On Walmart (the Dark Lord)
Every once and I while, I think we could all use a little levity in our lives. Hopefully this exchange with the lovely folks at walmart.com will provide you with a laugh or two. Some might call it a "troll."
Stick around to find out whether or not there was a happy ending...
12/14: Order #6091520-047*** This order (placed 12/4) is due to arrive on or before 12/16. According to your website, the order is STILL processing. Can I expect this item to arrive before Christmas?
Thank you for bringing this matter to my attention. I will be more than happy to help you.
I have checked our records and unfortunately, it appears that the item you’ve requested went out of stock during processing. Unfortunately, I am unable to estimate when this item will be back in stock. However, I completely understand that you need this item before Christmas so I kindly suggest you to cancel your current order and place a new one for a similar item.
Please visit the site periodically to see if an item is back in stock. Some items display an "email me when available" button. If available, please use this feature to be notified when an item if back in stock.
You can also visit your local Walmart store to see if they have the item in stock.
In advance thank thank you for your understanding. I hope that this information has been useful for you.
Happy Holidays Daniel!
I understand that you are a customer service representative and not directly responsible for this issue, so I hope that you’ll forgive me for the fact that I am about to lose my sh*t with you. In fact, it might be a good idea for you to pass this on to your supervisor, or perhaps directly to whomever is in charge of your department so that you don’t personally have to deal with me. It’s not going to be pretty.
Allow me to explain how increasingly asinine this whole scenario has been, and then you can attempt to tell me how something like this is considered acceptable to a multi-billion dollar company whose entire existence is reliant upon on providing great/good/adequate/tolerable service to its customers:
Let me first give you a brief bit of history. I’ve worked as a manager in retail for more than 20 years—I KNOW how it’s supposed to work. I know things sometimes go wrong. I know not everything can be controlled. I’m therefore almost infinitely forgiving to retailers and their associates. But virtually EVERY TIME I have attempted to shop at Walmart I’ve had a negative experience. From utterly rude cashiers, to not being able to find assistance, to not being able to navigate your stores because they’ve been cluttered with pallets, to not being able to access areas of the store that held the items I’ve needed because of floor cleaning, to price discrepancies, to poor quality products... The last time I had such a horrible experience, I swore off of Walmart altogether. It was SO disappointing, that I declined an offer from your management to try to “make it right” with a significant gift card because I had NO intention of ever shopping with you again. For nearly two years, I’ve flatly refused to enter your buildings. I even declined an offer of employment that would require me to occasionally provide service to a local Walmart for that very reason.
About a month ago, my daughter asked me for this item: a 20pc Pioneer Woman cookware set in turquoise (http://www.walmart.com/ip/47345044) for Christmas. I would rather not have dealt with your organization at all, but you are unfortunately the only retailer that carries/carried this special purchase item. Interestingly, I was unable to find the item on your website at that time. It was almost as if this fabled item didn’t exist at all. I began to shop online for the item, looking any and everywhere for it, even going so far as to contact someone on Craigslist in the kingdom of Phoenix to see if I could have it shipped, to no avail. I asked my daughter where she’d seen the item, and she sent me a photo of a pallet of them in a local Walmart that she’d taken a mere week or two earlier. Against my better judgment I went to not one, not two, but three different Walmarts in my area to see if I could track this item down. I walked every aisle, checked every pallet, every endcap, and all of the holiday special areas. Nothing. I told her that it didn’t appear to be available and I would likely not be able to get it for her for the holiday.
Disappointing, but not the end of the world. In fact, it was just one more par for the course from Walmart as far as I was concerned.
A week passed. Just for giggles, I happened to check the Walmart ad on November 27th. Lo and behold, THERE was the 20pc (turquoise) set FEATURED IN YOUR ADVERTISEMENT. Most excellent. I assumed that this must have been a special holiday purchase that had been held in the back rooms until the ad came out to assure it would be available for customers. Maybe the store at which my daughter had seen the item had screwed up, put it out early, and subsequently sold out. That SAME day, I went to my local Walmart. I walked through the entire store. Nothing. I looked for someone to help me and could find NO ONE (on a weekend, less than a month before Christmas…) I walked the store two more times before I finally stopped a MANAGER stuck in the Electronics area and asked him about the product. His response was that “not all Walmarts carry the same items (or apparently even those featured in THAT DAY'S ads) and I may be able to find it at another store.” As I was preparing to leave (disgusted), he suggested that I check walmart.com, because items could be shipped to me (or the store), and I could set up an alert that would tell me when an item was available.
