Empowerment- to give power, authority; increasing the capacity to make choices and to transform those choices into desired actions

I left the house late. I decided to make a full breakfast for the kids before leaving at 5:30 am to head to the gym. I was running about 15 minutes behind but decided a 30 minute cardio workout would start my day off right. I pulled up to the gym and realized I did not have have my work clothes. I left them sitting on my bed. At this point it was 6:00 am. I had to make a quick decision to go home and change clothes and be late for work or go to the one store that I have sworn off because of their lack of customer service. I chose the latter. Traffic and construction make drive times unpredictable and I needed to meet a vendor between 7:30 and 8:00 am. I could not risk being late.

I headed over to that store. The one that I set a goal to not walk into this year. I have had so many bad experiences at Wal-Mart that I swore them off for good or so I had hoped. But sometimes life happens and you have to make decisions that you don’t prefer. I could go into the many reasons why I am determined to end my relationship with them but do you really want to hear about the Valentine’s day when I went into the store and requested to get some balloons blown up only for them to tell me the one person who knew how to use the helium tank would not arrive to work until after 9am? On Valentine’s day? I know you don’t want to hear about the time I was talking to a customer service rep on the phone. I was trying to clarify whether or not they would ship a gift to my nephew who was living in Guam at the time. I asked if they used USPS and she said no, we use the Unites States Post Office. I could also mention the rude employees but I won’t go into that right now.

I picked out two shirts and two pair of pants to try on. I walked over to the dressing room because I have to try on clothes. Everything does not fit me the same. When I arrived to the dressing room I see benches blocking the entry so I tell and employee I need a dressing room. She proceeds to tell me the dressing rooms are closed and do not open until 7 am. Well, that creates a real dilemma. I have to be at work by 7 am. I explain my predicament to this employee who reiterates, the rooms are closed until 7 am but I am more than welcome to wait (40 minutes). Now I am put out. This is why I promised myself that I would never come back to this store. The employees are not empowered to make good decisions that will allow them to make sound customer oriented choices. I request a manager. Seven minutes later, the store manager has not shown up so I ask if I can go to her. A young guy wearing a badge that says Customer Service Manager is walking past. I stepped in front of him, explained my situation and behold, he decided to help me by unlocking a door.

You see, every business has policies however, the policy should not hinder the employee from being empowered. Employees who are empowered to make some decisions are more content employees. They also provide better customer service. I am not sure why a 24/7 store closes their dressing rooms and drills into their employees heads the rooms are not available under any circumstance to a customer no matter how dire the need. It’s bad business. It’s questionable management and it leaves employees discontent in the long run when the policies take over and leave the employees fearful of consequences rather than customer focused.

Give me a break Wal-Mart. In the 30 minutes I was in your store I experience one very rude employee and three others who need to become empowered. The rude lady kept mumbling to no one in particular the dressing rooms don’t open until 7. I spoke to her directly at one point and said sometimes we make exceptions to provide a great customer service experience. The other three asked how they could help but at the point I was waiting on the no show manager.

After today, I am more determined than ever to not give them my money.

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