We went grocery shopping at WalMart today. We go weekly. Now, ever since I started this real food/ slow food thing, I notice what's on the shelves. So, imagine my joy when I saw this product on the tomato aisle, for the FIRST TIME today!
Now, I've had these tomatoes before; I bought them at a junky store nearby with dinged and dented stuff. Love the organic. Love the fire-roasted. And lookie!! A coupon! For $1.00 off! So, I snatched up 2 cans, so I could use that coupon (handily, right on the back), and made my way to the check-out.
That's where my joy ran out.
I pulled the coupon off, and glanced at it as I stood in line.
It expired in May. Hmmph.
They put the product on the shelf for the first time in August, with a flashy coupon to lure you in, that expired 3 months ago. Hmmph and Grrr.
The lady at the check-out, seeing my grumpiness, offered to go ask her supervisor. She returned with the supervisor, who frowned at me, said, "Sorry," but "I just can't give you that $1 b/c the coupon is expired."
Yeah. I knew that.
"But, you put the product on the shelf with the coupon on it," I said. "If you didn't want me to use the coupon, you shouldn't have put it on the shelf." I think at this point I was inadvertently using my teacher voice (calm, authoritative, articulate). She said, "Just a minute," and went to appeal to the THIRD LEVEL OF USELESS BUREAUCRACY that is your local WalMart. While this uber-efficient, massive national institution flexed its laughable efficiency muscles at us, two customers waited behind me in the line. I apologized to them. I was glad to have husbandly support.
The supervisor's supervisor came then, and instructed the lowly check-out lady to give me the $1 they'd already advertised to me on their shelves. The check-out lady, smart one that she is, asked the other one to initial the coupon herself. Can you say Nervous Employee?
Then we all apologized to each other, and I took my tomatoes and left.
Adam's evaluation on the scene reminded him of a chef/restaurant owner he worked for once who practiced "exchanging nickels for dollars." All this meant was that he regularly gave his customers little things that were meaningful to them, but cost him little, and made him a Restaurant Hero in their eyes. And they returned, over and over.
The reason we all hate WalMart is because they are stupid enough to think that beating one customer over the head with such bad treatment is worth it to them. In the long run, it won't be. Adam reminded me just yesterday that when we moved to Jackson, MS as children, there was no WalMart. When I left for college, there was no WalMart. Even when I was 30, there was no SuperWalMart. WalMart used to be trendy; now we all know it's the icky place to shop, and you only go there b/c you save money. Nobody goes there because it's fun. Bad customer service is one of the first nails in its coffin.
WalMart should empower their checkers to give a $1 coupon that is on THEIR product, on THEIR shelves. It shouldn't take 2 supervisors. And I should never, ever have a supervisor tell me that a coupon that appeared on their shelves this past week, will not be honored. Ever.
Oh, and one more thing. I just shared this blog post with my friends on Facebook. All 442 of them.