Walmart Employees Asked To Stay Behind While Flood Waters Rise?

Earlier today, firefighters in Ames, Iowa, rescued around 30 employees trapped inside a Walmart as flood waters rose around them. But what were they doing in the store to begin with.

On Tuesday night, the city had given Walmart managers the heads-up that flood waters were imminent. And when the water level rose quickly on Wednesday morning, the employees still inside the store were unable to leave.

A spokesperson for the town appeared unsure as to why there was still anyone in the store at 10 a.m. this morning, telling the DesMoines Register that “some employees apparently were asked to stay back or decided to stay back.”

Some of the Walmart workers had to swipe some life jackets from the store’s sporting goods section because the firefighters didn’t have enough to go around.

Making matters worse, the water was moving too quickly for firefighters to reach the stranded workers with a rescue boat. The city had to bring in a dump truck and an end loader from its public works dept. to aid in the rescue.

We’ve reached out to city officials for more information about why the Walmart employees were still inside the store.

Ames Wal-Mart employees rescued from rising flood waters [DesMoines Register]

Thanks to Brad for the tip!

Comments

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  1. tomg13 says:

    In Walmart’s mind, they wanted them to deter looting and shoplifting. Just a thought.

    • Rachacha says:

      But had the employees stopped someone who was shoplifting, the probably would have been fired for violating corporate policy.

    • TriplerSDMB says:

      That was my immediate thought. Humans are disposable; everything is inventoried and must be accounted for.

    • JennQPublic says:

      Maybe they needed to stick around and check receipts. :-p

    • morsecoderain says:

      Yeah, but if you know Ames, the Target is next door — the flood waters were moving from Wal-Mart to Target — if Wal-Mart closed, there could be a chance that Target opens in the morning and takes any potential business during this natural disaster. Ames is on a boil order, so one can assume bottled water would be in demand.

    • bdcw says:

      Employees are required to die for Walmart.

  2. NeverLetMeDown says:

    Need to clarify headline – doesn’t indicate who did the asking. Do you mean:

    Were Walmart Employees Asked To Stay Behind While Flood Waters Rise?
    -OR-
    Did Walmart Employees Ask To Stay Behind While Flood Waters Rise?

    • Marshmelly says:

      The first one

    • shangyle says:

      Ha! Gotta love crash blossoms!

      http://www.crashblossoms.com/

    • nausicaa.amaya says:

      as one of the walmart associates involved, I can tell you, I never once heard any of my coworkers say they wanted to stay. management never announced we were free to leave..people finally had to ask, but by that time, it was too late to get out, the water was too high and current too strong.

      • haggis for the soul says:

        Wow. I’m very glad that you all made it out safely.

      • MrsLopsided says:

        Did they pay you for the involuntary overtime or clock you out with no way to get home?

        • nausicaa.amaya says:

          most of us clocked out when our shift ended at 7, thinking a boat was on the way to rescue us (we were ready to get out of there! haha), it tried but failed, so we waited around for attempt #2, which also didn’t work. i’m not sure if we will be paid for the overtime or not. they did provide breakfast for us at least.

  3. dr_drift says:

    I think Wal Mart pays double time for working during a disaster, triple time for working during the apocalypse.

    • failurate says:

      And an executive level bonus program for actually bringing about the Apocalypse. I hear it includes a company car.

    • Buckus says:

      At triple time, they’re making a living wage. *Zing. I’ll be here all week folks. Don’t forget to tip your waitress.

      • Con Seanne-BZZZZZZZZZZZZ says:

        WHY? I DON’T GET TIPPED FOR DOING MY JOB RIGHT! THEIR EMPLOYER MAKES UP THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MINIMUM WAGE AND TIPS ANYWAYS! /anti-tip brigade

      • Firethorn says:

        The sad part? Wallyworld tends to pay more than other similar stores and small businesses to begin with.

        Depending, minimum wage isn’t enough.

    • haggis for the soul says:

      If they’re paid triple time, maybe they can afford an $8 life jacket.

    • menty666 says:

      Isn’t “apocalypse” one of the color codes on the back of the badges?

