Sunday, August 21, 2011

Walmart Woes


As I sit here on hold waiting patiently for a Walmart associate on their customer service number to pick up, I am quickly coming to the conclusion my initial thoughts about Walmart were correct.

I never shop at Walmart, partially because the closest store is more than 10 miles away. Also because of all the negative things about Walmart’s treatment of its employees I read in Tom Friedman’s book “The World is Flat.”

Unfortunately my recent search for inexpensive white sheets for the tie-dyed basement ceiling project led me to Walmart, where it appeared I could buy a king size white (flat) sheet for $15.97, a really great price. My initial attempt to order these sheets online proved futile because they are only sold in Walmart stores.

The Walmart website gave me a listing of the dozen or so local stores with indications of “In stock”, “Limited stock”, and “Out of stock” associated with each one for the item I needed. I attempted to call a couple of them and experienced being put on hold indefinitely, foreign sales people who didn’t even understand what I was looking for, and no result that at all matched the “In stock” label.

In frustration I fired off a message to Walmart.com asking for help in the form of where exactly I might find 9 such sheets without having to drive hundreds of miles. Instead of an answer to what should have been a simple question, I continued to get formulaic responses, culminating in a customer satisfaction survey in which I gave them the lowest possible rating on every category. That obviously didn’t wake anyone up at the corporate office.

Not having found the sheets anywhere else and not quite willing to give up on the cheap sheets at Walmart, today I Googled to find a customer service number so I might attempt to talk to a human being. After being put on hold for about 25 minutes, I finally reached Renee who fortunately spoke English well and who works for Walmart customer service, but unfortunately couldn’t tell me anything more than I already could see online about Walmart.com. She took down my information and assured me someone would get back to me within 2 business days.

I’m not holding my breath in expectation.

Do you have any Walmart stories to tell?

7 Comments:

Blogger Gary said...

I feel your frustration. Hope it works out in the end.

5:14 PM  
Blogger Cyndy said...

Walmart annoys me. It always has, and I don't really know why. Unfortunately I've ended up going to Walmarts all over the USA because the singers and dancers from NYC think that Walmart is "amazing."

I recently bought a couple of twin flat sheets at Ikea for our new aerobed. They were three bucks each, no joke! They might not be 100% cotton though.

7:04 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Gary -- Yeah, I do too. But I think I may have to come up with an alternate plan.

Cyndy -- I looked at the Ikea website and didn't see anything for $3 or in a king size at any price. I will have to keep looking.

I can't figure out why anyone would think Walmart is "amazing"!

10:00 PM  
Blogger Steve Reed said...

My perspective on Wal-Mart is that it's worth it to patronize other companies that (hopefully) treat employees better -- even if it's slightly more expensive. I haven't gone to Wal-Mart in about 20 years.

It might actually save your sanity, Barbara, to just get in the car and drive to your nearest Target!

4:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When is a bargain not a bargain. Now that you have invested all this time (even at minimum wage) and psychic energy ... is buying from WalMart really all that less expensive.

One can understand the geopolitical reasons to avoid the mega- box stores and/or one can do the math and come to same conclusion in personal terms. You get what you pay for - you wanted a real bargain, that comes without customer service. Saving the $3-5 by shopping there just isn't worth the price.

12:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, Barbara! I'm back in town and back online...

Sadly, your Walmart tale of woe is not much different from any number of similar stories -- with AT&T, etc.

I'm with Steve. I've only been to a Walmart once -- over 15 years ago -- and don't patronize the chain for reasons stated and also because of their upfront (and somewhat successful) plan to kill small businesses, especially in rural and economically struggling urban areas.

Hope it all works out!

F.

2:28 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Anon -- You tell me where else you can find a king size sheet for $15.97? Or even $20.97? Only at a store like this is it possible. But not all discount stores are Walmart fortunately.

Anon F -- Welcome home! I have missed you. I'm done with Walmart, probably forever.

Late news -- Interesting. A woman speaking perfectly good English called to offer me 42 king size white sheets at the Fairfax store, the same one that told me they had none 3 days ago. Had she read my customer survey response? Had she read this Blog post? Had the customer service person actually initiated that call? I don't know and I don't care.

I was happy to tell her I had found what I wanted online at Target.

8:36 PM  

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