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Walmart, I Hate You, as I Hate Myself for Drifting Toward your Siren Song

This is a hard story to write because the incompetency and stupidity nearly leaves me speechless, and without the capacity of language, it is hard to put this story on paper.

In December, I submitted a Christmas Card order to Walmart.com, which was my first mistake, but sadly, not my last.  I did everything correctly.  I got an email that my order was being processed and a second one that said it was ready to be picked up.

I go to get my cards, and not only are they not ready, there is no record in their system that I exist as a human being, and this, in spite of the fact that I have a customer order number with me that says my order is ready.

So, what to do?  Off I go, card-less, and a couple of days later, in a stunning demonstration of naiveté, optimism and stupidity, I re-send the very same order again.  After my second round of two confirming emails, I think, “surely this can’t happen twice” and off I go again into the belly of the beast.

Well, you know the answer to that question, don’t you?  A literal repeat of the first trip.  No cards.  No record I exist.  Off I shuffle again, like some dejected drifter begging (for their Christmas Cards) at the end of an interstate ramp.

A week later, I finally get the time to re-order my cards from Walgreens this time, and I pick them up with no problems at all.  Thank you, Walgreens, for being minimally competent.  For the first time in my life, I had to mail a few of my cards after the holidays due to the fiasco at Walmart.

So today, fittingly Groundhog Day, I ordered a few photo items online to be ready in an hour at my local hellhole, oops, I meant, Walmart.

Why would I do this again you ask after being repeatedly burned in the past?  I can only say that it was a stunning display of naiveté, optimism and stupidity.

Surely this could not be a recurring problem, right?  I mean, at Christmas, I saw photo cards being spit out of their machines at lightning speed.   Everyone else in Montgomery, Alabama was getting their cards.  Surely two months later, whatever photo-development Twilight Zone I had fallen into at Christmas could not still be encircling me in Walmart’s 7th layer of Hell.

So, I get to the Photo Center.  You know what’s coming right?

I just wish it were that easy.  The lady behind the counter repeatedly tells me that she does not work in that department and is unable to help me; that the correct person to assist me is “on-break.”  I explain to her in a disconnected voice about my Christmas Card Fiasco.  I know that you also wonder, as did I, why the woman was behind the counter in the first place if she couldn’t do anything.

I ask why she can’t at least go look for them, I mean, I am assuming she has a basic grasp of the English alphabet and my last name begins with “D” and she just insists that she is unaware of the complicated processes in Photo.  So I ask when will the girl who knows what to do be back?  15 minutes, I am told.

I suggest to Dum Dum (yet not the dumbest one I shall meet this bleak day) that they should hire some more people since the Photo Department has to shut down for an employee to have their legally mandated break (which I don’t oppose for goodness sake), and the job is apparently so complicated that it takes highly specialized training to open a drawer and look under the letter “D”.

So I come back in a few minutes and the place is vacant from even Dum Dum Number One.  After a minute, a manager walks by and asks if she can help someone, and at this point, I am the third customer standing there who would like to avail themselves of the services of Walmart’s infamous photo department.

I tell the manager, who so kindly asked the question, that we were told that the Photo Lab person was on-break and that we could not be waited on until she was back.  I was snottily told that was not true; that she was not on break but working Site-to-Store; which is six of one, half a dozen of another for me, because for whatever reason, I cannot get waited on and cannot get my pictures.

She looks for them.  I tell her my pitiful Christmas Card story.  I don’t exist, I say.  During all this, the missing/on break/working-a- different -department-person shows up.  Still no help, but at this point they agree that they will call Walmart.com and check on the order.  I say “I’ll be back.”  Famous last words.

From two isles over, as I continue to shop for the items needed for my daughter’s school project, and the reason I need the photos, I hear them on the phone explaining the problem to the morons on the other end.

A half hour later I return to – surprise… surprise… as gay Gomer Pyle would say, NO ONE in the photo area!  I almost died from the shock of the consistently shitty service.  Surely, I am in the fucking Twilight Zone.  How can this just keep getting worse?

I wait a few minutes.  A manager walks by.  I say, “Can you call someone to Photo?”  He mumbles in his mike as he keeps on walking, which I think was my only acknowledgment that he heard me.  A few minutes later, I wander into Electronics, and say, “Can you please get someone in Photo; I’ve been waiting 10 minutes.”

A few minutes later, over the loudspeaker I hear, “Customer needs assistance in the Photo Department.”  No shit.  I gotta suggestion for you, how about STAFFING the Photo Lab with a HUMAN BEING ?  But then I guess that would cut into Walmart’s 80 billion dollar annual profit margin.

