Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Signs Are Good

So... since nobody sued me for posting up that article the other day, I decided I'd put up a story I had published years ago. The real reason, of course, is that it's about Wal-Mart. And since helping to bring down Wal-Mart is so obviously of moral benefit, I figured posting this story was simply part of my civic duty. Death to the Tyrant! Viva la Revolucion!

The Signs Are Good

July 6
The signs are good about the new boss. He was authoritative right from the first meeting today. He went right to work, and that’s always a good sign. I thought, being promoted up from another store (a smaller Wal-Mart), that it might take him some time to settle in, you know, a breaking in period. But right in the first meeting, as soon as we got in, he jumped up and pounded on the VCR in the room, shouting and yelling.

The message was clear. He wanted to review the video training program we have for new employees. It was a good message: everything was important, and he was going to look at it all from the ground up, get us back on track. The last few bosses had really gotten us down, but Mr. Ansee was just what we needed to pick us up. It was obvious he wanted to start where the company starts: with the employees, and how they’re trained. The company was built on the employees, he was saying by his actions, and I agree totally, that’s what I’ve always thought, and I told him just that, that “This great company was founded on the backs of its fine employees.”

“ooooouuaaahh oooouuuaaahhh,” he said. The Boss. Mr. Ansee.

We reviewed the films quite thoroughly, and we could tell that Mr. Ansee was not thrilled, as he kept making deep growling sounds and slapping the table. It was clear he was demanding, and wanted lots of changes, but it was all for the best, for the betterment of the company. We could all see his dedication. It was his passion for Wal-Mart that made him growl like that.

He wasn’t entirely for the hard line approach, however. He jumped up and down, and spun around, doing a little dance, which got everybody going a bit, as he waved his arms about. He was demanding, but it was clear he had his jolly side, and wanted everyone to be happy while working. It loosened the tension, and then he joked with us, sticking a whole tangerine in his mouth and chewing it up. It was good motivation for us all, and kept him from seeming too imposing.

At first glance he didn't seem all that intimidating, being only two and a half feet tall and with a sort of tanned and wrinkly face, but he had that air about him. He was in command and we all knew it. Perhaps it was the black fur, or maybe the dramatic gestures, but we all knew who was in charge. His aggressiveness was lightened by his perpetual smile, which showed lots of blocky teeth and a wide expanse of gums (you know the kind of smile I’m talking about). It lessened the impact of his intensity, which was a powerful thing, upon us, and put us at our ease.

“waaa-wa. waaa-wa,” he shouted to us as we left, leaving off with a great “eeeehh-eeeh.”

July 8
Mr. Ansee inspected the stock area today. He was very enthusiastic, climbing right up on the boxes, jumping between racks. He showed just the sort of vigor he wants from all of us, and took us on a thorough inspection tour. His daring leap into the cardboard compacting machine showed everyone that safety was a top priority, and he wanted everyone to be on guard. Everyone is in high spirits, though Nathan, the night manager, gave him a few wary looks. I am sure it’s just a matter of adjustment, however. My fellow assistant manager, Bob, said we were on the fast track now, playing with the big boys, and Ms. Delmonte, one of the secretaries, said she’d never been so happy coming in to work as today. A “whole new atmosphere” she said.

July 9
Inspired by Mr. Ansee, I’ve started reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Knowledge, hard work, and the example of Mr. Ansee can take me far on my journey to become head of a store myself. A boss can be playful, but everyone has to know who’s in charge.

People have taken to leaving Mr. Ansee fruit, which he seems quite fond of (the tangerine that first day was a good sign, I think). He seems particularly fond of bananas and avocados. I don’t know why, but he really seems to have a thing for the avocados, so much so that we often see him going around with avocado juice dripping down his chin, though he always gives us a big toothy smile regardless. I can’t say where all the avocados are coming from, but he seems to enjoy them greatly. The employees all seem happy and appreciated, and I, as an Assistant Manager, urge them to look up to Mr. Ansee as the finest example of a positive working attitude. He shows them just what you can achieve with a little hard work and elbow grease.

He was even at the front door today, entertaining the customers. He’s an example to us all.

