The Shitty Service Discount (A Walmart Critique) and No Way to Spend a Weekend

I admit I’ve never been a Walmart fan.  While I am cheap and I like saving money, I don’t like standing in line for hours (or trying to find a cashier when all the checkout lanes are closed) and I don’t like surly help.  I see their side of the issue- either you want it cheap or you want it with a smile, but you can’t have both.

I don’t blame the Team Members at Walmart.  Minimum wage with no benefits really sucks and is only one step up from being homeless and living under the bridge.  That I do understand, and it bites.  My only counter to that predicament would be that one will never get out of the minimum wage, part-time no benefits hole unless you do what’s completely counterintuitive.  Smile and be the best freaking Walmart stockboy you can be.  Or at least, learn English.

In a way it was a bit fortuitous that on my last visit to Walmart- the 6AM Quest for Pennzoil- my receipt included a survey/ sweepstakes entry.  I don’t think I will win their $1000 gift card, especially if they toss out all of the unfavorable surveys.  However, I don’t see that Walmart location ever getting a favorable survey.   I simply told the truth.  The place wasn’t clean.  The Team Members I encountered were downright surly. I don’t care if it’s 6AM, if you’re a 24 hour joint you at least have to have one or two people at the register, preferably somewhat motivated English speaking people.  The only ones who would remotely consider rating it favorably likely can’t understand enough English to complete the survey.  Maybe they would have liked it better if I had scribbled it out in crayon on a page from a Hello Kitty coloring book instead of submitting it online.  I know I would never give me the option to fill in the blank and comment on a survey.  That’s just asking for me to give it to you with both barrels.  Case in point- here is my commentary I gave on the Walmart survey when asked, “How may we serve you better?”

I have to say my visit to Walmart was highly disappointing.  I made the mistake of thinking I could avoid the rush by shopping at 6AM since you are a 24 hour establishment.  I understand that 6AM is not the busiest time of the day, but it might help if some of your team members on duty actually spoke the English language- that is, the ones that I can find who aren’t actively ignoring me.  It would be nice if I could buy a jug of Pennzoil in less than 45 minutes, 40 of which were spent trying to find a cashier available and willing to check me out so I could finally pay you and leave. 

On a brighter note, while Martha Stewart might not have approved of the general squalor in your establishment, I am glad that I didn’t discover any feces or corpses on the floor, which was a plus. Then again, I didn’t look very hard for those either.  Perhaps the dead bodies and dookie are back in the grocery section or something.

 Given my usual irreverence, I thought, for my own amusement, that I’d conduct a little non-scientific Walmart survey of my own.

 

Usually when I get surveys of any sort I try to be honest and I try to be complimentary if the compliments are due.  I remember all too well how seriously Toyota takes their dealer surveys.  If a Toyota dealer gets even a neutral survey, the district rep will be in the dealership and on the “offending” department like white on rice wondering what you did to make so-and-so’s experience anything less than “completely satisfying.”  If Walmart takes their surveys as seriously as Toyota does, (which I have to doubt,) someone there is in serious shit, and in my humble opinion the whole damned place should be.  It’s one thing to offer discounts on virtually everything, (I understand there’s a big difference between Nordstrom’s and Walmart,) but there’s no excuse for a complete lack of customer service to the point of not having one available cashier during business hours.

Now I should be reprimanding myself for being so derisive.  I have to admit not all Walmarts are this dismal, and I should know better than to think anyone has anything but illiterate and comatose help at 6AM.  I am grateful that my weekend didn’t end as badly as it started. 

I have spent more time than most people in hospitals and Dr.s offices.  While I don’t enjoy it , I do have a certain comfort level in medical facilities that most people don’t have.  I understand a good bit of the terminology.  I know a good bit about common procedures- how they’re done and why.  I have to remember that poor Steve-o is not nearly as acclimated to such things and he freaks easily.  So when they had to take the baby to Children’s last Wednesday he was climbing the walls.

I have to admit that it was most unsettling to me Wednesday night to hear that my month-old granddaughter was barely responding, was dehydrated, had a high fever and had just been transferred to Children’s.  What Steve-o in his distress didn’t understand was that her mother and other grandmother took exactly the correct steps and got her immediate treatment.  If not for their quick thinking and fast action I shudder to think of the consequences.  Because she got treatment immediately – the cultures revealed that somehow she had gotten salmonella poisoning- she will recover completely and be quite fine.  Even so she was in the hospital from Wednesday night until Saturday afternoon.  Very few things are more distressing than such a tiny little one having to undergo IVs, blood draws, and worst of all, a spinal tap.  I never went through anything this serious with Steve-o.  He had a bad ear infection when he was 6 months old, chicken pox when he was a year old, and strep throat when he was 7, and that was about the worst of his infectious diseases.

Apparently salmonella is fairly common in the general environment and most adults have some immunity to it, but infants and small children don’t.  Even a very tiny bit of contamination would have been enough.  They threw out all her bottles and nipples and whatever formula and bought all new.  I hope that was sufficient to keep this from coming back.  I don’t like doing the hospital thing with adults,but there are few things more pathetic than a nine pound newborn strapped to an IV.   The good thing is she won’t remember a thing.  The bad thing is that I will.  I’m one of those people who does what needs to be done and for good or ill deals with the attending emotions later.  I stayed with her through the blood draw and helped keep her still and distracted enough to let the nurses do their job.  I never knew that the only way to find a newborn’s veins is with a bright red light shined under the arm.  Weird.

