WalMart Initially Refuses Customer Return
This is a slightly revised version of a letter sent to Walmart Supercenter on Wilkinson Lane and Walmart Inc. in Bentonville, AR. One paragraph has been edited because a segment of text was accidentally deleted resulting in a run-on sentence.
January 1, 2020
225 Wilkinson Lane
White House, TN 37188
702 SW 8th St
Bentonville, AR 72716
Dear Walmart Store Management Wilkinson Lane:
On Monday December 30, 2019 around 10pm I stopped in at the Walmart Supercenter at 225 Wilkinson Lane in White House TN. There was a TV on clearance (open box) for $49.50. It was the a 24” Class Walmart ONN brand TV. I wanted it for New Year’s Eve to play video game on.
I brought it to the counter and inspected it in front of the employees. There was a younger man and an older man. I asked to plug it in but was denied that option to test it beforehand. I asked if I could return it if there was an issue and the younger man assured me if it didn’t work I could return it. The older man cracked a joke about what to do if I had to return it. He assured me everything is tested before being returned to the floor. I advised him the side of the TV was split and needed re-attached. He still assured me it was okay.
I didn’t buy it but went home that night and thought about it. I went back in at 9:45am and bought the TV. I re-inspected it in front of the employee and asked for help taping it up. He was able to find some box tape at his service desk. He even taped by the handle on the top of the box. When I walked to the front I realized I was walking out with a TV so I flashed my receipt to 3 Walmart employees sitting in Subway to assure them I was not shoplifting.
I worked for several hours and then went home and tested the TV. It was cracked. Screen TOTALLY CRACKED. No New Years Eve for me. I was very sad. I had 2 AtGames consoles plus some ATGames Blast units I’d picked up at Walmart for the occasion.
I went in on 1/1/2020 to return the TV with about 45 min to get to a 1pm viewing. I asked to return it and to speak to a manager about the New Year’s Eve disappointment. Instead the employee ringing me up seemed to have an issue. No one would tell me what it was. They summoned “Jessica” who after several minutes and trip to another room stated that the TV wasn’t the one sold to me and she couldn’t refund me. I explained clearly, I’d asked to test it before I left and was denied. I assured her she could check surveillance.
After a trip to the electronics section she came back and gave the usual “I can make an exception this time” speech but that I should have employees scan the actual item not the serial on the box. I advised her that I spend thousands in the store ($1693.20 from 7/13/2018-12/27/2019 per Wells Fargo – this doesn’t include purchases made on other credit / debit cards but all things being equal this is a fair number and considering I’m a single member household, a very good one) and would not do this over a $50 TV. I reemphasized to her that I didn’t switch the TV and had asked for it to be tested and was denied. I advised her of the older man’s joke to me and the younger man’s assurance that I could return it. I advised her I shop the store weekly and am the person that usually comes back for a missing iPad / Iphone. She simply treated me like a criminal.
I wasn’t apologized to for the ruined New Year’s Eve. That’s what I was looking for. Despite the platitudes I will be watched when I come in the store from now on. I am a person of color. I am used to that. I offered my driver’s license but she refused and I begged her to check surveillance but instead she just warned me again and gave herself credit for giving me a break. Here’s the thing, you can’t deny someone a request for checking their defense and simultaneously call them guilty. You can check the footage and then call them guilty but you can’t refuse to check it, refuse to talk to witnesses, or even check your own systems but declare someone guilty summarily. It doesn’t work like that.
As a person of color, I already feel uncomfortable in your store – despite efforts I make to talk to your late night employees, the young man who likes Transformers / oversees the self-checkouts, and many others – this just makes things worse. In the last week I’ve been to several Walmarts looking to complete my AtGames Blast collection (and I finally did but it took several Walmart locations and Walmart.com to pull it off – the AtGames Blast units were an embarrassment for Walmart and AtGames and have quickly dried up): Indian Lake, Madison, Skyline, 100 Oaks, Nolensville Rd, Bowling Green, Franklin Kentucky, Hermitage, Gallatin, and many others. All in a week’s span – and they were all good experiences. Then I came here.
I’ve already talked to your management about the harassment of the Xfinity authorized dealers. I can’t get Xfinity in my area, I’ve checked with the engineering department at Comcast and it would cost $400,000 for a rollout to cover the 4 miles from their current endpoint after which the sales people at your store retort back “how long ago was that?” These people make me want to drive to the Rivergate Target. I’ve already warned your employees one day someone’s going to snap and it’s not going to be pretty. Shopping your store is a very unpleasant experience as it is. This just made it so much worse.
I am deeply upset because at the end of the return Jessica kept saying ‘have a nice day’ and I kept telling her I wasn’t. You don’t go through an experience like this and ‘have a nice day’. I was late to a 1pm viewing and I advised her of that when she asked me to get to the end of a return line after I’d already been waiting. I asked her once again to check surveillance and she refused. That’s loss prevention 101. Don’t treat me like a criminal when I’m pointing you to all the evidence that I tried to prevent this entire incident from the counter on Monday night to waving my receipt to off duty employees at Subway on Tuesday morning.
I would like a response by your senior management regarding this entire incident. I still haven’t gotten an apology for the New Year’s Eve that wasn’t. I don’t like being treated this way. I don’t like being told to open all electronics and have the cashier scan the actual item. If I did that I’d probably be told the opposite – that they cannot open a sealed item until it’s purchased. I can’t prove that but I think you see where I am going.
I also believed I raised a red flag by asking for my original receipt back. But I did it for the sole purpose of this letter. Finally, I repeat, I offered my driver’s license. That’s the ultimate accountability that I didn’t ‘pull a fast one’ or ‘try to scam’ you on this.
Lastly, I’ve been a seller on Ebay for what is now 20 years. I’ve had my share of switches, returns, and transactions I’ve had to eat. I’ve had a sealed DVD that was returned all scratched and the buyer said he got it that way and that the DVD wasn’t sealed. No arguments. Just told him to keep it and refunded it. Does it suck? Yes. Totally. But I didn’t mistreat him either. For all I know the postal worker opened it and watched it. There’s been news reports of misbehaving postal workers taking packages for their own use / misuse. It’s not for me to blame the victim even if I’ve just been swindled.
If I were your service area I’d have said “I’m so sorry. Someone must have returned this and swapped units. I’m sorry your New Year’s eve went south and the employees should have accommodated your request to plug in the TV since it was open. The employees should have scanned the actual serial number since the box was falling apart and needed taped together anyway. We sincerely apologize, is there anything we can do for you since your New Years Eve was ruined? I’ve been a seller on Ebay for almost 20 years and refunded customers while allowing them to keep the item (text accidentally deleted in the original letter) because the shipping cost outweighed the value. My most recent auction I shipped the item to the wrong person and had it shipped to the right person, AND sent them something else I was selling that they really wanted at NO charge. 20 years, 1000 transactions, no negative feedback. We do what’s right, even if we’ve been wronged because at the end of the day we may not have been wronged. Someone may have simply used us as I suspect may have happened here with the TV.
I’ve already dealt with being passed a counterfeit $50 over Christmas and unknowingly trying to spend it. This has not been my holiday season per se. The bank and the retailers involved were a lot nicer than you were, considering they were both in their legal right to call law enforcement arrest me as the law is written. I can be released pending a trial where the prosecution has to prove intent as opposed to simply being passed the bill / acting in good faith or I can just be let go and the secret service takes it from there because I am presumed innocent. Which is more than Jessica presumed.