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Paul from Walmart wants you to know you can buy coffins and urns on Walmart.com

Update: Walmart responded Sunday, 11/30, to my email explaining the situation.  Below you will find their response: 

Amanda,

Thank you for letting us know about this horrible event. We are very sorry this occurred to you. We have escalated what happened to the store manager as well as the market manager who has responsibility for all the stores in your area.  If you would like a call back from either the store manager or the market manager please email us back with your phone number.

Thank you,
Walmart Social Media Support

The story I’m about to tell you is not one I want to tell, but if I can save even one person from feeling the way I did yesterday, all of the hurt and flabbergastion (yes, that’s a real word) will have been worth it.

the three amigos

The three amigos at Black Friday Chemo

Thursday, the family and I were lucky enough to celebrate Thanksgiving with two sets of our families and stuff ourselves with every delicious morsel you associate with the holidays.  I even felt well enough to bake brownies and cupcakes for dessert! Now my usual plan for “dark Thursday” (a name Lisa, LeeAnne, and I came up with last year) and Black Friday is to divide and conquer the stores with the best deals and reel in the Christmas goodies, starting at Walmart, but the new treatment plan (and my not-so-inexplicable need to spend as much time with family as possible) dictates that I spend Friday morning hooked up to the cancer-killing chemicals rather than slinging back caffeine and loading up on the BF deals. 

dark thursday

Not willing to let that stop our family tradition, Lisa and LeeAnne insisted on accompanying me to my 12th treatment (out of 16) yesterday and then, after a quick stop for refueling at The Cheesecake Factory, the ladies and I hit the shops.  While we did not shop ’til we dropped, I’m sure our wallets thank us, we certainly dropped a pretty penny here and there and I’m happy to say that I polished off my Christmas list and even managed to pick up some Godiva for my own stocking!

chemo preshopping nap

chemo pre-shopping nap

Finishing up our Black Friday festivities, we decided to stop in at Walmart (store #1053) to pick up some especially sought after toys and scope out the “left-over” Black Friday deals (which started at 6pm Thursday!).  Since we each had fewer than 20 items, we swooped into the quick lane; LeeAnne and I started talking with the cashier, Paul, immediately since we fully believe in having a good time whenever possible.  At some point early in the conversation things swiftly went downhill.

Imagine with me the conversation goes something like this:

Paul: *out of nowhere* I sure hope you’ve got your affairs in order.  (Obviously referring to my last will and testament.)

Me: *stunned* Actually yes, I do. (Thank you, Katie!)

Paul: You can always pick up your coffin at Walmart.com!

Me: *still stunned and surrounded by stunned family* Um, I actually plan on being cremated.

Paul: Well, I think we sell urns there too.

Me: *still pretty stunned* I’d rather my coffin or urn not be made by starving Vietnamese children. (Not my finest moment and I admit to that. I admit that the rhetoric that I used here is wrong and is part of what is wrong with America.)

Paul: All those toys you have there came from the same place.

Me: *beginning to come around*  Well, I guess I’ll have to stop coming here for those,too, then…like I have with my groceries.

And with that we all quickly walked away and went out to the car.  No sooner did we get there than Lisa wanted to go back in and tell Paul how rude he was.  I was embarrassed and begged her not to, to just take me home, although we had previously planned to go to a couple of other places first.  About half way home, Lisa again wanted to go back, but after I asked her not to (again), she settled on calling the store and talking to a manager.  She then called and spoke with an assistant manager, LeToy, who assured her that due to her own bout with cancer, she would take care of this and after getting my name, promptly got off the line.

After I got home and told Jon about it (I might have cried a bit), he insisted on going back there today to talk with the manager and Paul to make sure they understood the seriousness of the situation and attempt to ensure it didn’t happen again.  And you know guys, I *know* I’m not going to die from this cancer…I go every week and pump copious amounts of toxins into my body to ensure more time with my family…and yet last night, I cried and cried at the idea that I might not see my children grow up.  All of the fears I thought I had moved past and worked through, there they were back at the forefront of my mind…and they were choking me all over again.

Wanting to make sure no one else has to feel like this again, I agreed to go back to Walmart today and go with Jon while he attempted to speak with the manager.  While returning an item at the customer service desk, Jon asked the assistant manager, LeToy, to speak with her whenever she had a free moment.  After she waited on several customers, (edited because I was wrong in what I wrote initially and I want to clarify.)After finishing up with the current customer, she and Jon spoke – he told her what happened and she dismissively (and in a clipped tone (in our opinion)) told him that she had “spoken to his mother-in-law last night and told her it would be taken care of,” Jon didn’t feel like that was so and decided to to speak with Paul himself.

