Monday, April 21, 2014

Monday Morning Stories With Mookie - Episode 112

The Time Mookie Worked Third Shift Stocking Shelves (Part IV)

As I have previously mentioned, I have been working third shift unloading the receiving truck and stocking shelves at a local retail store. This has been going on for just over two years now, and needless to say - its a little frightening to know what goes on behind the scenes of one of America's favorite retailers. It's not so-much the company itself (which is as screwy as all corporations go), but the people I work with that leave you speechless. What do I mean? Read on my friends.

If you read my last episode about stocking shelves (Episode 87), you might remember "Sally.*" Sally is the one who "retired" to get her 401k, but then got hired back a few months later because she couldn't afford to be "retired." The rumor is she gambled away most of her retirement, but she has never confirmed or denied this. Sally is easily in her late 60's, has a voice that is very loud and very shrill - but yet she mumbles when she talks. She honestly sounds like she is really drunk or heavily medicated. Therefore, when she talks - you have to really listen to her so that you understand her - which isn't always the easiest thing to do at 4AM. On most days when she is talking in the break room, you can't help but hear her the way her voice carries. Most people try to ignore her, but its impossible not to hear her. Whenever she doesn't understand something someone said, almost every time she goes "WHHHHAAAAATT??" in this loud shrill noise that makes you wince a bit. One of my female co-workers - whose husband had also previously worked at this store - told me that he can do a "spot-on" impression of Sally and her "WHHHHAAAAATT?" comment. She said he's rather good at it, and enjoys doing it so much that even their kids will join in and do it as well. I told her that story alone somehow made me laugh and warmed my heart all at the same time. You have to love it when an imitation can filter through a family that way. Yes...I'm weird that way.

Then there is this classic "Sally story:" Back in February, someone was talking about their kids not having to go to school on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Sally says - with all seriousness:
"When I was in school, we didn't get no Martin Luther King Day off from school."
Everyone started laughing, and reminded her that when she was in school, Martin Luther King Jr. wasn't dead yet. She sat there looking at everyone like she still didn't have a clue, along with a look that said "Eff you guys."

Another guy I work with is "Daniel.*" He stocks the dairy/frozen side of the store, and is generally a nice guy for the most part. I especially enjoy his rants about one of the team leaders on the dairy/frozen team in the store - because that guy is a complete tool. Daniel's only downfall is that he's old and has horrible knees. Therefore when he walks he has this hunched over/squatty appearance. In my opinion: he walks like he crapped his pants. Like I said, he's a nice guy so I feel bad for him. You can tell its an effort for him to get up and down when stocking the lower shelves, so it makes me appreciate my fairly good mobility - even on the days when I am sore and stiff from throwing boxes a few nights a week. But still, if anyone wanted to hear a good rant about the dairy/frozen team lead - Daniel is the guy to dish it out. I wouldn't probably socialize with him outside of work, but at work he is quality entertainment and helps get you through the shift.

As I have done in the previous episodes, I will include a story about our favorite hearing-impaired employee - "Larry.*" Unfortunately due to my scheduling needs as of late, I haven't had too many face-to-face encounters with Larry.  Having said that, he has STILL unknowingly made me feel like a complete jackass. One night as I pulled into the parking lot for my shift, I noticed another vehicle that was parking a short distance away. Upon the person's departure from the car, I saw it was my hearing-impaired co-worker Larry. I could not believe blew my mind because I honestly did not know that deaf people were allowed to drive. I mean it makes some sense because he can see what's going on, but I always thought you had to be able to hear. Even in Driver's Ed they said to "look and listen" when driving. Sadly he probably drives better than people who can hear, so who am I to judge.

In case you are worried that I won't have many "Larry" stories in the future, and that I might be absolved of being a jackass around a hearing-impaired person - you could not be more wrong. Just the other night I was lucky/unlucky enough to run into the store's newest hearing-impaired employee "Ben.*" I shouldn't have to tell you that his presence immediately made me feel like a jackass. We were both working "the line" sorting boxes as they came off the truck, and I was standing a spot down from him (Each spot is responsible for certain boxes that have designated codes on them). I had never seen or met Ben before, but it is not uncommon to be working with a new person on any random night. I immediately noticed that he seemed oblivious to my presence, and when I asked him to hand me a particular box - he ignored me.  I was like WTF? It wasn't a big deal so I didn't do anything, but then - he continued to basically ignore me. Just when I was about ready to ask him what the deal was, one of the Team Leads came up to me, and goes "Oh hey, I'm not sure if you've met him or not, but Ben is deaf." Son of a bitch.
Then later in the night during our "team huddle" where we get informed about everything going on in the store, Ben sat rattling his empty pineapple juice can on the table. He was oblivious to the fact he was making a TREMENDOUS racket, and because he wasn't paying attention to the team huddle due to the fact he can't HEAR IT, he didn't notice people looking at him and wondering why he was making a ton of noise. Of course I'm sitting near him and its all I can do to not lose it and laugh.
"Ben, can you hand me that box? Ben?"

The last story I will leave you with goes clear back to the Christmas season, and still makes me laugh in a perverse sort of way. The store was open a few hours later in the weeks leading up to Christmas, therefore the "day shift" teams were intermixed with us "night people" for a few hours each night. We started unloading the truck around 10pm, and when we finished the unload around 11:30 - we started moving boxes and freight to the floor. The "evening people" were still there cleaning up the store from the day's hustle and bustle, and we politely worked around one another trying to accomplish our assigned tasks. There is sometimes a tension in the air between day people and night people for some reason, but I'm not sure why since we are all on the same "team." My best guess is that each group thinks the other is a bunch of slackers. For the record - the night team works WAY harder, but this is probably due the fact the day people deal with customers. Then again - as I have said - the night people are a little weird, so maybe the day team is a little afraid of the night team. ANYWAY. As per usual, after the truck was unloaded the overnight manager turned on a radio and played it over the store P.A. Stocking shelves without music playing overhead is awful. Country music is even better than no music - and coming from me - that is saying something. This particular night the manager chose one of the local "rock stations" that plays a wide variety of stuff. This includes music that the aforementioned "Sally" calls "devil-music." It wasn't long after the music came on that the DJ in his infinite wisdom cranked up the classic song "Crazy Bitch" by Buckcherry. This is a foul-mouthed and graphic song, where the title is said no less than 15 times, and the "F-Word" is also said at least that many times. In other words - it is an absolutely awesome song. Granted - the version being played on the radio was the semi-censored radio version - but it still gets its point across in a big way. I started looking around the store at the day shift people to see what their reaction was going to be - and the looks on their faces was PRICELESS. I witnessed looks of pure shock and awe on the faces of some of the middle-aged ladies and the goody-goody teenage kids that were working. I even saw one lady put her hand to her mouth in a "oh my goodness" sort of way, and confer with her fellow co-worker about the inappropriateness of the song. Again, this made me smile in a perverse sort of way because I like seeing people being shocked by stuff like that.

So remember gang, when you purchase your favorite goods at your local retailers - the person who put it on the shelf may have been one of the people I have mentioned in this (or in a previous) story. If that doesn't scare you enough to check those expiration dates on the product before you buy it, I don't know what would.

Have a good one and happy shopping.

(*) - Names were changed to protect the guilty/innocent.

Miss a previous episode?  Click HERE to see the library.

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