In honor of the release of the documentary WAL-MART: The High Cost of Low Price, I thought I’d tell you why I don’t shop there. I mean, NOW it’s because of all those socio-political reasons, such as them driving out small business and exploiting workers, but the ORIGINAL reason was much more prosaic.
In 1994, I was separating from a significant relationship. I needed stuff, lots of that basic household stuff- kitchen utensils, bathroom items, a few household goods. So I went to the only Wal-Mart then in the area, in something called the Crossgates Common (or Commons). I must have spent over $90. It was only after I got home on the bus that I realized that I was missing a bag of material. I immediately called the store and they confirmed that, yes, I had left a bag at the register. It was five minutes before closing, so I told the person that I’d be back the next day at a specific time. I was told the package would be in the manager’s office.
The next day, I went to said Wal-Mart, and went to the office, only to be told to wait a few minutes, which turned out to be a half hour. Then I was told that the manager would be there shortly. That turned out to be another 30 minutes. Finally, I was told that they couldn’t find the bag, and that I could just pick up the stuff again. How I wish they had said that in the first place. So I wandered through the vast store again and found most of what I had gotten before or something comparable, but it took me nearly as long as the original trip. This so annoyed me that I vowed never to go again.
Subsequently, I learned more about how Wal-Mart has interfered with their employees’ lives and whatnot. But my original complaint is that they over-promised and under-delivered. In other words, bad customer service.
Now, the only time I ever step foot in a Wal-Mart is with some relative of mine (mother, sister, in-law). One of my sisters can tell you the the best Wal-Marts within 100 miles of the NC/SC border. But I won't spend a dime. No, that’s not true. We got a $25 gift certificate from Wal-Mart as a present for Lydia, and the items ended up costing $25.72. So, in the past ten years, I’ve spent nearly a dollar at Wal-Mart, over seven cents per year.