I will ever get. When my eval comes up, I will meet my expectations even thought my marker for each goal is set way beyond where the "exceeds" is located... they will find a single falicy in my work, my method, and exploit it and destroy me from getting .55 increase, and only giving me a .40

And how could they care? They are told to only give so many exceeds, along with how many merit raises they are to give... the only people who get them at my store are the "golden children" as we call them. Those that are worth a lot, but kiss so much ass as well that they can score upwords of 90-100 hours paychecks for 2 weeks of work...

Its all predicated on a system built by a team that saves money at any cost, even the respect of human welfare... so be glad that they even took the time to order the creation of the pin, and even ship it out, and even on top of that, give it to someone, for free. Thats saying a whole lot for a company that won't give me .15 more an hour when i damn well deserve it.

Btw, I was linked from www.walmart-blows.com join us there with your escapades ;)

Anonymous said...

Are you really going to quit? Wait just a little. Go for the CSM position and keep us posted. Maybe take CSM position for something like 3months, if you can stand it. That position is a trip and half. Honestly, I couldn't have written this whole blog better! By the way I don't work in any of the southern stores, it's in a north eastern state. It is so weird that what goes on in your store is exactly what goes on in mine.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kassie said...

I worked for the wal-mart company for 16 years. I worked for Sam's Club for 12years and actually got fired for being 15 minutes late. I went to school and got a degree and a manager at another club called me and "made it worth my while" to come back to work for him at his club. I worked there another four years and had enough. After reading this site, I can honestly say, I am glad that I am not the only one that saw all this bullshit going on. Walmart is NOT all it's cracked up to be.

Eli C said...

The reason why you got 2 pins faster than anyone else, and was being recognized more than anyone else, is because you have a college degree and your other co-workers don't.

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Anonymous said...

too bad that doesn't happen at the walmart i worked at. If you work hard, never call in, are a fast cashier and will volunteer to do the job no one else wants to do....you get treated like crap as a reward. its great. NOT

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Anonymous said...

I work my rear off at walmart and all i have to say is, working at walmart sucks big time. GO TO COLLEGE AND SKIP THE WALMART experiance!!

Porcelain said...

Walmart is lowering pay, and convincing people is a raise!
Before Walmart had a minimum start pay of $8 they are upping it to $10. But, they lowered the pay raises so much, it still save's them loads of money.

The maximum raise was 0.65 cents per year. Now it's 3% of your hourly rate. So, if you start at $10 in 20yrs you would make $18.03 if you got all maximum raises. But, if you had got all maximum 65 cent raises, in 20 years you would make $23.00 per hr. Walmart is saving $5 a year from payroll with this tricky new "pay raise robbery"

And they are smart as heck about it. They know that new employees aren't confident enough to start an uprising. So, it being a percentage, long term employees, making like $20 an hour, would still get a 60 cent raise. Not enough of a loss to make them strike.

But that's not all. They are also talking about eliminating the wage cap, because they want to be nice and fair. But.... Nobody is ever going to reach it anymore anyway.. with the new 3% raise, after 25 years you would make 20.90 and at 30 years you would finally be making 24.22. The pay cap is like $26. On the old plan you would max out at 22-23 years. Now you have to work over 30 to reach the same pay. Huge savings for Walmart, more money out of the workers pockets, and into walmarts.

But that's still not all. They added in all types of bonuses. They lowered the third shift premium from $2 to $1.50. To prevent a riot, they gave us senior workers a 50 cent raise to make up for the shift loss. But from here forward anyone joining the night shift will get less. Another huge savings by avoiding paying us decently

Or, eliminating higher pay grades, like the people in the back that were ims.. Inventory management and a higher level pay. Because there was a lot of computer and logical skills involved. They eliminated them, now everyone is a just a stocker, and they must learn to do the inventory part for everything they stock. But, no higher pay.

They are robbing us left and right. But they held up a golden nugget promise of "Raising starting pay to $10 an hour!" To distract us from all this under handed Thievery as they pick our pockets.

I see what you did there Walmart.
Well played Walmart, well played...
Don't spray chocolate flavoring on a pile of doodoo then try to spoon feed it to me and convince me is chocolate pudding.

If you give your whole life to working for Walmart, be prepared to get used to walking in the door and trying to reach for some Vaseline before you get bent over

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nicole ford said...

I have a college degree and have been with Wal-Mart for 6 years now in the same position, and I've never even gotten a 'good morning'

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