Monday, September 06, 2010

We Don't Care if Our Employees Bleed to Death or are in Pain. Wal-mart's Secret Doctor Gives You The Drug Test First.

A part of working in the deli is to throw out expired meats and other deli items.  This one particular day I had to grab a partner to throw out an entire rack full of prepped raw whole chickens that were meant for the rotisserie.  They went a day over their freshness in the fridge and by policy, had to go down the garbage chute to the compactor.  My partner and I head back with the rack to the always disgusting garbage chute. This brand new building was outfitted with the worst chute design possible.  The angle at which it tilts down into the compactor did absolutely nothing to aid in items sliding down effortlessly.  So, we always had a very nasty industrial broom to shove things to the end of the chute.  That day, the broom was missing.

My partner grabbed a square-shaped 10ft. long pole discarded from some sort of display to use instead.  We had already dumped the mass of chickens in and let them glide down to their usual stopping point.  I was a good distance behind my partner, squatting down and pulling the plastic sheet back over the empty rack when he reared back with the pole to get a good "oomph" into the shove down the chute.  As he reared back, the pole flexed downward and the end of it cracked me in the top of the head.  

Just like in cartoons, my vision went blinding white then white stars speckled my vision for a good five seconds before I staggered to my feet.  I was in shock and started doing a zombie-shuffle back to my department, blood oozing from my scalp to my forehead.  Some form of management intercepted me and brought me to the back office.  I remember being sat down and thinking surely I was going to the hospital right up the road.  Literally, the hospital was five minutes away.  Instead of calling an ambulance, you know in case I had a concussion or worse, I was loaded into a manager's personal car.

As I clutch a bundle of paper towels to my head, I watch in horror as we pass the hospital.  I think I questioned the manager then, asking where we were going.  She said I was going to "their" doctor where I had my initial drug test, located an unsettling 15-20 minutes away.  In pain, all I could do was sit there and go for the ride.

I get there, fill out a paper, and wait with my manager at my side amongst the other people getting drug tests or other tests required by employers or probation officers.  Finally, I get called back to see the doctor.  By then the bleeding had stopped but it was still painful.  He parted my hair and shined a light on it.  I was thinking I'd need stitches because the pole had been squared and the corner hit me.  He put an antibacterial gel on it instead, and told me that it was a minor contusion of the scalp.  And by the way, he recommended someone to watch me for the rest of the night just in case of concussion.  

I received the rest of the day off and another day after that.  Then back to work!

A week later, I get sat down in the manager's office once more.  This time they had paperwork for me to fill out.  Basically I was told to write a brief summary of the accident and then below that, describe how not to do it again.

That's right, I have to explain on paper how to avoid this from happening ever again.

Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe minding my own business a (supposedly) safe distance away from the other person yet somehow getting cracked in the skull by someone else.. is my fault.

I never heard another word about it from management since the day I had to write those two paragraphs.  I worked for Walmart a few more months after that then quit.  To this day, I have a small, scarred lump in that spot on my scalp.  If pressure is applied to the scar in any way, the nerves ache as if I'd just been whacked in the head.  Thanks, Walmart.  I have a permanent reminder of my horrible time employed there.