I Still Hate WalMart

April 30, 2010

Everyone knows that unless you're in the market for a .22 long rifle in the $74-$79 price range, or a children's life jacket, one should never purchase sporting goods from WalMart. I mean really, have you seen those elliptical trainers? They should come with a life insurance policy. Honestly, I think I'd rather ride a rickshaw through the streets of HoChiMin City than spend 30 seconds on one of those machines. Seriously, stick me on a rusted out 1970's carnival ride any day of the week. WalMart exercise equipment? I don't think so.

And that's precisely where Jared and I went astray.

We were strolling through the sporting goods section of WalMart, enjoying the views of NASCAR paraphernalia and novelties designed for ultimate fans of Ultimate Fighting, when we happened across a handheld GPS that was marked 40% off. It was name brand, it took AA batteries (just like we'd been looking for), and the weekend before, we had seen the exact same model at LL Bean in Freeport.

There was one GPS left, so it's needless to say that we went for it.

Now if you're not exactly sure what a handheld GPS is, don't sweat it--the Sporting Goods Manager had no idea either.

JARED: Is this thing all set to go?

SPORTING GOODS MANAGER: Uhhhhhh...(looks at the back of the box).....uhhhhh.....yup.

JARED: So all we have to do is pop in the batteries and we're ready to start using it?

SPORTING GOODS MANAGER: Ummmm....(looks at the back of the box again)....that's right.

And we bought it.

As soon as we got into the parking lot, we knew we were in trouble. According the the GPS, we were standing in the middle of a field in Los Angeles. Since we were clearly standing in the middle of the WalMart parking lot, and as far as I know there aren't any fields in LA, we decided to take the GPS home and read the instruction manual.

And that's when we found out that you need to buy a $200 software upgrade before you can even use the damn thing to find your mailbox.

Man, I love it when managers know their products so well!

So, the receipt was tucked back into the box, and the GPS proceeded to sit on the desk in our den for the next 21 days--until Jared's next trip to WalMart.

Jared went to WalMart three weeks later in search of a bike for James's fifth birthday. He planned to return the GPS and use the cash to buy the bike. You know--the Spiderman bike, that had no price tag, and no one to tell him the price, and no one to get it from the back, so now James has an orange bike from Target.

Anyhoo...Jared went to the service desk with the GPS and his receipt in hand.

JARED: Hi, I'd like to return this handheld GPS.

CUSTOMER SERVICE: [looks at receipt, point over her shoulder to a sign] Can't. There's a 15 day return policy on GPS units.

JARED: Really? My receipt says 90 days. I thought WalMart has a 90 day return policy. Isn't that what your commercials say?

CUSTOMER SERVICE: [points to sign again] 15 days for a GPS.

JARED: How was I supposed to know that?

CUSTOMER SERVICE: [points to sign again] Next!

JARED: Can I speak with the manager?

...15 minutes later the Assistant Manager comes out.


JARED: How was I supposed to know there was a 15 day return policy on this GPS?

ASSISTANT MANAGER: [points to sign]

JARED: But no one told me when I checked out, or at the sporting goods counter.

ASSISTANT MANAGER: You need to walk by the service desk on your way out and make sure there aren't any signs pertaining to the items you just bought.

JARED: Seriously?


So Jared called me from WalMart and relayed the whole story--and to use WalMart speak, I was some angry. I said, "Jared, wait right there. I'm gonna call. We'll get 'em from both ends."


ME: I'd like to speak with the store manager, please.

...15 minutes later the Assistant Manager picks up.

ME: Hi, my husband's standing at the service desk right now, and he's having trouble returning a GPS unit.

ASSISTANT MANAGER: [audible sigh mixed with an unbelievably beastly tone] He can't, it's been longer than 15 days. And he told me that he bought it so he could use it and return it.

ME: That's what he said?


ME: Well that's not true, but anyway, how were we supposed to know that the GPS had a 15 day return policy?


ME: Kathy? Are you pointing to the sign right now?


ME: How else?

Okay, I won't torture you with the drawn out back and forth dialogue. According to Kathy, there was a sticker on the box (nope), it should have said it on the receipt (nope again), and there was a sign indicating the return policy in the electronics sections (well sorry Kath, that's another nope, we bought it in the sporting goods section not electronics).

So, after the third nope, it went like this...

ME: So will you let him return it?


And this is where it really heats up.

ME: Kathy, can I get the name and number of your boss?

ASSISTANT MANAGER: I don't have a boss.

ME: You're in charge of the whole store?


ME: Do yo have a regional boss?


ME: So you're in charge of all WalMarts everywhere in the world?


ME: Well then, we're gonna be on the phone with each other for a while.

And that's when Kathy hung up on me, scoffed the GPS out of Jared's hands, inspected every square inch of it (including each page of the instruction manual, one by one by one) for signs of foul play, and begrudgingly gave Jared his cash.

As for me? I will never step foot into my local WalMart for as long as I shall live.

