Reason 1,347 not to shop at Walmart (but sadly, I still do)

Several Januarys ago, NHBC and I were going to Walmart to buy art supplies for my girl scout troop, it was a rainy day and many people were cruising the parking lot, stalking people for a close spot. Choosing a row, we got stuck behind a car that was waiting for a someone to pull out. (Don’t you hate it when people do that? In my opinion, once someone pulls up behind you, you move on. It makes me want to shout “YOUR TIME IS NOT MORE VALUABLE THAN MINE!!!” or the less succinct “ASSHOLE!”)

Unfortunately, in attempting to pull into the (finally) available spot, the car in front of mine backed into my car. And, yes, I was at least a car length behind him; but he didn’t even look back, just put his car in reverse, and reversed, fast. I was actually in park (having sat for so long waiting for the douche bag to move) and was unable to shift into reverse in time to avoid the jerk. It’s one of those moments in time that’s frozen in my brain. My car, NHBC beside me, a car rapidly approaching, and panic.

NHBC immediately dialled the police. We found a spot. I approached the douche bag, and, politely told him, “ummm… you hit my car; my friend just called the police.” And asked for his name, insurance info, etc. He wanted to take care of it without involving the police; this seemed unwise to me. He asked me to sit in his car so we could “talk about it.” And safety (un)conscious idiot that I am, I did. He mentioned that there wasn’t much damage. Couldn’t we both just take care of our own repairs? Um, no, dude, you hit my car. I was in PARK. He offered to buy me a new headlight. I declined, not knowing how much damage my car really had.

The police arrived, and Howard E. Gregory told them that I had rear-ended HIM.

I don’t think I’ve ever been so flabbergasted, so completely shocked, as I was at that moment.

It seriously never occurred to me that he would lie. (Especially since, in the ten minute conversation in the car he NEVER once made the allegation that I had hit him, and, isn’t offering to pay for my repair basically admitting to guilt? Of course, he’d likely say he was just being nice.)

The police didn’t care. The accident had happened on private property and they seemed surprised and annoyed that we had even called and promptly left.

We left Walmart fuming. I called my insurance agent. NHBC called her mom. Her mother said “Maybe Walmart has it on tape, from security cameras in their parking lot.” Genius.

I called Walmart, spoke to a security guard; he offered to review the tape from that afternoon. I waited on the line, while he found the accident and confirmed that, yes, I wasn’t moving, that I had not rear-ended Howard E. Gregory.

Victory!

Or not. Walmart would not release the tape to my insurance. My lawyer even sent them a letter offering a signed release agreeing not to hold them in any way responsible and that we wouldn’t use the tape for anything other than proof that Howard E. Gregory hit my car. Walmart still refused, citing corporate policy.

Thus, it was my word (and NHBC’s, who, admittedly is my friend, but a very honest person) against Howard E. Gregory’s. The insurance companies ultimately decided that each company would handle its own client’s damages. My deductible was $500.

I wish I could say this story has a moral*. But it’s hard to find one. Maybe a theme “bad things happen to good people” or “lying liars lie and get away with shit” or “Walmart doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the ‘little guy’ even if their commercials preach about how much they care.”

*Okay, I just thought of what NHBC would say the moral is, “Park in the first available damn space.”

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17 Responses to “Reason 1,347 not to shop at Walmart (but sadly, I still do)”

  1. PeoriaIllinoisan Says:

    I can’t believe that! What an asshole!

  2. Vonster Says:

    Some asshole hits you and somehow WalMart’s the bad guy. Right.

    Sounds kinda like BDS.

  3. jadedgirl Says:

    Typical Wal-Mart, honestly.

    And I had a similar thing happen this last summer. I still dont have my car repaired because I don’t have the deductible money. So rust collects, my engine light is always on, and I have a huge dent on the rear quarter panel of my car…my BRAND new car. The first one I have ever had, mind you. The guy even got a ticket…and I didn’t. But his insurance company still says it’s his word against mine. And I am screwed.
    My resale value went down leaps and bounds as well.

