Honey Costs Money: How Employees Are Sabotaging Wal-Mart
"Time to post something at Persona Paper so I can stay in touch with Coral Levang, Loud Man, Miss Fortune, et al. I know I've uploaded something that would fit on Persona Paper, but what? Where?" I need not have worried. As at other writing sites, I may write things with a specific site in mind, at home, but after reading e-friends' work I usually end up posting something new suggested by something someone else posted.
I'm writing from a location within long-walking distance from a Wal-Mart. The mostly retired residents of the neighborhood complain that the walk is too long for them, so currently a new Wal-Mart is being built just across the hill. My 80-year-old mother should be able to walk to Wal-Mart this winter. Whether she'll want to shop there, or we'll want to "let" her shop there, is another question.
I wrote something earlier this summer based on something a real-life correspondent wrote about our local Wal-Mart. Sometimes it's still a nice place, the way it was during Sam Walton's time, and then there are the employees who seem to have come straight out of that "We Hate Everybody Starting With Ourselves" chain store that Sam Walton wrote off with such oblique faint praise in Made in America ...the one that made Wal-Mart look so good.
It seems Ms. Shopper was taking advantage of a promotion on some overstocked food that was fast approaching its sell-by date. She handed a couple of packages to a rude, pushy cashier with a name that sounds like "Twisty," then watched the cash register, as all shoppers at our Wal-Mart quickly learn to do to avoid paying for a different, more expensive set of purchases than the set they actually take home. "Twisty" got busy flapping and wriggling, trying to shove her face into Ms. Shopper's face and call attention to herself, and of course deliberately annoying Ms. Shopper by calling her "honey."
"That's not the price on the shelf," Ms. Shopper pointed out.
"What shelf? That's not the item that should be on that shelf," Twisty said in a rude, argumentative manner.
"Why, so it isn't. It's a larger package. I'm sorry. Just put that back," said Ms. Shopper, while Twisty clutched the larger package. Ms. Shopper went back to the shelf and got the item she had intended to purchase. Twisty rang up the items correctly, but continued chattering, now in an overtly hostile manner since she's been trained to try to force conversation even with people who obviously don't want to converse with her.
Ms. Shopper paid for the items she had intended to purchase. To her surprise, when she got home she found her shopping bags containing the larger package, for which she had not paid. Twisty not only failed to cheat Ms. Shopper, but cheated Wal-Mart.
About that time, I had gone into Wal-Mart with the intention of purchasing several items. Most of them weren't in stock. I ran into another chatter-cheat brat with a name that sounds like "Trashy." I saw the same kind of weird gyrations and contortions as "Trashy" refused to acknowledge that I wasn't going to converse with her. It didn't take her long to escalate to overt rudeness either. Apparently these teenagers have been told that they're supposed to draw the customer into conversation, and even a verbal brawl is "better" than just focussing on their work, ringing up purchases accurately, and keeping their mouths shut until it's time to say "Thank you" as they take the customer's money.
Again, agitation put Trashy off her game. Her voice became shrill; her face became red, because I just continued to watch the cash register and ignore her antics. She read off the total price before the last item and tax had scanned, possibly for the express purpose of being able to say I'd counted out the wrong amount of money. I just looked at the register and tried to keep a straight face...while Trashy was trying so hard to bully an older person into playing her game, she'd actually cheated the store out of a few dollars.
So home I went, with my blood pressure raised a bit by this hostile interaction, but with the satisfaction of knowing that, if I hadn't made chatter-cheat shut up , at least I was not the one chatter-cheat had cheated...and she'd made enough of a scene to attract unfavorable attention to herself, too!
Of course a proper Southern Lady, to whom store employees speak only when they're spoken to (or handed money) and whom they address as "Ma'am," would have notified the cashier that she'd made a few mistakes. I've done that, in stores where I've been waited on civilly. I'd even do it in Wal-Mart if, the next time I were in that store, I'd been waited on civilly.
And maybe, as with some other stores that employ obnoxious cashiers, if the store manager makes a formal, public apology, and the store publicly corrects its policy to include things like "If the scan price doesn't match the shelf price, the item is free" and "If the cashier doesn't say 'Thank you' before touching your money, the entire purchase is billed to the cashier," I'll go back there and pay the...four dollars and...oh, why not call it five, just as long as nobody else has to contend with hateful employees like Trashy.