And That’s Why Publix Greatly Trumps Walmart

Monday marked the passing of eight years since Thing One and Thing Two made their appearance in the world. We don’t really do the whole birthday celebration thing, but we do acknowledge it. We allowed the twins to choose what we were having for dinner and since what they wanted wasn’t readily on hand, I took a trip to the store.

After I left work, I went to Walmart for the first time in months. And then I was reminded at every turn why I had not shopped there in so long. Outside of the standard tom foolery of a grown woman riding in a shopping cart that was being pushed by her boyfriend, the cashier I had was especially terrible. I went to the express lane thinking that since I only had a few items and there was just one person in front of me with a few items, that I could get out of the store fairly quickly. Oh, how misguided my thinking was. The woman in front of me peeled a coupon off of a package of cheese she was purchasing and handed it to the cashier, which she scanned. The register beeped back at her, displaying a message stating that the coupon was invalid. “It says it’s not valid,” she told the customer. Then she scanned it again. And it beeped again. “It says it’s not valid,” she told the customer again. And she went through the exact same sequence of events three more times. “It says it’s not valid.” Again. I’m not making this stuff up, people.

Finally, she put on her blinking light and a manager came over. This guy was every bit of seven feet tall and three hundred pounds, with a bald head and a goatee. Not to stereotype anyone who happens to fit that description, but he looked more like a parole officer than a manager. He came over and scanned the coupon himself, and received the same response from the register that the cashier received. And then he turned to the customer and told her the exact same thing that the cashier had: “It says it’s not valid”. This is one of the biggest reasons why I laugh every time I hear a commercial on the radio urging people to “take the Walmart Challenge” and see how much money you save instead of shopping at Publix. Walmart, you will never be Publix. At Publix, the cashier would have seen that the coupon was indeed valid and been able to enter it manually. The Walmart Challenge requires its own separate blog post, though.

The customer told the cashier that she didn’t want the cheese if she couldn’t use the coupon on it. No big deal, right? Wrong. The heifer behind the register made a point of tossing the cheese into the cart behind her, and then proceeded to pop her gum loudly as she finished the transaction. After the receipt printed, she snatched it out of the machine and waived it impatiently in front her the customer’s face until she looked up from her purse to grab it. Said customer then walked away without receiving so much as a “Have a nice day”, or “Thank you for shopping at Walmart”.

Some people believe that being paid a low wage justifies crappy work effort, but I beg to differ. My grandfather always taught me that I should put my best effort forth in whatever I do, whether I am the CEO of a fortune 500 company, or a janitor who cleans the bathrooms of that company. And with that experience, I will let many more months pass before I set foot in Walmart again (if I do ever again). Sam Walton started the establishment with the goal in mind of great customer service and great value. To steal a line from Huggie Lowdown, Mr. Walton would be turning in his grave like a rotisserie chicken if he could see the state of Walmart today.

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