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Customer Service??

Posted Sun October 21, 2007 3:42 pm, by Kevin M. written to Walmart

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I just wanted to take a minute to send some feedback to the Walmart store that needs to understand customer service. Granted, I am sure that there is a valid reason for specific policies and procedures put in place, to protect both Walmart and its customers; however, there also comes a line that, although intentionally rigid, also hinders what I would consider commendable customer service. The last time my watch battery died, I had it replaced at the nearest jewelry store. At the detriment of its convenient location, I also certainly paid the price for a single battery. This time, assuming that Walmart would easily be able to replace the battery at a fraction of the cost, I asked the employee behind the counter if she could help . . . her response astounded me. She informed me that it was Walmart's policy to not open up any watch that wasn't sold in their store, and she would be happy to sell me a replacement battery, but the policy forbid her from opening up the watch to find out the size. Was it too much to ask her to open the watch and then immediately close it after the size was known? She told me that she had the tool to unscrew it, but she also couldn't allow me to use it for reasons of policy, as "a customer had stabbed themselves in the past." Sometimes, it's really nice to have a company bend the rules to appease a customer - it's going the extra mile that makes me want to remain one. And as I said before, it certainly was right of her to follow the policy, but honestly - she could have taken the back of my watch off for me.


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by Rapunzel Posted Wed October 24, 2012 @ 8:39 PM

I went to a Walmart store recently with a Timex watch. My mother was
with me. She worked at a Walmart approximately 8 years ago with no
difficulty in having a watch battery replaced. So naturally she
thought we could accomplish this task. There were three people behind
the counter. Two appeared to be management. When I asked if they
still replaced watch batteries, the clerk stated they did only if they
were purchased at Walmart. While I know I purchased the watch at
Walmart, the receipt is long gone. I asked the lady how could I prove
that as I had no proof. She did not offer to even look at the watch
or offer an answer. If she had looked at the watch, she would have
discovered it had the battery number on the back. I also had in my
purse the original booklet. When I attempted in the first place to
hand her the watch as I asked the question, she put her arms behind
her back. I really feel that Walmart should post a policy for the
protection of the customer and Walmart and to prevent any hard
feelings in case you purchase a watch at Walmart. The policy should
state that you need a receipt and the receipt cannot be older than
----? It would also be helpful if they could mark on the receipt at
the time of purchase the number of the battery needed. That would
really be going the extra step as most people know that the employees
of Walmart are not paid enough and that there are too many lawsuit
happy people. And not all customers are nice and even right. So I
did not expect to use their tools or that they would defintely have
the battery needed. We also know that the brands of watches sold there
change regularly. So again they may not have the battery needed.
Also, they probably cannot replace all batteries even if they sold
them because of employee turnover and therefore possible lack of
training. And I do not expect anyone to break the rules. Personally, I
would rather see a sign up that states we do not replace watch
batteries unless the watch is less than ---certain age and accompanied
by a Walmart receipt. (And also have you sign a waiver stating that
they are not responsible if the watch still does not work.) If the
watch has a warranty on it and it has not expired, Walmart might be
wiser to replace the watch and get credit from the manufacturer--if
purchased from them. In some cases they can. I also worked at
Walmart and certain manufacturers allow them credit for damaged items.
And perhaps they should just state that they do not replace watch
batteries, only watches that fail under the warranty, to let a
customer decide to purchase or not purchase a watch from Walmart. My
complaint with Walmart is stating a rule and not even looking at the
watch. It appeared they really did not want to work. 3 people
standing around and chit chatting about things that had nothing to do
with business--as I heard before I stepped up-- sends a very negative
customer service message. I have rarely found employees that appear
happy and customer friendly at a Walmart. But I understand why after
having my employee experience with them.

by jm0811 Posted Thu February 24, 2011 @ 4:45 AM

Your willful ignorance as a privileged member of society is shining
through in your attempt to complain about this. You need to understand
certain things about the customer service industry.

Rules are rules for a reason. You may think it's peachy for an
employee to "bend the rules" for you because you "would never hold
them responsible," but you're full of it. We get dozens of you in
every day, making the same claims, asking us the same favors, and
berating us when we decline. You don't seem to understand that if we
break the rules for you, we have to break the rules for everyone.

