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You get what you pay for…WALMART…

Today’s blog post will focus on….Walmart.

What thoughts do you have when you imagine shopping at Walmart?

I am going to share an experience I recently had because I am VERY frustrated with Walmart right now.  I am going to send my blog to their corporate headquarters.  I am a very fair person so I will give them a chance to make things right.  If they do, I will blog about it.  If not, I stand firm in my feelings that from this day on, “I will never spend one more dime of my money at Walmart again.”

About me: If you own a business, I am the customer that you want to shop there.  I am very honest and believe in being respectful to others (the shop’s employees) and I would never shoplift.  I will also not come into your establishment wearing curlers or pjs. 

Years ago I went to Walmart and remember coming home and their being a Power Puff Girl Watch inside a bag I purchased.  I had a five year old daughter so who knows how that got it there.  I was mortified because I KNEW I had not paid for the Power Puff Girl Watch.  I was too tired to go immediately back to the Walmart to pay for it.  The next time I was in Walmart, I picked up the same Power Puff Girl Watch and asked the cashier to scan it for me but I would not be taking it with me.  I tried to explain “a few weeks ago, I was here and I think my daughter put it in something…”  The cashier looked at me like I was crazy.  “You want to pay for a watch but not take it with you?”  Yes, of course I did.  That is the right thing to do.  Stores have inventories and each item has to be accounted for.  Employees may lose bonuses based on the amount of theft in a store.

How do I know about things like inventory and loss of bonuses and raises?

My dad is in the grocery business with a company that is based out of Tyler, Texas.  He started out as a night stocker and then grocery manager.  Next was Assistant Store Manager, Store Director, District Manager, and finally Senior Vice President.  I have been around the retail/grocery business my entire life.

When I was sixteen years old, I was a cashier at a grocery store.  One thing the store stressed was customer services.  Without customers, a store cannot be in business.  You want to do everything you can to make the customer happy.

Wal-Mart’s s major competitor is Target.  There are many people like me (middle class) who have the money to shop at Target but like to save money so they sometimes shop at Walmart. Target is more money but like the old adage goes, you get what you pay for.  I know that when I go into Target, they have employees that are respectful and very helpful.  If I have a problem,  I know I can speak to a manager and the manager will want to LISTEN to my concerns and try to figure out a solution for BOTH of us.

Brad and I decided that our Christmas present to each other would be a new TV for our game room.  I saw that Walmart had a 65 inch special on Thanksgiving for around $600.  I told Brad that I was going to go to the Breaux Bridge (Louisiana) Walmart and get it.  He was COMPLETELY against it.  Brad told me that he would rather pay full price for any TV because he was against shopping on Thanksgiving.  I completely understood what he was saying but I was determined to get a deal. 

I asked my twin sister Corrin to come with me because they had 50 inch TV’s for $200 and we could use one in our playroom.

Thanksgiving came and we went to Walmart I ended up with the 65 inch TV and Corrin got a coupon for the 50 inch TV for me.  I paid for the TV’s plus the warranty’s (around $1100 total).  I took the 65 inch TV with me and they told me I had to register my 50 inch TV online with the one hour guarantee.

I registered my 50 inch TV online and put that I would like to pick it up in Cypress, Texas because that is where I live.

I completely forgot about it and moved on with my life…..

A few days ago I got an email from Walmart stating that my one hour guarantee item was in.  All I needed to do was print off my email and bring by receipt to the store.

Fast forward to today.  Brad and I went to Walmart to pick up the TV.  I sent him to buy a TV wall mounting system and a few groceries while I picked up the TV.  I read the instructions very carefully.

It said “go to the front of the store to pick up the TV”.  I waited in line for about thirty minutes.  Of course it was the day after Christmas and there was only one customer service person working.  When I finally got up to the front (following directions), I was told “sorry, the TV pick up is in the back of the store.” 

I immediately went to the back of the store where I pulled out my receipt and my printed out email.  The lady told me “Sorry, your receipt is not coming up as though you have a TV to pick up.”  She called an assistant store manager over.  The assistant store manager said he had no idea why my receipt was not coming up as me being owed a TV.  He asked for my drivers license and said he needed to do some research.

By this time, Brad was done shopping and took Charlotte (18 months) to the car to wait for me to pick up our TV.  The assistant store manager came back with a list of people who had the one hour grantee.  I was not on the list.  He asked to see my drivers license.   I showed him.  Of course Charlotte (my 18 month old) had sharpied all over it so my credibility just decreased a few levels. 

The assistant manager said “your name is NOT on the list.”  I said “Can you look up my previous name because I have ordered things on Wall-Mart.com before? There was my former name “Christa Blyth” right there on the list with my current email (chlopaige.com) stating that there was a 65 inch TV for me. 

