Recently our super walmart decided to remodel. Boy, was that a crazy endeavor. It's hard enough to remodel a room in your house. You can at least tell people to stay out. With a public store, especially one as big as walmart, I can only imagine how stressful that was for the workers and managers.
Unfortunately, their doors were still open for business, and it was indeed, very stressful for the customers! For months and months, everything moved around about as quickly as it got placed. One day, the bread would be on it's shelf by the freezer section. The next day, it was nestled in with the children's shoes. The next week, it was back by the paint supplies. It was really awkward to try to find anything. Temporary shelves were going up as quickly as the new ones were being taken down. Aisles that were once clear, were now loaded with random goods, with no sense of order. There were so many workers re-organizing and stocking, that you felt like you were in a construction zone, and should be issued hard hats as you entered the electronic department to get a toothbrush.
During this time, there were kind workers who stood around, watching for people who look lost or troubled. They had the latest info, on where items were located, and could effortlessly direct you to the specific location in need. Without asking, I had many a concerned worker put a consoling arm around me and ask "What can I help you find, dear?" Little did they know that it wasn't my inability to find a specific item, but rather my tired and whiny children that were causing my frustration.
Surprisingly, in this chaos, I rarely had trouble finding what I need. Maybe because my lists were always so long, I ended up going around the store anyway, and inadvertently would find what I was looking for, based on my coverage of the store and not my understanding of their reorganizing endeavor. It must have been this sense of "un-fear" that drew consumers to me.
Now, I'm not a senior citizen wearing a blue vest with a big yellow button that says "Ask me for help". I'm not holding a clipboard and directing employees to disassemble the nearest shelf. I'm not currently in the act of restocking cereal boxes with my big flat cargo cart taking up the entire aisle. Nope. I'm just a mom, pushing a cart of assorted items, while entertaining my kids by making funny noises and having them repeat them back to me.
But with every trip, I would have multiple people asking me where things are. "I just can't find the mayonnaise anywhere!" "Where is the toilet paper!" "Duct tape!! Where is the duct tape!" "I just have to find the chips and then I'm done....where are all the chips?"
So I would kindly tell them where they could find their precious goods. I wasn't begrudging by any means. I found it humorous that so many people would ask me, when I'm clearly not an employee. Maybe many other customers were getting asked as well, and I shouldn't feel so singled out, but when discussing this with my friends, they seemed surprised that I was asked so much.
At any rate, everything is now organized and in it's new place, and about once a week, walmart gets to take advantage of having an unpaid consumer direct lost consumers to find their...marbles.