Family lured Jerrianne and her husband to South Milwaukee in 2002 from Southern California where she worked as, first, a journalist, then, as a court information officer. She now stays busy with media-relations consulting, playing with her three grandchildren (part of the lure), writing, discovering her new environs, and hoping her garden will produce before the first fall frost.
I hope Kmart does not got out of business, but I do wonder if they really want people to shop at their store. At least the one in Cudahy. After yesterday, I might not and if I do, I will certainly be very careful when I check out..
Here's what happened:
I bought three items that totaled about $5, which I intended to pay for with cash. When I gave a $20 bill to the Kmart employee who rang up my purchases, she asked if I wanted to donate to the March of Dimes.
I said no, thank you.
She said I needed to check the "No Thanks" box on the little countertop credit/debit card kiosk screen.
I said I was paying with cash.
She said I needed to check the box anyway.
I asked what my purchase, which I was paying for with cash, had to do with the March of Dimes.
She said that the transaction wouldn't go through if I didn't check the box.
I laughed and said that seemed a little like extortion, then asked why the system was set up that way.
She said that it was how Kmart knows that she had asked if I wanted to donate to the March of Dimes.
Why was it so important that Kmart have proof that customers are asked that, I wanted to know.
Because Kmart has a soft spot in its heart for children, she said.
During that exchange, I attempted to check the "No Thanks" box. It didn't work until my third try.
She gave me several singles as change for the $20 bill I gave her for my purchases and printed out the sales receipt.
As I headed for the door, I put the loose change in my pocket and checked the dollar bills she had given me, thinking she must have put a couple of fives or a ten between the singles. No. All she gave me were ones. Four of them.
Hmmmm. How could that be? Looked like she had overcharged me. I looked at the receipt.
Nope, The correct prices for the two packets of seeds for my garden and the can of hair spray I had bought were listed on it. Yet, the change indicated was $4.42 out of $20.
But wait. What was that $10 charge? The line item was March of Dimes.
What? I had said I didn't want to donate to the March of Dimes.
I went back to the check-out cashier and showed her the charge.
She said that had happened because I wasn't fast enough to check the "No Thanks" box.
"My mistake," she said. "I didn't tell you."
I said again that I didn't want to make that donation and asked her to give me the $10.
She said she couldn't do that from her register, that I had to see customer service about that.
After waiting 10 minutes (no exaggeration, I checked the time) for the customer service clerk to finish helping another customer who wanted what seemed to be a complicated "price adjustment," which entailed the customer service clerk making a couple of phone calls, plus leaving to go somewhere else in the store then coming back and re-entering the list of purchases on the woman's sales receipt, I gave the clerk my receipt and expained what had happened.
She couldn't just give me the $10, but had to make some enteries in her cash register. Whatever she was trying to do didn't work. She tried voiding my sale as though I were returning the items, then ring them up again. No dice. She couldn't void the $10 MoD donation.
She went to get another employee. He was flumoxed, too. He suggested she get (name of another employee I didn't understand), who was sure to know what to do. Off the customer service clerk went in search of that person. She returned alone.
Finally, she waved down an employee I guess was a store manager and explained the situation. The two of them stared, baffled, at her cash register/computer screen and murmered to each other.
"Look," I finally said. "If you don't know what to do, just give me ten bucks so I can go and you can figure out what to do later."
Yes, I had raised my voice loud enough for not only another customer waiting in line behind me to hear, but anyone else within a 20-foot radius.
Both women look startled. The I-guess manager said something under her breath to the customer service clerk, who opened her cash drawer and give me a $10 bill.
"Thank you," I said, and half-an-hour after my "quick stop at Kmart to get a couple of things," I walked out of the store.