Hey, Where’s My Smiley Sticker? (#21)

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I stopped at Walmart yesterday to buy a new iron. I figured it would most likely be made in China, be small and inefficient, and stop working before the month was out. But hey, it was only $8.99, and you can’t beat that price.

I normally don’t shop at Walmart because………… Let’s see; oh yeah. Now I remember. There’s usually not enough crack cocaine available in the entire world, to allow me to futilely look for help, search for the item on my own, make my way through the one open checkout line, and survive a race to my car through hundreds of circling drivers, looking for parking spots within a quarter-mile of the store.

Walking through the front doors for the first time in over two years, I noticed something wasn’t right, but I couldn’t figure out what it was. I grabbed a shopping cart with only three working wheels, listened to the sounds of at least five or six different foreign languages, and almost bumped into a display of fruit. What? Walmart now sells fruit?

I then realized what was wrong. There wasn’t a smiling, elderly gentleman, with a bright blue vest, and an endless supply of smiley faces, greeting me at the entrance!

I then approached an employee stacking mangos and inquired, “Que paso con el portavoz oficial?” he replied, “Que ha estado desaparecido durante dos anos.” Sorry, years ago, I shopped a lot at Walmart. I asked him what happened to the greeter, and he said, “They’ve been gone for more than two years.”

A single tear ran down my face and dropped to the floor. I loved those Walmart greeters. Remember how they always met you with a friendly grin, would get you a cart with four perfect wheels, could unerringly direct you to any item in the store, and would give you a small yellow sticker with a smiling face on it, even if you were forty years old.

Being a Walmart greeter was a tough and thankless job. Imagine working in your golden years for minimum wage and no benefits. Also imagine being required to be fluent in multiple languages, be on your feet all day, not have an aversion or be allergic to spandex, and wear a silly vest that said, “How may I help you.”

Years ago, I was talking and joking with a greeter named Earl, who must have been ninety. He had been in his current job for over twenty years. I asked him the secret to his longevity as a greeter. He pointed to his ears, and then his eyes. I noticed, at his advanced age he wasn’t wearing hearing aids or glasses. He then said he needs both, but takes them off after clocking in. I asked why? He said,

“Take a look around you for Heaven’s sake. This place looks like a circus freak show. How do you think I made it this long?”

The sad thing about the end of Walmart greeters is, I have one less place to work after retirement. If I need to work to earn some extra cash, I’m down to fast-food worker, tour guide, or school bus driver.

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About Patrick Dykie

I'm a simple, middle class family man, living a quiet life in eastern Pennsylvania. I love to write and make people laugh. During the day, I'm a fire protection consultant, and at night I'm working hard to be a writer. I've faced some things over the past few years that have slowed me down in my dreams, but I have always been an optimist. Over the past few years, I've written a number of books, but none have been published. That's about to change. I will be self-publishing "Simple observations" in the next few months. Thank you for coming to my site. I hope you enjoy the visit.
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5 Responses to Hey, Where’s My Smiley Sticker? (#21)

  1. Why did they get rid of the greeters? I guess they couldn’t figure out a way to have self-greeters like they do self-check-outs. Cheap bastards! You could always pimp yourself out on lonely heart cruises during the dance portion of the evenings if you’re looking for steady work. That or being a crossing guard… 😉

  2. Barb says:

    Ho! Patrick,
    Oh, no…there was some comfort in knowing somebody somewhere would hire me when I’d reached my past-prime date. The only reason I think I could keep up with the fast food world is they put “idiot” alarm buzzers on everything, so I’d know when to pull the french fries from the vat.
    Thanks for the sad news. “oficial portavoz” Really? Official door voice? That’s what they called the position?

    • Thank you for stopping by. Spanish doesn’t have an exact word for greeter. I guess they did the best they could. I was hoping to find a job someday as a grumpy old man, but there’s few
      openings, and most of the positions get filled quickly.

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