Sunday, November 18, 2007


I just got home from Wal-Mart, and I'm more bothered with what they have become than I have been in quite some time. If Mr. Sam Walton were aware of what's going on in his stores these days, he would be spinning in his grave! He always valued customer service and the quality of the work environment above all else, believing that if he took care of those two things, the profits would take care of themselves. (If you don't believe me, go and read Made In America: My Story by Sam Walton with John Huey.) I've had many reasons to be upset with Wal-Mart before, but this is a new low in customer service. My mother and I were out late because she needs a wheelchair since her stroke a few years ago. (The Wal-Marts here always seem to be out of even manual wheelchairs throughout the day.) She wanted to buy a new pair of shoes -- not something I really wanted to be helping with, so I was off in the garden center to check out the demo units for Rock Band and Super Mario Galaxy. The Rock Band unit had been assaulted, so I spent quite a bit of time playing with the Wii demo station there. All the while, my mother was trying to find shoes that fit her properly -- something that has not been easy since her stroke. She called me to say that she had dropped her Bluetooth headset somewhere in the shoe department. By the time I arrived, she had already talked with the girl working in electronics -- the nearest one she could find! -- and had just flagged-down a woman pushing a pallet truck into the back. She was trying to find someone helpful to whom she could give her contact information so if it turned-up, she could be called. The woman called a manager more out of a desire to get rid of us than a genuine desire to help. Judging from the side of the conversation I could her, I'm convinced that her manager didn't care any more than the floor workers seemed to. Were things still as they were when Sam Walton were alive, the employees would have been genuinely concerned about the loss of something as expensive by a disabled woman, or they would at least have tried to face concern. As is, when passing through electronics on the way out and interacting with the girl there again, the she seemed to have moved just past apathetic to annoyed. When my mother was having trouble getting her wheelchair through stock debris, she suggested she would just walk and leave it. At that point, the worker was genuinely rude in the was she handled the return of the chair to the front. I'm growing to resent Wal-Mart more and more. If it weren't the only 24-hour grocery store in the Cleveland, Tennessee area, I would gladly go elsewhere.

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