July 21, 2007
Originally published January 16, 2002
K-Mart is swirling down the toilet of bankruptcy just like the piece of crap it has become. On one hand, I hate to see that happen, because my mama worked for K-Mart for about 15 years and retired with a $25 dollar per month pension, along with a wad of K-Mart stock. I don't believe she ever sold any of it. On the other hand, I believe K-Mart deserves to go down the tubes because it became a really terrible place to shop, right when Wal-Mart had them in a fatal chokehold. There is no excuse for that.
I stayed with my mama after my prostate surgery because I had nowhere else to go, and mamas will always allow you to come home again. I needed that. I had tubes running into me where I didn't want them to go, and tubes running OUT of me where you don't even want to think about. I would not have done well by myself. But I was determined to find a place to live, replace all the furniture the bloodless cunt took from me and get back out on my own again. So, when I saw the full-color K-Mart ad in the Sunday paper touting genuine, solid-wood kitchen tables for $199, solid-wood chests-of-drawers for $150, kid's sleigh-beds for $177 dollars and a host of other neat, cheap things I needed, I went shopping.
I was not supposed to drive. I still had tubes running in and out of me, a piss-bag strapped to my leg, and I still felt as if I had been kicked in the belly my a full-grown mule. But I went to K-Mart to take advantage of these blue-light specials on furniture. I crab-walked into the store and picked out about $1,000 worth of stuff I wanted to buy. But I couldn't lift any of this stuff and load it onto a buggy. My belly was still full of staples. Hell, I wasn't even supposed to BE THERE by myself. So, I looked for a salesperson to help me. After a while, I became tired of looking and decided to sit down on one of the genuine wooden chairs I wanted to buy, since it was a floor model, right next to the genuine wooden kitchen table I wanted to buy, too. I tried to appear really pathetic, which I was, but that was no help, either. Finally, I crab-walked up to the Service Desk and asked the woman behind the counter if I could please have some help in the furniture department. I also told her that I wanted to spend about $1,000 in her store. She assured me that she would find me some help, so I crab-walked BACK to the furniture department while she keyed her Service Desk microphone and announced over the intercom: "Whhaaanatentionfurndehelpelmo!"
I waited another fifteen minutes with my butt parked on the same wooden chair and I never saw a solitary soul, except for a silver-haired old woman, who was pushing a buggy and appearing very puzzled about the variety of feminine hygene products available on the asile across from me. I finally gave up, crab-walked back to the service desk, and asked the woman behind the counter: "Do you own stock in this company?"
"Yes, I do," she replied.
"Sell it," I advised. "I'm leaving with over $1,000 dollars in my pocket that your store could have had, if only ONE HUMAN EMPLOYEE had waited on me." I left. When I got back to mama's house, I advised her to sell her stock, too, but she said it wasn't worth diddly-squat anymore and selling it wouldn't amount to a hill of beans. Diddly-squat and not worth a hill of beans. I couldn't have described K-Mart any better myself.
I ended up paying over $4,500 for the furniture I wanted. But I walked through a store simply pointing at what I wanted, with a salesperson jumping through hoops to please me. Once we agreed on a price, they delivered everything to my new home, put it all together for me and set it up exactly where I wanted it. They even threw in the free vacuum cleaner I asked for.
That's service. That's what keeps retailers in business. K-Mart forgot that principle somewhere along the way. Wal-Mart sells the same stuff for lower prices and you can find MORE THAN ONE HUMAN EMPLOYEE willing to help you any time you walk in the store. Where do you think I'm going next time I want to buy something cheap?
K-Mart deserves to die.
All content © Rob Smith