Dear Woodbury Wal-Mart,

My friend Kelly was having issues with the Wal-Mart near her home. Due to those issues, she had to send her photo order to you, Woodbury Wal-Mart. As I am visiting her today, she called me and asked if I could stop, yesterday, and pick up her already-paid-for pictures. I was happy to do it.

When I arrived at your store, I found that evidently, the entire populous of Woodbury shops at 5:15 on a Thursday. I parked approximately 17 miles away and hoofed it up to the store. Upon entering, I was surprised to learn that you’ve added an entire grocery store since my last visit. I guess it’s been a while, sorry about that.

When I got to the photo department, a woman was already in line, she was dealing with the photo associate, who might have been alive when photographs were invented. He simply could not find her pictures. He looked and checked the computer and…nada. She was very upset and, while he was pleasant, he did nothing to alleviate her distress. She couldn’t find her confirmation number, even though he was still able to look her up online. Her concern was that her pictures were already paid for. As the associate did not one thing to help her, he offered no advice or solutions, I finally stepped in. I told her if she ordered her pictures online (she had mentioned that she did) she would have had to use an email address and Wal-Mart.com would have sent her a confirmation number to her email, so she can go home and print it off. That relaxed her enough she was able to step away. My turn.

I asked the associate for pictures, using Kelly’s name. He looked in the H’s. Nothing. He asked if there were 8x10s, of course, I didn’t know, as they aren’t my pictures, so I said, thinking quickly, “actually, my husband printed them, so I’m not sure, could you just check?” I don’t know why I felt the need to lie, but I did. I didn’t want there to be any hassle, since the pictures weren’t in my name…and I somehow felt hassle headed my way.

The associate, let’s call him Don, looked again and couldn’t find them. He then checked the computer–I think he might have called it “that darn-tootin’ newfangled machine” or something. He told me the computer said the pictures were printed. Well, of course, that’s great. But he couldn’t find them.

Again, Don offered no solutions. So, I stepped up and said, “why don’t you check under other letters in case they were misfiled?” Don checked the letters immediately preceding and succeeding Kelly’s last name, but no others. I suggested Don call the associate that was working when the pictures were printed, to see if they could help. He did not seem inclined to follow that suggestion. Finally, I asked Don what he could do to help me.

“I can reprint them.”

Now, you’re talking! It’ll mean another trip back to the store, but to actually get the pictures, I’m willing. “When will they be done?”

“About a day.”

Okay, we’re back to no good. I needed them absolutely no later than noon on Friday (today). So I asked Don if a day meant actually 24 hours, or just Friday.

He said, “well, it’s hard to say, my printer’s broken”. Which means, I suppose, that he couldn’t actually do the one solution he offered me. Eventually, I settled the matter by trading numbers with Don. I gave him “Kelly’s” number (mine, but he thinks I’m her) and got the store number from him. He promised to call if he could get the printer fixed and print them last night.

No call came.

When I woke up this morning, I called you, Woodbury Wal-Mart. The very unpleasant woman who answered the phone responded to my request of “photo department, please” with…nothing. There was a click and then deafening silence. No elevator music, no ringing, just nothing. I checked and I was not disconnected. I waited 90 seconds before hanging up and calling back. Same woman, same reaction. I, again, requested “photo department, please” and received that same silence. Who has no sound when someone is on hold? It’s worse than the terrible music.

After about 90 more seconds, the unpleasant woman came back on the line and said, “no one seems to be answering, what can I do for you?” but though the words read courteously enough, they were said in what can only be described as a snide tone.

I politely (though I am not at my best in the mornings and I was quickly losing my patience) told her my story and said I just wanted to know if the pictures were done. Her response?

“Oh, you said PHOTO department. I thought you said SODA department and I didn’t know what to do.”

Um, so you just set the phone down and did nothing? That’s why I was getting silence? Why not just ask me to repeat myself? When did, “I’m sorry I didn’t get that, could you repeat it?” stop being acceptable?

I took a bracing breath because this was already the most frustrating phone call I’ve endured in 2012 and I had yet to get to the heart of things. I was transferred and this time, the phone rang. And rang and rang and rang and rang.

Eventually, the idiot/snide woman picked up again and said, “what do you want?” No kidding, that is what she said. This time, I snapped, “I want the photo department, do you think you can manage that?”

Deep breath.

She said she’d page overhead.

Finally, someone picked up the phone. I explained my issue and asked her to check for the photos. She came back and said she couldn’t find them. I asked if the printer was fixed. She didn’t know. I was ready to kill someone when she saved herself by admitting that she didn’t work in that department, she worked in hardware (I don’t know why she felt that was pertinent), and she was just trying to help out.

Then she ruined it by adding that there was not an associate in the photo department that morning, they don’t start until 9am.

Perhaps, Woodbury Wal-Mart, you could explain why the woman who answers the main phone and directs calls is unaware that no associate will be in the department I am calling for at least another HOUR. That seems like information she should have and should share with the customer. Had she said, “no one in that department will be available until 9am, I would have just called back.”

