WalMart. Always Low Compassion, Always.

Running low on gas and stuck with nothing but a gift card WalMart won’t let you use? Far from home? Screwed? In your desperation, don’t try to sell the card at a loss to another customer. Wal-Mart will call the cops on your soliciting ass. Then they’ll throw you out of their parking lot and call you a “vagrant.”

So says an email from a reader who found himself stranded in New Mexico with only a useless Sam’s Club gift card, a teenager and his own tears. Read his tale of roadside woe after the jump. But don’t try anything funny, or we’ll call the internet cops. They exist, don’t they?

I purchased a gift card from my local Sam’s Club in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on September 15th, where I am a business member. I purchased the card so that I could buy gas at the Sam’s club in Roswell, New Mexico, during a trip. I was under the assumption that gas was available 24 hours a day.

Upon arriving in Roswell, I found out that the gas pumps at Sam’s Club were all closed. I went to the Wal-Mart in Roswell and asked about getting a refund of the balance on my giftcard. I had the receipt for the giftcard (purchased that same day). The manager informed me that I could not have a refund because Sam’s and Wal-Mart are not the same company (even though the front of the giftcard says Sam’s and Wal-Mart). Are these not the same company?

So, I then asked a customer in line if he would be willing to purchase my giftcard for $50.00. I had $58.00 left on the card. The manager accused me of soliciting(?!?) and ! said she was calling the police. The customer said that he would be happy to purchase the card from me. This made the manager even angrier. As I returned to my vehicle the manager was on a cell phone with the police, telling them that there was a “vagrant” in the parking lot soliciting money. Soliciting?? I lost $8.00 on the deal. I just needed the money for gas to return home. My 16 year old son was waiting in the parking lot in a second car (we made the trip to pick up this car) and was also harassed. One of the cart pushers said that he was not allowed to sit in the parking lot if he was not a paying customer- (We had been there less than 10 minutes.)

I did not stay around and wait for the police. I followed the man who was purchasing my giftcard to an ATM and he paid me. I put gas in my car and returned home to Albuquerque. This happened at approximately 10:30-10:45 pm on Friday, September 15th, at ! the Wal-Mart in Roswell, New Mexico.


Edit Your Comment

  1. He says:

    Why would you buy a gift card in order to buy gas? Does the gift card entitle you to skip some Sam’s Club Membership fees that would otherwise be required to buy their gas? I’m confused.

  2. Jesse in Japan says:

    Obviously, this was some kind of alien conspiracy involving crashed flying saucers. The people at Wal-Mart know you’re getting too close to the truth. Trust no one.

  3. Jesse in Japan says:

    This is obviously some kind of government conspiracy involving crashed flying saucers. Those people at Wal-Mart know that you’re too close to the truth. Trust no one.

  4. Jesse in Japan says:

    Oh, so it DID work the first time I tried to post…

  5. Pelagius says:

    Wow. Walmart gives its cart pushers a lot of leeway in persecuting customers in the parking lot. At most other organizations they are lowly, underpaid minions copping a furtive smoke as they sullenly collect orphaned carts from the asphalt wasteland.

  6. Triteon says:

    Nothing about this story seems plausible, even for Roswell.

  7. Ran Kailie says:

    Makes sense to me, Sams Club typically has dirt cheap gas, and if you’re a member purchasing a card ahead of time to get the gas also makes sense, I do it occasionally so I don’t forget and accidentally spend the money.

    I don’t see how offering the card to another person is solicting, the person will use the card at wal-mart and its being sold below price and for an emergency reason, needing gas.

    That manager needs to get her head out of her ass and get a life.

  8. Elara says:

    I can kind almost understand where the manager is coming from- there are multiple scammers floating around that will try to sell you gift cards for $50 (they like to hit up people in Old Navy around here, for some reason) when, in fact, there’s actually $2. But this guy had the receipt, and it was obvious that the gas pumps were closed, and I’m sure the amount could easily have been verified by calling the number that’s usually on the back of the card. Sometimes I think it’s just that retail managers get bored and have nothing better to do.

  9. Fancy Pants says:

    Does this reader not carry a credit or debit card? Who takes a trip with only a Sam’s Club gift card as currency?

  10. aka Cat says:

    Does the Sam’s Club giftcard work like a credit card at the pumps?

    If the writer doesn’t use plastic, that might be his tactic to “pay at the pump”.

  11. segfault, registered cat offender says:

    kickouttheiambs beat me to it. Who goes on a trip, knowing they will need food or fuel, with no cash or credit cards?

