My Big Welcome
1st September, 2004
Joanna Blythman describes how she infiltrated the employee-conditioning process of Asda, subjecting herself to its brain-melting mix of Maoist self-criticism and revivalist-style fervour
Only two months to go until Christmas and the recruitment machine at my nearest Asda Wal-Mart had gone into overdrive. This 100,000-square-foot super-centre was one of the 11 biggest Asda Wal-Marts in the UK. In the week before Christmas, sales for the store had been projected at as much as £2.3m – if, that is, there were enough staff to handle them. In theory the store had around 700 employees, but it was seriously understaffed. At the checkouts alone, of some 200 positions only 120 were filled. This store obviously needed people fast. It sounded like a fruitful place to look for a job.
Sure enough, 10 days after I had posted my application form I had become an Asda ‘colleague’. There are no members of staff at Asda Wal-Mart, only colleagues. And, I was to discover, there was more to being a colleague than wearing a badge that said ‘Joanna… Happy to Help’. I had to learn how to ‘Live the Asda Values’. I had to be trained in maintaining the perpetually smiley face and ‘can-do’ attitude that would make me a valued, respected member of the warm, cuddly Wal-Mart family. With the aid of simple rhymes, mottoes and ample alliteration I would learn all about...
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