I began working at my local Kmart in 2011 due to financial difficulties I was having. Not being able to find work in my chosen field, I filled out an application. To my surprise I was hired for the upcoming holiday season.
I was not the typical new hire. I came with some retail experience and let’s just say that I was probably as old as the building at that time, considering mom used to bring us kids shopping there in the late 1970’s and 80’s.
I had my share of paranormal experiences in that store for the duration of my employment, but for the sake of keeping this short, I will only highlight the three most memorable.
My first few weeks on the job were pretty uneventful.
I found the work atmosphere to be pleasant enough and when it wasn’t, I simply avoided those coworkers who tended to be more difficult. Even my work duties were relatively simple, once I got the hang of it. While in training I focused mainly on customer service and merchandising, but then I was promoted to back room locator.
The back room locator was responsible for picking from a list any items that were needed on the shelves that day, and for putting excess merchandise away in it’s designated location.
I’d say the most difficult part for me was the lighting in the back rooms, which was somewhat dim and drab, making it almost impossible to read the pick lists.
The other thing that took some getting used to was navigating the many different stockrooms.
There were three huge warehouse type stockrooms, and then there were tiny rooms hidden in out of the way locations. Once I got used to the store layout, and where items were supposed to go, it was a breeze to do my job.
One evening, I was assigned to pick items from the pantry stock room, which also housed toys and sporting goods. This was one of the larger rooms with no windows and bad lighting.
There was just one emergency exit leading behind the building, and the swinging doors leading out to the sales floor. I was back there for a couple of hours by myself picking. As I worked, an eerie feeling kept creeping up on me.
At first I thought I was imagining it, but I couldn’t seem to shake the feeling that I was not alone.
Every now and then, I detected sounds coming from up above me, sounds that seemed to be coming from a loft area where bicycles were stored. It sounded like several people whispering all at once in conversation. Knowing that I was completely alone and that no one had entered from the sales floor, I kept working.
I would occasionally steal glances upward, fear building within me as I anticipated every moment that I would see something I didn’t really want to see.
The longer I lingered the more uneasy I became. I was torn between wanting to get the job done, thinking it was just my imagination, and just wanting to run out of that room screaming.
As the minutes passed, I decided that I was finished picking, no matter what the manager had to say. Here’s where being an experienced confident adult comes in handy.
I went directly to the manager on duty and told her I was done working in that stockroom and that I was not going back in there again for the rest of the night. I didn’t mention my experience.
She simply said, Ok, and sent me off to do other things on the sales floor.
It was Thanksgiving night a year later when I had my next experience. I was responsible for customer service in and around the sporting goods section and automotive.
This area was unusually slow in terms of customer traffic, because it was later in the evening, around 8 pm. In anticipation of Black Friday, most of the customers were heading home so they could get an early start the next day.
There was one other worker in the area, and he was busy zoning the last aisle in automotive. I found some items on a shelf in sporting goods that did not fit in their proper location so I took them to the pantry stock room to backroom locate them. Just as I was pushing through the swinging doors, I heard someone say my name.
Clear as a bell, in a normal tone of voice.
I turned around, expecting to see my coworker, or anyone. But, there was no one there. I looked down the next aisle, and found no one. I looked down the aisle after that, still no one. I walked two more aisles over in the opposite direction. There was no one there!
But I know that I heard my name, very distinctly! There was no way that anyone could have walked away, or even run away from me that quickly. I found my coworker five aisles away from the pantry stockroom and asked if he had called for me. He said he had not.
At this point, I was so creeped out and confused that I decided I would steer clear of that room for the rest of the night.
My final, and scariest experience in Kmart occurred the following year during the Christmas season. I had volunteered to work an overnight crew to unload freight and place it on the sales floor.
There were no customers or managers present. We were a crew of about 6 people, including the key holder who was responsible for locking us in and making sure the work got done. The shift began at 10pm and would end at 6am.
Everything was going fine for the first couple of hours. Everyone worked as a team in the same general area of the store because it made the merchandising go quicker. It was well after midnight when I had to take a load of cardboard back to the baler, which was located in the receiving area.
This was another large room which had bad lighting. The cardboard baler was located on one of the far ends of this back room. Beyond that was the trash room, which was by far the most awful room, and it was a dead end.
Above receiving was another large storage room accessible by narrow stairs.
On the other side, above the trash room was a loft used for storing excess infant merchandise like playpens and cribs. I wheeled my cardboard back to the baler just as I had done a hundred times before during the course of my employment.
I don’t know what came over me, but I suddenly felt unable to take another step in that direction. I was about halfway to the baler when I was enveloped in a kind of fear and terror that I didn’t understand. Where was this feeling coming from? It felt like the same uneasy feeling I had in pantry stockroom, but a hundred times worse.
Thinking that I was imagining things again, I had to talk myself into walking the remaining steps to the baler. I threw the cardboard in as quickly as possible and wheeled the flatbed back out onto the sales floor, where I felt relieved.
Since I did not want to appear like an idiot in front of my coworkers that night, I made no mention of what happened to me by the baler.
I was the new person on the overnight crew and I didn’t want to foist my work on anyone else either, so I made several more trips to the baler that night all the while trying to overcome the panic I felt every time I got close to that spot in the back room.
At some point during the night I also had to take some trash to the trash room, which was just beyond the baler. I told myself that I was going to walk it in as quickly and nonchalantly as possible, dump it, and then leave the area immediately.
As I was walking away from that trash room, I heard footsteps coming up behind me. This was impossible, because there was only one way into the trash room, it was a dead end and I was the only one there.
I panicked and began walking faster and faster, with the footsteps coming up behind me as quickly and loudly as I was walking.
But there was no one there. I practically ran out onto the sales floor, where I met up with a coworker who was on her way to the baler with cardboard. I took a chance and told her what just happened to me, because I could no longer keep my fear and uneasiness to myself.
I was not expecting the words she was about to say to me. She said, “Well, you know what happened to Alec, don’t you?” Alec was one of our overnight floor cleaners.
I said, “No, what happened?”
She said, “He quit. Do you know why?” I was confused because I knew I hadn’t seen him in a while, but hadn’t heard anything through the grapevine.
She informed me that he quit because one night while working he had seen “something” up in the baby loft, which was the storage room above the trash room. Just hearing her say these words gave me goosebumps and chills.
I was not imagining things! There WAS a ghost, perhaps more than one, haunting Kmart. And each time I worked in specific areas of the store, the uncomfortable feeling of dread was not my mind playing tricks on me. For the rest of the night, I made sure I did not go to the baler alone. I don’t think I would have handled seeing a ghost or spirit very well.
That was the last overnight crew I ever did in that store, and if I had to work at night I made sure to get all my trash and cardboard thrown away while there were still customers in the store and other coworkers nearby.
Knowing that there was definitely something there made it easier to cope with the feelings I would get, and I learned how to avoid certain areas.
I left Kmart not long after that, and within a year, that particular store closed it’s doors due to an expired lease. Now, whenever I drive by the store, I always think about the ghosts inside, and I wonder how they feel, all alone in a completely dark, empty building.