Despite the bad economy which has forced so many businesses to go bust, Asda is flourishing. Part of the Wal-Mart Corporation, Asda is the version of the superstore in the UK. They are known for being cheap, and their low prices draw in thousands of customers daily.
Like so many other people, I was lured to Asda by low prices. I wanted to buy a baby walker for my little girl, and knew that Asda sold one for about £25-half the price of the alternatives at other shops. So one evening my husband and I went in with our two young daughters.
I quickly found the aisle with the baby things, and saw the baby walker that I wanted on display on top of shelves near the baby food. Although I could clearly see the item on display, there were no boxes of them to buy. This seemed to be fairly common in this location, as the next aisle had strollers, cots, etc. displayed above nappies (diapers); again, these larger baby items were displayed although I couldn’t see them stocked on the shelves. There were some car seats on the shelves.
There was an employee further down the aisle, so I went up to him and explained that I was interested in buying one of the baby walkers. He looked at me and said, “Not my department.” Then he continued stacking bottles on the shelf. I politely asked him who would be able to assist me. Finally he agreed to use his store walky-talky to page the front desk and ask them to send someone to help me. I thanked him and, as advised, walked back to the baby walker display to await assistance.
I listened as the intercom system paged an associate to the baby aisle. They paged both generically for an associate to go to the baby aisle, and for specific employees by name. I stopped counting after eight pages. I waited and waited, but no one came. After about twenty minutes, my husband went to the customer service desk to ask for help. The first woman was very rude to him, and basically said that there was nothing she could do and that there were no employees working at the moment who could help in the baby section.
He explained that all we wanted was one of the baby walkers that we could see on display. Finally another woman at the customer service desk overheard and started paging associates to the baby section again. We waited for another twenty minutes without being helped. Several employees walked by us during this period, but none of them would assist us.
After waiting for forty minutes, an employee finally came. We showed him the item that we wanted, and he told us that he would go to get one from the back. We waited…and waited…and waited… After over fifteen minutes, we were beginning to wonder if he had forgotten about us. My husband went again to the customer service desk, where he was briskly told that he was still checking for one. After twenty- three minutes, the employee finally came back empty handed.
“We’re all out,” he shrugged, and started to walk away.
“Would it be possible to buy the display unit?” I asked him.
“No.” Then he walked away without giving us the chance to find out when they would get another shipment, if we could order one, etc. No chance of an apology for the absurdly long wait either.
In the end, we had waited for over an hour to be told that no, we couldn’t have the one item that we wanted. I didn’t mind that the baby walkers were out of stock. I minded that the employees were incredibly rude to us, and that we were forced to wait for over an hour when they could have checked in thirty seconds on the computer that the item was out of stock.
To sum it up. This shopping trip has made a Tesco’s shopper out of me.