How not to do business

 - 
06/08/2011

There's lots of reasons why I don't shop at Walmart, but the main one, I think, is that I truly believe you get what you pay for.

Last night, I didn't have a choice. I am in Waterloo, Iowa for VGM's Heartland conference (congrats on 10 years, guys). I had to hit Walmart for lancets (long story). I was glassy-eyed with fatigue, it was after 10 (or 11 if you are a hardwired east-coaster).

Walmart had an untrained sales associate running one of two registers. She was yapping away while ringing him up, then when his debit card declined, she couldn't suspend the transaction while he ran to the ATM. So we waited. By the time she got to me, she had run out of register tape. She didn't have another roll on hand and had to go find one. So I waited. She couldn't put it in properly, either. Plus she kept complaining about how that wasn't her job, someone was playing hooky, and it was her birthday.

I don't fault the cashier. I fault the management that put here there, I fault the management for not having some sort of supervisor to help her when she got stuck, and I fault Walmart in general for paying its employees so little, that many of them have no idea that you don't complain to the customers about why your day (or your job) sucks.

Imagine how horrible that will be if competitive bidding results in lots of large, faceless HME companies providing little to no customer service. It just perpetuates a bad cycle. Lower profits = lower quality & service. Throw in low-paid, unloyal employees and it only gets worse.

This reminds me. Yesterday, I tweeted about two really inappropriate outfits at the conference. One: Shredded jeans and flip flops. The other,  sweatpants and sneakers. Is this how you represent your company to others? Do you think Dr.'s offices allow employees to dress like that at an event? If HME providers want to be taken as capable, caring professionals deserving of fair payment, fair regulations and respect, you need to look the part. I wouldn't have given either of these two the time of day. I'll bet a lot of lawmakers and referral sources wouldn't either.

Theresa Flaherty

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