Yesterday, I gave up -- at least for now -- on getting a copy of my friend Jerel's book Spirit Fighter from Wal-mart. But I made peace with the store after a surprisingly good customer service experience with them.
Up to yesterday, the count was four Wal-marts I've visited in the last few weeks to find Jerel's book. I had heard from a reliable source (Jerel himself) that one of the Wal-marts I had visited
early on was carrying the book. It must have just been out the day I went. There was no employee anywhere in sight near the book section that day, and so I left empty-handed.
Because that particular Wal-mart is such a long drive from my house, I decided to try calling the store before going all the way out there. It took three calls before anyone even answered the phone (not cool). The lady who answered the third attempt sounded skeptical when I asked if I could find out if they had a book in stock: "Ohhh, I don't ... hold on." Four minutes later (yes, I kept track), she came back on and asked who I was holding for. I told her, and she asked me to hold again.
Three minutes after that, she came back on the line and asked me the name of the book. For the next two minutes, I heard her talking with someone on a two-way radio who had gone to the book section and was looking on the shelves for the book -- an act of customer service I appreciated even more for several reasons:
- I was an anonymous voice on the phone who would have been easy for them to ignore.
- The book isn't listed on walmart.com, and therefore, the employees have little chance of finding out on a computer if it's something they even carry.
- I've been in that store's book section (the largest of any Wal-mart I've been in yet), and it's not easy to find much of anything in it. Books there are loosely categorized by genre but there's no sort of alphabetical order by author or title or any other apparent order at all. Well, unless you count "random" as an order.
At the end of that nine-minute call, I had my answer: "We don't have that book." But the call wasn't wasted. It was filled with grace. Grace of two Wal-mart employees who likely don't get paid enough or appreciated enough but who still went above and beyond to help me get the answer I needed. Grace extended that made it easier for me to reach the final step in forgiveness and achieve a measure of peace.
So ... I still haven't bought anything at Wal-mart in more than 14 years. But the ban is over, and I've let go of something inside of my head or my heart or my soul -- wherever it had sat smoldering all this time -- that isn't worth holding onto any more. And though I won't go out of my way to shop at Wal-mart, I won't go out of my way not to shop there either. Besides, they may be the only store that carries Jello's new seasonal delight, pumpkin spice pudding. And that delicious treat, my friends, is worth going out of my way for.
Grateful for computer glitches
Now, I don't want you to worry that I'm going without a copy of the book. Thanks to an alert on Jerel's blog, I took my chances and ordered two copies of the book on Amazon.com (one for me and one for my friend Shannon, who won a copy based on her comment to my initial blog about this whole forgiving Wal-mart issue).
Thanks to a glitch in some system, Amazon has been able to get a few copies at a time. Though the shipping prediction was 1-2 weeks (meaning Amazon wasn't sure they'd be able to get more copies), I placed the order anyway. Tomorrow, they're due to land in my mailbox. And I can't wait!
So today in my gratitude journal, I'll have several more items to add, including:
- Lessons Wal-mart taught me about forgiveness.
- Computer glitches that will bring a much sought-after book to my doorstep.
- A healing right hand that doesn't hurt anymore when I type. (Thanks also, to all of you who prayed for me after last week's fall.)
So I ask you these questions: Has my experience with Wal-mart given you pause to consider what resentments you need to let go of? How about a person -- or retail store -- you need to forgive?
And are you keeping a list of gratitudes in your life? I hope so. Thanksgiving is edging ever closer, and with it, the Thanksgiving challenge. I hope you find that keeping a list of things for which you are grateful will help you experience a richer holiday season. Oh, that reminds me, I'm grateful Halloween is just around the corner, because I'll be able to get rid of all that candy sitting in my pantry. Trick or treat, my friends!