As all of the employees gathered for the pre-shift meeting that night, Bill the manager had scolded Jerry for not singing along to the Wal-Mart cheer, for not doing it properly. Somehow the company believed that having the night shift shake their asses and shout about the greatness of Wal-Mart would lead them to love this place, love their jobs. Jerry didn’t. As Bill continued his belittling, Jerry stared at the floor, at a long black scuff mark on the gray linoleum, at his Velcro strapped black shoes, $6.99 in the shoe department.

Other than the incident at shift start, it was a normal night. Stock the shelves, sweep and mop, smash the cardboard into bales. That was his favorite part: watching thousands of pounds of metal slowly crush and compress the boxes. On bad nights, he wished he could fit the whole store in, or at least that bastard Bill. One time he thought about climbing in himself, but it didn’t really seem like a great way to go.

After ten o’clock, Jerry started stocking Tupperware in Housewares. Stack them up, straighten, push back. Repeat. Easy, mindless work. From a few aisles over, Jerry heard some loud voices laughing, swearing, lots of “dudes” and “hell yeahs.” As the group of teenagers grew louder, Bill called to Jerry on the radio.

“Jerry, what are you, deaf? Get your ass over to toys and shut those boys up… IF you can handle that!”

As he set down the box of plastic bowls, Jerry wondered what these punks got out of screwing around in a Wal-Mart on a Friday night. Didn’t they have anything else to do? Why couldn’t they be out stealing cars, drinking beer, screwing some of those obnoxious, belly shirt-wearing girls that were always in here? Instead, they came here to pester him. Though he cursed them, secretly Jerry would’ve loved to be in their shoes, free and young with no one breathing down their necks. He certainly wouldn’t set foot in this place if he were.As he rounded an endcap piled high with plastic school buses, Jerry spotted the boys.
Hallie Weibel
Customer Service
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