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What “abandoned former Wal-Mart sites”?

January 21, 2006, 11:17 PM

In the Staunton News Leader‘s January 21, 2006 house editorial, they discussed about the Frontier Culture Museum’s plan for using some of its property fronting US 250 and Frontier Drive for retail in order to help fund the museum’s programs (the museum itself is back and out of sight from the front of the property).

What made my ears perk up while reading this was this paragraph about the facility that anchors all this development:

Remember too that the retail leviathan that anchors the area is an aging Wal-Mart. Those who recall all the other abandoned former Wal-Mart sites around Staunton can attest that this chain is not the most faithful.

I question the accuracy of this statement. I am not even going to touch the issue of how “faithful” Wal-Mart is, because it’s immaterial to the discussion.

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I guess I’ll now be thinking about how things coordinate with maroon…

January 13, 2006, 5:12 PM

Today, I was just stunned. I’m sure many associates have fantasized about wearing the maroon vest of the Four-Star Cashier at Wally World. And as it turns out, I was selected as the Four-Star Cashier for our store for January. I was just taken back a bit. Still, I wondered how I’d look in the new vest. So I used an old photo of me in my old blue vest and adjusted it. Take a look and compare…

Wal-Mart vest in blue  Wal-Mart vest in maroon

I think I look pretty sharp in maroon, don’t you think? This also means I’ll finally be getting a new vest at work, as mine is on the verge of falling apart and really should have been replaced long ago. Seriously, I’ve had to make repairs to it on a number of occasions, and have even worn a hole through one of the pockets. So all in all, fun stuff. I was quite surprised.

Categories: Walmart

“You have to be smarter than the objects you’re working with.”

January 1, 2006, 10:36 PM

Sometimes, people just say the darndest things. A customer told me today, “You have to be smarter than the objects you’re working with.” I nearly burst out laughing. Why? Because while he was referring to the bag of dog food he was putting up on the belt, I was thinking about it from my own perspective. The object I was working with was the gentleman in front of me. And you have to be smarter than the objects you’re working with, according to this gentleman.

My exact thought came in the form of a quip from Judge Judy: “I’m very smart, and I will still be smarter than you even if you live to be five hundred.”

It took everything in me to keep from laughing at this man, because he didn’t realize just what he had said…

Categories: Walmart

This makes the second time someone’s stashed something next to my car…

December 31, 2005, 6:22 PM

I don’t know what it is about my car, but it seems to be attractive to people for stashing stuff near at work. For those of you who don’t know, I park my car at the far left edge of the parking lot. And today at work, I found two gift bags stuffed under the front of my car that weren’t there when I pulled in that morning. Very strange.

Then another time last year, I found that someone had abandoned a full Burger King uniform, still in its box, on the pavement next to my car. I was inclined to leave it where it was and forget about it (the “not my problem” factor). A coworker that I was walking out with at that time took it over to Burger King the next day.

All in all, strange. Of course, people are strange in general, which is something I’ve found out working in retail…

Categories: Some people, Walmart

The Christmas season, for my purposes, is at last over.

December 24, 2005, 5:52 PM

It is Christmas Eve, and I have officially finished for the day at work, which I did at 4 PM. That means that for me, Christmas is over. Opening the presents tomorrow morning is nothing compared to dealing with a bunch of cranky Christmas shoppers.

Meanwhile, there’s nothing like working retail to suck the Christmas spirit right out of a person. The phrase “Merry Friggin’ Christmas” comes to mind. And if that offends your sensibilities, then “Happy Friggin’ Holidays” to you.

And in the break room, we cozied up to reading the children’s letters to Santa Claus that were published in The News Leader today. I tell you… that was high entertainment. The letters were printed verbatim, complete with original spelling and punctuation errors, so Sis and I had fun reading them literally. As both of us enjoy Strong Bad Emails, we have no qualms over making fun of someone’s punctuation and spelling. Still, the letters ran the usual course. Children asked for a long list of very expensive toys, and so there will be some very disappointed little children tomorrow morning, when they didn’t get the three different game consoles they asked for. Same for the kid who asked for a horse and two frogs. Then for one kid, the term “oversharing” came to mind, as he said how he was a big boy who poops in the potty. All of us were thinking that this was too much, and the phrase “I did not need to know that!” came to mind regarding his restroom practices. Of course, there was a fully grown adult male who recently told me in the checkout line, in front of his wife, no less, that he wasn’t wearing any underwear. The wife and I were both telling him, “Oversharing!” Then there were some nearly-illegible Emails, where we couldn’t make out the writer’s intent regarding the words, and where the sentences were far from complete.

