Monday, May 21, 2012

I hate you! No, I love you! My Recent Trip to Walmart...

Yesterday, I received a shout-out on Lisa Gradess-Weinstein's blog, The Mixed Up Brains of Lisa Weinstein, and that, along with the Kreativ Blogger Award and the Liebster Award, has made me think a lot about recognition. I will have more posts about this in the future and some of you will like what I have to say and some of you may blast me for it, but for today, I want to say thank you to her (hugs, girl!) and pass along my shout-out... to a Walmart employee.

I seriously doubt that "Ian" has a blog, but by golly, I'm in a public forum with my cyber-megaphone and he deserves this shout-out, so he's getting it.

Ian, if you are out there and you have any friend who reads my blog, I hope they will send you this link. Let me tell you how I feel about Walmart and how you changed my view, if only just for one visit.

Walmart makes me cry. I loathe Walmart. Wait, that's not accurate. I love Walmart - until I get to the checkout line. Here's my routine:

The Plan Before:
  1. Go in with a list of 10 items.
  2. Proposed time-frame for shopping is one half hour.
  3. Plan to spend around $60.
  4. Go home and be happy.
The Reality After:
  1. Bought 80 items, most of which were loosely on the list in a category, and ten of which were impulse buys, "I didn't know THIS existed!"
  2. Shopped for two hours, my feet are killing me, and I'm ready to cry already from exhaustion and the realization that I've wasted half my day.
  3. Spent $200 and can't possibly have her put $140 worth back for me and hey, I need this stuff. Then, try to figure out right there in the checkout line what I can cut out of the budget this week (gas or electricity?) so the trip doesn't bust my bank account.
  4. Go home beat up and depressed, filled with regret and self-loathing, thinking, "How could I have done this AGAIN?"
You get my drift. I do it over and over, several times a month. It's torture.

By the time I get to the checkout, I have a mixed sense of fear/wonder about what kind of checker I will get; slow, chatty, not chatty enough, rude, poor bagger, etc. As a result, if I don't have too much, I hit the self-checkout. Ian, this is where you come in.

Every time I use the self-checkout, two things happen. First, it tells me repeatedly to put things in the bagging area when I already am doing just that, and second, it locks me out and I have to get The Overseer to come help me. I don't know what self-checkout-counter-line-helper-guy's real title is, so for now, he's "The Overseer." It's usually a woman who could not seem less thrilled to be anywhere but there, helping anyone but me, and who parks herself behind that counter and doesn't budge unless absolutely necessary.

Ah, but today was different. Ian was working and I swear, Ian has magic Walmart pixie dust. I checked my items without it frustrating me even one time, and instead of me having to say, "Excuse me, I need some help here," I was interrupted by Ian approaching me and asking me if everything was going okay. I was so shocked that I thought maybe he thought I was stealing and he was approaching me for a shake-down, but then I realized that he was just... just... being polite!

I could scarcely believe it! I observed Ian as I continued checking myself out. He walked around and checked with each customer to see if they needed any assistance. Then when he saw that everyone was taken care of, he went back around and asked if people would like to donate to the Children's Miracle Network. As I exited the area, he thanked me for shopping with them and bid me a wonderful day. I eyed his name tag carefully, for these acts would not go unreported.

I had only spent about $100, hadn't shopped until I dropped, and was sprinkled with fairy dust by Ian of the Vandalia, IL Walmart and I had to tell somebody about it! I looked around. Line manager, busy. Customer Service counter, huge line. So I came home and got right on Walmart's site and found a way to contact Corporate to compliment this man for going above and beyond the call of duty.

Ian, because of you, I left Walmart without a tear in my eye, without a cloud of depression, and instead with a spring in my step. All because you made a difference in the end-user experience. My husband hates the self-checkouts because he says they take away jobs from real people, but no machine can replace an Ian. My hat is off to you, sir! You have done your job well. I told Walmart to give you something - recognition, a raise, or a promotion - and I truly hope you get it.

