The Wal-Mart Prank
I know this was probably posted 1000000 times but I think it's funny so I'm going to post it anyways.
I first heard about the Wal-Mart position from a friend of mine who was working the early morning shift at the famous discount retailer. He explained that the electronics department needed a full-time employee on the overnight shift, because the last person who worked there was caught masturbating to a Cindy Crawford workout tape at 2 AM while the other employees were goofing off in the break room.
Sadly, I'm not kidding.
I was in college and needed the money, so I showed up one Wednesday at 2:00 pm for the Wal-Mart interview. Believe it or not, the interview process for Wal-Mart was pretty thorough, especially considering the job paid $6.00 an hour and entailed wearing a blue schmock, cleaning up after dullards, and answering the same questions hundreds of times per hour.
Customer: "Excuse me, do you have a toy department?"
What I would think: "Do we have a TOY DEPARTMENT!? What the hell kind of question is that?! This is WAL-MART, flapjack. Can you not see the gigantic blue and yellow sign hanging up when you walk in the door that says 'TOYS'?!?"
What I would say: "Yeah, sure. It's down there."
Anyway, after a grueling two-hour interview, a drug test, multiple calls to my references, and a two-week waiting period, I was finally accepted into the ranks of the Sam Walton elite: I became Joe "The Overnight Electronics Department Employee" Peacock.
The job was a complete nightmare.
First, NO ONE NORMAL works the overnight shift ANYWHERE. This is ESPECIALLY true at Wal-Mart, a gigantic wasteland of career options, where you are working alongside people who restock Liquid Dawn dish soap and Golden Flake snacks eight hours a night for a living. IN GEORGIA. Surprisingly, this conglomeration of educationally inept rednecks had quite an elaborate social structure built into their little group, one that did NOT readily include people who pronounce the word "green" with only one syllable.
The first few weeks were extremely frustrating. Because I was the new kid, and because I did not belong among their kind, I ended up the victim of several "funny" little pranks. For instance, I was told that the electronics person had to cover for the pet department, which was on the opposite end of the store. I was also informed that whenever possible, I should pitch in and help other departments stock their wares. It was common to find me putting away stock that wasn't in my department, being paged back to my department every ten minutes for customers who, according to the paging person, had mysteriously "just left." It was about a month before I found out that neither the Ivory nor the fish were my responsibility, and for all of my hard work and willingness to "pitch in," I received a big fat "Needs Improvement" on my one-month probationary report.
Once I learned the truth about my "extra duties" and subsequently told those who asked me to do them to "go fuck themselves," things became quite simple for me. I would arrive at the store about 10:00 PM, help the third-shift person clean up, receive my stock about midnight, put it all away by 1:00, then kick back and watch digital satellite TV or DVDs while doing my homework until 6:00 AM, when I left the store for class. I was becoming quite happy with my routine, despite the fact that I was surrounded by uneducated redneck mollusks who, while I was watching movies and the brand new MTV2 network, were busy stocking detergent and mops that they, just a few months prior, had a gullible and eager-to-please college kid do for them while they sat in the back room and smoked.
Which is when things started going downhill.
It started with my manager noticing discrepancies on my inventory reports every morning. Each night when I took over the shift, I found a little note reminding me to check the battery count again, or verify that the film count matched up with the printout, because the rack was off by one. I would count and count again, and the counts would match exactly with the inventory printout. It baffled me, but I didn't spend too many cycles wondering why the almighty computer system at a discount department store was screwing up numbers. I figured, "It's a four-dollar roll of film, and our profit last year was in the tens of millions. Sam WILL get over this."
But more and more inventory began disappearing overnight from my department: video games, printer cartridges, and eventually a television. The notes from my manager became increasingly terse. I watched the department like a hawk, but saw nothing remotely suspicious. The morning shift employee arrived at 5:30 AM for register count and shift change, so the theft couldn't be taking place between shifts. Nonetheless, inventory was apparently vanishing from the shelves every morning and reappearing when I started my shift. One morning, I was confronted by the overnight manager about the situation. I walked over to the offending aisle of printer cartridges, and demonstrated for him that the count matched EXACTLY with what was on his new morning printout ... hmm. That's odd. It actually WAS off by one. No one had even come into my department that evening. Something stunk.
After a few days of investigation, the morning manager, not surprisingly, received horrible reviews of my performance from the other employees. The part that really fried my turkey was that the overnight manager, Darius, supported the claims of the overnight staff that not only was I lazy, but was also pilfering the stock for personal gain. I was FURIOUS! I explained -- nay, pleaded -- my case to the morning manger, to no avail. When an entire overnight shift at Wal-Mart hates you, the manager is simply NOT going to believe you.
Which leads to a deeper, darker secret than working at Wal-Mart: I, Joe The Peacock, was actually FIRED from Wal-Mart. I would say that only a retard could get fired from Wal-Mart, but even the door greeter with Down's Syndrome who once bit a female customer's inner thigh was still employed. Truly it was one of the low points of my life.
The following week, I visited the store to pick up my final paycheck, where I met up with the friend who initially referred me to the job. Fortunately, he was pretty tight with a few of the overnight employees, and he told me what had happened. In an attempt to frame me for theft, some of those magnificent meatheads had been using the inventory gun to scan items, increasing the inventory by one unit every morning, so that it looked like we had constant shrinkage. Pretty crafty, I must say, especially since the inventory system didn't record what time a change was made. The worst part was that the overnight manager, Darius, was apparently in on the whole scam as well.