Here are the reasons why this is the rule:

If your watch gets broken, we are liable. We can't replace watches
which we don't sell. That would cost us an insane amount of money,
especially for those of you who bring in expensive watches. If the
face cracks on your watch and you hold us responsible, that "favor"
has just cost us money.

As for the tools, if you stab yourself with something that we hand
you, you can then sue us. Sure, you all say that you won't, but this
country is full of sue-happy people who go to court over the fact that
their coffee was hot. The two dollar profit on a battery sale is not
worth that kind of risk.

Also, we don't know how to change every watch battery on every watch.
We're barely trained to change the batteries in our own watches. Some
are very complex, and changing them incorrectly can ruin them. It can
stop them from being water resistant. And we simply don't have the
tools for some watches. If you want a service on a top quality watch
you need to go to a jeweler. They have actually trained to do this
sort of thing. You're paying for their knowledge and for them to do it
right. Those of you who complain that we're unable to perform this
service are the first to come back fuming over your broken watch.

As for wanting the girl to "go the extra mile," you need to open your
eyes. This girl is working for minimum wage or just above it. She is
struggling below the poverty level. She needs this job just to put a
roof over her head. And breaking the rules for you could cost her her
job. You talk about customer service, but you ignore the common
decency of accepting that someone could get fired for breaking the
rules and moving on. You complain in your special little bubble while
this girl is asked day in and day out to risk her livelihood for
something as petty as a watch battery.

Trust me, all of you who are complaining, if it was as simple as you
want to believe it is, there wouldn't be a company policy against it.
You are the people who make this job obnoxious for those of us who are
just trying to scrape out a living. I have been insulted and screamed
at for this type of nonsense and it's unacceptable. You need to give
respect in order to get it.


Customer service by Mark E. Sun January 1, 2012 @ 6:42 PM
by DiscoTrucks Posted Wed August 20, 2008 @ 2:16 AM

Funny enough Just today 8-19-2008 I had the same problem. I bought a
Casio Watch from them some time ago, after about a year I went back to
Wal-Mart and had the battery replaced by one of their personal. Today
however, I was told that they couldn't open my watch because it was a
Casio. I was then told that they could open other watch just not this
brand. (The only brand they told me by name was Timex). When I asked
to use their tool so that I could open the watch to get the number off
it, I was told they could not loan me the tool due to OSHA Violations.
I found it funny that the person at the counter could tell me it was a
violation of OSHA but couldn't tell me what OSHA stands for
(Occupational Safety and Health Administration) (Which protects
workers from hazards not consumers). I then asked to talk to the
manager which they called for. She told me it's true, Wal-Mart doesn't
open the Casio watch and that she has a Seiko watch that they will not
open either. When I then asked to see the policies in writing since
there was nothing posted about which ones they could and which ones
they couldn't open, I was told hold on I'll see what I can do. As the
manager went to fetch the policy, I asked the lady behind the counter
(the original person I spoke with) if there was a cross reference book
that would allow me to look up the battery so we didn't have to open
it at all. I was told "no, the only way to tell was to look on the
back of the watch and if it's not printed there then the only other
way to open it" I informed her that the internet could tell us but
thanks for the lack of any assistance. After about 1 min the Jewelry
manager returned and told me that they would let me use there tool to
open the watch but I must understand that they are not responsible for
any damage that might occur DUH. After opening the watch I found that
Wal-Mart no longer stocks the battery that they once sold me and
currently are selling. I then asked for the District manager's phone
number, oddly enough this took 12 min. to get. HOWEVER I finally did
get one person who walked back with the jewelry manager (who didn't
identify herself) that they might have that battery in the camera
department. She then walked to the department and proceeded to check
for the battery. This was the first time I had gotten an Honest and
Willful Customer service everyone else was quick to state some policy
that they themselves could not fully quote nor did they understand the
reasoning behind it. Normally I would not make a fuss about such
things I would have just taken my watch to Radio Shack and had them
replace the battery But, I felt it necessary to point out to them that
if your going to state company policy then you should know the reasons
behind it, and why can you open one brand and not another, and Don't
quote OSHA standards as a reason you cant do something if you don't
even know who OSHA protects. The fact is the impression I got at the
start of my request for assistance was "I don't want to work, I'm not
going to work and I'm going to make up what ever BS reason I can not
to help you because I would rather not do anything and collect my
paycheck. Please keep in mind that 1 of the 3 people I spoke with did
not have a badge on and thus I could not tell what her name was one
other had her badge turned around and thus was unable to get her name.
Only the manager had her badge on facing the right direction and he
name was legible.


