Sticking up for Wally’s World

Attention Walmart shoppers! I notice that the local branch has been getting a lot of flak lately from expat Facebook posters.

pg13There has always been a faction of U.S. consumers who despise the company with unbridled passion. Some of them seem to have migrated across the border, carrying their disgruntlement along with the personal belongings they brought to new homesteads hereabouts.

Recent local grumbling has focused on security issues at the big box store standing at the foot of the Libramiento. Complaints fueled by reports of the theft of auto parts in the parking lot and pick-pockets lurking in the store’s aisles quickly morphed into demands to boycott Walmart, as if the threat of losing hundreds of gringo customers will shake things up.

I don’t see the movement gaining traction, but have at it folks. And count me out.

My family became Walmart shoppers from the first day the store here opened more than a decade ago. It’s far from the only place we go to stock our larder. We also make regular purchases at our nearest mom-and-pop grocery store, as well as small shops and markets in Chapala, Ajijic and Jocotepec.

It’s not just a matter of sharing the wealth, but also bringing home the freshest or most appealing products we can find.  Still, there are multiple reasons I remain a loyal Walmart client, despite occasional headaches.

A recent example was a trying attempt to buy the citrus seed based disinfectant spray I use to treat some types of raw produce. It’s an inexpensive house-brand antibacterial that seems to work like a charm. After searching for a new supply over several weeks, I asked store personnel for help. “No, we don’t carry that item,” they said. ” “Sure you do,” I insisted; “I’ve been buying it here for years.”  I dragged them over to the display unit, pointing to the label stuck to an empty hook. “Well, it must be out of stock now,” they replied.

My daughter jumped at the chance to test the store’s new catalog order system. She found the product on her cell phone app and placed the order. We dropped in the next day and waltzed away with the spray and a few more chosen items.

It may require some patience to deal with Walmart’s customer service counter, but I’ve never gone away unsatisfied with requests to return or exchange goods that weren’t quite up to snuff.

What’s more, I’ve never once been short-changed at the check-out stand. On the contrary, one time I inadvertently left without collecting the extra cash I requested with a debit card payment. It’s a long story, but returning the next day with dim expectations, I got the full amount (2,000 pesos) with no hassle.

I believe in paying it forward to earn amicable and honest service at Walmart. We engage in friendly chatter with store staff, generously tip the bag people and old fellow who lends a hand to load the car. We often hire parking lot help to wash and keep an eye on our vehicles. These hard-working people remember respect and kindness. It’s a win-win proposition.