I'm always deeply analytical whenever I go into any other store now, particularly another Wal-Mart, especially any of the other ones in town, because most of the other ones have competent management and ours is so ghetto and poorly staffed.
One night this week I went out hunting for a wireless router for my computer. Yes, I know, don't buy electronics at Wal-Mart. I'd say I handle a minium of four Linksys or Belkin returns any given day (although most of these are customer stupidity rather than defective workmanship). But really, I do get 10% off, and whatever I buy is going to be cheaper than Best Buy or Circuit City to start with anyway. And if I need to return it ... no hassle.
Anyway. I go to the "good" Wal-Mart, the one I send people to all the way across town and that involves an interstate and a toll road. When I go in, it's like heaven. There are plenty of cashiers and the door-greeter actually looks at me. I even see a cashier straightening out the candy bars and magazines while waiting on a customer to get to her register. I wonder why they don't send some of these girls over to our store?
I go to Electronics and try to find where the computer accessories are. I find what I needed and just had to sigh. There were probably four different types of wireless routers on the shelf. Only two or three out of the 15 or so for sale are in pristine condition. It's just depressing. Most of the boxes look like they've been through a war.
And here's my main complaint. If you're a consumer and you see six boxes of anything on the shelf but four of them are opened and two are in the shrink wrap, which one are you going to choose? If it's Wal-Mart, you better get one of the ones in the shrink wrap! Then there was stuff that was stocked wrong, such as wireless cards put in the router spots. (Another reason we take a lot of stuff back)
So I had to get down on my hands and knees in the middle of the aisle and start digging around on the bottom shelf and find a box still in the shrink wrap. The two brats that I think were shoplifting got quite a view of my rear. I guess I was bringing the sexy back!
One of the only types of routers they still had that was in the shrink wrap was $119. I wasn't too happy about that, but no way was I taking my chances with any of the open boxes. Plus they were sold out of $69 router. But I'm not sure I'd take my chances with that anyway.
So a word of advice. If there's one in pristine condition, take it. If it looks used, it probably is - ask for a discount and you'll usually get 10 percent. If you absolutely have to have it, make someone check it.
And when I went to pay, I swiped my discount card but it didn't go through because the cashier's debit reader was acting up. I handed my discount card to the girl on the register but she looked at me like I was crazy. I had to tell her what to do - "Hit TRANS DISC, swipe it through the top, hit total again, then run my credit card. Now give me the paper to sign."
Some things never change.