Friday, February 02, 2007

Can I have this?

People tend to think that just because Wal-Mart is a mega-retailer, they can pick and choose the merchandise, as if they're in some merchant's bazaar in Morocco or something. Get real. This is not a swap meet. It' the Wal-Mart. They'd rather have your soul than trade a penny of profit for your convenience.

Anyway. Customers always want us to break up a set of something because they only want part of it. One woman only wanted an American flag and not the entire flagpole kit one time. She screamed at me about how "unfeeling" I was because I would not sell her just the flag at a reduced price and mark down the mounting kit for someone else.

And then there are "finders" who see something they want and either take it out of a box or pretend its an orphan and want you to put a price on it. We had one of those Saturday.

This woman comes up to the Service Desk with a square piece of red rubberish stuff in her hands. The conversation goes something like this:

HER: "I don't know what this is, but I found it in Housewares. Can I have it?"
ME: "No ma'am. I can't give away merchandise, even if doesn't have a price on it. I can help you find where it might have come from."
HER: "No, I just want this."
ME: "Ma'am, I can't give away merchandise. That would be stealing."
HER: "Well, I'm asking you if I can take it. Then it's not stealing."
ME: "Ma'am, it is not mine to give away."
HER: "Are you sure you can't just let me take it? I'm sure no one is going to buy it."
ME: "Ma'am, I understand that, but I cannot give away stuff out of the store. I can be fired for that."
HER: "But I really want it."
ME: "Ma'am, I can go to Housewares and help you find wherever or whatever that came out of, but right now, you have to let me have that."
HER: "But I really want it. I bet you're just going to throw it away."
ME: "Ma'am, I can't give it to you. I'm sorry, but I can't."
HER: "Well, OK. You said housewares?"
ME: "Yes ma'am.

Good lord. I don't know if she wanted to get me fired or if she was just incredibly naive. "If you give me permission, that makes it OK to steal." I never.


yellowdog granny said...

I's surprised she didn't try and get the money from the register...where do these people come from?..that's scary...

Anonymous said...

Here's another thing I dealt with at the Customer service desk all the time: not the 'can I have this?', but 'I'll just take it'. Whenever a customer would say that, it was a major red flag to me. One day, I had this girl come up to the desk with a flat screen tv in a cart. The first thing I noticed was the pink sticker---it looked OLD, like it had been peeled off of something else (I don't know if that's happened in your store--in my old store, it happened all the time. A customer would come in with a useless item, like an empty dvd case, get a pink sticker on it, go in the store, take the pink sticker off the dvd case, ditch the case, put the sticker on something else, and either walk out the door with it, or bring it up to the cust. serv. desk to get a refund). Anyways, this girl comes up with the tv, and it just didn't feel right. She tells me that her grandma gave it to her for her birthday, but that she decided she didn't like the way it looked on her wall, so she just wanted to return it. She also told me that her grandma lost the reciept, and wanted to know if she could just get a gift card--for a $900 tv!!!! Also, the box WAS opened--looked like it had been cut open with a box cutter (that's another thing people will do when trying to return stuff from off of the floor---open the box so it looks like they've actually taken it home and tried it out). The first red flag: the pink sticker had obviously been either picked up off the floor, or had come off of something else. The second red flag: who one earth has a grandma that will buy them a $900 tv for their birthday (I want in with that family!!)? The third red flag: what grandma do you know that not only buys her grandchild an expensive tv, but LOSES the reciept?? EVERY single elderly person I know of keeps every single reciept, for EVERYTHING. The fourth red flag: who would say a flat screen tv doesn't look good on their wall???? (I'm sure it would look good on my wall, can I have it? LOL) So, I told her that I couldn't give her a refund, but if she wanted to exchange it for other items in the store, she could (I was trying to get her to go back into the store and spend time shopping so I could get the LP to check the tapes). Of course, she didn't want to do that, and kept asking me if I could just give her a gift card. No way in hell was I going to give her a gift card for $900!!!!!! Now, here's the thing: at this time, I had removed myself from the c.s. desk (too much stress), and had gone back to being just a plain old cashier; but that night, the person working the desk called in, so guess who got stuck working it? Well, the night before that (when I was working the self checks), I saw a guy come from inside the store with a tv and head over to the c.s. desk. I called up there, and told them not to give him a refund if he was trying to return it, cuz he had NOT brought it from outside. Of course, no one listened to me, and they didn't want to take the time to check the tapes, so they gave him a $500 gift card!!!!! Well, as I was telling this girl that I couldn't give her a gift card for $900, the guy that returned the $500 tv the night before goes strolling right in front of the desk!!! They were in cahoots together, and I thought, "oh, so you got away with it last night, you're going to try it again, but let's go for something even more expensive this time??" Again, the girl asked for a gift card, and I say no, she can either exchange it for merchandise, OR, if she knew the date it was purchased, I could just look up the reciept (boy, did that make her eyes bug out---as there was no reciept to look up!). So she tells me to wait just a sec, she's going to go call her 'grandma' and see if she can find the reciept; I watch her walk away, and does she get on her phone? NOPE. She walks right up to that guy, and they talk for a bit, then she comes back. She goes "my grandma can't find the reciept, so I'm just going to take it." That to me was the fifth and final red flag. NO ONE, that has already purchased something and taken it home, says 'I'll just TAKE it', they say 'I'll just KEEP it'; KEEP---as in, it's something they've purchased, and is theirs; not TAKE--as in, that's exactly what they're doing, TAKING it. When she had first walked up to the desk, I had walked around to the tv to get the sticker off of it, and was in front of the desk the whole time I was telling her I wasn't going to refund it. Well, when she said she was just going to 'take it', I put my hand on the cart, and said, "that's fine, but you'll have to wait just a second---as a safety precaution, since you don't have a reciept for it, and it's such a high priced item, we have to check the tapes, just to verify you came in the store with it." Yes, I'll admit that was a little bold, but there was no WAY I was going to let them just walk out of the store with that tv, only to have them take it to another w-m for a refund! So she goes "ok, I have to go to the bathroom, though, so I'll be right back." I watched her ass walk away from the desk, past the restrooms, and right out the door, and they never came back.

