I am writing to register a complaint against the store listed above. On Wednesday, June 27, 2012, my mother and I arrived at the store in question at approximately 4:30 in the afternoon. We had less than an hour to shop, and several items to purchase. We moved through the store rather quickly . . . . quickly, that is, until we reached the checkout lines. There are somewhere between twenty-five and thirty registers at this location. Of that number, there were five open and dedicated to 15 items or less, and there were four registers open for everyone else.
Customers with full carts were waiting in lines six or seven people deep. My mother got in line and was waiting for a few minutes when the cashier came around the register and addressed the woman directly in front of my mother saying, "You are my last customer." She did not even acknowledge my mother's presence. I was annoyed, but gave the cashier the benefit of the doubt – assuming that, rather than being rude to my mother, she just did not see her. My mother and I moved down three registers to the next one that was open, and began to wait there. The cashiers at this location are notoriously slow, so the wait stretched from five minutes, to ten, from ten to fifteen.
At the fifteen minute mark, I noticed the cashier from the first register we were at come back around the side of the register. There was a man walking by with a few items in his cart. The cashier motioned to him and said "I can take you here, you don't have much. I am just trying to guard my time." Now I was angry, because her comment made it appear that her previous "oversight" was nothing of the sort. I was unable to locate an employee, so I called the store from my phone and requested to speak to the manager. This actually necessitated two calls, because the number online is not the "correct" number – that is, it rings in the store, but it is not a line that can be picked up in other parts of the store. I made the second call and, once again, asked to speak to the manager. While I was waiting, the line next to us opened, and the cashier came over and pulled the three people behind us in line and took them to her register. At this point, my mother was ready to walk out of the store, leaving the cart where it was. The groceries that we had in our cart (some rapidly melting) were essential, and we had no time to go elsewhere. We had now been waiting for twenty-five minutes.
While still waiting for the manager to come to the phone, I saw two employees walking past and heard one instruct the other to open an additional register. I called out to them, then approached them and told them that I needed to follow them to this register; because there was NO way that another register was being opened without my mother being the first person in line. I was not going to allow another person to pass her over. The gentleman was borderline rude, responding with a gruff, "Well, where's she at now?" I called my mother over, and we followed him to the newly opened register. At this time, the manager of the store finally came on the line. I registered my complaint and the manager responded with a vague promise to "talk to the cashiers" – which would be an interesting achievement, since I was unable to provide her with the exact line numbers (since we had been in so many). She did not offer to come out to speak to us, or attempt to rectify the situation in any way. The cashier at this new register, while not particularly pleasant, was at least efficient. After waiting for a grand total of thirty minutes, we finally exited the store.
I understand that we were in the store during what could be considered a "peak" period, but even during a period such as that, measures can be put in place to ensure customer satisfaction – more people can be trained for / scheduled for cashier duty, a manager can remain on the floor to supervise customer care, an expeditor can be called upon to direct the appropriate people to the appropriate lines as they open, fewer dedicated express lines can be used, thereby freeing up those cashiers for the standard lines, etc. This store took absolutely no steps to guarantee customer care. They did nothing (save open a few extra registers at random). They took no steps to avoid/mitigate customer wait time and upon hearing my complaint, no real effort was made to correct the situation.
At the very least, cashiers should be better trained in the dynamics of customer interaction, and managers should be taught to better handle customer complaints, especially when the customer in question is one who regularly patronizes this establishment. A negative experience, such as this one, causes me to question the logic of continuing to shop at Wal-Mart when there is a Target Superstore just a few miles away. It has many of the same products and services, and in addition, it has a pleasant, knowledgeable, and efficient staff.