"Customer service to paint center. Customer service to paint center immediately! Customer is trying to mix his own paint!"

I happened to hear this broadcast over the public address system while I was wandering through the aisles at Wal-Mart yesterday. I stopped.

"Did he just say—?" asked the man next to me, a complete stranger.
"I think so, yes."
"Mix his own paint?"

Just when I thought I had heard it all.


After spending four years there as a sales associate in electronics and in loss prevention I came across some really good experiences.

I was straightening merchandise one day when Mary, the person who answered our phones made a page for a customer:

"So and so, you have a call at the front desk. It's your mother. Your father is in the hospital and is dying. He's gravely ill. You can take that phone call at the front desk ."

Another time a drunk came in and tried to stuff a twelve pack of VCR tapes down his pants. I asked him if he needed any help and he put the tapes down. Upon walking out of the department he exclaimed to my co-worker who was taping the whole thing: "I bet that was pretty damn funny."

The one that beats all is when I was working in loss prevention and another co-worker and I were trailing a shoplifter. At the same time the store was in a "code adam" which is Wal-Mart speak for a parent lost their kid, is freaking out, and everyone at the store needs to drop what they're doing and help find he/she/it. Loss prevention employees didn't have to do this. One of the techniques we used was to hide in the clothing racks while spying on the potential "kill." My buddy was doing just that at the time. He was hunkered down amongst a rack of fur coats when just behind him he heard some raspy breathing. He turned around and and was surprised by a little girl sitting there who exlaimed:

Are you hiding from your mommy too?

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