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Wal-Mart Nation

I make midnight runs to Wal-Mart all the time. Mostly because I end up working really late and it’s a 24 hour resource for me. I go there so much and with so little care for my appearance because it’s so late, that I worry about ending up on www.peopleofwalmart.com.

If you would like to submit a picture then all you have to do is loiter around my local Wally World and I will surely drive up at some point within two or three days. You will know me because I will have paint and glaze all over whatever I’m wearing, all over my hands, and all over my hair. You will also recognize me by the oldest, rattiest clothes I own because I didn’t think I’d see you there. Oh, and of course, there’s my uber-comfy Crocs sandals.

If you submit my picture or if you come across my picture, then I beg of you to please, please, please not tell me. My very tender self-esteem could not handle the humiliation even though it would surely be all in fun.

Going to Wal-Mart after say around, oh….11pm is a challenge in customer service. There is no staffing other than for re-stocking. Making your way through the maze of boxes, palettes, hand trucks, and staff trying to re-stock for the next day is probably how the Team USA track and field atheletes are currently training for the London Olympics in 2012.

On normal nights, there is only one cashier lane open for the entire Super Wal-Mart. It’s as if they’re taunting me. As if they know how annoyed and tired I am right at that very moment. …and I need what I have in hand. I can’t leave without it. I’m absolutely trapped. So, I complain to anyone who will listen to me. I’m working on that. Seeing as how I refuse to take complaints from my employees, I should maybe, probably, could possibly make a tiny, small, minute effort to be a bit, a little better about not complaining.

Unfortunately, the following story of an event at Wal-Mart happened well before making that very strong and determined resolution in the above sentence.

I was standing in line very, very late in the evening or should I say, early in the morning. I’m certain it was around the holidays which means I’m typically working until 2:00am-3:00am loading kilns, glazing pottery and generally working for Santa and his elves for about eight weeks. I will typically stop by to pick up diapers and/or snacks for my daughter….perhaps some toilettries, etc. Items that truly can’t be done without for the next day without having to get up extra early. …and getting up extra early is not typically an option at my house.

As usual, the line was about ten people deep. Some of these people were doing their grocery shopping so while I had maybe one bag of diapers, these people had their week’s worth of food to get scanned before I could get up to the front of the line. I could see the gentleman at the front was working as hard as he could. He was as tired and as frustrated as his customers were. He was not at fault for the manager’s decision to only open one check out lane mid-December.

Meanwhile, I look over and see three young Wally World team members chatting up a storm over at the next register. What I saw next made me want to blow Wal-Mart up. Now, before anyone reports me or before that statement precludes me or my husband from ever running for office, please note that I did not literally want to go get explosives and blow up Wal-Mart. It is a figure of speech meant to indicate my incredible hostility at those young ladies. Calm down. For the love.

Anyway, what I saw next….was those three team members buying candy and checking each other out through a closed lane. Meanwhile, I’m standing behind some lady who is telling me all about where she’s going to put the new throw rug she’s got in her cart along with about 367 other items that will undoubtedly need a price check. “Price check: How much are the rubber duckie soap dispensers and the rubber duckie curtain rod rings?”.

Stop for a minute and picture me in that line looking over those young ladies and now picture me put index finger in front of me and shake it back and forth while I say “Oh, NO you didn’t!”. I was beyond livid.

I finally made it through the line and checked out with my poor check out guy. He told me they only get $1 more an hour for working nights. That they can’t find anybody to fill the shifts. I felt horrible for him and yet I was still insanely angry at what I had seen.

So when I got home, even though it was very late, I got on the Wally World website to find a place to submit a complaint. Sure enough, buried in one of there 32,898 pages was a “contact us” button. I submitted my complaint with exact details.

Would you believe that the very next day, I got a call from the manager of that store apologizing for my experience? It was shocking and very satisfying. He told me the same things the man had told me the night before. I was pleased with how he handled the situation and diffused my anger. It was a lesson in customer service. …and from Wal Mart!

So while I do have some issues with Wal Mart’s world domination, I was very impressed that they would take time out to talk to one insignificant customer.

I just pray every night that Wal-Mart doesn’t go into the pottery business or I’m in trouble.

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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The Curse: Beyond The Restaurant

Yea!!  I’m back!!  …and I have more stories to tell!  Sorry for the brief departure but the Geek Squad was holding my computer hostage.  They finally determined that since this was my fourth incident with my laptop, I qualified for the No Lemon Policy under the terms of my warranty. As such,   I’m now the proud owner of a Toshiba laptop which is very nice, thank you very much.   What does this mean for you, dear reader(s)?  It means a return to blogging.    Here we go…….

