Monday, February 22, 2010

The Jello Gelatin Disaster

It all started innocently enough. My nephew Charlie recently started following a Weight Watcher's point plan diet and to be supportive I promised him I'd bring down a large supply of Jello for him. Jello's perfect for a diet because it fills your belly without many calories and all you need to make it is water. So saturday I stopped by the local Wal-Mart and loaded up my cart with 12 boxes of Jello in various flavors and a few other things I thought he would enjoy and would be useful. Then I proudly delivered the goods to him and he was very excited. But after a few mintues we discovered I had made a mistake. I had bought regular Jello gelatin instead of sugar-free Jello. And where sugar-free Jello is only 1 Weight Watcher's point for the entire box, regular Jello (the kind I bought) is 8 points for the entire box. Way too many wasted points. So guess who's going back to Wal-Mart to return some Jello? That's right, I made my mom. No not really. I went back to Wal-Mart to exchange my 11 boxes (we opened one before we realized the mistake) for 11 boxes of sugar-free. And I learned a very valuable lesson... I WILL NEVER DO THAT AGAIN.

So here's what happened. Back in the old days, A few short years ago, when you walked into Wal-Mart with a return, the greeter at the doors would put a pink sticker on the item or the bag to let the Customer Service Desk know that he did see you walk in the door with it. Now they have an inventory scan gun called something that I can't remember. Dang, sidetracked. I worked at a Wal-Mart Distribution Center for 7 years in Bentonville, Arkansas and I can't remember what we called these freaking guns. Gah. Anyway, so now they have to scan each UPC code and print out a little sticker to put on each item. So the old man at the door grabbed my bag of 11 boxes and started scanning and tagging. Not only was he very slow, but he ran out of room on his little table to place the stickered vs. non-stickered boxes of Jello. So it took some extra time while he juggled them and moved them around over and over again. But finally he prevailed and I had a bag full of stickered items. Off to the service desk.

Silly me. I had assumed that basically I was gonna dump the Jello boxes out on the service desk counter and then run back to the Jello aisle and grab 11 boxes of sugar-free Jello, bring them back to the service desk for verification and then walk out the door. I was wrong. At the service desk they told me they needed my receipt. Luckily I still had it in my purse because I hadn't entered the amount into my checkbook yet. Then they went through the process of writing up a defective tag FOR EACH BOX. Now Jello is not expensive to begin with, but the ones I bought were the Great Value brand and were $0.38 apiece. So finally we had a seperate tag on each box of Jello. And she's ringing up the total so she can hand me my money back. I guess they don't do exchanges anymore, only returns. I don't know. In the meantime, because all of this has been such a lengthy process I'm bored and begin making idle chit chat with the service desk clerk.

"I'm really sorry about this. I know returning Jello is a little unusual. I just grabbed the wrong kind accidentally."
"Oh that's okay, people return food all the time. We'll just throw these away with all the rest"
"Excuse me?"
"We have to throw this Jello away. Ever since 9/11 we aren't allowed to re-shelve food items of any kind."
"Excuse me?"
"Yep, it's all going in the trash."
"I could have thrown it away and saved myself these last 20 minutes. Heck, I would have eaten the Jello myself. I could have donated it to someone who has little kids. I know plenty of peope who would have eaten that. I can't believe it's getting thrown away."
"Yep, that's our policy. Here's your $4.67."

I pocketed the money and hung my head as I walked to the gelatin aisle to pick out 11 shiney new boxes of sugar-free Jello. I can't believe they throw all food returns away. There was absolutely nothing wrong with that Jello. I mean, I understand that food can be tampered with, but.... crazy. And I do realize that by returning it and getting my money back I didn't have to spend additional money to buy the right items. But still the whole thing just really bugged me. The $4.67 was not that big of a deal. I wish I would have given the regular Jello to someone. What a crazy policy.

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