Apple Pie is to American as WalMart is to Hell on Earth

22 02 2010

As anti-American as it may be for me to say the following, I am going to say it anyhow.  I hate WalMart.  I hate WalMart with a passion that rivals my love for pasta – and I love pasta.  If all of the WalMarts in the world were to suddenly be sucked into some black hole and the world were without them forever, I wouldn’t notice it at all.  And that being said, I avoid WalMart.  I don’t shop there for groceries, cleaning supplies, clothes, shoes, medicine, shampoo – nothing.  Except

tires.  For some damn reason they are easily 100 dollars cheaper than the next affordable tire store.  Thankfully I only require tires about once every four years or whenever someone reminds me that tires should not be as smooth as a baby’s ass.  And then I trudge in to the local WalMart, bracing myself for the idiots the find me like I am a magnet, pulling them in.  That’s not to say that other stores don’t have idiots, because they do, but WalMart seems to be the breeding ground for these people.

We snuck in the tire entrance to avoid the riff raff and I stood in line at a service counter in the Tire and Lube section behind people with carts filled with groceries and people who really didn’t know what they wanted outside of a good deal.  Now, I’ll be the first to admit my knowledge of vehicles is limited to where to put the key and where to put the fuel.  Outside of that, I struggle.  But I do think ahead enough to bring my husband in tow and he knows the tire size and what I need.  We verified the prices and tire brand names prior to entering the line from hell.  These folks did not.  One lady did not have her car with her, wasn’t 100% certain of the year and model, but could the clerk not just give her the quote anyhow?  Right.  Another gentleman came in, not sure of his year and they only clerk working the counter had to go out to check the proper size for him.  They came back in and we learned that the $87 tire was a bit more than he wanted to spend.

It’s finally our turn at bat and I am anxious because we’re about to show the folks behind us how this is done.  We need 3 Goodyear Wrangler tires in 23570R16.  I immediately noticed part of the delay was the store’s system.  We waited while the associated remembered his SSN Login for the login scree and failed his password twice, making him restart the system.  He finally figured that part out and had to look us up in the computer.  Yes, that purchase from four years ago is us – same vehicle, yes. What tires?  We repeated the information and it took about four attempts to get him to understand we had not brought the rim with us for the fourth tire and I would come back another day to purchase it.  Yes, we understand that I should purchase all new at the same time, but the lapse will be about 48 hours – we’ll manage.  What was the tire size again?  Are you sure that’s what it takes?  Yes, it is what we purchased last time and what is on the door of the car and what happens to be in his handy dandy tire book pamphlet – but the computer disagrees.  My big ol’ SUV should have 17565R14, which my husband informed me was roughly the size of tire on his itsy bitsy little Yaris clown car.  So the clerk and my husband walk out to check the door panel together and I start getting grumpy.  Grumpier.

About five minutes later they come back in and he clicks the tire in his system then OK.  A pop up occurs that asks him if he wants to override the suggested tire size of puny car for the big ol’ truck – the options are YES or NO.  He struggles and finally opts for no and reverifies the size with us, his book and us again.  Ultimately it requires him to page three other associates, not from the Tire and Lube department to come and advise him on his choice course of action.  As the young lady from the photo lab and two other gentlemen stare aimlessly at the computer monitor and the difficult decision they are facing – the manager for the Tire and Lube department returns.  Oh thank you God, you have chosen to end my suffering!

Oh.  My bad.  The powers that be were just allowing me a brief intermission before the real fun began.

The manager agrees to click YES for override to the front tire prompt, but the rear tire, that’s another story.  I was a bit pissy by this moment and I decided to interject.  Glenn distanced himself appropriately to avoid any association with the crazy lady who was about to rip someone a new asshole.  (He’s such a smart guy.)  Can you not just click the YES?  We’ve been here at the counter for thirty minutes now debating whether or not the tires are the right size.  You’ve checked the book, my vehicle, my purchase history for same said vehicle – your computer is obviously confused.  Can you just click YES to override it like it is asking you if you want to do?

No.  Yes, the manager told me no.  No, when used in this context, is basically the detonation code for bitch mode.  It was engaged.

According to the patronizing clerk, they have to be very careful and certain little girl, that we are putting on the right tires, otherwise when you drive down the street and the big bwack wound thingies faww off and your car goes boom – you could sue us and gets lots of money and we’s don’t wike that.

I gave him a mental finger and asked for an indemnification agreement so we could just get the party started already.

Another no.

