My average day when I was a day-shift Sales Bootyociate (the ones who stock shelves) at Wal-Mart:
Clock in a little early, duck management and stock some areas that need it.
Management eventually finds you and acts as if you’ve been neglecting your job for avoiding them. They make you take the items you were going to stock to the back, then set you on taking down features on the floor and moving them to a different location on the floor, or piling them in the back and replacing them with something similar. I once spent three hours switching two dog food displays that were less than twenty feet apart.
Intermittently while you’re doing this management will come ride you and the other 1-2 Sales Bootyociates who actually try to do a good job about doing a better job, meanwhile the lazier Sales Bootyociates -who would discredit zombies to refer to them as such- will shamble back and forth accomplishing next to nothing while management pretends they don’t exist.
If you’re unlucky enough to be trained as a cashier you will probably be doing that half of the day, because the register staff is also woefully undermanned, as well as having a high turnover/call-in rate.
Just when you find that you have time to stock a few items again it is now your lunch break, or else management has decided that the daily “zone” (Facing the items and pulling them forward on the shelf) is starting an hour early. Never mind that there are several carts of items in the back that can go on the half-empty shelves that you are zoning.
You clock out and try to pretend that you weren’t working in circles all day- and maybe, just maybe you helped out somebody, somewhere.
Also, the department manager of your area is probably trapped between a half-dozen redundant meetings and/or putting a billion new price tags with a slightly different color or graphic or slogan on the shelves, so he/she can’t help you much.
Also ALSO, during all of this, exasperated customers who can’t find half of what they are looking for will approach you for help, and the most you will be able to do is shrug with an idiotic grin on your face and tell them “Sorry, maybe it will be on the shelf next week”.
You can’t totally blame the middle management that is yanking you around the store, because their manager has a list from their manager, who has a list from their manager (and so on for who knows how many iterations all the way back to hq), and if they don’t check off that list it’s them in the frying pan.
I find a lot of positive things at Wal-Mart. The customers (not kidding, they can really make your day), most of your coworkers, flexible hours that work with school, and a lot of the management are great people. It’s just a wonder that anyone can get around the store with so much red tape floating around.