Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Shoes for the funeral

Every now and again we get someone who thinks that the fee for the MoneyGram service is "negotiable." I guess that some people go through life thinking that everything in life is able to be negotiated for a fee. Charm is currency. So are sob stories. Wal-Mart do not care. Wal-Mart will eat your baby for breakfast on toast, OK? Asking me "to help you out" is not going to cut it. Case in point:

This woman came in around 10 a.m. Saturday morning and wanted to send money to Nebraska. She needed us to look up MoneyGram locations near where her son was. OK. Normal so far.

Once I spent twenty minutes looking up MoneyGram locations in the Four Corners area for a woman trying to send money to a friend of hers on a Indian reservation and she tried to find the closest so the woman wouldn't have a 100-mile drive.

Anyway. Then I get the paper and the woman wants to send $20. I tell her that it will cost $11.46 to send the money. I tell her that she can send up to $200 for the same amount, in case she either made a mistake writing it down or thought that the fee was based on the amount.

"Oh, no. My son has got to buy some shoes for a funeral. Can't you help me out on the fee? He's only 18 and his best friend died in a car crash and they've got to go to Wal-Mart and get some shoes before the funeral starts. They're a couple hours behind us, you see."

Umm, that's just way too much information. And I really can't "help you out" on the fee,

And she may have been telling the truth. She did wind up sending the money and paying $11.46 to send $20 to Nebraska. But there's just something about that story that doesn't ring true. I can't figure out exactly what it is, but something still bugs me.

Maybe I'm just cold-hearted. But dealing with humanity every Saturday and every Sunday just makes me distrust every word that comes out of their mouths, especially when it is "can you just help me out?"


paulo said...

That's like every junkie on the street who gives you a sob story about their car breaking down, being in a coma, and their diabetic mother, so won't you please "help me out?"

Also, sociopaths will tell you something sad about themselves within minutes of meeting you. Making people feel sorry for you is a pretty effective way of getting stuff you don't deserve.

Anonymous said...

Do you really believe he could get a pair of dress shoes for 20 bucks even at Walmart? NOT!!!! Now, if he were in such dire poor straits, surely there was a salvation army or goodwill store near by. Especially near an Indian reservation. Guess she thought she could butter you up by mentioning that they would "buy shoes at Walmart". Lord Lord do they think we are as dumb as they are??

Marie said...

I used to work at a homeless shelter, and ultimately I quit because of what you're talking about: I just didn't care anymore. It sucks that there are truly people out there who need the helping hand and are legitamately telling the truth. It's just that they get lost in the shuffle of the jerks that are twisting your arm to sucker every last bit of generousity from you.

Quit while you're ahead. Just drop the Walmart gig and walk the hell away.

FARfetched said...

I think Anon#1 figured out what didn't ring true: $20 isn't going to get you a decent pair of (new) shoes.

But there's the germ of an idea for Walmart to make a few more bucks (as if they need it): make it easy to buy a gift card that can be picked up at another store. They could charge a small fee, say 10% of the amount on the card, to "cover expenses." The money stays in the Beast, people don't end up paying exorbitant fees to send relatives a quick $20 or whatever... and the regular wire transfers are still there for people who need the money & can't/won't spend it at Walmart.