I discovered a book today that blew my mind. The book is bound in a three-ring plastic binder in the Customer Service desk at my local Wal-mart. It contains the documentation of items paid for but not received by customers every day.
Over the big shopping weekend I went into Wal-Mart. Okay, like you never went in there and bought anything. Liar. Listen up, because I am not the only one to whom this has happened.
When I got home and emptied the plastic bags I discovered three items I had purchased were not in my possession. I searched my car. I looked everywhere; but they were nowhere. I called the store and let them know I had not received what I paid for.
“Sure. Happens all the time. No problem. Bring in your receipt and we will honor it.”
When I returned to my local Wal-Mart, I stood in a long line at the customer service desk. Finally I faced a clerk.
“Okay, yeah. Just let me get The Book,” said the Wal-Mart employee wearing a name badge marked Jen.
The tome came out from under the counter. Stuffed full of pages with three-hole punches, the book contained the daily reports of items left behind at the check-out registers. Each cashier itemized the consumer goods paid for– but not received — during their shift. The Book contained only the current months’ items. Each day of the month required multiple sheets of handwritten notes.
Hmmm. How many people every day pay for items they don’t take physical possession of? How much of this merchandise paid for once is bought again? And again? Only some of it is reshelved. Sometimes the next customer in line is the unwitting recipient of your purchase.
Wal-Mart management must be aware of this. It is company policy for each cashier to file a daily report. What a fantastic way to make money! Get people to pay for stuff you can sell again and again without it ever leaving the store.
Is anyone at Wal-mart interested in solving this consumer problem? Hell no. It works FOR Wal-mart. Does anyone else besides me think Wal-Mart needs to do some training in bagging? I’d like Wal-Mart employees to help me put my goods in my vehicle like the cute boys at the grocery store instead of sitting and grinning as I enter the store. If you are going to have a bagging system at the check-out counter built around the carousel model where the customer is not allowed to touch the merchandise during the transaction process, then the bagger is responsible for making sure all merchandise paid for is delivered. Duh.
So beware, dear consumer looking for those everyday low prices. Wal-Mart has an effective way to generate store revenues: reselling the merchandise you and I already bought. They shoplift back their goods by intentionally sloppy delivery of goods.
I did get reimbursed because they had sold out of the items I had bought. But I did not get an apology and was made to feel untrustworthy and stupid by management. My time and gas running 20 miles back and forth for an extra trip is worth something. Wal-Mart company policy expects most customers not to bother returning to the store to lay claim to their undelivered merchandise.
Instead of asking cashiers to report the merchandise left behind at their carousel each shift, spend ten minutes on convincing cashiers to put the bags in the customer’s cart or hands. That would be in your customer’s best interest and not such a sneaky way of making a cheap buck. What a Wal-snark thing to do.