Ridiculous by jm0811 Thu February 24, 2011 @ 4:59 AM

by Lawchick Posted Mon March 3, 2008 @ 4:57 PM

Honestly, I can understand your frustration. I've been in the same
situation (at Wal-Mart and at Target). I began calling around to
jewelry stores and was able to find a nice, neighborhood jewelry store
that is willing to change and supply a battery for $6 each.

I think it would alleviate the problem if a sign was posted near the
jewelry counter that states the stores' policies regarding changing
the battery only if item was purchased at store. That way, neither
the customer or the employee is put in an awkward position. I can
imagine how hard it would be for a really conscientious employee who
KNEW they could help a customer not to be able to AND have to explain

If more people were honest and didn't sue over frivolous and purely
dishonest claims, the world would be a better place. We all have to
pay because of a small deceitful minority.


Thank you by jm0811 Thu February 24, 2011 @ 5:02 AM
by gryffendorseeker Posted Tue October 30, 2007 @ 3:07 AM

A long, long time ago I worked at the Jewelry counter at Kmart. We
had the same policy. We were ABSOLUTELY prohibited from opening any
watch that was not sold by KMart. One reason you failed to mention was
that if she damaged your watch while opening it, Kmart could replace
it. If someone came in with a Rolex, Seiko or many other brands we
didn't carry and wanted the battery replaced by us, we couldn't do it
for this reason, among others.


by mary jo Posted Sat October 27, 2007 @ 3:17 PM

Nope, sorry. She did NOT have to give you any tools to use. I dont
care if you think the rules should be bent to make you happy or not.
One small cut can turn into one heck of a lawsuit.

I am a floral designer and often customers will ask to use our tools
for one reason or another. We will NOT, will NOT, will NOT let them
use them for this exact reason. I dont care if it ticks them off or
not. I am not opening myself, or my company, up to a potential

Companies have rules and policies for a reason. It really doesnt
concern you WHY they have them but if they choose to follow them then
you are just out of luck.


by MayDay Posted Sat October 27, 2007 @ 1:38 AM

In a similar scenario...I worked in walmart optical for a brief time
and people would come in for adjustments when the glasses they had
were never purchased from us. One time a co-worker was working on a
pair and all seemed well and fine until the guy comes back in few
minutes and says his lenses are all scratched.

So what is a place to do? Can't call the guy a liar since he will call
corporate and get what he wants anyway. I saw the glasses since I was
working in the lab too and they were in pretty bad shape to start
with. So guy gets new lenses put in.

End result...we had to have everyone sign a waiver if they wanted an
adjustment that if the frame broke or any type of damage was done to
it we were not responsible. This was a pain in the ass but all it took
was one person to make a fuss.

So, same thing with the watch batteries.. store is not responsible for
any damage to personal items.


by MA Loper Posted Fri October 26, 2007 @ 10:51 PM

people say they understand why things are the way they are or say
they're sure there is some logical, valid explanation behind a policy
or action, but they still feel the need to complain about it.

by Gonda! Posted Fri October 26, 2007 @ 3:37 PM

Everyone knows never to hand a Walmart customer a sharp object.

