Website Review:

I made the mistake recently of needing a couple of items from the store and being near a Wal-Mart at the same time. I’m not a frequent patron of “Wally World” for the same reason I tend to avoid hitting myself in the head with a hammer. Though I do understand they’re having a great price on hardware.

The store I visited happened to be one of the so-called Super Wal-Marts, so the experience was unpleasant in the superlative. All I needed was a bottle of acetaminophen, to treat some back pain I’ve had lately, and an electronic nose hair trimmer, to treat the fact that I’m 55. I arrived during the late morning so the crowds weren’t bad and the parking was easy.

I gave the greeter who welcomed me only a casual nod at first, until I caught a glimpse of the vast interior and figured I needed the help of a Sherpa. Where in the mountain of merchandise that sprawled before me might I find the two things I was looking for? Make a left, he said, and walk till you can walk no further, then you’ll see the pharmacy area on the right, just below a row of Hindu prayer flags.

Even the health and beauty section by itself was immense. A pharmacist worked in the distance; maybe he’d spare me an Adderall to get a little focus. The other option would be to consult one of the locals stocking the shelves. In either case, someone was going to have a fixed stare, and I guessed I’d rather it be them.

Sheila tried to be helpful in leading me to the right spot, but that turned out to be an empty display case with pictures of electric razors across the top. She explained that for security reasons, they’d had to remove those items to a stock room, and if I was lucky enough to find a photo of a nose hair trimmer that she’d retrieve one for me. After taking a moment to admire the fine work of the photographer, I grabbed my Tylenol and headed for the checkout. I found the self-scan stations, pushed and touched and swiped at all the proper moments, and completed my transaction.

Looking at the receipt, I learned that I had just enjoyed the “Fast. Fun. Easy.” self-checkout, and also found that I could participate in a discussion of the previous ten minutes at an online location called This becomes my Friday Website Review.

I’m warned at the beginning that this process will take about 15 minutes to complete, a full 50 percent longer than the actual shopping experience, so I imagine it’s going to be pretty thorough. However, if I make it to the end, I have a chance to win one of five $1,000 gift cards that Wal-Mart awards every three months. An annual expenditure of $20,000 on this program by a company with multi-billions in sales seemed less than impressive, especially considering the money has to be spent on Wal-Mart merchandise.

After a few perfunctory queries about my age, zip code, etc., I get to the survey. I’m asked if the Wal-Mart I visited offered photo processing, bill-pay, money transfers, optical services or a site-to-store delivery program. The store number is right there on the receipt! Don’t they know this stuff themselves? Or is this some attempt at crowd-sourcing an internal research effort to catalog all the pointless services now offered in mega-stores?

Next, they wanted to know the reason for my visit. The closest option was “to buy something special for myself,” though I also could’ve answered “to touch a product from Wal-Mart’s website” or “to have fun through shopping.”

Then I had to indicate all the areas of the store I had shopped in during this trip. Admittedly I did pass by several departments that I peered into, hoping they might have the nose hair trimmer: sporting goods, electronics, lawn and garden equipment (next to the hedge clippers?) and the toy department were momentarily considered, so I guess you could say I “shopped” there. I did notice, however, that I missed the pet supplies and large appliances departments; maybe I should’ve checked those too.

Next, they wanted to know about my general satisfaction with the store, on a scale of one to ten, with one being disgusted and ready to sue, and ten being spiritually transformed. How did it smell? How was the lighting? Was it clean? How did associates react when you were “near them“? (I sensed fear, confusion and concerns about communicable disease.) How friendly was the check-out person? (Pretty damn nasty actually, since it was me.)

Now I had to comment specifically on all those departments I had looked at. I checked some random scores and moved on to the screen asking about the qualities of the pharmacy area. More random numbers seemed appropriate, especially since the “percent of survey completed” progress bar at the bottom indicated I was not even halfway done yet. Then, even more questions about the pharmacy. By now, I’m running out of even the small amount of creativity required to select different digits, so I give a “5” all the way down. “You responded the same to several items — please consider your response carefully” came the reply. They sensed I was glazing over.

Too bad.

Finally, it appeared as though the end might be in sight. Overall, how satisfied was I with my visit? I was “4” satisfied. How likely would I be to continue shopping at Wal-Mart? I was “6” likely. How likely, if asked, would I be to recommend Wal-Mart to others? I could find no number that represented “I’ll never admit to anyone that I was ever here,” so they got another “5”.

