Saturday, September 20, 2008

Free at Last!

by Pa Rock

Years ago I was offended by a sales clerk at the Wal-Mart in Neosho, MO. I had a school photo of a foster child that I needed to get quickly copied in an effort to have him accepted into a particular foster home. The clerk in the photo department told me that they couldn't copy a school photo. She said it with a certain amount of attitude, and I, of course, bristled like a bad haircut.

I asked to see the store manager, and a nineteen-year-old was marched in to deal with me. After five minutes of dancing over whether the photograph was copyrighted or not (It probably was, but he couldn't prove it!), I left the store while announcing clearly that I was finished with Wal-Mart. And with the exception of a very few emergency situations, I have managed to stay out of those small town-destroyers ever since.

To my enduring shame, however, I never severed my ties to Sam's Club. When I needed certain items, especially certain items in bulk, I would "forget" that money spent at Sam's Club goes into the Wal-Mart till.

But that was then. Today I completed the final step in my own Wal-Mart addiction treatment program by surrendering my Sam's Club card.

I went to the local Sam's Club to pay my bill, and, thinking that my card had just expired, turned it in and announced that I was quitting. The lady at the service counter was literally aghast! Why on earth would I want to quit Sam's Club? Why would anyone want to quit Sam's Club?

"I'm going to Costco." I told her honestly. "I'm doing it for you. I read on the Internet that they pay their employees forty percent more than Sam's Club." But you don't understand the whole picture, she sputtered. Costco has very few full-time employees, and seventy-five percent of our employees are full time!

Really? If seventy-five percent of Sam's Club employees are full-time, Michael Moore better get a film crew over to Bentonville, Arkansas, because Sam Walton is clawing his way out of his grave as we speak!

Then I told her that I also understood that Costco was more apt to support Democrats, and everyone knew Wal-Mart was Republican. She fired back that her company has no political philosophy. Think again. The prospect of a Democratic administration and Justice Department at least behaving respectfully toward unions scares the bejeezus out of the Gods in Bentonville. I knew it and so did she!

Then a man came out to handle my situation. He found my name in the computer, gave me a little talk about the importance of not believing what I read on the Internet, (Yeah, like Fox News is more reliable, or honest?), and apologized because Sam's Club had made me mad.

"I'm not mad," I countered calmly. "I just want to close my account. I'm taking my business down the road to Costco." And then he did something that left me speechless. It's turns out my account hadn't expired. It was due to end in October instead of in September as I had thought. He banged around on the computer for a few minutes before handing me thirty-eight dollars and change.

"What's this for?" I stammered. He replied calmly that Sam's Club always makes a refund when people aren't satisfied with their purchase. I was almost shamed - but not quite!

See you at Costco!

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