Saturday, November 29, 2008

Black Friday

For those of you who don't know, I work night shift at the local Wal-Mart Supercenter. Blitz is our term for "Black Friday Sale". It should be called the "Banzai Charge Sale".

You know that small part of the brain that tells you "maybe I shouldn't act like this in public"? Yeah, you know, the "social network" part of the brain?

Well, that part stopped working for about 400+ people this morning.

There really is no words to describe what I saw. But I shall try. Because people need to know. They need to know that they look completely idiotic when they start rushing for things.

We had people shoving, kicking, and grabbing things out of people's hands. We had two sheriffs at each door, plus two or three in electronics to guard stuff. The sale started at 5:00 AM, and people were not allowed to touch the merchandise until the prescribed time.

Being my first Blitz, I was sent to guard the jackets and hoodies. I was like, "Oh, okay. No big deal. It's just jackets. I won't have a ton of people to watch."

Oh. My mistake. Around midnight, some people started showing up. Two or three people. Nothing big yet. I could look down the isle and see people setting up lawn chairs in front of some TV and computer pallets. That was expected.

What wasn't expected was the 40 women who all gathered around the coats and jackets. Around 4:30 AM, we had gathered quite a crowd. And they all started to get closer to the jackets and I had to keep them off of 'em. Here's how a typical conversation went. Stuff in italics are what I thought but did not say.

"Ma'am, I'm sorry, you can't touch the merchandise before five." Can't you see the five signs that I hung up that clearly say "No Merchandise Before 5:00 AM"?

"Oh, I was just looking at the sizes."

Sure you were. I saw those grubby fingers getting ready to snatch it off. "I'm sorry, but you can't even look at the sizes. You can look all you want after 5."

"Well, she was touching it!"

Are you kidding me? We've resorted to name calling? Kinda like a two year old. "I'm sorry ma'am. I can't watch everyone at once. If I see anyone touch it, I will tell them not to."
At 4:55 people were literally starting to press in on me. I prepared to cut the tape around the section and run.

4:57. People were reaching their hands out to hover over what they wanted. I eyed them and they pulled their hands back.

5:00. Think piranhas and a chicken bone.

5:10. Half of the jackets are gone.

5:20. The jackets are gone.

It was wall-to-wall of people. Literally. We had all 25 cash registers open, plus the four scan-your-own isles. People were backed up from the registers to the merchandise (about 5 or 6 buggy widths), plus more waiting that were lined up to the garden center. You just could not get through the electronics section. I had to use an employee door and walk through the back rooms (they run the length of the floor) just to get to the time clock to clock out.

I heard about the Long Island, NY Wal-Mart this morning. A 34-year-old employee was trampled to death. And somewhere else, a pregnant woman lost her baby from being trampled.

Have any of you gone shopping during Blitz before?
Were you ever caught up in the actions of "snatch and grab"?
Have you ever been hurt or hurt someone accidentally?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Is It Really a Deal?

I sit in my high tower, staring at the people below. It is dark, and all I have is the red glow of neon to comfort me. And the green glow of greed to amuse me.

You see, this game was designed with people’s greed in mind. I laugh to myself each time I offer an amount higher than the last, and yet, people still continue. They want more. Much more. Whatever they want, it needs to be more. These people are fascinating.

Only the host and I know this game. Really know it. He laughs along with me, though I am amused more, for I don’t have to deal with the greedy roaches. And they are roaches—scurrying around, taking what’s not theirs, trying to get more of what’s not theirs. And almost succeeding…if only they didn’t run into the mist of bug spray first.

And that is the same sort of effect that opening a case of high numbers has on the greedy person. They’re all hyped up, hoping to get that last bit of low numbers, when, the pesticide can in the shape of 1,000,000 million dollars gets opened in a case. When everyone else groans, I laugh, knowing that the greed overcame them in the end.

They don’t realize what’s happening. Every now and then, I’ll mess with their heads and offer them really hard choices, knowing that they probably won’t get the money. And if they do, all well and good for them; I still have more money than they do.

I am the banker. The people don’t play the game.

The game plays the people.

Author’s Note: I was at my grandmother’s house a long time ago, flipping slowly through the channels on the TV, when I came across a game show called "Deal or No Deal". The way to play was a bit fuzzy, but what I did gather, was that one player tried to eliminate the low numbers, while trying to keep the high numbers. It’s all based on money. After every round, there is a man hidden behind tinted windows called the banker, who makes the player a deal of hard straight cash. The player must then decide whether he wants to keep the straight out money, or keep playing the game to go for a million dollars. The odds of the person picking the case of the high numbers increases as the game goes on, for the cases are eliminated one by one, and of course, the person usually chose No Deal, and then lost in the next round and went home with nothing. I  realized that it was completely based on people’s greed—and human nature. So I thought of this little contemplation in the viewpoint of an important person.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


In the history of humankind many wars have been fought, and many have served their country. Today, November 11th is Veteran's day and we should not forget all who served. We celebrate the service by all who served, and remember that and the lives lost in service to their country.

Some movies (with writers and directors most notably considered) have falsely portrayed war, others have so realistically portrayed it that nobody wants to see it again. Whatever the factual accuracy, I've created a general list of war films to watch today, and for about three or more weeks following.

Please feel free to add to the list in the comments, and to, of course, correct any mistakes.


The 300 Spartans
The Seven Samurai
El Cid
Kingdom of Heaven
Alexander Nevsky
The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc


Last of the Mohicans
The Patriot
The Alamo
Cold Mountain
Gods and Generals
Gone With the Wind


Zulu Dawn


Sergeant York
The Lost Battalion
African Queen
All Quiet on the Western Front
A Farewell to Arms
The Blue Max
Lawrence of Arabia
Paths of Glory


Soldier of Orange
Enemy at the Gates
Band of Brothers
Schindler's List
Saving Private Ryan
The Longest Day
A Bridge Too Far
The Desert Rats
Das Boot
The Great Escape
The Guns of Navarone
Letters From Iwo Jima
Tora! Tora! Tora!
The Thin Red Line
The Bridge On the River Kwai
30 Seconds Over Tokyo
Flags of Our Fathers
Where Eagles Dare
MacArthur’s Children
Kelly’s Heroes
The Dirty Dozen
Black Rain
The Big Red One
Run Silent Run Deep


Pork Chop Hill
The Bridges at Toko-Ri
Full Metal Jacket
Apocalypse Now
Born on the Fourth of July
The Killing Fields


Black Hawk Down
Hotel Rwanda