Saturday, March 07, 2009

Wal-Mart Experience

I appreciate the opportunity to address my “store experience” of today, Saturday, March 7, 2009. I shopped at Store #1319. I regret that your online survey disallowed comments, but, after searching through your website maze, I found this means to express myself.

I am skeptical that change will arise from these remarks. At least, I may vent by this means. I am a lowly customer, who, by sheer practicality, may continue to shop, less often, at Wal-Mart, since few similar options are available conveniently. (Oh, a Target is nearby. Perhaps, I will shop there more often.) I am one of many, who shop at Wal-Mart, but who desire other options. (The Lowes employee, who assured me by phone earlier that Lowes stocks my bulbs, shared a similar view.) Unfortunately, you have eliminated much of the competition. My skepticism arises from my opinion that your concern, as a "retail giant," for one customer is lost in the larger world of number-crunching profitability.

The crux of my “experience” is that I am extremely frustrated by key items being unavailable, while being surrounded by a million products. It is not ironic? Interestingly, I interacted with two other shoppers, who also sought products that were not available.

Now, to the specifics of my “experience,” despite buying other items, the primary intent of my shopping was to purchase (1) four 21-inch florescent bulbs (better stock up, since they are rarely available!), (2) black, blue, red, and yellow ink cartridges for my Brother MFC-420CN, and (3) Pantene Curls mousse (for my wife). Of course, these items were not available. I would have spent almost $100.00 more. That is $100.00 in your debt column and one frustrated shopper in your credit column—hardly a winning balance sheet for Wal-Mart.

I am not one who gives up, walks out, and returns another day, in hope of finding these items. Instead, I extracted my pound of flesh from your polite and understanding management. Gregg was very helpful, as he inquired from others, regarding the availability of the bulbs and cartridges. By his assistance, I learned that Wal-Mart darn well has no intent to ever stock the 21-inch florescent bulbs. Why? I don’t know, nor does he. The fixture is only five years old. 21-inch bulbs should have their rightful place, between the 18-inch and 24-inch selections. (Is Wal-Mart prejudiced against 21-inch bulbs? Alas, I jest!)

Again, from Gregg’s inquiries, I learned that Wal-Mart no longer sells Brother printers; hence, I understand why the store will not continue to carry the cartridges. (Sorry, Brother. You must not have jumped through all the hoops to have your products placed on the coveted Wal-Mart shelves.) The lingering question, however, is: Why can I find black, red, and yellow cartridges at Store #2310 and find only red cartridges at Store #1319, but I can’t find the necessary blue cartridge at either store? (Is Wal-Mart prejudiced against blue? Is that not one of your store colors? But, again, I jest!)

What is my solution? Well, I found the mousse at CVS, buying two bottles at $4.49 each. Lowes has my 21-inch bulbs at $5.98 each. (I plan to buy four.) Office Max has all four of my cartridges, at a total cost of $63.98. I will shop more at Target, Dollar General, CVS, Office Max, and Lowes.

What is your loss? $96.88 in sales. What is your “gain?” One disgruntled customer, who will share his experience with others. Yes, this little article is posted on my blog! It is in expanded form, without your restriction on the number of characters.

What is your solution? Let’s see if you respond. I will not hold my breath.

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