    • burnedout says:

      That’s why they specifically ask you if you’ve been saved in the interview. They don’t really want to know your religious preferences – they want to make sure you’ll be around to check receipts after the others have been taken.

  4. ageekymom says:

    How many will lose their jobs for taking the life vests?

  5. haggis for the soul says:

    Even if they asked to stay back, they shouldn’t have been allowed to. This is beyond the pale.

  6. Knippschild says:

    Now watch this, next article will be “Seven walmart employees fired after stealing store merchandise (lifevests)”

  7. sonneillon says:

    That is just silly. Even for Walmart.

    Because there are not going to be many people shopping. And they have to pay the employees.

  8. Danny says:

    In walmarts mind, the product (lowest bidder crappy chinese made product) is more important than the safety of its employees.

    • BurtReynolds says:

      Exactly. You can go hire a new cashier the week after they drown, but another crate of NASCAR jackets from China isn’t expected until next month.

    • Dallas_shopper says:

      Wal-Mart isn’t the only company like that though. I work at the corp HQ for a relatively well-known company and for the last two years some of us have been required to work on Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year’s, Fourth of July, etc. And vacations? Ha! What are those? We’ve already rolled over about 2 years of vacation and we aren’t allowed to accrue any more. Or take what we’ve accrued.

      Wal-Mart isn’t the only company abusing its workers. But I think their abuses are more egregious than my company’s!

  9. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Probably gonna fire them since they stole those life jackets.

  10. smo0 says:

    Funky.

    I dunno what’s in the minds of these corporations or even the middle management.

    A few years back we had a major snow storm here in Vegas, 9-12 inches of snow in some parts… this city is not prepared for that type of things… so schools and businesses were closed….
    Well… I called into work for the next day, explained to them my complex was snowed in and I couldn’t get out safely and the roads weren’t that safe to begin with…

    Nope they kept operations going and made everyone who was scheduled to work that day, come in….

    I was a few minutes late because I was driving very, very slow as I was in a honda with regular, non snow or all weather tires, and they still wrote me up.

    They never care and I’m pretty sure it’s accurately stated, they made them stay behind.

    • Etoiles says:

      I once had a job on Staten Island. I lived in Brooklyn and used the ferry to get to the job.

      One morning, there’s so much fog on the water that they’re not running the ferries. Any of four (8:00, 8:30, 9:00, 9:30) could have gotten me to work more or less on time (10:30). I couldn’t get a ferry until the much-belated first one left at 10:30. And I called work, repeatedly, and let them know what was going on.

      When I got there? An immediate talking-to and write-up for being late and not taking my responsibilities seriously enough.

      (When I interviewed for my current job, they asked me, “What do you look for in a manager?” I said, “Someone who’s in touch with reality,” and related that story. I’m good, but not walk-on-water good!)

      • smo0 says:

        That’s the stuff that gets to me…. that right there defines corporate america… there’s no way in hell they have NOT been in a situation somewhat related to be late for work for reasons beyond your control… how can someone look at me, straight faced, and act like I did wrong…
        and they wonder why I don’t want to go into the management program at my job…

        I’d sooner die.

      • DarkPsion says:

        The “last straw” that got me fired from my job of 15 years was not coming in after an ice storm turn the town into a hockey rink.

        The police were all over TV telling people to stay home, do not drive and when I called in, my bosses said I “had to come in” or else.

        A week later I was fired for “Disrespecting the management”.

        • pot_roast says:

          I was chewed out for being late to work due to traffic around a closed airport one time…. September 11, 2001.

          Yes, I was reprimanded for being late to a job on 9/11. A sysadmin job that I could telecommute to easy enough, but no, the boss wanted everybody in the office.

    • denros says:

      “I dunno what’s in the minds of these corporations or even the middle management.”

      I’ll give you a hint: it rhymes with $$$$$$$$$$

    • flipflopju says:

      Back when I worked there, if you called in sick on a snow day (even with a doctor’s note) it was a fireable offense.

      • kc2idf says:

        The management are all in the south. They don’t get snow, and therefore they don’t “get” snow.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      No sympathy from me here. I’m from NJ. I use my Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera to clear the path for our pick up truck.

