Thursday, April 11, 2013

Wild wild hamsters

The other day was shopping day. Not for groceries, but for all the other little things; 36 inch fuel line, running shoes, scissors, stamps, oil change, tire, zip ties, head phones, fins for swim training, foam massage roller, shower curtain liner, you get the idea. This is the day where the girls and I go in and out of no less than five stores in pursuit of these odds and ends, and usually return home due to exhaustion but not completion of the list.

You can see from the partial list, there is a one stop shop where most of these things can be purchased - Wal Mart. There's always a story to tell after having shopped at the Wal Mart store.

We had purchased the tires for my truck there a few months ago. We bought the extra services; free future tire rotation and balance and the replacement warranty for tires damaged by road conditions. I made sure it wasn't a busy shopping time, I don't ever like to shop when the masses do. I do whatever I can to be long gone by 4:00 PM and try to shop a few days before payday. I dropped the truck off with the automotive department with the list of things I needed done; oil change, rotate/balance tires, replace tire on rim of RLB's truck tire*. Off we went to shop.

After an hour or so we returned to check if the work was completed. They were about half way but needed to move the truck to a different bay to do the tires and that bay was occupied. We sat down to wait, and wait, and wait. The girls began getting impatient. It is times like these when I try to give them an example of calm patience. There's nothing that complaining or whining is going to change about the situation. We have no choice but to wait. When they were small, I always made sure I had a variety of toys and books along with us to keep them occupied, now that they're older they have plenty of electronics and gadgets to play with. As do I. I settled into reading the rest of the comments on another great "Don't cut your damn hair" post on Alpha Game on my phone.

Entertainment was on its way. It's a familiar sound: the squeak of a hamster wheel just beginning to rotate. It's slow at first and gradually picks up speed. A woman was upset and everyone in ear shot was going to know about it. She was an older woman in her early 70's who had evidently left the store upset previously and had returned with her daughter, a woman in her late 40's.

The infraction: she was going to have to pay for the tire she just had replaced and she didn't want to. She had purchased the warranty when she first purchased the tires and wanted Wal Mart to cover the busted tire. The man from the service center attempted to explain repeatedly the damage done to the tire was caused by her vehicle and not road conditions. Her suspension is off and had worn down the tire. This was not covered by the warranty.

Round and round they went. The man maintained his composure, speaking softly and repeating himself. The women, on the other hand, decided to go at this from every angle possible outside of personal responsibility. The hamster wheels were going full speed. There was a loud screech: "I'm posting on Facebook that Wal Mart doesn't honor their warranties!!" There was huffing and puffing and loud EEEERRRRGGGHHHH expressions. It's no wonder women are suffering ill heart health, they get themselves so worked up. The rise in blood pressure alone isn't worth the $100 cost of the new tire.

The women didn't argue that the tire was destroyed by her own car. They seemed to accept that but were now upset that Wal Mart didn't warn her that her suspension was off. Which, of course, is not a service the mechanics at Wal Mart provide. I knew this, it wasn't long ago that I had a leak in my windshield wiper fluid receptacle. During an oil change the mechanic said he had filled the receptacle, yet there was still no fluid in it. "I'm sorry ma'am, it did get filled." After finding the leak we realized it quite literally would have had to drain out on the floor of the shop as he was filling it, but yet no one told me there was a leak. Wal Mart is for oil changes and tires, that's all. Don't expect more.

The service manager handled it well, what we could hear of him. He talked calmly and continued talking though the women yelled and shrieked over the top of his voice. And finally they huffed and stomped out the door.

I have a heart for the people who have to deal with these things on a daily basis. It must get exhausting.

It does provide great lessons for my daughters. I love for them to be able to see hamsters in the wild going off the rails so they know just how ridiculous it looks and sounds. Of course I long for a more refined and genteel society. I guess I'm just a bicycle needing fish.

*Story to follow soon.


  1. Wal Mart is for oil changes and tires, that's all. Don't expect more.

    True. Part of the problem is that Walmart doesn't state that they are going to give you the bare minimum crappy service. That is something that isn't too hard to figure out, and decide accordingly whether you want them to do the work.

    But the screechtard woman you wrote of is probably not capable of the understanding required to make that determination.

    That would be her husband's job. But since she left and then came back with her daughter, I would assume she doesn't have one. Whether she divorced him, he died, or she never had one isn't something we would know.

    Her behavior isn't justified, but I can understand her frustration. She's out of her depth.

  2. I somewhat agree Giraffe. When my husband was deployed I had to take care of things he normally did, one of them was changing the oil and tires and so on. I took my car to our local firestone here (just myself and my daughter who was an infant still). They changed my oil and rotated my tires, then persisted to tell me there was something wrong inside my vehicle that they needed to fix. I was skeptical and told them I needed to discuss it with my husband first. This was toward the very end of his deployment so he said to leave it be and he would take a look at it when he returned home. Upon his return he looked at my car, there wasn't a thing wrong. The firestone guys simply saw a woman, who clearly didn't know anything about cars and attempted to take advantage. He went down to firestone and had words with them about their poor conduction of service and how wrong it was for them to attempt to take advantage of women. Who knows if they took his conversation to heart, but we no longer give our service to firestone. He then also instructed me on very basic car issues in case I found myself in that situation again.

    I also think that if the wild hamster woman SD is referring to really doesn't have a man around it is her responsibility to educate herself on such matters. She shouldn't be "out of her depth" there is no excuse for that kind of behavior or ignorance.

    1. My normal repair shop noted that Firestone often claims to need to do unnecessary repairs. We have lifetime alignment from them on our cars (a reasonable deal since they are old and we have had it a long time), but we do not do repairs there.

  3. On the subject of hamsters

    There might be a parable in this


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