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A Little Christmas Review And Our Artificial Tree Story

The slumbered haze that was the holidays is no longer. We haven't packed the tree away yet. Is it just me or did the holiday season slip by to fast? We had a pleasant Christmas, and it was quite relaxed, yet it just went by in such a hurry. So, we're making it stick around in our home at least. 

Especially after the run-around we went on just to GET our Christmas Tree.

An East Atlanta Christmas

You see, we had to purchase a fake tree this year, and it almost broke my heart. I always had a fake tree growing up in Florida, and so did Matt, so when we moved to Atlanta we were determined to get a real live tree. 

Thomas Jefferson & Our Christmas Tree

It took us 3 years to realize the sudden sneezing, coughing, and asthma attacks from the weekend after Thanksgiving through New Years might be related to the giant tree sitting in the living room. 

christmas eve

// Picking Out An artificial Tree

We decided it was time for an artificial tree and so we settled on venturing out on Black Friday afternoon to get us a good one, only there were no good ones. My mother was visiting us and let me just say that my skeptical eye for detail runs in the family. We weren't happy with anything we found.

Some trees were flocked with fake snow, some were pre lit, some had berries already in them. A lot of this seems to be nothing but dazzle and the available options didn't look to last more than a year. 

I wanted a plain tree (preferably unlit, although those are practically nonexistent these days) as I didn't want to be stuck with a glittery, snowy, or berry laden tree (even though I always stick berry branches in my Christmas tree) year after year. 

I also discovered, for the first time PVC branches vs PE branches. PE trees are fabricated and resemble real branches the most. PVC branches have that papery, confetti look to them. 

I knew I wanted the most realistic tree I could find but LET ME TELL YOU, it was near impossible to find one in our price range!

It wasn't until Matt, my mother, and I were standing in the parking lot of a shopping plaza that Matt mentioned going into the Wal-Mart across the lot. Luckily it wasn't terribly crowded, but the one tree we wanted (for a ridiculously good price) wasn't available which led to us checking other stores.

We found one across town and decided to purchase it via the site-to-store pick up just to ensure it was still ours by the time we reached the new store. 

BIGGEST MISTAKE EVER.

three wise men

// The Walmart Run-Around

Although Walmart notified us to say our tree would be available that day, we decided to head to the store to see if it had been pulled early since we were already out for the day.

So naive, we were.

No luck, and the site-to-store employees said they couldn't  just go pull the same model of tree off the floor.

We had to wait for it to be delivered and processed. So we decided to just call the 1-800 number and cancel or order and just buy the tree they actually had at the store (because they couldn't cancel our order there), and after getting confirmation our order was canceled, we bought our tree and went home to have a merry time of trimming the tree and listing to Christmas music. 

Our dog, chester, snuck his christmas present out of his stocking early

I wish I could say that was the end of our Christmas tree saga. I wish I could say that I'm just complaining because I didn't get immediate gratification so you could all tell me to be grateful. 

No, what Walmart proceeded to do was actually NOT cancel our order and between the store and 1-800 number, they had us trying to get refunded for this mystery tree for two weeks. They managed to tell us our order was cancelled twice, only to send us email after email stating our tree was ready for pick up. During one of our calls to the 1-800 number, we were even told that there were no managers working there when we asked to speak with one.

Our Christmas Advent Candles

1-800 would just tell us to talk to the store, and the store would tell us to call the 1-800 number. No one could just give us our money back. At one point, Matt even had a store employee talking to someone at the 1-800 number and they still could not figure out how to cancel our order.

50 million phone calls, 2 sad attempts to cancel via online/email, 3 trips to Walmart, and two different order numbers later (because they managed to make it even more complicated by canceling and re-opening this stupid tree order), Matt ended up having to go to the store and physically pick up the tree box from the site-to-store area and walk it over it to customer service to get refunded (because they couldn't just do that at the site-to-store counter).

Needless to say, we won't be ordering from the Walmart website ever again and we should have known better than to even think about mixing Walmart with Black Friday. 

In fact the only peace of mind we received is from the creators of the show, The Middle, who pretty much summed up our entire tree purchasing experience with an artificial tree purchase gone wrong at a big box store like Walmart. You really need to watch the whole episode to REALLY understand the character's frustration, but here's a clip from the character's last trip (of many) to get the correct Christmas tree.

// Questions

  • Real Tree or Artificial Tree?
  • Have you had a Black Friday and/or Walmart nightmare experience?