Freight Lines

Perhaps some backstory is in order. A Wal-Mart Supercenter has two receiving areas for trucks to back into and the ICS people, unloaders, and whatever other associates get shang-hai'ed for the task of emptying it of its goods. One receiving area is in Grocery, while the other is on the opposite side of the building, called General Merchandise, or GM. GM Receiving is a relatively spacious area that actually does have storage room for excess products for various departments. (So if anybody at Wal-Mart ever tells you that there are no extras of anything in back, they're either at a crapily supplied store, or just lying to you. They may not have everything back there, but there is some) When a truck comes in to GM, all the stuff on it ("freight") is essentially loose. Boxes stacked on each other haphazardly with no external wrappings to secure it, and it must be taken off piece by piece, run down a belt, and then placed on the correct pallets or carts for eventual stocking in whatever department. Until it's time to stock, the pallets sit back in GM Receiving. On the Grocery side, however, things work a bit different. The space is much, much smaller, and about all the extra we have back there is drinks, paper towels, and minimally perishable food items. Freight from the trucks comes top us already stacked and shrinkwrapped on pallets, divided by department. The unloaders in Grocery who generally consist of the Grocery ICS team would need do little to clear a truck but roll twenty-something pallets off of it, except there's not room to place that many pallets back there without both killing any walking space, and blocking the other bay doors. So, they still have to break down pallets onto carts, and take the carts out to the floor and work them.

Now, my chemicals used to come in primarily at GM, so I didn't really have to worry about it much. The night stock guys would come along and put all of it away while I wasn't there, and all I really had to do if I got in early enough was go back to GM before they started staging for the trucks was grab a couple cart-loads of bleach. The rest of the time I pulled stuff down from the risers to fill my shelves. Now, the Home Office has decided things are being mixed up a little. Most all of chemicals now comes to Grocery. And since there's no space back there to leave stuff sitting all day, those pallets have to be worked right away. If I'm not there to do it, then someone on ICS has to do it. And if ICS does it, my risers invariably get screwed the hell up. Basically I only know two or possibly three people that will do the risers well. One of course is myself, but filling risers is very time consuming seeing as I have no help, and I already don't have time in my silly little six hour shift to deal with all of my aisle and a half. Another is a night stocker who regularly works the chemicals. When he does it, and things aren't already messed up, I may not have everything available, but what I have will be arranged logically, and in a way that it's easy for me to refill empty spaces. The other is potentially my department manager, who I presume did and still does some of this when I'm off. But I have no real evidence of this, and am not exactly sure he even works to begin with.

So, my average shift now consists largely of multiple trips to Grocery to load a cart off usually two or more pallets, and go try to stock my aisle. It generally doesn't work out so smoothly. Many of the things we get we get far, far too much of, and it can go neither on the shelf nor the riser where extra goods are supposed to be kept for quick access. These items are then considered "backstock" or "overstock". Backstock items have to go on another cart and get wheeled out of the way, and sometimes have to be hauled off to GM depending which manager is on at the time. If I have two pallets to work, odds are that while I actually empty two pallets, only maybe one pallet worth of stuff, at most, will actually go on the shelves. All the rest sits in boys clothing on however many carts I fill up. And let me tell you, laundry detergent stacked higher than eye level, a half-meter wide and over a meter and a half long weighs a damn lot to then maybe have to haul all the way back to GM. And of course when I have to work the frieght, my aisle doesn't get its risers hardly pulled, which just makes things worse since the night stockers then can't really go and fix it if it's been messed up. I really need some help in my aisle for this kind of stuff.


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