A Lot of Trouble for a 75 Cent Onion

Am I the only one who has these kinds of problems at Wal-Mart? I’m beginning to think I’m a magnet for weird shopping experiences!

Today, I was almost relieved to go shopping. Partly due to the fact that we were running low on, well, everything, and partly due to the fact that I was pretty sure that the craziness of the holiday shopping season had finally ended. And it had. I had my choice of parking spaces, the store wasn’t crowded, I managed to pick up a few things on clearance, and the checkout lines weren’t even long. Well, not until I got into one.

Things were going along just fine, until the cashier had scanned about 3/4 of my purchases. It was at that point that she got to the onion…one solitary, rather small, white onion. She put it on the scale, entered some numbers, and the scale protested. She double checked the produce code, entered it again, and again, the scale just beeped. She turned the scale on and off–no luck. So, she set the onion aside, and finished ringing up the rest of my order, which, thankfully, contained nothing else that needed to be weighed. The rest of my produce could either be scanned, or needed to be entered by quantity, not weight. After she had finished ringing everything else, she returned to the onion, and the scale, which still didn’t want to actually weigh anything.

It was at this point that the people in line behind me must have really started to love me.

She took the cover off the scale, and tried wiping down the inside. Still nothing. For some reason, she must have decided that repeatedly trying to enter the produce code was going to bring different results, because she started doing it over and over. The register is now speaking, and saying something about the scale needing to be recalibrated….loudly. The weight readout is just showing an error message. People are starting to look impatient, and the cashier in the next lane looks over at my cashier, and says, “What did you do?!?”

And I’m just standing there, with my cart full of groceries that I haven’t even paid for yet.

At this point, the cashier looks at me, and says something about how the scale obviously isn’t going to work. And I can tell by the look on her face that she wants me to just say, “Forget, I don’t need the onion.”

But I really did need the onion! Not to mention that I’d already wasted almost 10 minutes, (no joke), on trying to pay for the darn thing, and now, not only is it a necessity, it’s also a matter of principle.

So, I tell her that I need the onion, and so she turns her check lane light to flashing, to get some help.

The manager comes over, looks at the register for about 30 seconds, and tells the cashier that the scale is broken, and she won’t be able to ring produce until it’s fixed. Meanwhile, I’m still waiting for my onion. Now, at this point, I think that it would have been totally reasonable for them to just give me the blasted thing. It’s an onion, for crying out loud! One white onion isn’t going to bring down a mighty corporation like Wal-Mart. And now that the problem has been identified, they know to move the cashier to another lane, so it’s not like this is setting a precedent for giving away free produce all day.

But no.

The manager decides that the onion must be weighed at another register, so that they can determine the price, and then take that price, and enter it manually into the register at which I was (no longer patiently) waiting.

75 cents.

The onion cost 75 cents.

This was worth holding up the line, and then holding it up more to identify the price, which anyone could see wouldn’t be over a dollar. It wasn’t even a large onion! But Wal-Mart needed to get their 75 cents out me, at the expense of my time, and that of everyone waiting in the line behind me.

I hope they don’t spend it all in one place!

Yes, I know, I could have just given up on the onion when the problems started. But I needed it to make a pot of soup, and I didn’t want to have to go back out, or stop at another store, just to look for another onion. And the onions around here have been pretty pathetic lately, to boot, so when you find one that’s the right size, and isn’t mushy or turning pink, (pink???), you jump on it!

So, my apologies to the customers in line behind me. But if they really want to get mad, I think they should blame Wal-Mart for making such a fuss over something that cost only 75 cents!

2 thoughts on “A Lot of Trouble for a 75 Cent Onion

  1. genhere says:

    This is so funny. Not that you went through it, but that I was at Wal-Mart here in Elizabeth yesterday, and the exact same thing happened to the lady in front of me (before I changed lanes). I don’t know what it was she was buying, so I don’t know if it was an onion. But she still had the rest of her groceries on the belt and the lady ringing her up (I think it was a visiting power-that-is) kept entering the same code over and over and taking off the lid of the scale and cleaning it with windex and a paper towel. She ended up calling a manager over (that’s when I moved lanes) and the manager was telling her that at this point they would have to reset the scale. Ridiculous!

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