The following story combines Wal-Mart’s customer service attitude and its philanthropy. In this case, however, Wal-Mart gives away someone else’s property. Former Wal-Mart CEO David Glass had “10 Basic Principles.” The first Principle was: “The customer is always right.” Glass used to tell employees, “We are constantly seeking new ways to better serve our customer.” The employees at one Wal-Mart store in Houston, Texas came up with a new way to serve the customer. Here’s the story, as submitted to Sprawl-Busters, by Martha Velazquez: “I took my car, a 1999 black Grand AM to Wal-Mart #597 on Sept 10, 2006. A tire which I had under warranty needed to be replaced, it had a hole that couldn’t be patched or plugged. They told me it would be a 3 hour wait due to 7 cars ahead of me. I said this was ok because I had some shopping to do. I was called 3 hours later to pick up my car, and while I was putting my groceries in
my car, I was approached by a mechanic. He told me that he was not trying to bother me but that he had worked on my car and he wanted to tell me what he had done to the tire. This confused me because I thought it was a new tire. He informed me that he had put on a sealant. At that point I got upset, because that was not the service I had requested. He asked if I lived close because of my groceries and I said yes. I left and came back only to be told that I would have to wait 2 more hours. I then went to get a manager who came over and spoke to the mechanic and the assistant manager of automotive. He came back to tell me that my car was being worked on next. This whole time I was in automotive area waiting on my car, and was able to see my car that was in the work area. I left to buy something to eat. When I came back, my car was no longer in the work area. I saw the mechanic come in and he waved to me saying that he could cash me out. I presented my ticket at which I asked for my keys. He then said “……I gave your keys to your husband.” I said, “…WHAT! I DON’T HAVE A HUSBAND. YOU’RE KIDDING RIGHT?” He ran outside where we were approached by other mechanics and undercover security. The other mechanic stated “Bro, how could you be so stupid to release this young lady’s keys to that homeless crack head that had been bothering us all day.” The mechanic then stated”…..I thought it was odd that he asked me for the keys, but I gave them to him
anyway.” I asked undercover for the video. He stated, “Video has been pulled. I can’t discuss the details, but we do have it and it is the same guy whom I kicked out earlier for harassing customers.” I ran to the front of the store demanded to speak to a manager. The only manager on duty was one who was in training. She was not able to get anyone on
the phone for me. I demanded a rent-a-car from them — which they gave me trouble about. But I told them I would not leave the store unless they provided me with one. I made them drive me to the rent-a-car place to pick a car up. They paid for 4 days and told me they would continue to pay past the 4th day if the matter was not resolved. On the 3rd day I called, and one of their managers told me they were not liable, and to find other means of transportation because they were not going to pay. They refused to release surveillance tape to my attorney and claimed that they were working with the Houston Police Department, and they had viewed the tape. My case was not assigned to a detective until recently. When I spoke to Houston police, they weren’t even aware a tape existed. I’ve been in the media with this twice on ABC Ch-13 Andy Cerota interviewed me. He attempted to go to Wal-Mart — but he got kicked out. Well, this situation escalated. Two hours after my story aired, I received a phone call from someone who claimed to be a tow truck guy. He gave me 3 different locations where my vehicle was to be located. He had me and Harris County Dept on a wildgoose chase. He believed I was by myself. My car was found in a dark park in Acres Homes (very bad area). Whoever this guy was, he was not a tow truck guy, and he had no good intentions for me. He continued to call after that, and now this guy has my home address, and my house
keys. I’m in the process of moving, and have stayed in a hotel. All of this has brought upon mental stress and I fear for my safety. I still can’t believe that Wal-Mart, a multi- billion dollar company that preaches on customer service, is treating me this way….They are refusing to take responsibility for their negligence!
Velazquez is currently attempting to organize a protest against Wal-Mart. She says the giant retailer gave her car away, and now claims no responsibility for the actions of their employee. At the Wal-Mart Tire & Lube Center, they apparently have what we used to call a “red line warranty.” Once your car crosses over the red line at their exit bays, they’re no long liable for what happens. If the customer is always right, Wal-Mart should go the extra mile to replace Velazquez’s car. Instead, they are not cooperating with her, and have forced her to retain a lawyer to get this multi-billion corporation to make the customer whole again. If Wal-Mart is looking for “new ways to serve the customer,” they could start by showing Martha Velazquez a little respect.