So after 15 minutes of begging for help, a completely different person shows up with an I.D. that indicates she is in charge of the Photo Lab, yet in all my previous interactions with the other employees, this is the first time I have seen her.

“I’m looking for the lady who was working on my lost order. She was on the phone with Walmart.com,” I say calmly, though I had a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach.

“What was your order?”  “When did you send it in?”  All answers I had just given to three other people in the last hour but dutifully, like a suspect in a hardboiled detective novel strapped under a heat lamp in a gray interrogation room, I feel obliged to answer yet again.

“How do you spell your name?”  I have now spelled it at least a dozen times and I dutifully do so again for this fourth person.  She clickety clacks.  “Well, the problem is, if you are not in the computer, there is nothing I can do.”  She’s done.  This is her version of helping me with my problem.

I know that is a lie, and she knows I know it is a lie, and she soon demonstrates herself that it is a lie, because you can call Walmart.com!  I just told her this!  Another employee was just doing it!

“But… but…” I sputter in a flabbergasted tone, “that woman was calling Walmart.com to see about the problem… can we not check with her to see what the outcome of that conversation was?”

Unbeknownst to me, I am apparently talking to THE STUPIDEST PERSON ON EARTH, who I hope is one of the first to die in the zombie apocalypse.  Incredibly, she walks over to the phone, puts it on speaker and dials Walmart.com!  Didn’t this just happen a few minutes ago?  Happy Groundhog Day, folks!

Listening to the On-Hold voice explaining why we would all be standing there the rest of our natural lives, I walk over and say, “I don’t understand why you are re-doing everything that was just done 30 minutes ago.  It makes no sense that you are calling them twice.  Can we not talk to the woman who was on the phone with them when I left 30 minutes ago?”

Yes, it is Ground Hog Day, but if I had known I was going to be embroiled in some Bill Murray-style Day of the Damned at Walmart, I would have stayed home.

The Idiot’s response was, “I don’t know where she is.”  Now apparently this walking poster child for the failure of natural selection to kill off the mentally deficient, thinks I am stupid too, so I very patiently, with all the restraint at my disposal, point out to what is apparently a woman with very special needs (shouldn’t a lion have eaten her by now?), that she has a public address system and can page the employee!  Wow!  Imagine that?

And so she does, and apparently out of her own frustration at what she must  consider the Customer-from-Hell, you know, the one who just wants what she ordered, and an answer from someone with an IQ above the level of a goat, she calls over another manager… now the third one I have seen during this mess… I have an idea Walmart… how about hiring less fucking managers and a few more cashiers?  Just sayin’

So here we go again.  “What is the problem?”  “When did you order them?”  It is now that you realize the real reason that Walmart should not sell high-powered weapons of mass murder.

At this point, I am mewling like a kitten, “Can I please just talk to the woman who was handling my problem a few minutes ago? I was told to ask for her by the other manager.”  I end on a whine and look pleadingly at yet another employee who just might be able to help me.

I am told, “She is on her way.”

“She doesn’t have to come up here.  If she will just tell someone the secret to the mystery of my photo order, I’ll be happy,” I say.  They just smile at me as if trying to distract me from the men with strait jackets who will be showing up momentarily.

We all smile awkwardly and wait.  She arrives and explains to me that it is not a fault on their end, but that WalmartDOTstupidassholesDOTcom are not printing the pictures due to copyright violations, they need…” at which point, I cut her off and say, “I took all of those pictures of my daughter myself on my own digital camera (a cheap one at that).”

“Well apparently they were so good…”  I say, “well, then I should get a job as a professional photographer (which I am not).”  And then I point out what should annoy the piss out of everyone involved, “and they don’t even bother to tell you on the ground about it?  They just leave you here to deal with an annoyed customer, why you try to figure it out?  Well, that is the stupidest thing I have ever heard of – and from now on, I’ll print my pictures at Walgreens or CVS!”  Off I go in a huff and then I blew it.

As I shamble off, mumbling like a mental patient who has escaped, I yell back, “and you can call Walmart.com and tell them this is the stupidest thing I have ever heard of, too!”  I am literally yelling back at them over my shoulder.

I can see that they have circled their wagons and are all whispering about me… maybe they should call security… or the cops… or change their cell phone numbers… bottom line, they are acting like I am the crazy one… and at this point, maybe I am.  I walked in sane… but after an hour of being gaslighted by the fine folks at Walmart, I may have in fact, just gone crazy.

