Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Emily's Wal-Mart Gripe

I recently made a deceleration that I was never going to Wal-Mart again, and there was some interest as to why. Well, there are several reasons, and this is also a deceleration I have made in the past, but one I would love to finally keep (although I already have plans to go back, but you'll see why below).
So, it really wasn't a big deal, but this was the experience or "straw that was the camel's spinal demise" (or something). So, I looked online for the cheapest way to get my ipod shuffle going again, and Wal-Mart sells a product that was a little shuffle dock for $17 (replacement docks are $30 WHY is that?? You can buy Shuffles now for like 45 bucks. You might as well buy a new one. Rotten Apple people, sorry, didn't have a good ipod week). This product is a little speaker system that also can be plugged into the computer for syncing. I assumed it was available in store since it didn't say otherwise, so Scout and I went and picked up some groceries while we were at it. They didn't have it. They did have a product for "$19" that was a wall charger for assorted electronics including the shuffle. It can be unattached to the wall and plugged into the computer, but I asked the electronics dude if it can sync it too. He looked at it and said that since it has a USB port, that would be possible. So I bought it, and then shopped for some groceries. I went to the self check out line, which I am a pro at. The weights however, wouldn't accommodate my "green bags" (that has never been an issue before) so the lady had to fix that, but it took her forever. Then, when I got to the ipod product, it rung up as $23 dollars, so I went up to her and told her that the shelf said it was 19. I explained it very clearly, but she misunderstood me about 10 times and then when she finally understood what I was saying, blew out this huge sigh and said, "well I can check for you, but it is going to take a long time." I offered to look for myself, but she shooed that suggestion. So she called over another worker who went to check. Scout is getting impatient at this time so, it was getting fairly lame. The girl comes back and says, yeah, these are 23 dollars, she said they were all on the wrong rack. Whatever, I bought it anyway and paid for everything and then we went to the little rides to give Scout her promised car ride. The machine ate the 2 quarters I gave Scout, I put one more in and nothing. So there was a attendant standing behind this desk that looked like the cashier center, it was all official with clip boards and what not. I stood behind this old guy who bought 80 dollars worth of cat food. (I can only imagine why), and I told the girl (who had a tag that said "Manager") and before I even finished my sentence, she shook her head and told me I needed to go to customer service. So I scooped Scout up and went there. I would have just left, but the bean was promised a ride and they had several other machines, and I had no more quarters, so I waited. When it was my turn, they did refund me my 3 quarters. We rode the horsey this time and then went home.
That thing does not sync with itunes, it only charges.

Now I have to go back and exchange it. I called the manufacturer, since I have a new library, so I wasn't sure if I downloaded it right. I will suppress another gripe of mine about how all companies have moved their customer service out of the country and now when you call a company you have to talk to someone with an accent so thick you can't understand each other (not to mention this guy had no idea about what I was talking about, he didn't know the product at all that he was supposed to be "technical support" for and couldn't answer my one simple question). I normally don't have a problem with trying to communicate with someone that speaks a different language from me, I am usually very tolerant, but this situation bugs me that it just reminds me about how jobs are fleeing this country and going over seas in the name of cost. Yes, I do realize that I went looking for a product that was the cheapest I can find. So that is why I am not griping about it (too much). Yes, I am a hypocrite, and I realize it.

So besides the events of this week, I have always hated Wal-Mart and avoid it most of the time.
My reasons are two fold:
1) There is the issue of the fact that I simply always have an unpleasant time there. The times that I have been hit or run down by another shopper and their cart, have ALWAYS occurred there. No one ever apologizes. No one seems happy at Wal-Mart. Everyone is crabby and rude. It's just a bad place.