Where else did I shop besides Wal-Mart? I answered Target, Michaels and the annual confiscated items sale at the County Jail. What percentage of the money I spent went to each? Like a good Wal-Mart customer, I couldn’t make the figures add up to a hundred without several tries. “Thinking about financial services,” the study asked, “which of the following do I use?” I equate Wal-Mart with financial services about as much as I equate J.P. Morgan with tube socks, so I selected “none.”

Who shopped with you today? Sadly, I had to answer “I shopped alone.”

“Are you of Hispanic or Latino origin?” Are these the only two choices?

“In which of the following groups would I place myself? White, black, Asian, American Indian or Pacific Islander.” I’d probably place myself with the islanders, preferably on a beach in Tahiti.

“Which best describes my employment status?” One of the options was actually “don’t know.” True, I had a job when I left for lunch break, but 35 minutes is a long time in this economy.

“Including myself, how many people lived in my household?” I answered “8.” How many were under three years old? “7.” They call me the “Septodad.”

“Would you describe the area in which you live as urban, suburban or rural?” Suburban, since there’s no “hellhole” option.

Finally, I was told I had reached the end of the survey. I had to claim to understand a bunch of legalese, most of which seemed aimed at preempting a belief I didn’t have before reading it – that phishing, online scams and fradulent websites were rampant, and I needed to be careful about disclosing personal information. Now they tell me.

To qualify for the drawing, I had to give my name and address, but by now they had me so paranoid I was wearing big sunglasses so no one would recognize me through the monitor. I gave a fake name – Aldo Moro, the Italian prime minister who was kidnapped and murdered in the 1970s by the Red Brigade – and submitted myself out of there as soon as possible.

Next stop:

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21 Responses to “Website Review:”

  1. aka_lol Says:

    That was funny 🙂

    I am never truthful in doing surveys and they always give me the opportunity to be myself. I like Super Wal-Marts since I can sleep there and without anyone noticing.

    Note: Nose clippers technology has come a long way and some of them can even be used as cell phones.

  2. tom1950 Says:

    Neither am I. I love to mess with the poll-takers minds. The ones that are the most fun are the essay-type answers that let you put in anything you want. Drop-down selections are no fun at all – unless ‘other’ appears. Usually then a box opens up for ad hoc entries. What fun.


  3. planetross Says:

    You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din for taking an online survey for Walmart.

  4. Ahmnodt Heare Says:

    I understand your agony. Many of these “Supercenters” contain Wal-Martians. They are people who think of Wal-Mart as the community center. They seem to need to check out just before I do and they aren’t always the brightest.

  5. wrjones Says:

    Fabulous post. Based on my laughing until I cried. The Kmarts and Walmarts have sucked the character out of the entire nation. All the interesting individual stores in thousands of towns have been put out of business. Yep you do save a few bucks buying tube socks, but there is a price to pay.

  6. Anonymously Secret Says:

    We don’t have Wal-Mart here in Malaysia, and I thank God for that.

  7. Theresa Brown Says:

    Lucky you, you got to the survey itself. I did the name and address thing as well, then all this crap about what are you interested in i.e. furthering your education, how deep in debt are you, do you smoke? so after answering all of that, then they send you to choose one of these but only if your really interested, ads for cigarettes, grants, diapers etc…if you skip them all, as I did, at the end you must choose 2 items i.e. net flix, makeup, disney books, regular book book clubs etc…most say they are free to try, but then you only have to pay shipping and handling….I didn’t choose 2 cause I didn’t want ANY of the crap offered… so I never even made it to the Wal Mart survey, it wouldn’t let me continue until I chose something…sorry no

  8. Laurie Says:

    Why don’t they have a comment section so you can tell them about your bad trip. Go to the freezer section on the weekend and there is little to choose from or go to the clothes section and try to find your size. I swear they think everyone is a size medium maybe large but for us overweight people you have a hard time. I used to now I go elseware. Oh yeah love the lowest price around. I don’t think they really look. I find the same stuff cheaper at stores near my home. I can go on and on. I’m to the point I’m hating that store!!!

  9. Laurie Says:

    Have you heard about anyone winning one of these surveys? Maybe if you give them a perfect 10 in all areas you might win. I’m going to try that next time. Also did you notice that they don’t leave an area where you can tell them your problems with the store. I know when I go the freezers are empty, forget to get milk there is none, oh yeah try to find some decent clothes for plus size people. The styles sure stink. I end up buying at the Fashion Bug. The other thing do they have the sizes? NO! Everyone is a small or x-large! I just don’t get them.