Jon, again, waited patiently in line to speak with Paul and after asking him if he thought it was appropriate to suggest to a person obviously going through cancer treatment that they purchase their coffin (or urn) at Walmart.com, Paul said implied it was just a joke  (edited because I was wrong in my first opinion.) that he didn’t know [that I have cancer] and they should shake on it.  Jon, with a deep breath, decided to just walk away, from Paul and the entire store.  Probably forever.

I normally wouldn’t share these types of stories, I do not want another person to feel the way I did last night.  And I think the managers of this particular Walmart (and really any place, anywhere) need to address this type insensitivity in their employees, whether that means specific training or something else.

**It is now nearly midnight and I would like to make sure that I clarify that I am not attempting to assassinate or destroy anyone’s character; I am simply sharing my experience.**

See y'all later!
Amanda

About It's Me, Amanda

Amanda is a southern belle caffeine addict who spends her tiny amount of free time writing here.

50 comments

  1. Appalling. That is all that can come out of me right now. Now go rest cause you have at least 50 more years to plan shopping trips and hang with the family.

    • More like aPAULing. Gross. I avoid Walmart at all cost. Now, I am for sure never going to return. Hsave a wonderful holiday season Amanda!!

  2. WOW. Just wow. I’ve hated Walmart for a long time for a lot of reasons, but this just finished it off for me. I’m so, so sorry you had to go through that. xoxoxo

  3. I am completely blown away by the lack of kindness & compassion from this man. (It is very hard for me to call him a man…) As a Survivor, I have all the faith in God that you will also be a Survivor and be around for your children as they grow in to adults. Please try to not let this one idiot, and I put that as nice as I can, bring you down or crush that positive attitude!! He will get his. A positive attitude is the greatest medicine out there so keep your chin up and just know that not everybody out there is like him. He is obviously a very sad individual. Praying for you!

  4. This couldn’t have been easy to write, nor was it easy to hear. So sorry you had to encounter such a jacka$$. I certainly hope someone at the company addresses this. xoxo

  5. That’s is a complete lie I was standing right there that us sad to make something up like that

      • She lied to you all that’s not the conversation that was had and I was standing directly there so sad to lie especially on letoy

        • Let me guess. You’re an employee. I can’t imagine why Amanda plus two family members would make this up. And if you are an employee, that Walmart seriously has issues if you feel comfortable commenting this.

          • No I’m not an employee I’m a customer and it’s not true what she has said like I said shall I post what was recorded so we can have the true story!!!

        • Wow. You happen to know Letoy and happened to be standing there when she checked out and Paul made the comments and happen to have a recording and happen to not work there. So totally believable.

        • I’m confused. You’re a customer…you claim you were standing in line with her and you just so happened to hear her conversation with Paul (where you say she lied), you know the manager mentioned here, Letoy, AND you are privvy to the conversations regarding her as well (and you are additionally claiming she is lying about that)? You might need to help me out here.

          As a ‘customer’, it sounds like you followed Amanda and her family around the store. AND waited for her to leave, for her family to call and then to and come back. Now, that doesn’t make much sense, now does it?

          Amanda – a mother fighting cancer – dedicating her energy to ridding her body of this disease and spending time with her family – doesn’t have the time or energy to make this kind of business up.

          Stephanie – Please dedicate YOUR energy elsewhere.

          Amanda – so sorry this happened to you.

    • and you just conveniently found this site today? Really? I’m 99.9% sure you’re the one lying.

  6. I agree with Jen L. I don’t like Walmart at all and never shop there but THIS!! OK This just made me feel 100% justified in my refusal to shop there!!!! I am disgusted by Paul and LaToy and their flippant, BS response. I am sorry, nobody should have to go through that. I am proud of your family and their restart to not beat the living daylights out of these people. I bet it was the shock!

  7. WHAT. THE. BADWORD. Is wrong with people. Paul has lost his ever-loving mind, and his assistant manager along with him. That is horrifying, disturbing, SO beyond the pale of a civil interaction ANYWHERE. I’m so sorry this (BADWORD) made you feel this way on a day when you were observing a tradition and enjoying time with family. I know you don’t want to waste energy, but I hope you write all of this in a letter to corporate, as well, with names and store numbers. It may or may not do any good on their end, but you’ll know you took it up the chain. UGH. That is so sucky. Tell Paul to buy HIS damn coffin, cause we’re all gonna need them some day. But you, m’dear??? Not now. Not soon. I really believe that. Love you, friend.

  8. Holy hell Amanda. So not ok. (yup…that is about as eloquent as I feel after this story). Every level of this stinks—but most of all, I can only imagine you crying at the thoughts that this interaction made surface. Many hugs and much love.

