A tale of three Walmarts

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. … Oh, right. That’s been done already. Do you mind if I tell you about my day instead?

Thanks to those of you who commented on last week’s post about jealousy. At the end of that post, I asked for advice about whether to break a 14+ year ban of Walmart to buy Jerel Law’s new (first) book there. Walmart has exclusive rights to carry the book for 90 days, and I found out from Jerel’s blog that it may be April of next year before the book is available elsewhere.

Several of you who emailed me or posted a comment said I should forgive Walmart and go buy the book. So today, I drove to Walmart to break my ban. I left empty-handed. 

It felt odd to me to walk in to the store, but the greeters were there, and they smiled and said, “Hello.” I smiled and said, “Hello” back. I got my bearings and found the small book section, consisting of one side of an aisle, and one set of shelves along the back of the store.

I was still excited about breaking the ban for a good cause and eagerly scanned the shelves for Spirit Fighter. It wasn’t in the New Releases section. It wasn’t in the Novels section. Or the Inspirational section or the Young Readers section.

I happened to be on the phone with a good friend who had emailed last week to tell me to forgive Walmart. She offered to look for the book on Wal-mart’s website to see if she could find it in the store. So with her infant son alternating between coo and fuss in the background, she looked on the site. No matches for the book or Jerel’s name. That left one option: find an employee and ask for help.

So I did. And he was very helpful. But the store isn’t just out of the book. They don’t carry it, at least not yet. He said I could call back in a few days to see if they get it in stock.

I drove home and got on the computer to see where other Walmarts are located. There aren’t any very close to my house, and as I haven’t shopped at one for so long, it’s easy to drive past them without noticing they’re there.

I found two more close enough to try. Jerel’s blog had also informed me that only half of all the Walmart stores are even carrying his book, and so I figured three Walmart stores improved my chances of finding the book.

I decided to call both remaining stores to see if they carried the book. The first store took a long time to even answer the phone, and I ended up on an interminable hold. Well, not interminable. I hung up after a few minutes. Same interminable hold at the second store. Not cool, Walmart.

So I took my chances and got in the car. Two hours and one rush hour traffic jam later, still no book. I wish I had just stopped for the day at the first store. The customer service was better there (as opposed to being nonexistent at the other two), and at least I still had some hope of finding the book.

For now, I’ve ordered copies on Amazon. Somehow, they mistakenly got some initial copies to sell but may be out of stock at this point, which means I may be out of luck.

In the meantime, I probably won’t take up shopping at Walmart, but if I happen to drive by one I haven’t already checked, then I’ll stop in and see if they have the book.

What I learned from three Walmart visits

  • Walmart isn’t as horrible a store as I remembered. And there are some helpful employees working there.
  • Forgiveness takes time and effort, and sometimes, even companies (not just individuals) deserve forgiveness.
  • I’m more willing to forgive a company if it provides something unique (which probably means I have more to learn about forgiveness).
  • I am soooooo grateful that I don’t have to drive in rush hour traffic every day down a busy, traffic-signal-filled, major road into my city.

Oh, speaking of gratitude, that reminds me. We are six weeks away from Thanksgiving. Are you keeping a gratitude journal or list? Remember that Thanksgiving challenge back in August? It’s not too late to start. I’m up to #131: “Rush hour traffic that reminds me how blessed I am not to have to drive that road every day.” My list is a long way from 1,000, but it’s a start, and keeping it has helped remind me to give thanks in all circumstances, even the days that include three Walmarts and an empty shopping bag.

(By the way, Shannon, I’m grateful for your comment last week. You win the free copy of Spirit Fighter, but I can’t send it to you until I actually get a copy.)

6 thoughts on “A tale of three Walmarts

  1. Did I win??? Or do you have another friend named Shannon? In either case- good for you for working through this.You probably know my opinion, already, but I see Wal-Mart as my local mission field. It's really changed my interaction with the employees there.

  2. Chris — great idea! I started to put some samples in the comments, but it got pretty long and unwieldy. So look for a follow-up post.Jerel (and Bev, too) — thanks for your kind words of encouragement.I believe to my very core that God has a wonderful plan for me, and like other areas of my life where it's tempting to try to take control myself, I know it's better to let His plan play out. He dreams more wonderfully (and usually larger) than I dream for myself — something He's proven time and time again in my life.BTW, Brier Creek was my last stop yesterday, and so they must have just been out. I'll stay on hold longer next week and will keep you posted about my search. I hope the Walmart experiment pays off richly for you. I'm betting they'll start ordering more copies as they see the demand for your book keeps clearing it off the shelves.

  3. Hope – I just saw this post, which led me to last week's. First of all, thank you for believing it was worth breaking your ban to go find the book! I'm grateful you spent all of that time looking. Second, I am sorry you didn't find it. If I had any extra copies right now I'd send you one, but I don't. Not at the moment, anyway. It's a bit strange how Walmart is doing this book…it's really an experiment with them, and they have some formula that I probably couldn't understand for why they place them in certain places and not others. Add onto that the fact that stores are only getting a handful of copies at this point, and it has led to some frustrating searches for a few of my friends and family. Incidentally, I have heard that the Brier Creek store in Raleigh is carrying them.The main thing I wanted to say, though, in response to not only this post but the previous one – is that, even though discouragement lurks around every corner as a writer, please don't let it stop you or pull you down if you can help it. You are a talented writer with something to say. Keep writing what you are passionate about – you have readers already, me included, who enjoy and benefit from your words. You never know where it might go.

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