Welcome to Wal*Mart

4 May

It had been 4 months since losing my job as a nanny, and a month since returning from Italy. During that month I took time to visit my family in Las Cruces which consisted of a 32 hour Greyhound bus ride, copious amounts of Christmas music on replay and a guy trying to fondle me as I slept. Yeah, he tried. As soon as I felt his hand crawling up my thigh he was punched in the face and kicked into the aisle. My loud announcement awoke everyone on the bus and a few men made quick work of roughing up the creep. He was dropped off on the side of the road a few minutes later. It was a rough start to a holiday vacation but it was wonderful seeing my parents and being with them for Christmas through New Years. YAY! 2005!

From Las Cruces I flew to Texas where I met L who had returned from Italy. We were to spend 2 weeks visiting his family and I was to meet them all for the first time, then drive his mustang back to Idaho. I wish I could say this went well and in some aspects it did. Let’s just say his mother did not welcome me with the open arms I was hoping for. I was warned that she is a bit crazy some times, but I was not prepared for what felt like blind hatred. I could understand her not liking me if I was a druggy, a Satanist, a potty mouth, or really ugly… But I was none of those things. I knew then that if I married L she would be an obstacle I would always have to navigate. I was however welcomed and shown love by L’s father and step mom. Over the years we have grown very close and enjoy a loving relationship. I absolutely adore them both. L’s siblings were always cordial and put out effort to get to know me. I always felt like it was out of their love for their brother not because they genuinely liked me or were interested in who I was. Either way though, they were always kind and I really have nothing to complain about. I wish I could say that the relationship between his mother and I improved over the years but I can’t. She remains the only person to ever consistently show me dislike and unjustifiable cruelty. Nothing else to say about the situation, well there is, but there is no point in sharing with the world. It is what it is.

After the visit in Texas which wasn’t very smooth, I was looking forward to stopping over in Las Cruces with L so he could meet my parents. The visit was short but nice, and they seemed to like L so I was pleased.

A few days after arriving in Mountain Home the job search began. I had to start making money and do something productive with my life. I went out on a job hunt. This wasn’t very easy. Mountain Home is a military fueled town with very few jobs to offer. There’s a grocery store, 3 restaurants, a few fast food places, a hardware store, 2 or 3 car dealerships, a movie theatre, a cable company, a hotel, a couple of gas stations…. that’s it really. Oh yes, and Wal*Mart. I applied everywhere on base first but there was a slim chance of me getting hired as the positions first go to active duty family members. Then I applied everywhere but the fast food places. I got an interview with Wal*Mart.

I landed the job. I wasn’t too thrilled to work at Wal*Mart, but it would provide me with income and oh how I missed having money! I started as a cashier and I actually liked it. Well besides the weird shifts I had to endure. 7pm-3am was torture for a couple of reasons. 1, My sleep was all sorts of strange and they liked to schedule me for 7pm-3am and then call me at 6am saying that they needed me for 9am. 2, Think of the people you normally see during the day at Wal*Mart. As the hours get later, they get weirder. Some nights the customers became my form of entertainment.

One family I remember because they left a scent memory. A scent memory is a memory that is engrained inside you because of a scent that’s attached to it. Every time I smell a strong scent of urine, I am reminded of them. The extremely obese couple would come in nearly every night around 11pm, with their 4 obese children in tow, wreaking of pee. I must have been their favorite cashier because  no matter how long my line was, they waited. After they passed through I had to disinfect my entire area to rid the area of the urine stench. I am not exaggerating. A few times I found myself fighting my gag reflex and the urge to call child protective services. I could only imagine the conditions they were living in! Another woman comes to mind too. This woman is a poster child for plastic surgery addiction and scary makeup application. I assumed she was in her 50’s or 60’s but it was hard to tell. It was however obvious she had a completely different face than the one she was born with. She would come in late and I can only attribute the lateness to her ritualistic make-up practices. Make-up that hideous and thick takes a lot of time. Trust me. I tried imitating the make-up with a friend and it took us well over 3 hours to perfect it. And that was with 2 of us working simultaneously. She bought hair bleach and an assortment of Jane makeup on a weekly basis. I am unsure of what the bleach was used for though. It was obvious she bleached the hair on her head, but her roots were always grown out an inch or so…. Where could all that bleach be going? I tried not to ponder on this question.

When I took the job at Wal*Mart my health was improving. I was still taking my herbs and off all pain medications. But the lack of rest and long hours on my feet began to take a toll after a few months. I talked to my supervisor about getting a stool to sit on during slow times, letting him know I was struggling with my muscle issues being on foot all day (He hired me knowing of my condition). He denied my request and said that their store wouldn’t allow sitting as a cashier. So he made me a greeter during half of my shift and that actually worked well. I stood the first half as a cashier and then the second half I was able to sit and smile, which was cake. I sit and smile well! “Welcome to Wal*Mart!” I had to have said it over a million times in 3 months. Sometimes I would go home to sleep and “Welcome to Wal*Mart” would be in my dreams. I would dream of greeting people, all the time. Sometimes I would dream of greeting aliens and animals too, just depended on the kind of day I had I guess.

Anyways, the greeter position was working out really well for me. But when they hired an old lady, I was forced off my stool and back to being strictly a cashier. After a week or 2 I again told my superior I could not manage standing for those hours and he said, “If you can’t do the job as is, then consider yourself let go.” I cried loudly, right there in his office. I believe I made him extremely uncomfortable, but I didn’t really care. I was so upset. This felt so wrong and unjust. At the time I was so distraught and disappointed that I didn’t even think of the Disabilities Act he was violating. Hindsight 20/20 I think I had a legal case with that dismissal. After 6 months of employment, I was unemployed, again.

I was so upset and discouraged. I had lost another job and had to go through all those same feelings of failure. My body was holding me back! I tried to get on disability after my dismissal but that was unsuccessful too. While working at Wal*Mart, L and I had gotten married. His income disqualified me.

Yes that’s right, we married. That’s the next post.

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One Response to “Welcome to Wal*Mart”

  1. Jill May 4, 2012 at 10:22 pm #

    That memory still angers me! You were mistreated, you had rights and this is one of those imes when i feel we should have tried to keep you close. Sorry, lacey…. You needed us.

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