Monday, February 2, 2009

Damn You Wal*Mart!

Hello world! Me, again. 

I'd like to take this moment to publicly admonish the movers and shakers over at Wally World. 

In the 90's Wal*Mart had this very long series of advertisements - lasting years - that always featured the phrase "the customer is always right." The stores took back merchandise in any condition, despite a lack of receipt, the fact that the item didn't even come from Wally World, or even in instances where the item was just some sort of hodgepodge of other items somehow stuck together. There were reports time after time of some cashier at the store taking fake money but dared never to accuse the one spending it of fraud. Managers bent over backwards to make the customer happy. And, since WW is the self-proclaimed King of All Retail, the idea that no matter what you've done, how at fault you are, or the manner in which you handle a situation, you are always, no matter what, RIGHT!

So, why is this bad? I'm sure you can come up with a number of reasons. For one thing I recall far too many occasions - when working at other retail giants such as BBY and Tarjet - when a return couldn't go through for a customer for one reason or another (such as the lady in Tarjet who wanted to return her vacuum cleaner after she'd had it for over 6 months and had broken it by sucking her kid's Spider-Man toy into it) that the customer would curse and scream until a manager finally had to break down and give it to them.  This kind of behavior is modeled by children, and then it is mutated into the dirtiest eleven letter word:  entitlement. 

We as a people have decided that we're entitled to the things we want. We don't have to earn respect, it's deserved! We don't have to ask permission; why shouldn't we be allowed to do what we want? In a discussion with the kids I supervise, we discussed the idea that the statistical probability of making it to a professional sport is astronomical. Then, I asked who still thought they could still make it (I promise I'm not trying to rain on anybody's parade). Nearly all of the athletically inclined kids raised their hands. I asked why, given the probability. They all gave some sort of response to the effect of, "Well why can't I?" Which, I understand that it's a beautiful idea that we can be anything we want to be. But, I think this is the most dastardly kind of entitlement. Or, perhaps its bitter cousin: Righteousness. 

I'm not saying that children should have to face cruel reality early on, but I think that we need to quit with the whole "I can't tell you that you can't do something, for who am I to say that" crap. You are the loving, supportive, helpful guide that is there to build up a child's hope, but to never fill their head with the idea that life owes them something. That way our children won't become vindictive if parents can't afford the new shoes the kids absolutely have to have. 

Be warned, if I am behind you in a return line or next to you in a restaurant, and I see that you're acting like an entitled, self-righteous 9 year old, you can expect my garden hose to be plugged up your nose. :)

Bad form Wally World! Maybe some of those billions you spend on ridiculous advertisements should be spent CLEANING YOUR BATHROOMS! But, that is a post for another day.

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

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