Growing up I used to go to the supermarket with my father just about every week. It was honestly one of the highlights of the week — being able to help my father get good deals on food and things we needed in the home like shampoo and conditioner was a joy. My father had and has a special talent when it comes to collecting coupons and timing their use to maximize their efficiency. There was one trip that really impressed Elizabeth when he had a cart full of goods and watched as the price plummeted down from nearly one hundred dollars to under twenty.
When I first saw the rise of the WalMart stores in my home state of New Jersey I thought they were an oddity and yet pleasant enough, selling products that were touted as being made in America. The insidious nature of the company became a little more clear to me as I spent a few months working there, agonizing over making the electronics section look nice only to have it be completely destroyed by the marauding hordes that came every day whose only goal was to get things at the cheapest price possible — when they weren’t stealing, that is.
I was therefore intrigued to read about a woman who was somehow banned from every WalMart in America after she had a disagreement with the store over their coupon policies.
According to a statement to Fox 12 Idaho, Cuevas said “the action wasn’t welcomed by the WalMart manager…” who told her she had to “…pay full price [for] the groceries or leave.” Cuevas complied with the order, but after that strange happenings began to take place.
Specifically, being followed around the store by employees and then having the police tell her that she was completely forbidden from entering any WalMart store for the rest of her life — all on account of her choosing to try to live by the ideals that the store chain advertise and have advertised since they backed off of the idea that they were an All American company. (It is sad to think how many shirts are sold every year that say “Proud to be an American” or “I was made in the USA” that were, in fact, printed outside of the United States in order to save on labor.)
A close look at the case tells us that using too many coupons was not what got Cuevas banned from WalMart, nor was it arguing with them about their change in coupon policy — a change in policy that was meant to bring more revenue to the store and to stop people like Cuevas, who depend on coupons just to get by from making full use of coupons as my father does. The problem occurred because Cuevas decided to record the conversation for the record.
She decided to record the interchange — which quickly became an argument — with her iPhone. She says the action wasn’t welcomed by the Walmart manager, who slapped her hand away and told her to pay the full price of her groceries or leave.
WalMart seems to not be interested in having their disagreements with customers go on public record — they are too aware that a two minute long video recording on a woman’s iPhone today can be tomorrow’s YouTube video viewed by millions.
How could WalMart simultaneously wish to advertise how great they are at saving people money and, at the same time, punish people who exert a great effort to do so in this economy where plans to create jobs ultimately seem to destroy workers?