Since I was on the other side of town looking for a hard to find item, I thought I would stop at Walmart to quickly grab a piece of fabric I needed for a craft project. My first mistake was believing it would be quick.
Do It Yourself At Walmart
I needed three things. One was the hard to find item that I had no idea where it would be and the other two items were in the sewing department since I was already in Walmart.
Midway through the store I spied a Walmart clerk and asked her where the hard to find item would be and was directed there. Of course, the item I needed didn’t come in the size I needed, so I was going to have to go to Home Depot after all.
Home Depot would not have the sewing items, so I headed for the back left of the Walmart store where all things sewing can be found.
I found the large eyed, blunt end tapestry needle without hesitation.
Next, I went through the aisles looking for fabric. I just needed three yards of fabric in a nice bold, yet soft print.
Oh yeah! I found the fabric in about two minutes, plus it was on sale. “Excellent And Speedy” shopper needs to be added to my list of positive traits.
It wasn’t the first time I have purchased fabric at Walmart, so I thought I knew how to get speedy service. I was about as wrong as a Playboy Magazine sitting on the pew of a Catholic church next to the hymnal. Yeah, WRONG.
After finding the fabric, I walked to the cutting table, rang the bell, walked to electronics, and asked them to page someone to cut my fabric.
That Walmart clerk said, “Sure, but I have to help three other customers first.”
I walked back past the cutting table to the sporting equipment, but there wasn’t a Walmart clerk behind the counter nor was one roaming around the department.
Slowly I strolled back to the the cutting table and stood patiently waiting.
I just needed a little fabric and that wasn’t asking much, right?
Obviously I was disillusioned at the simplicity of my request.
Ten minutes I stood waiting, but the first Walmart clerk STILL had not requested assistance in the fabric department. There was only one thing to do. I walked past the electronics department to the far corner of the department next to it and asked another Walmart clerk for assistance. She said, “Sure!”
To her credit, as I was walking back to the fabric table the second Walmart clerk announced that “assistance was needed in the fabric department.”
While waiting at the fabric table, not as patiently as before, I tried to make the phone intercom system work. I pushed all kinds of buttons, but with no success. If I could have gotten it to work I was going to say, “There is a customer in the fabric department who has been patiently waiting for someone to cut one piece of fabric for her, but no one has helped her yet. So until someone helps this customer who has yet to complain, she is going to stay on the intercom system and talk about random things going on in her life.”
That would have probably gotten some help to the fabric department a whole lot faster especially if I started singing. Well, if I had started singing, everyone’s eardrums would have exploded from the awful noise so that probably wasn’t a good idea.
Over the intercom I heard the very first Walmart clerk announce that “assistance was needed in the fabric department.” Having the attitude of “better late than never” applies here.
Of course, nothing happened afterward.
Maybe today was the Rapture or Second Coming of Jesus Christ to earth and I was one of the people left behind. That would definitely explain the scarcity of people in this Walmart store. Maybe I should start singing, “Amazing Grace” or some other inspirational song.
I pulled out my cell phone, found the store’s phone number, got the operator, and told her that I was in the fabric department and no one was helping me. She said, “I’ll page someone.”
I hung up, heard her page for “assistance in the fabric department” and then once again nothing happened.
In the far, far back corner there was a door that led to the warehouse part of Walmart. I walked all the way back there, went through the door, and hollered, “IS ANYONE BACK HERE?!”
No one replied.
Once again back at the fabric table I proceeded to ring the bell…incessantly without pause about 100 times. Not kidding. I didn’t think the racket would bring anyone, but I knew it would release my frustration so that I could continue to handle the situation in a patient manner. A few other customers walked by and smiled. One even empathized with my plight.
Ringing the bell 100 times did not bring a Walmart clerk to assist in cutting the fabric nor did it bring the cops, security, or men with white jackets. However, I felt relatively calm again.
Now this whole experience had become “the principle of the thing” instead of just wanting to get out of the store.
Maybe everyone had been abducted by aliens. That’s it! Walmart was the scene of an alien abduction! I was all aggravated when I should be terrorized! Aliens might be right around the corner. The aliens might drag me off to their spaceship and I would never be heard from again! But since I was left behind, reporters would come question me and I could throw in that I write a blog called The Redhead Riter. So many people would visit my blog that my host would have to bump me up to my own server. Maybe I could put a server in my home like Hilary Clinton!
Okay, enough of that crazy thinking.
My friendly and patient bench residing buddy was just smiling at me. I wonder what he was thinking of this whole experience and my attitude? I bet it was something along the lines of “Women! You can’t live with them and you can’t live without them.” I decided not to ask him…yet. I needed to stay focused. This was definitely all about me!
I walked ALL THE WAY to the customer service desk at the very front of the store. It is a much longer trip than from my computer to the kitchen. Just saying.
“I’ve been waiting 25 minutes in the fabric department to have a piece of fabric cut,” I irritatedly told the Walmart clerk behind the desk.
