Stuff always breaks at the worst possible time, doesn’t it? That was Josh’s experience over Thanksgiving weekend. The household he visited over the holiday weekend had a plumbing emergency on Thursday. With no plumbers available for obvious reasons, they dug up the lawn and attempted a DIY repair. It went well until they made a trip to the only hardware store in town that was open: Walmart.
As we’ve discussed at some length here on the site, Walmart was open on Thanksgiving Day, so the crew headed over there to buy the plumber’s glue they needed to finish the job. The problem was the reason why it was open: Black Friday sales. The queue for one of the sale items ran through the hardware department, and Josh says that store employees wouldn’t let them through to browse the aisle and get the glue.
“We told the [Walmart employee] there that we just wanted to buy an item from the only hardware department open in town,” Josh writes. “[We were] told we couldn’t enter that aisle, and no, he could not look for the item in question.” How rude. Did the plumbing crew demand to talk to a store manager or otherwise stand up for themselves? No, Josh reports, they just left without the glue. The man who turned them away was some kind of supervisor.
Is the annual Doorbusterpalooza so important that Walmart is willing to kick out other paying customers that have an inconvenient to buy things that aren’t on sale? That didn’t sound like it should be the case, but Black Friday weekend is a chaotic time in retail. So we checked with Walmart.
Spokesperson Sarah McKinney told Consumerist that it’s not a normal Walmart policy to kick out customers solely for attempting to cross the Black Friday line. “We apologize for the inconvenience this shopper experienced during our busy Black Friday event,” she wrote to Consumerist. “We wish we would have known about their plumbing emergency that night so the store could have helped.”
There isn’t anything that Walmart can do to help now, and we hope that the plumbing crew found some glue at a neighbor’s house or a roll of duct tape or something else to hold the pipes.
The important lesson to take home is this: yeah, sometimes you have to stand up for yourself, even at a busy and chaotic time. Sometimes you have to be the alpha consumer who walks up to the customer service desk and demand to see the highest-ranking manager in the building. We guarantee that “Please help, my yard is filled with raw sewage!” was not the strangest thing that any given Walmart manager heard during that day.