Walmart / simple price check turns into yelling match with night manager

South Keys Mall, Ottawa, ON, Canada Review updated:

At approx. 10:35 - 10:45 pm on April 21, 2010 I prepared to check out at the South Keys Wal-mart location. The only cashes available where #12 and #1, 4 & 6 in their "Express line". Cashier #4 became free and I placed all my products on the counter. I said "hi" to which there was no response. The cashier began ringing products in and as is my habit I watched the digital screen as I have been overcharged by stores and prefer not to be. A three shade eye shadow by Physician's Formula called a 3 duo, rang up as $6.58. I mentioned to the cashier that the price tag had indicated this product was $5.92.

The amount is small but I promised myself that I'd request a check on any prices that showed up incorrect at the cash and always inform staff they might like to correct their pricing if indeed the item was incorrectly priced or categorized. I had decided to carry my phone with me and take images of any prices that were on sale in the event I ever had a problem in getting charged the right price but todate I've never had to "prove" the price I saw and I'd unfortunately left my phone in the car this time.

The cashier at #4 checkout sighed and grabbed the phone asking Cosmetics to call her...I told her there had been no one in that department when I was there to which she said nothing. The phone rang and the person on the other end seemed unable to assist. She hung up and called for assistance from Cosmetics again. The next person who called appeared to be telling the cashier something that made the cashier clunk down the phone and say, "That's not MY problem" and she rolled her eyes, sighed heavily, clearly not pleased with whatever the person on the other end had said. While she had been asking for the price check, I had tried to tell the cashier to let the person know where exactly I had found the product so that it would be easier for her to find. The cashier didn't relay this information.

The person doing the price check came up to the cashier and said there were two prices the $5.92 and the $6.58. I again explained that the eye shadow I chose was directly behind the price tag of $5.92 and that it was not the eyeshadow to the far left on the display, but the one right beside that one. I explained to the price checker that I had also checked to see if this product may have been in the wrong slot. All eye shadows behind the one that I chose were exactly the same shades name.

The woman doing the price checking took the product I wanted back to cosmetics with her and then returned with another that was a different shade. The shade she came back with was Oatmeal and it had been on the far left of the colors I wanted which were Sand.

The cashier and the price checker looked at the skews on the back of each package and the price checker person stated that the price tag of $5.92 was the same skew as the Oatmeal product. This wasn't possible due to the fact that I had looked for a skew number and the price tag did not have one...which I'd found odd and which almost made me not take the product at all as I didn't want to be too delayed at the checkout as people were waiting outside in the car for me.

At no time during this period of time did I once raise my voice, speak rudely or display any level of ignorance to the cashier or the price checker. I tend to prefer "honey" to "vinegar" as I have always gotten much further that way and having worked in retail some time ago I know how frustrating it can be to have a customer being unnecessarily rude. The cashier and the price checker spoke among themselves about the price and how the skew was different on the two packages...then the cashier said, "the only thing different about these are the color" to which the price checker said "well, this one (Oatmeal) must be $5.92 and the other one is $6.58." I then stated that the Sand eyeshadow was directly behind the $5.92 price tag and I then said, "I wish I'd have brought my phone I could have taken a picture of the price tag. Then I said, "You may want to move all the eye shadows that are behind that price tag then because they were all together and I checked the price a number of times to be sure."

I then offered to go back with the price checker at which time the night manager came over to the cashier and ask what was wrong and the cashier then explained, "She says (meaning me) that this eyeshadow is $5.92 but its coming up $6.58". The night manager then told the price checker, "Here, take this" (the skew that the cashier had on a piece of paper and which had been right on top of her cash register for some reason) to which the price checker asked why. The night manager then swept her hand my way and said, "just take her (meaning me) with you so you can show her the right price and get this straightened out."

