Just-In-Time Shopping

It’s not often that I leave WalMart without having spent the better part of $100 (sometimes more), so it was with some disorientation that I exited a WalMart store last night with a completely empty cart and a full wallet.image

But I was frustrated. The exact product for which I had entered the store had a defined space on their shelf. It was clear from the signage and surrounding product placements that there should have been a specific product in the empty space … but the product I needed (wanted?) wasn’t there.

Looking around, I noticed a young man carrying boxes. I walked toward him and asked, “Do you work here?” When he said he did, I asked him about the empty shelf and the product I had hoped to purchase. “Ah, we must be out. If it’s not on the shelf, we don’t have it. Sorry.” And with that, he walked away, more intent on his boxes than building customer relations. (Probably not part of his job description as a Mover-Of-Boxes … M-O-B.)

I might have felt even slightly better if the M-O-B had at least made a token effort to locate additional stock in WalMart’s usually massive warehouse located at the rear of each store. I’d not have been any wiser if he’d disappeared behind the swinging doors for five minutes (even if he was only hiding on the other side of the doors) and returned to the retail floor to tell me “Ma’am, I’ve looked everywhere. There’s no more product in the warehouse.” Instead, he simply walked away.

This isn’t the first time I’ve encountered unstocked shelves, but on this particular occasion, I can’t deny I was annoyed … most likely because of the disinterested attitude of the box-man. I recognized that, but I stayed annoyed. Even if I’d had a full page of items on my shopping list, I wouldn’t have bought a single item. (Yes, I’m that ornery.)

I understand the business model of just-in-time delivery that WalMart has refined into retailing science. Unfortunately, the concept didn’t coincide with my store visit. The massive retailer’s delivery system wasn’t “in-time” for me!

In an unbelievably stubborn move to expend hard-earned cash, I drove immediately across the street (to another big-box store) and purchased an item I didn’t want! I paid more than twice the WalMart price tag for a similar (but not identical) product! (Admittedly, I may not keep the product, but I wanted to make the purchase then, not next Tuesday but exactly thendoes that make any sense?)

imageIf you’re thinking I acted like a spoiled child, you’re not the only one who reached that conclusion. How apt that my selfishness would be on full display (to myself only, thankfully, and no one else – in a rare moment of self-restraint!) on St. Patrick’s Day … and only minutes after I’d read the words (above) posted to my friend’s FaceBook timeline!

How needy I am for more – so much more – of Christ within! To borrow and twist a phrase from the Lord’s Prayer, lead me not into just-in-time shopping temptation!

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