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Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Dry Groceries

After just a month at Wal*Mart I've been moved from Paper Pets & Chemicals to Dry Groceries. It turns out that despite having hired four new part-time staff specifically for the PP&C Departments, they are now overstaffed and to give us enough hours to work at least three of us have been moved to other departments. The fourth new staffer I have yet to meet; I guess our shifts haven't coincided.

I don't mind a bit. In a month I've learnt a lot about the departments I was in, and can usually guide customers to the correct area for their needs. Dry Groceries department covers a wider range of interesting items for me to learn about. Also a Ceral spill is a lot easier to clean up than a bleach or washing liquid spill, and less smelly.

Dry Groceries covers pretty much anything you can safely ingest that isn't fresh, frozen, refrigerated, or candy. That's a broad palette, and there's a lot of stuff on the shelves that I've never seen before and have no idea how to cook and eat. I was amused to discover the Apple Sauce section; I had always thought my wife was odd eating apple sauce rather than eating an apple, but it turns out that in America apple sauce it isn't exclusively for babies and pork chops. The Cereal Aisle, apart from offering an entire wall of boxed and bagged cereals, also includes a Toaster Pastries section, and a Granola Bar section. The "World Foods" Aisle includes Hispanic, not an option one would find in the UK. Tinned tomatoes are kept with the Pizza and Pasta, not the other canned fruits and vegetables.

Actually "working" the department is much the same as before, so the skills I've learnt for bringing new product out on the floor, zoning the shelves and helping customers etc. all apply, and are translatable thoughout most departments. I'm enjoying my job, it's reasonably physically demanding and I've lost a few pounds, but there's still enough mental demand to keep my brain occupied without being overstrained or stressed.

Driving into work a couple of days ago I could see the Cascade Mountains to the east rising out of a sea of mist, and the South Hills wrapped in low clouds, a beautiful sight in the low early morning light. Getting to work in 15 minutes beats the 45 minutes it used to take in London, most of it either on the Underground or walking the litter-strewn streets of Hammersmith, and even the occasional heavy Oregon rain seems less depressing and annoying than London drizzle.

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