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A place to write it down.

I really like my “local” Walmart (Walmart is mass scale, not a local company). It is small(er) and seldom crowded. Even things like Black Friday and Site to Store work there.

Walmart is an outstanding company. You do not dominate worldwide retailing by accident.  They have a lot of advantages–distribution, pricing clout, deep pockets, etc.–and they use them. And they have programs and policies; they do not jerk their customers around.

I think it is a feud between Walmart and Bank of America. Everyone knows that Walmart has been trying to get into banking. So now they are making it difficult to shop with BoA credit cards. Just kidding.

Last week I bought a few items, grass seed, vitamins, and French bread.  I like Walmart French bread, especially when it is half price.  I went to check out and my credit card did not work.  It has both a chip and a strip, get it?, and for some time I have had to hide it from cashiers at Walmart; the self check-out is a perfect way.  Just swipe the strip before they can see it and it will work.  If not, they will start manhandling it and I will get upset.  I digress.  Somewhere in this whole thing I learned that they converted to chip only on 9/1.

I am not one of those people who enjoys hanging-out at Walmart.  I had a few items and I wanted to get out of there.  The cashier started asking me about growing grass seed ($2.97 bag of starter seed).  I politely pretended I did not hear her (i.e., ignore).  She starts asking more questions… ‘My sister-in-law tried…’  Blah, blah, blah.  I said “You have to read the package, sometimes it is annual.”  Enough with the grass seed.  She was not paying attention at all.  I swiped my card and it did not work.  I put it in the chip reader/black hole, waited, over and over and it almost worked.

The woman decided to walk around the aisle, she grabbed the card out of my hand, and started violently rubbing it on her leg.  I mean violently, it has happened before (four or five times at Walmart), some of these people…  I do not know.  They treat credit cards differently than I do.  Finally, it worked.

What exactly is the point of that, fooling around with my card–I mean, how does that affect the chip and the hardware?

Then there was the apparent manager at the scene–the woman with the headset and choreography tasks.  She’s the one who, while apparently talking on the phone, pointed at me and screamed “That man!” as if someone was going to help me.  The employee customer ratio must have been about one-to-one (15 employees, fifteen customers) toward the front of the store.  Still, nothing happened.  Kasey (sp?), the employee/manager I spoke with, knew nothing about it.

After walking to my car I discovered the bread was priced incorrectly.  It is a smaller Walmart, but still, back to customer service.  There was one person ahead of me.  I got to listen to how to remove stains from tablecloths…  The transaction–the woman ahead of me–was not going quickly.  This was all for a refund between $0 and $3.  Finally, I got up there; it did not work; “Do you have another bread?”

Here is where it gets a little different, for me.  I even know the customer service manager.  She is nice and she tries.  I realize she is not the CEO of Walmart.  I am not looking to get anyone in trouble.  And, while the poor woman was swiping the (by now mangled French breads), the customer service manager was not even “on the clock.”

Have you ever stood there while someone presses the same buttons, and scans the same item, over and over again?  It just does not work.  But to see them “assaulting” (sorry, bad word) your credit card over and over?  That is when I get mad.  One Walmart cashier actually started scraping it!  (Fine print, it was a gift card, Walmart folks did it, no refund, so I’ll consider it the same).  I told, or I guess asked, the customer service manager “I use this card five times a day.  It works everywhere but here, what is the problem?”

They put the manager’s name on the receipt, I called…  I have matured.  It is not a fair fight.  But that is how I learn.  At least I do not do it on dates (anymore).

The manager apparently is not the manager.  The assistant manager, about three-quarters through the conversation she said “I’m the manager.”  It just was not fair.  No question, there is training…  “What can we do to make it right?” she asked.  Even, if one pushes, “We will refund your purchases.”

No I do not want to drive back.  No, I do not want to do it again with customer service.  Maybe I should have because it would have been a lesson in composure.  “Send me a check,” on my part, did not work.

Still no word from the real manager.

All I ever said was “I am going to write it down and I would like an email address to send it to.”


No manager.

There is much more to this story.  I always learn something.  I learned that the procedure is to enter the numbers manually when it does not work one time, assistant manager told me.

I did call the 800 number per the assistant manager’s advice and my curiosity.  The woman again referenced procedures and was very apologetic.  A call from the manager as promised never happened.

Another lesson?  I do not work in a managerial capacity at Walmart and they do not have to listen to me.  It is a big, sometimes impersonal world.