Yes, I'm back. Even if no one else reads this, I may as well write for my own amusement. And who knows, some poor soul might Google "Wal Mart customer service" and find me. (Customer service? At Wal-Mart? Try the Urban Legends website).
Anyway, much has happened, but let's get this one gripe out of the way.
We needed1 a new portable DVD player before our most recent trip to the inlaws, so I threw caution to the wind and went to Wal-Mart. Not only did they have exactly what I wanted, but it was on sale, about $8 off the regular price. So it's all good, right? I had to buy a few other things while I was there, and I paid for all of my purchases in Electronics and headed out the door. Which dinged at me. Okay, they forgot to scan the thing as purchased, no big deal, show the lady my receipt and I can go home. But when I get it out, I realize that I was charged the regular price, not the sale price, for the DVD player (yes, I should have been paying attention). Suddenly I wonder… is WM one of those stores that give you the item free if it's priced incorrectly? Could I be so lucky?
I make my way to the Service Desk and examine all of the posted policies. There is absolutely nothing in writing about pricing errors. So I ask the CS Dude: "What's your policy on items that ring up at the wrong price?"
CS Dude: "Um."
Me: "This DVD player was marked down, and I was charged the regular price. I didn't notice until I'd already paid."
CS Dude. "Okay, I'll have to check the price." He sends someone back to check the advertised price. I know when she finds it, because she pages him and then calls him on the phone. He ignores her and waits on two more customers. She comes back and says, somewhat annoyed, "I called you!" He says "I had people here!" Sure, Dude. Two people, both of whom came up while I was standing here waiting on that price check. There's no reason you couldn't answer her page and help the customer who was here first.
Whatever. CS Dude has the correct price now, so it's still all good, and he starts punching at the cash register. "I'm just going to give you a refund and then re-sell it to you at the new price." But there's a problem. From what I can tell, the computer does not show that the DVD player was purchased, so it will not let him issue a refund. "It must be because you just bought it, and it's not in the system yet." Yeah, or it could be because the guy in Electronics forgot to tell the computer I bought it (which is why the door dinged at me when I tried to leave the store with it). He calls a higher authority; CS Gal. CS Gal punches at the cash register, then says to CS Dude, "It won't go through. It's not in the computer yet."
Okay. I wait for them to tell me what to do next. They do not. In fact, they just kind of stand there uselessly. So I ask CS Dude, "So what do you propose we do here?"
CS Dude turns to CS Gal. "What do we propose?"
CS Gal: "Just2 come back tomorrow. It will be in the system by then."
Me: "That won't work. I'm going out of town tomorrow and I won't be back for a week. By the time I get back, they will have changed that sign and it won't be advertising a lower price, and you'll tell me I was charged the correct price and won't give me a refund."
CS Gal does not dispute this scenario, which I find interesting. CS Dude valiantly takes charge and writes the correct price on the back of my receipt, along with his name. "When you come back, tell them I said this is the price you were supposed to be charged. Also, when you get your refund, you'll get a little extra back in addition to the amount you were overcharged."
Okay. "A little extra" is not as exciting as "if we misprice an item, you get it free!" but it's not a slap in the face either.
So, a week later, I'm back at WM. I visit the Service Desk with my receipt and get my refund. For the exact amount I was overcharged. "Um… the guy I talked to last week said I'd get back an extra amount, in addition to the amount I was overcharged."
"Well, he should have written that on your receipt. I don't know anything about that."
All right, Miss Snippy Pants. I'll take my 8 bucks and get out of your hair. But later, as I'm paying for my groceries in that very same store, I see the notice at the cash register. If you are overcharged for an item, you'll get back $3 plus the difference. No, $3 is not enough to encourage me to go back to the "Service" Desk. But really, is it too much to ask if I expect the "Customer Service" desk to know this policy? And to, perhaps, have it posted back there?
1 Yes, needed. Don't give me that "Ooooh, we never need electronic entertainment in the car; we just talk to each other and play games!" crap.
2 I really hate it when people say "just," as though it magically makes things easier. The fact that you say "just do this" does not minimize my inconvenience. Why don't you just go get a real job, okay?