Sunday was alarm day.
First, the stamp machine went totally haywire.
Apparently, some Wal-Marts actually sell books of stamps at their registers. Or maybe this program was phased out. Only one grocery store chain here still does it actually at the register. This is only a "customer convenience" service, because retailers cannot mark up the stamps. Plus, there's a whole 'nother set of books to be kept on what happens to the stamp money.
I repeat. Wal-Mart does not care about the customer unless they're actually making the retailer money. No one actually comes to Wal-Mart just for stamps. But as part of the "SuperCenter as neighborhood one-stop" concept, we got a stamp machine.
Personally, I've never seen the postal man service the machine - removing money and replenishing merchandise. No clue when it happens - and it always seems to be out.
But the machine is remarkably sensitive. One of the supervisors pushed a buggy toward us this afternoon and it hit the stamp machine. Then we started hearing this noise. We thought it was one of the Halloween costumes, until the stamp machine started blaring with this unholy klaxon of a sound. Take ten cop cars and five fire trucks. Then triple it. And add this odd disco-ball alarm-light effect.
People were staring. Managers were like "What is that?" (they're the ones who are always screwing up the fire alarm) and I'm just like "That's loud, yo!"
We can't figure out how to turn it off, and when we try to move the machine to unplug it, we discover that it is indeed BOLTED TO THE WALL. So the United States Postal Service does NOT want you running off with its money. Even if they give dollar coins as change!
It finally stopped after five minutes. I'm sure Satan was awake at that point. Along with most of the eastern seaboard. Ever want to clear out a Wal-Mart? Run a buggy into the stamp machine at the Service Desk.
The second alarm was when some kids playing hide-and-seek actually went out the fire door. Yeah. That was fun. I hope their mother beat them.
Now, our store has all sorts of noise. Last week, one of the co-managers set off the fire alarm. Not one customer moved. If we ever had a real fire, we'd have to be screaming over the intercom "THIS IS NOT A DRILL! THIS IS NOT A DRILL! LEAVE! NOW!"