A couple of weeks ago, I had an employee who was working out her last day at my shop.   After a year of ups and downs, she decided to move back home.   She kept me on track, was smart and friendly with customers and I’m going to miss her terribly at the shop.  I felt like after a year of excellent service to my company, the least I could do was give her a going away gift.   Thus begins my confrontation with the clerk at Barnes & Noble.

I found myself at Barnes & Noble at Patton Creek on that Tuesday after an appointment I had scheduled canceled.  I had a little extra time to wander through the stacks and relax without the sound of the front door ringing with customers or the sound of my little girl arguing with me about going to the potty.  I bought a hot cup of tea from the in-house Starbucks, grabbed the first few books I saw and sat down to read for a few minutes in peace and quiet.

One of the books I picked up was a comedic book that was titled with something too inappropriate to post here but man it was funny.  It had statements like this in ti:

Today, while in class, a cute boy came up and asked me for my number. I giggled and wrote my phone number on a piece of paper and told him to call me sometime. He gave me a weird look and walked away. He was asking which number math problem I needed help with.

There was statement after statement like this and it just made me crack up for the better part of an hour.  After I was done, I started to look around for something for Rachel.  My first thought was to get her the old standby “What Color Is Your Parachute”.  You know…that’s the book that comes out each year with a few revisions and has helped millions of people get their ducks in order while looking for a job and or a career.  It was the perfect gift for Rachel as she started this new phase of her life.

I found it right away in the middle of the store.  It was surrounded by at least another dozen books on how to find jobs and careers and how to be happy in today’s economic times.  But I knew what I was looking for:  WCIYP 2009.  So I picked it up and headed to pick out a card.

Once I was finished there I approached the check out counter where a man with the personality of a box of hair was manning the register.  I handed him the Parachute book, the other book I had been reading that was so funny, and the card I had picked out.  I also specifically told him that I did not want to purchase the comedy book.  I only wanted to purchase the Parachute book and the card.   He acknowledged what I said but was also busy looking down at the 2009 version of my book.  He quickly offered that there was a 2010 version out and did I want to get that.  I declined the offer as I was now getting to a point that I needed to finish up .  I knew the 2009 version would be fine for my purpose of gifting it.

At this point, I spotted a gift box behind the counter that was perfect for the book I was purchasing and I asked him if he could hand it to me so I could see if it would fit.  It did not but I had remembered another version of the Parachute book that was more compact so I told him I would be right back.  Sure enough, there was the book I wanted and it was the 2010 version Mr. Personality had offered me not more than three minutes beforehand.

I handed it to him and said “Here it is and it’s the 2010 version.  I didn’t see it before.”   Without looking up from the register and with a tone of voice befitting of a man headed to the electric chair who is guilty and wants to sound as sarcastic as possible, he said “I know.  That’s why I told you it was over there.  Now I have to delete this line item and start over.”

I was incredulous at the words that had come out of his mouth but I kept quiet and just wanted to get out of there.  I waited for my total which he then told me was approximately $47.  Without thinking, I handed him a $100 bill but as soon as I did, I realized that my total should only have been about $30.  When I questioned him, he pointed at all the books I had brought to the counter.  Well, there was the problem.  He had charged me for  the book I had specifically asked him to not ring up.  When I pointed out the problem, he looked at me and then looked at the book and then he looked at the register and without the least bit of regret, he forcefully told me that I had told him no such thing.  Exact words, by the way.

Really?  Because we JUST had the conversation where I pointed at the book and you looked at me in the eyes and you acknowledged my sentence. Perhaps you were much too busy waiting to warn me about the brand new 2010 version of What Color Is Your Parachute.

The audicity of this man telling me this was just too much for me by now.  I said, “You know what?  I don’t want anything from you.  You’ve not been very nice today and I’m leaving.”  Now that would’ve been an awesome time to exit and I did.  I left in a real huff and in real dramatic fashion.  There was a line of about 5 or 6 people behind me who watched the whole thing.

And then I was quickly brought down to earth when I hear Mr. Personality say “That’s fine but you’ve already paid me.”  Doh!  I forgot!  I had already given him my $100.  Now I had to go back and get my money back.  ….and I did.  I went back to stand in front of the register while he called for a manager over the intercom.  At this point, instead of attempting to help the numerous customers behind me he instead folds his hands in front and literally stood there looking ahead at some fixed point.

After a few minutes, a lady browsing greeting cards approached him and asked if he could help her and he said “Not right now I can’t.”.  This phrase was uttered without the least bit of courtesy.  My anger was white hot by now.  “Is there nothing you can do to complete this transaction?” I asked.  “No. I have to wait on a manager.”   “Is there any way to help the folks behind me?” I followed up.  He replied in the negative.  I felt bad for the folks waiting.  It wasn’t their fault that I have no patience for bad service and it was their luck that the poster child for bad service was who I had ended up with.

