The Grocery Cart

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We’ve all experienced it.  You go to the grocery store, and pick out a perfectly normal-looking grocery cart, only to realize you’ve unknowingly chosen the understudy to the car in Stephen King’s horror movie, “Christine”.  Making matters worse, I wrenched my back heaving two tons of generic water into the “Shopping Cart From Hell”.  The good news, I saved seventy-five cents buying in bulk.  The bad news, it would cost fifty bucks to see the chiropractor.

The extra tonnage caused the cart to veer like a guided missile into the path of unsuspecting customers.  Thankfully, no one was injured during my shopping experience, except me.  Like Superman, I had used my body as a human shield to protect innocent bystanders within ten feet of the “Death Cart”.  Unfortunately, I threw my hip out in the process, doubling my chiropractic bill.

My harrowing adventure came to an abrupt halt, as I managed a Transformer-like move into a nearby cash-register aisle, with no other people (I.e., targets) in line.

In light of this experience, I’d like to make the following suggestions…

  • Stores should create a new position called Quality Cart Inspector, whose main duty is to regularly check all grocery carts for navigability and functionality.
  • Those carts that fail to make the “cut” should then be shipped to the Pentagon as part of a weapon feasibility study.

Walmart Woes–Part Two

This is a selfmade image from the english wiki...
This is a selfmade image from the english wikipedia. The photographer has uploaded it as GFDL (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Per the clerk’s suggestion, I showed up at 9 a.m. Monday morning to get links taken out of my watch.  Several minutes later, I spied a nearby clerk, and asked if someone would be available in the next millennia.  The clerk called a manager over.  Admitting they were short-staffed and  he didn’t know how to take the links off, but that he would at least try.  He feverishly looked through a drawer for a tool to accomplish this.    Unable to locate such a tool, he apologized and said that someone would be in shortly who could help me.  Needing to do more shopping, I went on my way, and would circle back to  jewelry department later.

Next thing on my list, two small decorative lamps for my bedroom dresser, which is where I apply my makeup.   I need one lamp on each side,  otherwise I end up looking like the villain “Two-Face” in Batman.  Not exactly the look I’m going for.  I found two nice lamp bases.  Now, all I needed were two red shades to go on top.  After rearranging the entire lighting display shelf, I located the perfect red shade.  Only one.  I still needed another.  So, I found another clerk working in the vicinity.  He scanned the tag on the shade, and said there was one in the warehouse.  I was elated.  My joy was short-lived when, right before the clerks’ eyes, the red shade that appeared on his scanner located in the warehouse, was no longer there,  nabbed by another clerk right under our noses.  Really?!  The clerk offered to look around in order  to locate the errant shade somewhere in this massive store.  “Good luck”, I mumbled.  The clerk finally reappeared with a “Sorry, I couldn’t find it”.  Surprise, surprise.  So, I asked if he could check other nearby Walmart stores to see if they might have the matching red shade.  He advised me to check with customer service, and they could check on that for me.  Two lamp stands, one red shade, watch band dangling from my wrist, I made one last glance over to the jewelry counter, hoping to glimpse any sign of intelligent life.   Not detecting any, I asked another clerk, of course unaffiliated with the jewelry department, if someone would be in that department any time soon.  Politely she wasn’t sure, but would be happy to get a manager for me.  Initially thinking this would be a thirty minute trip, silly girl that I am, I decided I could wait a little longer, deciding that three hours is my absolute limit for resolving these issues.  After all, my time is worth something, right?  A few minutes, yet another manager appears, stating he would make a call and get a clerk there to help me.

