Friday, January 4, 2008

Wal Mart-Self Inflicted Misery

As I push my overloaded shopping cart through the overloaded parking lot, dodging cars and abandoned carts, I mumble to myself that I will *never* set foot in Wal Mart again. Just a moment later I sigh to myself and realize that I have made that promise before. But this time, I mean it! Let me just share with you a few experiences I have been through....

The Wal Mart where I used to live was not horrible. Well, ok, it was. But it was bearable because it was three minutes from home and I was able to go when it was not as busy (like in the middle of the night!) But that store was always filthy and the staff were less than thrilled to be there. Who could blame them? I was once standing in line, after a gruelling 30 minute ordeal just to buy about ten items. (Since these stores are so MASSIVE, if you want toothpaste and milk, you have to walk half a mile to get from one item to the other. Add an unhappy toddler to the mix, and you have misery only a mother can understand.) Of course, there are only three of the twenty eight checkstands open, and each one is about five people deep. So I pick the one that looks the most promising-the self checkout. I have faith in my checking abilities, so this shouldn't be hard. I watch as the people up to bat are struggling with the machine. It's almost a fight. They look puzzled, then give in and ask for help. But help is slow to come. Finally, they get it done. The next few transactions seemed to go well, until the one right before me. They have one item-it's a microwave or toaster or something. But it would not scan. They look frustrated and look for assistance. When someone finally makes it over, she announces that this machine would be down for at least an hour and to go to another line. By this point, there are at least five people behind me-who high tail it to the nearest line, leaving me at the end. The poor guy behind me, who had deodorant and gum, threw his items on the ground and left. I followed.

Another great thing about these super stores is the apathy it's customers have for the appearance of anything. If they pick up a gallon of milk, and decide in the electronics department that they don't really want it-the milk is tucked away between a Celine Dion and Chicago CD. I once turned down the aisle where the laundry detergent is kept to find an elderly woman struggling on the floor. She had slipped in spilled fabric softener and could not get up. She was absolutely horrified and embarrassed, but willing to accept my help. I offered to talk to the store manager for her, but she refused. She left the store as quickly as her blue laundry fresh soaked bottom could take her.

Speaking of spilled stuff-just today I managed to step into several eggs that had made their way to the ground. Had I not been avoiding careening carts with several other shoppers, I may have noticed the small war zone at my feet. But no, I was a woman on a mission-to get my eggs and get out. So when I slipped on the yellow mess, I was less than happy. Luckily, I had my SUV-sized shopping cart to grab on to.

Have you ever tried filling a prescription at a Wal Mart pharmacy? Don't. I'll be transferring mine elsewhere and pay the extra money. By the time you wait in line, you just as well could have circled the store, in it's vast entirety, several times.

But even the pharmacy cannot compare to the photo center. I send in digital prints online to be printed in an hour. But I don't usually to pick them up in an hour. Sometimes I wait until later in the evening, several hours later. I've even gone in a day or so after turning them in. At least a third of the time, however, my prints are not ready. There's usually a handwritten (and poorly spelled) sign on the counter that says the one hour service is down. And if it isn't down, then you can bet you'll still have to wait. Last week, I walked up to the counter, and I was the only customer. (This is hard to believe, but trust me-I must have smelled bad and kept everyone else away.) There were two people in white coats working the lab. They were both on their cell phones texting. I'll assume not to each other, but who knows. It took me pacing back and forth, clearing my throat and finally jumping on the counter squawking like a bird to get their attention.

I have to say, Wal Mart in the winter is the worst. Nobody wants to be in the cold, so they don't spend the extra fourteen seconds to walk their cart to the cart corral. The result is a shopping cart maze. You can bet that there will be at least half a dozen parking spots in the lot that cannot be parked in because they are full of empty carts. And the space between cars is also jammed. Those pretty landscaped islands? Those are surrounded by carts that have been propped up on their back wheels, the front wheels up on the mound of dirt. What gets me, though, are the carts completely in the middle of the road or blocking someone's access to their car. Especially when it's two feet from a corral. Seriously, how lazy have we become?

So why do I continue to put myself through this Hell? In constant seek of the best deal. But today I paid 2.85 for a gallon of milk. Then I get home and see the ad for Smith's-they have it on sale for 2.50. Maybe it's time for me to start comparing a little more. It's probably not saving me much money, and shopping elsewhere would really save me the heartache.

8 comments:

elan said...

I've stopped going, haven't been to Walmart in at least a year, hope never to return.

GrayEyedScorpio said...

Boycott! You can do it! May 1, 2005 was my last trip to WalMart, and I live in a rural area where it's the closest option. Why patronize a place that makes you, and others, miserable?

Designs By Abbi said...

I too have decided to boycott Wal-Mart. Everytime I step foot in their doors, I am more and more disappointed by their selection and their staff. I refuse to the the self check out, because they don't pay me to do it, and it never seems to be quicker. I also refuse to show my receipt at the door. There are so many cameras, they would know if I stole something.