Now, back to the hardware associate I was currently dealing with.

She said she didn’t know how to help me, but she could clearly tell my annoyance level was off.the.charts.

I asked her to please find someone who could. I was polite, but very firm. I was done with this. This is terrible customer service, Woodbury Wal-Mart, and I wanted satisfaction.

She said “I’m going to put you down for a second.” And she did. Why she chose not to put me on hold is beyond me, but I could hear every little sound of your store as I waited. I lifted the phone away from my ear to check the timer. When she came back, I checked again, she left me like that for two full minutes.

Her answer?

She said her XYZ (I don’t remember what she called him, some acronym) which she explained is the boss above the store manager (Yowza!) was there and he was going to help. They were going to look again for the pictures and could she “put me down again?”

I gritted my teeth and said “of course.” I figured after all this hassle, if they came back and said they couldn’t find them I was going to lose it and argue until I got Kelly her pictures for free AND a compensation of some kind, like a gift card. This was beyond ridiculous (as you can probably tell by the 1,500 word essay, that is still not complete).

I checked the timer again.

I waited.

And waited.

And

W

A

I

T

E

D

I kept checking the timer.

Finally, after SEVEN solid minutes of waiting, not on hold, a man picked up the phone.

“Ma’am?” (FYI, Woodbury Wal-Mart, I detest being called ma’am, you might want to advise your above-the-store-managers of this. There are other greetings)

I braced myself to hear bad news when he said, “your greeting cards are finished and they are here waiting for you.”

I didn’t know they were greeting cards, but it seems like Kelly, so I assumed we’re on the right page….finally.

I thanked him and hung up the phone. When I checked, my total time on that call?

Would you like to guess?

No?

Fine. 17 minutes. SEVENTEEN minutes. Does it seem necessary for that to have taken 17 minutes, for something that should have been done the day before?

And, that should have been the end of it, it really should have, but when I got to work, I was doing some things and I was just going to let this go.

Then, at 9:55am, my phone rang. I answered and the voice on the other end said, “Kelly?”

It was Don. Remember him, from the beginning of this novel?

He was calling to tell me that my photos were done. Really? He said he’d finally gotten his printer fixed and just printed them this morning.

Wait. What?

Don claimed the pictures were just printed this morning. I know from the previous marathon call that Don did not start until 9am, but my pictures were done by 8:23 am, so, they were either printed last night and Don was LYING to me or a fairy came in and printed a copy this morning and Don printed a second set, unaware of the fairy’s work.

Which one do you think is the more likely scenario, Woodbury Wal-Mart?

I’m guessing this was just the final straw in one of the worst customer service experiences I have ever had, with any company. Of course, as I haven’t yet picked them up, it is possible that this saga is not yet over. I’ll have to let you know. But for now, Woodbury Wal-Mart, I hope it is clear that this is unacceptable.

Get your shit together. It ain’t rocket science.

Sincerely,

Liv “A for Effort” Life

***UPDATE***

Here’s the end to this very long story. When I arrived to pick up the photos. Don couldn’t find them! <gasp> I know, it’s shocking. He looked and looked. Finally, a guy from another department (perhaps the mystery manager, I don’t know) came over and said, “oh, they’re in here” and pulled out the small box of photos. Don then said to me, “sorry, guess I was looking in the wrong place this whole time.”

So, I guess Don lied to me…again. Clearly, he never reprinted them or he would have known where they were when I arrived. Someone else found them, right where they were supposed to be, and had been the entire time. Awesome. All this hassle and the pictures were there all along. Good work, Woodbury Wal-Mart. {sarcasm font needed}

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6 thoughts on “Dear Woodbury Wal-Mart,

  1. I don’t even know how to respond that, but, something tells me we haven’t heard the last of this!
    Shame on Woodbury-Walmart. Doesn’t make me want to shop there.

    • I *did* just update the post. And it doesn’t make me want to shop there, either. Target has their share of problems, but the customer service is usually pretty good.

  2. It was not a Fairy. I’ll bet my ass a SECOND set is still sitting there! I bet they found the one from yesterday and “Don” reprinted. I owe ya. Big time! Thanks again!

    • You don’t owe me at all. It wasn’t your fault it was such a pain. It should have been no big deal at all to just pick up your pictures. And there is an update to the post.

  3. peopleofwalmart.com. You have to shop at a better store to be able to complain about customer service. That’s what you get for shopping at a place that treats their employees with disdain.

    • Hm, that’s a pretty strong opinion Aunt Carole. I, however, disagree. I think customer service is the responsibility of the employee and I think that people ought to take pride in their work, no matter whom the employer is. Corporations do foolish or bad or irresponsible or (pick one) things all the time. That doesn’t give everyone who works for them the right to screw off and not do their jobs. I believe that falls under the adage of “two wrongs don’t make a right”. Just my take.

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