July 16
There was some insubordination today, and Mr. Ansee had to get firm with Mrs. Castles, one of the secretaries. It seems she ate one of his avocados, and Mr. Ansee screeched at her terribly, his brow wrinkled up and his teeth bared, black fur standing on end. The message was clear: there would be no theft, no filching from the company, even if the items seemed irrelevant. There would be no ‘freebies’. Mr. Ansee would brook no actions detrimental to the company. This Wal-Mart would be the finest Wal-Mart, bar none. Mrs. Castles apologized profusely, but even after that we could hear Mr. Ansee raging in his office for quite some time. But, order had been established, and now everyone knew the rules, the zero tolerance policy for detrimental behavior.

July 21
Everyone’s been a little unsettled, and Bob has cast numerous worried looks in the direction of Mr. Ansee’s office, where Mr. Ansee has been keeping himself, locked away from everybody. Some of the others think the Avocado Affair has depressed him, and it seems as if the stock getting shipped in has been getting stranger and stranger. A lot of plastic trees have been coming in, and the Garden Centre in general has been rather overstocked. Some of the office staff think something might be wrong, but that’s just everyday grumbling around the water-cooler. I have faith in Mr. Ansee. I’m sure it's all part of a new sales and marketing plan he has devised for us, to get us out of our lull.

July 29
Mr. Ansee has become quite close with one of the secretaries, Ms. Delmonte. She has often been seen going into his office, and loud growlings have sometimes been reported from within. It seems Ms. Delmonte often comes out looking quite rumpled, blouse only half-tucked, and with a dopey grin on her face. The grumblings have grown louder around the water-cooler, especially as Mr. Ansee himself can often be seen preening his fur, grinning at anyone who goes by and occasionally pawing at the other secretaries in an over-friendly way. The night manager, Nathan, heard about this and told me, before he left this morning, that he thinks such a relationship, or even the hint of such a relationship, is inappropriate and detrimental to morale in the workplace. Likely, though, he is just upset about the recent events on the night shift. It seems that Mr. Ansee has often been staying late, prowling around the store throughout the night, lurking in the corridors and the stock area. Nathan is disturbed by this, seeing it as a spy mission, believing that Mr. Ansee doesn’t respect his authority or trust him to run the evening staff, the janitors and stockers. Bitterness over this has been brewing for some time, and is likely just being voiced in the concern over the relationship with Ms. Delmonte. Ms. Delmonte herself is mum on the whole affair, and, personally, I think personal life is personal, and shouldn’t be anybody’s business. Their relationship is their own concern. Our concern is, and should always be, the Wal-Mart company, at least during work hours.

August 3
Everyone’s nerves have been a little tight lately, likely on account of the first shipments of Back to School supplies, which means store rearrangements and more work for everybody. Mr. Ansee has been tense. He even went so far as to tear apart the stuffed animal display in the toys section, scattering the animals around and tearing apart one of the giant stuffed gorillas.

“waaaarrk waaaarrkk,” he shouted, in his anger and disgust.

He was obviously disheartened by the lack of professionalism shown by everybody, and the lack of attention to detail. He demands the best, but there are many who think he has gone too far, has been too dictatorial of late. Where are the humorous antics of before, the little things that kept everyone loose?

Bob, who is in charge of the displays, has been looking a little depressed, and the secretaries are unhappy. It seems Ms. Delmonte has stopped doing any real work, usually just sitting and preening herself, waiting for Mr. Ansee to call her to his office. There has been much snipping going on during coffee breaks. Ms. Delmonte is holding herself distant from the others.

I have continued reading The 7 Habits, to try and get on top of things, predict Mr. Ansee’s future course. It has been enlightening, so far. Mr. Ansee is right to take a strong stance.

August 11
There was a catfight in the lounge today. It seems one of the secretaries, a Ms. Bartle, had a private... conference... with Mr. Ansee today, and was walking around quite smugly in front of Ms. Delmonte. It quickly came to insults and blows, and, though it was separated quickly, some damage had been done to office morale. Mr. Ansee said “aaaahhh aaaahhh aaaahhh” and didn’t seem to be bothered by the event. Some of the younger employees, in a rather callous fashion, seemed to be amused, and said it was “just like a Springer episode”.

Have read some more 7 Habits, but am still a little concerned about our current course. I’ve recently been reminded of the failures of previous bosses. Still, though, I have faith in Mr. Jim Ansee. He is top notch, and I will trust him and the plans he has for our store.

