Squeaky wheels get guff, not grease

Shelley Blundell

Ever since Sam Walton opened the doors of his first Wal-Mart in Rogers, Ark., in 1962, the international mega-chain has been a recognizable bastion of the American community in many a suburban landscape.

While Wal-Mart has fared badly in the public eye over the last few years, first for its alleged employment of illegal immigrants and now for its alleged inability to promote women from within, I have always tried to defend it.

I honestly believed Walton was just another citizen in steadfast pursuit of the American dream and had built his empire by offering low prices and friendly service to shoppers.

But never again, thanks to a man named Dana.

You see, Dana is a small-minded little individual who works in the auto department of my local Wal-Mart. Recently, I purchased an automotive package that, in addition to changing one’s oil and filter, checks all the fiddly bits and even throws in a vacuuming of the car’s interior.

Only I never seem to receive the vacuum service.

The first couple of times I let it slide, thinking “Oh, they’re probably busy – they’ll get it next time.”

But they never do.

This last time, I checked my interior and, sure enough, I still hadn’t received the vacuum service I always pay for. I’d had enough. I went back to the department and as calmly as I could, explained the recurring situation to the woman behind the counter. She apologized and asked the workers to do it again.

Here is where Dana comes in.

It would seem Dana was the person responsible for the overall care of my car. Not only did the little toad have the audacity to mouth off to his boss about repeating the job, he actually made some foul comment about me to a co-worker as I was leaving the department. Again.

Here’s what Dana failed to realize – his actions make me ask: If he skipped the vacuuming, what else may he have skipped along the way? Furthermore, if the entire prospect of vacuuming is too daunting for you, Dana, do you perhaps not have the skill or, dare I say it, the intellect to work for Wal-Mart?

One thing’s for sure – I’m never taking my car to Wal-Mart again. But as sad as it sounds, Dana’s attitude is not uncommon.

More and more each day, it would seem “Dana” is becoming a common fixture in the workplace – disgruntled workers, unhappy with their current position, taking it out on the customers who see fit to complain about a half-performed task.

I’ve worked some awful jobs in my time, but I have always performed them with pride. Sure, I’ve wanted to smack the people who complain about things I deem to be insignificant. But I have always kept my cool and done my job.

Because, dear Dana, it is ultimately your customers that keep you in business.

So Dana, if you’re reading this, a little word of advice: Take some pride in your job, no matter how much you hate it.

Because who knows? The toes you stomp today could be connected to the ass you have to kiss tomorrow.

Shelley Blundell is a history graduate, senior magazine journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].