      • Conformist138 says:

        You’ve never lived in a city that just doesn’t get much snow, have you?
        Last winter Portland got dumped on more than usual and we wound up with a city covered in a foot of snow and NO de-icer. The trains carrying more stuff to sprinkle on the roads got stuck. Frozen tracks. Ironic.

        Pretty much, we don’t have enough plows, our cars aren’t purchased with much snow in mind, and we’re just not well supplied. It’s usually fine, those storms are pretty rare, but when they to occur, the city entirely shuts down. That, and the locals just have little experience driving in the snow. I have a good excuse- I take public transit and the entire bus system was shut down for a few days.

      • kc2idf says:

        Even in the case of your wimp-ass New Jersey snow, your local DPW has at least a clue (and the equipment) to remove it. Las Vegas has neither the skill, nor the equipment.

      • smo0 says:

        Excuse the typos, but I will post the original quote…

        “… this city is not prepared for that type of thing..”

        That should sum it up right there…

        and in addition to that, we were told to stay home if possible…

      • crunchberries says:

        NJ? Pfft. Come up to NY. We’ll show you what real snow looks like.

  11. ShruggingGalt says:

    Amateurs.

    The manager will be fired for failing to *LOCK & CHAIN* the doors to keep the employees in during the temporary emergency.*

    You never know what could happen during an “emergency”.

    * = http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4146540/

    • El-Brucio says:

      Sure, you’re all against that *now*.

      They won’t look so stupid when the zombie apocalypse finally hits.

    • halfcuban says:

      While the details of their contracting out sound deplorable, working after lock up isn’t, as long as someone around has a key. I’ve worked many places where all the doors were locked up after close, so customers wouldn’t hassle us coming in, and no one would try to knock over the place by coming through the back door. No if they locked them in their and LEFT until the morning, then yes, thats shenanigans.

  12. dolemite says:

    After working in fast food, retail, etc…I guarantee those workers wanted to leave, but management made them stay.
    “Look, I’ll give you a choice, your minimum wage job with no benefits or your life? Which will it be?”

  13. Cyniconvention says:

    “some employees apparently were asked to stay back or decided to stay back.”

    Decided?
    You have to wonder in what corporate state Wal-Mart is in if they don’t make people leave for their safety.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      Your logo combines two of my favorite things!

      Oh, and I can’t believe they’re even trying to suggest that the workers WANTED to stay.

    • whogots is "not computer knowledgeable" says:

      I have heard that anyone who resigns from Wal-Mart is automatically ineligible for rehire. “Your awful minimum wage job or your life” is one thing; “Your job prospects with the juggernaut that is rapidly consuming all of rural America or your life” might be a bit harder to suss out before the floodwaters make the choice for you.

      (N.B., a relative who worked for Wal Mart told me that. I’d start subsistence farming before considering that option, so it’s not like I have read the employee handbook myself.)

      • Destron says:

        Actually, that is no way true, there is very little you can get fired (or quit for) for at Walmart that leaves you ineligible for rehire.

      • RandomHookup says:

        That wouldn’t make sense…you resign to go to school and come back for summers. Or maybe you move for your spouse’s job and reapply at a new store in the new location. Fired, that’s more like it.

  14. JuanHunt says:

    Did the city workers check their receipts before letting them escape to the dump truck?

    • Conformist138 says:

      I laughed, but there’s still not one part of that question that doesn’t fill me with deep sadness.

  15. intense_jack says:

    DishNetwork (Echostar) does the same thing during blizzards in Colorado at their corporate headquarters. Of course, they also make their employees ‘badge out’ during a fire alarm so they can track the time of salaried employees. No joke.

    • Rachacha says:

      The difference is that during a blizzard, the worst that will happen is that you are seperated from your family for a while. A flood, especially as authorities had warned them of the rising waters, you could lose your life.

      I can see having key employees for service providers (telephone, electrical tv utilities) requiring there employees to “camp out” at the office prior to natural disasters so that as soon as it is safe they can be dispatched to immediately begin repairs or man the phone systems.

      • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

        Or the roof caves in from all the snow. Or the power is knocked out which means no heat and water. Or you’re trapped in a business that may not have enough food on hand to supply people during an emergency. Or people don’t carry enough medication on them for an extended stay. Or…..

    • JoeTheDragon says:

      and what do you if there is no reader by the fire door or you don’t have the time? If there a fire and you stop to do that you may get pushed out of the way. That what they say to do on a airplan don’t get a bag or other stuff just get out.

  16. Chinchillazilla says:

    If it turns out Walmart asked them to stay, I can’t say I’ll really be shocked.

  17. smarmyjones goes cattywampus says:

    Having lived in Ames for a good many years, I can honestly say this is the worst flood I’ve seen since 1993. This Wal-Mart location has only been open since March, 2008 and has only suffered mild flood damage since then. It could be that they didn’t expect the floodwaters to get this high, and based on the flood they had in 08, asked for volunteers to stay behind and sandbag. No one expected the flooding to be this bad. The Major interstate out of the City is closed, and so are most of the highways. It’s pretty much surrounded now and the water plant has also shut down. The employees are just lucky they made it out.

    • Big Mama Pain says:

      Yeah, my understanding from one of the commenters on here that claims to be one of the Wal-mart employees that was there is that they didn’t really know what was going on until it was too late to leave, and they stayed waiting for rescue boats. Naturally a place like Wal-mart would be open before a natural disaster because they stock all the essential emergency supplies. If they closed, would the article read “Hundreds without power or emergency supplies because local Walmart closed at 10 am”?

  18. UberGeek says:

    I once was told I had to stay at my workplace despite a confirmed fire alarm (meaning the alarms were blaring and there was visual confirmation of smoke or fire) floors below us. I decided it was time for a cigarette break. Yeah, I don’t work there anymore…

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      In many buildings, staying in place is actually safer. The codes call for any openings between floors to be either insulated to fire, or to have fusible links to a physical barrier in case flames start to use them. Opening doors to things like stairwells can actually feed the fire since many stairwells positively pressurize to keep smoke out of them and to keep doors shut. In buildings like that a whole floor can burn, and the other floors remain almost untouched.

      • mmmsoap says:

        Indeed. At our school we have to drill 3 separate disaster responses: evacuation, lock down, and shelter-in-place. Both lock down and shelter-in-place take place inside the building (obviously). One of the main uses for shelter-in-place is when going outside is potentially more dangerous due to poor air quality (tanker truck rolls over on the highway) while the internal air supply and filters are still operating fairly well.

        To be fair, however, we do drill these responses with the kids so they know about them in case of emergency, and there’s no surprises or resistance. Sounds like either UberGeek’s employers needed to be better about communicating their disaster plan, or the employees need to be better about reading those types of memos.

    • RickN says:

      That must have been intense when you made an anonymous call and reported them to the Fire Marshals and the media. Hefty fines, maybe even a criminal indictment or two. Any links to the news coverage?

  19. brinks says:

    Upper management in retail doesn’t care.

    Every winter, no matter what company I’ve been a manager for, that fact is reiterated. We’ve had level 3 snow emergencies in surrounding counties where many employees live, but the store location was in a level 2. Despite the fact that it is ILLEGAL to drive in a level 3 emergency and it affected certain managers, upper management still insisted they show up, regardless of whether or not they broke the law to get there. It wasn’t even an option to just have another manager cover the shift. That might put them into OVERTIME!

    Upper management is generally clueless and callous when it comes to things like this. They want their store open so they can sell stuff to the wackos that come out in this weather, despite the fact that it’s putting their employees at risk.

  20. Aramil says:

    So I am a Walmart Employee who works (worked?) At the South Ames Duff Location. Let Me clarify things a little. We were never explicitly told we couldn’t leave but we were all certainly under the impression that if we did we wouldn’t be allowed back (i.e. Fired). During a closed door meeting with some of the Back Room Inventory Associates a Billy, one of the managers, said that we should move our cars to a side of the lot less likely to flood (in front of the TLE bay doors). The question was raised if we would be sent home early. He said that they wouldn’t be closing the store until the police came and told them they had to close. He also said that if necessary all the managers would stay until they were rescued by helicopter (if nothing else). We spent a good portion of our night using cat litter, soil, and pesticides wrapped in plastic sandbagging all the doors. My shift ended at 1am and I barely made it home. So its no surprise that they all got stuck there.

