Here is an essay that I’d written on Friday, December 21, 2007, regarding a job that I had from 2000 to 2001. It is slightly modified.
Working As a Night Stocker
An Essay By Mark Moore
I know it’s been over two years since I wrote my last work-related essay. A lot has happened since then. On Sunday, March 19, 2006, I moved back to Homosassa, Florida, due to lack of a good job in Illinois. As you might recall from my previous work essay, I was a bagger and cart-pusher in a supermarket, which I could just as well do down here. On Monday, July 17, 2006, I was hired at Kmart, where I still work as of this writing. I’ll get to writing about Kmart in detail eventually. This essay will be regarding my three experiences working as a night stocker.
My first job as a night stocker was at Kash ‘n Karry, a local supermarket chain that was owned, at the time, by Food Lion. I worked there from June of 2000 to November of 2001, when I was hired by Wal-Mart, which was a conflict of interest (both stores sold food), so I quit Kash ‘n Karry. I was at Wal-Mart for only a little over a month before I got fired, though, so I won’t be writing an essay about that. Anyway, the Kash ‘n Karry that I worked at during this time was the Crystal River, Florida, store.
My second job as a night stocker was again at Kash ‘n Karry from August of 2005 to September of 2005. This time, it was at the Homosassa, Florida, store. By this time, the company was owned by some foreign corporation. I worked there only as a side job for extra money, because my hours at my normal job, a receptionist in a small office (which will be the subject of my next essay, and I have a lot to say about that one) were cut. As a side note, earlier this year, Kash ‘n Karry was renamed Sweetbay, so I guess the company changed owners again.
My third job as a night stocker was early on in my Kmart job. It began on Monday, July 17, 2006, and lasted for only a short time before I got moved to days.
Most of the experiences in this essay will be drawn from my first Kash ‘n Karry job, since I was there for 1.5 years.
Lack of Sleep
I’ll start with my biggest problem in working as a night stocker. I can’t get any sleep during the daytime, so I end up coming in to work exhausted.
My mom had me lie on my bed and listen to music for hours before going to work. Sometimes, I’d fall asleep, but I often didn’t, which means I was mostly wasting time.
During my first Kash ‘n Karry job, my mom had me drink soda and/or liquid ginseng before leaving the house to wake me up. It didn’t do any good. During my second Kash ‘n Karry and Kmart jobs, I stopped at the corner convenience store to get an energy drink. Those were only marginally effective.
I sometimes tried to nap during my lunch break, either resting my head on the break table or, in Kmart, lying on the furniture. It often didn’t help.
My coworkers/supervisor would tell me to “Wake up!”, and my first Kash ‘n Karry manager told me that it wasn’t his problem that I couldn’t get to sleep before coming in (which, admittedly, it wasn’t).
There was just no way to do my job when I was so tired.
Even though my job was a stocker, the people at the Crystal River Kash ‘n Karry apparently thought I wasn’t “throwing” (putting up on the shelves) enough cases per hour, so I was eventually told to just “Start blocking, man” whenever I came in. Blocking is stocker jargon for “moving the items forward to make the shelves look full”.
Straightening in the most boring job in the world. As a result, my mind wandered all over the place during the course of a shift. I thought about anything and everything.
Kash ‘n Karry and Kmart’s radio stations suck. Kash ‘n Karry Radio typically played contemporary crap, and The Kmart Radio Network plays some contemporary crap mixed in with unhealthy portions of Elvis Presley, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, and Little Richard.
During my first Kash ‘n Karry job, the night crew would often bring in a radio / CD player. They’d play 98 Rock (the local Hard Rock / Heavy Metal station) over the intercom, which meant Ozzy Osbourne and similar stuff. It’s not my kind of music. Also, they’d sometimes play their own CDs or, on rare occasions, let me play my CDs (Jem and the Holograms and Sailor Moon & The Scouts).
During my second Kash ‘n Karry job, the night crew would bring in a radio / CD player, and the supervisor would play his CDs. He was into jam bands and had a Jerry Garcia tattoo on his arm. I didn’t care for his stuff.
It would have been nice if they’d played music from the 1980s.
It seems pretty much every night stocker smokes, and I’m the exception.
Kmart has a designated smoking area (the very front inside of the store by the entrance), but, in Kash ‘n Karry, they could smoke anywhere, which made my job experience even more unpleasant than it was already.
During my first Kash ‘n Karry job, whenever I’d go into the office to copy my schedule for the following week, I’d never know what I was in for during said week.
The problem, which I didn’t learn about until later, was that there were two clipboards hanging in the office – each with different schedules. Why? Well, apparently, one was the real, finalized schedule, and the other was just a way for the assistant manager to work out everyone’s hours.
This resulted in me being sent home many times, because I wasn’t scheduled to work. It upset my mom, but it made me happy in a way, because I could get some sleep.
Of course, sometimes, the opposite happened. Once, I disconnected from the Internet around midnight and was wearing my pajamas, ready to go to bed. The phone rang. It was Kash ‘n Karry, wondering if I was coming in or not. I had to get dressed and go there. When I got there, I checked a schedule (probably the not-real one) and said I wasn’t scheduled to work. I’m pretty sure that I stayed anyway.
Why did the assistant manager have to leave his play schedule up in the office instead of putting it in his desk? It just caused confusion.
Of course, once they moved me down to one night per week, this entire issue pretty much became a moot point.
Except that they hired another guy named Mark. I wasn’t told, so I mistook his hours for mine.
At least once, I was sent home even when scheduled to work. My supervisor said something like “We’re just gonna block the store and then sit on our asses and wait for the manager to show up.” I later told a manager, and he was like “Oh, really. Looks like that’s what they did, too.”
I realize that I wasn’t the best (or anywhere close) stocker in the world, but that’s no reason for them to pull this crap.
In Kash ‘n Karry (and maybe in Kmart, too, but I don’t recall), the hour that I was scheduled to leave usually wasn’t when I left. I left when all of the stuff had been stocked, and the entire store had been blocked. This meant that, being scheduled to work to 7:00 AM (an hour after a manager arrived), I got out as late as 10:00 AM.
Why’d they have a schedule, if they didn’t stick to it?
Night stockers seem to love sexual humor.
My supervisor during my first job once talked during a lunch break about how he laid a female stockperson outside the store. He then said something like “I still haven’t laid anyone inside the store yet.”
On another occasion, he went on the intercom and said something like “Find Mark and shake his hand. He just told me he got laid!” A guy eventually came up to me and offered his hand. I had to explain that what he said wasn’t true.
My supervisor in Kmart (and an older man) asked me if I’d ever had sex. I said no. He asked me if I was a virgin. I said yes. He said we gotta fix that. I let him know that I’m happy being a virgin.
Night people. Sheesh!
Night crews at every store have a lot of turnover. I was the last person to leave at my first Kash ‘n Karry job.
It’s not surprising. Most people don’t want to stay at such a crappy job.
Night stocking is a lousy job.
It wastes your time in the evening (when you have to try to sleep before work) and in the morning (when you really sleep after work).
It’s boring. When smoking is involved, it’s also unhealthy.
My advice is to not take a job on a night crew unless you absolutely can’t get a day job.
Well, that’s all that I have to say for now. I hope that you enjoyed reading my essay. Feedback is appreciated.