I Hate WalMart – Part 3
It was October 6th of 2011, and I had decided that the perfect birthday gift for my husband would be pictures of our baby in her Halloween costume. Since my husband always shops for my birthday gift the day OF my birthday, I got to do the same for his, and he doesn’t expect a gift until that evening, sometime before midnight, which is the unofficial “deadline” for spousal birthday gifts to not be technically late.
So, it was the day OF my husband’s birthday, and I was busy during the day dressing up little Zoey as a butterfly and finding well-lit places to take photographs of her for the birthday surprise. I managed to get 60 prints ordered by 5pm, and slipped out of the house around 7 claiming that I was going to get hubby his favorite cheeseburger. Just enough time to get the pictures and come back before baby wakes. Perfect.
The only imperfect part of this equation is that I have once again entrusted WalMart with something important. They seem to be able to detect urgency and importance and stomp on it when it comes up to the photo counter.
When I went to get the pictures, the girl working the machine told me that I must not have completed the ordering process “or something”, because the machine had my name up and said processing, but nothing was printing from it. I explained my situation, but as we outlined before, WalMart associates do not care about special circumstance. If anything, they enjoy squelching hopes and dreams. It’s what they live for. Then she went on break.
A new kid who had never worked in photo before that day came up and called the 1800 number for the machine. The people on the other end were able to tell him to push the “continue” button, because the first girl had hit “pause” accidentally. He remarked that she had said, “Today has been a really easy day! Hardly nothing has come through! But why do all these people keep showing up asking for pictures?”
After New Kid got the machine running again, I was told that my order would print in about 30 minutes. No problem. I wandered around WalMart talking to my mom on the phone. In 30 minutes, I came back to the counter with a picture frame, gift bag, card, etc…but the pictures were still not done. The first girl was back from her break, and told me, “Yeah, the machine was jammed or paused or something.” (Basically she decided NOT to be honest OR apologize.) Then, the new kid says that he thinks my pictures are done, but he can’t price them because he doesn’t have that ability. Some other kid who was off the clock but actually knows how to run photo was standing off to the side trying to explain the whole situation in his 18 year old hipster dialect. I was still pretty willing to accept this kind of poor service in exchange for the pictures until another 20 minutes ticked by. After waiting at the counter for 50 minutes, I set the items I was going to purchase on the counter and said, “Ok, this is enough. I think it’s time for me to go. I am disappointed.”
But…instead of leaving…I went to Customer Service in the front of the store and approached a Manager who was chatting with an associate. The Manager rudely told me that he had other things to take care of first – – and quickly scurried off to the cash registers…where I followed him. I was polite, quiet, and reserved. But I was going to follow him until I got to speak to someone who could do something about the extremely poor service of the One Hour Photo. Yes, I have sunk pretty low to allow myself to follow a manager like a dog until he will listen to me speak, but keep in mind that I want to have something besides just a cheeseburger to offer my husband for his birthday. Finally, the Manager addressed me with “May I ask what you would like to discuss?” (As if he might say “no” to discussing something he deemed unreasonable…) I said, “Yes you may. I have been waiting 3 hours for my 1 hour photos, one hour of which has been in the store. The pictures are for my husband’s birthday…which is tonight.” Saying that last part made me feel like a bit of a heel, especially since the evil spirits of WalMart seem to prey on people’s weaknesses and situational neediness.
He led me back to the One hour photo, and said that he would give me the photos for 50% off. I’m thinking this really is not a reasonable discount for the extremely poor service, but I go along with it. Another 20 minutes passes as 1. The first girl (pause pusher) is very slowly sorting my pictures with some wedding pictures that became mixed in, 2. The New Kid pulled my 8×10 from the trash, with slight crumples on it now, 3. The kid who is off the clock is trying to handle the plethora of photos pouring from the unpaused printer 4. I am looking through my pictures and seeing that some were printed on the wrong size paper and have white bars on the sides.
None of the pictures were printed TrueDigital, as I ordered…I let that slide. At least I had some pictures at this point. They told me that this is normal and I would have to cut my pictures with scissors at home. Then, to delay my departure more, Rude Manager doesn’t know how to make the pictures 50% off. The girl suggests keeping them at full price. Then, Rude Manager calls another manager on his phone….and I hear Manager #2 say through the phone…“Is that the same order that you called me about a half hour ago?” “Yes,” replies Rude Manager…”Make the whole order $5 under code ***.” Simple.
The Girl and Rude Manager stand there and chuckle and talk about me as I stand quietly in front of them. I am shocked and totally pissed off as they are “surprised they made them this cheap”. I finally spoke up with, “I would not have paid full One Hour price for photos that I waited 3 hours for. Thank you for finishing them. I’m sorry I had to get a manager here to get my photos, but your service is horrible and I won’t be back.” They continue to talk quietly (but not quietly enough) in front of me as the pause-pushing Girl says, “Yeah, I used to work in that Customer Service sh**…I know how it is.” Which basically means…he probably isn’t a manager. Just a supervisor with a lighter colored shirt than the other Wal Mart workers.
So, now I am hoping to stay permanently detached from WalMart. I’m looking forward to shopping at Wegmans, Genuardi’s, Target, Whole Foods, and other places that offer better quality items. It’s too bad that WalMart turned out to be such a bad seed, but luckily for me there are more fish in the sea.