I’m guessing he isn’t married.  But Slick at the computer obviously is – not by the wedding band on his finger, but by his decision to click the little YES and produce a work order to shut the bitchy lady up.

I asked how long it would take and I was told 35 minutes.  It was currently 4:24 pm.  That meant I would have to either stand and stare at these folks until 5 or meander through the store I deplore.  I opted for strolling.

We stole a cart and began perusing the aisles.  And the full metamorphosis from grumpy to pissy to bitchy completed itself.  We live in America.  I don’t know if in the UK people walk the aisles in their store with coming on the left and going on the right – but here in the US, store traffic flow is designed to be like that of the roadways.  It’s understood!  A typical thorough fair aisle has space for at least three shopping carts – coming, going and turning (like a median).  Yet somehow this notion is always lost in WalMart.  Instead the aisle is used for parking.  And gossiping.  And disciplining.  And those of us who know and abide by the traffic flow, we’re left to stand there like dumbasses awaiting the oblivious folks to get a clue and move out of the way.

Fast-forward thirty minutes.

We mosey back to the Tire and Lube section, Glenn allowing space to gain between he and I, again to wisely appear unrelated to the bitchy woman.  There is, once more, a line of folks with carts overflowing.  I step into line, assuming that it should be done by the time these folks are done.  And about ten minutes later, with three people still ahead of me, I see them pull my vehicle into the shop.  Into.  As in, to begin.  It’s now about 5:10 and while I should be paying my bill and leaving, I am watching them begin to take my car onto a lift.

I decided it was time for a smoke and after having to wait for Skippy at the counter to decide if I was allowed to be buzzed out the door, I went out within yelling range of the man working on my car.  I say working, but that’s just a figure of speech.  He was looking at it.  He did that for about five puffs of my cigarette and then he went over and studied his computer for a while.  Walked over to the door and verified the tire size.  Walked inside the shop.  (I later learned that during this time he had a conversation to verify that I wanted the tires shown to be the right size on my door instead of the teeny ones his computer felt more appropriate.)  He emerged and stared at my vehicle again.  I put out my smoke about the time he got his air gun unwound and I went back inside.

Glenn took this chance to have a smoke and returned about five minutes later to tell me there was a problem.  Genius in the shop couldn’t get my lug nuts off of one of my tires.  No rust or anything, they’re just too tight for him.  My options are to buy the tire anyhow and bring it back when I come to get my other tire and I’ve managed to get my lug nuts loosened – or buy two tires.  For the sake of less confusion, I opted for two tires.

New problem.  As we explain the change and I so proudly explained the reason for my decision to only buy two at this time, they inform me that they are not allowed to put a new tire on the front and a new tire on the back.  It has to be in pairs.  Fine, then switch the spare that you aren’t replacing from the front to the back so it is opposite the one that Genius can’t get the lug nuts off of.  So you still want three tires then?

It was 7 before we left the shop with my two tires.  And I am ever so anxious for my return trip to get the other two tires.  I wish Target had a tire center.

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4 responses

23 02 2010
Marcille Wallis

Wal-Mart recently gave me a quote on tires for my truck — the quote came in a hundred or so dollars less, all righty, but something didn’t “seem” right to me, so I checked: they were going to sell me two-ply tires to replace the ten-ply tires that I normally run! The warranty on their little two-ply tires would probably have been null and void the instant that I hooked up our Airstream trailer! But was that in their little computer … nooooooo … they wanted to argue with me, too. I went to Goodyear. They sold me the right tire, albeit for a slightly higher price, but I wonder: Had I bought those Wal-Mart tires, would I really have saved money in the long run?

We’re getting conditioned to this new “Save Money, Live Better” credo. I don’t even want to worry about where they’re cutting corners, so I don’t shop there either.

20 05 2010
protogere

Marcille, I know I often wonder what I’ve been paying for all along if suddenly they can roll it back for less. It damn sure isn’t suddenly cheaper to make.

3 03 2010
Adrian Cronauer

So it was just another day at Walmart. Don’t blame Walmart it’s the same encounter you’ll find at any big box store these days. I can’t stand Walmart either and am certainly not defending them. I firmly believe that the older and smarter we get something equally yet opposite happens at the other end of the food chain – the dumb get dumber. Truthfully, did you really expect yo get out of there in 35 minutes?

20 05 2010
protogere

LoL Adrian, while I didn’t anticipate to be out in 35 minutes, I do expect representatives of a store – any store- to try to be honest with their customers. If they had told me, look it’s going to take us two or three hours, then I would get to make the decision to stay or do it another time. And I might actually go back.

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