Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Attn: Wal-Mart Complaint Department II

I may have mentioned the problem we had with Wal-Mart last week. Here's what actually happened:
  1. Gray researched and found the exact model of laptop he wanted to buy for me.
  2. He went to the only store in our area with that model in stock, which happened to be the Wal-Mart in Shakopee, MN.
  3. He purchased the laptop on December 5th. The Wal-Mart employee explained the warranty options available for purchase and told him he had 90 days to come back and buy a warranty. They told him verbally there was a 30-day return policy on the laptop.
  4. They did NOT tell him there was a 15-day return policy on all computers, although it was printed on the receipt.
  5. He bought the laptop, came home, wrapped it up and stuck it in our gift pile (underneath the clip-art photo of a Christmas tree that I taped to the wall)((I'm such a festive fucker)).
  6. I opened the laptop on Christmas morning and cried (the happy way).
  7. The letter "m" was sliding around inside the computer.
  8. We called my Jill to ask her advice. She told us that once a letter has fallen off a laptop keyboard, it never stays on quite right. She advised that we exchange the laptop.
  9. I returned the computer to its box without even putting in the battery or turning it on.
  10. On the morning after Christmas, before 7:00 a.m., Gray was on the phone with Wal-Mart to ask about making an exchange and find out which location had the same model in stock.
  11. They did not ask him when he made his purchase even though he made it clear he wanted to exchange the laptop.
  12. Wal-Mart in Brooklyn Park, MN had one in stock.
  13. Gray asked if they could hold the computer in his name, and they said no.
  14. Gray drove to the Brooklyn Park Wal-Mart, which is 29 miles away from our apartment, and the 9th closest Wal-Mart location to us. This was Friday, December 26th.
  15. He was told upon entering the store that exchanges were being made at a different counter than the Customer Service counter. He made a mental note.
  16. Gray went to the electronics department, where he was "helped" by a very rude man who refused to make eye contact or behave in any way that resembled helpful.
  17. Finally, he located the right laptop, at which point Gray and the electronics guy began the trek to the exchange counter.
  18. Gray attempted to make small talk with the employee. The employee literally refused to answer any of Gray's questions, look at Gray, or in any way acknowledge his presence.
  19. Gray attempted to inform the employee that they needed to go to the exchange area instead of the Customer Service counter.
  20. The employee DID NOT RESPOND in any way and led Gray to Customer Service.
  21. At the Customer Service counter, they were informed that exchanges were made in a different location in the store. NO SHIT.
  22. At that time, the Customer Service lady did check Gray's receipt and saw that the date of his purchase was December 5th, and as this was December 26th, he had exceeded the 15-day return policy.
  23. The electronics department employee, upon hearing the news, angrily dropped both computers on the counter, turned around, and walked away without saying a word.
  24. Gray asked what his options were.
  25. The Customer Service lady said he could take it up with the manufacturer.
  26. Gray left.
  27. He went directly to Best Buy and talked to the Geek Squad guy to see if he could stick the "m" back on .
  28. The Geek Squad guy spent 15 minutes attempting to re-attach the "m" for Gray. He was both helpful and polite, and expressed regret when he was unable to fix the keyboard because something was bent and wouldn't align properly. He told Gray that the manufacturer was usually very fast with repairs, wished him happy holidays, and sent him on his way.
  29. We went to the UPS store, paid $78 to have the laptop shipped back to the manufacturer, and have to wait until at least January 10th to get it back. (the UPS store guy was EXTREMELY helpful, too, I might add)

Now, can I just say...WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON WITH WAL-MART'S CUSTOMER SERVICE when the store where Gray dropped $500 on a brand new electronic device clearly doesn't give a rat's ass about Gray or his money or keeping him as a customer. None of the employees were even remotely polite or helpful, one was flat out rude, and no one took the time to make sure Gray understood the return policy AT THE TIME OF PURCHASE, even though it's CHRISTMAS and it's general knowledge - especially for a retailer - that people BUY GIFTS THAT WON'T BE OPENED IMMEDIATELY. (I wish I had been there, because I would have noted name, rank and number, and my pals at the H.Q. in Bentonville would have been getting letters about those particular employees and their terrible customer service standards.)

Then, at Best Buy, where Gray did NOT purchase the computer, where he spent NO money and had not called ahead, the Geek Squad guy went out of his way to try and resolve an issue that was in no way his problem.

(And, if you'll recall, my sister and I had a different problem with the Wal-Mart in Pineville, MO in November.)

I am seriously confused. Clearly, Wal-Mart does NOT want our business in the future, especially on big-ticket purchases like my laptop. Is my money tainted? Do I smell bad? Am I bad for business? Well I'll tell you fucking what, Wal-Mart: If I wasn't bad for business before, I've got a blog now, and I most certainly am going to do my best to be bad for business NOW, you assholes.

Ok...whew. I feel a little better now.

On a brighter note: Remember when I told you about how awesome the Minute Clinic was? Well, I have an update for you. About 3 days after my visit to the clinic, I received a hand-written Get Well card from my nurse Nancy. I don't know about you, but I love that kind of stuff. I was feeling better by then, and knowing that she took the time to drop a card in the mail made me feel just ::that:: much better.

Minute Clinic has an electronic records system that allows you to access your medical records online. I clicked the box for "yes" when I was signing in, so they set up an online account for me, and I received an email with my login instructions.

I guess there was some glitch in their system that caused that particular email to be sent multiple times - I had about 7 in my inbox if I remember correctly - which I didn't really even give a second thought. A few days later, I got another email from the Executive VP of Product & Information Services, apologizing for the duplicate emails and assuring me that my personal information was safe and secure. I thought that was kind of nice, although it hadn't occurred to me that there may have been a breach of any kind.

Now, when I checked the mail yesterday, there was a package from Minute Clinic. Inside was a letter which basically gave the same explanation as the email from the VP. There was also mini-first aid kit, included as, "a small token of apology for any difficulty our email problem caused you."

How fantastic is that? Minute Clinic is another example of a company that clearly values my business and my money, and has their shit together when it comes to customer service. I was extremely impressed.

Anyhoodle in conclusion: Wal-Mart sucks - let's all boycott! The Geek Squad is super nice and helpful! Minute Clinic can immunize me ANY day!

Ok, carry on folks.