They have customer service now???


by U B Posted Tue October 23, 2007 @ 1:03 PM

Another customer evidently cost them money through a lawsuit and they
had to make the policy. If someone came to you in a parking lot and
asked to borrow a coat hanger because they locked their keys in the
car and then you got sued for $50,000 because either they poked
themselves in the eye or it turned out they were stealing the car, I
bet you would have a "policy" not to do that again. It wouldn't be
very neighborly, but you would still not do it.
They may break or scratch it because it is difficult to get the back
off or they may cause a problem by removing it improperly and they are
not going to want to take that risk.
If they do not stock it they are not going to open it. For all they
know it could be a very expensive watch and if she scratched it trying
to get the back off you would want the watch replaced at their cost.


by joe bubby Posted Tue October 23, 2007 @ 11:41 AM

Why on earth would you expect WalMart, of all places, to service a
watch you did not purchase from them???

"Customer service", contrary to your belief, does NOT mean "waaah
waaahh waaahhh I always get my way!"


by donno Posted Mon October 22, 2007 @ 11:16 PM

go to a jewelery store. I can see how the store would not want to be
liable in case something goes wrong. I would take it to an expert, if
you can't do it yourself. I wouldn't expect to find an expert at


by sarahd Posted Mon October 22, 2007 @ 4:23 PM

I used to change watch batteries when I worked at KMART during summer
breaks...they will only change batteries in the watches (type/brand)
that they sell - because if they break it/scratch it they will be
liable to replace it.

As stated below Target is the same way - though I tried to get them to
change a battery in a watch I had purchased there and they would not
do it because they didn't carry my watch anymore - still sold the
brand, but not the exact watch - so they wouldn't touch it.

by NICHOLAI Posted Mon October 22, 2007 @ 3:52 PM

You need to do that yourself at home.

by billt Posted Mon October 22, 2007 @ 1:48 PM

Here is another case of the customer was told, we are sorry, but we
are not allowed to do this. Here is the real translation: The OP is
so cheap he wants the work of a jeweler, but is too cheap to pay for
it. It only costs about 15.00 to have a real jeweler replace the
watch battery.


not such a good deal by "Clete" Mon October 22, 2007 @ 2:03 PM

by Angelic Princess:) Posted Mon October 22, 2007 @ 11:39 AM

if the employee had opened it and something broke.. you'd be writing a
complaint letter. She followed the policy, now shooooooooooosh!


I know it seems silly by MA Loper Mon October 22, 2007 @ 10:39 AM

by LadyMac Posted Mon October 22, 2007 @ 11:13 AM

And I sign a form absolving them of liability if anything happens to
my watch. Maybe my WalMart is just weird.... after all, this is the
same WalMart that allows kitten-hawking in it. :)


One more thing by LadyMac Mon October 22, 2007 @ 11:17 AM

by DragonflygrrlTheGreat Posted Mon October 22, 2007 @ 10:07 AM

I can see why you'd be confused, but as a retail refugee myself I
think I can shed a little light on the situation.

First off, any time a company has a policy that seems restrictive,
inconvenient, or just plain stupid, odds are something has happened in
the past to necessitate it. Not that Wal-Mart is such a
customer-oriented company, but I doubt that even they are sitting
around thinking, "how can we make shopping at our stores less useful
and pleasant for our customers?" Rather, they are probably thinking,
"how can we make policies that protect us from liability?"

I would be willing to bet that at some point someone brought a watch
in to a Wal-Mart, gave it to the person working at the jewelry
counter, and then tried to sue when the employee attempted to change
the battery and damaged or broke the watch. At least at the Wal-Mart
where I live, the people at the jewelry counter have no special
jeweler's training, and may work at several other counters depending
on the day. So while they may want to help, they may just not have
the skills to do so. I would far rather an employee tell me honestly,
"I'm not a jeweler, and I don't have the training to open up your
watch," than gamely make the attempt and ruin my watch.

That policy probably exists to protect both Wal-Mart and customers
from over-eager employees, and I suspect it was made because they got
burned in the past. Especially on a watch that the store doesn't
carry, with which the employee may be unfamiliar, this does make a
kind of sense if viewed from the right perspective.

