My wife hates Wal-Mart. In part for the clientele and in part for the long check-out lines. I’ll be the first to admit that there are some really hygienically challenged people shopping at our Wal-Mart. I can work around that. I get a can of Oust and carry it with me through the store and spray it where-ever necessary. And the rude people .. well .. I’ve adapted and can be just as rude. I’ve found it doesn’t bother me as much as it used to. I just have to remember my manners when I shop elsewhere.
I am the family shopper. I do the budgeting so I know what we can spend. I can do the math as I add items to my cart. I can make a list and stick to it. I can clip coupons and use them to save money. I cannot control the incompetence of the people I have to deal with in the shopping process, especially the check-out clerks. This is a story (based on real life events from Sunday’s shopping trip) about the crappiest shopping trip ever.
We usually shop on Sunday. That is probably the worst day to shop. This Wal-Mart is surrounded by 3 churches and a bus line. Not to mention it anchors the shopping center and restaurants. So Sunday around 11am is probably not the best time to shop there.
I would like to share my most recent shopping experience at my local Wal-Mart Supercenter Store. I arrived at the store around 11:10 on Sunday to do my weekly household shopping. Based on the lack of shopping carts at the entry of the store I should have known it was not going to be a good experience.
I was able to find all but a few items on my list. They are items this store had carried in the past but have stopped carrying them within recent weeks. That means a stop at a second store on the way home. I completed my shopping and was in line to check out of the store by noon. I know the time because out of 20+ registers only 6 were open along with the self-check out lanes. I got into a lane and looked at my watch hoping I would be checked out in time to meet my wife after church and pick up my kids so she could finish her other errands. Little did I realize I would spend nearly an hour in line waiting to check out. The time stamp on my register receipt says 12:49:05.
The problem appeared to be with the cashier running the register, Robert. It took Robert 22 minutes to scan the cart of groceries and bag them for the person at the front of the lane. There were 3 other people ahead of me. I started watching the other lanes around me to see if it was this slow everywhere. The lane next to mine had checked out 3 people’s carts in the time it took Robert to check out one person’s cart. This was unacceptable. I got out a receipt from a prior purchase at Wal-Mart and called the store manager to complain while in line. I asked for the store manager. I was told there wasn’t one. I then asked if there was someone there for customer service. I was told “yes”. I had to ask to be put through. Once the customer service manager answered I explained I was a customer, I identified myself as a customer in the store and I identified which check out lane I was in and asked if additional lanes would be opening. I was told there would be shortly. It was almost 20 minutes later before additional lanes were opened.
I had waited almost 40 minutes in Robert’s lane and there were only 2 people ahead of me when a new lane opened up. I got out of Robert’s lane and got into line there. I was behind 2 other people. I was checked out before the woman who was in front of me in Robert’s lane. By then the customer service manager had managed to pull Robert off his lane and had someone else take over for him.
I tracked down the customer service manager, and spoke to him about the situation. I then produced two cartons of ice cream that had completely thawed while waiting to check out. Andre, the CSM, got someone from frozen foods to check for more of the ice cream. It was sold out. Andre refunded the money for the thawed ice cream and apologized for Robert. But to be honest this isn’t the first time I’ve experienced the long lines and slow check out.
I have to admit that I do like Wal-Mart. I shop there because they do save me money, but to be honest my time is valuable as well. And I lost almost an hour to Wal-Mart just to check out. I’m so disappointed in Wal-Mart right now. Next Sunday I plan on shopping at Cub Foods and Meijer to see what the cost difference is. And if it’s not too much more I may just shop at those stores from now on. Provided the price difference isn’t that much I’d rather pay more than stand in line.
I would love to speak to someone from Wal-Mart’s District Manager’s office, but everytime I call I get an answering machine that cuts me off and never lets me finish recording a message. I know that Wal-Mart is huge and my $7800 (around $150 a week for a year) doesn’t account for more than a blip on their screen, but if enough people listen and if enough people go somewhere else because of the poor service it will eventually matter to Wal-Mart.