    • backinpgh says:

      I really hope your screen name isn’t identifiable to anyone at your store…I’m sure corporate doesn’t like workers making unofficial comments to the media.

    • SEIowaRes says:

      When the Iowa Department of Transportation main office that is 1.5 miles from that WalMart can send home all non-essential employess WITH PAY home. All while that complex was not in jeopardy of flooding, then why in the heck would WalMart worry about keeping the store open when it was in the direct path of the flood? The creek that isn’t that far from Walmart has been to those elevations before shutting down Duff Avenue several times over the past 20 years.

  21. AngryK9 says:

    They stayed behind because they wanted to make sure they didn’t forget to check the water’s receipt…

  22. Bohemian says:

    I had a boss that insisted I come in during an ice storm where the state closed the interstates. I lived 45 miles out, she lived about 5 miles by back streets. Driving when the interstate is closed is a criminal offense. I pointed out that it was really that bad out and that the state has closed the roads and mandated no travel. She still told me I had to be in and on time. I told her that I was leaving specific instructions with my husband that if I am injured or killed on the way to work that day he was to sue the company for demanding I come in or lose my job. Suddenly taking a snow day was no problem.

    States need to have fines for companies that try to compel employees to travel to work when no travel is advised or the only road connection to get there is shut down. They fine people for driving on a closed interstate and will make them pay for their rescue. Do the same to businesses.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      I agree. It’s madness to expect people to come out when it’s like that. My work has a policy that if you don’t show up and don’t call, you’re fired. In an emergency like that one, though, you have to use a little common sense. Also, if someone who usually shows up promptly or calls doesn’t do so, something might be wrong. I think that policy is bull also.

  23. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    Now I’m just waiting to see a post here that says that the employees who took the life jackets from sporting goods were fired and charged with shoplifting.

  24. Hoss says:

    After the flood comes the dust bowl and the great depression. “I want to put a tag of shame on the greedy bastards who are responsible for this” (Steinbeck)

  25. goldgecko4 says:

    I worked as a manager for a large video game retailer/video rental store a few years ago. During a blizzard, we lost power to the store. When I went to open, the store was almost pitch black on the interior, and as almost all of our operations are digital, I had no way to trade in games, run credit, check accounts, or anything similar. I kept the store closed until the power returned, as I didn’t want customers robbing me or injuring themselves in the pitch black. I remained in the store in the freezing cold to do what I could (stock shelves, mop, etc). Later that day I received a call from my district manager asking why the store had been closed, as under no circumstances do we close a store. Ever. I left a few months later, as even though I was in not reprimanded, I was persona-non-grata with corporate, and clearly was not going to get that promotion I was gunning for.

    • brinks says:

      It’s both a loss-prevention and a SAFETY issue (to employees and customers) to remain open without power.

      What assholes.

    • JoeTheDragon says:

      Ask him if corporate was will to pay for a generator + fuel! or just how you want me run the store with out power?

      • catnapped says:

        No doubt he was supposed to be an enterprising employee and do those things himself (with personal money)

  26. madmilker says:

    on Wal*Mart’s China web page!

    “Wal-Mart China persists in local procurement which provides more job opportunities, supports local manufacture industry and promotes local economy. So far, 95% of merchandising sold at Wal-Mart China store are local products by which Wal-Mart has established business relations with nearly 20,000 suppliers. At Wal-Mart, we treat suppliers as partners and would like to develop with them. In 2008 Wal-Mart won the Supplier Satisfaction published by Business Information of Shanghai for five consecutive years.”

    5% foreign in China….

    That does not support American exports and American jobs…..