Ashlie said...

Wow. I think you have a knack for writing! You had me laughing pretty good. Very good review. It depicts the true scene of most Wal-Marts that I have frequented. The only reason I can picture you up on the counter squaking like a bird is because I have actually seen you do this on the trampoline. (Think Candice-St. George).

The Indie Path said...

we can't stand wal-mart and have refused to shop there for almost 2 years now...they have completely forgotten what customer service means and it seems like they go out of their way to hire grumpy, mean people

Jen Hintz said...

I'm totally anti-WM too. The way I figure it, we actually save money by shopping at the regular groceries-and-just-groceries store and Target. As long as we pay attention to sales, use the coupons I so dutifully clip, and choose items wisely, we save money up front. And while some items, even store brands, at Target may be more expensive, in my experience they're better quality and therefor need less replacing.

And at least Target employees pay some attention to what is going on around them! You'd think WalMart employees were in detention or something!

Wynter said...

lol, I know how you feel I dont ever go to wal-mart unless its a must on Sunday... Macy's is open 24 hours mon-sat =)

NO TO CORP AMERICA said...

I LOVE THIS EDITOR WHAT A KNACK FOR WRITING, BUT I WILL SAY I AM NOT A RETIRED,PRESENT OR FUTURE WALMART CUSTOMER, FIRST TIME I SEEN ONE OPEN IN MY LITTLE TOWN WHERE IT TOOK WALMART 12 OR SOME ODD ZONING REJECTIONS AND MILLIONS OFF DOLLARS PAID TO CITY COUNCIL ONE WENT IN, EXPIERENCE TELLS ME IN THE 11TH HOUR OF A CATEGORY 6 HURRICANE, IS A PLACE YOU SURELY DO NOT WANT TO BE, NOR AT WALMARTS OPENING DAY 3 BLOCKS FROM MY HOUSE IT TOOK ME 17 MINUTES WHICH WOULD NORMALLY TAKE A CALIFORNIA STOP AT THE SIGN BEFORE PRECEEDING. BOY WAS I IRRITATED TO FIND OUT THAT MY HOME TOWN IN FLORIDA HAD TURNED INTO HELL ON WHEELS. IT TOOK ME ANOTHER 15 MINUTUES OR SO JUST TO GET PAST THE STORE WITH A BUNCH OF HORN BLOWING, FINGER FLIPPING,OHHHHHH I WANT TO BE THERE FIRST IN LINE AND FIRST TO WALK IN THE DOOR SHOPPER OF A WALMARTS, THAT WAS NOT NEEDED OR WANTED IN OUR HOME TOWN, I LIVED IN FLORIDA ALL MY LIFE WITHOUT A WALMART STUPID OR STUPER STORE WHICH EVER YOU PREFER AND THERE WAS NOT A DAY THAT WENT BY THAT THE TRAFFIC DID NOT CONTINUE TO BE A NIGHT MARE, MY BLOOD PRESSURE IS HAPPY BE MOVED TO NORTH CAROLINA I SCOPED OUT A LITTLE TOWN THAT COULD NOT POSSIBLY OPEN A WALMART UNLESS THEY REMOVED ALL THE BUILDINGS ON BOTH SIDES OF THE ROAD TO WIDEN THE 2 LANE ROAD WHICH THANKFULLY UP HERE THEY DO NOT KNOW WHAT A SUICIDE LANE MEANS MUCH LESS WOULD CONSIDER INSTALLING THEM. OUR BIGGEST CONCERN IS NOW THAT WE HAVE A CVS WHO IS TRYING TO COME TO OUR TOWN OF 8 SELF OWNED PHARMACY'S THERE IS NOT A YARD IN OUR LITTLE TOWN THAT DOESN'T HAVE STOP REZONING WE DO NOT NEED A CVS, AMERICA NEEDS TO STAND UP AND REJECT ALL OF THIS NON-SENSE OF CORP TAKEOVER,IN SMALL TOWN USA TO SAVE SOME HISTORY. APOPKA FLORIDA IS/WAS THE FOLIAGE CAPITOL OF THE WORLD UNTIL CORP WALMART DROVE IN PARKED THERE BIG WALLET WITH THERE BIG UNWANTED GARDEN CENTER, PUT ABOUT 100 GROWERS OUT OF BUSINESS FOR THEY IMPORTED MAJORITY OF THEY'RE FOLIAGE, IT IS A PLOY AMERICA TO SELL AS CHEAP AS POSSIBLE RUN ALL THE LITTLE COMPANIES OUT OF BUSINESS THEN JACK THEY'RE PRICES UP SEEMS LIKE THE NAME MATCHES AS ONE SAM TO THE OTHER MAYBE UNCLES?????? THAT IS WHY I MOVED OUT OF APOPKA FLORIDA WHERE NO LONGER THE GREEN GRASS GROWS BUT THE BLACK ASPHALT SHOWS.