  10. Bill Says:

    The only merchandise in those places not made in China labor camps is garbage bags. Anything else falls apart in about 2 weeks, if you’re lucky.
    Of course, Wally-World gets paid to accept returns so they get their money either way. Consumer Satisfaction? I don’t think so. The places are on the verge of being dangerous. I’ve was robbed while inside one of those places and none of the associates could even get an outside line to call the police. Just don’t go there, ever.

  11. scott Stuart Says:

    Paranoia Strikes Deep

  12. scott Stuart Says:

    Or is it Future Shock?

  13. June Stewart Says:

    A chum recommended me to check out this post, great post, fanstatic read… keep up the cool work!

  14. andrea craddock Says:

    i love walmart you have everything i need.

  15. Alice Greene Says:

    Totally frustrated by the survey since I couldn’t tell them there were no carts in the store, only two “quick” lines were open (at 6 PM, for on the way home shoppers), and they couldn’t get a manager to respond to a problem with the register! I worked retail for 15 years so I know what customer service is…and this was not it!

  16. pam vancleave Says:

    this was frikking hilarious!!!

  17. kitty Says:

    I ordered a plasma t.v. from walmart this year on black Friday in Nov., I decided to use site to store since the shipping was free. Estimated pick up date was Dec.7-9, on the 11th I got an e-mail saying it was delayed by 2 days, which I was fine with since this was a Christmas gift and I still had plenty of time. Then I decided to track it a few days later on the website and according to that it had arrived on the 7th. So I called the walmart 1-800 number and did the tracking through there, where it said it was still in transit. So I gave it another couple of days and after not getting a phone call or e-mail to pick up my item I called again to speak to a representative. Where come to find out my item was “lost in transit”. So, after thinking all of my Christmas shopping was done, I’m still looking for a way to replace that Christmas present, which is hard since it was such a good deal.

    I DO NOT RECOMMEND BUYING FROM WALMART.COM ESPECIALLY ON BLACK FRIDAY OR CYBER MONDAY. Since I find it VERY hard for a 50″ plasma t.v. to get “lost in transit”.

  18. Kathi Peck Says:

    I find the Survey to be too lenghthy for such a small chance of winning. I have often asked the cashier when I get a receipt to take the survey if anyone really wins. They always have the same answer of yes they do. Paid to say that for sure. As far as being able to get what you need without it being in lock up good luck especially the pharmacy area.

    And for petesakes do not go to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription that you called in 3 days ago and recd a text message that it was ready. Because whether you go to the drive through or stand in line inside it will take you at least 15 to 20 mins to pick it up. You can go to many other pharmacies and it takes that long to hand them the prescription and it is ready in 15 to 20 mins.

    As far as ordering online for ship to store……good luck getting a product picked up as no one is ever at the counter and they have to be tracked down. Not to mention I have picked up the big boxes they pack these little orders in only to get home and open it and it is broken.

    WTC…..These big companies are a joke! I would rather pay a little more and get great customer service. But that is not possible since these big companies have put all of the smaller ones out of business. What is this America coming to?

  19. Judy Lunnemann Says:

    i like walmart because if you can get a handicap cart you are really lucky walmart does not cater to handicap people me and three other people waited an hour for a handicap cart to be available before all finally gave up went to krogers where they do cater to thier handicap customers

  20. Hope Says:

    I went 3 times last week for a wine i enjoy and the space for it was always empty. I went back today and found one left. I bought it ,but don’t think it is worth the good price to go back if they are usually out. Why waste my time

  21. Roger Levesque Says:

    On 7/24/12 at 5:20 PM I entered Walmart through the garden entrance for the purpose of trading a Propane Tank. I waited in line at the Cashier exit and requested assistance with a “New” Propane tank. Male cashier stated he was unable to leave the Exit but that another employee had arrived and would be returning shortly. He accepted my payment for the tank ($17.82) and I waited another 10-minute waiting period and a request for paging this employee for service. None of this occurred, so the present cashier escorted me outside to the secured tanks and gave my my purchased product.
    Time Complete = 5:45 PM,
    Customer service was poor under these circumstances.
    ID # 7DMNYG6V0S0

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