Thursday, February 09, 2006

Morale lower than a gopher's basement

Howdy! I slave for a Wal-Mart in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. 3027 Edmonton West! (that's what we are all supposed to cheer at the end of our nightly spelling of the company name) I work nights, and I would like to tell people out there a little bit about the situation in my store.

Ready? Got your flashlight? It's a dark ride.
we are in a new store, having moved from our old location just over a year ago (we opened at the tail end of january). I worked at the old location, took a few months off, and came back when the new location was finally open. Anyway, enough backstory right? You want to hear the nice juicy, tawdry bits of gossip right? Cool. Like I said, I work nights, and as such, am in a good position to see just how this store is going into the toilet. We have endcaps (the shelves at the end of the isles) that are half empty, and stay that way for quite a long time, regular shelves that are empty and stay that way for a few days before getting filled. We have probably the smallest night crew in the city (we have just, JUST over 20 people total, not including maintenence) and the day crew isn't much better. Our department managers end up having to finish our stocking duties because we have so few people, the part-timers end up having to help with department managers duties (except for getting the new mods done, they take forever to get done), the people who close the store have to help the part-timers, and then we (the night crew) have to clean and zone the store. For example, we might come in, and find some shoes and a bra or two, sitting on a shelf in foods, toilet paper in pets, and a box of cereal sitting nestled in with the stereos. Morale in our store is lower than a gophers basement. This is called reverse clock (or so I was told by my manager). They know what to call it, but when it comes to solving it.....another matter. If you were to apply at my store for a job, an unloader (which BTW, we only have 2 of now, 2 unloaders to unload the 2 trucks we get every night) it will be a long wait. See, they now have to get a criminal background check done on the people who apply here, and that takes so long that anyone foolish enough to apply, will almost certainly find something else. There are associate shortages in every department, in every shift. They are doing almost nothing to find and hire more people, and they are doing LESS than nothing to stem the amount of people quitting. The nightcrew's morale is WAY low for many reasons, and since I'm on nights, I will list some of them. We come in and have to do other peoples jobs, zoning the store, we have to pull skids of merchandise on pallets from the back every night because we only have 2 unloaders (meaning we have even less time to do our job) we normally spend about an hour doing that. We have managers telling us that we are not allowed to talk to each other about wages (they don't want us comparing how much each other make, because that might upset some know that they are making less than a person newly hired), we have some people on our crew who take our nightly average of pallets cleared and double it (I normally clear on average 14 pallets a night, plus pulling out skids, using the WAVE to riser stuff on the 30 foot high walls, and pulling skids of stuff back at the end of the night, and collecting empty pallets on my own) we have a few guys like me, and the rest....not so productive (due to having a lot of little stuff, or just are slow or whatever.) We have a reward program setup for accident free days right? So far, we are at like 140 days or something. The day crew got a BBQ at 60 days, 90 days and 120 days. The store manager was there for all of them, the DM was there as well for one of them. Night crew? HA! We got our BBQ for 60 days, about 2 weeks later, we got our one for 90 days......more than a month late, and our one for 120 days.....who know? Did the store manager show up for any of our BBQ's????? NO! Guess nightcrew doesn't mean as much, isn't as important as daycrew huh?(shrugs) Oh well. We have pallet jacks that are broken half the time (not to mention that we only have 7....7 to share with everyone) ICS carts that have crappy wheels or missing wheels, a backroom that is disorganized and overfilled. We have, on average about 13 people every night (if we are lucky) to fill the store as best as we can. I was called into the managers office by my managers, and was asked why I'm being so negative lately? I laid it out for them. I told them that morale is low and they aren't doing anything to fix it. I told them that the expectations are too high, and they are going to burn us all out. They said "We don't expect more from anyone because we have less people" BULL! They may say that expectations are the same as always, but really....not true. They intimidate, cajole, complain, insinuate and humiliate to try and get a few extra pallets cleared. How about safety? I mentioned that we are at 140 days or something? safety might be preached first around here, but practiced??? DEAD LAST. My manager sees me stacking pallets by myself (not 2 high, but 12) and says NOTHING. Sees me lift a 32 inch flat screen TV (Gross Wgt. of 136 pounds) says nothing. We have a WAVE (a machine that is like a rolling manlift) missing strobe on the front, no visual warning that I am travelling....was told that is optional and to quit bringing it up. Most of our nightcrew has no idea, NONE, where the emergency eye wash stations are, or how to use them, I mentioned this to my managers, to have a demonstration for everyone, and was told rather curtly "We aren't going to deal with that tonight", that was almost 3 months ago, nothing has happened. one of the ladies sliced herself with her boxcutter....she was told "we can take you to the hospital (it was rather a bad cut requiring stiches) we can take you to the hospital, but first we have to call the district poss pervention guy, wake him up so he can talk to you BEFORE we take you to the hospital. We are pressuered NOT to fill out accident forms, UNLESS you are going to go to the doctor RIGHT AWAY. we have people pulling pallets around that are over a ton and a half....alone. Asking for help? most people are not comfortable doing that, too busy, not enough people. Using pipeline? In our store, you have to be on the clock in order to log into it, can't do it on break or lunch, you must be on the clock, the computer will not let you in otherwise. Well, as busy and shorthanded as w are, most people are too intimidated to tell the manager that they want to check out a policy. We have to take our coffee that we get at breaks and lunch from claims (you know, the containers that are covered in tide, or bleach or motor oil, god forbid we use one that is off the shelf?!?!?!?!?! Our store manager has rarely gotten the nightcrew together, or even got on the P.A. to tell us w are doing a good job, we hear it lots from our managers, but it means nothing coming from them. We on the night crew get the crappiest treatment, and everybody needs us, you know what that makes us? Toilet paper. Everyone needs us, and we get the WORST treatment.
nice life huh?

You can put my name in this if you want to, Ian Templeman Overnights 3027 Edmonton