Ashley said...

I absolutly LOVE reading your blog. Its awesome. I used to be a supervisor at an IGA (canadian grocery store). You wouldn't believe some of the stuff people would try and return. Its just unbelievable. Im glad to know Im not the only one who complains about this crap. Thanks for making me smile.

Anonymous said...

There should be a 'smartness' test before being allowed in the door. If you dont pass, you dont shop. But then youd lose 99% of your customer base. There should also be a, 'Youre too fat to fit in the aisle' test & a cleanliness test since so many Wal-Hell shoppers seem to be able to afford steaks, shrimp, beer, electronics, etc but not a bar of soap, a stick of deodorant or a brush.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

She is incredibly stupid.
Did you really have to tell her no 6 flipping times?

Colin said...

Why oh why doesn't Wally World sell customer sized catapults for launching people like this off the roof?

I love reading your blog. It somehow dulls the pain of dealing with senile morons all day at my job.

grundes said...

>I bet you're just going to throw it away

No ma'am, we like tax deductions so we'll donate this crap to Goodwill. Go look for it there!

d. chedwick bryant said...

it is scary...when I spot some orphaned something I would like to purchase, I just sigh, cuz I know it isn't ever going to happen. I curse the person who ripped open the packaging and made it an orphan.

Jayne Dough said...

I learned of your blog in the Dec. 11 '06 BusinessWeek (which I reprinted on my blog yesterday). I was curious because of the controvercy I've heard about your company. Today I read the last 8 months of entries + your Best Of list.

I don't envy you your job. However, I really appreciate your ability to spot and determination to fight attempts to scam your company. What an excellent example of a diligent employee who goes the extra mile for the good of (all and of) her company. On behalf of honest customers and stockholders alike, THANK YOU.

Frankly, I've never made a return at WalMart. The lines always look so long, and the price of everything is so cheap, that I just toss the item in a Customer Service basket so you can resell it because I'm just certain that the less-than-$10 isn't worth my time to wait in that line.

But I do return things at other stores (with receipt, and only if unused. Reading your blog has implanted this idea: "Be kind to the Customer Service Representative on behalf of the last 20 customers who weren't."

And from reading your blog I don't hear that WalMart is uniquely and inherently "more evil" than any other large corporation... I hear that too many of our population are lacking in common courtesy and empathy.

Thank you for telling your story.