Wednesday was an interesting evening to say the least. See, I work in Department 13, otherwise known as Household Chemicals. The main part of which consists of a Damn Bunch of laundry detergent, bleach, and air fresheners, and a lesser portion taking up half of the next aisle has things like bug spray and other low-level pest control gimmicks ( the stronger poisons seem to be confined to Hardware and Lawn & Garden ), as well as your Lysol, floor, kitchen and bath cleaners. So yes, I have ready access to flammable materials, accelerants, and all sorts of things that produce deadly vapors under a variety of conditions. Dude, I could probably kill everybody in the building either by explosion or by deadly gases released from any sort of device I could engineer on the spot. But that's not the purpose of this story, no.

Chemicals, Housewares, Stationary, Pets, Domestics, and sort of Fabrics & Crafts are all connected in as much as the people who work in those departments cover for each other when others have to go to their breaks or whatever. There's usually at least one person in each department. Only this time there wasn't. Mary, who works Housewares has her usual days off Wednesday and Thursday. Sara in Domestics also has those days off this week, and Jean who I'm pretty sure also works Domestics is on vacation. Now, the person working in Fabrics can't leave that area unless there's someone to replace her, because there has to always be someone around to cut fabric for people. So, there's effectively myself and Georgia from Stationary to not only deal with our own departments, but Hosuewares and Domestics, which are both comparatively huge slices of real estate. Nobody was working in Pets until 5pm, either, and while I only came in at 4, it doesn't exactly make a difference. Pets guy never appeared to really do anything outside of his area, and since he's put in his notice in order to leave for a much better paying job at our new Office Depot, he's even more slack-assed. So I only had to cover for pets for an hour, which pretty much just consists of getting out fish for people, and occasionally pulling something off a top shelf, like a dog house. Anyway, if Georgia and I could have both been going through our extra departments together, all at the same time, we could have done pretty damn well, I think, to at least "zone" (basically prettying up the shelves) all over the place and made it look like it would have if the regular people had been there. Of course it can't work out so well. Georgia, knowing how to cut fabric, had to cover Fabrics for an hour while whoever worked there went to dinner, then georgia had dinner. So I was stuck for two hours trying to zone through Housewares, zone my aisle which was sorely neglected, and try to run as much of the returns for three departments as I could, in addition to the returns Georgia and I ran when I came on shift. I've barely spent any time in Housewares, and know where very little goes. So all I could really do was straighten stuff out and put some out of place items I recognized back in their proper places. I'm even more hopeless in Domestics, which Georgia apparently zoned while I was at dinner after skanky electronics woman with all the kids claimed to have gone through and finished it. Not even close. The upshot to this whole mess was that for one thing I wasn't bored, since I was going pretty much all over doing lots of different stuff in my attempts to cover, and for another, I finally got a manager to enable me on the Telxon, the little handheld scanner deal you often see department managers and other employees walking around Wal-Marts with. My department manager so very helpfully keeps the Department 13 Telxon in his locker when he's not on, but I at least have access options now for when I can find one of the other hidden units. And I'm debating making an inquiry to one of the assistant managers to see if we can't unlocker the Telxon I should by all rights have access to when I'm on the clock. I'm not scheduled at any of the same times as my department manager, so I can't even ask to borrow it off him since by the time I'm in, it's already locked away.

In any case, I feel sorry for Georgia today. All those people are out, I'm out, and she's gonna have to cover everything herself. We were both beat by the end of shift last night, and there was two of us dealing with the unmanned areas. Now there's one of her plus an extra department to handle. I might have to buy her a drink on Friday.


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