Monday, August 3, 2009
Brandy: Yesterday Brian and I took part in a paid study for first time moms. Two interviewers came to our house and asked us questions about baby items and our thoughts on registering. After that, we took a trip to a local Wal-Mart where we were supposed to register, while the interviewers waited at a nearby Starbucks for us to finish. We went in and the hellish nightmare began (more to come on my nightmare shortly). Can I just say for the record that I HATE Wal-Mart with a passion. I avoid it at all costs. I cannot even remember the last time I went in to a Wal-Mart prior to this. So why go? Because we had already registered at Babies-R-Us and Target and I wanted to participate in this study for the money! Wal-Mart was the only choice left on the list of approved stores for the study. We get paid $450 in total... just to register and talk about our experiences. We got $150 yesterday, and we get the other $300 after the final interview which is after the baby is here. So back to my nightmare... When we entered Wal-Mart, it was exactly opening time for the store. We headed straight to the computers set up in the customer service area to set up the registry, but they were not on. So we started to stand in the customer service line to ask about this, since there were no other associates around to help us. The line, by the way, was already about 15 people deep... UGH! While I stayed in line, Brian asked the greeter how we were supposed to start a registry, but there was a language barrier. A lady in line at customer service chimed in and told us that there is usually another computer in the jewelry area. So we headed that way, and on the way asked another associate where the computer in the jewelry area was (we didn't even see the jewelry area), and she said there wasn't one... we could only do the registry at customer service. So we headed back up to the front of the store to get back in line at customer service, only to discover that the line had multiplied. When we got there, the greeter looked at us oddly and started saying to go to jewelry. So Brian stayed in line and I went to jewelry, asked the associate that worked there, and there is NO computer in the jewelry section. So I head back to customer service AGAIN!!! This time an associate we had spoken to previously was walking by so we stopped her and asked for her help since we were still at the back of a very long line. She grabbed a manager for us. We told him our issues, and asked if he could please turn on the computers. He tried to turn on the computers, but it did not work. So he walked to the front of the line to ask the person who was actually working customer service. When he came back to us, he said the system was down, but we could do it online. So I asked if I could set up the registry using the Internet on my phone, and then get a "gun". He looked at me and said he didn't know what I was talking about. I asked him again... I need a scanner gun! The light went off, but he told us there were not set up for registries and they did not have the scanner guns. AAGGGHHH!!!! So after 25 minutes of utter insanity and no one in the freaking store knowing what was going on, we find out we cannot set up a registry there. Heck, even if someone came in to buy from a registry, there was no way to print it out and shop from the list. Stupid Wal-Mart! So we went to the designated Starbuck's to meet the interviewers and tell them what happened. After rehashing the whole story, we found another Wal-Mart online, called to verify that their registry system was working, and headed there. This time, when we walked in there were no computers in customer service, but the jewelry section was at the front of the store and there was a computer with a large sign above it reading "Gift Registry" and it was on. Finally! So I set up the registry and went to the jewelry counter for the scanner gun. I had to give up my license to get it, and I did not have to do that anywhere else. I guess they thought I would steal it. After learning how to use the gun, the associate told us she was going on lunch and if we were done before she got back we would have to find someone to give our license back. So, off we went to register. It was really disappointing. The infant section was very small, and there was not a good selection of products and brands to choose from. We tried to register for things we really need... onesies, gowns, sleepers... only to find that there was nothing to choose from in the unisex department. We looked at blankets, toys, walkers... all kinds of things but everything was stamped with a Disney character. This is great if you are decorating your nursery with Disney characters, but if not it was a little much! I literally could not find anything I liked without Disney on it. We did manage to find some bath toys, shampoo, lotion, cotton swabs, diapers, wipes and various other small items. I was pretty disappointed in the selection of large dollar items like car seats and strollers compared to Target and Babies-R-Us. When we were done, we headed back to jewelry. The original associate who helped us was not there, but someone else was. So we asked her for our license back and what needed to be done so we could print the registry. I did not know if she needed to do something with the scanner or if it transmitted via wireless internet? She had no clue either... surprise! Another associate was walking by so the lady in jewelry stopped her and asked her for help. She took the scanner and began pressing buttons, only to look up and say that she had no idea. She told us to wait there and she would go get help. She came back several minutes later, handed us the gun and told us to go to the photo department for help. So off we went... We asked the man working in photo, but he didn't know how to work the registry stuff. He did say there were some computers there we could look at. So we went over to those, and a lady came up to us (apparently this was who we were supposed to ask for help). She said she didn't really know about registry either but she would try to help us. We collectively decided to get on the computer just to see if the stuff happened to be there so we could print it out. Normally I would have just left, but I was required to take a print out to the interviewers. We found the registry and hit "print". It said printing 4 pages, which seemed like all of the items were there... only nothing printed. So she tried it again, and nothing printed. I tried the second computer, and again nothing printed. She called the guy in photo over and asked him to check if the printer was out of paper, but he did not have the key to unlock the box that contained the printer. He also told us the computer I was on didn't work. Of course there was no sign! So we decided to go to the computer in jewelry to try that one. We trekked back up there, and finally we were able to print out the registry. Two seconds later, the guy from photo came walking up to us with a crumpled, skewed printout that had been stuck in the printer. He handed it to us, and walked away. You could not read most of it, the paper was torn and it was a mess all of it's own. I could not get out of that store fast enough! We met back up with the interviewers and told our second story. We received our $150, and I was never so happy to be done with anything! Bottom line, we are registered for a few things at Wal-Mart, but I could care less if anyone ventures in that store to buy them. You can get the same items at Target or Babies-R-Us, and probably get a lot less hassle. If you do decide to venture to Wal-Mart, do so at your own risk. I, for one, will not be returning to that store anytime in the near future. In fact, I plan to avoid it at all costs!
Posted at 9:17 AM