Wednesday, March 11, 2009

walmart is the new zellers

Two in a row now bad experiences at wal-mart. Which is strange as for so many years it was so consistent there. Busy, low prices, fast checkout.

I've noticed the last month or so it seems a lot less busy there in Bayers Lake. You can actually walk around there a bit at times and even get some parking less than 100m from the door. Prices have gone up somewhat and it's not sensationally lower like it was when they first burst onto the scene in Halifax around 15 years ago. I think surviving competitors have become leaner and got their prices down some to close the gap. And wal-mart has probably allowed their own prices to come up a bit also to narrow the gap.

The second to last time there I bought one item that came to $5.59 with taxes. I gave the cashier a five and a toonie and walked off with my 41 cents change. Of course I noticed as I left that's wrong, it's supposed to be $1.41. I turned my head back to see if the cashier had taken another customer, it was the express line. Strangely her post was actually abandoned as if I'd never been there, seemingly she had gone on break after me, apparently with my $1 as a tip. I guess wrong change happens sometimes in both directions but I don't recall it ever happening at wal-mart. It was a part of their seeming ruthless efficiency in a way.

And more trouble the last time I was there. Again I stopped in for one quick item. I get to the single line multi cash and the whole line is wrapped around as there are only two cashiers on. So I find a traditional one cashier line with only two people with regular size orders in it. And I wait, and wait. There was some problem with the first person in the line. He had some stainless steel kettle. Unfortunately he brought it to the front with no tags or anything on it [welcome to Zellers c. 1982]. The cashier calls housewares and there's some lengthy delay getting the price on the item [welcome to Zellers].

This goes on for like 10 minutes or more, still on the first customer. Then the cashier announces that she's on break now and closed! Everyone behind the first guy in the line is to blame since she claimed her light wasn't on so it's our fault. hmmm. Me and the lady behind me in line walked away shaking our heads and muttering. If you were closed why would you wait 10 minutes to tell the people still standing in the lineup that you were closed.

Also it is standard to put a "closed" marker at the end of the merchandise conveyer when you are closed. At least the zellers cashiers bother to do that much.

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