So I realize that I’ve been neglecting to report on life at WalMart lately, that’s because there really hasn’t been much to report. Life at WalMart has been pretty calm these days, and where WalMart is concerned that’s a good thing. I do however have a few stray thoughts and more fellow WalMart inmates associates for you to meet.

You may remember from the saga of the exploding coconuts that I’m going to try to give all of my co-workers that I write about names that have to do with the department they work in. So far I’ve only mentioned Cornelius, but all of my produce friends will be assigned produce related names.

So I’m going to call one of the ladies I work with Juanita. That may not seem like a produce related name, but it is. You’ll see. Juanita is a little odd, I like her, but she’s a little odd. One her quirks is that she has come up with unique ways of getting around WalMart’s anti-swearing policy. I can’t remember if this is an unwritten rule or an official policy, but part of the WalMart culture is they want associates to watch their f(@&ing language. They also don’t like to sell CDs, books, etc. that have dirty words in them. Juanita employs alliteration in her alternative phrases and the swear that she is avoiding will probably be apparent to all but the most sheltered among my fervent readers. What follows is a list of Juanita’s substitute epithets that I’ve heard thus far:

  • Pistol packing pachyderm
  • Macedonian mugwamp
  • Son of a biscuit
  • Fudge flavored flamingo
  • Gossiping ghost

Maybe it’s because it was the first one I heard, but “pistol packing pachyderm” is my favorite. I can just imagine hearing a “Code Brown” (potential violent situation) alert over the intercom at the store: “An elephant just walked in, and he’s got a gun!”

By the way, when you work at a medical facility, “code brown” has a completely different meaning.

So one day I asked her about the melons I was seeing on the shelf labeled “Juan Canary.” I had never seen them before and I wasn’t sure if Juan Canary was the type of melon or the name of the grower. Juanita explained that Juan Canary was indeed a type of melon. In what I thought was just a throwaway line, I said that it sounded like a character from the “Tiki Room” at Disneyland. You would have thought that I had just said the funniest thing in the history of people saying funny things. She burst out laughing. Never one to waste a good audience I launched into what I imagined would be Juan Canary’s voice:

“Hola, my name is Juan Canary. Welcome to the Enchanted Tiki Room”

She was doubled over at this point.

This is all well and good, God knows I love to make people laugh, especially intentionally, but unfortunately that wasn’t the end of it. When our supervisor (whom I am going to call Rhubarb for no apparent reason except that it ends with a female name) came back from lunch, Juanita said, “Joe, tell Rhubarb about Juan!” I did and it induced a mild courtesy laugh at best.

Then for at least the next week, Juanita continued to refer to Juan and the Tiki Room. If I was going on break, she would say “Have fun in the Tiki Room!” When I came back, “How was the Tiki Room?” If she was going, “I’m going to the Tiki Room.” Until I wanted to say “Enough with the gossiping ghost fudge flavored Tiki Room!”

For the past few days, references to Juan and the Tiki Room have diminished thankfully.

While I’m on the subject of the melon family, one day in my first week or so at the store I was putting some corn out and a woman in a low cut dress stopped by to look at the watermelons that were across the table from where I was. She leaned over to get a better look at the watermelons and at that point I had a choice of four things to look at, the third and fourth were my corn and the large man she was with. Exercising as much restraint as I am capable of, I made an attempt to divide my attention between 3 and 4, but we are instructed to observe the “10 foot rule” and say hello to customers that come within a 10 foot radius of us. So, thinking “Look at the corn, look at the guy, don’t look at the HOLY COW!!!” I offered assistance. She had already decided that she didn’t like the appearance of the watermelon and both of them started to move on, but not until she declared, “I only like pretty melons.”

“Think about the corn, think about the guy, don’t think about saying the thing in your head.”


I’ve noticed that one of the wines we sell at the store is called Ménage à Trois. Fine, they won’t sell Green Day CDs that have dirty words but they sell wines named Ménage à Trois?

Yes, come to your local family WalMart store for a bottle of Ménage à Trois. The wine for those “special moments.”

I know that’s a fantasy – at least for a lot of guys – but I have to say honestly not for me. I’ve got enough on my mind on those rare occasions when I’m with one woman, let alone two. Besides,  it just seems greedy. And don’t even get me started on the other kind of threesome. Nope, sorry. Not for me.

In other weird product name news, there’s an onion grower named Bland Farms. They specialize in sweet Vidalia onions and their slogan is actually “When You See Bland Farms, You Know It’s SWEEEET!” Apparently it’s the founder’s name but seriously…

I guess Smuckers would have sued them if their slogan was “With a name like Bland, it’s got to be…not…bland.”


The produce section is nestled between the bakery and the meat department. So far the meat people have proved to be rather boring, but the bakery ladies are pretty fun. In fact one of my favorite pastimes is to flirt with the bakery gals. My therapist back in Cali actually encouraged me to flirt more so I’m just following doctor’s (actually MFT’s) orders.

Two of the BGs that I have singled out for particular flirtage will be known, donut style, as Glaze and Sprinkles. I don’t know either of their ages, but I would put them both in their 20s. Glaze, as her name would suggest, is a little less flashy and more low-key than Sprinkles; but she’s very pretty and down to earth. The other day I was tossing bad cantaloupes into the huge trash compacter on the receiving dock and she came by and helped me. We were trying to see who could make the biggest noise. I can’t remember who won. Another time Cornelius was pulling a pallet and Glaze jumped on it, she was later very frank about the fact that Cornelius was carrying an extra 200 pounds. She said it was all in her butt.

And then there’s Sprinkles. Wow. Sprinkles is hot, no two ways about it. She’s a wild woman too. She wears lots of make-up (not in a Tammy Fay Bakker sense but more than usual I would say), has tats, has red hair in kind of a neo-punk style, and smokes (although that seems to be more common here in the South than it is in Cal, and I think Glaze may smoke too). But I noticed something about her in my first couple of weeks at the store. She is usually up front decorating cakes, and I observed a certain grace and gentleness as she would spread the frosting and make designs with the icing. I also recently found out that she is going back to school for a certificate in early childhood education.

Sprinkles is a flirt, I noticed this with all the other guys around but it took for freaking ever to get her to flirt with me. Well, be careful what you wish for. She says some things to me that I think could probably get her canned for sexual harassment. Not that I have exactly discouraged this behavior you understand. The other night she was rushing to get her area cleaned up before closing time (our store is open 24/7 but the bakery shuts down at 8pm) and she asked me if I could take some boxes to the cardboard baler for her. She said, “I promise I’ll only use you this one time.” I replied that she could use me as often as she wants. She laughed and said, “Yay! I get to use Joe!”

¡Ay, caramba!

By the way, both our trash compacter and cardboard baler are made by a company called Cram-A-Lot.

There are more stories, but my connection to the internets is a bit dodgy today so I’m going to post this and do a Part Deux another time.


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