My Kmart Testimony

This picture was taken the morning that the Monticello Kmart was closed.

This picture was taken the morning that the Monticello Kmart was closed.

I don’t know about you but I am one of those people who always seem to have to go kicking and screaming into doing what is best for me, kind of like Jonah in the Bible. I know it and you’d think I’d have learned by now. I am doing a lot better, but sometimes my stubborn nature rears its ugly head and I just have to do things the hard way, and with major attitude! It’s a good thing we have a tolerant and forgiving God.

My Kmart story begins with one of these episodes. For a long time my husband kept telling me that I should apply for a job at Kmart. I didn’t want to work there, didn’t want to work retail. I had two jobs already working in the schools, and in the library, and I loved them both. However, neither one of them included health insurance, which I needed for myself and my kids. Kmart offered this to their associates. Ok, so it was a legitimate argument. I still didn’t want to do it!

One day, I finally got tired of listening to my hubby repeating himself over and over again. Good thing he’s tolerant and forgiving. So I sat down at the computer and filled out the application. However, I figured I’d make it really hard to get the job. Knowing a little bit about retail I figured I could apply for the job in such a way as to not be hirable and still be able to say, “See, I did it and they just don’t want me!”

The day of the scheduled interview came and I dutifully went to Kmart. I told the customer service lady that I had an appointment and waited for a while before I was told that the Human Resource Manager wasn’t in that day and someone was supposed to have called me. They’d reschedule. Well, that was no problem for me. Maybe they’d never get around to calling me. See, I told you I had an attitude!

The call came and the meeting was rescheduled for the next week. So, I went. Trying to have a better attitude, I prayed that whatever was the Lord’s will, that it would be done. The same girl was at the service desk. She had the nicest smile, I later learned that her name was Brenda, and she is just as wonderful as her smile.

I was ushered into the HR office, assuming that this would be quick because of what I’d written on the application. That’s when I met Chris. She had such a calm and accepting personality, the moment you meet her you know that she is someone special. She said she was just looking at my application and was sorry but they couldn’t offer full time jobs, and was there a reason why I had written full time. I told her about needing health insurance and that’s when I learned part timers also received health benefits. Well, there went plan one in my “Scuttle the Job” attempt. Then she said, “I see that you can only work weekdays and no evenings.” Well, this was not a total scuttle attempt as I really do my best never to drive in the dark as I have really bad eyes. But I figured that’d be the end of it, in retail everyone knows you have to work both. She was quiet for a moment, then she looked at her screen, looked at me and said, “You know what, I like you! I’m going to hire you for Service Desk Supervisor!” I was shocked! I’d barely been there 5 minutes! She said she needed someone to work exactly those hours and I was perfect for the job. By this time I realized the joke was on me. The good Lord had created another big fish moment! Chris then called in the store manager and told her, “This is Shelley, I like her and we’re hiring her.” The manager said, “Cool, when can she start?”

I had to have a second interview with another manager as this is protocol, so they called her in and she spoke with me for a few minutes. Then the store manager said to come into her office and fill out the paperwork. Well I didn’t have anything with me, no social security card or anything. I didn’t for the life of me think I’d be hired, let alone be hired on the spot! So the manager said, “Where do you live? Why don’t you go home and get what you need and come back so that we can get this paperwork done today.” Chris said that the sooner we could get the paper work out of the way she wanted me to begin.

Well, to make a long story a little shorter, I did all the paper work, did a drug test, and a few weeks later began my job as a Kmart Service Desk Supervisor. Totally had no idea what I was doing! That first week I had a few days when I went home and cried. I was so frustrated and there was so much to learn! So, I prayed, “Fine Lord, if this is really what you wanted me to do, and considering how things have turned out I have to say it is, then please help me figure out what I’m doing!!” After that, things went more smoothly. Any time I had a problem several of the associates could be relied on to help. No one ever got mad and everyone was really nice.

As the years went by, friendships were developed with associates and customers alike. We became a big family, sharing our tears, fears, laughter, and smiles. Some of those kids I feel like I helped raise! No matter how bad a day went or how hard we worked, it was nice to come to work with people you liked to be with and had grown to love. To this day I hold each and every one of them in my heart!

I met so many wonderful people, loyal customers that I would never have met if I hadn’t worked there. Linda who always took out the doors with her scooter, dear sweet Franni, Natasha, Donald, Russell, Barb, Hattie, and so many, many more! They will never know how it made my day to see them walk through the door.

Then the day came when we were told our store would close. There had been several other stores closed before the holidays, but we had been told that ours would remain open. A few months later the powers that be changed their minds. It was February 2012 and even the manager didn’t have a clue that our store would be closed. That morning, when the District Manager came in, we all figured it was just another routine visit. But then they called us all together and the managers were all looking like they’d been punched in the stomach. I knew what was coming.

We were told that the corporate office didn’t think it was worthwhile for our store to remain open, and that we would from that moment be considered as going out of business. That day they took out the Western union machine and the Lottery equipment, and for the next few months we systematically took apart everything we’d worked so hard to build up and maintain.

It got harder and harder to come to work. Our loyal customers were mad that we were closing, but it was kind of funny because they really resented all of the customers that had never been to the store and were just there for a “going out of business” deal. Many of our friends made sure to come and see us on the day we closed.

June 10th, 2012, it was a pretty, sunshiny day. I stood outside the door that morning and thought about all the good times, all the friends made, and all of the many, many, blessings I had received and hoped I had given in return. I had to smile through the tears and say, “Thank you Lord for always knowing what’s best for me. It was good.”

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