Like everyone else in the world, I had to return a few things to The Walmarts in the days after Christmas.
Unlike everyone else in the world, I actually had receipts. I know! Go me.
So on Sunday, Olivia and I headed off to The Least Happy Place In The World.
Can I say right here that I hate confrontation. I realize that anyone reading who knows my aunts (I have a lot of aunts on my mom’s side) probably can’t begin to imagine someone from that side of my family not liking confrontation but I hate it. I don’t like to draw attention to myself, I don’t like to create drama, I try to avoid making things awkward.
So imagine my discomfort and that of the rest of my line-standers when a woman lost her shit when Walmart wouldn’t let her exchange/return/whatever a Keurig thingy that she had.
I don’t know what the problem was. I was too far back in the line to hear the beginning of this interaction.
The first I heard of it was this woman stomping from the customer service desk to a checkout lane and saying loudly to her husband, “They won’t exchange it. Put everything back in the cart and just leave it, we are NEVER buying another thing from Walmart again.”
So there! And ha on The Walmarts, right? Because they care that one person is never, EVER going to shop there again.
Except wait! She’s not done with the service desk, thank you very much. Because see that sign behind the desk? It says, “Customer Satisfaction Guaranteed. We will make it right through refund, exchange or repair.”
This woman read that sign, OUTLOUD, at least three times in the span of five minutes, each time declaring, “I am a customer and I am NOT satisfied.”
She demanded to see a manager.
The poor customer service reps were just trying to avoid this obnoxious woman’s gaze. One of them finally murmured, “She’s calling the manager right now.”
The dissatisfied customer huffed and puffed and read the sign again in exasperation.
Whew. It must be exhausting to be that indignant.
I don’t know how it all turned out. Once I’d returned my three items and received my cash payout for having had my receipt AND my original packaging, Olivia and I were on our way. We left that delightful woman and all the awkwardness she was spewing.
I did wish the clerk who’s so kindly waited on me a nice day and good luck. She smiled and rolled her eyes.
I’m learning that there are people out there who rely on the fact that most of us have been socialized to avoid awkwardness to get their way. People like this assume that if they make people uncomfortable enough, they’ll just roll over and give in in hopes that the awkward person will just go away.
People like that are awful. I avoid them as much as I can because, yeah, awful.
When I got home and told Tom the story of the Keurig, he wondered why it wouldn’t be exchanged/refunded. He actually defended the woman’s behavior, saying he couldn’t imagine a reason that The Walmarts wouldn’t exchange it or refund her money.
I suggested that perhaps it hadn’t actually been purchased at Walmart. He conceded that I had a good point.
Having worked at a Walmart for quite a few years, Tom has experience with people like that. Since he’d been a manager, he knows that the policy is to just make the customer happy and move on.
And maybe he’s right. I mean, Walmart is a corporation that is not at risk of going out of business if they refund someone the cost of a Keurig.
But I hate the idea of giving into someone like that, if only on principle.
And no, we’ll never know the end of this story because the awkward was so thick around there, O and I had to escape to the donuts for a breath of fresh, donutty air.