Oct 17, 2018

Adventures at Walmart

As a rule, I try never to shop here. I have read one too many articles on their mistreatment of their employees, abuse of power, and their questionable ethics practices.  I also despise how they promote mediocrity in every area...customer service, quality, cleanliness - just to name a few. However, when Gavin and I were in Fargo, I was able to set aside my personal convictions for the greater good of helping him furnish his apartment in the most cost effective manner possible. I was willing to momentarily relinquish my distaste for this company in order to help my son. It's the give and take of life. That's what love does.

I ended up taking this to an extreme. By that I mean, we went to Walmart 3 times in 1 day! Now you can understand how deep my love for my son is! We compared prices of futons at different stores in the area and Walmart won. We even measured the trunk of Gavin's car to make sure the box would fit in his car.

We bought said futon, rolled it out on a special furniture cart, and commenced the shoving it in the car routine. Imagine a square peg. Now imagine a round hole. That's what it was like. Apparently, 1/4 of an inch makes a huge difference in the box fitting into the trunk. The width of the box was 34 1/4 inches. The width of the trunk was 34 inches. All of our will power and cajoling was not going to move that heavy box one iota. We couldn't shove it in the back seat either...the doors wouldn't open wide enough.

That's when the angels in the Walmart parking lot came to our rescue. See...Walmart isn't all bad. It just so happens that the people who parked next to us came back out to their car in time to witness Gavin's and my futile effort at getting a too big box into our too small car. They had pity on us. The Nice Lady said, "We don't have anywhere to be, we could try to put it in our car and follow you home." Gavin and I looked at each other. What choice did we have? She continues with, "You can trust us. I promise we'll follow you." So Gavin and Nice Man heaved and pushed and grunted until we finally got that massive box shoved into their car. We wrote their license plate number down and kept them directly behind us the whole 10 minute drive back to his apartment. True to their word, they just wanted to help. They unloaded it for us and would not even accept any money as a thank you. Instead Nice Lady said, "We've been in this exact situation before and someone helped us out. We're happy to help." I guess Minnesota Nice bleeds into North Dakota too.

The second adventure we had at Walmart the following day did not have a happy ending, I'm sad to say. We went back the following day to pick up a tv stand.  I think this happened on our 2nd trip to Walmart that day. I had only taken my wallet with me to ND because of the airline restrictions for no carry-ons. I planned on only taking a backpack with me as my personal item. So I spent the whole weekend carrying my wallet under my arm or in a shopping bag. On this fateful evening, I was carrying it under my arm. I set it down on the shelf to help Gavin lift a heavy box into the cart. We walked down another aisle. I think we were gone 5 minutes when it dawned on me: OH MY GOSH! WHERE'S MY WALLET?!? I sprinted down the aisle back to the furniture section. It was gone. I walked around in circles looking everywhere, under everything, behind stuff. No where. I went over to some employees working in the aisle next to where I was and asked if they had seen my wallet. Bless their hearts, they were from a foreign country and genuinely believed it when they told me, "Don't worry, mam, someone will find it and turn it into Customer Service."

I started panicking and hyperventilating and then quickly had to turn those feelings off realizing that that was not going to solve this problem. I had to ignore that dread creeping up my throat from my stomach. I didn't want to leave that area. I thought if I just stayed it would show up, I just might not have looked close enough or hard enough. Leaving would admit defeat.

Gavin eventually found me. I asked him to run out to the car to look and make sure I didn't leave my wallet there. He did. It wasn't. I spent a long time with the Customer Service Managers. They were very kind to even check the video camera for that section during that timeframe. Turns out I was just out of the camera angle/view in that area. They could see nothing. They took all my information and told me they would mail it to me if it ever turned up.

That was the big snag in the whole thing. I had to fly back home the next day with no proof of ID. Everything I had was gone. No money, no cards, no ID. I was sick to my stomach. I immediately called Chuck. Between the two of us we cancelled all our cards right away. But what to do about the ID and the plane? He quickly googled TSA rules and found out that I could still get on the plane, but there would be a time consuming vetting process I would have to endure. They had to confirm I was who I said I was.

That process didn't turn out to be so bad. If you're ever going to get stuck with out proof of identification, the North Dakota airport is the place for it to happen. There was not a soul in the security line. They only have 5 gates at the airport. I had to sit with the senior TSA officer while he waited on hold with some government people he was supposed to contact in just such a situation. They asked some questions that only I would know the answer to. I passed. Whew. Then I had to have a full body pat down and all my luggage was searched. The whole process only took 45 minutes. Sometimes I have to wait in the security line at the Denver airport for 45 minutes. So I thought that was no big deal.

Good and bad things happen everywhere - even at Walmart.
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