Happier than a pig wallowing in donuts


The report as promised

My pickup window was 4-5 PM. That meant I could change or cancel my order up until 1 AM (hence my suspicion some picking is done overnight)

It takes about 20 minutes to get to this store. Charlotte has a serious “you can’t get there from here” problem because of opposition to through traffic in neighborhoods. Walmart’s Supercenter at 8180 S Tryon street is right under the glide slope to the 3 runways at Douglas Airport, which is approaching the passenger traffic count of O’hare in Chicago. During the times American is having the whole country change planes, there is probably a plane landing every 30 seconds.

Living near the airport is not where you find Bank of America executives. Back in the 70s when I used to live here, it was where the city dumped the public housing projects. The “West” side of Charlotte you might actually interact with a black person *panic attack*…

I left home about 3:30 just because I’m that kind of guy. If I am not at the job interview 10 minutes before the appointment, don’t hire me. At 3:45, exactly as promised, my cell phone rings. It isn’t a computer, it is Dwayne, my personal Walmart Shopper. I tell him I’m on the way and should arrive in about 10 minutes. I think Dwayne might have blurted out “Really?” Yeah, I’m so retro.

At exactly 4:00, I pull into space #2. Space #1 was filled by a car that wasn’t using pickup. There were 5 or six spots, so no problem. I called Dwayne back – the number on the sign is the same number and said “I’m here! I’m in spot #2!”

About 10 minutes later, Dwayne and Kasha pop out a door on the side and walk down a ramp with a dolly carrying a bunch of blue containers. I indicate I have a few questions if he has the time. His transactional interaction with me was via a smartphone – probably an iPhone, but I didn’t look closely. He sadly reported that a number of items were out of stock, but not the chocolate donuts! I had not permitted substitution on most items (per item choice during checkout). Only one omitted item was somewhat important.

So I pop open the trunk and they load what they have. I’m not even breaking a sweat yet…

Then it is Q&A time:

Q: Do people use Uber to do pickup?
A: I remember one guy using uber…

Q: after the items are picked, are the frozen and refrigerated foods kept cold until I arrive?
A: Yes, we have our own freezer and refrigerator in the store

Q: the web site shows that you scan each item as you put it in the basket – is that how it actually works?
A: yes. If we pick up the wrong item, it beeps at us to tell us wrong item

Q: (pushing my luck) If I buy fresh eggs, do you open the carton to make sure they aren’t cracked?
A: Yes, we do!

I didn’t ask if they wear plastic gloves πŸ˜‰

So I sign by wiggling my finger on their phone (OMG Germs!) and I’m done. An email arrives with my detailed receipt (no paper).

After missing a turn from being timid and adding two miles to the trip, I’m home at 4:40. Having done no work at this point, my “20 minute until I keel over” clock is not running. My back is not complaining.

The trunk had exactly what I ordered (less the out of stock items). Frozen foods are frozen, cold foods are cold, Chocolate donuts await.

I can live with Michelle Obama frowning at my bad food insecurity choices. I would fry polar bear steaks if Walmsrt sold them. So in conclusion, I’m as happy as I can be. The assisting living center will have to wait.



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15 Responses to Happier than a pig wallowing in donuts

  1. foyle says:

    Glad it worked out well for you!

    Not criticizing your dietary choices, but ‘chocolate flavored’ has always been a no-go for me. I have to have REAL chocolate or none at all (I rarely eat sweets/candies anyway, so when I do I go for quality).

    • Fred Stiening says:

      Not “A”, but “B” – when you do mean A is a very common disingenuous language construct, otherwise the first part would not be there.

      I’m not saying you are a jerk, but I do value your contributions here.

      • foyle says:

        “Jerkiness” was not my intent at all. Most people I know seem to thoroughly enjoy ‘chocolately’ foods. When I saw the photo you posted my first reaction was not ‘I want one too!’. For some reason, I have never been able to devour ‘chocolate flavored’ products. When I was a kid chocolately cereals were the rage for a while. I tried a number of them but they always made me feel sick on my stomach. Maybe I have a ‘chocolate flavor’ allergy? Does this make me eligible for disability/medicaid? πŸ˜‰

        Enjoy your chocolate flavored donuts to your heart’s content, I was not dissing you. If you still don’t believe me, then that is your choice.

  2. Fred Stiening says:

    Now my complaint – the order with 28 items had 4 “out of stock” items. I suspect being on Monday, it’s plausible – weekends empty the stock and replenishment hasn’t caught up yet.

    Regardless of the reason, the pickup receipt should have listed the out of stock items, not just the verbal list Dwayne read to me. More important, it should offer me the option when I start my next order to carry forward the missing items.

    The software I was working with at US Foods does exactly the same picking process, except it is pulling cases of food from a pallet rather than individual boxes from a case (or off a shelf). A key part of this process is optimizing the path through the store and precisely measuring the time against the standard. Based on the items and my own experience (albeit at a different store), I suspect when the picker was unable to spot the item in a reasonable period of time, they clicked “no stock” to avoid being dinged for being too slow.

  3. briand75 says:

    If you want the real “high” – get the chocolate donuts with filling πŸ™‚ I don’t know what’s in them as far as real or not, but it is reasonably decadent.

