Saturday, March 24, 2007

Land sakes a mercy! It's been RECALLED!

Now bear with me, I don't know exactly how this works. But I think I've got a pretty good idea. And once again, in theory, it's a good plan. In practice however ...

1. Wal-Mart is notified that they're selling the Gravy Train of Death. Or Ol'Roy's Six Feet Under Special.
2. Wal-Mart's Bentonville drones place a "sales restriction" on the item(s) in question. This is done by looking in a computer and seeing which of the products the company is selling, finding the appropriate UPC(s) and blocking those UPC(s) from being scanned at the register. Any register. Anywhere there is a Wal-Mart. Yes. The computer in Bentonville has tentacles all over the planet.
3. The Bentonville drones send an e-mail to the Dept. 8 manager and some other people, including the Service Desk (because customers can of course return their recalled items) telling them to pull the merchandise from the sales floor.
4. Oh wait. There isn't a #4.

Yes. Wal-Mart's corporate responsibility pretty much stops after a single e-mail is sent. I know. I have seen the e-mails saying "DEPT. 05 RECALL NOTICE - PULL AND HOLD XXXXX" And then there's a lot of retailese about the product and why it has been recalled and so forth. And instructions on how to contact the vendor/manufacturer and get credit for the store.

Which really, e-mail is great for an educated, white-collar workplace with Blackberries, computers, WiFi, laptops and all that jazz. This do be the Wal-Mart people. We don't have a Pets Deptartment Manager. Pets, with the fish and the sacks of dog food, is a place that NO ONE wants to be.

We have one Dept. 8 (that's Pets) associate -- a high-school dropout single mother with a 16-year-old kid struggling to pay her bills and keep her junk-bucket car running. She doesn't get the e-mails because they only go to the Department Managers. What a system!

The Assistant Manager who is responsible for overseeing Pets is also responsible for the Garden Center, Cosmetics, Health & Beauty Aids, Pharmacy, Hardware & Toys. He probably gets about 20-30 of those e-mails a day. "Dog food?" Whatever. And that's how that went.

So I'm not shocked that the stuff is on the shelves. Remember the infamous "He can cry or he can burn" post? People seem to think that just because it is on the shelf, they are entitled to it. Well, NO. Maybe it just got recalled 10 minutes ago. Which could happen. Maybe it got recalled yesterday and we're finding out about it now. Maybe Elvis appeared in a rhinestone jumpsuit and sang "Love Me Tender" while the associate was trying to get it off the shelves.

But anyway. Customers think that once an item is in the buggy, it is THEIRS. So saying, "I'm sorry, I can't sell this to you" is like saying "Hi, I kidnapped your mother, shot your father and implanted your sister with an alien baby. Paper or plastic?"

Really. People get so upset when you try to uphold the law. And selling a recalled item is against the law. You want me to sell you something that will kill dear old Bingo? Here. Have a case. And drop another case on your head while you're at it. And the first thing they say is "Well, why are there still so many of them back there on the shelf?"

What I want to say is "Really, I don't know and I don't care. You want to work here and worry about it?"

But now you do know why there are still so many of them back there on the shelf. Tell your friends.

16 comments:

ExVee said...

...your store still has fish? Anyway, I just recently escaped Pets myself, before this recall event took place. Actually, it's pretty fortunate that this happened while the D8 manager was on vacation, since he's a pretty well known dumbass. Claims, the one dude still in Pets, and one of our ICS guys ended up doing the majority of the pull, with my consultation, amusingly enough. It's fun in one way to be regarded as the experienced one. Such was the case resetting the Toys mods today for Spidey Merchandise Day, but the fun ended shortly thereafter...

Anonymous said...

Well.. as long as nobody actually sells the crap to the demanding customer, it's actually a pretty good way to handle it (corporate wise). Let it sit on the shelf. It is walmart afterall.

Definitely a quicker responce with a massive computer block than doing things on store level - even when it's pulled right away.

