Where Honesty Never Ends.
This shame spotlight stems from my adventures in lay-a-way at one of the local Wal-Marts.
Address: 700 Marketplace Blvd.
From December 2012
The Lulls of Lay-a-way
Man, Lay-a-way just isn’t what it used to be!
I remember when quite a few stores offered lay-a-way all year round, no matter what the product. In some places, the only exception was if it were clearance items. And in some places, you couldn’t lay-a-way the item if it was on sale.
When I was growing up, lay-a-way was my grandma’s best friend. When she didn’t have enough money to get it at the time, she would place things on lay-a-way. School supplies, school clothes, things she wanted to get me for Christmas. It was a lifesaver, and Wal-Mart was her main go to place for all of her lay-a-way needs.
Wal-Mart near my hometown holds good memories for me.
Later on, I did discover not all Wal-Marts are the same. Not all of them are open 24 hours. Not all of them were as clean as the one I was accustomed to, nor as big as the Supercenter near my hometown.
Fast forward to the present and lay-a-way began getting phased out. First, controlling which type of items one could put on lay-a-way. Then, controlling what the minimum was to put anything on lay-a-way.
Now, it has gotten to the point where not only does it have to be a certain type of item, you have to do it at a certain season and have it out by a certain period of time. Some places have taken out lay-a-way all together.
Wal-Mart has lay-a-way open from mid September to mid December on certain items. My flat screen TV played out on me a while ago, and when I saw this amazing deal on a Sony Bravia 32” TV, I didn’t want to pass it up. I was told by the guy in Electronics they had just started doing lay-a-ways, so the Sweetie and I was like, “Why not?”
We made our way down there, and they started putting in the information. I had originally started to put it in my name but remembered that I didn’t bring my purse in with me (which contained my driver’s license).
The Sweetie asked would it be a big deal if he put it in his name, provided he and I lived at the same address. The customer service representative said it would be no problem. Then, the Sweetie said I would be the main one coming in making the payments and getting the TV because of his work schedule. He inquired if that would be an issue; the customer service rep assured us it wouldn’t be; that it would be noted in the account.
That was back in September; fast forward to December 3rd. We had obtained the money to get out the TV. The Sweetie was at work.
Since I was closer to there from my day job than I was from the house, I decided to go straight to Wal-Mart, rather than drive to my house to get the receipt to drive back out. Plus, since they told me it would be fine, I didn’t get too worried.
When I get there, there were five people ahead of me. There was only one person back there, and he only knew how to do Site To Store. He didn’t know how to do layaway, but I didn’t know that until after I had waited 30 minutes for service. I had to get back in line.
Another female came up who knew how to do layaway. He asked her to help him with the line. She acted like she didn’t want to be bothered because she started to walk away but then she stayed to help. I had to wait another 10 minutes because she had to help the other guy find someone else’s Site to Store Products.
So I get to the counter. She asked to see my license. She says she doesn’t see my name in there; I let her know that it’s under the Sweetie’s name (I give the name) and I verify the address.
She proceeds to tell me I can’t get the layaway.
I told her I could understand if the addresses are different but they are the same. Then, she calls the supervisor and then the supervisor says I can’t get it.
That’s when I started to lose my patience, and I requested that the supervisor come to layaway. The supervisor overheard on the walkie talkie and then started asking how much was left on the layaway. I guess since the supervisor didn’t feel like coming to layaway (more like she didn’t feel like dealing face to face with a very aggravated customer), she told the lady to let me get the layaway. I make the payment and then wait.
Ten minutes go by; they come out and asked me what type of TV it is. I tell them it’s a Sony 32″. Then, they ask me if I was sure. I said I was sure. Then, they ask me if I was sure it wasn’t an Emerson. Then, I show them the receipt they printed out that said Sony 32″.
As the lady and the helper went to the back, I heard one whisper that they thought they may have given the 32″ Sony to another person when they should have given the Emerson because the Sony wasn’t back there.
Finally, they decided to get someone from electronics to grab me another TV because they “couldn’t find” the one back in the layaway section.
I’ve had layaways at Wal-Mart before. Not this particular one, but at others. This is the WORST Wal-Mart experience I have ever had! I will never have a layaway at this particular location again. Over an hour just to get a TV! So disorganized and not customer friendly at all!
1. During the Christmas season when Lay-a-way opens back up, they should always have a Lay-a-way person back there. The way it is set up now, you have to page someone to come help you, and sometimes you are there waiting up to 20 minutes for help.
2. Cross training on Site to Store and Lay-a-way. That way, in case the man wasn’t able to get help, he still would have known how to assist with Lay-a-way.
3. Correct information regarding lay-a-way policy. I was told I wouldn’t have any issues with payment or picking up the package, provided I was living at the same address and was able to verify information. Even though I did that, right down to the phone number used, I was given a hard time just trying to get the lay-a-way out.
4. Don’t give away someone else’s lay-a-way. I know they probably didn’t say it directly to me because they sensed I was already agitated. However, if I hadn’t hit that plateau of agitation, I would have appreciated someone directly telling me they had given my TV to someone else rather than their comment being, “We can’t seem to find the TV.” How can you lose a 32” TV in a white box?
5. Don’t wait until a situation escalates to satisfy the customer. I should not have had to demand to see the supervisor for the supervisor to yield.
Yes, my story had a happy ending (I have my TV and it is working beautifully!).
Someone else’s did as well—the person who originally put an Emerson on lay-a-way and got my original TV instead.
Come on! You really think they are going to say, “Hey, by the way, you gave me a Sony instead of an Emerson!” The other way around, most definitely, but not if you’re getting better for cheaper.
I think Wal-Mart should change their slogan from “Save Money, Live Better” to “Save Aggravation, Don’t Give Away the Wrong Lay-a-Way.”
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