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Tinfoil Hat Shopping

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Welcome to MalWart!

If I wrote this in a story, no one would believe it. Me neither.

All week, I've been just sort of halfway here. My brain and body are mostly on autopilot, I think. Hey, I'll be fine, but LOL, right now, it's a doozie. Whee!

I'm behind on paying bills, but I'll get them in the mail today. Never mind that I don't think the post office will even process them until Monday. I can then legitimately say my check is in the mail. I don't *think* I'll get anything cut off. Hope not. Dang it all. But that's just how the previous month and this week have been.

I'll confess, a couple of things have been through the wash, and I think maybe the dryer ate them. I don't know. So OK, fine, I'll buy new. Don't tell my budget.

So off I went to my local "MalWart" today and made a few minor purchases. Ho-hum.

No carts. So I run around with my items, find where they've moved the plastic tubs / containers this time, get one, put things in it, and march back up to the checkout. Remember, it's MalWart, I've now gotten in a little good walking exercise.

There are all of two checkouts open, out of maybe what, twenty or more registers? So there was a bit of a wait in line. At least that beats the 30 or 40 minute wait, last time I went.

I had put my box on the conveyor belt, separate from the previous customer's items. So I remark that that's mine, just in case the checker somehow missed that.

The checker asked me something, which I missed, so I asked her what she'd said. "Is that yours?" She asked me.

"Yes, that's mine." I move forward, expecting she'll start checking it and the items in it.

"That's yours?"

"Yes, that's mine. I didn't know if you were through with her things yet." (The prior customer's purchases.)

"Oh, but that's yours."

"Uh...yes, that's mine." (By now, I'm mystified why she's still asking.)

"Oh, did you bring it from...." (The light dawns on me what she's really asking.)

"Oh! No, please check it out." (Problem solved, I think. Now she'll check out the box and items, all of which I'd just picked up while in the store.)

"So then, all the items are yours."

"Uh, yes, the box and all the items. Please check them all out." (By now, I figure I'd better spell it out. I didn't figure there was any way she'd think I was trying to slip something by, but I was now mystified at the confusion. I'd put everything *right there* on the conveyor for checkout and said (three times) these things were mine.)

The young woman then explained she'd thought some items were mine and didn't need to be checked out or paid for. (Huh, are you kidding me? You're the checker. The items are all right there, I'm not trying to get by with anything and I've told you this now several times. Wow.)

I refrained from any smart-aleck remarks or getting mad, and I didn't want to just leave the items and go.

"No, I'm trying to pay for them!" I said, smiling and acting as cheerful as I could. (Meanwhile, I thought, but if you'd like to give them to me for free, hey, go right ahead.)

She begins checking out the few items in the box and then the box itself. -- Amazingly, she did think to put the bags in the box. -- I wrote out my check and she processed it. I actually thanked her and walked away as quickly as possible, resisting the urge to run, boy, run.

I am not processing all that well this week. Understandable, after a funeral. But I've gotta say, I really hope that checker was on medicine, because at least I am not that mixed up.

Now, yes, it occurred to me she might have been thinking I was trying to get away with something. (I haven't shaved in a couple of days, and I know I'm not at my best, but I don't look like a bum, either. Clean and nicely dressed, thanks. -- But hey, I had put the plastic tub, lid and all, with its contents, right inside, all right there to be checked out. It's not like I was hiding any of that. Not a whole lot of room on my person to hide anything either. Jacket and clothes, not baggy, fanny pack small, and hey, I went through the scanner when I came in, like anybody else. I'd made eye contact and spoken clearly (I thought so) with the checker. My parents and grandparents owned small businesses. So the idea of shoplifting is not an option.

I found it all both very funny and disgracefully sad too. I think that young woman checker really did think I'd brought something in or perhaps other items. I have to wonder if I'd said yes, if she would've let me go with them. I think she was truly that mixed up, though to look at her and listen to her talk, she didn't sound high or stupid. (No other indicators of any conditions which might have explained the confusion.)

