The Parable of the Blue Smock.

The worst job uniform I’ve ever had to wear is, without question, the enviable blue Wal-Mart smock. They’re now obsolete. Replaced by catholic school girl-ish uniforms of khaki pants and navy blue polo shirts.

I’d like to make it perfectly clear that my employment with Wal-Mart was anything BUT serious. Some of my ignorant friends got together and double dog dared me to apply. If hired, I had to stay until I was issued the blue smock. Easy peasy! Maybe I’d even get a discount! So I applied and got my call-back less than a week later. Let it be known that I applied to a Wal-Mart in another town…as not to be identified by family and friends.

My first day. I was greeted by Doug the Manager. As in Conan the Barbarian. So Doug gives me the once-over, making an abrupt stop at my feet.

“I believe I mentioned wearing comfortable shoes, Ms. Angus. THOSE don’t look too comfortable to me.”

Oh please. Don’t hate on my hot-pink Converse high tops, Doug.

“No matter. You’ll be training today. Just remember to wear a more practical shoe.”

Ahh! Training! The theme song to “Rocky” started playing in my head and I fought back the urge to start stutter-stepping circles around Doug, throwing air punches and yelling, “Bring it! Briiiing it!” My dreams were crushed the second I saw the mop closet that Doug was leading me into.

Surely not. How does one do some hard-core Wal-Mart training in a friggin’ broom closet?! A rickety folding table was pushed up against one wall, adorned with two antique computers. And…hark…what is this?! A folder with my name on it! Nothing exciting. Just a bunch of sign here here and HERE nonsense.

Doug logged on to one of the computers like a NASA engineer putting in rocket coordinates. I spent the next four hours answering questions like:

If a disgruntled customer gets in your face and informs you they’ve been with your spouse in the biblical sense…what do you do?

A) Punch customer in face.

B) Inform customer that he’s doing you a favor.

C) Offer customer a breath mint.

D) Smile, cock head to one side and say, “Thank you for shopping at Wal-Mart.

Oh please. Definitely A. Punch customer in face. Or maybe not. Doug informed me that violence was unacceptable and I may want to re-think my answer.

On my second day, I had company. A pimply faced 18 year old kid who was born to be a Wal-Mart manager. Shows you how much I know. Three hours into training, he leaned over with a “Pssst. You know where I can buy some grass?”

Okay. Seriously? Grass? Do I look like the kind of person who would know where to buy grass? This guy was a Wal-Mart informant for sure. Anyone who says “grass” has snitch written all over them. So I gave him the Bambi eyes and answered, “I believe there’s a sod farm in Medina.”

Ha! He looked disappointed that I didn’t ask him to meet me in a dark alley behind the Pick-n-Save. During my break, I went hunting for Doug. Found him loitering in the women’s intimates department with a price gun.

“Doug. I was just wondering when I’d be able to wear the blue smock?”

He looked shocked.

“The smock is serious business, April. You can’t just prance in here and expect to get the smock right off the bat!”

Harrumph. There was no way I could endure two more weeks of intense training before the smocking ceremony. So I scribbled Doug a note on the back of a voided check.

Dear Doug,

Here’s $20. I took a smock.

Sincerely,

April

…and I high-tailed it out of there like a second rate burglar. At the end of the month I received a pay check from Wal-mart with a note attached.

Dear April,

I am sorry you didn’t give Wal-Mart a chance.

Sincerely,

Doug

So I got the smock, my friends lifted me onto their shoulders like a hero…and I never went near that Wal-Mart again.

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