I know what you’re thinking. There are more than a couple of weird things at Walmart. And I can’t argue that. But what I wanted to tell you about were two weird things in particular.
I saw an article on Huffington Post this morning about a surveillance camera that captured a glass cake case lid moving on its own at a convenience store. I wasn’t surprised. While disbelievers will never accept it, I worked for years at a haunted fast food restaurant (really!) and things like that were fairly common. While I wouldn’t go so far as to say Walmart is haunted, I did have a couple of experiences last year that I can’t explain.
The first one took place the end of last May. The “fresh area,” including produce, does inventory once a month. Ever since I started the morning people had done it first thing and been finished with it by the time I came in for my afternoon/evening shift, but in May the Powers That Be decided we’d been doing it wrong all these years and had to start taking inventory at night.
My boss (who normally comes to work at 4 or 5 in the morning!) had to come in to supervise and I had to learn to do inventory. It’s a really easy process, but tedious, because you have to count *everything*. Tom took the bulk produce and assigned me to count the “piddly little stuff” — all the packages of seasonings and salad add-ons and nuts and dried fruits and etc., of which there is a surprising amount. By the time Tom finished his part, I was on the last shelf of the last display stand that had to be counted.
Let me describe this display stand for you, because it’s important if you’re to understand. It was a four-sided stand. Imagine if you had two really deep bookcases, stood them back-to-back and then put shelves on both ends. The shelves on the ends had tabs that fit into metal strips running up the outsides of the deep cases to hold them. The sides, backs, and shelves were all solid (nothing could fall through them) and there was no way anything could get hung up on the bottom of a shelf.
I was just getting ready to start counting the bottom shelf when Tom came over to see if I needed help. The shelf was 6″ off the floor with another shelf about 10″ above it and it was crammed with salad accoutrements. I was sitting on the floor and ducking down so I could see it and I had a rolling produce cart to my left with my handheld scanner on it. Tom came up on my left side, standing just the other side of my cart, and started counting things on the left side of the shelf. I started on the right end.
The first product on the right end was a fruit and nut salad topper in a glossy white and purple bag. I pulled them all out and piled them on my cart, then put them back neatly as I counted. There were just enough of them to make one row. The item next to that was a nut-herb-and parmesan salad topper in a larger bag that was off-white and green with a matte finish. There were a lot of these. Again, I pulled them all out and put them back neatly as I counted. When it got to the point where the shelf space was full, I still had some left, so I went to lay the next one sideways on top of the bags I’d just, seconds ago, put there.
There was a purple-and-white bag of the fruit and nut stuff already lying on top of them.
Besides Tom, the only people in the area were the deli girls, fifteen feet away behind a high counter. No one saw anything but me and when I had a mild freakout and explained what happened all I got from any of them was the smile-and-edge-away-from-the-crazy-person look. (I get that a lot. I’m used to it.)
The other incident happened last fall, late September if I remember it right. The produce department also includes floral. In our store that means one three-tiered, octagonal display stand that’s set up in front of the pharmacy at the other end of the store. The stand is made of pressed wood and has holes for the plastic buckets that flowers come in. It holds seventeen buckets, twelve on the bottom level, four on the middle level, and one on top.
I’d noticed that it was starting to smell like a swamp, so I got seventeen clean buckets, filled them with fresh water and took them down there on a cart to change them all out. My cart will hold twelve buckets on the top and I had five more on the bottom. When I got to the display case, I noticed that two of the holes were empty. I put buckets in them, moving the flowers around so everything was evenly distributed, and changed the other buckets out one-for-one (of course). So, when I got back to the produce department, I should have had fifteen buckets, right?
I only had thirteen. I never did figure out where the other two went.