Yep. When you hear somebody put down a garage saying, “may as well take it to WalMart,” you might at first assume they’re using hyperbole. Why would Walmart, volume supermarket of toilet paper and discount chicken, practically a great big Dollar General, work on something as complex as an automobile? But I shit you not: they do.
Does WalMart have real mechanics?
Of course not. If you could work in actual mechanic shop would you take a job at a supermarket doing more work, later in the day, for $12/hour?
Well how are the TLE mechanics trained?
The company looks for people who already know something about automobiles, or are at least are mechanically inclined. One of our TLE mechanics is a legit rail car mechanic and electrician. The store is his weekend job. Debt.
Anything else is taught by the other folks working in the TLE. After about a month the employee should be good to go.
Is there any kind of formal training?
CBL’s, I guess.
What are those?
Computer Based Learning. They’re super boring videos followed by online tests. You have to pass them before you’re allowed to do any work for the company.
What happens if you fail a CBL test?
You take the CBL again.
Until you pass?
Oh. What do they cover? Is it mechanical stuff about engines?
Nah. CBL’s cover the following:
- Don’t join a union.
- Kids cannot buy cigarettes.
- The union will send you unsolicited emails.
- Don’t pour flammable or poisonous shit in the trash compactor; what’s wrong with you?
- Don’t sign anything the union asks you to sign.
- Don’t operate the forklift if it’s broken. Also don’t fix it.
- Seriously if you join the god damned union we will fire you. The union is made up of ex Walmart employees for a reason.
Do they actually install they stuff the sell?
Walmart associates install following three things:
- Air Filters (for free)
- Batteries (for free)
And they don’t touch anything else like fuel filters, radios, or spark plugs. Would you want them to?
Do they do any other work for free?
TPMS light reset.
What’s the best day to drop by the TLE?
Well, there’s probably not a good day. If you go on the weekend it may literally be so busy they refuse you. Go early. Yeah. Go as early as you can.
Does it really take hours to get an oil change?
Yep. Never expect whatever you go for to last less than an hour. You gotta plan for this. Bring a book or go chill in the book section. There’s usually a small waiting area at the TLE with one bench, cold coffee, and vending machines; but forget that noise.
Grab lunch from the deli (4.50 is a plate lunch with six wings or three strips; two sides; and a roll) and go eat it on the patio furniture in the garden center.
If anyone gives you shit, just explain your getting your tires changed. The employee will probably understand. They probably took the job at WalMart to pass the time while they got their tires changed. Their car is probably still on the lift.
Can I Shop While I Wait?
Yeah, but you’ll still have to check out at a normal register if you purchase any of these items:
- Weighable fruits or vegetables.
- Live seafood.
- Expensive electronics.
What oil do they use?
You know how some places have a big Mobil 1 logo proudly displaying that they pour in high quality Mobile 1 oil to any fine automobile that rolls through? WalMart doesn’t have that.
They put in recycled oil for cheap or for extra they’ll put in the WalMart brand oil.
Who makes the WalMart brand oil? I know a grocery store doesn’t have refineries.
Whoever sells it to WalMart cheapest. It’s different too, depending on where you live. I think we have Warren Oil right now. Some stores have Quaker State.
I waited and waited to get X done, but the employees pretended they couldn’t run a register.
Numbers. It’s all about numbers. This usually comes up with core charges.
Not all employees even have the option to log into a register. Even the employees that can run a register, don’t have most options. Everything that can be done on a register, can be done by the Customer Service Managers that walk around the front of the store with palm pilots and clipboards. They have all the numbers. Get one paged to the TLE and if no one shows up after five minutes or so, just walk up front and ask a cashier to point you to a CSM
Some employee wants me to sign an agreement saying the store isn’t liable for damages, just to do an oil change! What if they mess up my car? I love my car. If they mess up my car, am I unable to sue?
Doctors give out the same form. They’re never sued, right?
Well they totally did mess up my car, and then they got defensive, dismissive, and just down right didn’t give a damn!
Call a lawyer. There are cameras in the TLE. If you call a lawyer, they’ll call WalMart, and WalMart will put one of their lawyers on the case. If the cameras show the employees damaging your car, Walmart’s legal team is probably going to offer you a settlement by the end of the week.
Well, OK, but the manager acted like he didn’t even believe me!
He probably didn’t. Our TLE is slow, but they’ve never damaged a vehicle while I was working. However, some people who bring vehicles to WalMart in awful shape will insist that something wrong with it was the store’s fault.
There was a lady who sincerely believed that WalMart had caused the radiator in her Cutlass to leak, “I just leff’ here. I just leff’ here and on the way home my car overheat. You think that a coincidence?” They’d changed her battery, so it probably was coincidence.