It didn't occur to me until I got home, what if she'd been trying to use that to cover her own activities, i.e., dipping in the till, or setting something aside as a "personal purchase"?

My basic impression is, she was just plain that unclear on the process and really would have let me get by with the box or possibly other items. (At least one item would've pinged the scanner on the way out against possible theft.)

I had to comment to my cabbie that at least I wasn't that out of it.

I wonder, if I hadn't been so honest, would I have gotten out of there with the box free, or any other items? But I had no reason to try that, and was being as up front and obvious about it all as you could possibly be.

Really, I'm just astonished. How can people function like that? (If she was canny, she was the slickest at being canny I think I've ever seen. But honestly, I don't think that was it. I think she was that much not thinking through things.)

Apparently, even at my most muddled, I'm still able to process passably well. Good to know.

So I'm truly mystified, flabbergasted, and all I can really do is shake my head and laugh at the weird, senseless craziness of it all.

It's nutty out there! Wear your tinfoil hats!

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You have to love the Mal-Wart employees, they make shopping so much fun...and the savings much greater than the management might like.

I went to Mal-Wart the day after Thanksgiving, the so called Black Friday. Yes, I know, it should have been a foolish move, but it turned out well. I buy films on DVD there and enjoy browsing through the titles. But this was a special day because they had an entire box labeled "Promos," at least that's what the bright stickers said.

There was no sign that indicated what "promo" meant...not a clue, and it seems that included the employees. I was sure there would be some discount off the normal list price and so I went through the titles. The new Spielberg/ J.J. Abrams film "Super 8" was just released at a list price of $19.79 on the regular shelves, so imagine my surprise when I found one in the large display box with a "Promo" sticker. Along with the "Dark Knight" and six other films that were all high priced releases.

So I snagged them up and went to the cashier, who basically had no clue, just a scanner. She scanned the film, punched the "promo" button and lo and behold I got each film at $3.00. So just in case someone from that company is reading this, I did not purchase these films at Wal-Mart... I was in Mal-Wart, but thank you very much for your ignorance. Now back to my movie :icon_thumright:

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I understand the need to limit loss through shoplifting, but it seems these days every time I shop in a Wal Mart or a big box electronics store it's assumed I'm a criminal first, and only secondarily a customer.

Try and find a clerk to help you with an item and you're wandering around forlornly with nary a employee in sight. But look even slightly suspicious and you feel like Truman from "The Truman Show": Everybody's watching.

Then there's the stupid receipt checking on the way out, where they stop you, after paying, at the door and ask to see your receipt.

Umm. no. This stuff is mine. I paid for it, and I don't really have time or inclination to let you folks paw through my stuff, treating me like an escaped serial murderer. So I usually breezily walk by pretending not to hear them. If they yell or chase me I can do a real good job of looking befuddled and confused (which is, after all, my usual demeanor) and leave them looking awkward for harassing the poor, confused customer.

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Exactly on the mark on all points.

There are a couple of other bits, though. These days, for all sorts of products, I need a heavy duty knife or pair of scissors, or perhaps a good hand laser, to get into some of the freaking packaging. Most especially the ultra-thick plastic on some of the electronics items or even non-bladed kitchen utensils.

How come, when I go into an electronics or office supply store or hardware store now, I sometimes have to pick up a slip of paper or an empty box, hunt up a disinterested and under-trained (or untrained?) clerk, and get him or her to grab a widget from the secret underground vault (the back room of the warehouse)? Do they really think I'm going to stuff a bunch of ink cartridges or flash drives down my shirt or elsewhere about my very ordinary, pale body? Like no one would notice a giant, box-shaped lump or four? It just doesn't make sense to me.

