Back to Work After 30 Years

I ran to Wal-Mart yesterday to pick up a few things I needed for dinner and had the strangest checkout line experience.  The lady in front of me turns around and insists that my husband buy me a bracelet.  When he says he isn’t going to be buying me a bracelet she says “Well, you must not be married then!”  I informed her that we are indeed married and she puts her finger in my face and exclaims something to the effect of “I’ve been married for 35 years!  Never Again!”  Then she puts her finger in my husband’s face and yells “NEVER AGAIN!!”

Um… ok?

She then proceeds to tell us what a good husband and father he is, so now I’m confused.  So I ask “Are you still married?”  Because why is she screaming about how she will never be married again if she is currently married to a good guy?

“Oh, yeah!  We’ve been married for 35 years!”  she says, looking me dead in the eye like she wants to fight me.  Ok, whatever crazy lady.  She tells me how he was a rocket scientist for the government and how she has four degrees.  Then she starts pulling stuff out of her cart to show me all the stuff she is buying for her husband.  She pulls out a big wad of cash and says “Cash!  You have to pay for stuff with cash when you are retired because your income gets cut in half!”

To which I think “Well, if you had paid cash your whole life you would have saved enough to retire well.” But, again, whatever.  I just smiled.

She gets to the front of the line and starts talking to the cashier.  (This is the actual point of the story here but I couldn’t go on with my life without sharing the entire experience.)  So she starts talking to the cashier, a cheerful elderly lady, about being retired.  The cashier says “Yeah, I was retired for 30 years.  I retired when I was 50.  I’ll be 80 soon.

Hold up.  Hold up.

She retired at 50 and was retired for 30 years but then went to work at Wal-Mart at the age of 79.  Think about that!  Was going back to work a choice?  Of course I have no idea about her situation, but it’s highly doubtful.  Maybe she just wanted something to help her keep busy but then why not go hold babies at the hospital for a few hours a week.  Why be a cashier at Wal-Mart?    My guess is that she had no choice.

What can learn from this?  Well, for one be sure you can retire before you retire.  The last thing I want is to have to go back to work at 80.  I would rather work a few years longer to be absolutely sure that I have enough money.  Annuities also solve this problem since they guarantee an income for life.  So some good financial planning might have helped here.

Also, we can take away the lesson on the importance of saving for retirement.  The only sadder than having to go back to work at 80 is never be able to stop working.  At least she had 30 years of retirement.  She wouldn’t have had that if she hadn’t saved anything at all.

So don’t be a cashier at Wal-Mart when you are 80!  Start saving for retirement today!

After I recovered from the shock of what I had just heard the crazy lady in line turned to me and called me a F-ing B (only she used the real words) and then patted my husband on the belly and walked out of the store.

I told you it was a strange experience.

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15 Responses to “Back to Work After 30 Years”

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  1. All I can say is……WTF? 🙂

    It could very well be that the lady had no choice but to go back to work….but there are people who just flat out get bored with retirement. My dad “retired” about 8 years ago. Then promptly found odd jobs taking care of people’s lawns and being a maintenance guy at his favorite bar (which also has ballroom / party room / catering facilities).

    He’d go insane if he didn’t have something to do. Of course being a maintenance guy at your favorite bar has it’s own perks. 🙂

    On another note, I think you just found another income stream, Ashley. Startup a “Walmart Fight Club.” I’m sure you could have found some other customers in the store at the time to put up prize money for you to take on the crazy old lady – and my money would have been on you.

    • I SHOULD start a Walmart fight club. I practically get into a fight every time I go there anyways. It would be an easy transition.

      And yes, I have no idea of this particular lady’s situation. I can understand working part time while in reitrement to keep busy. But she didn’t work for 30 years before that… seems like she was ok with not working. But yeah… who knows.