    Remember what Lance Winslow wrote in that article “The Flow of Trade in a Global Economy”….dang! better yet…just take the time and read this ….”Now let us look at Wal-Mart again; you buy a product there, 6% goes to the employees, 10-18% is profit to the company, 25% goes to other costs and 50% goes to re-stock or the cost of goods sold. Of the 50% about 20-25% goes to China, a guess, but you get the point. Now then, how long will it take at 433 Billion dollars at year for China to have all of our money, leaving no money flow for us to circulate? At a 17 Trillion dollar economy less than 40-years minus the 1/6 they buy from us. Some say that if we keep putting money into our economy, it would take forever, but if we do not then eventually all the money flow will go. If China buys our debt then eventually they own us, no need to worry about a war, they are buying America, due in part to our own mismanaged trade, so whose fault is that? Not necessarily China, as they are doing what’s in the best interests, and we should make sure that trade is not only free, but fair too.”

    Also, think for a moment about George Washington….yes the man that is on the US dollar bill…. “Washington had been reelected unanimously in 1792. His decision not to seek a third term established a tradition that is now embedded in the 22d Amendment of the Constitution.”

    Take the time to read his farewell address after only eight years of serving his country and than ask yourself this….How do you think George feels being sent overseas in return for all that foreign so-call cheap items and being left in a foreign bank because the American worker doesn’t make anything for the foreigners to buy. Cheap items didn’t make this great union of 57…oops! 50 states the greatest place on the face of this Earth…..the American worker (union and non-union) did.

    You can’t have a strong country without having a strong currency and you can’t have a strong currency unless you keep it floating around within your 50 states. This is why the store with the star in the name puts 95% China made items in their stores in China….to keep their “yuan” in their country helping the nice people there. And with only 5% left for all the other 182 country’s that make stuff including the United States of America….that doesn’t produce very many jobs outside of China.

    Being an old person myself and knowing how it was back in the 40′s, 50′s and 60′s in this union of 50 states….I look at George each time I pull him out of my billfold and make a promise to send him out for items made in America so after floating around helping each hand he touches just maybe one day he will shake mine again.

  27. coren says:

    How can those vehicles run that far submerged, but a boat wouldn’t work?

    • nausicaa.amaya says:

      the boats couldn’t get past the current..the water was moving very fast. otherwise i would have just swam home:p

  28. lvlobius says:

    They were sandbagging. I know because I talked to one of them earlier today. It was an act of kindness and dedication during a horrible event. Things got out of hand here way faster than anyone anticipated. it wasn’t nearly this bad in 2008.

  29. sqeelar says:

    Wal*mart is ever optimistic. They pay triple time for the Rapture, except for those left behind — then it’s off the clock. Good luck in finding a lawyer after the Rapture.

  30. Destron says:

    Actually, 8 Years ago Walmart had a policy to close the store and send people home during natural disasters. I woman got killed driving home in a blizzard and the family sued them (and won) $12 Million, the judge cited that Walmart was responsible for the woman’s safety and they should not have let her drive home. Now, the policy is to keep people there because they are responsible if they send them home and they get killed. If you leave on your own they won’t stop you, but management is forbidden to tell you that you can leave because that makes Walmart liable.

    As for a reprimand – Walmart has a no-fault attendance policy and you can NOT be coached for a first offense. The policy is that you can miss 3 days of work in a rolling 6 month period and never be talked to, at 4 you get a verbal discussion to let you know your on the bubble but its not logged in any way except on paper. At 5 you get a verbal coaching that is logged in the computer, at 6 a written, at 7 a decision day, and at 8 your terminated. Plus you can all in up to 3 consecutive days and it only counts as one offense, a policy that many associates take advantage of to score themselves a 5 day weekend. Take your 2 days off, call in for 3, and for the 3 days you called in use personal time for the first (because you can onlu use sick time for the second say) and sick time for the other 2 and you still get paid and only accrued one absence.

    As for not being able to get to work (no bus, no ferry, etc) – well sad to say but that’s your responsibility for how to get to work not Walmart, and you will most likely receive and absence if your not there or a tardy if your late. It’s not your employers job to arrange how you get to work, that’s all on you.

