After I had tried to upload another group of pictures to my Wal-Mart photo album this past Wednesday, like I had done for almost two years, and found out they no longer accept them and then allow me to pay for them when I get to the actual store, I closed my account. Or rather, I should say I attempted to close out my account.
I deleted all my online photos and albums that held them and then clicked on the link to cancel my account. The next day, I got a nice little e-mail from somebody named "Monique" saying that she was sorry I had troubles and which order was it that I wanted to cancel? I had clearly stated, with simple English words, my desire to end my account with them, not cancel an order. I couldn't make an order any longer, so how could I have one that needed cancelling? I wrote back to "Monique" and politely told her that maybe this was the reason why more and more people were refusing to shop at Wal-Mart any longer. I mean, it was her department and she didn't even know the difference between "cancel an account" and "cancel an order." As consumers, we don't have to take this.
So, what happens after the whole incident? Today, Saturday, at noon exactly, I get a call from a pleasant-sounding man, who spoke perfect English because he was an American, and who also sounded like more than just a phone-operating schlep. This guy was pretty far up the management chain, let me tell you. He didn't give me his name, but he did ask to make sure it was my account that I wanted to close and he said it would be done. At the end of the telephone conversation, he asked if there was anything else and I said yes. I told him, politely and in a soft voice, (I have laryngitis and can hardly speak very loud), the reason why I had to close my account, being because of their new policy to not accept cash. He apologised for this saying that it was because there had been some orders that people had made and then not picked up. And then he said, "and other reasons, too." He didn't explain exactly what those other reasons could have been. What other reasons can there be? I would like to get some debate going on this issue, so if any of my good readers can think of any other possible reasons, please leave a comment for me.
After he told me about their policy of having to stop accepting cash for online photo orders, I told him that Wal-Mart had just reduced their selection of items to buy that, in the process, they stopped carrying those things I used to purchase. With hardly anything left on their shelves that I would need to buy, I no longer had any reason to shop with them any more. And, it's true. I won't be setting foot inside a Wal-Mart store any more.
Here's what I will be giving up, but I guess I'll just have to adjust to living without these wonderful conveniences:
The joy of waiting in one checkout line behind twenty other customers because they won't open any of the other 19 checkout lines in the middle of a busy day.
I won't have to worry about getting my layaway out on time anymore - they no longer offer layaways.
The thrill of being treated like a criminal as I walk out the door when "the man" asks you to stop so he can see your receipt.
All the great exercise I used to get trying to track down somebody that worked in the store, someone who wasn't stocking the shelf where I was trying to look, or who wasn't on break, or who wasn't the one person at the only checkout line up front.
The pleasures of playing "treasure hunt" every time I went to the same Wal-Mart, because they constantly keep moving everything to a different location.
The pleasant conversations with any employee I could actually find when asking about a certain product which every employee seems to know nothing about.
The surprise and wonderment of always finding that the item I bought last month is no longer carried, but two other brands of the same item are.
The fun of trying to return that item I bought last month because it stopped working and being told I can't exchange it for an identical working model because they stopped carrying it.
The exhiliration of being told that the item I want, (hightop tennis shoes, headphones, cd cases, economy-size bottle of baby shampoo, non-slimline jewel boxes, blank vhs tapes, blank high-quality cassette tapes, Christmas cards with "Christ" -ian themes, blank journals, 100 speed film for my cameras, my favorite brand of breakfast cereal, any article of clothing not made for a 14-year old, a pair of jeans that will last more than one washing and not rip out, etc.) is something that nobody else in the world wants so that's why they have stopped selling them at Wal-Mart.
All the time I will save looking through their music department because it's pointless - they don't sell any group I'd want to hear anyway.
Having to wind my way through the group of Mexicans out front waiting to be picked up for work.
And lastly, all the "beautiful people" that seem to populate Wal-Marts in this day and age.
How will I ever live without Wal-Mart?