As for you? Next time you shop at WalMart, please be sure to swing by the customer service desk on your way out of the store and ask about the return policy on every single item you purchased. And for my sake, do it on a day when you buy 30 bags of groceries.

They say: Satisfaction Guaranteed.

I say: I'm having a super hot, secret affair with Curtis Stone, the Take Home Chef.

Well look at that! We're both liars!

The End.

P.S. I still hate WalMart.


Christina McKinney said...

I'm with ya sista!!! I used to be the biggest Walmart fan, till....the incident. Alright fine, it's not really as bad as yours, but still, more proof that they suck.


David said...

You say you won't go back, but next year when James wants Jeff Gordon bed sheets and Tito Ortiz fighting gloves for his birthday, you'll be back. They don't carry that kind of quality at Target. The gravity of Walmart is intense.

Mindy said...

Oh. My. Hell. I knew I hated Walmart, and now I know it even more. I might boycott the only marginally-functional store in my marginally-functional town in your honor.

Pam @ herbieontherun.com said...

I think you handled that like a pro!

Where do they find these people??? At FedEx??? (Btw, in case you missed my post from yesterday, FEDEX SUCKS TOO!!!)

My Life said...

I spent my entire lunch hour driving across town to a Target yesterday. For one item. An errand that would have taken 10min if I would have just gone next door to Wal-Mart. I loathe them as much as you...!

Stephanie said...

BAHAHAHAHAHA!! Thanks for the laugh today lady!! That was spectacular!! :)

Katie said...

for me, it's a love-hate relationship.
We actually bought a treadmill there a few years ago and love it...but we also tried to return an item that THEY STILL carried (yes, after 90 days) and the lady wouldn't let us..fortunately there was someone else there that looked through the system and was able to exchange for us...stupid return policies..I think they should send a policy booklet home with all of their customers..the cost of printing them out would outweigh the returns they get..

Anonymous said...

Holy cow, Amy! I think I'm going to post your blog on a Walmart discussion board....oh wait, I bet they don't have one.

I hate bad customer service!!!

Cheryl said...

Wow, your Walmart definitely sucks! I've never had such bad service at either of the Walmarts I shop at. Just the run of the mill long lines at checkout and inability to find anyone to help in any given department. They all seem to disappear when you need help.

V and Co. said...

i loath walmart.

Kandi said...

I have had two similar experiences of WalMart regarding not having the original packaging (but having a receipt within the time allot) or not having a reciept (but having the packaging and it being two days after Christmas) and I had to fight like you did until I finally got my way.
Then on an unrelated trip, I took back a year old tent that I found out was broken the first time I tried to use it. They told me I could exchange it for another tent- no questions asked. Turns out the price of tents went down a LOT. They let me have 2 (bigger) tents and $12 change for exchange for the original tent. I was flabbergasted. I think I won the WalMart lottery that day or something (that guy probably lost his job after that transaction).

funderson said...

WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE?? Holy Socks! I'm sorry! I never ever have bought electronic stuff from that sock-hole. I would rather shop here at the local overpriced ski-resort electronics store staffed with local geeks so they can show me how to use the crap once I buy it. It is SO worth it.

jed-laura said...

I've had Walmart let us return items that they don't even sell in their store at all! We got wedding gifts that we didn't need, and they said, "well it looks like Walmart doesn't sell this brand of item, and without a gift receipt, the best we can do is offer you in-store credit for the gift. What is the value of this item?" So we told them it looked pretty expensive, and they gave us a gift card for the ammount we named :) So not all service people at Walmart are yucky.

Lynda said...

Ugh, I can feel my pulse getting more and more rapid as I read that. I'm sure I would have had a hard time not dropping f-bombs to that ignorant woman.

FinnyKnits said...

Thank you for this story. Now I never have to actually enter a Wal-Mart in order to have an experience so horrifying as to justify my hatred for that place.

I'll just use your story and go on with my life and never suffer the indecencies of that store.

Morgan Hagey said...

Wow. That is astonishing customer service. Wow.

Kathy C said...

WalMart DOES stink. And you have very fine taste in super hot, secret affairs.

Catherine M. said...

This week i visited Walmart -

at the checkout a 6 year old boy came in alone and asked the teller if his father had left his drink a few minutes earlier. Teller replied: "go get yourself some beer on isle 6!" then laughed and laughed.

Katy Shamitz said...

I hate hate hate that store and everything it stands for.

X-Country2 said...

Glad to know that if I have an issue I can call Kathy since she's in charge of all Walmarts all aroudn the world.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah...sounds like a typical Wal-Mart scenario. I once took photos of my friends baby with my DSLR camera. I'm no pro...just did a few copy cat poses that pros use. So...my friend takes the CD that I gave her with the photos on it to Walfart (typo and it stays) where they told her they couldnt make copies cuz they were professional pics. Seriously...anyone can pose their baby in front of a black blanket and say they are professional pictuers. Walmart is full of idiot employees born from a mama in a family with no branches on their family tree. :0) Great post!!!!

Kadi, John and girls said...

We need to get together and vent Amy- seriously Walmart sucks and I don't know why I keep going back!!!!!