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I would be very flattered if Wal-Mart refused to print my photos…

December 13, 2005, 8:21 PM

Let me explain that for a moment. Wal-Mart’s copyright policy on their Web site states:

“Walmart.com will not assist in the copying of a photograph that is signed, stamped, or otherwise identified by any photographer or studio as copyrighted material, or any photograph that appears to have been taken by a professional photographer or studio, even if it is not marked with any sort of copyright, unless we are presented with a signed Copyright Release.”

This Christmas, I’m getting gift cards for the family once again. It’s far easier than getting gifts, because I’m not a great shopper, and my family is hard to buy for anyway. So this year, I’m getting the custom gift cards that Wal-Mart sells. I can put my own photo on there instead of the cheesy ones that come preprinted.

I consider myself to be a photographer by hobby, and do take some real gems from time to time. So I picked some photos that I’m particularly proud of and uploaded them to Walmart.com and saved them. I’ll actually order them right before I leave for work the next time I work, which will be Friday.

And if our photo lab refuses to print them because they look professional, I will be quite flattered, to say the least. Then I’d likely have to fill out the bloody release saying that I took the photos myself. But still flattered nonetheless.

Meanwhile, I’m going out tomorrow…

Categories: Photography, Walmart

Blue Screen of Death on the self-checkout…

December 11, 2005, 5:58 PM

I wondered when it would happen, and today it finally did – one of our self-checkouts crashed and displayed the dreaded “Blue Screen of Death”. I just wish I had a camera with me at the time, because I so wanted to take a picture of that…

Otherwise, though, I realized in the last few weeks that the customers don’t listen to a word I say. I put this to the test recently, using one of everyone’s favorite Homestar Runner holidays – Decemberween. Decemberween is, to quote the Homestar Runner Wiki, “a holiday celebrated by the people of Free Country, USA, 55 days after Halloween, on December 25th. It bears many similarities to Christmas with colorful lights and garlands and the giving of presents, but with some obvious differences.” Read the whole article for more information on Decemberween, because it’s otherwise irrelevant. Just focus on the name. So I would casually ask, “Are you all ready for Decemberween?” instead of “Are you all ready for Christmas?” I would get the same response for “Decemberween” as I would for “Christmas”. Not a single person ever questioned my use of “Decemberween”. Not a one. Scary.

Meanwhile, my belief that the more religious stuff a person has on their car, the worse driver they are has been confirmed once again. I first talked about this in this entry from May 23. Today I had two cases on the way home. The first was on US 340 where I got stuck behind this van that had “JESUS” right on the license plate. And it was going 35 in the left lane (and the speed limit was 45 and then changed to 55 before I could pass them). Then turning onto 608, I got behind another person with a bumper sticker where a religious group decided to be cute and do a religious take on the logo for CSI. The bumper sticker said “CSI: Christ Saves Individuals”. Here’s a Web site showing the logo in question. These people not only were going five miles below the speed limit the whole time I was behind them, but they also decided that a green light means “stop”. After dealing with the previous slowpoke coming out of Waynesboro, and then having to sit behind this moron for a few miles, sitting at the green light was the final straw. I hit my horn, and leaned on it until these bozos moved. They moved, and thankfully, our paths diverged after that point.

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Black Friday, FliteStar, and beyond…

November 28, 2005, 10:34 PM

Let me tell you… the day after Thanksgiving, when Wal-Mart had its blitz sale, was interesting.

First of all, I was somewhat disappointed about the results of my efforts to get coworkers to wear all-black with me. I bombed badly on that front, as I was one of only two people wearing black on that day.

Anyways, though, I worked 4:30 in the morning to 1:30 in the afternoon, as scheduled. I arrived in the parking lot at 4:15 in the morning. The lot was packed. Coming into the store, it was full of people, most of whom were kind of hanging around, waiting for the big sale to start at 5:00. Many told me that they’d been in the store since 3 AM waiting.

My exact reaction was to think, that’s hardcore. Me, I’ll happily pay full price and not deal with the crowds and chaos.

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Tomorrow is the big day…

November 24, 2005, 8:38 PM

Tomorrow at 4:30 in the morning, I must be at work for what is often called “Black Friday”, which is one of the biggest shopping days of the year.

This will be the first time I will have actually worked right in the thick of Wal-Mart’s big after-Thanksgiving sale. The past two years, I worked later shifts, after the majority of the pandemonium had passed. This year, I am there. And tomorrow, I will be dressed in all black from the top of my mock-turtleneck all the way down to my Chucks. I’ve also tried to get coworkers to do likewise. After all, what can I say? Black is the new black.

Otherwise, though, Thanksgiving went well. I had to work, and then had Thanksgiving dinner with the family.

