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Tuesday, December 27, 2005
The day after...
Yesterday, I ran into Wal-Mart to pick up a couple of things. I needed bread for lunches this week and my brother-in-law's b'day is today. Weeks ago, I'd promised my sister I'd get him Episode III on DVD in the widescreen edition (seriously, if you're buying pan and scan DVDs, give your DVD player back! You are missing the point here!). A couple of years ago, he got a copy of X2 for Christmas and before he noticed that it was pan and scan, he'd opened it. He's still not happy about that decision (not that I blame him).

Becuase Wal-Mart has that we'll beat any competitors advertised lowest price, I took the Best Buy ad in with me. I went to electronics, got the DVD, went through the line and politely asked if the policy was in effect and then paid for my discounted purchase (I'd purchased the DVD weeks ago from Sam's but will take it back since I saved some $$$ on it yesterday). After that, I wandered through Wal-Mart, picking up the items I needed for the week and a few others that were on clearance that just begged to go home with me.

I then got to the lines. They were pretty long. Apparently, I labored under the delusion that I was the only person on the planet who thought--hey, let's go to Wal-Mart today. I labor under this delusion a lot since I'm constantly surprised when I go somewhere and it's crowded--well, unless it's Neyland Stadium and you can understand why it's crowded since it is God's house. But I digress.

I thought--maybe self-checkout will be quicker. So, I steered over that way, took a place in the apparently shortest line and waited my turn. Now, off to my right was a man and what appeared to be his family. You could tell that he wasn't thrilled about being here because he was talking loudly and rudely to any and all of his family members. He got up to his self check out register and started to ring up his purchases. He scanned his three items and then swiped the gift card he's received. Apparently, he had returned the same three exact items and figured he's get an even exchange. Well, the system told him he owed another dollar or two, at which point he went postal.

"I am not going to pay this damn store another two dollars for the same damn items," he said. He pointed at the screen. "Do you see that? Why should I pay them two dollars more for the same three items?" He was talking loudly to anyone who would listen. I glanced back to see the people in line behind him rolling their eyes and getting that look of "Great, I'm stuck in line behind THIS guy!"

He then grabbed his purchases and stalked over to attendant for the self-scan area. I watched as he walked up to her and started screaming at her about how he was not going to pay two more dollars and he wanted an explanation right now of just why the total was different now and what she was going to do it about it right then. She opened her mouth to say something and he went off more, screaming for a manager because the attendant hadn't done anything to help him yet. (As if she could have got a word in edge-wise).

Around him, his family (esp. the teen and pre-teen looking kids) were all looking around, desparately hoping that a giant hole would open up in the floor so they could dive into it and finish dying of embarrassment. As I rang up my purchases, the manager came out and he started into his tirade again. I needed some assistance and the attendant made the mistake of acknowledging that I needed help and came over to assist me.

This set the guy off more.

"I'm not sure what he wants me to do about it," she told me. "I can't get a word in edgewise to help him."

I smiled, said I thought she was being far more gracious than I would have been under the circumstances and thanked her for help.

"Well, I'm not going to deal with him anymore," she replied. "The manager is here and she gets paid a lot of money to deal with these situations."

Meanwhile, guy is having the manager scan again every item he has and showing him how it all adds up to the new total.

Now, I wish I could tell you how all this was resolved. But since my purchases were made and the transaction complete, I left the store and went about the rest of my day. For all I know, the guy is still there, screaming to the rafters about not paying the two dollars and making sure anyone who comes into the Wal-Mart know he's not happy...

posted by Michael Hickerson at 12/27/2005 07:56:00 AM | |
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