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