A Walmart Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving was quite the memorable one. Walmart’s Black Friday is a big deal, and this year they asked that a few Rain employees come out to their home office in Bentonville, Arkansas to be there for the madness. They flew Delane (my boss), and I (both designers), and our spouses out for the week of Thanksgiving (Monday through Saturday), as well as another Rain employee Bill (VP of Strategy) from the New York office. We worked Monday through Saturday designing infographics that Walmart could tweet and post via social media.

Monday Delane and I woke up early to catch our plane at 6am. I had an infographic to finish by the end of the day, so I was working whenever possible. Our flight as an hour late to Denver, and our layover was an hour, so it got a little stressful for a second, but we caught our flight with just a few minutes to spare. We made it to Bentonville by 1pm, grabbed lunch, and headed straight to Walmart’s Home Office to get to work. After work I was feeling very tired and getting sick. Delane was kind enough to drop me off at the hotel while he bought monitors and vitamin C. I took an amazing bath and went straight to bed. I slept sooo good!

Tuesday we got to work at 8:30am and worked till 8:00pm. Wow what a long day. We were hungry, so we went to Table Mesa (from my list of good restaurants from a friend). It was amazing. My day was 100 times better after walking out of there.

Wednesday was the day Chance and Sarah (Delane’s wife) came, and it was the first day I could make it to the gym. Although I was sick with a sore throat, it felt amazing. We got to work by 8:15am, worked for a little while, and then picked our spouses up on our lunch break and sent them off to Table Mesa to enjoy what we had enjoyed the night before (and they loved it!). We got off early that day (3pm), took a short nap (mostly for the travelers), and went to eat at Flying Fish. I did not enjoy my meal, but I did enjoy Chance’s! We then went to the Walmart Spark cafe for some ice cream. Two scoops in a waffle cone for $1.50. We couldn’t believe how cheap it was! We then hit up the Hunger Games Catching Fire movie. It was late and I was tired, but the movie was awesome.

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Thursday was Thanksgiving! Chance and I slept in and it was awesome. We got some breakfast, and Delane, Sarah, and I went Crystal Bridges Museum to walk the trails they had around the grounds. Chance stayed to watch the Packers lose. He should have come. It was a gorgeous walk. Delane pointed out and picked up all the bugs we saw along the trail. I then went to the hotel gym for my workout, showered, ordered our Thanksgiving food from Room Service, and headed to work.

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We got to work at 4pm, worked till 3am Friday morning, slept for a couple hours, and went back at 6am till 3pm. What a crazy Thanksgiving and Black Friday! While working, Delane and I checked out the Walmart across the street to see what the fuss was all about. It was not worth the lines, thats all I have to say. Many people thought otherwise. Walmart bought us all who worked a bunch of food from Sams Club to get us through. I was addicted to the Gouda cheese and crackers. So amazing. Those cheese and crackers got me through the 20-hr shift (as well as some Ibuprofen and a little bit of caffeine). I learned a few things about myself on this trip that built my confidence in myself as a designer, and as a leader. Although this was a crazy amount of work (50 hours for the week in about 4 days), I am grateful for the experience I had. I am also grateful for an amazing boss. He is awesome, and made the trip so much better.

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After the crazy long shift of work, and saying our goodbyes and thanks to the people of Walmart, we headed out those doors for good that week. It was a nice feeling. We went back to the hotel for an hour nap, then grabbed our better halves and went to a celebratory dinner at Tavola, a very nice Italian restaurant. We got some Veal and Crab in stuffed pasta… yum! As If I hadn’t stayed up long enough, we then went to the hot tub for the first time since we got to the hotel. These kids in the hot tub fell in love with Chance when they heard how big the bucks were that he’s shot. He was their idol and he loved every second of it.

Saturday, after the gym of course, we got our continental breakfast, packed, and headed to the airport to go home. Chance and Sarah left for their flight first, after I kicked Chance’s butt in life-size Checkers. It was a long day of traveling, and Its so good to be home!

Infographics designed the week of Thanksgiving between Delane (my boss) and I:

11.25-13_BlackFriday_infographic  BF_cheat_sheet_infographic_updated BF_recap_infographic_FINAL BF_TopSellers_infographic_FINAL cyber_monday_rev2 PayFacts_infographic_final Then-Now_infographic_BF_v4 Walmart-Infographic_Ladder_v6

And… this infographic got written up about on the Wall Street Journal, which was so exciting. This is one of my first projects I did here at Rain.

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