“Stop Timing My Bathroom Breaks” — 76-Year Old Walmart Greeter
PORT HURON – Standing all of 5′ 5″, Stan Lebowski blushes when he talks about being told he had to urinate less often and faster by his bosses at Walmart.
“I don’t sprinkle as fast as I used to,” said the embarrassed white-haired grandfather of four on his day off from being a Greeter at the Walmart in the small city of Port Huron, Michigan, on the U.S./Canada border.
So it’s fitting that Stan was in the Men’s Room when he finally decided he had had enough.
He zipped up his khakis, thoroughly washed his hands, and went directly to confront the store manager, telling him he would start a Greeters’ Union if Walmart kept timing his toiletries.
“One of them would sit right over there with a clipboard, writing down whenever I’d go to the bathroom,” said Stan, pointing towards an empty stool by a display of 4-Pak Tube Socks (Roll-Back $4.29). “I walk slow, I pee slow, and if I have to sit…well, that’s really slow.”
“I don’t like to swear but I told that young manager kid to stick his watch up his bum,” said Stan, lowering his voice almost to a whisper.
The mention of starting a Union got the attention of Wal-Mart Inc.’s headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, and Stanley Frank Lebowski (#MCH-76grt-ptLEB) was given a “Reprimand and Warning” for “numerous performance and attitude issues.” The letter stated that Stan would be terminated from employment if he did not improve in these unspecified areas.
So the morning after getting his warning letter, Stan picketed the Walmart store, walking back and forth between the two entrances with a hand-markered sign that read:
“WALMART STOP-WATCHES ME PEEING”
Local media coverage made a hero of Stan and Walmart Greeters from across the border in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, drove down to join him in his picketing even though their bathroom breaks are unlimited and they have free health care.
“Walmart does not comment on personnel issues,” read a short, terse corporate statement issued to media on the second day of the unofficial strike. “We continue to work hard to help Port Huroniters save money and live better.”
The family-owned multinational retailer refuses to allow Unions and famously shut down and abandoned a store in Quebec in 2004 after the courts allowed a Union to be formed.
“They picked a fight with my plumbing,” said Stan. “And my plumbing can be pretty darned cranky when it’s told to hurry up.”
As for starting a Union, Stan says he and the eleven other Greeters at the Port Huron Walmart have filed the papers in the State Capital of Lansing and he intends to run for Shop Steward.
“I’ll have stiff competition from Dougie Waters…he’s only 66 but he had a hip job last year,” laughs Stan as he buys fresh Sharpie marker pens at Target for making more signs to continue his picketing. “And Ida may run but she gets puffy ankles.”
With the occasional car horn honking in support, Stan starts another walk in front of Walmart, his picket sign today reading, “Stay Out of My Business Walmart!”
Reportering for The Lapine