At long last, the manager arrived.  She was a very nice lady who seemed very busy.  She asked me if there was a problem and asked her to please take care of any customers behind me first.  I then told her that “Yes, there is something wrong.  But I’m certain that if I go through this story and tell you, it will be of no consequence so why bother.  I think instead, I’ll just not spend my money here today.”  And I truly did walk out this time.

 
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Posted by on October 22, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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IHOP….away

Public service announcement: As of today, the IHOP in Pelham has an 83 health rating and they hid it behind a picture frame on their counter.

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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Out Of Service

Computer crash AGAIN…..will be back soon!

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

Eating Crow

It has been a long few weeks!  I have missed making entries and interacting with all four of my readers.  Maybe now I’ve built up some anticipation and my readership will build to six or seven.  Yea!  Now, for another story.

 

If you’ve read The Great Cheesecake Factory Incident of 2005, then you know I am no fan of that restaurant.  I suppose if you had waited 2+ hours to be seated only to not be approached by the wait staff for another twenty minutes who then wholly offends an entire ethnic group……..well, then I bet you wouldn’t be fond of it either.

 

But this past Sunday, pigs began to fly and I agreed to go eat at The Cheesecake Factory again.  It turns out that my hubby had gone to one in Philadelphia, PA a couple of months ago while on a business trip.  He had the Kobe Burger and hasn’t quit talking about it since.   There is nothing in this entire world that Rhett loves more than a hamburger or a steak.  I really think he loves red meat more than he loves me and his spectacularly gorgeous little girl.   Truly, I do.

 

We found ourselves over at the Summit because he had to go to the Apple Store.  Rhett is a recent Mac convert and the Apple Store is his new favorite place.   Of course, The Cheesecake Factory is at the Summit and given that he had the Kobe burger on the brain, he suggested as an option and I agreed to go if there was no wait.  Unfortunately for me, there was no wait.

 

It appears as if TCF has lost some of its luster.  We walked right in on a Sunday afternoon for lunch.  In all fairness, it was Labor Day weekend.  Most places had very light traffic.  Yet TCF is always, always jam packed no matter what time of day or night.   Secretly, a little part of me thought…”Aha!  People have discovered that this is an overpriced, overhyped, over-menued, standard old restaurant.”   And secretly, I was happy because in my mind, the slow business was surely caused by karma and not because it was a holiday weekend.

 

We were seated almost immediately and a pleasant young man came to serve our table.   He knew the War & Peace-like menu very well which was impressive and answered our questions nicely.  So far, so good.

 

We ordered Avocado Egg Rolls as an appetizer.  Upon reflection, I have no idea why we ordered them.  They were G to the R to the O to the double S.    Catalina’s corn dogs were brought out quickly after that which of course, is very important.  She seemed to like it and so did Rhett since he ate one of the three mini-dogs.    So far, so good.

 

Rhett didn’t order the Kobe burger, though.  He inexplicably ordered the gumbo.  Which wasn’t gumbo so much as Cajun-y soup with rice.  Not very gumbo like.  If you want gumbo, go to Pappadeaux.   It’s so authentic, you’ll probably find some eye of newt in theirs.   Nevertheless, he liked it and gobbled it up.  So far, so good.

 

I ordered the Shepherd’s Pie.  There again…why?  Who knows.  It was overly salted but the potatoes on top were yummy.  I was able to take half of it home for lunch the next day.  That’s a bonus.   So far, so good. 

 

We really were stuffed at this point and Catalina was becoming restless so we waited on our check which was a hair slow but heck, he was busy.   We’ll give him a pass because he was so nice.   We paid and thought we were in the clear.  Did we really have a good restaurant experience?  Quick seating.  Pleasant server.  Palatable food.  Yes!!!  The curse is broken!!

 

At least until we were about to get up from the table and Catalina slipped and fell underneath the booth and BAM! smashed her face on the floor and the leg of the table.  She let out a scream and began to cry uncontrollably, poor thing.   

 

I suppose we’ll try TCF again and try for a 100% drama free experience.  Knowing us, though….that will never, ever happen.

 

Up next….it’s September and that can only mean one thing:  ENDLESS SHRIMP!!

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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Still waiting….

Sorry for the break in entries but I can’t bring myself to write 1000 words in my iPhone in order to stay current. Instead, I’ll wait patiently for my laptop that is away at Best Buy for the THIRD time I’m 18 months. Each time, it’s gone for two to four weeks. If it goes in again before April, it will be considered a lemon. …but then, I wouldn’t expect anything else. Perhaps the Barnett Curse extends to more than restaurants.

In any case, I shall return to full blogging glory soon. Just think of the stories I’m accumulating in the meantime.

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

We interrupt this blog…

for a few days due to a computer crash. I’ll be back in business soon….in the meantime, it’s a good time to catch up if you got yourself behind….enjoy and let me know you’re reading…

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2009 in Uncategorized

 
 
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