Anne and Courtney picked me up for work last night and, after a quick dash home to drop off a few things they had brought with them and a quick gourmet dinner at Burger King, we headed out to check on TV prices. I’ve been reading some good things about Vizio HDTVs being a decent compromise between quality and price and knowing that Walmart was one of the places that carries that brand we headed out to the closest store at hand.
I’ve spoken before of my lack of enthusiasm for Walmart. They certainly have some of the best prices around, but at a cost to the employees that bothers me. Being human, however, there are occasions where the deal being offered at Walmart manages to overcome my aversion to doing business with them and when you’re looking at plunking down a few hundred dollars on a TV set it’s easy to give in to temptation.
So off to Ypsilanti we headed, which isn’t very far at all considering our location in Ann Arbor. I’ve always considered Ypsi to be a fairly decent town, admittedly I’ve never spent a huge amount of time there, but it always seemed nice enough on the occasions I’d visited in the past. Up until last night I can only assume I had the good luck to only hit the nice part of town as the section the Walmart was in was somewhat reminiscent of some of the lesser popular parts of Detroit that often make headline news. Still, it’s Walmart and every single Walmart store I’ve ever been in has been clean and well maintained. This was not one of those kinds of Walmarts.
I didn’t notice it at first as the TV section seemed reasonable enough, but over the course of the next hour that we were there hemming and hawing and debating over a 37” or a 42” TV – and how big of a TV stand we would need for it – and then realizing that the damned thing wouldn’t fit in my Grand Prix at all anyway – and then going off to look for a microwave, can opener, and toaster oven that we also need – and, yes, this is a ridiculously long run-on sentence – it became increasingly clear that we shouldn’t buy anything at all at the store.
Take the microwave oven. We found one we kinda liked for a decent price, but all the boxes for it appeared to have been opened or badly battered about by the stock people. Who knew if all the parts were present or if it was even undamaged? Same thing for the toaster oven and can opener. The can opener was the worst of the lot with the boxes looking like they’d been stomped on a couple of dozen times by elephants in desperate need of a diet. The store as a whole was a mess that reminded me a bit of scenes in post-apocalyptic zombie movies where people scavenge for food inside a decrepit grocery store. I was already somewhat irritated by my initial indecision over the TV set and the subsequent realization that it didn’t matter cause I wouldn’t be able to get the damned thing home anyway, but after taking a good look around I’m now glad I didn’t buy the TV there after all.
We won’t even go into the almost total lack of assistance by anyone on the staff which pretty much ensured that even if we had made a decision and had been able to transport the TV that we wouldn’t have been able to buy it because no one offered to sell it to us. If nothing else it’ll make my aversion to shopping at Walmart a lot easier to self enforce.