Still no competent jewelry clerk in sight, I decided to make the best use of my time, and go to the customer service desk to check on the status of the red shade at other Walmarts.   Fortunately, there were only a couple of people ahead of me in the customer service line till I heard the word, “Next”.  I was pleasantly surprised to see someone I recognized as one of the many managers at this Walmart.  Finally, I would get some actual assistance locating the shade.  I showed her the shade, and asked if she could check inventories of nearby Walmarts since this store only had one.   She quickly made a call, and, with a smile said, “You need to go to the hardware department, and they can check on this for you.”  Isn’t that where I just came from, and didn’t they tell me to go to customer service and they could help me?  Coming up on the three hour mark of my epic shopping experience, I made one last glance at the jewelry department.  Oh rapture and joy, there appeared to actually be a clerk working the counter.  Thinking I’d hit the jackpot, I strode over to the counter.  Unfortunately, a couple of other customers, closer to the department, and also anxious for the mysterious jewelry clerk to emerge, beat me in a foot race to the counter.  I finally garnered the attention of the prodigal jewelry clerk, and, demonstrating the dangling watch band,  explained that I needed some links taken out.  She studied my watch, and said, “four links should do”.   Again, she rummaged through the nearby drawers, looking for the elusive link-removal tool.  Finally, she located it, and Wa-la, the job was accomplished.  Yea!!  And,  it only took two hours and 45 minutes to do it.  Famished, and feeling weak from the unexpected prolonged experience, I decided to go home and eat, figuring I needed nourishment  before tackling the hardware department about the location of a red shade.

To their credit, every clerk and manager I encountered was polite and courteous.  Plus,  I managed to remain calm through this entire ordeal.  No small feat.  Later, I realized this experience presented me with a unique opportunity to exercise my patience, an unexpected benefit.  So, in a funny way, I guess Walmart is helping me to grow  and mature as a person.  So, thank you Walmart.  Now, if only I could find the other red shade, and all will be well.

Walmart Woes–Part One

English: Inside the Walmart (still branded as ...
English: Inside the Walmart (still branded as Wal-Mart) at West Plains, Missouri. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I definitely have a love/hate relationship with Walmart.  Love the convenience and bargains–price matching is awesome.  Hate the hassles and long lines.   Here’s why…

After a couple of years, my $10 Walmart watch finally gave out.  Figuring I’d gotten my money’s worth, I made a trip to a nearby store, hoping to find another bargain watch as a replacement.  For a Saturday, the store was surprisingly quiet.  Since I frequented Walmart nearly as often as my own home–I know the floorplan like the back of my hand.  Surveying the choices, I found a watch to my liking, and quickly made my way to the jewelry counter where two women were standing behind the cash register.  One woman appeared to be wrapping up her shift, while chatting with another clerk.  Neither of them even noticed my husband and me standing within a foot of them.  In fact, it seemed they were actively ignoring us,  particularly aggravating, since, as a quality assurance facilitator,  I trained and coached customer service reps at a large call center.  We called it “acknowledging the customer”, especially important when the customer is standing right in front of you.  The one lady finished her shift, left and, after a few minutes of awkward silence, the other clerk, looking like the proverbial “deer in the headlight” finally said, “Can I help you?”  Shopping is not one of my husband’s favorite activities, especially when it does not involve food products, so I was feeling more than a little hurried.  Plus, patience is not one of my finer qualities, and  God often presents me with these types of  situations to exercise it.  So, I took a couple of deep breaths, in order to respond calmly. In front of the obviously inexperienced clerk,  I set the watch I’d chosen down on the counter. Withholding any comment about being previously neglected, I paid for the watch.  Then, I asked if she could take it out of the plastic packaging for me, so I could try it on.  Again, the “deer look”, then she finally figured out how to release the watch from the container.  For the first time I would see the watch out of the package.  Since my hands are slightly arthritic, I needed an expandable band.  On closer inspection, I determined the band was not.

So, unfortunately, it was back to the drawing board to look for a watch with an expandable band.  Now, I needed a refund of my previous purchase, so I could put the new watch on my credit card.   Except the clerk, with that familiar headlight look,  and multiple tries later, finally called for a manager to come over and help her with my transaction.  The manager was able to complete the process, successfully putting the money back onto my credit card so I could purchase the new expandable band watch.

After trying on the watch,  all I needed were a couple of links taken out of the band, since my wrists are one of the few smallish parts on my person, along with my feet.  Surprise, the  clerk  politely informed me that she was incapable of helping me with this, and that I would need to come back during the week, between 9-4, and there would be someone in the jewelry department qualified to help me.   So, watch dangling freely around my wrist, dignity and sanity intact, my husband and I calmly made our way out of the store.  Like the Terminator, “I’ll be back”, ready to take on the next installment in the Walmart saga.

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