Tell me, Everyday Underwear followers, who have you recognized lately?


  1. Isn't it amazing how a simple act of courtesy can make such a huge difference in our day . . . our lives?!   Yea! for all the Ians of the world :)  

  2. Yes, it is amazing. We do need more Ians!

  3. Cindy, first of all, your post is hysterical!  We are the exact same way with Walmart, and Target, and the supermarket.  In fact we stopped into the Supermarket on Saturday night for one thing - a loaf of bread.  $98 dollars later, we walked out the door.  I can't even tell you what we purchased!  Way to go Ian for making you have a great day!!!

  4. Once again, I'm glad I'm not alone...

  5. I don't like Walmart either, but you're right.  This Ian deserves a shout out. 
    Walmart is a form of torture, but when you meet up with a decent soul, an employee, it kinda makes your day ;-)  

  6. Maybe there is a Walmart room in hell, where you wander around for eternity looking for the salvation aisle, LOL!

  7. I love that you did this. I do this kind of thing whenever I can. It is so easy to complain, but very rarely do people compliment. Not only does Ian need to be do you. Yay you for going above & beyond, & giving credit where credit is due.

    1. That's so true. Our society is not becoming nicer as a whole, but the opposite. I would like to see it turn the other way and it sometimes takes effort people don't feel they have time for. He was going above and beyond, so it made me want to do the same. Thanks for the comment, I sure appreciate it!

  8. This is hysterical and so right on. In these times, plain old courtesy is hard to come by in retail, and when we run across it, we view it with suspicion. Thanks for posting this for Ian and all the other folks who go a little out of their way for customers.
    When the checker looks at my list of 3 items after she has rung up 4 large bags stuffed full and asks me if I found everything, I have to suck in the sneer before it leaves my face. Yup, I did, thanks, plus...
    Thanks for the afternoon laugh.

  9. Wow, that's my second "hysterical"! You have obviously shopped at Walmart. Thanks for stopping by my blog, Diane!

  10. Yay for Ian. I love truly nice and helpful people.

  11. Last Christmas, we discovered that the stand for our artificial tree had gotten lost in our move. A woman at Home Depot went out of her way to find one for us, just days before Christmas. I called the manager and let him know how wonderful her customer service was. Paying it forward is never a bad thing.

  12. They get harder and harder to find, don't they?

  13. Did you ever see that movie, Pay It Forward. I have loved that concept since then...

  14. Whenever I attempt to use self-checkout, it seems like all the plastic bags have been glued together... so I'm standing there, shaking, trying to find the split where I can separate the dang bag... and I'm pretty sure every single person in the store has stopped to watch my struggle and wondering why I just didn't go to the regular checkout to begin with... *shame*  The world totally needs more Ians!

  15. I like the challenge of the self checkout. I am happy you found someone helpful! Some days, I can't seem to do anything right. Other days, I get on okay. Sometimes, I think it isn't my fault... it's that danged machine! I found this post because of SheWrites - thanks for sharing.

  16. Okay, first of all, I have to say that I have never, ever, been inside a Walmart. I've driven through the parking lot of a Walmart, but I've never shopped there. At first it was because there wasn't one near me, then it became a "thing." I'm not going to say that I'll never go in one because you know what happens when you say "never."

    Second, isn't it awesome to get great customer service especially when you don't expect it? Something I've realized is that it's so much nicer (and certainly more effective) to praise good service than it is to complain about bad. When I focus on my good experiences, I usually have more of them. :-)

  17. To answer your question: the person I recognized lately was probably YOU, for inspiring a recent post of my own! 
    (I promise, there's a shout out and linky-dink to your blog at the bottom)

    Now I also have to say that while reading the beginning of this, I thought perhaps you were spying on my during my own trips to Walmart!  A highlight for me is if I somehow in that basket-full of things I had no intention to getting, are the actual items I went in for in the first place.  I can't begin to count the number of times I came out having spent far too much money only to realize I forgot the thing I actually needed!