P.S. on a minor note, certain rumors have been floating around, that either Mr. Ansee is going to be fired or promoted up by Head Office. Either, I think, would be bad for us, but I trust Head Office to do the right thing.

August 17
The Back to School craze is on in full. I have worked long hours to keep everything going, keep it on track. Sales are up, but Mr. Ansee is still upset, and I often see him swinging from the light fixture in his office. He destroyed a price check machine yesterday. While making an important philosophical point, perhaps, he should have known that those machines cost a thousand dollars each, bang, in one shot. When I tried to inform him of this he threw his pencil sharpener at me and grinned.

Came home from work today a little disgruntled. Stress has mounted. Doctor says I might have an ulcer. Still reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Is there a point to it all? I’ll keep reading, looking for the answers.

August 18
Mr. Ansee bit someone today. It was Nathan, our night manager. They had gotten into a shouting argument, in which Nathan yelled that Mr. Ansee was running the business into the ground.

Mr. Ansee shouted “aaaahhh aahhhh rraaawwk raaaawwkk,” and then leapt on Nathan and bit him on the shoulder. After sending Nathan off to the hospital to get a tetanus shot, I tried to calm down Mr. Ansee, but he would have none of it, staying in his office with his avocados (there are those who still seek his goodwill, and apparently buy it with gifts of fruit – this sort of favoritism troubles me).

There is more trouble with the secretaries, as well. Some sort of power struggle seems to be going on, and little work is being done. We’re behind on all invoicing.

August 19
Nathan came in today and quit. His arm was in a sling. He said Wal-Mart was a terrible jungle, and he wasn’t going to stay there anymore. He said the pay was pretty crappy for what he had to put up with. He was going back to school.

Mr. Ansee took the news poorly, locking himself in his office and refusing to speak to anybody.

Stock has been misordered. Back to School doesn’t have the proper supplies. And now I have to find a new night manager at the second busiest time of the year (If this was Christmas we’d be done for sure). I might have to work nights myself for awhile, until I find someone competent (most of the employees beneath me are high school students).

Strange suspicions have been creeping over me, that Mr. Ansee is just like all the rest, no different from all the other managers. But, no, I won’t give in. I have faith in Head Office, that they sent us the right man.

August 23
We’ve all been caught in the doldrums. Even Mr. Ansee is not immune. I brought him an avocado today, and he simply slapped it away and disappeared back into his office.

Neither Ms. Bartle or Ms. Belmonte showed for work today.

Head Office sent some disturbing memos about receipts they had yet to receive. Mrs. Castles told me that Mr. Ansee was “currently unavailable”.

August 24
Heard Mr. Ansee only once today. It was over the PA system. He shouted “raaawwkaa raaaawwkka rraaawwwkaaaaaa,” and all the customers (and employees) thought it was a fire alarm, or bomb threat of some sort, and ran out of the building. Only a few came back in.

We have many unsold pencil crayons, and many young students will see September without a proper ruler or compass.

August 25
Finished The 7 Habits. Not sure it will help.

We are grossly overstocked with plastic dividers for binders.


jbchicoine said...

Okay, that's just disturbing...

Deb Salisbury said...


Ink said...

Rereading it makes me think I should write more satire. Fun! But, at least for me, I've found it requires a certain amount of baseline angst over something to dredge up the necessary satiric edge. Maybe I'm too happy! Terrible, I know. I should do something depressing really quick...

Ink said...

Testing 1,2,3...

Mira said...

This is SOOOO funny. Hilarious. I started laughing at the second paragraph and didn't stop until I got to the end.

Oh, nicely done, Ink.

Being behind on invoices, I think that was my favorite line. Hee hee.

The only sad part was it ended. I wanted to know what would happen! Would the head office come through? Would the night manager work out? I want to know how the story ends!!!

Or does it ever end......ahhhh. I see. Under the humor lies a great profound lesson for us all.

My thanks, former Wal-mart employee, Bryan. My thanks.

Ms Kitty said...

Jim Ansee the Chimpaneze?

Loved it!

Ink said...

Lol, I was wondering how many people would catch that...

jbchicoine said...

Now, that makes perfect sense. Ms Kitty is very smart--I'm impressed with both of you!