SHARON SPRINGS, Kan. – Former Army Sgt. Charlie Pinker has only been out of the Army four months, but he is already enjoying transition to civilian life, especially now that he can repeatedly call a full-bird colonel by his first name.
“Nothing is better than calling him Joe, without even making eye contact,” said Pinker, a shift supervisor at Wal-Mart. “He keeps telling me his name is Jack, so it makes it all the better.”
Pinker is one of only two known veterans at the local Wal-Mart. The other is Jack Davis, a retired colonel who took a job as a greeter and back up shopping cart attendant.
“I served 38 years and never once used my first name,” Davis said. “This fucker not only keeps using a first name, but the wrong first name. I’ve told him repeatedly to just call me colonel.”
Wal-Mart management had hoped the two would from a bond, but their relationship so far has been a contentious one.
“I don’t know how they run things in the Army, but these two don’t seem to accomplish anything but bickering about how the job should be done,” said Judith Milner, a coworker. “Jack lost it on Charlie the other day as he got on the PA system and said ‘Cleanup in aisle three, Joe please report immediately!’
“I don’t think I’ve had a prouder moment as a veteran than that cleanup stunt,” Charlie said. “I almost got Joe to quit, but told him we’re soldiers for life, so he can’t.”