I hope to God someday, my family can afford to pay 20% more for food at Publix or Winn Dixie… and should that day ever come, I swear, as God as my witness, I will never darken the door of a Walmart again… in the meantime, I can afford the slightly higher photo prices at the drug stores, and I do promise that I have just sent my last photo order to the Land of the Lost and Ignorant.  As God is my Witness.  Amen.

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About reneadijab

Renea Dijab

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9 Comments on “Walmart, I Hate You, as I Hate Myself for Drifting Toward your Siren Song”

  1. Rachel Says:

    Hahaha I totally understand. I live around Montgomery. I’d rather pay $10 in gas to drive to the Prattville Walmart. Lmao

    Reply

  2. Michael Miller Says:

    Thank you once again for sharing. I enjoy your brushes with the sane and the insane. So much truth in everyday activities. Yet again, I can relate to your Walmart story except mine involves an increasing frustration with the “paint department”. There was a time when that area was staffed by a seemingly trained paint “specialist” with the flexibility and know-how to mix, match, and change the color slightly almost by eye. Times change and in an effort I guess to make an old lady from women’s wear or make a high school student with a second grade education a paint expert, the manual paint dispensing machines were replaced with the automated tint dispensing machines. That seemed to work in the beginning but as time went on, the units became clogged, some dispensed the intended amount while others didn’t, and forget about custom mixing anything. This is all assuming 2 things. One, there is anyone even manning the paint station and 2, the much needed can of base paint is in stock. More times than I could count, both were nowhere to be found. After a very long wait during one of my visits, and after a manager and some lady from sporting goods finally showed up (she was in the middle of a long gun and ammo transaction so we had to wait), I finally offered to go around the counter and push the right combination of computer buttons required to dispense my own paint. I sealed the can and placed it safely in the shaker. Paint turned out beautifully. As I left the area, the manager thanked me and said if I ever needed a job to let her know. I smiled and thank her but vowed under my breath never to return. For the same reasons you described below, I’ve been back to the understaffed and under-stocked paint department many times. Always with lowered expectations.

    Reply

    • reneadijab Says:

      Thanks, Mike! I miss being around the office, too! And man, I gotta tell you, I gave up on Walmart’s paint department YEARS ago… except for a can of spray paint… if I need mixed paint, it is Lowe’s or Home Depot… I noticed that no one was ever behind the counter and when someone did show up, they didn’t know anything about paint a LONG time ago! I am surprised you are still hanging in there. As someone said to me, “You know the definition of insanity, right?”

      I don’t even know why they sell paint. The same thing happend with the fabrics – no one knew anything about sewing… and you couldn’t find anyone to cut cloth from the bolt. Thankfully, they have eliminated most of those departments.

      I am working on a savings plan that will keep me out of Walmart for the rest of my life. This weekend just about did me in.

      Reply

      • Michael Miller Says:

        I guess I am a creature of habit and to the depths of my soul I still don’t like to pay much for most items (except never skimp on ketchup, toilet paper, peanut butter, and a few other items). Walmart paint has always been the cheapest and good enough for most of my projects. That, coupled with the friendly, competent staff of yester-years I was happy and life was good in the paint department. The weening process has been long and frustrating but I think I’m just about there. My wife and I gave up on the fabric area a long time ago except for the occasional need for batting, thread and needles. With inspiration from your last post, I may just have the encouragement I need to wave goodbye to the paint counter. Keep up the blog and the postings. I draw comfort and strength in your comments. Take care.

      • reneadijab Says:

        Well, I was going to email you to alert you to the newest post, that as you can see, especially with the comments about the paint department were partially inspired by our conversation about it yesterday. I started thinking about paint and fabric and photo development and really… how much more could we take? When I started this conversation on Saturday, I had no intentions of abandoning Walmart. I didn’t think I could. Encouragement from others and some reflection on my part makes me believe I can. And you can too! Head towards the light, Mike! You can do it… go over that wall!

  3. janineyork Says:

    If there does turn out to be a devil, Walmart will be his favorite child. I am Poor, but I will do without before gracing their doors again. Perfect Dante reference, it is like the 7th layer of hell. Another great and funny story!

    Reply

    • reneadijab Says:

      Interesting that absolutely NO ONE has defended Walmart from this post, and EVERYONE who has ever been in a Walmart at least twice, has had at least one hellish experience… yet they thrive as a company… all while treating their workers as shitty as their customers. South Park has a great take on it. Thanks for your comments. I read all of your posts too. Very insightful!

      Reply

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