Monday, November 16, 2009

Beware the Walking Smiley Faces

Before I really get into it, I don't mind Wal-Mart. Really, I don't. Where else can you get 4 for $5 pizzas and the latest Coldplay CD for $11.88? (Whereas at Borders or Hastings, you have to fork out $15). And they have a nice journal selection. Things are inexpensive and in one place, which I like because I am still trying to get on the other side of being a "poor college student" where I'll one day be able to afford to go to other places - you know, like ShopKo and Target. And if Wal-Mart employees don't like working there, they can quit and get a 9-5 salaried job like the rest of us who have moved up from being minimum wagers.

That being said, I have a rather hilarious story to tell.

I was at the new Wal-Mart in town getting a few things. While I was looking for a composition notebook, I came upon a group of "suits" from corporate Wal-Mart. I knew they were suits because... well, they were wearing suits as well as those cute little red, white and blue name tags. And they were oohing and aahing over a magnetic whiteboard as they walked (wasn't even a high-quality one, as far as I could tell - I was minding my own business, as usual). This would not have merited a mention, except the ringleader looked right at me and in his greatest impression of those yellow Wal-Mart smiley faces, he said *imitate goober falsetto happy voice* "HOW IS YOUR DAY GOING?!!!!!!"

I replied "okay" and continued on - they went on to talk to some "Maurice" that they probably have never met before but only knew his name because he had a Wal-Mart nametag on. Yet, they talked him "Liek - OMG! We're BESTEST BEST FRIENDZZZZ EVAR!!! LOL!!!"

I guess this is a thing with corporate people in general, that when they come to mingle inside the stores (or even restaurants - I've had experience with these in the food service industry as well) that they have to pretend to be the customers long-lost grandmother rather than have this relationship - "You own the store, you're here to make sure things are getting done - I am merely here because you are the only store in town that lets me buy $1 microwave dinners. We don't have to be BFFs, kthx."

Seriously, these guys were creepy. And I have seen enough magical girl anime to know that it's the creepy ones that you have to be the most wary of. (Honestly, if the heroine would just blast the first nit who came along with a terminal illness and/or a lot of money and a hot sports car, they'd be saved a lot of headaches... but the fans wouldn't have a story to enjoy... wait - what was a I talking about?)

Oh, but you want to know the best part of the story? I got up to checkout and I asked the cashier if they were being visited by corporate. She said she'd seen a few suits around. I told her that I saw a few and I knew they who they were because no normal person is that happy on a Monday. She laughed - I think it was a highlight of her day. I think that's a first - a customer "complaining" to a cashier about management. Usually it's the other way around. Really wasn't much of a complaint as it was a comment.

I can't imagine that corporate types are so deluded that they think they have to be sugary-sweet to the everyday customer that walks into the store. The regular employees know why we come in and we know why the employees work there. It is NOT because we're this huge happy Wal-Mart family or any of that other bullcrap that the sociology propaganda videos against Wal-Mart show you. We don't do the gay "Wal-Mart squiggly" cheer when we walk in the door. Most people working at Wal-Mart just need a job and didn't get beyond a high school education (some didn't even get that much). In fact, I suspect the only reason there's such a thing as a "Wal-Mart greeter" is to keep retired people from causing too much trouble being retired. And the customers are just there because we need to pick up a 58 cent 2-liter bottle of pop and a flat-screen TV. We're in, out and gone. End of story and I'll probably never see you again.

I have little patience with this kind of stupidity. And it's not exclusive to Wal-Mart either. Even in the most high-class stores in the mall this happens and would probably be worse if I showed up on a day when corporate came to call. I think stores need to have a sign out front that says "Warning - Corporate Goobs are here inspecting us. Beware of sugary-sweet idiocy and offers to wash your car and kiss your baby or your butt - whatever is bigger. Seriously, these guys are worse than presidential candidates in Iowa - they don't even offer taxpayer money to fund ethanol."

I'm not saying that they should be rude - but you don't have to go overboard to show how much you appreciate my business. You're getting $30 from me and I'm getting a week's worth of groceries from you. Fair exchange.

I'm one of those people that tries to keep salespeople away because I like finding what I need on my own. Funnily enough, I am smart enough for that (Just a thought: are there people who are so stupid they can't find what they need on their own?) And I find that salespeople complicate the process more than it needs to be complicated. If I need help, I will ask for it (and then hell will freeze over).

On the bright side: inspiration for a blog post can't be all bad. I guess these guys do have a function.

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