    • LadyTL says:

      True, it is not your employer’s responsibility as to how you get to work. However, to penalize employees for acts of nature is irresponsible and incredibly dense. If they want to act that way, they need to provide dormitories attached to the store.

      • Destron says:

        I did not mention anything about an act of nature – several people mentioned instances where they could not get to work from transportation issues and I pointed that out.

        However, that being said, I know people that will call in to work citing it’s impossible to get there – a total blizzard and can’t get out of the driveway when there’s 5 inches of snow and the roads are entirely plowed. So that whole “I can’t get there cause of the weather” does not always fly either. Instances like that are at the discretion of your immediate supervisor, and if I am your supervisor, and I got to work fine, and 250 of your fellow employees got there fine and your the only one that calls in – then I’m probably going to ding your attendance. If 30 people call in – that’s a different story.

        • JulesNoctambule says:

          Most of the transportation issues mention so far were due to weather-related incidents (ferry shut down due to fog, interstate closed due to ice, etc.). People aren’t complaining because their car had a flat or their bike chain broke.

  31. Niphil says:

    A few years back there was a flood in the Southern Tier of NY and my fiance worked at the local Walmart. It was pretty big, and there was a state of emergency, and the ploice instructed people not to go anywhere near the flood waters, because some parts of town were on higher ground than others. Anyway, he didn’t go to work, and ended up getting a call from his manager demanding to know why he didn’t go to work.

    The fun part? He lived 3 miles away and only owned a bike. The manager knew this. So he quit.

  32. MarkVII says:

    They were all being detained for a receipt check, then accused of shoplifting to taking life jackets without paying…. /sarc

  33. suez says:

    Doesn’t surprise me. We were expected to physically come in to work in northern VA during the Snowpocallypse this year. We’re an accounting firm. It’s life or death, you know! Neither rain nor snow nor dead of night will prevent us from counting other people’s money…

  34. BuyerOfGoods3 says:

    “shelter-in-place” ? I’m going off to do some research…sounds like a great way to get your intended Target to sit still and be annihilated..

    • gc3160thtuk says you got your humor in my sarcasm and you say you got your sarcasm in my humor says:

      Exactly cause sheltering-in-place worked so well for the victims of 9/11 when a large amount of ppl were attempting to flee after plane 1 hit and they were told to go back to their offices bcuz all was OK. Then they died because of that brilliant advice. If I ever had a job in a tall building and something happened while I was at work, and not even at the magnitude of 9/11 a trashcan fire for example, I would leave immediately. If someone told me to go back and SIP I would tell them to go shelter their ass and get the eff out of my way. When I did Junior Achievement in hs in Prov., RI it was in the KPMGPeatMarwick office in the Fleet buildingwe had some sort of alarm which was not a drill or false but wasn’t of the major variety and the evacuated all in the building. I made it down 15 flight of stairs in record time but I wasn’t really running down the stairs, rather they were coated in some powdery substance left from construction or remodel but can’t remember which, and anyways said powder had the effect of propelling me down the stairs at a very high rate of speed in which I was sliding in a just barely controlled manne. But I made it out quickly nonetheless and know what I am capable of during an evacuation. Notice I said an Evacuation and not a stay and shelter in place like a lamb to slaughtwr.

  35. rlkelley says:

    I was working for Sears when hurricane Rita was expected to hit Houston. You may remember this event as it was the biggest evacuation nightmare most have ever seen, turning every highway leaving Houston into a parking lot. This was right after Katrina, meaning people were freaking out, but we were under a mandatory evacuation.

    After dutifully showing up to work to help put boards on all the windows, and secure the safes, high-end electronics, etc., I planned to evacuate. The district manager had other plans, however, as he decided it was important to keep the store open past the mandatory evacuation time, and ordered us to remove all of the boards, and remain open until the normally scheduled close time, some 9 hours later, or risk being fired.

    Keep in mind this store was located directly in the center of the predicted storm path, and all models showed the surge was likely to wipe out the store. In addition most employees lived closer to the gulf, meaning their homes were in more danger.