The condescending attitude this manager showed toward me and the way in which she ignored me and insinuated by her tone, actions and attitude as well as the cashier's attitude from the beginning, that I was a waste of their time and was simply being a "*itch", led me to decide not to bother standing their trying to get the proper price for a product that I could do without, and I said "Never mind, I didn't think this would be such a difficult situation. I have people waiting for me so never mind, I won't take this. Just ring up the rest of the things please... I have to go." The manager gave me a "you jerk" look and then I said, "I think perhaps I'll go to Barrhaven rather than shopping here." The manager then loudly said "there is no need to be ignorant to my staff!" I said, "I'm not being ignorant, I simply stated I was going to go to another store." The manager then said loudly, "You have been nothing but ignorant with my staff and I won't have it!" To which I said, "What?? I have not been ignorant to them!" The manager continued, "Yes you have and there's no need for it so I want you to stop!" To which I stated in just as loud a voice as hers, "Who is your manager?"

The night manager stated, "I'm the manager!" to which I said, "No, you are the night manager. I want to know who the overall manager of this store is." She became insulted I assume as her voice continued to get louder as she continued to state she was the manager and she wouldn't have me acting this way in her store.

As I was leaving, it was a shouting match, I'd been insulted enough by this manager and as I left she was still yelling at me. The cashier and the price checker were both silent the entire time. I then threw over my shoulder "Would you like to ban me from your store?" to which she was silent and then yelled very loudly, "Have a good night!" to which I responded, "You have a good night too!"

Now, in stark contrast and my usual experience when dealing with a cashier or store staff at any store, I had returned a Physician's Formula Mineral foundation that I had purchased 3 days earlier from this location and that was on sale for $8.20. The customer service girl indicated they really weren't able to refund makeup after it had been open. I explained that unfortunately I usually use testers before buying makeup but this time there hadn't been a tester and the only way I could discover that it was too light a shade was to buy it and try it at home. I further told her I had been hesitant to do that but I had wanted to try the product. I apologized that I hadn't been aware of the no return policy for makeup to which the girl said, "Well, I'll do it this time but I won't be able to do it again." I thanked her and told her I really appreciated it and I'd remember the policy for next time.

She had trouble reading the sales receipt and indicated that the printer really should have been replaced but unfortunately they weren't successful in getting a better printer at the cash that I'd been at that night. She tried a few times before she got the number in okay. Then the price of $18. and some cents kept coming up not allowing her to give me the exchange amount. So after a few tries and my apologies for the trouble to which she assured me was no trouble at all, she refunded my money, I signed the receipt for it and thanked her again for her help to which she told me to have a good night and I told her to as well.

The night manager of the Wal-mart store at Southgate in Ottawa Ontario is a disgrace to that store. As a frequent customer to that store, I have NEVER had any difficulty like this at this store before when prices were incorrect...I can guarantee I will NEVER set foot in this store again and I will be certain to pass this episode to the MANY people I know to do the same and travel a few minutes longer to the Barrhaven store where the staff are not nearly as ignorant or quick to embarrass or browbeat a customer simply because they are having a bad night.

My only regret is that I did not take down the name of the cashier and the Night Manager...but I will never forget either face because they were both very, very unprofessional.

I appreciate being able to air my frustration here. Thank you!

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  • Js
      22nd of Apr, 2010

    I neglected to make it clear that I had refunded the Mineral foundation about 10 minutes prior to checking out at cashier #4 the same night. I should also mention that the Night manager, in her raised voice had informed me at the beginning of her yelling at me after I stated I wouldn't bother with the product... that according to her I had been ignorant to her staff "ever since you've gotten here" meaning I guess that ever since I'd gotten to the cash which was neither correct nor necessary.

    -1 Votes
  • Me
      22nd of Apr, 2010

    I was not there personally but it seems like both you and the night manager need to work on your "social skills" Thought I was not there personally, I think that you were rude as well, probably you did not notice it.