I recently gave up on buying some earbuds/earphones, because they were on secure, locking display rods. You could halfway look at them, but you'd have to have above-normal vision to read the package from that distance, and you could not take them off the rack yourself. After looking around for a clerk, all of whom must have felt a sudden urge for a break in the back room (probably to watch me paw piteously at the rack) I gave up and went elsewhere. They lost a sale!

But I think the kicker is the local grocery store. If I want to buy blades or a razor for shaving, I can't just go in and pick one off the shelves. (I'm not going to shoplift or threaten anybody with the stupid things, I just want to shave when I can't avoid it. Honest.) No, these days, if I want to buy a shaving razor or blades, they are stuck behind display cases with little secure drawers, or else the whole rack. These are not the old-fashioned, watch it or you'll really hurt yourself, bare blades, like for an X-acto knife. These are the usual shaving razors, only more fancy than the ones from when I first started shaving. (You know, Gillette, Schick, etc. Track Fusion Extreme 3D Laser Funky brand, none of which fit each other anymore.) -- BTW, how come all those guys in the shaving commercials are the square-jawed granite-chiseled, I'll punch your nose if you look at me funny, type of man? And they're selling razors and shaving cream, but they haven't shaved in a week or more? Must be some razor and shaving cream, if they don't shave that often. -- Actually, I sympathize. I hate shaving, but a beard itches in summer, and I do want to look neat. And trimming a beard evenly is not a skill I've perfectly mastered.

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My grocery store is falling into the same nefarious and questionable marketing practices. While the razor blades are still on a regular shelf, accessible to the public, they are on the hooks with the lock thingy on them so you can't actually get the package off the hook without employee help.

I refuse.

When I need them, I pull out my knife, cut the plastic packaging from the hole to the top, and take what I need. I will not go through the trouble of finding an employee, wait for them to find the key or whatever gizmo they use, come back to the razor blade area, and finally give me my little pack of blades. That's way too much effort for a mundane item.

If they make it any more difficult, I will simply refuse to buy them. At least at that store.

As to the difficulty in opening packages, yes. I recently read an article about how emergency room visits from serious deep cuts due to people attempting to open hard plastic blister-packs has increased several orders of magnitude in the past few years. Due to the increased use of this packaging. It's cheap and displays the product nicely, so manufacturers like it. But consumers hate it.

A store here often advertises this item: http://www.valmg.com...package-opener/ as a way to deal with this problem. A handy-dandy blister pack opener.

The ultimate irony is that the product comes in a plastic blister-pack. You need the product to open the product.

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The test strips I use used to be in a dispenser in the aisle at Walmart. All you had to do was find the brand and amount, turn the knob until it dropped forward, the open the top and take the box out. Now they have them in those plastic security boxes that the cashier has to open.

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Ben, er Blue...

It seems that this post/topic is a great one to post as a Blog. This is the kind of personal material we like in our blogs, and yes.. folks can reply to your Blog posts just as easily.

Anybody agree?

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Anybody agree?

Yes. I always agree. :listen: Where was I? Oh yeah, blog. Good idea. Otherwise, eventually, the topic will get lost somewhere on page 112. 'The Raccoon's Den.' ain't for serious stuff like ripping Walmart (known this side of the pond as Asda - they have neat green uniforms and are trained to say 'have a nice day') a new one. And... test strips for what? Don't get me started on those god awful plastic blister packs that stick two fingers firmly up at biodegradability (a doozy of a word... as is doozy, really). :abduct[1]:

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Um, sounds OK to me. Guys, girls, and talking wildlife, I'll get a blog going at AD when I get one of those round-tuit thingies. OK, OK, something like tonight or tomorrow. :)

No idea what percentage of stuff I post is blog material and what's more forum material.

BTW, I'll attempt to spam-proof my own site's forum (over at shinyfiction.com) sometime soon, then re-open the forum for posting. I may eventually try doing my own WordPress blog, but it's not a big priority right now. Plus, it requires spam-proofing too. Waah.

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