My Life, My Words: Kristen Stranger-Thorsen — ‘Burning the midnight oil’ |

My Life, My Words: Kristen Stranger-Thorsen — ‘Burning the midnight oil’

Kristen Stranger-Thorsen, an overnight cashier at Wal-Mart, stands behind the customer service desk Saturday. Stranger-Thorsen volunteered for the overnight shift when the Craig Wal-Mart went to a 24-hour schedule.
Ben McCanna

“When I was little, kids couldn’t sit next to me because I was a ‘Stranger.’ My whole name didn’t fit on the roll, so any time we had a substitute (teacher) that was lots of fun, because it was like, ‘STRANGER-THOR, KRI.’ That’s what showed up. (Stranger-Thorsen) was my dad’s name, and his father’s name. I’m sure it was combined somewhere down the line. It’s Norwegian.

“I’m a cashier. In August it was (for) a year. I just moved back (to Craig) before I started working here. I lived in Texas for a little bit, and I lived here for a little bit before that. I’ve been here off and on for about five years.

“People think (the night shift) is easy because we don’t have a lot of customers, but we aren’t allowed to just stand around. We do a little bit of everything. We stock, we clean, we help customers. Pretty much anything you can think of, we’ve probably done it. It’s an adventure.

“It’s really hard. A lot of times we’ll get a day-on, day-off schedule, and so I don’t really get anything done on my day off because I’m sleeping. If I have a couple of days off in a row then I’m really in trouble because I want to sleep nights. It kind of messes you up. It takes some getting used to. I e-mail my schedule to everybody so they know when it’s safe to call and when it’s safe to come over. We just started doing 24 hours maybe six months ago. I started doing overnight when we started doing 24 hours. I like nights better and it’s $2 more an hour.

“A vampire would be like the perfect guy for me because we have the same schedule.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

“Right after we started, there was a guy who came in and bought a knife. And then he left and came back with his knife and he was muttering to himself. That was a little creepy. He ended up leaving, thank goodness, but we were all a little scared about that one.

“I play a lot of video games. I’m an Xbox person. I also like to read. I like to hang out with my friends, if they’re awake. And I make graphics and work on websites. It’s just a hobby. Hopefully I’ll eventually make it to school for that.

“My grandparents live here. They’re pretty well known, actually. The Kidders — ‘Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus’ — those are my grandparents. For the most part, it’s really cool. I never got a pony, and I’m pretty disappointed about that. Plus, he knows all the time when I’ve been bad. He doesn’t even have to check up on me — he knows. It has its disadvantages. If one of the elves gets sick, then I get called in. I’m obligated.

“I just got new glasses. I’d been wearing my prescription sunglasses … at night. And everybody has sung that ‘I Wear My Sunglasses at Night’ song to me.

—Interview and photo by Ben McCanna

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