For over twenty years, I worked in a job that held a service contract with the Government. In other words, when they said, “Jump” we responded with, “How high?” The thought never entered anyone\’s mind to say, “That\’s not my job.” I also believe that for the most part, these same work ethics were the norm across the board in just about any store, restaurant, or other places of business during those years.

Now it seems that the opposite is true. I visit a mega store (notice how I didn\’t say Wal-mart? Pretty clever, eh?) and spend more time looking for someone to help me, than I do shopping. When I locate someone in “mega store” attire and ask for directions to an item, or maybe help in locating a price, what do they answer? “Dunno,” “Not sure we carry that,” or “that\’s not my job.” And you work here because?

The other day while visiting my daughter-in-law and grandbeauties, we ran out of formula for the new baby. Big Mamma (that\’s me) to the rescue. I said, “I\’ll run over there to you know where and get some. I won\’t be but a sec.” So off I went in pursuit of baby formula. If there\’s one thing I love, it\’s making brownie points with my daughter-in-law.

Once there, I headed straight to the “baby” section where they stack the formula. Not one single can was visible. But standing next to me with a feather duster in motion was a mega store employee. Pay dirt! Just the person I needed. I said, “Ah, excuse me, but could you tell me where the baby formula is NOW located?” Never turning, she continued dusting a wall of plastic toys and said, “What kind?” Now I could have said, “The kind you put in a baby bottle,” since I was in a BABY section, and asked for BABY formula, but for once I didn\’t, I needed her help.
I swallowed my sarcastic tongue and said in maybe an octave higher voice, “Ah, well now, that would be the Similac with iron, ready-to-eat, 7 oz. blue and gold bottle, not the can.” Again, never missing a dust stroke or feeling the need to face me, the customer, she replied, “Dunno.” Deciding to wear her down, I counterattacked with another octave higher of “Would that be dunno about that particular kind, dunno know if you have any in stock, or maybe, just maybe, dunno know where it\’s been moved?”

By this time she had completed dusting a 7-foot wide display and as far as I could tell, was dustless. Obviously dusting can wear a person slap out because she sighed, threw her feathers in the air, whirled around and said, “Look, I don\’t order, move, or stock the stuff and didn\’t even know we carried it, okay? Do I look like I\’ve just given birth to you? What would I know from formula? Huh? Tell me that? You people are unreal.” She made a move to retrieve her duster which had landed a few feet away in the newborns; diapers, not babies.

Flashing across my mind was a picture of my daughter-in-law saying, “What do you mean you couldn\’t find it? It\’s in the BABY section, how hard is that?” That was all it took. Nobody….but nobody makes me look bad to my daughter-in-law. I can handle that alllllll by myself, trust me. Quicker than you can say, “dust bunny,” I used one of my Sweating to the Oldies moves and mashed potatoed my way across the isle and grabbed the duster. I swirled and pointed it right at Emma, employee of the year, and said, “Girl, listen to me…I want formula and I want it now. Two bottles, 7 oz, blue and gold, iron included and NO lip, otherwise,” I held the duster in front of her face and continued, “you\’re gonna be mistaken for a peacock. Got it sister? Now move it!”

My daughter-in-law thinks I\’m wonderful once again, and I\’m happy about that. However, I did hear there\’s an opening down at the local mega mart. Seems one of their employees turned in her duster and left in a hurry. Said she wouldn\’t be back. She added as she hastened out the door that answering questions for crazy shoppers, well … that wasn\’t her job.

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