Saturday, March 25, 2006

"We don't usually put pretty girls on the parking lot."

Wal Mart is a company that severely mistreats its employees by denying them proper equipment, low pay, denial of benefits or working hours, and while they may be the world's biggest retailer, they are also the world's biggest liars!

When Wal Mart hired me, I had asked for a sales floor position and naturally, I was denied this. They made me a cashier instead and I was told in orientation that after 3 months I would be allowed to transfer to another department. There is the first lie. Once you are placed in that store, you have to fight tooth and nail to get out again. Especially if you're on the front end (cashiers, door greeters, cart pusher).

So I was a cashier for three months and it was the worst experience of my life! One night, my back started hurting me at work. I've popped a disc out before in my back, so I went and told the CSM's that my back was bothering me and I couldn't get anyone to come up and help me lift some really heavy stuff people were bringing through the line. I asked for a brace. I was told that cashiers didn't need back braces. I argued that I did because my back was going to go out.

They went to get me a brace. They never came back. My back went out and I could barely walk and I couldn't stand up straight at all. I began having panic attacks while working at Wal Mart as well. While I was on the registers, everyday before my shift began, I would get sick and throw up. I stayed nervous up there and I finally got to the point where I was starting to dislike people. I wanted to scream at them just because they came through my checkout line.

I had been a cashier for around 10 years before working there and NEVER have I felt that way.

Anyway, I finally snapped one day and started just flat out bawling in the store. I ran outside and sat against the building, trying to calm down. One of the girls that worked in seafood came out and sat with me and sort of talked me down. She has panic attacks too and apparently, so do half the people in the store. Management rolled their eyes at me when I asked to leave to go to the doctor. They said that I had no reason to have panic attacks and they can't understand why I would. They sent me home and said that even if I had a doctor's excuse, then it was an unexcused absence.

I finally got them to let me change jobs. I had to tell them that I would quit if they didn't let me change jobs. I told them that I would walk out right then. They told me that midnights is open and cart pusher. I have a child, I can't work midnights. I am a single mother. I told them that I would be a cart pusher.

They tried talking me out of this by saying, "We don't usually put pretty girls on the parking lot." This set me off. I told them that if they deny me that job because I am a woman then I would bring them to court and that I was sure that there were a lot of lawyers out there that would love to bring Wal Mart down for sexual discrimination. They let me go outside on the parking lot really fast.

Wal Mart hired me in under part time status, yet I worked 40 hours a week the whole time I was there. They would never give me full time.

My son began having trouble in school and at home, I think because his father and I were divorcing, so I needed to work dayshift so I could be home with my son in the evenings. I had also asked Wal Mart if I could have Sundays and Mondays off too, so I could go to church on Sunday and then Monday so I could run my errands. I really wanted Saturday, needed it for a church class, but they laughed at me when I asked.

So very suddenly, my hours dropped from 40 a week to 20 a week. Now, I suppose I was willing to deal with this for a little while, but I had a problem. I don't have a car. I rely on public bus to get to where I am going. Wal Mart scheduled me to work a couple hours a day, 5 days a week. It costs me 2 bucks one way to get to work, plus, I have bills I have to try to pay and food to buy... it just wasn't going to work. So I go to talk to management about it. I asked them if they could schedule me longer shifts during the week and just give me the extra day off. I told them why. They refused. They said home office doesn't allow them to do their scheduling this way.

I called home office and found out that I was being lied to. I began looking for another job in the tiny bit of free time that Wal Mart allowed me. Wal Mart, well my store, had a meeting a few months back that everyone was required to attend. In this meeting, we were told, by the store manager, that if we did not open our availability completely and let them schedule us to work whatever shifts and whatever days they wanted then we would be fired. This caused several people to walk out right there on the spot.

Someone called the newspaper about it and there was a huge write up about it. It was on the news as well. Customers began coming into the store to yell at management over this, especially after it was revealed that this rule did not come down from home office. None of the other stores had even heard of it. This new rule had come down from only the management in our store. Our store started to lose business and employees really fast then and they eventually had to change the rule back.

However, they will still punish you if you close your availability. You'll lose almost all of your hours and with the little crumbs they give you on your paycheck, it's impossible to live.