As far as the refusal to allow you to use their tools to open the
watch yourself, if you think about it from the store's perspective you
might understand this seemingly obstructive policy a bit better. It
is true that you'd have to be pretty clumsy to hurt yourself with a
watch-sized screwdriver, but it is also true that there are some very
clumsy people out there. It just takes one person presenting Wal-Mart
with a pain and suffering lawsuit due to having severed a tendon
trying to take off a battery cover for them to be pretty leery of
letting a customer use their tools.

In addition, while you are probably competent to handle a tool, there
are plenty of people out there that could break or just plain steal
the screwdriver. I'd guess that the line about a customer having
stabbed themself was used as a way to save you face, instead of
saying, "I don't know you and I have no reason to trust you to not
destroy this tool."

"Going the extra mile," is a wonderful thing for a customer service
employee to do. But breaking the rules is not the same thing at all.
In all probability, the employee you dealt with was simply not allowed
to decide which rules to bend and which to follow rigidly. For that
matter, the rules are in place for a reason, and if someone else saw
her breaking them she'd end up breaking them all day, and then likely
getting into trouble for it. We don't shop in a vacuum, and quite
honestly big box stores have too many customers to decide which rules
to follow on a case by case basis.

If you want your watch serviced, go to a trained jeweler. If you want
to buy inexpensive items in a low-customer-service environment,
Wal-Mart is the place.


*Claps* by Rated Argh Mon October 22, 2007 @ 1:29 PM

*Bows* :) by DragonflygrrlTheGreat Mon October 22, 2007 @ 3:11 PM

You're much more reasonable than I am by jm0811 Thu February 24, 2011 @ 5:13 AM

by RowdyRetailer Posted Mon October 22, 2007 @ 10:02 AM

My wife buys her watches at Walmart. And had dealt with the same
issue. The clerk asked if she bought it at Walmart and she said yes.
And they replaced the battery for her, no issues. She even stated she
had the receipt at home if need be. She DOES keep the receipt for
everything she buys too. We have boxes dating back 7 years HAHA!

Anyway, they are pretty consistent in their policy and I like seeing


by LadyMac Posted Mon October 22, 2007 @ 9:27 AM

So she can't open your watch - because of their policy.

However, WalMart has the tools to do so.

But they won't let you use those tools and open up your own watch -
because of their policy.

I completely understand your confusion. Why have the tools present to
do the job if a) the associate won't use them and b) the customer
isn't allowed.

I think it is a fair suggestion to ask for clarification of the
policies in place at WalMart.


According to the letter.. by Harleycat Mon October 22, 2007 @ 10:02 AM

The problem is. . . by MA Loper Mon October 22, 2007 @ 10:37 AM

by Jane (and the soon to be baby) S. Posted Mon October 22, 2007 @ 9:19 AM

Hmm...let me ponder the essence of your complaint. YOU want the
employee to risk getting fired and loosing her livelyhood, just so YOU
can save a few bucks. How selfish of YOU.
If the policy states that she cant open a watch that you didn't buy at
Wal-Mart, then go somewhere else that will open it.


by Melissa Savelloni Posted Mon October 22, 2007 @ 9:02 AM

I really think that you are looking at this the wrong way. This girl
was never trained to work on watches, and could very well break your

When i worked at radiosmack, we were asked to change the batteries all
the time. I was never comfortable doing this at all because we werent
trained to do it, I've never worked with watches before, and some
expensive watches need some kind of machine to seal them (at least
thats what i was told... i could be wrong). I was glad that my manager
would usually step in at this point and help.


Very true by Retail G Mon October 22, 2007 @ 1:25 PM

by Harleycat Posted Mon October 22, 2007 @ 8:13 AM

I wouldn't trust the Wal Mart associate to open my watch, that's
something I leave to a jeweler.

by david jones Posted Mon October 22, 2007 @ 12:53 AM

Now you know why your LOCAL stores are that much better than WALMART -
Friendly customer service!

Yes. Quality costs a little bit more.


by DSG12 Posted Sun October 21, 2007 @ 11:44 PM

This same kind of thing actually kind of happened to me at WalMart
once too. I was in there for completely other reasons and realized my
watch battery was dead. Just out of curiosity, I wandered over to the
jewelry counter and inquired about them fixing me up with a new one.
The woman behind the counter said something similar to what you
mentioned above and then said if "something went wrong" and they BROKE
my watch, it "wasn't their fault."