    • Fred Stiening says:

      Walmart does carry Krispy Kreme donuts, at least here, but they are minimally better than the Walmart ones at twice the cost. My biggest beef with Walmart is 12 donuts is too many. Once in a while, I find a box of six. The iced donuts have to lie flat and the dozen box is very awkward to carry, especially if the wind is blowing.

  4. Fred Stiening says:

    Why go out to eat at a $15/Hr minimum wage restaurant when Kroger’s will deliver the meal to you?


  5. haiti222 says:

    Since Walmart is not doing this up here yet, Meijer is rolling out their version. They are charging 5-7 dollars, often giving a free product worth 2-4 dollars if you clip a coupon for it (online or paper). They are only offering the service in some upscale areas. Also, they have a covered pickup area, like a gas station canopy.


    • Fred Stiening says:

      I fully expect Walmart to eventually charge – they’re grabbing market share now and refining the technology. I got a more detailed survey today and dinged them on the “no stock” items. I placed another order for Thursday to fill some gaps. One danger is I could easily order more items than will fit in my freezer. They have a $30 minimum – I could see myself no longer binge-buying – getting 2 weeks of food all at once, and eating more fresh food and less frozen.

      Meijer’s was my supermarket of choice in Lansing (1982-85ish). Kessell’s was the main local chain in Flint. I shopped at Meijer’s one time during my year in Chicago and wasn’t thrilled with their aldi-like bare bones presentation without the aldi prices. It is really hard to survive in the grocery business.

      While Walmart had more labor costs to do the picking, they didn’t need a cashier. I’m a Luddite – I have resisted self-checkout everywhere. I would probably embrace it if they “held my hand” the first time.

  6. Fred Stiening says:

    Update: take two

    Second order replacing the missing items from Monday and adding some more things like bananas. Same 4-5 pickup window. At 3:25 I get a call telling me the order is ready for pickup. I indicate I’ll be there around 4:00 and push a little harder since I’m not driving yet. The same two people are involved today. I ask if there are any substitutions or other issues. Davon(?) tells me that they substituted pizzas – one of the items from Monday. I really have issues talking on the phone with him – probably 90% my hearing. I ask if it is still possible to remove the substitution. He says yes.

    I go out to my car and my rear view mirror is dangling from the power cord. No idea yet what that means. My first suspicion is my neighbor Sam decided to go inside my car. It wasn’t locked. The bracket that holds the mirror went flying and probably under the seat.

    So now I get to drive 6 miles with my mirror dangling. Calling uber nay have been a better choice.

    So I arrive and they’re busier. Spot #3 is filled with a van big enough to carry 8 children. Mom (there by herself) is bigger than my mere 260 pounds. The troops are rolling out a pallet full of soda and more blue bins of groceries. I can’t get the possibility of SNAP out of my mind…

    Kasha has my stuff and tells me about the substitution – when I question it, the guy (now finished with the van) explains that when he went to put back the rejected item, he found the item I had actually ordered right next to it. Surprise, Surprise!

    Nothing more to report except the continuation with my stalker neighbor Sam. I told him Monday I voted for Sanders. Sam is a 74 year old Presbyterian Dixiecrat turned Republican from Mississippi. He tells me he owns a shotgun – he volunteers he has dementia, along with diabetes (which he isn’t controlling) and Parkinson’s.

    Every single time I go somewhere, the self-appointed sheriff stalks me. Today was no exception. Any time my car is missing, Sam sits out in the parking lot waiting for my return. He worries I may have been kidnapped by random black people. When I told him about my college roommate (from 40 years ago) becoming transgender, he actually asked me if we had sex in college. Sam is a disgusting pervert.

    So when I got home, he was in the parking lot waiting for me. I was looking around for the piece of plastic for maybe 5 minutes. Sam eventually drove off. So I start taking the groceries in and putting things away. On my third and final trip, Sam is already back. He is parked right by the sidewalk making it impossible to get to my car without engaging him in conversation. After the obligatory “Hi Sam”, Sam announces to me that the trunk of my car is open (duh!) and he was just on his way to tell me that. Apparently Sam is worried that the random black people might steal my ice cream, or having my trunk open for 5 minutes a month is devaluing his condo.

    I inform Sam that my front door is also open as I didn’t expect him to come right back. His dog again was not on a leash – which the sheriff knows is breaking the law. He does it knowingly and I have had a very direct talk to him that if he doesn’t use a leash, we are going to have a problem. I’m at the point of talking now to animal control. Libertarians ultimately fail because the world is full of assholes.

    • Fred Stiening says:

      After looking at a few YouTube videos, I see what happened. The car is 16 years old and parked in the sun. The first 12 years of its life it was in a garage living a comfy life.

      It was warm today (global climate change!) and the car was hot when I opened the door. The mirror is attached to the glass with glue. Eventually the glue dries up and the metal slug lets go. The repair is pretty simple unless you have no tools πŸ˜‰ you scrape the glue off the window, marking the location, clean the slug and prep the surfaces, and hold the slug with fresh glue on the glass for a minute then let the glue dry, then slide the mirror back on.

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