Meanwhile, I’m still enjoying the heat in the car. Never again will I take having heat in one’s automobile for granted. Never.

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Going to Washington on back-to-back weeks…

November 16, 2005, 4:34 AM

I’m going to Washington this week on back-to-back weeks, thanks to a work schedule on my intended week that doesn’t permit a trip – I’d need to have either two days off together, or a day off followed by a shift that starts at noon. So I’m going this week instead, then it will be three weeks before I go again.

And it looks like my weather will be unsuitable for outdoor photography once again, with rain predicted. So we say *sigh* as I once again have to come up with alternate plans.

Meanwhile, I want to see a “Blue Screen of Death” come up on one of our self-checkouts at work. Considering that the Fastlanes seemed to be crashing left and right yesterday, and run Microsoft Windows, I wouldn’t put it past them to BSoD eventually. I just want to be there when they do it so I can laugh (and take a couple of pictures).

And then I’m still working on the site redesign/refurbishment. I’ve got tags on the site now in Life and Times and Photography that mark some images as being available under the GNU Free Documentation License. Those images that are available under the GFDL are the ones I also have uploaded to Wikipedia, which requires that images be licensed under GFDL, another free license, or put in the public domain. I certainly don’t want to put my images into the public domain (no way will I ever do that), but GFDL is a fair compromise. So now these images will be marked on here, and I’m still working to implement this. Right now, 23 images are marked like this in Life and Times.

And now, I’ve piddled enough. Off to DC!

Does anyone else find this amusing?

September 23, 2005, 5:51 PM

Categories: Walmart

Do I remind you more of Gingy, or Marshie?

September 4, 2005, 9:44 PM

A customer today at work said that I reminded her of Gingy, the little gingerbread man from Shrek that Wal-Mart turned into their little mascot when they dressed him in a blue vest for a few commercials. May I remind you for a moment:

Gingy as a greeter

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Packing up for a nice vacation…

August 21, 2005, 9:13 PM

I’ve got my suitcase all packed up, and all I have left to do is to properly pack Big Mavica, unhook my alarm clock and my cell phone charger, and put together my entire toiletries kit. Not too shabby. Then over here on the Web site, I’m going to change the photo feature to an image from last year’s trip to the beach (the black-and-white photo of the woman in Dupont Circle was deliberately held longer than intended to time this next feature), and then I’m going to put a vacation message on the updates list.

All in all, I’m excited! And I think that everyone at work knows that I’m going on vacation. I told everyone, and even was nearly counting down the minutes until 4:00 (which is “quittin’ time” for me). I also jokingly told a few more coworkers I’d get them some sand as a souvenir. And then other coworkers were saying it’s going to be so quiet around the store without me for those five days.

Also, I had one of those priceless moments at work today. In a slower moment, a coworker needed a CSM. They ultimately needed to page over the squawk box for them. So they dial the number to page, and thought they were paging. What do we hear? A voice without amplification. So I said, “I don’t think you got it.” So they try again, and they still don’t get on there. So I give it a try. I dial to page, and I’m live on the PA system, and successfully deliver the page. I hang up, and turn to the coworker: *raspberry*. Yes, I couldn’t resist doing the old “Bronx cheer” there, giving them the raspberries. They knew I was being silly, and so it was all good.

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What on earth happened here?

August 20, 2005, 6:10 PM

Check this out:

Crushed shopping cart at Wal-Mart in Waynesboro

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Categories: Homestar Runner, Walmart

You never know who you’ll meet…

July 30, 2005, 11:08 PM

Friday at work was interesting. You know how you never know who you’ll see at Wal-Mart? I met a famous artist at the self-checkouts on Friday. Specifically, I met P. Buckley Moss. I recognized her initially, thinking, I think that’s P. Buckley Moss, but didn’t ask the question. Then I saw the screen on the pin-pad where she signed. P. Buckley Moss. Wow. I hadn’t seen her in some time. But she remembered me, and also remembered Mom, since both of us went to some of her art signings at her barn in Waynesboro, which is actually a converted apple barn in a nice little neighborhood. That was neat. You never know who you’ll see come through Wal-Mart. I’ve met Reo Hatfield, a Waynesboro city councilman and an instrumental player in the truce between the Hatfields and the McCoys, and I’ve also met Moreko Griggs, who made headlines when he was named as Waynesboro’s first black valedictorian, and then was changed to being one of three valedictorians, next to two white women. That story is outlined here. So all in all, it’s neat.

Then on Saturday, there was an interesting discussion in the breakroom regarding the fact that I didn’t shave for Thursday’s trip. It went like this:

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Categories: Myself, Walmart