  18. Actually Ms Underwear I DO have a similar story. I recently went to a body shop to inquire about a minor issue with my car. Expecting Mr. Grease to come out and grumble, scribbling something on a dirty note pad I was both wrong - and happily surprised.

    Brian is the manager and after I spoke with the woman up front, Brian came out, shook my hand and introduced himself. Wow........

    We went outside and he looked at my problem and we discussed a bit and then quoted me the very MOST it would be. Impressive......let's see how honest.

    I came back at my appointment time and all my paperwork was ready, Brian shook my hand again and assured me it would be fixed on time and likely less than he quoted. Another wow........

    An hour earlier than I expected I was called - the car was ready and the price was some $17 less than the most it could have been. Yet another wow....

    I picked up the car and it looked exactly as he said it would. Brian had gone for the day but the Assistant Manager was there........same thing.......introductions, a handshake and a walk out with me to ensure all was as it should be.

    I thanked him profusely and expressed my gratitude to everyone for such a pleasant experience - well as pleasant as it could be.

    Good blog Ms U - shows there ARE those that can make our day when we least expect it.

  19. I'm there with you - although twice, while I was traveling, it was THE only game in town, so there I was. Would prefer to patronize a mom-and-pop, though I admit, I do shop at Target.

    Still, it is lovely lovely to get such good service - thanks for sharing your story, Cindy!

  20. Oh wow, how often do you get an earnest handshake anymore? That is very impressive! And so nice of you to express your feelings about the visit. Today, my mom and I went to lunch and got our favorite waitress. My mom told her she thought she was the best waitress in the world and she got very choked up. She said, "I needed to hear that today. I guess I didn't realize how badly I needed to hear that today. Sometimes I just feel like I'm letting everyone down."

    Words can have great impact. I wish more people would use them in a positive way.

    Thanks for sharing your story as well!

  21. Thanks so much for the shout-out. I left a comment for you and hope to inspire you and others in the future.

    P.S. I have also forgotten the one item I went to the store for in the first place. You are not alone, not by a long shot!

  22. Oh. My. Goodness. Never?! You deserve some kind of medal.

    Focus on good = more good. I agree! That's a philosophy I struggle to follow.

  23. If I don't shop at Walmart, there is not much choice here. Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Aldi's... and I would have to hit all three to get everything I need and then I'd still have to get something they only have at Walmart. But the shopping stinks here - small town rural hell.

  24. Frustrating, isn't it? I couldn't believe I got through a whole transaction with no errors. I was shocked. And I'm pretty machine/computer savvy!

  25. You know what I hate? I hate it when I'm done and it tells me to look in my cart for additional items. I always wonder if it can "see" what the heck I'm doing. Am I stealing something? I wasn't aware of that! And if you have a lot of bags and put them to the side instead of back in the cart, it makes you feel like a criminal and tries to make you bag the item, but it's your dang bags and they're already bagged. It is a challenge. But I'm up to it. The separation of bags has not overtaken me yet. I AM BAG-MASTER!

  26. That is great! Good for you for making that call. People are often too busy to compliment others. It takes effort and you put that effort forward - yay!

  27. What a great "moral" to the story!

  28. Kindness and consideration and a job well done - spread the word about this Ian!

  29. Yes, yes I love that you put in a good word for him.  I've done the same because politeness seems to have been eliminated from most corners of suburbia ... and when someone issues it (politeness), I nearly become a puddle of quivering gratitude.

  30. Common courtesy is rare and it's such a shame. Thanks for stopping by my blog ;0)

  31. I am very glad that you put in a good word for Ian. Walmart will be less likely to fire him now, for taking a bathroom break without his supervisor's permission.

    I'm with your husband on hating self-checkout, not only for his reason, but also because the gosh darn things aren't user friendly and seldom work right. 

  32. Yes, I hope Ian gets recognized by Wal-Mart - he sure deserves it.