Monday, March 31, 2008


As part of my job description, it is up to me to keep the office well-stocked. We provide quite a bit of food for the employees, more than most companies. This is partly because of the nature of the deadline-driven business (sometimes there is a rush project due), and partly because the boss thinks that happy employees are good employees. She is probably right. But I am always struck by the insane difference in the way I shop for my family, and the way I shop for work. With my family groceries, I have limits, I buy store brand, I try alternatives even if they don’t always work out (like Equate’s “Vaseline intensive care” lotion is not the same as the real stuff, which happens to be my favorite). And I think most importantly, I am not afraid to put stuff back. But when I shop for work, it’s almost like all bets are off. I have been chastised for not buying the brand name of things. I buy a LOT of candy. I try to substitute where I think it won’t be noticed, but when I screw up and get something bad, I hear about it. Boy, do I hear about it. From everyone. And their mother. And some things do make more sense in an office situation. For example, I buy the nice, thick, “select-a-size” paper towels for work, because most of the time, it only takes a little paper towel to do the trick. I think we save resources this way. These towels happen to be more expensive. At home, we buy whatever is cheapest. And rip them in half if we need to. I almost never buy processed foods for my house. The most we do is $5 of chips every two weeks. And I would get rid of that expense if I could. But at work, the foods we buy are based on time. Cup-o-noodles and easy mac. Anything to get the worker-bees back to work sooner. A lot of the foods are also snack-related. Again, not something we buy a lot of at home. I am also probably a little more liberal buying for work than I am buying for my home. At home, I have to weigh stocking up vs overall price. At work, I have to make sure that 25 people don’t burn through all the toilet paper before I get back to the store (there has only been one toilet paper related emergency so far).
I have also learned and observed some interesting people behaviors. If it is out, it will be consumed. Be this crackers or plastic cups, if there seems to be a finite supply, it will disappear. Since I started putting the stash of cups in the cupboard, the stack on the water cooler disappears much slower. I guess I am guilty of this myself sometimes, but usually when it is the last cookie, because Alann is a cookie hound! I eat it, but not because I want it right then, just because I wanted one out of the whole package.
On a related note, I hate Wal-Mart. I shop there for the usually decent prices on certain items, but I hate the experience as a whole. I had to return a bottle of lotion because the lid was broken. It was a pump, and when you pumped it, lotion squirted out everywhere. I went to a different wal-mart than I bought it at, and somewhere between the car and the return desk, lost my receipt. I think it must have blown out of my purse. It was rather windy. So first off, the greeter totally ignores me for about 2 minutes, even though I said hello and that I needed to return something. Then I go to get the replacement lotion. I just want an exchange. The only lotions of the same size and type have a “freebie” attached. Sweet I think. Free stuff. I like free stuff. I go to the return line. I stand in line. For 10 minutes. (Had I just returned it, I would have been helped almost immediately.) At this point of standing in line, I realize that my receipt is missing. I get helped by a VERY unfriendly man. He asks for my receipt, I tell him what happened. He is mean to me. Then he asks if I have the little freebie package. I tell him no, I didn’t buy one with it. He pulls the freebie off. I said “look sir, I am not trying to steal it, I bought it at a different wal-mart and it didn’t come with it.” He looks at me as if I am not only trying to steal his two-ounce bottle of lotion, but now I am lying about it too. If I had known it would be such an issue, I would have removed the freebie and stuck it in my purse. Then I ask for a receipt to prove the exchange because I need to shop a little too and don’t want to be accused of stealing the darn thing. He says that he can’t give me a receipt because I didn’t have one to start with. Um, what?? By the time I was done with him, I honestly wanted to cry. He made me feel about 2 feet tall. I am sure that they deal with a lot of people who are trying to steal things or get away with more than they should. I am not one of them. It is a bad customer service policy to treat every customer as a thief. So I shopped, and then stood in line. For 20 minutes.

Sigh. I hate wal-mart. Next time, I am going to super-target.

1 comment:

Teene said...

I had that happen to me one time. I don't remember why I didn't have the receipt. But Heidi broke the new coffee machine and then asked me to exchange it. The new one came with extra stuff. They let me keep the extra stuff. Then they tried to give me duplicates of stuff we already had. Weird. Shopping at Walmart is awful I agree.