Thursday, August 03, 2006

Line One for Infants Department

It is always amazing to me that people who have never worked in retail still assume that a high-volume, low-customer-service place like Wal-Mart really and truly as a corporation values your business and trains its employees accordingly. To wit:

There's a huge line at the Service Desk on Sunday afternoon. Of course, there's ALWAYS a huge line on Sunday afternoon.

This woman comes up and asks me if we have any cribs in the store. At first I think maybe she needs directions to Infants. Some people just won't look for anything. But no, she has been back there and there aren't any cribs on the sales floor. (a massive run on babies - anyone know what happened nine months ago?)

She wants me to "check the computer." Which I can do if you have a UPC. I tell her that. She goes "Can't you just tell it to print out if you've got any cribs in the back?"

That's my favorite phrase of all time - "In the back." If they only knew what a true disaster area that space was. For every item that's on the sales floor, there's probably 5 more stacked in holding shelves 20 feet tall that you have to access with small machinery.

But I can't type "cribs" into the computer and find out whether we've got any more.

"Well I want you to start calling other stores. I need a crib." I hate doing this, especially on a Sunday, because you know that there's no one home mentally in those stores and they're just as busy as we are. Plus, the half hour I spend on the phone is making every other customer in line get more antsy.

So I start callling. No answer when I get transferred to Infants at Store #1. No answer when I get transferred to Infants at Store #2. I try #1 again and get cut off. I sit through seven minutes of country music again at Store #2. All the time I'm trying to tell her that maybe Sunday evening isn't the best time to be calling Wal-Marts looking for cribs.

She doesn't get it. "This is a huge store. Are you telling me that they don't care about their customers?"

Ummmmm. I care about you, otherwise I'd tell you to take the phone and do some rather anatomically impossible things with it. The other people, the ones who don't pick up the phone, maybe not so much. Or maybe they don't speak English and can't understand the page. Or maybe there is only one shift per day in that store's Infants Department and that person left at 4 p.m. It could be a thousand things. Six o'clock on a Sunday isn't when you buy a crib.

She won't take "NO" for an answer. "Keep calling."

I call Store #1 back for the third time and in desperation ask for management. Someone might possibly pick up the phone.

Wonder of wonders, I get an old assistant manager that transferred from my store, who takes the time to walk back to Infants and describe the cribs at that store. The woman asks that two be put on hold for her so she can "make up her mind."

Then the manager tells me "There was an associate back here the whole time. They just never picked up the phone."

So really, if you go into a Wal-Mart and that store doesn't have what you want, please just go to the Service Desk and ask for a manager. Ask that it be ordered for you.

If it is an "hot" toy or electronic item, don't think you're going to be clever and have us call 27 Wal-Marts for you looking for one that might have it. Every other person has already done the same thing.

I once had a woman make me call 9 Wal-Marts looking for a blue iPod. Only blue. She only shut up once I told her that I'd called every one in the area code and that if she wanted me to keep going, it would be a 90-minute drive.

Then she goes "maybe I'll just order if off the Internet."


Anonymous said...

OK I am going to age myself here. Remember the old "let you fingers do the walking thru the yellow pages". Blame Ma Bell. Giggle
The nerve of some people.

Carmen said...

I managed a Hallmark store for almost 10 years. People would come in looking for a specific card (and usually when you did find it, it was not at all what they were describing), and when you could not find it, expect you to call other Hallmarks in the area (not sure if you know much about Hallmark, but we are usually not affiliated with each other) and if someone there could locate it, they expect me to GO GET IT! It's a freaking .99 cent card, and she seriously thought I was going to drive 15 minutes and go get it for her. Her ass got to my store, apparently it didn't mean enough to her for her to drive herself there & get it! It is truly amazing how helpless customers can be. I would never dream of walking into a store & without even bothering to look myself, ask them to go get it for me. Lazy.

Lindsay said...

ummmmmmmmmm, lazy ass!
Some people...... You must have the patience of a God, i would have told her to take a hike after the first call!