Here she is in a shopping cart; there she is in a tire; she’s everywhere on a Cecil County Walmart’s Facebook page, always with a stoic — maybe even grumpy — expression.
Charlene Mull, a 64-year-old employee at the Walmart in North East, has drawn thousands of likes and comments on social media from users around the country and world for posing in humorous pictures posted to the store’s Facebook page. Her unimpressed look and oftentimes goofy surroundings have spurred an online petition to have her on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, which has garnered over 18,500 signatures by noon Tuesday.
Mull said Tuesday that the newfound publicity does not bother her. She enjoys it, in fact, with the goal of getting on the Ellen show in mind, and keeps apprised of the pictures’ performances on Facebook. Her coworkers started the petition, and she watches the show, she said.
The creative process is laid back, as she described it, with a couple of employees taking and selecting the photos after a joint brainstorming process. They try to match the content of photos with holidays or notable events — like National Pancake Day or National Dog Biscuit Day, Mull said.
On the job, people approach Mull “continuously” with request for selfies, which she “of course” gives, she said. They all want a picture with her trademark scowl.
Mull is the manager of the electronics department, and though many shoppers know about her, some have never met her — admiring her social media presence from afar as Stephanie Griffith does. She shops at the store twice a week but she has never met Mull.
Griffith moved to Maryland three years ago. She said the town of North East — home to approximately 3,500 residents, according to a U.S. Census estimate in 2018 — does not get a lot of notice. The most talked-about fixture of the town, she said, is the crab shack on Main Street.
For Mull to gain such an audience is a good thing for the town, she said.
“Most places need something else,” she said. “Why not Charlene?”
Mull’s unenthusiastic look is primarily reserved for work, though, as that is not how she acts outside of the pictures. She raises her 8-year-old grandson and takes care of horses in her free time. She has worked at the store for close to 10 years, she said.
Beyond Maryland, people around the country, and even the world, have taken notice. Posts of Mull have been flooded with comments.
“Charlene for PRESIDENT!” one person commented.
“I live in Chicago. I’m just gonna follow to see her pics lol,” another wrote.
But Mull’s reach is further than that. Fans from England, Australia and Israel have posted positive messages to the page.
Though Mull became famous for her stern visage, pictures posted to the Facebook page in 2019 show a more expressive side. She grins, holding DVDs and video game consoles in earlier posts. But her patented frown seems to have made its first appearance on Jan. 13 where she, ironically, she stands next to a crate of “Joker” discs with the caption “why so serious.”
Mull said that picture was the first to show her grumpy face; after that, people could not get enough of it. She did not expect it to take of as it did.
“Once we started dressing up it just took off,” she said. “I’m just going to keep doing my photos and see where it takes me.”
While that first photo received a humble 200 reactions on Facebook, newer photos regularly receive thousands.
Those thousands of social media likes translated into the petition, which was started approximately one week ago. The signatories’ overwhelming reason for throwing their support behind Mull: the happiness she brings.
Latest Harford County
“I think you are amazing! You bring light to a dismal world!,” one person wrote.