By: Julia Deng
MIDLAND - Thousands of Walmart employees nationwide are reeling from unexpected store closures, all announced on Monday and attributed to the same thing: "plumbing issues."
The Walmart store on Midland Drive was one of at least seven across the country plagued by plumbing problems severe enough to warrant a six-month closure, according to company representatives.
"This was not a decision we made lightly," Walmart spokesman Bill Wertz said in a statement to NewsWest 9. "But as soon as the extent of the problem became apparent to us, we recognized that it was important to move forward with the repairs so that we can better serve our customers and our community in the long run."
The ones they didn't serve properly, said a disgruntled former cashier, are their employees.
"We knew absolutely nothing," Brandy Logan told NewsWest 9.
The mother of two worked as a cashier at the Midland Drive Walmart for approximately six months, until they closed their doors on Monday. She found out about the closure - and her impending unemployment - from shoppers. According to Logan, management did not meet with "[her] and many of [her] coworkers" about the situation until 5 p.m. - two hours before the store shut down.
"It was horrible the way they handled this," she said. "Nobody came around to tell us anything. And all of a sudden, a customer comes through the line and she says, 'So how long are you closing for?'"
Logan said she "nearly had a breakdown" and had to restrain herself from "bursting into tears" as she finished her shift at the cash register, not knowing if it would be her last one with Walmart.
"I'm sure I can get another job," she told NewsWest 9. "But I'm not so confident I can find one that pays as well as this one did and lines up with our daycare hours."
Other job openings she has come by require late night, overnight or early morning shifts - hours she is reluctant to work because of her two young children.
"I like the daycare I have them at and I'm not sure I can find something else for them if I have hours like that," she said. "Walmart really was great for our family life."
Walmart representatives confirmed employees who are not transferred to work at a different store will receive 60 days pay and severance, if applicable.
However, Logan said the money was not an acceptable replacement for an honest explanation from the company.
"I just don't know what to do with myself right now," she said. "Everyone's like, 'Well, you get a two month paid vacation. What are you complaining about?' But I have to support my family for more than two months."