Yesterday I pretty much came home from church and the grocery and slept the rest of the day.  I hope next weekend that everyone is well -and that I can stay out of Walmart.

The Cold Comforts of Cougardom, and a Kingdom for a Jug of Pennzoil

I love being “middle-aged,”  or as I put it, in my cougardom.  There.  I said it.  Why am I so excited about life, knowing that at least half of it is over? In a lot of things I am one of those people who see the glass as being half-empty, but as far as the rest of my life goes, the glass is half-full.  I’m not getting my ass kicked on a daily basis, I’m not driving a shitty car,  and nobody calls me to locate my sisters.  I can look at hot younger men with impunity, and without fear of having some uncouth redneck wench spit Skoal in my hair.  Cougar life is good.

The number one advantage of being in the cougar set is that no one really cares what you wear as long as you cover the important stuff.  I don’t have a problem with coverage, because we have laws in this country against cruel and unusual punishment (yes, I have actually read the Constitution, unlike some of those currently holding elected offices.)   It would be cruel and unusual punishment to make anyone observe me in: a bikini, a mini-skirt, the nude, or in any other state of not-so-decent dress.  So I make sure all the important (i.e. stuff nobody wants to see) stuff is well-covered.  I can accept my frumpiness and run with it, with the delicious knowledge that many of the “beautiful people” I went to school with are twice my weight, with tanning-bed leathery skin.  I don’t look good and never did, but I look better than some people who used to look good.  Why that appeals to my sorry sense of vanity I will never know, but it does.  Shame on me.  My mother would drag me to Confession- were I still Catholic- for such an egregious sin.

There were a few girls I went to school with who managed to remain “beautiful people,” such as the Hall Twins, who are painfully identical (with identical bleach-blonde hair and usually identical clothes too) and have not changed one bit in appearance since 1984.  I have to wonder if they are either wax models or if they have been freeze dried or something.   There were a few really fugly people who managed to either lose weight or get their teeth fixed or have plastic surgery who are now “beautiful people,” but most of us are at right about the same level of “definitely not beautiful, but not exactly fugly.”  Entropy eventually wins out.  Gravity does too, which I am reminded of every time I take off my bra.

Now I know why Grandma preferred the long-line bras.  Unfortunately, I am unable to breathe while wearing one of these.

The other advantage of cougardom is one I noted many years ago whilst observing my grandmother and great-grandmother.  Not only did they wear bright colors and bold patterns, they also spoke their minds- loudly, consistently, and with no regard for political correctness.  I loved taking them shopping if only to see just how mortified Mom was at their commentary.  I learned that descriptives such as, “whore,” “floozy,” and “lard ass” must have been around a long time- and that according to both my grandmother and great-grandmother, such individuals can be found everywhere. 

It’s shocking when a twenty something is caught drooling over some fine young stud, but it’s somehow charming- or at least funny- when some old bitty does the very same thing.  I’m not dead and I’m not blind- so I’m going to look.  I may not comment like they did (and both of them seemed to enjoy the 80’s trend in tight jeans for men, which I wish would come back in style) but I’m still looking.

Some things in life are constant, such as my disdain for the local Walmart. It’s not so much a dislike of the store itself but of its Team Members, who are anything but a team.  Any place that calls its employees team members, associates, etc. rather than employees, is almost always a shitty place to work.  It seems to me that when an organization has to come up with fancy titles for its employees that they are trying to make them feel good about working a shitty job in an abysmal place.  Any place that makes its employees wear name tags is also almost always a really shitty place to work.  Walmart- at least the one I’m talking about down the road- is either a really shitty place to work, and/or they just can’t seem to come up with the hazard pay that sentient humans would require to work amongst the unwashed, illiterate and uncivilized masses that frequent this place.   The Team Members I’ve encountered in this particular Walmart are surly, largely unable to speak or understand the English language, and seem to resent my very presence.  

I did, however, need to find myself a jug of Pennzoil so I can get my oil changed.  Yes, I know brand loyalty is largely folly, but there are two brands I don’t waver on- Toyota is one, and Pennzoil is the other.  I’ve used Pennzoil in all of my vehicles, and have never in over a million miles driven in them have I had engine failure of any kind in any of them.   So I continue to use it, whether it really makes a difference or not. I think in the grand scheme of things changing the oil regularly matters more than what kind you use, but I’m not taking any chances.

Target isn’t open at 6AM, and I didn’t want to have to go into any store after work, so I figured I’d venture in to the Walmart before the crackheads and serial killers wake up.  I forgot that the employees Team Members at Walmart are every bit as deranged as their usual clientele. 

All I can say is, if you’re going to have the doors open 24/7, you’d better have at least one farking register open, even if it is 6AM.  When someone finally did locate a cashier (once I located someone who could understand rudimentary English,) I had been wandering around the Walmart for 20 minutes.  The cashier seemed to be quite pissed off about having to get off her ass and deal with me, but I smiled and kept my commentary to myself.  The only mitigating factor in this transaction is I paid $15.99 for a five quart jug of Pennzoil 5W30 that I normally pay $22.99 for, so I guess I get the shitty service discount.

The pisser is it costs me more to buy 4 quarts in quart bottles than it does to buy 5 quarts in the 5 quart jug.  I only need 4 quarts.  It’s a freaking Yaris, OK?

Laugh if you must, but 40MPG on the highway (NOT a hybrid) is nothing to scoff at!