Saturday, July 5, 2008
Heard on the 4th of July! (Part 1--Lowes Staff Meeting)
Lowes, New Carrollton, MD
July 4th, 2008
Some say it is rude to eavesdrop but I really couldn't help overhearing your staff meeting you were holding July 4 at 8:00 am at Lowes. I mean how could I miss it since I came to your store early to buy paint and you were holding a meeting for 25 or so employees standing around the paint department? Why the paint department? Couldn't you have held it in the lumber aisle or maybe the garden area so everyone could have gotten some fresh air? It was very uncomfortable shopping in this department during the meeting since instead of the usual feeling of being ignored by just one employee I felt ignored by a vast army of red vested employees.
As I was looking through paint chips for the perfect shade of apple green ("Macintosh", "Apple Tree" or "Tart Apple") I was sorry to hear of the two employees who were recently fired for stealing. That's terrible! And so near a holiday too!
Next you explained the importance of taking your lunch break. This really concerned me. Why aren't Lowes employees taking their breaks? I personally want the associate mixing my "Granny Smith" paint to be well fed to avoid temptation of sipping from the paint can. Did the two who were fired skip lunch and were then forced to steal soft drinks from the cases by the checkout lines? Were they so weak from hunger they didn't notice the Weber grill accidentally stuck under their coats as they left?
Injuries are understandably a big problem with big box retailers. After all some of those boxes are very big! You were correct to remind employees to ask for help from another when lifting something heavy. I'm sure the fact that as you said, Lowes has to pay $25,000 into a fund every time an employee files a Workman's Comp claim had nothing to do with your concern. I could tell you were a people person!
Some woman then spoke about overtime. I had moved beyond the perfect shade of apple green and mostly was comparing the green virtues of "Honeydew", "Cabbage Green" and "Monet Moonrise" but I think I heard her say that some Lowes employees forget to record their overtime hours and then don't get paid for it. Lowes is lucky to have such noble employees who don't take breaks and refuse to get paid for their overtime! Think what the prices would be if they didn't have such dedicated employees!
Pete was asked if he had anything to say. Pete didn't. I wished I had asked him if he preferred the green of "Parsley Sprig" over "Green Tea" for his kitchen.
We ended the meeting with a cheer:
L clap clap clap
O clap clap clap
W clap clap clap
E clap clap clap
S clap clap clap
As the employees disbursed to their respective departments ("Don't forget to straighten the merch as you go up and down aisles today!") I heard one young man say to a woman as he held up his arm in a soft cast, "Do you think he was talking about me?"
With the area suddenly empty I made my way to the counter, clutching my paint chips for "Green Grape" and "Sonic Lime" in hand and tried to make eye contact with the one employee left in the paint department.
She stepped out of the paint area and disappeared.
Back to normal.