I drew my legendary iPhone right then and there and went online. Magically, the item (which had NOT been on the website mere days before) was NOW ON THE WEBSITE. It was a holiday marvel. But the item (again, featured in the ad THAT DAY) was unavailable. It was not available at ANY stores, nor was it available to be shipped. Well, that was strange. I mean, why on earth would a retailer be so moronic as to feature an item in THE AD that was not available AT ALL on that very day? It would be like Barnes & Noble having an author signing without having any of their books available. It would be like McDonalds forgetting to send mint syrup to their stores before the Day of St. Patrick. No multi-billion dollar company could really be THAT stupid could they?
Turns out they could. And worse.
I sent an email to customer service that evening about the issue. As usual, I received zero REAL assistance from Dark Lord Walmart. I was told that the item was unfortunately not available, but I should “check back in 10 days.” When I asked why on earth an item would be featured in an ad but not be available, I received an offer for a $5 GIFT CARD! Inconceivable! Five bucks. On an item that I was planning to pay $100 for. Basically, a 5% discount for the pleasure of being jerked around by your company. For the pleasure of disappointing my daughter. FOR THE PLEASURE OF PAYING $2 MORE FOR THE 10PC VERSION OF THE SAME PRODUCT. Wow. Don’t overexert yourselves. I didn’t even bother to respond to this magnificent offer of recompense.
By now, you’d think that I’d have given up. After all, the definition of insanity is attempting the same thing time and again while expecting a different result. But no, I’m just crazy enough to want to provide my daughter with what she wanted for Christmas. So I checked walmart.com EVERY DAY to see if perhaps this special purchase item would be replenished—it was featured in the ad, after all… Wonder of wonders on Sunday, December 4th the slash through the turquoise color of this set was gone. IT WAS AVAILABLE! I immediately placed an order. Not even a minute passed before I had checked out. The order was confirmed. I was told that it would be shipped by December 16th. FINALLY. I had managed to get my daughter what she wanted for Christmas. I felt a bit like the champion knight who had slain the evil and mighty Dark Lord Walmart.
Now, I may be crazy, but I’m not STUPID. I didn’t tell my daughter that I’d pulled off a minor miracle (and would be applying for sainthood) right away. I figured I’d better wait a bit to be certain. Surely if Walmart had screwed up, they’d contact me to let me know, right? Surely. So after a few days had passed, I told her that I’d finally managed to get her set, and she should have it for Christmas. Everyone was prepared to live happily ever after, and I had renewed my vow to never—even under pain of death—shop at Walmart again. The End?
Of course not.
As the days passed an eerie silence consumed the land, and the newly-crowned hero grew nervous. No shipping confirmation was forthcoming. A week passed, then ten days. December 14th. I contacted you, John V, to inquire as to what was causing such a prolonged delay, and received this response: “…unfortunately, it appears that the item you’ve requested went out of stock during processing… I kindly suggest you to cancel your current order and place a new one for a similar item.” WHAT?? In less than one minute, my order ‘went out of stock?’ Bullsh*t. Cancel my order? Ha! You, sir, clearly do not understand the lengths to which I have thus far gone to try to obtain this mythical Holy Grail of Cookware.
I do not care what it is that you (or your bosses) must do, but I fully expect you to obtain this cookware set for me. I don’t care if you have to flag the item in your system so that when one is returned it is guaranteed to me. I don’t care if you must go to ebay to buy a set at twice the cost. I don’t care if you must force the Pioneer Woman herself to hand-forge a new one for me. Let me be absolutely clear: I EXPECT YOU TO OBTAIN THIS ITEM FOR ME. I have done FAR MORE than any reasonable customer’s share of the work here. This is not an unreasonable request. I have purchased an item that you claimed was available at the time that I purchased it. You provide me with the item. You see, that is the very foundation of how business works.
Just as this letter has become increasingly ridiculous, so too has my epic journey with your company. I am no longer satisfied to stand by and simply accept your incompetence and ineptitude.