2) The second reason, (and I like to think this one is the most important reason to me) I don't like how it moves into a town and business that have been around for years, find the competition too fierce and shut down. Many simply can't compete, it's a monster. I happen to like the little shops. I like having a choice as to where to shop. If everyone only shops there, then that is going to be our only choice when we go shopping. They are popping up EVERYWHERE, like 5 blocks from another one. The one that appeared in Sandy, a few years ago, was a giant scandal. No one thought there needed to be another one around there. There were even protests surrounding it's opening. I was very close to joining in on the picketing, but didn't.
I should have, but didn't because of this reason: the demands of my pocketbook and it's convenience win sometimes and I break down and go, abandoning my principles.
They really sell plastic baggies cheaper then anyone else on the planet. And sometimes it is dinnertime and Scout is crabby and I need tortillas and I don't know -thread, and it's either two stops or one stop to the old Wal-Mart, and the pull of that one stop is enough to make me choose that hell-hole. I'm so weak!!
Rob refuses to shop there, but for my first reason, not my second. He says, and I quote "everyone that shops there wears over sized Tasmanian Devil shirts". In fact, he thinks it is a good company to work for and provides it's employees with good benefits and provides people with jobs that otherwise may not get a job elsewhere. That is fine and good, but I don't think the benefits out weigh the crap. They talk about how they "give back to the community" but I heard the statistics once and it was a pittance.
There. That is the majority of my gripe. I could go on, but I am kind of sick of thinking about Wal-Mart.


Ami said...

Welcome to the anti-Walmart crowd! I decided, almost 2 years ago, to stop shopping there - and I've been successful. Yes, it's convenient... but, like you, I've always had a bad experience there. Some of it has to do with the customers, some with the employees, some just with the 2 stores closest to us being disgusting. There are a few other reasons, too, but I won't go into all of that. Yes, it takes a bit of planning - that 2 stops thing - but in the end, I haven't spent any more by not going there, and I'm a happier shopper. :)

Lise said...

Great post Emily! I have such a love/hate (mostly hate relationship with Walmart). They are now building their 3rd store close to me (on Parley's). Also did you hear they are trying to build one in Moab of all places!? I try not to go there because I always come out grouchy.

B said...

I've started shopping at Safeway more. It's so sad to go in there because there are so few people. Wal-Mart is evil, and overrun by Tazmanian Devils in Tweety Bird shirts. Safeway is within walking distance and it's bakery and produce sections kick Wal-Marts butt. I've decided that it is morally better to spend a few dollars than to endure Wal-Mart. But we don't have very many dollars right now so I'll probably end up going back ;'(. After college, I will never shop there ever ever again.

Marcus and Haley Crook said...

It's such a dilemma trying to decide wether to go there because you need two things and they are both there. I usually have to end up going to another store anyway because they don't have it! I love it becuase while we live in Rexburg there is a great locally owned grocery store there that is closer to us and cheaper than walmart and it is so much better! It is so much happier to be there besides all the annoying single college students. But they are everywhere so there is no way to avoid it.

Sue said...

Way to go Em! I try to avoid Walmart, but sometimes I find myself going out of convenience. I've got 2 of them within about a mile and a half of me, and a Target about 4 miles away. I try to go to Target when I can, but when I need green lightbulbs for my batcave, I find myself at Walmart.

I'm with you on my biggest complaint is the other shoppers. It always seems to be at Walmart that you are behind some lady who's butt is like 5 feet across wearing Tweety Bird pajama pants that are worn out and have gross stains on them and you can actually see their underware through them, and it makes you throw up a little.

And I think Rob needs to do some research on the good job thing. Part of that Walmart documentary I mentioned on your myspace page gets into their labor practices. The majority of their workers (like 90% or higher) are only scheduled like 30 hours a week so the company doesn't have to pay them benefits because they aren't considered full time. I think only people in management get benefits.

megandjon said...

I was going to tell you the same thing as Sue. They say they have great benefits and then they go out of their way to swindle their employees out of those benefits!

i have a hard time with walmart also, and the chaos inside is infamous. no employees can actually help you. there's always 4 loud things going on at once (several announcements and music and tvs with commercials running, etc) and way less selection than other stores. hmph.

great post em!

Emily said...