Amanda said...

ohh, the walmart recall system. it's true, we don't ever have any idea when/why things are recalled unless someone checks their email. regarding the spiderman 3 stuff.. we just got a new dept. manager for toys, and she didn't realize that she couldn't put out the stuff until tomorrow, so when customers tried to pick up the toys, they came up "sale not allowed", which made a whooole lot of people mad (i know exactly what you're talking about..), and we had to keep taking the spiderman stuff back to her, all day long.. hahaha.

MavenofMoxie said...

The recall has been well-reported, anyone working at WM would have to live under a rock to not know about it. Just yesterday there was a story in the news about a woman who, because WM was failing to get the food off the shelves and was continuing to sell it to people, bought $1,000 of the food just to get it off the shelves. A manager finally caught on to what she was doing, realizing the recall and the contaiminated product still on the shelves and this manager then had the nerve to ask the woman to leave! I would have cursed that fuck from one side to the other.

This is definitely WM's fault, WM's lack of responsibility...not customers who want to continue to buy the product. The recall has been prominently in the news since at least March 17, so WM should be utterly ashamed of itself over this, it's inexcuseable.

(The woman was not buying $1,000 of food to poison her own pet, the store refused or failed to remove it from the shelves, she was doing the only thing she could to get it off the shelves.)

http://www.boston.com/news/odd/articles/2007/03/22/woman_buys_over_1k_in_tainted_pet_food/

Anonymous said...

Sorry to see the lunacy of not pulling contaminated products off the shelf immediately, but that lady is at some level of crazy trying to control the world IMHO and this is MY opinion.

afurrica said...

The only flaw in the "Lady buying thousands of dollars worth of pet food" story is the Bentonville sales restriction.

If she was ABLE to buy up carts of kibble, then clearly she was buying un-recalled kibble, therefore, she's not a hero, she's just misinformed.

yellowdog granny said...

If I had your job I would own lots and lost of stock in lexapro..

I never ever ever bought wal-mart brand dog food...chicken parts..just what are chicken parts? beaks, feet, and growths..

Josh said...

Ya know, part of me likes the WM system better... at our store corporate sent every email account the same recall notice like 900 times, including emails from companies not affected by the recall saying that they weren't affected. So every time one of these showed up in the store directors box, it was like the world was going to end even though we had the product pulled the same day the recall hit the wire. Oh yea, and we(nor will WM or any other sensible store) be pulling all of our Iams and store brand stock just b/c of a recall that affects .01% of those products that we carry.

Erin Bradley said...

It *is* kind of stupid to still have a recalled item on the shelf and I think the customer is in the right to be asking "WTF?" but that doesn't give them the right to be disrespectful or rude about it.

P.S. I gave my cat some of what might have been the bad food when I ran out the other night b/c it was really late and I didn't want to go out and buy more. Fluffy's OK though. I think.

The Crutnacker said...

My local Wal Marts had pulled the pet food, but had no notice about what to do if you had actually bought the rancid crap. It seems as though at least a sign saying "this food has been recalled and could kill your pet with Chinese rat poison" would have helped.

Charles J Barry said...

What about in the case of items that are offensive? Anyone hear about the Nazi t-shirts that sat on Walmart shelves for months after they were recalled? I'm all for freedom of speech, and freedom of just about anything for that matter, but I think there is something inherently wrong with a system that allows a t-shirt with a giant SS Death's Head skull on it to stay on display for over 15 weeks.

Just my $.02

Anonymous said...

(sigh) The shirts were NOT Nazi shirts...they simply bore a resemblance to a skull image used by the Waffen SS - but it is NOT the same image. Political Correctness once again ruled the day and self-expression was again thwarted. Google searches will turn up images of both so you can see for yourself, instead of believing the sensationalist media and comments on blogs.

FARfetched said...

Yeah, I'm surprised even a high-school dropout wouldn't have heard about the recall. In her shoes, I think I would have snatched a tarp from Sporting Goods & tacked it across the shelf to cover the bad stuff until I could round up some help to de-stock it. (Some stores here on Planet Georgia do this in the beer & wine section on Sundays, since they can't sell booze on Sundays.)

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