by Nathan Stout
Before we begin our adventure, there is one fact about Kmart that I always liked (as a customer, not an employee). Kmart holds onto it’s old merchandise forever. You could go in there and find an item that has been there for literally 10 years. All these other stores (the successful ones) get rid of their clearance quick, but not good old Kmart!
Ok, jump in!Welcome back to 1991. Today, I will relay the tale of the Devil Doll, the most disturbing item to ever grace the halls of Kmart.
I arrive to work one day, and Wade is there from the day shift. At this point we were both working in Sporting Goods, and since Wade was working full time, he usually worked days and I would come in to close (still being part time). After I get settled in, Wade tells me to come back into the stockroom. So, if you will once again refer to the map I made, you will see the Sporting Goods stock room is just to the right, behind the glass cases of the department.
The stockroom was basically a wooden structure with plywood walls full of overstock. Keep this in mind for a future post! It was like a cave of retail (if you will). To the right, and up against the front wall, is where we kept the large plastic storage containers made for putting in truck beds. There was a stack right inside the door, and Wade tells me he has something to show me. He puts his hand on the top storage container (one with clasps to keep it closed). At this point, I am somewhat amused as to what he felt the need to lock away in this container. I knew he was up to something devious, and I remember laughing and telling him I was concerned as to why he needed to keep it locked up. Wade unclasped the lid and removed a doll… a Devil Doll!
As this point the doll has no name. We affixed the name later. Apparently, Wade found a doll that some child had abandoned while in the store. It was obvious it wasn’t a store item, just some dirty old toy a child didn’t want (or lost). Wade got ahold of it, and, with the magic of a permanent marker, created something sinister. He drew black circles around the eyes, made small ‘evil’ eyebrows, and outlined the lips with black, curving the black lines at the corners of the mouth. It gave the doll a kind of evil Joker grin. This was years before the craze of evil looking, creepy dolls (which are so popular now) and it was just fantastically bizarre. We both just laughed and laughed at the sight of it.
It would have been memorable enough as it was, but as an added crazy-factor, the doll had a speech box. This is nothing special, but the fun thing was that the batteries were very low, so that when you pressed the button, it would laugh and talk at a much slower rate than normal. The doll’s normal sounds were childish laughing, and phrases like ‘momma’ and such.
Normal effect: “Ha ha ha ha! I love you momma.”
New effect: “Hoooooorrrrraaaaaaaaaaaa hooooorrrrraaaaaa hooorrrrrraaaaaa hooooorraaaaaaaaaa eeeeeeeyyyeeeeeeeeee ooooooooooovvvvvvvvvvveeeeeeeee uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu mmmmmmmmmmooooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaammmmmmmm mmmmmmmaaaaaaaaaaaaa
It was rather frightening. I couldn’t help but laugh and laugh at Wade’s evil spawn. I immediately jumped at the chance to scare some people. Wade left for the evening. I took the doll, removed the voice box, and used a merchandise peg to prop the doll up in back of the automotive stockroom. I then taped a flashlight on the underside of the stairs, and pointed the light at the ‘standing’ doll. I would then grab some unsuspecting employee, and beckon them to come look into the stockroom (at a distance). When they would approach, I would hit the button on the voice box. I usually got stares of disbelief, or rolled eyes. Lot’s of ‘you’re so crazy Nathan’.
About two or three years into my job, I got my best friend Eric to get a job there. I would often work the same nights as Eric, and it was around this time that the Devil Doll incident occurred. We would often set up the doll to try and scare each other from time to time. We would also kick the evil doll around the stockroom, until one terrible night when the store manager walked in on us. He was a proper-type man, all business and no fooling around, and the Devil Doll was definite ‘fooling around’. He snatched the doll from our improvised soccer match, and took it to his office. I will talk more about ‘maybilene man’ in my next blog post, so stayed tuned.
After the abduction of Devil Doll, our spirits were low. Anytime the opportunity arose for one of us to be in the manager’s office (a difficult task to be sure) we would do a visual inspection for the doll. After a couple more years of these searches, we gave up on poor Devil Doll.
I feel I betrayed Wade by letting his Devil Doll get taken. I hope he does not still hold some deep-hidden grudge against me for my lack of sneakiness in keeping the doll under wraps.
Join us tomorrow as we take a look at some of the employees, and more crazy stories from Kmart!