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An Unanswered Letter to Wal-Mart (pt. 2)

Christopher L. Jorgensen
P.O. Box 546
Ames, IA 50010

May 3, 2008

Jeramie Stroud
c/o Wal-Mart
534 South Duff Ave.
Ames, Iowa, 50010

Dear Mr. Stroud,

When a customer takes the time to write, you know your store has either done something very well, or very poorly. You can usually tell by the length of the letter, as happy people probably tend to be more pithy than I will be.

I am including my receipt so you can more easily verify the veracity of this letter.

I came into your store around 9 tonight with the intention of buying some socks, shoes, and envelopes. I browsed for a while, but wasn’t interested in buying anything else.

The checkouts were fairly busy with moderate lines at each. I decided to use your “Speedy Checkouts.” Now, most people consider me to be a patient person, but that wait in line was unacceptable. Neither of the two open “Speedy” lanes were moving. The lane to my right had a woman customer standing there waiting for a manager to bring the cashier a pen to verify her bill wasn’t counterfeit. Initially, I felt sorry for this woman, because she was having to wait so long. But after some time I realized my lane wasn’t moving either.

The checker waiting for the counterfeit pen actually eventually asked a customer to look on other registers for a pen for her to use. I joined in the search as well, since I knew what they looked like, and anything to get a line moving! No pen on any close by register.

Over and over I heard one checker ask another to “hit 224,” which I assume is meant to get a manager’s attention. I think you need a better system here. I want to say it was a 15 minute wait for a manager to show up, but maybe less, since I was angry by this point. At least three times a manager was called.

The line I was in had a checker that couldn’t figure out how to ring in produce, while it seemed the checker waiting for the above pen knew how to do what he needed, since she kept trying to help him while she was waiting for a manager.

Eventually the waiting woman got tired of waiting, and asked to change her payment type, but was told that since it had already been rang through, a post-void would have to be done. So the woman made exact change, and took back her $50, so the checker could once again start ringing people through. Finally, progress! But, in the worst customer service ever department, the checker had that woman waiting to have her bill verified while she once again started ringing people up.

Eventually, the “Customer Service Manager” arrived, helped the man get his produce rang, and started to walk away. This is when I started telling her that the wait had been unacceptable. I am unsure if I hadn’t started yelling at her if she’d even have taken a register! I don’t even remember what I said, but I know it wasn’t anything the other 25 people waiting weren’t thinking.

Anyway, it should be easy to go through the two open register’s receipts of the registers right behind the one I was rang through on, and see exactly how long the delay in sales was. If it wasn’t at least 10 minutes, tear up this letter and write me off as a jackass.

The saddest part of this story is that the woman with the potentially counterfeit bill was still waiting as I was leaving the store.

You really need to rename those checkouts, and if the best a customer can expect from a Customer Service Manager is a meek, “sorry,” rename that position as well. Please consider adding some self checkouts, some employees with a modicum of discretion, and some managers that can be Johnny-on-the-spot when needed.


Christopher L. Jorgensen


Have a comment? Put a stamp on an envelope and drop it in the mail to:

Christopher L. Jorgensen
PO Box 546
Ames, IA 50010

Be sure to mention what letter your comment applies to. Adding some cash with your correspondence is a good thing. You can email me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) if you must.

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