  12. ckilgore says:

    If you buy a giftcard and then use it for gas you get a discount – usually between 2 and 3 cents a gallon.

    something does seem odd about this story, but stranger things have happened than traveling without ample cash.

  13. lgf says:

    Nope, I don’t get the complaint.

    WM gift cards (and most other stores) have a strict policy of “can’t be replaced, exchanged, returned, or turned back to cash” under any circumstances. The reader bought it and then changed his mind. Too bad. Going into the store and asking for the money to be refunded sounds unreasonable to me. I have a WM card in my hand right now and it says “This card cannot be reedem for cash except in those states which require redemption for cash”.

    And yes, if you are trying to sell your card to the person behind you, even at a loss, that is soliciting. Next time, sell it in a public place, not in the parking lot of a private store.

  14. Magister says:

    Offering to selling something = Soliciting.

    Pretty easy right?

    This person couldn’t pay for gas any other way? What a dirtbag, and involved the kid as well.

  15. mrbenning says:

    It’s possible the guy with the gift card let the purchaser use it at the store. In which case, it was damn risky because the guy could have taken off without paying up. Either way, I’m still wondering where his credit cards, cash, or jar of change were on this trip. Oh, and why didn’t the kid in the other car have money either?

  16. Triteon says:

    So to summarize:
    Had money earlier in the day. Bought a non-refundable gift card.
    Starting approximately 6-630pm (?) drove 200 miles through the desert– with no cash nor credit cards– to pick up a 2nd car.
    Sole business where the gift card is usable was closed. (There is only one Wal-Mart/Sam’s Club in Roswell.)
    His son also does not have cash nor credit cards.
    Convinces a Wal-Mart customer to buy his gift card at 10pm (-ish). Follows said customer to an ATM.
    Gasses up for the 200-mile return trip. Makes it safely home and writes to a blog.

    I’m calling major BS. I reiterate what I said earlier– none of this seems plausible. Then again we are talking about a Wal-Mart customer, so I suppose anything is possible. I just hoped he dressed up enough to go in.

  17. Shadist says:

    To lgf

    It was always my understanding that “can’t be replaced, exchanged, returned, or turned back to cash under any circumstances” always was talking about the store itself.

    Otherwise what is the point of a giftcard if you arn’t going to exchange it with the person who is to get the gift?

  18. Shadist says:

    To IGF

    It has always been my understanding that “a strict policy of “can’t be replaced, exchanged, returned, or turned back to cash” under any circumstances” is talking about the store itself.

    Otherwise what exactly is the point of a gift card when you are unable to exchange it with the person who is to recieve the gift?

  19. lgf says:

    I don’t understand your question, Shadist. Once you buy a gift card you can give it to whoever you want and they can use it to buy things at the store but they CANNOT get cash from the store.

    If you (acting as the buyer) don’t like that, then just give cash as a present. If you are the recipient, it pretty much sucks, you are stuck with it.

  20. medalian1 says:

    Why do people continue to complain about walmart? They suck, we know that. They’re rude, underpaid, dirty, etc. They’re taking over the world, don’t have good health insurance for employees, blah blah blah. We still shop there.

    Anyway, what would the cops have done … nothing. What fools the employees were, which is nothing new.

  21. Beckie says:

    I maybe go to walmart twice a year. I hate it. They are taking over the world, seems like a monopoly to me. I thought there were laws against companies and monopolies.
    I would like to see everyone boycott them.

  22. jas5570 says:

    This story is true, it was my husband. Just to clarify a few things- we use the card to by gas because it saves between 20-30 cents a gallon, not 2-3 cents. We do have a credit card, and also had cash. That was not the point. We have a Sams Club business card but you have to use that along with a debit/credit/or gift card to purchase gas. The card was purchased to fill up in Albuquerque, not to pay for the trip. There just happened to be money left on the card. The trip was actually a 600 mile round trip, and there was no plan to stop in Roswell for gas. The point of the story is that Wal-Mart and Sams ARE the same company. If the store refuses to admit that, fine. Offering to sell is soliciting. OK. It was a great deal for the guy who bought the card, where the hell else is he going to shop in Roswell, NM? Our son WAS asked to leave the parking lot for being a vagrant, because he did not go in the store. The manger in her “I make $7.00 an hour” red vest followed my husband to the car while she was on the phone to the police. Must be an alien conspiracy………or maybe they were abducted by aliens and had the entire thing implanted in their minds as a cover for the abduction???

  23. clyderay8 says:

    Iam how do I find out what my membership number is