I asked my friend what I had done to piss them off so badly. He replied: "Dude, you didn't do anything. These are simple people who are not worthy of your hatred. You don't belong in a job like Wal-Mart. Everyone knows it. One day, you will become a famous writer and amass a huge following. People will adore you and statues will be erected in your honor. A car will be named after you. You will eventually evolve into pure energy and understand the true nature of God."
Still, hearing all of this stuff about the conspiracy made me angry. And when anger is involved, revenge is not very far behind.
The day after Thanksgiving is notorious for being the busiest shopping day of the entire year, and I determined my vengeance should take place on that fateful day.
Being the guy who set up everything in the electronics department for almost seven months, a few small advantages were mine alone. For instance, I was the only one who knew the lockout codes for the DirecTV and the demo DVD player. These components sat inside the cabinet of an entertainment center borrowed from the Wal-Mart furniture department, and one evening while I was still working there, I had found keys to the cabinet hanging inside the unit. Since I ran the department at the time, I put the keys on my keyring, then quickly forgot about them. I was also the only one who knew the CMOS and screensaver passwords to all the demo PC's in the department. But my real advantage was the knowledge that there was an extra working phone line underneath the main CD rack in the center of the department.
Thanksgiving night, the store closed from 4:00 pm until 12:00 am. At 12:01, I entered the store and set to work on my plan. The morning manager never got around to filling my position, and 80% of the workforce had the night off for the holiday, so the store was my playground.
First, I glided over to the demo machine cabinet, and verified that it was unlocked. It was, since I was the only one with keys. I went to work on the DirecTV system, locking out every channel except for "The Hot Network," a hardcore pornography channel. While in the cabinet, I inserted a special Video CD I had burned that afternoon into the demo DVD unit, then I put a special VHS tape into the VCR. I turned off all the units, then locked up the demo cabinet and grabbed all the remote controls from the front drawer. After that, I turned up the volume on every TV as high as it would go.
Still not satisfied, I moved over to the PCs and changed a few settings, then rebooted them to lock in the passwords. Finally, I took a cordless telephone from the department and plugged it into the aforementioned vacant store phone jack, hiding the base of the unit with boxes of inventory. I ran over to the pharmacy section to plug in the remote charger and phone receiver so that it would be fully charged for the next morning. Everything in place, I left the store with a gigantic smile on my face.
Naturally, the store was FLOODED starting at 6:00 am that morning, the time at which all the special sales were to begin. The traffic in and out of the store was absolutely astounding. There were lines specifically to wait for a place in another line. Around 11:00 am, I showed up and easily breezed through the store. Due to the volume of customers, I blended right in, and not one of my former co-workers spotted me. I went over to my rigged electronics department to do a final survey of the area. All the televisions were on, screens black, with a small message at the bottom of each screen that read "signal unavailable." All of the demo PC's had rolled over to their screensavers, which scrolled in blue text on a red background "I AM A LUCKY COMPUTER! TAKE ME HOME!" Moving the mouse or using the keyboard would not disable the screensaver, since they were password-protected. Everything looked ready.
I ran over to my secret hiding area in the pharmacy, the only department not ravaged by the holiday shopping crowd, and pulled out the cordless phone. I tested it, and it worked. I entered the code for an overhead page and blew into the receiver a few times. Lo and behold, my little puffs were clearly audible over the intercom.
It was time for the festivities to begin.
Using the paging system I had just hijacked, I announced in a clear and resounding tone: "Greetings, Wal-Mart holiday shoppers! Thank you so much for coming out to take advantage of our special deals! One of our unadvertised specials is taking place RIGHT NOW! For the next 30 minutes in the electronics department, if you see a computer that reads "I AM A LUCKY COMPUTER!", that computer's model is 70% off the already low sale price! These computers are first come, first served, so hurry to the electronics department! And as always, thank you for shopping Wal-Mart!"
The floodgates opened.
Following the hordes of bargain hunters, I rushed over to the electronics department to look for the computer models that were "on sale." Astounding! Every single machine had a demo model which scrolled the magic phrase! But my actual intention was not to screw Wal-Mart on the price of their crappy Acer and Packard Bell computers; it was to build an audience for the actual revenge.
As the department reached critical capacity, I pulled out my stolen remotes for the demo units and turned all three of them on. Immediately, the top row of televisions, at full volume, flipped to images from the DirecTV system which was locked on hardcore pornography, the middle tier of televisions began showing images from the VCR which was playing Where The Boys Aren't, Volume 12 - Sorority Sleep Over, and the bottom row of televisions was playing the Video CD, which was full of downloaded German "Scheiße" films from the Internet.
There is no way I can describe the resulting chaos better than you are probably imagining it, so I will leave it alone, mentioning only that I barely managed to crawl out of the store because I was doubled over from laughter.
What a happy holiday season I had that year. I heard later from my friend that the store had to honor the "advertised" sale on the computers, and that the "wall o' filth" actually played at full volume for the better part of an hour, as the department was so packed with spectators that employees could barely move through to the demo cabinet, which they obsessed over unlocking instead of simply turning off the televisions. Overall, the panic and unrest went on for longer than six hours. He continued working there, and about six months after that glorious event, he said they still hadn't figured out how I had hijacked the paging system.
The best part was that Wal-Mart accidentally paid me for another two weeks after I had been fired. Some time later, they sent a letter explaining that this was due to an error in the payroll system, and requested that I send the money back.
I wrote the word 'Scheiße' with a chocolate bar on the letter, and mailed it back, wondering if they would get the joke. I then put the money into a tech-heavy stock portfolio which about a year ago lost every cent that it made for me.
Oh well. Easy come, easy go.