Working at Walmart is generally not thought of as a great job but we found a woman who deserves high praise — and I’m sure there are thousands (millions?) more like her.
My husband, bless his heart, still loves an old-fashioned wristwatch. Yes, he has a smart phone and carries it with him almost constantly, but he says a watch is so much easier to glance at, especially if your hands are tied up with something else, which his are frequently. Doing a project, timing an exercise, driving along (now that our state has finally made a law against holding any cell phone while driving). Yes, our vehicles have clocks, but keep them up to date with time changes every six months? It doesn’t happen.
So, recently a watch he bought for $8.88 at Walmart last September suffered a broken watchband. Clock is fine, band has succumbed to it’s cheap manufacturing process. What good is a watch with a broken band?
One of our local Walmarts has an actual clerk who fixes watch bands. She is not young, and her fingers looked gnarled with arthritis. After we asked her about fixing it, she protested briefly citing difficulty, and my husband said he didn’t know where else he could get it repaired. (Do you know a local store that fixes watch bands?)
She looked busy but resigned, pulling out her tools. And yes, we could have bought another watch for $8.88 if necessary, but it was still under warranty. I noticed with some amusement a nearby collection of wedding and engagement bands selling from the same counter: yep, you guessed it, $8.88 for both rings.
The woman with graying hair mostly concealed by a shade of brown, bent over the counter and worked. She fiddled hard with the small gizmos on each piece of the watchband that had broken. Repeatedly they fell from position, and she pushed the small pliers to pick up each small piece. She worked probably close to 15 minutes and I almost said, “Oh let’s just buy a new one.” But then I got intrigued and fascinated with her diligence. Standing all day, bent over a counter, and perhaps 70 years old, maybe older. I looked for her to shove it back to him at any moment saying “It can’t be fixed. Buy a new one.” Her 15 minutes of work was probably worth only $4.
She finally straightened up her back and handed the repaired watch back to my husband, with some pleasure in her face, hidden of course by her mask. We praised and thanked her repeatedly, my husband querying whether she could take a tip. I didn’t catch the answer but I know it was no.
What a joy it was to see a woman who cared about her work — of giving a customer the value he had invested in a watch. How many others would have shrugged and said “We don’t do that anymore” and left us to our own frustrations. How many others instead of toiling hard and bent over a repair counter would have walked away from any job that was so taxing?
I have a feeling she’s not alone in dedication. Kudos and may their kind increase!
We were also pleased with another demonstration of great customer service. There’s a longtime bakery in the town where my mother lives and as I stated in this column recently, cooking and baking is getting to be a big burden or chore for Mom. I had ordered some plain sugar cookies from this bakery for Thanksgiving and she loved and savored them for weeks, from her freezer. I ordered another two dozen in early February but there was a mix up of some kind and the wrong kind was delivered, which my mother had trouble chewing. I called the bakery and the owner sent over a new batch the following week, completely on him. I was astounded. If you’re ever in Goshen Indiana, stop in at Dutch Made Bakery!
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