If you ever feel you have too much faith in humanity, I suggest you spend a little time working in the school supply section at a busy Walmart the week before school starts. This past Friday through Tuesday I worked five 10-hour days in a row and spent most of my time in the back-to-school section of the store.
Thoughts and helpful hints-
TAX-FREE WEEKEND IS NOT WORTH THE HASSLE IF YOU ARE JUST BUYING THINGS FROM THE SCHOOL SUPPLY LIST. You’re waiting until the last minute and there’s a (very strong) chance what you need is not going to be there. Don’t wait and try to save 8.25% on that 50¢ purple plastic prong folder. The 40 people on that little aisle are also looking for the purple plastic prong folder. We had 200 last week… Same thing with two packs of glue sticks. And erasers.
THE SCHOOL SUPPLY LISTS ARE ONLINE. THEY’VE BEEN ONLINE SINCE JUNE. Please, please, please don’t just blindly show up and expect to have your school’s fourth grade list waiting for you. Everyone from your school’s fourth grade class has already been here and they bought all the purple plastic prong folders.
I went to the back looking for a woman’s granddaughter’s school list Tuesday night. I got on the computer, looked it up and it didn’t print out. I came back out to her and got out my phone. “Okay, I am going to go on google and look up the school. Fifth grade? Here we go. Do you have a phone with a camera?”
“NO.” she said angrily. Her little granddaughter tried to remind her grandma of the camera on her phone, but the lady gave her a stern “shut up” look.
So, I got a couple of sheets of paper and wrote out the little girl’s school list right at the front of the back-to-school section. I showed the girl where some of the things were as I was writing. I handed the list to the lady and she wasn’t even the teeniest bit thankful. :shrug: I said, “Have a great night!” to her. What can you do?
The easy thing to do, the thing that I (and I think most people) would naturally do when someone just deflates any feelings that you’re doing the right thing- would be to just let that experience make you fold up and not want to help anyone else. What I decided to do was be as nice as possible to everyone else I encountered for the rest of the evening.
Something I’ve thought about in the day since this- These are the situations where your children learn how to treat people and how to behave in public. It’s not when you’re at home at the dinner table giving a lecture. It’s not the speech you give in the car telling your children to behave when you are on the way to the store. They see how you react in the situation, if- when you can’t find what you’re looking for- you just leave items on the ground, they see how you treat the retail workers, how to treat the other shoppers. When you go out to eat and treat the waitstaff terribly… THAT’S what your kids and grandchildren will model their behavior on. Those are the things they remember.
As busy and nuts as this past week was, I just need to say that I DO like my job. I work with some really wonderfully delightful people. I meet some very interesting characters- like a man at the paint counter who wanted me to color match a rock. I see a lot of things that are adorable or funny or just surreal. Like the 6 year old girl smelling elmer’s glue while her parents were distracted, or the lady wrapping bath towels around her waist to see which one fit the best, or a man clipping his nails in the automotive section, a baby that looked exactly like William H. Macy, a young mother who set her 1 year old on the ground to play with crates. You think you’ve seen it all and then you see a Buddhist Monk on the cereal aisle.