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New Kid's View

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.

Kmart's March of Dimes Take -- Watch Out!

Kmart, March of Dimes, donation, "No Thanks!"

 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.

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