  2. Hmmm… this wasn’t a WalMart in Arkansas by chance was it? Sounds like the ‘crazy lady’ could be my mother. 🙂

  3. Crazy stuff! If I were 80 I would simply lie down in the street and make someone take care of me.

  4. That lady had some problems!

  5. Great story! But who knows what is truth and what is fiction when people start ranting to strangers like that. Anyone, good takeaway lessons!

  6. Michelle says:

    I love crazy people! So fun…sigh.

    Deep within this craziness is a good lesson. I sure as heck don’t want to be working at Walmart when I’m 80! I don’t want to be working at Walmart ever really. :/

  7. V says:

    Crazy story indeed. No, crazy woman. Sadly I know wealthy people who work. That’s crazy too. Wouldn’t catch me doing such a thing. Volunteer maybe. Walmart? Never.

  8. Stepen says:

    This might come out as a little harsh, sorry if it does, someone asked for explanations, so here is my possible scenarios.

    This society looks at retirement as the end, we need to look at it as a new beginning, a rebirth if you will. Maybe she loved the fact that she sees all types of people and the job is a thing that keeps her engaged in the world. What better place to people watch than WalMart. I for one will never retire in the American sense. I may slow down, chances are I will do what I want, when I want, which is what I do now. I will do more of what impassions me, and if at that moment in time its a WalMart greeter so be it.

    Point being that the only time you grow old is when you allow yourself to be old. Until then keep doing the things you enjoy, because you can only enjoy so much of the “good life” before it becomes mundane. I can easily see myself working up into my hundreds, or until I am taken from this earth. And yes I have the funding to allow me to retire, I just see the need to “retire in the American sense”. I worked and then I die, and hopefully I worked for the reason I was put on this earth.

    Now for the Crazy lady might be working from her idea of what Love is. To her she might feel love by receiving items, and shows her love the same way. To these people its the idea that you thought enough about me to buy me a trinket. You and your husband don’t understand that form of love, because it is not how you feel loved. To her though she feels loved when she is given things. And in her eyes you two where crazy, she can’t rationalize the fact that your husband would not show his love for you by giving you a gift. So it does not make her crazy, it does make her rude for crossing a social boundary. Crazy is not a term I would classify her in. And the comment about cash is true, she is on a limited budget, and might have squandered cash, or even credit. We can not judge her for that even, as we don’t know her entire story. You where shared an odd, intrusive glimpse into her world. And I am sure in her odd intrusive way she was trying to help you and your husband become a loving and financially responsible couple. She only had some brief view into your world also.

    To you she came off as crazy because she tore down all the social norms while standing in a line at a store. Crossed boundaries that should not have been crossed. But thats part of the beauty of getting older social boundaries are meant to be broken, and you can get away with it!

    Or the craziest thought of them all is well, she could have done it just to see your reaction and have a little fun. While not nice, still not out of the realm of possibilities.

  9. Lynda says:

    Was the music from The Twilight Zone playing in the background? This story went from bizarre, to sad, to bizarre again. Good job maintaining your cool. A great lesson in retirement planning and taking care of one’s brain health all in the same trip!!!

  10. What the F***? I’ll tell you – Walmart attracts some of the worst kind of people. And it doesn’t matter which one you go to. It’s like a curse.

    Back to the main part of the story, being sure you can sustain your retirement is absolutely necessary! That is so sad that she had to go to work. I hope to be grazing into great-grandparent-hood by 80. Not one heart-attack away from kicking it at the Walmart break table. So sad….

  11. Diane says:

    You have no idea how hard I’m laughing! Thanks for sharing. You made my night!

  12. Cubed says:

    We have a 70 year old lady who works at my print shop. What she always says ” What am I going to do? Talk to myself and lose my memory!? Pah I’m not infirmed or old, I want to work!” She gets an amazing pension, takes trips all the time and does as she likes.

  13. Wow! I missed this post…very odd and very crazy indeed. She might be married, but not happily married. I bet you get a bracelet for Mothers Day, that would be hilarious.

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