The assistant manager said that he couldn’t give me a TV because the names didn’t match.  I said “Really?  I have MY recipe for over 1,000 AND an email printout from chlopaige.com.  I did not realize that I needed to go to my Walmart account to update my last name. 

The assistant manager was thinking at this point that I was shady.  Ok, I get it..  LOTS of your customers are shady.  I then asked for the store manager.  I knew that if I talked to the store manager, I would be good.  I would tell him what happened.  I am not a shady person.   The store manager would certainly see that I was NOT a shady person….meanwhile my husband and baby are waiting in the parking lot.   I called Brad to tell him my phone was almost dead.  I was sorry but I was NOT coming back to Wall-Mart and needed this settled.

Ten minutes later, the Wall-Mart store manager came to talk to me.  It was OVER an hour in Walmart at this point.  I was not a happy camper.  I explained the situation to him.  He informed me that Walmart had a 65 inch TV in the back with my name.  I told him that I ALREADY got my 65 inch TV and that I just needed the 50 inch.  I did say, that I would happily take another 65 inch TV.  By this point I was OVER it.  If I had just walked in and asked for my tv, I would be home at this point with TWO 65 inch TV’s.  The store manager told me that had to investigate.  I told him my husband and baby were in the car for OVER an hour and can he please HURRY up. 

The store manager came back and said that the 50 inch TV was not rung up as a one hour guarantee item but the 65 inch TV was.  He said the Breaux Bridge manager told him he didn’t have time to go through the security video to verify that I had not taken BOTH TV’s.  I assured him I didn’t.  I just wanted my 50 inch.  The store manager said that they would figure it out.  I was VERY frustrated at this moment.  I said “You are the store manager.  How are you going to make this right with me, the customer?”  He said “I have to see that you didn’t take two TV’s.”  I said “I understand that but I have spent over an hour dealing with this and my husband and baby in the car.”  He said “You will just have to come back and get the TV if I see that you didn’t get it.”

This was not acceptable to me.  This was not good customer service.  I DID everything that Walmart instructed me to do.  I read the paperwork.  I registered the TV.  I read the fine print where it told me to go to the front of the store to pick up the TV.  Now they were saying they didn’t know if I had taken the second TV and had to verify it?  I told the store manager that once they had verified that I had NOT taken the 50 inch TV, they could ship it to my house or bring it to my house.

It was at this point that the store manager got VERY defensive.  He said “I do not have anyone that can bring the TV to your house.”  Years of my father being a store manager and a district manager kicked in.  I said to him “Well then you can bring the TV to my house.”  You are the leader and it is your responsibility to make sure your customers are happy.  He got VERY defensive and said he couldn’t do that.  I said “Yes you can, you are the store manager.”  He then said “It is not my job to do things like that in MY car.  I don’t have a company car so I am NOT doing that.” 

I was shocked.  I taught high school for twelve years.  I had a Masters in Administration and Leadership.  As the leader, you do whatever it takes to get things done.  I know of several teachers who traveled in their own cars to visit houses of students who needed things.  You do what you have to do and the last thing you say as a leader is “It is not MY job to do this.” 

I then asked the store manager for his district manager’s name and number.  Certainly his district manager would like to hear that his store director said “It is not my job…..”  This infuriated the store manger.  At this point the assistant manager was much more professional and was trying to salvage the situation.  The assistant manager politely took my name and number so they could in touch with me to resolve the situation.

I went to my car and immediately called my dad.  “Dad, what would you do if a customer did all of the right things and asked for the store manager to help rectify the situation?”  He was a senior vice president for a major company.  He doesn’t shop at Walmart because they are competitors but I live in a city without his company’s store so it is not against ethics for me to shop there. 

When I told him what happened he was livid.  He told me that my sister bought a $500 money card that Walmart sells and it that she had not been able to get access to the money.  She contacted Walmart several times and they told her that it was not their problem but between her and the people behind the cards.  My dad is about to help my sister hire a lawyer to start litigation over the faulty cards because he can afford to and my sister can’t.  We are not the type of family that sues.  We detest people who prey on others in lawsuits.  However, if you buy a $500 card from Walmart, you expect that they will honor and stand behind the products they sell.

As far as the TV goes, I am very disenchanted with Walmart.  I am upset that they don’t value my business enough for the leader of the store, the store manager, to do whatever he can to make sure that I am a happy customer.  My husband and I work really hard for our money and it matters. 

On a funny side note, as I was waiting for almost an hour for the TV situation to get resolved, my husband (waiting patiently in the car with our baby) was sending me pictures. 

If you are from Walmart and you want to make this right, please contact me, Christa Wilson, at chlopaige@yahoo.com

My question for everyone is this:  What should Walmart do?

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