It has been exactly one month since my last day working at Walmart, and I feel like now is a good time to sum up my experience working there:
I was really optimistic during the start of summer; I had planned to find a job to pay for my Summer classes and cover my rent. Plus there were two weeks till Summer classes started. “Plenty of time to find a job!” I told myself. I was SO wrong.
San Marcos becomes a tourist town as soon as school ends, and the only places hiring were retail or restaurants. I knew retail was bad, so I decided to apply to restaurants. Being a tourist town, every single restaurant I applied to required multiple years of experience. As the weeks turned into days, and every single restaurant I applied to rejected me, I decided to turn towards retail. To sum it up, HEB rejected me 6 times even though I was available for 24hrs 7 days a week -____-
In the most desperate of times, I decided to apply at Walmart. That very next day, someone called me and told me to come in “tomorrow”. Though I’ve always regarded Walmart as my last option, this quick response was my only sign or moral victory in about a month. It was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up, and I ended up working there within a week.
In the beginning, Walmart wasn’t a bad place to work. You come into the store, clock in, and do your assigned tasks. I was getting so good at my tasks that other managers started using me. By the time I left Walmart, I had worked on the sales floor, backroom, freezer, loading/unloading dock, parking lot, etc. I ended up doing so many favors for so many managers that it became overwhelming. Lesson learned: if you’re good at something, don’t do it for free.
Working at Walmart enabled me to see the worst of society. During my time there, I saw stuff nobody must ever see in their life. To list some of the worst:
- finding loaded and ripped diapers in the back of shelves
- finding a tea bottle filled with urine on a shelf
- cleaning leaking diapers from the cart, and the trail it left throughout the store
- finding betta fishes put into a single cup
- observing abusive parents/careless parents, and not being able to do anything about it
- finding a bag of bloody ripped up live fishes
- a mother locking her daughter in a dog kennel for ‘misbehaving’
It was around the college back-to-school weekend that really opened my eyes to the chaos seemingly ordinary people can create. Within the first 6hrs of the day of college dorm move-in, the majority of the stuff in Chemicals and Papers has been sold out. Shelves were completely wiped out, and the warehouse in the back was cleaned. As more and more students made their way back to school, the shortage situation rose. Parents became maniacs as they fought over he last few items the store was still carrying. There was a day when the store ran out of shopping carts! It really surprised me that it wasn’t the students that were crazy, but their parents. For the next few days after the shortage, I spent hours desperately explaining to angry parents that store has sold out of so and so item. I was yelled at, cursed at, while maintaining my most professional posture.
During those few days, all the managers mysteriously disappeared and left all the associates for dead to deal with hoards of angry parents.
By the time school started, things have finally settled down. At that time, I was working around 34hrs a week. Slowly, that number dipped lower and lower until I ended up with 8hrs a week. Making $7.60/hr isn’t going to allow me to cover any of my expenses. This was the main reason why I finally quit.
My last day at Walmart proved to be quite memorable. Somebody loaded up two 25lb bags of sugar in their cart. They then poked holes in the bag, and proceeded to zigzag their way through every single grocery aisle, across the store, and out the garden center. Every single associate was called to help clean sugar, which proved to be quite tricky: not only can you not use liquid to clean it, but sugar is really slippery and can be spread really easily. The entire clean up took about 2hrs, effectively immobilizing all store functions.
An important lesson learned: working retail is easy money. However, it probably won’t get you anywhere in life. I was at Walmart long enough to receive an employee discount card. But since they pay me so little, I couldn’t afford to buy anything -___-
For those looking for a job, look for something that can offer you a skill you can use anywhere. I know it’s near impossible to find a job nowadays, but that’s my take. Get a job that offers you a worthwhile experience, do not go the desperate route like I did.
Walmart, thank you for hiring me and allowing me to pay for my expenses over the summer. I’ve met many great co-associates while working there. And surprisingly, there are some great customers as well. It has been a wild run, and I’m glad it’s finally over