I used to despise Wal-Mart, but I eventually got over my activist-type offense and began shopping there once again. I let go of that whole idea that one person can make a difference (in retail). And make a difference in what? But I digress…

I’ve been wanting a laptop. My preferred choice is a Mac with all the bells and whistles, because I like bells and whistles. My office computer is a Mac and iLove it! About a month ago Wal-Mart had some secret pre-Black Friday sale and I got an ace of a laptop at a great price. I was thankful for the laptop, but a bit pouty that I settled for something other than my ideal. Because of the ungratefulness, the snootiness (and the stress of moving and school, the lack of time) the laptop sat in a box for about two weeks. Once I finally opened it and used it a few times and worked out any kinks I was very glad to have it and quickly grew accustomed to having a constant companion.

Thanksgiving rolled around and I was prepared to do a buttload of homework and make some really good headway on my thesis proposal. I get the computer, plug it in and it doesn’t work. That part of the story short, the computer stopped working after only a week of being used. The tech lady (very nice, BTW) was helpful and told me all I would have to do is pay for shipping to have the computer sent in for repair. It was against my justice factor to have to pay for shipping to have them fix a defect in their product that I already paid for. So I thought I’d try to return it to Wal-Mart. No dice. Of all the times they want to actually follow their return policy. I know people who have returned things to Wal-Mart that they didn’t even buy there. Anyway, I understood the policy and was not upset over that, just the fact that as a consumer I was locked into keeping a product I was not pleased with.

After making lots of phone calls to the company and visits to both Wal-Marts in my town I found out that I would not be able to get my money back. Stuck. I talked to the computer company and here is what one of the guys told me, “I can tell you right now, you’re wasting your time, cause we don’t give refunds.” Grr. Then another lady said to me, “I can listen to you, but I’ll tell you right now,we don’t give refunds.” Is that written on their little sheet of things to say to people trying to return their ace of a product? I got tossed back and forth so many times between the comp place and Wal-Mart I ended up being so angry I was in tears. I will spare you my rant on customer service and all the other details of my near tantrum to the computer lady. But it was something like this:

no, No, NO!
I will not keep it in a box

I will not keep it with a fox

I do not want it on my lap

I do not want this piece of…

So, I talked with Wal-Mart again and all the while (cause my momma taught me so) I remained polite and explained everything as balanced as possible (really) while praying that God would help me be “Christian” and not get angry (outwardly). So they told me they could not give me a refund, but they could return it for me (they eat the shipping) so it could get fixed. I didn’t want to get it fixed because I’m not a risk taker. If it broke after one week, what makes me think the computer is a reliable brand? What do you do if it keeps breaking, am I just stuck with a computer that doesn’t work? Why can’t you do now what you would do if it broke again?

I asked those questions to the computer and Wal-Mart people. I didn’t want this brand. Done, no second chances for them. None–ever. Nope, too late. I’m offended. So before I get off the phone with the really nice, reasonable Wal-Mart guy I asked if he had a number for the comp company I could call. I was willing to go to the top. I was on hold for at least 10 minutes while he looked for a number. He came back and said they would call me back in a few minutes when they found the number.

Half an hour later he called and said they couldn’t find ANYTHING in their records for that company, no phone numbers, no warranty information, no addresses, nothing. So what did Darren tell me? He said, “we’re just going to go on and give you the refund rather than have you go through all of that rigmarole.” Wow. Go Darren. That’s customer service.

I wasn’t trying to be a pill, but the way the rules and laws were set up I was stuck with something that did not work for me. Forced to keep something that would most likely break again. So Wal-Mart has officially redeemed themselves. Still not buying groceries there, but that’s a different story.