You know it has to be a bad thing when the tornado sirens go off, and no one is taking shelter, right? Very bad thing. A customer pointed this out, because up until then, I had not heard it. This trend in managing scared me, so I went to look for said people. As I ventured to the managment office, I heard, "We want everyone to go to the sight2stor area immediately at the back of the store." Thus started the grand exodus away from all things dangerous. Now I'm no expert on Wall*Mart executive rule, but I think you have to call out a code, followed by a color (i.e. like "code purple", only it rhymes with mack).
But everyone got the message anyhow, which was good, and thus started the wait. Someone grabbed a radio and started with the weather radio station KTTS. While it plays country, which I despise, during inclimate weather, they are the best in the area, so props to them and everyone on the broadcast television. 15+ hours of talking and warning people HAS to be hard, seriously. So kudos to the weathermen last night and thanks for the warnings.
We waited about an hour, and this is during the second major wave of storms, then the electricity goes "Oh noes!!111!! 1 must b1ack outz!!11", and there we arem sitting in the dark. Evidently out generator wasn't even functional. I mean it has to be pretty bad when the Wall*Mart Stupidcenter is out of electricity for over an hour. And this was just the first part. After the power returned, everyone started to go crazy, wanting to buy junk and leave, but our manager that night told everyone that we were unable to check anyone out due to everything needing resetting, and by the time we got online, the next wave would hit us. So the ultimatum is either leave, or stay for a few more hours. Most people bailed. Associates, without work to do, as no one was able to be checked out, all went to the break room and took a much needed 25 minute break before we got called back again. This time I took a book with me as I was horribly bored just sitting there last time.
The officially second time of being called to a safe area, we were specifically told to be there and only there AND "assume the positions". What? Anyways, I didn't want to join the sardined people underneath the table (the truly safe spot in the area, so I wanted customers in there before myself) so I took a sigh that we display prices on over my head. Hey, it was better than nothing, which is exactly what happened.
By now we were getting damage reports through the rumor mill via cell phony and the radio. Cart corrals were crashed on top of cars, a tornado touched down on a nearby highway nest to the store, and several houses and trailer homes totaled. Now, it may seem that I am slightly downplaying what happened, but seriously, I have to admit that I has a little afraid. My sister wasn't there, and I had no way to call home, and even if I did, they wouldn't pick up because they would be taking shelter. I was getting slightly fearful. It wasn't much, as I know they can take care of themselves, probably better without me around, but still. When you are apart from those you love so dear, you just kind of...you know what I mean.
So I did what any respectable person in that situation would do. I prayed. I prayed God and thanked him for the rain and his creation. I prayed for the safety of my family, church, friends, and loved ones. I prayed for my safety and being able to have the wisdom to help others. After that, I felt better, that I had just talked to someone who is a great comforter. Now I'm not saying I had this spiritual uplifting that everything would be ok and that I had supernatural strength, no. I was just comforted some, which was all I needed.
After the wave was over, more people left, and I worked on putting carts of items up, prioritizing perishables. I went and toured the store and took care of them immediately. Then I put the motorized carts back to the front in case customers needed them for the future waves. Basically, I had things I needed to do, but I was focused on people other than me. I don't like bragging on myself, but I tried to be there for people that night. I knew it would be long and trying for people, so I did some chores, talked to people who aren't used to these events, and just tried to do what I could. I can look back and honestly say that I think I did a pretty spiffy job of it, better than last time, at least.
Anyways, after putting the carts back, I went to the back to clock out and get home before the next wave, but the storm beat me to the clock, so in short, I got an extra hour and fifteen minutes pay last night. Hey, some people got more than that! Then I ran in the heavy rain, totally soaking my pants, thinking of home, and hoping that everything was ok. Home was there, and looked just as welcome as ever, thanks to God.
There was a lot more I could have added to this, but I don't feel like it, because last night just primarilly sucked. I'm glad to see everyone made it out ok. I saw that Erin, Jessie, Loretta, James, Chris, and Ashley are ok in some way, shape, or form. There are still others I am waiting to hear from, but I am pretty sure they are ok as well.
I hope the more devistated areas will recover soon. This was just a freak series of storms last night, and it shouldn't repeat itself any time soon. I hope and pray that everyone finds a way to come together and go on with life.