“I will page someone to assist you.”
Yeah, like that’s going to help, I thought.
While walking back to the fabric table, I heard the customer service girl page for “assistance in the fabric department” and of course, no one came to help me.
It was at this point I spread the fabric so it was ready to cut and found the scissors. Should I just give up and leave? The person who was with me didn’t care if I stayed or left and was just letting me do my thing while he sat on a bench some distance away. Yeah, I know why he was sitting some distance away. He was probably thinking, “I don’t want anyone to think I’m with that crazy redheaded woman.” (rolling my eyes)
Leaning against the table I pondered what a fiasco this simple request was and how poor the service level was at Walmart. They were obviously under staffed or the employees that should be working were goofing off somewhere instead.
This trip to Walmart felt like a scene from the “I Love Lucy Show” with me playing the part of Lucy Ricardo.
It was at that point when the girl from the customer service department appeared to find out if I had been helped yet. We had a discussion about how she didn’t know how to cut the fabric or print the tag. She talked on the phone to the other girl in Customer Service and again there was a page for “assistance in the fabric department” over the intercom.
During the conversation it was decided that I should cut the fabric.
Progress! Fabric cutting time!
Drum roll please!
I cut the fabric! Woohoo!
I haven’t ever cut fabric in a store before, so I felt like I suddenly had a job! I should apply at Joanne’s Fabric again and THIS TIME say that I had experience cutting fabric in a retail store! Obviously, my first application there which stated that I have been a seamstress for 36 years wasn’t good enough. Now I had experience cutting fabric in a store!!!!
Since I’ve always had very intense and stressful jobs filled with analytical stuff in the corporate world, cutting fabric in a retail store was fun! Yeah, I’m a bit quirky.
The Walmart clerk wrote down the price for the fabric piece I had cut and we walked towards the cash register. While walking she said, “You should apply for a job here.” See! Maybe it was a sign!
Passing a manager of some sort who “wasn’t on the clock yet,” we were told by her to go the electronics department at the back of the store. I was definitely getting my exercise.
The Assistant Manager was helping a customer choose a computer when we got to the electronics department, so we patiently waited for our turn with him.
I noticed all kinds of things while standing there:
- The Assistant Manager looked flustered.
- The lady customer who was talking to the Assistant Manager looked like she had just crawled out of bed…literally.
- They kept talking about how the customer didn’t need a computer that would do much. I thought about my lovely computer that can do so much and wished I was in front of it instead of standing in Walmart.
- My Walmart clerk was not frustrated a bit. She was quite calm. I guess she’s seen everything already since she’s been working at Walmart over a year.
After about five minutes, the Walmart clerk who was helping me and the Assistant Manager talked. That conversation had us walking back to the fabric table where we were directed to wait until the Assistant Manager could help us.
We were right back where I had started. I wasn’t feeling all that excited anymore.
Five minutes later the Assistant Manager appeared. He proceeded to explain how the fabric-price-calculating-machine worked. The battery was dead on the first machine, so he retrieved another battery and started over. The Walmart clerk didn’t look like it was making much sense to her. She’s just not a fabric girl. Some of us are and some of us aren’t fabric people.
Eventually, the Assistant Manager got the ticket to print and instructed the Walmart clerk to give me ten percent off my purchase price. He apologized for my wait and wished me a nice day.
Woohoo! Ten percent! A whole $1.19 off! Yes, that’s sarcasm.
We DID make it all the way to the cash register this time and was met by a tall boy who needed instruction. Another Walmart clerk was called over to explain the process of taking ten percent off my purchase. First the three of them had to figure out ten percent of $11.91. The third Walmart clerk pulled out her calculator.
I felt sad.
If I had to guess, I would say the Walmart clerks were 20, 22 and 27 years old. None of them knew how to compute ten percent in their head. What do they teach in school now? Is everyone that dependent on machines to figure stuff out?
“Deduct $1.19 off the purchase price,” the third Walmart clerk said after much button pushing on the calculator.
The Walmart clerk tried two times to make the cash register deduct it and finally had to do it another way to get the discount on my fabric.
Finally, I paid.
I thanked all of them for their assistance, picked up the bag with my fabric and blunt end tapestry needle in it, and FINALLY walked out of Walmart. Not once did I scream, holler, yell, rant, rave, or any other action that is attributed to the behavior of redheads when they are angry. Instead, I vented when I rang the bell and wrote this post. The pen or in this case, the keyboard offers such vindication.
There’s one small thing I left out.
My compadre on this excursion said, “Once I heard you say that it was the principle of the thing, I decided to just sit and watch how it all played out. I also took pictures of you cutting the fabric.”
So my friends, if you need fabric at Walmart, either do it yourself or give The Redhead Riter a call and I’ll drive up to the store to help you because now I have experience cutting fabric in a retail store.
Welcome to Walmart!