Saturday, December 13, 2014

The worst thing about making a return

I am proud to say I was not dumb enough to go shopping at Wal-Mart on Black Friday weekend.

I am less proud to admit I was dumb enough to return something. It wasn't even something glamorous like a vacuum cleaner or a ladder; I wanted a refund for two food items I had bought there earlier in the week. The items were...not good when I tried to use them.

(Oh, I'd tell you what those items were, but I think we can all agree that Wal-Mart is highly attentive to the ramifications of one person bringing back $4 worth of merchandise and therefore must have instantly launched a thorough investigation of similar items and removed any problematic examples from its shelves. Right?)

On my way back home on Sunday evening, I figured, hey, I'll return them now. The hubbub is surely over by now, even though the parking lot is still busy. This was not one of my better impulse decisions. It was barely better than the impulse that drove me to buy the things that I had to return. The experience shook me to the core.

The worst part wasn't waiting 20 minutes in line to get a $4 refund.

The worst part wasn't standing behind a flustered woman who kept making theatrical sighs because of the wait (That was actually kind of cool).

The worst part wasn't seeing people lug in 50" televisions to the returns area and wondering if they were pulling scams of some type or other (That was a fun way to pass the time).

Here's the worst part: There were two small electronic signs posted high behind the customers, in clear view of employees on the other side of the desk but only visible to us if we happened to turn around and look up. The two signs were flashing the following message in blue letters:


The worst part about making a return at Wal-Mart at the end of Black Friday weekend was that those signs were flashing from the time I first noticed them until I got my refund and walked out...and who knows how much longer?

Can you imagine the state of an unattended Wal-Mart restroom after several days of hardcore holiday shopping? [SHUDDER]

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