I worked at Walmart once. Well, worked is kind of pushing it a little. It is more like I spent three hours preparing to work for Walmart. Three hours watching "informational" training videos. I have to say, they spend an inordinate amount of time teaching people how to use box cutters. I learned many things. For instance, NEVER ever carry one around by its blade-or never put one in your pocket with the blade extended. Useful information if you should ever have the need to use a box cutter. Fortunately, I have never found myself in that position. But If I ever should-I will be prepared. Thanks Walmart!
It was a rough time financially for us. Omar was working forty miles away, we had a new baby Oscar and were first time home owners. In other words we were flat broke. I had to get a job. So it was Walmart or bust. A jobs a job. You do what you have to. Right? So I dove into the finer points of box cutter techniques with a positive attitude. Until I was handed my "official" Walmart name tag. I'm sure most of you have seen them-a large rectangle..embossed with the Walmart logo (of course in red white and blue) and "Kathleen" boldly stamped across the front. I have to be honest here- I am so not a fan of the name tag. Any name tag .I believe that they give people ideas..a sense of camaraderie that is not earned. I can't tell you how many people have thought it o.k. to shorten my name to "Kathy".( I KNOW..What? I am so not a "Kathy"!) I think that if you need to know my name-ask me...maybe I'll tell you. (although...I have been known to give different names from time to time-depending on my mood. There was a muffin store I once worked in where many of the customers thought my name was "Sharon"). But I digress...So, I was handed my official name tag-and as I was about to pin it on to my official blue Walmart vest...I noticed that there was a ribbon hanging off of it..and on the ribbon in bold print were the words "LEARNING TO SERVE". gasp! I remember thinking " Is this what I have been reduced to?? A label that people would shorten at will and a ribbon implying that I didn't know what I was doing? Me!? ( I mean- Hey-I passed my "box cutter"quizzes with flying colors!) It's Walmart for goodness sake! sigh... I didn't have a choice. If I wanted to be paid-I had to wear it. We needed the money-I had no choice.
Oh-but luck was on my side! That very same day, Omar was transferred to a restaurant four miles from our house-and not only that-his monthly bonus would now exceed what I would have made at Walmart in three months alone! The relief was palpable. We would be financially stable...AND I didn't have to wear the name tag!! Oh happy day!
Since that unfortunate Walmart episode-my dislike for name tags has turned to loathing. If only it were the same way for my kids. They love them-especially Oscar. My boy has never met a name tag he hasn't been compelled to read-out loud. Most people are o.k. with this. Oscar is charming and friendly..and so darn enthusiastic-that, most name tag wearing people take it with a grain of salt. They smile, they say "hi"..and that's the end of it. It has worked out fine-until we met the infamous "Jim P."
We were at the market, standing in line at the deli counter. It was a busy Saturday, and I was only there (with the herd) out of dire necessity. The line for the deli was long-and it appeared as if it were short staffed. Only two clerks for about thirty people. One of them was Jim P. We know that-(in fact EVERYONE knew that) because besides it being written on his name tag- Oscar made a point of announcing it. "Hey-Look! Theres Jim P.!" (as if he were a long lost friend) "Hi Jim P.!!" ...Jim P. ignored him...so he said it louder.."Hey Jim P.-Hi!" Now, I try to think the best of people-especially when they aren't being very nice. They could be sick, or having family problems.... People have bad days-I get that. And, because you never really know whats going on- I try not to assume. Normally, I would have intervened..distracted Oscar, explained that Jim P. was busy and did not have time to say hello. But Jim P. made a big mistake. You see, when Oscar said hello for the second time-Jim P. looked at the other customers and rolled his eyes-as if he were disgusted. That did not fly right with this mother. Not one bit. My kids are taught to respect people, to acknowledge them-and to respond when they are being acknowledged. In other words-they have been taught manners. I understand that Oscars exuberance can be a little daunting. But, he's a kid-and it was obvious that all he wanted to do was say hello..*sigh* I figured that it was time to school Jim P. in manners. So, for the next ten minutes, Oscar insisted on trying to get Jim P.'s attention . "Hey Jim P.-I'm Oscar" or ""Hey Jim P. are you cutting turkey?" and "Look, Jim P. is washing his hands." I think that Jim P. worked very hard and fast in that ten minutes-if only to get us out of there. As he was handing me my package I made a point of praising Oscar for his manners pointing out how nice it is to take the time acknowledge people. All the while, I was looking at Jim P.
Since that day-I have explained to my kids my problem with name tags. That even though someone is wearing one-it is nice to wait until they give you their name. We have never run into that situation again. Funny, we have also not run into Jim P. either. I don't think he works there anymore. There is a part of me that hopes he's at Walmart.