Is your Idaho Walmart trying to ruin your day?

I’m not a regular Walmart customer, but this is close to home. There are also times when I need something and can at least find it at the biggest retailer in the country. There are people who claim they never go to Walmart. A former colleague used to joke that people who claimed to never watch TV or eat at McDonald’s were obvious liars. I will add that shopping at Walmart is a corollary.

Anecdotally, McDonald’s is one of my favorite places to visit and I watch a lot of TV. And I go to Walmart when it suits me.

My local store has undergone renovations and there are very few cashiers with a pulse left on the premises. Self-checkout is often a pain in the neck. I avoid it as much as I can.

A long, long time ago, I had my car’s oil changed at the store’s auto center. Wanted some fresh oil before going on vacation and got to the auto center early. I walked in and there was no one at the counter. I rang four times for help before a guy came and grunted when he asked me what I wanted. When I explained myself, he told me to queue at bay two. There are no signs that this is a new procedure. At bay two he told me there would be at least an hour wait due to sick calls. I promised to come back another day.

I was there before the opening, which was 11 minutes late. I went inside the auto center and again was told to queue at bay two. As I was walking out a Liberal from Washington State (I can tell how you voted by looking at your car and the way you dress) stopped and tried to jump the line. After a polite conversation, he moved out of my way.

After 45 minutes the job was done, but there was no cashier. Technicians are not authorized to cash customers. I was told one of them was due for a shift in three minutes. Then nothing. A technician called a cashier and no one answered. After 35 minutes I chased a guy in another department and told him I was being held hostage in the car. He phoned me and then wondered where the cashier was.

The same week, I heard that Walmart had announced big profits for the last quarter. Apparently, at my expense and on my time.

DISCOVER THEM: 100 years of Christmas toys, gifts and fashions

Wiley C. Thompson