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Working at Walmart

Dear Corporate Walmart,

I know you probably won’t reply to my letter but that’s not going to prevent me from expressing a few concerns I have about a recent stint I had as a Walmart Lawn & Garden Seasonal Sales Associate. I know that I’m not the only one who has ever experienced concerns, I found that out easily by Googling “working at Walmart,” as you can see by the very first search result.

Firstly, I knew the chance I was taking before being hired, so I wasn’t going into this completely blindfolded. I knew I would probably not be making much over minimum wage ($7.35/hr here in PA), I also knew that as a L&G associate I would be lifting heavy bags of mulch, garden soil, landscaping timbers, etc. I knew there would be times when things would be hectic as early spring is a very busy time for gardeners looking to buy plants and other things needed for gardening.

Secondly, I realize there are some things associated with retail sales that all employees of any particular retail business have no control over, i.e., angry customers, shipments of goods arriving unexpected, cash registers freezing up, etc. Many things can go awry that are not expected. I’ve worked retail before so I know these types of things cannot be controlled by employees, there is no blame here, I’m making a point about working conditions that can or cannot be attributed to employee actions.

Third, and this is probably what you’re not going to like hearing about; low wages for work that one person shouldn’t be doing by themselves. For example, on some occasions during my employment I was the only sales associate in lawn and garden and two surrounding departments. Trying to find assistance for customers I couldn’t help (because I was helping two or more at the same time) was all but impossible. I had difficulty grasping Walmart’s work ethics, be they bad or good, and when I was told by a member of management that this was “the way our generation does things” it made it even more exasperating.

Lastly, I offer a word of thanks to you, Walmart, for hiring me in the first place. I honestly thought that as a lover of plants and people I’d be able to make a difference, and perhaps even change an attitude or two about how you’re viewed by a large majority of your customers. Unfortunately, that view is not a pleasant one. But as I stated earlier, I had an idea of how it might be before I was hired. I chose not to continue as an employee because I felt it was a detriment to my health, both physically and mentally.

On the day I decided to leave you asked if there were anything you could do to change my mind, and when I replied that I would consider staying if my pay were raised to between $10 – $15 an hour, you laughed. For me, and thousands of your employees, that’s not something to laugh about.

Sincerely,

TC Conner

Categories
gardening music Perennials spring weather winter

Spring

If I had to choose one season out of the four as my favorite it would be spring. I love the essence of spring, its aroma, its colors. I love the sound of spring peepers (Pseudacris crucifer), calling out from the pond that lies next to my wife’s herb garden. It’s such a grandiose time, new life is sprouting everywhere. Spring rejuvenates my soul. I’m always amazed by the transformation from the browns and grays of winter, to the sharp contrasting yellows, reds, and whites of spring.

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It might seem depressing when you think about everything that’s going on outside our little slice of real estate; the missing Malaysian jet, Russian aggression, and who knows what else? But the seasons never notice any of it. Trees still leaf out in spring, perennial flowers creep to life, and my grass will keep me busy mowing for the first few weeks of warm weather. And that’s what helps keep me grounded, that and music. I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t plant a flower or pick an old guitar every once in a while.

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If I were a collector of sorts, it’d be hard to choose what I would want to collect most: new and rare flowers or new and rare guitars.

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I’d be okay with either. As long as I can still smell and hear spring!

'Mom's' Forsythia
‘Mom’s’ Forsythia