I hereby declare that after I (take back, not exchange!) my charger, I shall never darken the doors of Wal-Mart again. My principles are far more important then saving a few dollars (plus-- my shopping experiences will be more pleasant).

Down with Wal-Mart!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sue said...

Good for you Em! That Smith's Marketplace is opening by your house on November 4th. We were so short on people I had to go down there a couple of the days. I put together the eye drop section, the adult incontinent section and the whole antacid/stomach stuff section. So when you're shopping there buying eyedrops, depends and mylanta, you can think of me!

I'll try to make an effort and join you on the Walmart boycott.

Amy said...

I've hated Walmart also for so many years and for so many reasons, but like you all say they win (I just returned from there an hour ago!) Although, today, in my defense, I went there for a good reason. I had to show Felix an American Walmart. He wanted to buy an ipod because they are a lot cheaper than in Germany. I do probably 80% of my grocery shopping at Smiths for the reasons B gave and more (and because my intense hatred for Walmart). Anyway, they really get people in small towns like here in Wyoming, because we have nowhere else to buy underwear and stuff like that!
Anyway, way to go Ems! I love it.

Emily said...

Wal-Mart IS a good freak show for a European I am sure. I feel bad for you guys! You need to have your Smith's replaced with a Smith's Marketplace. I love those and am really excited for the one to open by my house. Wal-Mart of course is also opening soon, a little closer, but that is not going to tempt me.

Wow Sue, sounds like you pulled the winning number for your job that day...

Ami said...

I do hate that they do what they do to small towns - as another commenter said, if you need underwear, you're stuck. I think part of my 'success' in avoiding Wal-mart has to do with there being both a Target and a K-mart (good for those simple things like underwear) as close as, if not closer than, both Wal-marts that are local.

Any more weird international hits, Emily?

Anonymous said...

Ames, will an American i-pod work in Germany? I know DVDs aren't good across the waters.

I actually like K-mart too. But I can't buy underwear anywhere here anyways. Another bad story; I went and did a slight amount of school shopping at Wal-Mart before my freshman year of high school. Probably the second time in my life I'd actually bought clothing other than underwear. I was really excited about my new clothes, because I'd never had any. We washed them once, and they became belly shirts and high waters. My mom never returns anything, so I was just out all that money, with no clothes (yes, I had to buy all my own clothes, otherwise it was just hand-me-downs from nice people). Wal-Mart = Satan.

I'm going to go do something happy now. That was a hard memory to dig up.


Emily said...

Ami - Target has cuter stuff anyways. Their buyers are just better, plus, they aren't on every block, they have a little decency in that regard. No more International hits- I think I must have been tagged on Blogger for a while. I checked my counter while this was happening and I was having 9-12 people on the site at a time, I didn't know it was temporary and really freaked out!

B - Walmart does = satan! I really never buy clothes at these places (for me. Scout, sure). I really think you get what you pay for and if you are paying for a cheap cheap shirt or pants, you get an ill fitting garment that just causes you grief. I've learned to pay a little more money and get something of quality that you will be happy with for a long time. Which, if you are a smart shopper, you can find stuff at department stores and J Crew, etc. that are on sale and get killer deals anyway.
Your story made me sad. It is a sad little picture to think of your first new clothes experience being at Wal-Mart (and that you were excited about it!) regardless of the outcome. I want to borrow Sue's time machine and go back and visit High School B, tell her I would be her sister in law in a few years and take you shopping.

I'd also tell you that you were going to become and Mormon and marry a boy that does a remarkable praying mantis impression. AND that your sisters in law were HUGE Neil Young fans, but you liked them anyways.

Sue said...

During this trip in my time machine would you also tell high school B that her future sisters-in-law were going to send her the decapitated head of a rubber ducky?

Emily said...

Ooooooh, I forgot that one, yes, yes I would. Definitely.

B said...

