Friday, August 18, 2006
I think everyone knows how much I hate McDonald's. But, at the risk of everyone thinking I'm anti-corporation, there's another company which makes McDonald's look like a bunch of saints. I hate this company (and all of it's stores) with every fiber of my being. I equate going to one of their stores with getting a root canal- sans novocaine. What company?
I would rather go to the ghetto KMart, with it's almost bare shelves, in Herndon than step foot in a Wal Mart. I honestly don't think Sam Walton would be too proud of the horrible monster that his simple business model has become. I really don't think the current business model is what he had in mind.
There hasn't been a single occasion in which I've had a decent experience there. Several years ago, when I moved to Ashburn, I was in a townhouse, and the landlord had allowed us (roommies and I) to paint. So, being that I was rather price-conscious, I went to the Wal-Mart paint department and picked out a color. Then waited for someone to come to the department to mix the color for me. And waited. And waited. Finally, I went to another department and asked them to page someone, which the girl did. I waited another 10 minutes. No one showed up. So, I went back to her and asked her page again. Another 10 minutes- still no one. I finally ended up leaving and going to Lowes.
I've also tried to get an oil change there, as well as getting a new tire. Every time they tell me it will be about 3 hours. Unacceptable. And the one time that I did finally get an oil change- I think they ripped me off, because two weeks later when I checked my oil, it was black. I honestly don't think they changed it. Never again. From now on, I go to an actual oil change place and pay the 40 bucks. It's worth it to know that there actually is oil in my car.
As if the shitty service wasn't enough, the store itself if always a cluster-fuck of overflowing shelves and masses of people, their 7 kids and 3 shopping carts in tow. No matter what time of day you venture in (and there were plenty of times in college that I took advantage of the 24/7 hours), there are loads of people- and normally the very worst of society. No, not everyone who shops there is included in this group, there are plenty of "normal" people who are drawn in by the low prices. I'm not talking about them. I'm talking about the people who, at 11 PM are there with their kids (who should be at home in bed) running around the store, screaming, while mom buys her 10 rolls of paper towels for $1.
Now, while the shitty service always pisses me off, I can understand it. We've all heard the stories of Wal-Mart locking their employees in the store overnight. And the fact that, in an effort to keep prices as low as possible, they hire almost all part-time, low-skilled, low-educated labor. I mean, who wants to hire people who can actually count to ten? Then you'd have to pay them fair wages, and (gasp) benefits. And, besides the lousy pay and lack of benefits, it's pretty obvious that the employees are treated like shit. The only people I've ever seen at a Wal-Mart who looked even remotely happy were the greeters- and they're just happy to be out of the retirement home for a few hours. You can tell a lot about the way a company treats their employees by the looks on the employees' faces- and by the way those employees treat customers. And every single employee (except the greeter) always looks like the life has been sucked out of them. Now contrast that with Target. Almost everyone at Target at least looks alive- and for the most part, reasonably happy. I refuse to give money to a company who treats their own internal customers the way Wal-Mart does. Basically, "low, low prices" equals "low, low wages, benefits, service, and quality." So while you are saving 29 cents on a new mop, it's the employees that suffer.Another beef with Wal-Mart- hypocrisy. They will not sell the un-edited versions of cds, video games or movies, preaching "family values." First of all, it's censorship, and if they would bother to train their staff to check id's, it wouldn't be a problem. But they will not do that. Unless you want the edited version of your favorite artist's cd, you won't be able to buy it at Wal-Mart. Secondly, why do they feel it's necessary to instill these values? Who died and made them my parents? While I'll admit that not enough parents are doing their jobs and paying attention to what their children are listening to, I also feel that Wal-Mart has no right to tell people what they can and can't listen to. And while they are preaching to us about "family values," they are selling tobacco products and weapons. Hmmm....so I guess we are worried about kids listening to curse words in music and playing violent video games, but we aren't too worried about them smoking or stabbing each other. And keep in mind that their poorly-trained and under-paid staff probably could give two shits if the kid buying a pack of cigarettes or knife from them is 18 or 14- they just want their shift to be over. We won't go into too much political talk here, but can you guess which political party they give money to? Either way, I will not let a store tell me what music I can listen to and what movies I can watch.
I could get very bleeding-heart liberal on y'all and bitch about the way Crap-Mart undercuts the "little guy," and drives smaller retailers out of business, but I know at least a couple of you (right-wingers) who are going to argue the whole "every man for himself" point, so I won't get into it. Suffice it to say, I absolutely loathe Wal-Mart and vowed quite a while ago to never shop there again.