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I suppose I should have been grateful it was even open at 7:30 pm, but as it was 7:30 pm I was really anxious to get through my grocery list and get home ASAP. (Preferably in time to watch Castle.) In fact, I was debating whether to stop off at Walmart on my way home from my parents’ house Monday night or go Tuesday after work. My aunt/uncle/parents were coming up for dinner on Wednesday, and we wanted to make the soup on Tuesday night to give it time to meld and to give us more time with them instead of spending part of their visit cooking. As Walmart was on my way home and stopping then would give more time for cooking and cleaning on Tuesday, Monday won out. I was zipping through my list until I got to the last two items – Sundried Tomato Turkey Breast and Cajun Roast Beef. One pound each. Thin sliced.

There were three people in the deli area. One was packaging roasted chickens and two were chatting. When they noticed me at the counter one of the chatting ladies came over to ask if I needed help. The other chatting lady started packaging roasted chickens. I pointed out the meats I wanted, but she had trouble finding them. I guess the packages they slice aren’t behind the examples in the case. So she got some help from one of the other ladies. She also had to ask for help again to find out which slicer to use. Finally she got the turkey ready (although not in the amount I asked for) and stuffed it in a plastic bag. After ten or eleven attempts to zip it shut, she gave up, commented on how hard they were to seal, and then stuck the price label across the top of the bag rendering it somewhat shut. It still left the bag open on either side of the label where things could fall out. Or in. All the while, a gentleman was standing over at the bakery counter holding a cake and talking on his cell phone. She left me to ask him if he needed anything. There wasn’t anyone working the bakery and despite my lady asking her coworkers, still packaging chickens, if they could write Happy Birthday on a cake, if xxx could write Happy Birthday, if xxx could write Happy Birthday, etc. until she ran out of names, my lady couldn’t come up with anyone who could write on his cake. He said not to worry about it. She deferred and said she would get a manager. Then she asked her coworkers, still packaging chickens, how you call a manager. The coworkers didn’t seem to care about her questions or the fact that I was still standing at the counter wondering why one of THEM didn’t wait on the gentleman or at least take over helping me. The roasted chickens could wait – they are already dead, you help the living customers first. In the meantime, I managed to zip up the turkey package. On my first try, even. My lady then disappeared into a back room for a while and finally came out to tell the gentleman that someone was coming to help him. Finally she returned to me and began trying to cut open a package of roast beef. That took a while. It involved buckets and trays and knives and some other things I didn’t recognize. That’s when I noticed how dirty the meat scale was. Well, not dirty exactly – but there were bits of other meats all over it, indicating it hadn’t been wiped down lately. Then the phone rang. My lady stopped wrestling with the roast beef package and went to answer it. The other two ladies continued packaging chicken. Oh, and occasionally they would throw older chickens in the trash. I couldn’t figure out their system. After about five minutes my lady finished with the phone call, repeated to the gentleman that someone was coming for him, and then disappeared into the back room again. Eventually she returned to the roast beef. I wondered about her gloves and whether or not she changed them after hanging up the phone. I choose to ignore my thoughts since at least we were back on track and my roast beef was being sliced and shoved into a plastic bag. (Once again, not the amount I asked for. Close, but not quite. I was expecting her to ask “Is this okay?” like they normally do at meat counters when they are a couple ounces over or under. I don’t know why I expected that as by this time I was convinced she didn’t actually work the deli. In my mind she was Olga, an illegal immigrant fleeing the Russian Mafia who happened to be passing through the deli and stopped when she saw me. Still, I’m sure she’s gotten meat at a deli before and at least heard the question at some point. Or possibly “Это о'кей?” if Babelfish is to be trusted.) This time she only made two attempts to seal it before just handing me the bag, unfolded and untaped, while wishing me a good night. I zipped it shut and made my way over to the checkout counters. My cashier was upset about the turkey label being folded in half. It meant it was impossible to scan. Together we carefully peeled the label back to prevent it from ripping; I held it out for her so she could use her handheld laser on the barcode. I felt partially responsible since I moved the label when I zipped the bag then returned it to its folded position, so I vaguely defended the placement saying perhaps they don’t realize the impact of label placement since they don’t do checkout. She disagreed and said it was just laziness on their part. I don’t know about laziness, because in truth they never stopped working for a minute. They just weren’t working for me.

And I missed Castle.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 28th, 2009 08:52 pm (UTC)
Sounds like there was a new employee working behind the deli counter, and the other employees totally dropped the ball when it came to training/helping her.
I would have been upset too!!
Oct. 28th, 2009 10:47 pm (UTC)
Good grief. It sounds like my general experience of WalMarts, and so I haven't been in one in years.

Groceries shouldn't be sold in the same room as drygoods: Once I found a (wrapped) whole raw chicken in a bra display. I found a young man in WalMart apron, told him about it and got a blank "What do you want ME to do about it?" look.

And, as to lack of service, on one trip, there were no carts to be found, so I had all my purchases in my arms, and went to the express checkout, where in front of me was a woman with two full carts. I stood there, juggling my stuff, trying not to drop anything, and when I finally got to the cashier, and complained about 2 carts in the express lane, the cashier said cheerfully, "Oh, don't worry! She's an employee here!"
Oct. 29th, 2009 03:36 pm (UTC)
If you want my advice... and I realize you may not...
I'd copy and paste this entry into a letter or e-mail to the manager of the store and cc the deli manager. You can usually find their names and contact info online. Include dates, times, and names if you remember them. Believe it or not, they actually do try to address these things. And, these days when jobs are at a premium, employers can afford to scold or replace employees who aren't making customers (who could spend their cash elsewhere or not at all) feel welcome and well cared for.
Oct. 30th, 2009 08:15 am (UTC)
Walmart has a multitude of problems. One of the biggest issues is they don't care about their employees so the employees could care less about the customers.

I actually worked at a decent one, my manager was nice and would actually work... and yet still the fact that the company could care less about their employees leaked through. I'm a HARD worker, I loved working in fabrics... but no one noticed or cared. Eventually what happens is all the decent employees actually leave if they have the chance... leaving you the bottom of the barrel.

As long as you don't kill anyone.. you can almost do anything you want and no one will do a darned think about it. They only customers management ever seemed to listen to were the ones who were full of sh*t and pulling something. They always got what they wanted. (We are talking about people who returned stings that had be vomited on, or people returning fabric after using half of it)

Sadly you and I are nice people. So we will always be the people waiting for the stupid employees to actually do their jobs.

This and working for them for 4 years is why I HATE shopping there. That and honestly I think all shoppers actually leave their brains in a basket by the door.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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