  9. There are no words. This is just wrong on so many levels. No one should ever have to go through something like this or be treated this way.
    This guy had no business speaking to you about anything to do with your health, except to ask “how are you today”. Anything to the extent he went to asking you about your plans, or even speaking to you about any health issue.
    To make you feel this way is just so wrong.
    I am so very sorry you had to have this horrible experience Amanda. No one should be talked to like this. Please don’t allow a jerk like him to get to you.
    You WILL get through this. You WILL live on, and be here for your kids, and you WILL do great things during your long life on Earth. You have not completed your life’s goals and missions and wonderfulness yet and God knows it, so rest a sure you’ll not be going anywhere, anytime, in any near future.
    That guy though, may be has a death wish, or at the least may get punched in the mouth, if he happens to say the wrong thing to the wrong person one day.
    Life is nothing to joke about. Life is serious business and nothing to be playing or laughing around with. Not these days, not with anyone. There are many people who aren’t nearly as nice as you and your family out there. All he’d have to do is catch them on a bad day, ya know what I’m sayin’.
    Him soliciting caskets, urns, headstones, cemetery plots, etc. Is not his job. He don’t need to be speaking to anyone about those services no matter if HE decides in his menial mind that someone needs them or not.
    I think dude is in the wrong business if this is the way he feels the need to speak to a customer buying toys in a check out line.
    His first line of training needs to be to respect the customers who come through his line.
    Respect is far from what he has given you. Nor did the management show you any.
    I end the way I started. This is just wrong on so many levels. There are no words…

  10. Karma, baby. KARMA. Paul is a douche bag. I can’t for the life of me figure out what would prompt something like to come out of someone’s mouth. Paul needs removed from customer interaction – I wouldn’t even want him as a greeter. For real.

    I am so sorry that this happened. I am so sorry that I wasn’t there because I would’ve marched right back in with LeeAnne and let Paul know what a class act he was and his assistant manager too.

  11. That is unconscionable. I’m tweeting this post to Walmart!

  12. I am so sorry you experienced such rude and inconsiderate behavior from the d’bag employee. Here’s to karma catching up with him just in time for the rest of the holiday season. Many hugs to you and strength to keep fighting. You will win! 🙂

  13. I am beyond sorry this happen to you .. I feel you should call cooperate . Please know no one no matter where they are a store or even in public should have to have this said to them.
    You are an amazing woman and very strong ….. Show everyone who strong you are keep fighting and making people aware of what you should and should not say to others.

  14. My husband has cancer. Been doing chemo, had massive surgery and chemo again. I know about all those feelings. It’s been almost a year of this. Someone just made me go thru them again too. And had Paul mentioned any of this to him, I am sure the response wild have been a little physical. I would like to know why Paul even thought that was a good thing to mention. Prayers to you.

  15. Amanda,

    Having read about the incident a few hours ago with Kelby’s Facebook post, I’m still reeling from it. As I read, I just kept hoping this guy has some sort of Autism that makes him unaware of the impact he has on others but it seems unlikely the manager wouldn’t know & apologize for it all. I hope you and your family sharing this story helps everyone move on and that nobody else faces it!

    Still just thinking wow. Unbelievable.

    jp

  16. Disgusted. Horrified. Hurt. These are the words that describe how I’M feeling and I didn’t experience this. Not even remotely close to humane in what he said. I really hope that Walmart recognizes this and realizes that Paul needs to be reprimanded. Officially. It’s not right. You know you have us on your side. 100%. And the fake commenter? WTF? Lady (if you are actually a lady) – step off. You’re full of sh*t and we all know it. Do yourself a favor and stop pretending to care about anything but a few seconds of your own publicity or whatever you’re trying to find.

    Love to you, Amanda. I’m fairly certain your husband has a strong sense of restraint and bless him for walking away.

  17. Unbelievable. I’m speechless. So sorry you had to deal with this.

  18. I would encourage everyone I know to boycott walmart

  19. That is the way you took it. As you said in the conversation. Paul: *out of nowhere* I sure hope you’ve got your affairs in order. (Obviously referring to my last will and testament.)

    How can anyone know what anyones going through? Did you tell him that you had cancer? If not then maybe he was promoting a sale. I had no idea that they sold coffins.
    Then you want to make a blanketing statement of how starving children Made them.Me: *still pretty stunned* I’d rather my coffin or urn not be made by starving Vietnamese children. (Not my finest moment and I admit to that.)
    So with that being said how can you blast someone for something when someone reading this could be from Vietnam and was raised poor snd starving. Making you out to be a bad person with no remorse.
    We all have opinions and this is mine. He was informing customers of there sales in coffins and urns. Just like you made a comment of starving children making urns and coffins.