    I, and a few others left. I specifically said I would call back after it was safe to return, and they could tell me whether I still had a job, but I was not going to risk my family’s safety for a $8 an hour job. By the time I left it took me 10 hours to get from Houston to Dallas (normally 4 from my part of town), and every hour a person was delayed after that added 6 hours to the same trip, meaning any one who stayed at the store even two hours after I left actually did not get out of Houston until after the storm was supposed to hit. Fortunately it turned North, and since I was one of few able/willing to return 2 days later they were happy to have me back.

    Since the storm veered he was vindicated. Had it hit Houston, I would have happily been a witness in the lawsuit resulting from the likely deaths of many of my co-workers.

  36. zmoney1978 says:

    I’m just waiting for the “Wal-Mart Employees must pay for life-jackets they took from sporting goods department while escaping flood” story. Cause you know some manager made them stay to stop something like looting or Vandalism

    • longleggs1979 says:

      I was working that night at the Ames super center and there wasn’t employees taking life vests from the Sporting Goods dept. That’s a total lie……..What happened is…..at about 6:30am 2 firemen came riding up in a fishing boat and asked if any employees wanted to leave via boat. They could take us to Perkins, so 6 of us loaded in around 7am, they gave us orange life vests from their boat. Then about 15 mins later we were back to the building because the boat couldn’t make it through the current. So see there was NO THEFT OF ANY KIND FROM SPORTING GOODS!! And as far as Looting and Vandalism goes we weren’t asked to stay back to prevent that……..we had cashiers working til 7am or later. They weren’t worried about that.

  37. Ouze says:

    I know how much Consumerist hate’s Walmart, but they get a worse rap then I believe they deserve (disclaimer, I personally dislike Walmart and will not shop there).

    It’s especially unfair that in this specific flooding situation, they are getting hit with comments like “the employees are going to get fired for taking the life vests”. In fact, after Katrina, Walmart was one of the first responders: they offered supplies such as water, were authorized by corporate to break into the in-store pharmacies as needed, set up emergency free clinics, and gave free medication.

    http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Insurance/InsureYourHome/RealKatrinaHeroWalMartStudySays.aspx

    There was another article I cannot immediately find that quoted a local Walmart manager as saying corporate had a conference call with the other managers in the area, and they were directed to do “whatever they felt needed to be done” to help and they would support them.

    Sure, they do lots of crappy stuff, but on this kind of thing, not so much.

  38. JulesNoctambule says:

    I used to work for a crazy person — and I do mean that in the sense of her version of reality having precious little in common with what most of us will generally agree upon as reality — who owned an upscale salon. One day, we were under threat of a hurricane. The police went door to door, encouraging people in our area to evacuate due to our low-lying position, but she was having none of it. No, we would stay open, for surely people would put a haircut above personal safety! After all, she lived a block away, so it’s not like any employee who lived farther away would have a harder time getting home than she would, right? This was her actual reasoning.

    Most major roads were closed down during the course of the day due to high waters and downed trees/power lines, the basement to our building flooded, we lost power and then the emergency generator failed. We had no way to operate the business short of using the cash in our own pockets — not that we had customers. At that point, I told her to have a nice night and left. What should have been a half-hour drive home took me nearly three hours thanks to detours from the above-mentioned flooding and road hazards, but I did get home before the worst of the storm hit. I worked there a few more months before her craziness reached new heights, which may just say something about my own poor decisions!

  39. peggysister says:

    I worked for Walmart once. Worst place I’ve ever worked. I’d rather be a bag lady instead of working for them.

  40. skapig says:

    Those price don’t lower themselves!

    Hope they charge Walmart for the rescue services.

  41. jj says:

    This doesn’t surprise me a bit. Over ten years ago during my first semester at ISU, I transferred to the old Ames location from my home store where I had worked all summer. I went from a great experience to being forced to keep zoning (straightening) past the time when the last bus went back to the dorms when they knew that was my sole transportation. Once I was stuck there a few times trying to find a ride when I knew few people in town, I ended up quitting pretty quick.

    A store can’t really “force” you to do anything, but its hard to say no when they strongly suggest your job is on the line, particularly in a recession.

  42. Winteridge2 says:

    maybe a big unadvertised 50% off water damage sale? Today Only!