This is now YOUR quest, oh squire of Walmart. Do what is necessary and hard. Make it right. Else I will post this decree high and low for all the realm to see and it shall become…viral.
Sir Daniel of Schuette
Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. I understand your concern and disappointment regarding the shopping experience you had on Walmart.com. I know this situation might be frustrating to you and I clearly support your claim. I know that you were not given a good and adequate customer service. I'm really sorry for it. I'll try to help you with your request.
In order to compensate for all these issues that have tormented you, I can offer you a %20 adjustment when placing a new order. Once you place a new order, please contact us back and I'll issue you the adjustment.
Again, I'm sorry for the inconveniences all these processes have caused you. Please be assured that I'll take your feedback and send it to the correct teams so we can improve and If you have any other inquiry, I'll be happy to assist.
My dear Sir Mynor,
Art thou the Lord of the customer service realm, sire? I see that you have chosen to perpetuate the ridiculous failures that I’ve experienced to date. Therefore, I fear I must as well.
Your offer of 20% off of my next order might prove most generous were I intending to make an extraordinarily large purchase with walmart.com. Alas, I fear that is not so. I would much prefer to walk through the fires of Hades than to spend e’en another farthing with your company. (In case you were unaware, a farthing is but a quarter of a penny.) Your offer thus provides absolutely no recompense and is, therefore, not acceptable. It does nothing to solve the issues that I’ve experienced to date and fails to meet the expectations that I believe I’ve made quite clear.
My suggestion is for thee to take this to thine King, as I fear only he possesses the power to adequately resolve this conflict. If my expectation is not met, I fully intend to take this to social media and every other outlet that I have at my disposal. When our correspondence goes viral, I suspect you will suffer far more losses than those that would result in finding a way to provide me with this item.
Sir Daniel (the Troll)
I understand your frustration and in order to keep finding a resolution that works for you, I've transferred your request to the correct department.
Walmart.com Customer Care
In the meantime, I had sent an email directly to Ree Drummund (THE Pioneer Woman) informing her of the above troubles. Within hours, I had received a response...
Hail, o’ Walmart Customer Service Batallion;
Sometimes one must appeal directly to the Queen when seeking justice. Her Royal Highness has seen fit to send one of her noble champions to aid me in my quest. He has not only obtained this Holy Grail of Cookware on my behalf, but has done so at no expense to me. For, you see, this is how the true and just and good provide outstanding service at this most hallowed and joyous time of year.
Rest assured that the fine folks of Realm Gibson shall henceforth have mine business, and Queen Ree—once a mere Pioneer Woman—has earned my respect and fealty. Their names shall be heralded for all the world to see.
As for Lord Walmart, I fear we shall forever remain mortal enemies. It is clear that the satisfaction of thy consumers is of little to no relevance. Nay, in fact, my original order was automatically cancelled TODAY (the day it was supposed to ARRIVE) nearly a fortnight after it was first placed. It would seem to this humble knight that one truly concerned with service might wish to make it known that this item was not available much sooner than twelve days forth. Alas, twas not to be, and once more the Dark Lord has proven to be a vile and callous soul unworthy of our loyalty and business.
It is my hope that this series of communication has provided you with a bit of levity this holiday season. As I made clear in my original correspondence, I understand that most of you reading of my misfortunes are not to blame for the hideousness that I’ve undertaken these past weeks. I can appreciate that you are but poorly compensated foot soldiers forced to run yourselves through on our spears of frustration and anger on behalf of your liege. You should not be made to suffer any more than is necessary. It is not your fault that you’ve been handed broken swords ($5 gift cards) and rotted shields (20% off your purchase) with which to defend yourselves. I do not envy your sacrifices, ladies and lords.
But let it be known that I refused to stand idly by in the face of these injustices.
Let it be known that I waded through miles of the Dark Lord's excrement to obtain this elusive relic and fulfill my quest.
Let it be known that I have prevailed, a hero, without so much as contributing a wooden nickel to your company.
Which is precisely as it should be.
There you have it, friends. The errant knight and his daughter lived happily ever after. The Dark Lord, perhaps not so much.
The moral of the story: never shop at Walmart.