Tag Archives: WalMart

An Eggcellent Way to Ruin Easter – Wal-Mart Edition

I have ranted before about the pitfalls and high level of customer disservice at Wal-Mart. This time though it is a matter of public safety. It could potentially be a matter of life and death.

April 2, 2010 – I wandered into the local Wal-Mart store (Oconee County, GA) around 8:00PM in search of something

Eggstra Big Disaster

Actual Photo - 13 hours unrefrigerated!

for the Easter Bunny to leave at my house. There was a large display of egg coloring supplies on a display rack, and on that rack cartons of what appeared to be candy eggs. As I approached the display I noticed that some of these “candy eggs” seemed to be oozing out of the bottom of the cartons. That’s when it hit me that these were not candy eggs, but real eggs sitting there unrefrigerated. WHAT? NO WAY! I opened a carton and sure enough, a broken egg greeted me with open shell.  What do I do? As a former restaurant manager, I know what the food safety guidelines are regarding such matters, so I touched the eggs to see if they were even still cold and they felt as if they had been sat on by a chicken.

I made my way to the customer service counter, and promptly asked to speak to a manager. I was asked if the customer service rep could help me. I explained the gravity of the situation to her and she ran to her supervisor who was also appalled. He called the manager on duty over and I explained to him the concerns in regard to food saftey and explained to him that I would not be purchasing food from his store any longer because I had no confidence that their food was being handled safely. I asked if he knew how long the eggs had been on the shelf. He informed me that the General Manager had asked them to put them out at 8:00 AM and that he had protested, but was told to put them out anyway. “That is 13 hours”, I gasped. “Someone could die if they eat those eggs”, I said. He agreed to remove the eggs from the display, and he did. I told him that I would have to trust that he was going to throw the eggs away and not put them back in the cooler. I still am not sure that they were discarded.

This morning, I contacted the General Manager and confronted him about his decision. At first he made excuses for why it was ok to leave eggs on display and told me that they were being rotated every two to three hours. Then I told him what was said by the manager the night before and the story changed to “I am sorry, I made a bad decision”. I asked him if he understood that his decision to put raw eggs out on display unrefrigerated could potentially kill someone, and he did. I explained that first I feel an obligation to my family to no longer shop in his store, because the safety of my family is more important than saving a few bucks. Next, I feel an obligation to the community to let as many people know that their food is potentially unsafe to eat. I explained that I would be notifying the Health Inspector and other health organizations, that I would be notifying local radio stations, newspapers, everyone I know on Facebook and Twitter as well as my family and friends, all of which I have done. He said that he wishes that he could take his decision back. I explained that in life we make decisions sometime that carry dire consequences, and that this one could cost his store a lot of business as well as costing someone their life. No Wal-Mart lawyer can bring back someones loved one.

I think that what bothers me most about this situation is that in 13 hours many Wal-Mart employees, managers and supervisors walked by that display and didn’t think a thing about it except for the manager that said that he protested. It bothers me that he didn’t take a stand for public safety and refuse to put the eggs out. It bothers me that no one cared enough until I explained the situation. Perhaps they don’t know any better (that’s another issue), or maybe they just don’t care. What i do know is that I will not be giving my business to a company who doesn’t have the safety of their customers at heart. I just hope, for the sake of Wal-Mart and the families involved, that some child doesn’t find one of those eggs under a bush on Easter morning, eat it and meet with ill results.

Here are some links on Egg Safety for your own education:

The Egg Safety Center

FDA Egg Safety

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Why WalMart Employees Don’t Respect Their Customers

walmartToday I was at WalMart as I often am. It is not so much because I enjoy the place or particularly care for their special brand of customer disservice, but rather because they simply do have the lowest prices. I often wonder why the customer service is so terrible. I know that they pay a pittance for wages, so perhaps that is the reason. Maybe it is because they just have to work so darn hard, after all that will wear you out. As I ponder I am perplexed because Chick-fil-a doesn’t pay particularly great wages and the employees there work very hard, yet every single customer experience is amazing. Then what could it be? The florescent lighting? Standing all day on the hard tile floors? Today I realized that it all boils down to one thing,
As I made my way through the grocery section I watched as three managers approached. Certain that they would stop or slow down so that I could continue on my way, I did just that. I was amazed. Not only did they not slow down, but they all walked directly in front of me, one of them nearly running into my cart. I stopped and allowed them to pass in front of me with their large cart that one of them was pushing. I was sure that someone would say excuse me, but nothing. I was so shocked that I just stood there. I didn’t really know what to do. I decided that I would speak to the managers about it.

As I approached the managers, I realized that it wasn’t just department managers or assistants, but the General Manager , and two Co-Managers. Now I was really upset. I asked them if I could bring something to their attention. They seemed annoyed, but said I could. I explained to them that the only thing that kept me coming back to WalMart was the prices and that I was considering shopping elsewhere after something that I saw today in their store. Now I had their attention and they seemed concerned. I explained that every time I shop in their store that the employees never seemed to be happy to be there and that they were almost never helpful or courteous. They were very interested now. I told them that I discovered why the employees treated their customers that way. One of them asked, “well sir what happened today?” I explained to them that the three of them had just cut me off and almost run over me and that they didn’t even bother to say excuse me or to even acknowledge that anything had happened. I told them that I understand why the employees don’t respect their customers. It’s because the management team doesn’t respect their customers. One of them said that he was sorry and they the didn’t see me. I explained to them how that was the problem. They were so busy doing other things that they didn’t pay attention to the customer. The GM hung his head in shame and thanked me for bringing it to their attention.

The one reason that WalMart employees don’t respect their customers is that their leadership doesn’t. For those of us who work with customers, they pay our pay checks so they are the top priority. For those of us in a leadership role, we have to remember that our employees will only follow our example. If we don’t take care of the customer, then our employees won’t either.