    ::sigh::

    People suck…and that guy WAS a total douchebag.

    I’m sorr about your fender bender, at least you are both ok though, right?

    People wonder why I am becoming a misogynist (sp?)

    :o(

  4. PeoriaIllinoisan Says:

    Give me a break, Vonster. Did you even read the post?

  5. jenjw4 Says:

    So, should corporate policy come ahead of doing what’s right?

  6. Jeep2000 Says:

    Yet another reason I’m glad I don’t shop there anymore!
    Would the guy at least repeat his statement to your insurance company: “confirmed that, yes, I wasn’t moving, that I had not rear-ended Howard E. Gregory.”???

  7. jenjw4 Says:

    Jeep2000, I wasn’t smart enough to get the security guy’s name. I guess my naivete is showing because I just assumed the manager would give me the tape. And after they said no, they wouldn’t let anyone in security talk to me.

  8. Sue Says:

    Did you go to the corporate headquarters and report their actions? I believe if there was a court order they would have had to provide the tape…Why didn’t your lawyer subpoena the tape as evidence?

  9. Vonster Says:

    PI: Arm or a leg?? Yes, I did.

  10. jenjw4 Says:

    Sue,
    Good questions, my attorney sent a letter to the local walmart and to corporate headquarters, the corporate headquarters backed up the local walmart in saying that it was “against policy” to allow anyone to view the videos. We even asked, if instead of giving us a copy, if they’d just let the two claims adjuster’s view the tape at walmart’s offices. No dice. Walmart was just a pain in the butt about it.
    The car repairs were minor enough that the insurance companies weren’t willing to have a lawsuit over it. And for me, even with a $500 deductible it wasn’t worth going to small claim’s court over. If I’m remembering correctly, my attorney didn’t think we could force Walmart to turn over the tape, it’s their property and it wasn’t one of their employees that hit me. So in small claims court it would have been back to my word vs. Howard E. Gregory with the only back-up being NHBC, who, being my friend, would be considered biased. Plus, I got the impression that Howard E. Gregory might not be the type to care about a lawsuit or ever pay the debt.
    Jennifer

  11. idonotknowme Says:

    I loathe these parking spot vultures that gum up the traffic flow waiting 5 minutes for a spot to save themselves 20 seconds of walking. I pretty much always head to the back of the lot and take a spot, but occasionally one of these people gets in my way. I never wait for them. Usually I just pull around them (which really freaks them out), but if there isn’t enough space to do that, they get the horn until they move.

    In your specific case you have three people to blame:
    1) A-hole that backed into you – primary responsibility
    2) scum sucking trial attorneys (like John Edwards) – for making Wal-Mart so paranoid of being sued that they have enacted policies such as the one that affected you
    3) a society which tolerates parking spot vultures instead of stoning them and banishing them from the village

  12. mortonmalaise Says:

    When I see someone waiting for my spot, I like to put my car in reverse, then sit there for several minutes. You wouldn’t believe how long some idiots will wait when they see those reverse lights come on.

  13. reno Says:

    if I were you, I’d write to the Journal Star and send a link to this blog to some anti-walmart sites. I’m sure the Looch would have something to say about it.

  14. mostprepossessing Says:

    You are right – that is the moral I would give to the story. I am glad that you published the full name of the culprit. Revenge is best served cold (now, how about some hummel figurines and U.S. mint coin sets to start the meal off?).

  15. mostprepossessing Says:

    You forgot the best part. HEG was an older fellow, dressed like a pimp.

  16. mostprepossessing Says:

    HEG, if you read this, now is the time to do right by KPOW.

  17. the truth Says:

    There are lot of reasons people shouldnt shop at a lot of places,Did you see scottjanz blog about The Great Escape.you should read the comments posted on it you might be suprized at what lies people tell when they are upset.

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