By Sparky | May 7, 2006
So I finally broke down yesterday and did the very bad thing: I put an Xbox 360 on my credit card so that I could play Oblivion. About 18 hours later and I have to admit: it was the right thing to do.
Unfortunately my consumerist experience was not overly positive. While downtown with Brien I stopped by EB Games to pick up a 360. I was dismayed to discover that Microsoft is still having their supply chain problems and it’s rather difficult to find an Xbox 360 – the EB Games in downtown gets in a weekly shipment of 23, and has a 1-2 week waiting list.
So after getting home Brien and I started calling around. We were lucky enough to find a place that had one, and unlucky enough to have that place be the Renton Wal-Mart. After a long drive to the 7th circle of hell I got to experience first hand the horror that is Wal-Mart.
Wal-Mart can’t even survive in Seattle proper. The nearest Wal-Mart to my house is the Renton one and I now see why. The parking lot was teeming with white trash hillbillies with pimped out cars and food stamps. The Wal-Mart employees inside were even worse – they seemed to be the least educated and worst spoken customer service people I’ve dealt with in a long time. It really does make me wonder how Wal-Mart has managed to become the nations largest retailer – they suck.
My experience was further compounded when I tried to buy a copy of Oblivion and was told that because their system was reporting it as “do not sell” they couldn’t give me a copy. Luckily I was able to pick up a copy at Fry’s on the way home (with MUCH better customer service), but I’ve never even heard of a company having a stack of a product sitting behind the register and yet refusing to sell it.
After arguing with the clerk, the customer service manager, and then finally the assistant manager I gave up and tried to pay for my Xbox 360. They ran my credit card and then asked to see my ID. Unfortunately my credit card says “Sparky” and not my legal name, and I had not brought my Legal Alias paperwork with me. This is the first time I’ve had a problem with that, and hopefully it will be the last.
Most retailers are more than happy to sell you a product regardless of your credit cards name. I guess Wal-Mart has to deal with the lowest dregs of society often enough that it’s worth their time checking ID’s to help prevent fraud. I can’t even fault them for it – what I can fault them for is what happened next:
Brien graciously paid for my Xbox 360 and told me to write a check. Given that they had already run my credit card I asked if I could get a cancelation receipt. To my shock THEY REFUSED, yet assured me that they had canceled the transaction.
Xbox 360 in hand Brien and I went home so that I could let myself sink into Oblivion. Sadly shortly after I had gotten home I got a call from Visa fraud protection asking me about my “recent big purchases”. This is about when my fury erupted – Wal-Mart charged BOTH my credit card and Brien’s credit card for the console.
Needless to say I’m going to be having a chat with my bank on Monday, and then if necessary calling a lawyer to prevent them from trying to double charge for the console.
I have never experienced worse customer service, a seedier retailer, nor more fat uneducated trashy American’s in a single location. I knew I would feel dirty buying something from Wal-Mart before I even got there, I just had no idea how horrible the experience would be. They lied to me, refused to sell me a product they had in stock, and then refused to cancel a credit card transaction or provide me with a receipt.
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Luckily I feel much better now (allergies aside). I have my Xbox 360, I have Oblivion, and I’m spending a lot of quality time getting myself embroiled into Tamriel’s tragedy and the open-ended masterpiece of Oblivion.