    • Really… so this is all “Even Steven” because in a stunned state Amanda’s retort wan’t her proudest moment? At least she owned her own words and acknowledged that she wasn’t proud of how she reacted in the moment.

      Perhaps had the team at Walmart done the same – none of us would be having this discussion.

  20. Amanda. My friend. I’m sorry. I have no words except that you handled this crummy situation with grace and class and there is no doubt in my mind that you are going to be around for the next 80+ Black Fridays. Thank you for sharing this experience; it is yet another reason I forever and ever refuse to patronize Walmart.

  21. This is unacceptable! Holy crap…I literally don’t know what to say. I’m so sorry this happened to you.

  22. There are a couple of supremely insensitive and moronic comments here, but hey! That’s just my opinion.

    Horrible. WalMart can go suck it.

  23. So much is wrong with this entire picture. First of all, I would say it is vastly inappropriate (and during the holiday season!! What.the.what.) to ask anyone about get “getting their affairs in order” or make an attempt to procure a coffin or urn sale at a retail store not known for specializing in such items. Any customer in line that was offered these items would be completely caught off guard having to deal with such a weighty topic as they stand in line to buy Christmas gifts. I cannot fathom a store promoting such sales tactics.

    I can tell you right now that even though I have never been through anything close to what you have been going through—-that had I been asked the same question I would have been completely caught off-guard as well.
    I would have been upset, appalled, and would have wanted to speak to a manager. Because: INAPPROPRIATE.

    I cannot see how any excuse can be made to explain how this was acceptable. WHERE IS THE SENSITIVITY TRAINING???

    I am so sorry that you had to have such heavy thoughts thrust upon you during what should have been a fun time with family. Sending lots of love and well wishes and storms of rage directed at anyone who would bring down my friend.

    Walmart #1053 needs to offer an apology. This is no small thing.

  24. I’m sorry you had to deal with this. Good luck on your remaining chemo sessions.

  25. It’s sad that you had to feel this way and that the Assistant Manager did handle this properly. I am frustrated at the way your were treated from that employee, that is terrible!

  26. I know who Paul is, he had made some rude comments, I would just leave speechless, as far as going to Walmart its only if I really have to, the employees there looks so miserable they barely laugh or smile, I go to Kroger for everything now, and the employees is happy and smiling, just pay attention..Don’t give up prayers are with you!<3

  27. Amanda – my friend – I am so very sorry this happened to you. You are brave and strong and I’m so glad you are surrounded by people who lift you up and support you. xoxo Thinking of you and sending love.

  28. i would call 1-800-walmart and report them. And yes, they do forward those calls to the store manager. There is no need for that at all. I’m so sorry that happened to you. As an associate I can assure you that not all stores are like that. Our’ store has five associates battling cancer right now, well two have pasted away. We’ve done Relay for Life and different events at the store. Please contact home office, they need to Know this happened.

  29. This is absolutely and totally horrific. I haven’t shopped at that dump in years and certainly won’t now. I hope this goes viral so even more people realize what a disgusting place this is. I am so sorry you went through this!

  30. oh, Amanda 🙁 some people are just so incredibly insensitive and … Stupid!

    Don’t let him get you down. You are a strong mama, and you will beat this!

  31. Excuse me, while I clear this up. I worked with Paul for over a year and he has never in the three years I’ve known him made any kind of insensitive remark. What he said to you was meant to be taken as a joke to lighten the mood. Paul talks and jokes with everyone and never has a customer leave his line without a smile. The fact that I guarantee he was at Walmart at 6pm to make sure all you greedy people get your instant gratification with all the gifts on your lists and get checked out in a timely fashion AND then was probably there the next day at 10 am probably speaks nothing to you on his charactor or the type of hard working man he is. Before you slander someone’s character like you’ve done here, make sure you know exactly what kind of person they are.

    • Excuse ME while I clear up the fact that there is nothing remotely funny about cracking “jokes” to a cancer patient about where she should purchase her coffin. Ever. If that is what Paul find appropriate humor, he needs a reality check no matter how hard working he may or may not be.

  32. A friend shared your blog on Facebook. I didn’t know what to expect when I started reading, except that she seemed irate over something WalMart did and she’s a darn good judge of character. Then I saw something about coffins and I thought, “This is not going to make me happy.” What I felt after reading it was nothing short of awe — at your fantastic attitude, at the ridiculously crude attitude of the employee and his supervisors, and at the noticeable lack of a response by WalMart. The former rocks. The other two sucketh mightly.

    You hang in there, Amanda, and kick cancer’s ass. And, WalMart? You’ve got some ‘splaining to do.

    Or, really, no, they don’t. They *do* have to make this right.

    (((hugs)))

  33. Truly sorry that happened to you. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

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