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You Know You’re Poor When WalMart Pays You For Your Purchases

Oh yes.  I had to borrow money from WalMart today to make my purchases. 

Only me, right?

So, I go to WalMart, as you do, to pick up some snacks for the road trip Eilis and I are going on tomorrow morning.  While we’re there, Jim decides to buy some Sony gamer gift card thing that comes with some fabulous bonus only available through WalMart.  And since I’m already cutting into my studying time for my microbiology final, I figure we’ll take $100 cash back so I can go to New York City tomorrow without having to make yet another stop at the bank.

And then all hell broke loose.  The gift cards with the fabulous bonus attached don’t seem so fabulous when it comes to running them through the register.  The checker kept running the same cards through the same machines repeatedly, causing all sorts of chaos within the register’s computer system.  It starts beeping, buzzing, humming, and shouting “Danger, Will Robinson!” just as smoke begins to rise from the keyboard and it cries, “I’m melting, I’m melting….”

When all is said and done, we have to have a manager come over to find out what the hell happened, and apparently, what the hell happened is that our bank paid WalMart $250 out of my checking account to cover our purchases, which included the $100 cash back and the over charges made because she kept swiping the gift cards through.  Oh, but because the register is now down, WalMart has no record of the transaction.  So not only can I not take my purchases until I ring them up and pay for them again, I cannot pass go, I do not collect my $100, and I may not leave the store until it’s all straightened out.

Oh, and the gift cards are probably not valid.

Well, of course, I’m fuming.  Do I want WalMart to ring me up so that I have to pay another $250?  No, I don’t.  Whether or not my checking account can cover it, I don’t want to duplicate pay for my crap.  And I want my $100.  But I have no receipt that I ever purchased anything OR that I asked for $100 cash back because the register that contains the information committed suicide. 

The manager, seeing that I was dressed in my very best People of WalMart garb (not realizing until I was out the door this morning that I had stops to make), took pity on me.  She offered to pay for my purchases out of the store’s WalMart Customer Satisfaction fund (who knew they had this?), as long as I promised to come back when the credit she was going to issue to my checking account cleared the bank in three or four days. 

I pinky sweared.

So WalMart gave me money, rang up my purchases, I paid them, and I had my $100 cash back and then some.

And it wasn’t until I was out in the car that I realized the “and then some” was for the over charges the first cashier rung up.  So when I pay WalMart back, I’m paying them back for overcharging me. 

Stay tuned for Round 2.