The Day I STOP Putting My Cart Back


This is it. This is the day, that I, as a consumer am taking back some of my rights. I have had a number of bad retail experiences( two just this week) and I realize that I am a powerless peon. One of the faceless masses who will never have any clout with retailers, but I am no longer going to play nice.

For those of you who don’t know me personally, I should tell you that I am the “good girl” – you know the one who never gets in trouble. I try to be kind and helpful and always make life easier for others. This is doubly true in retail situations.

I have worked with the public, in mostly blue collar jobs, since I was fourteen. I know it isn’t easy. I know people work hard, so I try to make it as easy as possible. I ALWAYS put my cart back at the grocery store(Even in the torrential downpours we often get here in Washington) I ALWAYS take my trash to the garbage at fast food places, I ALWAYS put things back in the correct place if I change my mind about an item mid-shop(even if it means going back to the other side of the store. I don’t tell you this because I want to brag. I tell you this so you can understand the level of frustration that has led me to my current decision.

Today, at Rite Aid, I bought a gallon of milk and a bottle of ketchup. I just made fantastic homemade corn dogs (remind me to share the recipe on a later blog- easy and delicious) and realized I couldn’t partake without ketchup. Anyway, I gave the clerk a ten. I know it was a ten because it is the only bill I had with me. My daughter also saw that it was a ten because at first I sent her in for the ketchup, and then I needed milk too, so I went after her. Short story long, I know without a shadow of a doubt it was a ten.  The total comes to $5.34. So, I give the cashier the ten and tell her I have the thirty-five cents for the change. I guess this terrible bit of math was too much for her, because she never gave me change. Which I figured out as soon as I got to my car. I went back into the store and told her she forgot my change, and this, dear reader is the real catch. She says to me. I thought I needed to give you a five. I had one out, but I saw that I typed five dollars instead of ten so I put it back. (May I submit this evidence to the court!)

She was very nice, but then her supervisor had to come over and they had to count out the till. Then they go in the back room for like fifteen minutes. The supervisor comes back and says, ” Sorry till is okay.” Great, but what about my five. Oh, there’s nothing they can do about that except charge me ten dollars for ketchup. So even though I know that it is wrong and the clerk knows it is wrong, and has admitted such, the numbers match so I’m out money. Nice. If the clerk hadn’t said she remembered the same thing, I would at least understand, but come one this is craziness. I was really fired up now. Probably because my wonderful corn dogs were getting cold. So I said,  ” Since this is all dependent on the count of the till, I assume that her till must come out every day 100% correct. Right?” No comment. Just guilty looks. Now I know this is just an accident, but two days ago I was in AM/PM. I bought a Starcraft cup so I could get my caffeine fix and my kids like the cup. They lady starts to charge me for a refill, but I’m the”good girl” so I correct her and pay full price. I come back yesterday and there is a huge line so I just go over and fill my cup. When I finally get to the checkout and say it’s a refill the lady( same one as yesterday) yells at me LOUDLY about not coming up to show her first.

“We sell that cup here,” she says indignantly.

“I know, I bought it from you yesterday, “I fire back. “There was no sign. This is my first refill here.” I stammer.

She continues to berate me for my refill misdeed. Mind you this is all for about 70 cents. So I finally escape from that fiasco, and now, today, I’m getting smeared at Rite Aid. The thing that makes me the maddest is that there isn’t a darn thing I can do about it. Well maybe egg the stores in the middle of the night so they have to pay an employee to clean it up.Or maybe I’ll just go put a hard boiled egg on one of their shelves so in about six weeks there will be this horrible smell no one can figure out.  But since I have been the”good girl” so long, I know I’ll never go through with it.

Instead I  have decided to create a new me. No taking my tray back, I’ll put crap I don’t want where ever I like, and my cart will free range in the parking lot. Then when I get terrible customer service I can just smile and say to myself. I deserved that one, and at least feel a little bit of justice.

2 Comments  to  The Day I STOP Putting My Cart Back

  1. Ann, you are a vary talented writer. I enjoy the comedy that is weaved into your writing style. This story reminds me of an experience I had at Coastal Farm and Ranch the other day. Before I share the experience I want to point out that Coastal is a good store and when we tracked down a manager they took our complaint very seriously and I will continue shopping there… That said, here’s the story:

    I buy my pig ears for my dogs at Coastal (and so does my best friend who was with me) because they are lower priced than anywhere else, and sold individually so I can decide exactly how many I want and how much to spend. They also seem to be really good quality and some are surprisingly large. (I always dig for the biggest ones…)

    Yesterday (which also happened to be my birthday) I bought four pig ears and while rummaging through the bins I found a pig ear that had mysterious white spots or smudges on it. Very unusual as Coastal has good quality products, but hey, in manufacturing anything can happen. I pointed it out to my friend and she decided to show it to a nearby employee. She explained that it looked like it could be mold and it isn’t something anyone would want to feed to their dogs if there was a risk. We assumed it would be thrown out because it is such a cheap item for them to get and customers happiness are number one.

    The associate was a little flippant about it and seemed to doubt it was mold. That’s fine, I wasn’t sure either. We began turning away to look at something else and she didn’t even wait for us to leave before sharply walking over to the bin and tossing (not lightly) the pig ear back in the bin. I was offended, my friend was furious. She picked the ear back up, stated loudly that things like that make her stop shopping at particular stores. She decided to try another employee up at the check stand while I browsed for other products. She again explained the situation adding that the last employee she talked to had simply thrown it back into the bin.

    I wasn’t there, so I wont say that the checkout associate was rude per-say, but she wasn’t very reassuring and stated her doubt that it was mold. By the time my friend came back she was still fuming and I was annoyed. I have a family member who gets free products all the time by writing letters of dissatisfaction to corporate managers so I thought, what the heck, i’ll write a letter and maybe get some free pig ears in the process. My friend, however, wanted face to face contact. So she looked for a manager among a see of very young faces (no offense to the young). Finally she found a manager. When I realized what she was doing I joined her and we explained the situation and that our animals are important to us and when an associate behaves the way the first associate does it makes customers feel like the store isn’t looking out for their animals. (It is a store mainly devoted to livestock for crying out loud!) The managers were amazing, and stated that they were immediately going to walk over to make sure it hadn’t been thrown back into the bin again (as we feared due to the nonchalant attitude of the second associate). We didn’t get anything free, 😉 but it was nice to leave with the feeling that we can remain comfortable shopping at Coastal despite the couple of annoying associates. (who I have never seen there before come to think of it…)

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