Alphabeter (alphabeter) wrote in bad_service,

Paranoid Wal-Mart can't follow its own rules

Big long story behind the cut. Read if you're ready to hate Wal-Mart (or already do).

First, I went to cash a Social Security check at Wal-Mart. I discovered my ID hadn't been returned to me at the hospital I had just come from. The gal laid the stuff aside. I went to the hospital, they can't find it. I stop home and get my old non-driver's licence State Issued Photo ID. (Yeah, I was supposed to turn it in when I got my new driver's license but I decided to keep it for backup, say situations like this!) I tried twice to call Wal-Mart to make sure they will accept the ID. First time, no answer after 27 rings. Second time, the phone is picked up and hung up after five rings. Okaaay.

I go back to Wal-Mart. Now I've made a round trip from home to hospital to Wal-Mart to hospital to home to Wal-Mart. I literally use a tank of gas a month I'm so conservative. So this is already not a cheap evening.

I can't find the original clerk nor the supervisor who put the stuff away (I'm guessing supervisor as she had keys to override the register). Another gal finds the stuff and we proceed. I am entering in my SSN for the check when supervisor gal comes over. Her tag says Lisa.

Lisa recognizes me from before. She looks at the ID and loudly says its expired. Yeah, I know. She tells me (still being VERY loud) that they won't take it (all royal we language used on her part). I remind her of my circumstances. (Like WTF am I going to get a new ID at 2 am on a Saturday?) She gets huffy and says its policy not to take expired IDs as they are invalid. I ask her (very even toned and polite because I just KNEW this was going to be something) where on the policy glued to the stand in front of me its states expired IDs are not accepted or where the words valid or invalid are. She now gets REALLY loud and says she's not going to fall for this scam.

I'm pissed but I figure I'll take it to the other Super Wal-Mart and grab a comment card on my way out. I gather up my ID and the rest of the stuff from my wallet (including the check). I'm turning to leave when I hear "lazy fucking cunt. Why do I have to support you people anyway?"


I'm literally so shocked I just walk out to my car. It takes me several moments to be able to unlock and open the door. By the time I get home, I'm beyond pissed.

Now, keep in mind I have just had my condition upgraded from walking pneumonia to pneumonia. I am supposed to be in bed drinking fluids and absorbing the richness that is daytime network tv. I have no fluids, no drugs and no cash.

Six hours later I call and demand a manager. This male is very upset to hear how I've been treated. Of course I can come down and cash my check. The ID is fine since I also have a wallet full of other things with my name on them. He will also take a report as "this is not acceptable behavior" for Wal-Mart employees.

By this time my mother has gotten wind of my situation. She takes me down to the courthouse, we get a copy of birth certificate and take it to the DMV and get a new license. I'm good to go.

I get to Wal-Mart about 3pm (the above paragraph actions took a few hours, government time and all). Despite my having called twice to let him know I was coming (mother's cell phone), I wait 15 minutes for him to appear. He sees I have a notebook and tells me to write out my account and he'll "put it in the system". He's about to turn heel and leave when he notices my tape recorder. He asks if I'm recording. I say yes, I want to make sure I have everything correct.

Long note: I have a personal microcassette recorder I take everywhere. Its part journal, part memory aid, part reference/archive creation. The latter because I tape conversations when I sense there will be an issue. NEVER with my doctors and I do let people know I'm taping despite not having to (I'm in Iowa. The state law is as long as I know I'm taping I don't have to tell you. I still do...for the most part.). This particular occasion I was taping because like the infamous HyVee incident of a few weeks back, I knew it could come down to my word against theirs--and I wanted their own words to be available to be used against them (and as a reminder, that was what made the HyVee incident have a happy ending).

So what does he do? "Uh, I'm going to have to check with our legal team. I'll be right back." Okay, I'll sit and write out my account. He had already told the counter gal to take it and make copies upstairs (I was not about to turn over the original without backup) so I wasn't worried though I thought his statement odd.

Cut to 40 minutes later. I'm still writing. I have literally started writing about how nicely he is handling this when he appears with another person. She has a clipboard and is taking notes. I tell him I'm almost finished. He tells me they no longer want my report. I ask him how this is going to be handled. He tells me they'll "investigate". He doesn't acknowledge Ms. Clipboard nor introduce me. He then asks me if I've been "taken care of" (regarding the check being cashed). I tell him its no longer necessary.

He and Ms. Clipboard leave. I take down the manager's (hmmm, he said he was the manager, his name was not that on the board--LIAR) name, the district manager's name and their numbers from the board on the Customer Service wall. I then gather my stuff. Because I had the recorder under the notebook I'm not sure if he was aware I was taping the second conversation. I pick it up and as I'm leaving I rewind and listen to the last part. Its rather noisy (good mic that picks up everything) but his tone and words are clear.

I have now written everything out in three letters. One to the manager at the store. One to district manager and the last to the corporate office. Everything is pretty much laid like above only a little more formal tone. I admit to recording both conversations. I ask the swearing incident be investigated and express my unhappiness at how things were handled by the person purporting themselves to be management.

Should I bother or should I aim for a bigger stink? Even for Wal-Mart, this was just ODD.

And for the big question:
Is it too much to ask service people to be decent? I was nice (and honest) to everyone, even after they started being weird. I apologized for them having to void the order and put stuff aside on the first visit. I actually came back when I said I would to [try and] get the stuff again. Their attitudes toward me were completely uncalled for!

Was it all bad service or was I a bit of a sucky customer?

EDIT 1/UPADATE: I have not read any of the comments...yet. I am making this first edit to update the information I previously posted. I will make a second edit after I read the comments.

