Like others in the points community, I spend my fair share of time inside the walls of various Walmarts. Over the years I’ve seen an experienced a lot of things in and outside of the Money Center. Last night I was in a store getting a couple of money orders and saw a service manager that I knew walking towards me. Even from a distance, she looked tired, and I also noticed that she had a black eye. As she got closer there was also a small cut on the side of her eye. When she reached where I was standing, I asked her what happened. I expected to say that some accident had happened, that she had fallen or babysat a child and got hit by mistake. Her explanation was another first (for me and her) at Walmart.
Violence, Rage, Race, Pain and Suffering
The service manager is a nice woman. I don’t know her well, or as well as some other managers at other stores, but she’s always been pleasant to me. After I asked her what happened, she was very open:
“A customer,” she said.
“Last night I was working and someone tried to return a $700 laptop. The receipt looked like it was doctored and nothing matched up the way it should. The laptop was probably stolen, and I refused the return. The customer got irate and got really close to me. She was swearing and made a scene; got right up in my face and touched my nose with her finger (taking her own finger and touching her own nose). She called me a racist b*tch and said I’m going to f*ck you up and kept touching my nose with her finger. I was calm and didn’t react. I wanted to just slap her hand away from my face, but I didn’t .”
Fortunately the store captured the entire situation on camera. The other managers who saw the footage after said they couldn’t believe how calmly she dealt with the situation. Unfortunately the worst part came after work.
“They followed me home and punched me” she continued. “So now they know where I live”.
When she said “they” I was a bit confused. Initially she talked about one woman doing the return, but then seemed to reference more than one person. I asked if the same person that attacked her was the one who did the return. She said it wasn’t the same person, but that the two had to be connected. She welled up with tears as she finished her story. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing and felt terrible for even asking what happened.
“I don’t make enough here to go through through this crap,” she said.
I apologized to her and expressed concern for her. She said thank you and walked away.
Obviously there are security issues at play here more than just the violence that the Walmart employee endured. Anyone could be targeted walking out of a Walmart, especially those who engage in manufactured spend. Ever had someone look at your during a money order transaction? Ever have someone look at the debit (gift) cards in your hand during your transaction? If you manufacture spend, you probably have. It’s very easy to think that violence won’t happen to you, that the numbers are in your favor and that those things happen to others, not you. Think whatever you’d like, but increasing your awareness inside stores like Walmart is a good, and perhaps necessary, thing to do if you’re walking around with loaded prepaid debit cards.
I hope the woman who tried returning a stolen laptop and her accomplice rot in jail. If the keys to their cell were lost, I wouldn’t blink. Can you imagine being followed to your home and attacked (for not facilitating the return of a stolen laptop)? Not only that, but the woman who got upset and was part of the crime brought race into the equation, as if being a certain race or ethnicity would have allowed her to return a stolen laptop. A criminal claiming to be a victim, that’s rich.
“We say that evil is dark. But this metaphor is imprecise. Evil is actually intensely bright, so painfully bright that people look away from it. Many even deny its existence. Why? Because once people acknowledge evil’s existence, they know they have to confront it. And most people prefer not to confront evil.” – Dennis Prager
I’m going to try and offer the store manager a flight somewhere as a token of my sympathy for going through that. I doubt she’ll accept as just giving a coffee to Money Center workers can get them in trouble (depending on the employee and store). I feel terrible for her though, and maybe a trip somewhere would bring her some happiness.
Next time your money order doesn’t print right away or some other issue arises, keep your cool and treat the worker behind the desk with dignity, as they have a tough job dealing with people all day. If you’ve ever seen a customer raise their voice inside a Walmart, you know that you wouldn’t to deal with even a portion of what those workers deal with day in and day out.
Update 10/1/18 – I talked with the service manager the next day, and she said that she was thinking of quitting and that she didn’t want to press charges (or legally go after the women that attacked her). I told her the only solace I drew from the whole thing is knowing that the person who attacked her would go to jail. She didn’t think getting the law involved was worth it. I was so dejected hearing that. I told her I was cash poor but that I had a lot of miles, and offered her a flight anywhere she wanted. She was pretty surprised, said thank you, but turned it down. She told me that it wasn’t my responsibility to do anything.