Obviously, I said, "thanks anyway" and got a battery elsewhere.

I just thought their whole policy of that was kind of weird. Oh


by puyro Posted Sun October 21, 2007 @ 11:27 PM

"The last time my watch battery died, I had it replaced at the nearest
jewelry store."

So why didn't you get the size/model then?

I don't wear watches anymore, but when I did I always kept a list of
battery sizes (from the packaging) in my jewelry box. That way if one
died, I would could just look to see what it is - write it down - and
bring it with me.

And also when you say "the last time" it sounds like it has died more
that once. And you still don't know the size?

And doing something against policy is not "going the extra mile."


by SiouxFan Posted Sun October 21, 2007 @ 8:54 PM

This reminds me of a time where a guest wanted her watch battery
replaced, and it was sold at Target, but the guest asked the employee
"Before you start, can you guarantee that you won't scratch it?" And
of course no one could guarantee that, so the lady threw a fit and
stormed over to me at Guest Service and demanded the manager's name
and number at the store. She then flipped out a little more and left.

Why can't people accept the answer 'no' anymore? Especially for
something that's perfectly reasonable.


she was in luck by "Clete" Mon October 22, 2007 @ 9:11 AM

Enough already.. by Harleycat Mon October 22, 2007 @ 10:03 AM

let's see by "Clete" Mon October 22, 2007 @ 11:02 AM

by RedheadWGlasses Posted Sun October 21, 2007 @ 5:14 PM

Target has the same policy, as does another discount/department chain
whose name escapes me (Kohl's, perhaps). I've seen stores post signs
in their jewelry department stating this policy.

"it certainly was right of her to follow the policy"

Um, except you wanted her to go against it. You're talking out of
both sides of your mouth.


by Eddie Munster Posted Sun October 21, 2007 @ 4:20 PM

"And as I said before, it certainly was right of her to follow the
policy, but honestly - she could have taken the back of my watch off
for me."

No she couldn't have taken the back of your watch, its against

I agree the policy seems extreme, but Target has the same policy.

I can only assume this policy is in place in case they damage the
watch, they can replace it.

I suggest getting small screwdriver and prying the back off your self.


by calm Posted Sun October 21, 2007 @ 4:20 PM

What if after she opened it, you complained that it didn't work any
more? What if you complained that she'd scratched it?

WalMart would really have no way of distinguishing between a situation
in which she really did damage your watch, a situation in which you
believed that she'd damaged the watch even though she hadn't, and a
situation in which you had gone into the store with a non-functioning
watch solely for the purpose of trying to get WalMart to replace it.
And given the kind of labor force WalMart ends up with, I would
imagine that some of the time the person working at that counter is
not proficient at getting batteries out of watches.

Meanwhile you would really have no way of distinguishing between a
situation in which she really did damage your watch and a situation in
which you hadn't previously detected damage that had already occurred.
After all, a watch that is broken and a watch with a dead battery
behave -- as far as those of us who are looking at them from outside
are concerned -- in very similar ways.

So yes, I can see some good reasons for WalMart policies to prevent
those situations from arising.

I agree with you that employees should not be deciding which policies
to take seriously, and I also agree with you that this specific
interaction could have gone differently and even -- considered in
isolation -- *should* have gone differently. You seem like a
reasonable person, the employee seems to have felt comfortable with
the task, and the likelihood of something going wrong was probably
small. But the people who make WalMart policies almost never consider
specific interactions in isolation, and faced with the choice between
erring on the side of caution and erring on the side of rewarding
people who want to do underhanded things I do see why they choose the

That is not to say that the gentle reminder that there really are some
things in the world that are not one-size-fits-all isn't one I think
is good for WalMart executives to hear.

It's been a long time since I wanted a watch battery replaced, but I
recall Radio Shack being a good place to go for that.


Glad you're back, Cal! by Firebrat Tracy Sun October 21, 2007 @ 5:39 PM

Thank you n/t by calm Sun October 21, 2007 @ 11:20 PM

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