Aww, Em... I probably would have just died right then. That's probably why they don't have time machines. That comment was awesome. If you had showed up, I would've been like "What's a mormon? I'm getting MARRIED??!!!". And I would never believe that you were all going to be so awesome despite your Neil infatuation.
And I have also decided that it's better to spend more money and get something you LOVE. I just bought my first pair of more than $40 jeans, and I LOVE them.

Emily said...

So how is this? The day I going to take back that shuffle dock, in fact the minute before I step out the door to return it and buy a new one (that works!) Rob walks in with one. The people that live at the house he is currently painting gave it to him. Rob saw it, and asked the kid if he has had trouble with his because we have broke two and he said he doesn't even have his shuffle anymore and that Rob could have it.

Cool eh? I am considering that as good karma for writing this blog. Ah thank you!

Amy said...

I hope his ipod works in Germany. That would stink if it didn't! For the record, I did meet High School B and I thought she was adorable! I even told Matt about her. Stange eh?

Amy said...

Did anyone notice I have a picture now?!! I hope it's not too dumb. I realized I'm the one taking the pictures at my house and have very few to choose from of me.

Emily said...

I love your picture Aim! That's B wedding bouquet if I remember correctly.
I love the pics with the comments. Hint hint Sue B and Cath. Get on that.

Sue said...

Amy-love the picture! I'll put one on soon, I'm just lazy. And how did you meet high school B? I'm guessing it was before Matt met her?

Amy said...

I met her at some Young Women's activities. She went to Girls' Camp and played the violin in a talent show. I told Matt about her when he came from from his mission the first time. She had just joined the church and I just told him her story of conversion. Thought as a missionary he would enjoy it. I really didn't think about future dating/marriage prospects. A year or so later, after meeting her, he remembered hearing about her. (Maybe the unique name rang a bell).
Yes, the picture was taken the night we did the wedding bouquet and flowers for B.

B said...

Ames, you met mostly turned cute B. And that's an awesome story that Matt knew kind of who I was.

Em, is this better? Hehehe

Sue said...

Hey! Is that my Timmy doll? Kidnapper! I didn't know you played the violin.

Emily said...

That just reminded me that I haven't ever posted that blog. Shame on me. Goal this week....

And yes B, that is much better. I love it.

Emily said...

Oh, Emily. Amen. I refuse, absolutely REFUSE to shop at Wal-Mart. I went there once just after we got married and was so grossed-out by the whole store that I didn't even want to touch anything. In addition, I think they have poor products and I think they are horrible employers (I also recommend the documentary that Sue mentioned. Steam was pouring out of my ears after viewing that. Ernie wondered if it was the best idea to turn that on.); morally I just don't agree with their business practices. I will pay extra money, go to more stores and go without if that's what it takes, because I'm not going! Can you sense the level of dislike? It's high. My mom was the instigator of this little rage. She made all of us promise that we would never ever ever go there. This ban is for you, Mom ;)
On a lighter note, we had fun at Gardner Village today. :)

Emily said...

Em, I am aware of your stand on ma and pa stores and small towns and such, and I think it's cool (yay Marilyn!).
What would we do if Spoons N Spice went out of business?? Not that it's a real small business, but I do know it's not national (nor is it "big box"). Shepard's Cake and Candy Supply went out of business and that has messed my life up pretty well. Thank goodness for Orson Gygi, but I do miss Shepard's. I think the big box craft stores had more to do with Shepard's demise then Wal-Mart did, but it is a good example of what Wal-Mart does. Shepard's provided WAY more specialty items, but even with that, they couldn't compete with the competition. Now they are gone and you CANNOT get most of that stuff in Utah Valley anymore, it doesn't exist. That sucks.
The big box stores have totally and completely taken over around here (way more, it seems then in the Salt Lake Valley), I project the only stores this valley will have in 10 years is Wal-Mart and Costco. Everybody is just going to have the same stuff. Now that I think about it, Utah Valley probably likes it that way. Haha!
One more thing, I noticed that all the baby boutiques have closed down. There isn't one!! Not one. (That I can find, and I have looked hard).


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