I have now been contacted by the district manager. They were most unhappy after receiving my letter.

First, the 'manager' misrepresented himself. He did have the power to open a complaint on a cashier, but did not do so, even after he told me he would "investigate". Both of those lies are now in HIS file.

Second, a formal complaint is now in the cashier's file and she has been "reprimanded". (I did not ask the DM what this entailed, I was just pleased something had finally been done about the pottymouth).

I did however, ask what is the EXACT policy on IDs needed to cash checks. An expired ID is allowed if there is other ID to "back it up". As I looked pretty much the same as the ID (I was not wearing glasses in it though) and it had expired fairly recently, the cashier was incorrect in not allowing me to cash the government check. The 'manager' was correct is saying it (the ID and backups) was allowed. Too bad for them, I won't be cashing anything there again. (I know, they'll REALLY miss my business :D).

The DM was suprised I had the conversations on tape but said it actually helped my case from becoming an I said/they said. She said maybe they should tell their managers to start carrying them. (I found that a good idea in a scary way--so watch out if your state does require notification before recording!)

I asked about the legality of my recording (I was curious about Ms. Clipboard). The DM said as long as I was following state law and stated so (when the 'manager' noticed the recorder I admitted to taping and told him I had the right by state law. I also did not have to let him know but did so out of courtesy--which I reiterated in the letters) that they (the DM) found the 'manager' having another person there strange, particularly as he did not file any kind of report regarding this situation (another Wal-Mart rules no-no). However, it is standard to have a second witness to "customer problems" when filing an incident report.

Basicly, the 'manager' tried to use the Wal-Mart incident rules for their benefit but in not filing anything, the 'manager' held themselves out for more problems. His position is/was? not one which should have been handling the situation (at that point) to begin with and pretending to be more than he was instead of passing me "up the chain" was what really got the DM's attention.

The DM apologized for the "hassle" I had endured and offered to cash the check for free (because of course I've been hanging onto this check for three weeks while my bill companies just twidled their thumbs and let me have heat, water, electricity and pick up medications for free!). I declined their offer and asked that the policy be redone so what was pasted on the counters would not be open to future misinterpretation. They said they would evaluate the policy. (*Snort*)

So thats where things stand. Both persons who lied got caught by their own words and were disciplined for their actions (swearing at me and ignoring their job duties).

I'm still not fond of Wal-Mart, but I have no fear of going in there.

EDIT 2/REPLY TO COMMENTS: I have now read the 48 (as of this edit) comments.

First, I did not think the rejection of my ID was bad service. My complaint was the language and attitude of Lisa. Had she said nothing, I would have just gone to the other Wal-Mart and cashed the check.

Wal-Mart charged $3 per check up to $1000. They DO make money off of this service.

I do not have a bank account because I cannot keep a balance. NO bank will allow me to direct deposit my SSI checks, empty the account every month and still keep the account open. Most of the time I have to get money from my mother for extra gas or when my life insurance is due. I cannot afford checks and debit cards (among other account options) cost money.

This is beside the problem I posted. No, it was not Wal-Mart's fault for the circumstances I found myself in. BUT the Wal-Mart employees did not follow their own rules and in fact down right broke them in their treatment of me is the cause of my anger. In fact, the whole incident could have been avoided if someone had picked up the phone and answered my question with what I'm sure would have been a No.

I received bad service when they did not answer the phone.
I received bad service when the Lisa gal did not follow the rules in allowing me to cash my check.
I received bad service when Lisa called me a cunt.
I received good service initially from the 'manager' who was going to allow me to cash my check (with the old ID he thought I had).
I received bad service when the 'manager' lied to me about their position and refused to take my report and later did not open a file on the incident.

IF the District Manager handles the situation the way they said (and yes, I did tape them, and yes, I did let them know so) they would, ultimately I received an adequate response to BAD SERVICE.

For those who think the recording is weird, if your state allows it, I'd advise you to try it. You'll be surprised how much more honest most people become when they know. I rarely use it for non-personal use (journal, memory aid) but I have yet to regret taping someone when they are (or about to be) rude, abrasive and downright abusive toward me.

If people do their job properly, they have no reason to fear. I didn't start recording in this situation until after I was called a cunt. I reiterate again, I was prepared to walk away and chalk up the ID refusal as bad timing. It was when I was unprovokingly called a cunt that I started recording things. I taped all dealings with declared management (real or otherwise). Even the District Manager admitted this helped my case.

Everyone is entitled to their opinions. Feel free to think me weird. I'm not a nut who goes 'round taping people for fun. I did it for my protection (and in the HyVee situation, my brother's). I see no problem in using the recorder. I would not be ashamed if anything I had recorded were played in public. And I've been using various recorders for 10 years--thats a lotta tapes.

And for the curious:

The HyVee incident involved an employee being rude to my brother. I had instructed him to get a specific generic soda. He got confused with the labels (lot of green) and asked an uniformed employee for help. After the "exchange" he found me and told me what he remembered.

I went to the aisle and asked the person what happened (not revealing I was recording nor that he was my brother). They proceeded to degrade my brother with nasty terms, the politest of which was "fucking retard who shouldn't be allowed in public".

I immediately took the tape the shift manager and after filing a report, I later returned to talk to the manager and played him the tape. The person was fired because there had been other complaints but my evidence was the first substantial proof of their [alleged] actions.

I call it a happy ending. This person would have kept on being abusive to other people. My tape stopped them. No, I'm not pleased they were fired. I am glad no one else at HyVee will have to deal with the miserable sod.

I cut most everything for those who are not [any longer] interested. Happy Holidays. May your service people be merry and bright.

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