    Like Irish, I don't like it when people say "I have been shopping at this store, eating at this restaurant ecc for years this is the first time anyone treated me like this and because of this I won't be back. You say you are a frequent customer. Obviously from your letter this is the first time something bad happened. Why not just go for the day.

    At night she is in charge of the store.

    0 Votes
  • Js
      23rd of Apr, 2010

    Thank you for your comments Melvin & Irish.

    Irish the Wal-Mart's in this area don't add tax to every individual item. I believe I indicated I had other items to purchase as well. If not, I apologize for the oversight. The amount of $6.58 was indeed the price of the item before taxes.

    As to the rest of your post I will only quote a very wise character and say, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all, " and I believe I will do just that but thank you for your opinion.

    Melvin, I appreciate your agreement with Irish. I'd just like to elaborate if I may, that as someone who has managed a retail store previously and received recognition numerous times for our exemplary customer satisfaction levels, I dislike customers who treat staff rudely for no reason as well. But in the same token, very often customers are treated rudely by staff - usually those overworked, underpaid and under appreciated, and many customers like myself, and I would imagine like you and Irish as well, often ignore those who happen to be rude to us and let it go. I personally know what retail staff can be subjected to. A manager yelling and accusing a customer of something that they have not been a witness to and have no basis on which to hinge their assumption, also has no right to display to their staff this kind of poor role modeling. As a manager it was this lady's responsibility and her position of authority, to oversee the correcting or resolution of the pricing issue and do so without making anyone (staff or customer) feel belittled. My stating I'd go to the other Wal-mart, if anything, would have been handled by a more professional manager with a very non-committal response such as, "We're sorry to lose you as a customer". Whether meant or not, this kind of response would be neither apologizing for anything or offering anything and certainly not accusing anyone of ignorance. It also would not have had the end result that ensued.

    Perhaps my title could have been much better worded and perhaps I did not clearly indicate in my account the raising of my voice came after about the third accusation by the manager that I was being ignorant to her staff. Whether or not I should have kept quiet and simply allowed the barrage - hindsight is 20/20 and I have to wonder just how many customers would have accepted this same treatment where they in my shoes - the unfortunate thing is that this manager has basically shown her staff how she will accept and support them in treating customers and how she goes about dealing with customers herself.

    This particular Wal-mart has some exceptionally professional cashiers who are a pleasure to be served by and who know how to carry on conversations and respond when greeted with a "hi" or "How are you?" They also say please and thankyou...- but the biggest difference is that none of them work under this particular manager. Coincidence? Not likely.

    Thanks for your comments - both of you. I appreciate your time.

    0 Votes
  • Js
      23rd of Apr, 2010

    Thank you Eileen I appreciate your comment and your tip about length and the movie suggestion :)

    Thanks everyone for your comments and for allowing me the opportunity to have my part in this situation clearly pointed out to me that allowing myself to take offense to the treatment was a very poor reaction on my part. It also reminded me that I have neglected my Assertiveness training from years ago and I will be refreshing myself in this area.

    Further I apologize for having caused those of you who believed it important to point out that I am a ### with a whining and socially inept skill set. Although those who know me have disagreed with these comments, I appreciate each of you for pointing these socially unacceptable flaws in my character out to me in a clear and concise way. I appear not to have had anyone around me feel comfortable enough to point out my deplorable attributes. Thank you all for doing so.

    To Wal-Mart South keys, I apologize for my responding to your Night manager in a manner that allowed her management style and choice of words to offend me. But now that each of you have shown me I should know better...I hope I will handle any similar situations neutrally and without reaction regardless of how I believe that it has impacted or attacked my character or my part in any similar situation.

    I trust I have not offended anyone further with this final post. Thank you.

    +1 Votes
  • Qs
      1st of Jul, 2010

    Why argue over 65 cents?

    0 Votes
  • Sh
      6th of Dec, 2010

    Wow that was quiet the shopping experience you had.

    0 Votes

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