Donor pays $10K for customer layaways
WATKINS GLEN--A lady who wants to remain anonymous, recently stopped in the Watkins Glen Walmart store and donated $10,000 to pay off some lucky customers' layaway accounts. Walmart Manager Kyle Nickerson said the anonymous donor, whom he referred to as Mary Jane, only had two conditions for her donation. "The first was that she remain anonymous, but the second was that we reach out to local press to let them know about the donation with the hope other people capable would do the same," Nickerson said.
While donations during this time of year are typical, Nickerson said that this was the largest donation the store had ever seen. Nickerson said the $10,000 donation would pay-off 64 customers' layoff accounts.
"Walmart has had a lot of anonymous donors in the past but the downside is that the stores would have [extra work], because we would have to go through every item individually and not just do one transaction. So our corporate operations department came up with a program to allow [associates] to use one transaction and save the stores [time]. We are the first store in the company to pilot this program," Nickerson said.
Not only did the program run smoothly in getting the total amount of items paid off to $10,000 exactly, it is also designed to prioritize certain items over others.
"It sorts what items to pay for by prioritizing kids' items like toys and clothes, and last on the list would be something like a 65 inch TV," Nickerson said.
Nickerson said the program is important because not only does it save store employees time but it also saves the time of the donor.
"It makes it a more enjoyable experience for the donor by not making them run through every transaction individually. We hope that encourages donors to come back again," Nickerson said.
Loretta Marsiglio, Walmart associate in charge of layaway, said that donations are made annually in varying amounts.
"Every little bit helps," she said.
Along with toys and clothes many new parents use the seasonal layaway option to pay for things like cribs and car seats, and items like that were also paid through this donation.
"I know Schuyler County is a tight knit group and to have someone reach out like this is absolutely wonderful," said Marsiglio.
She added that the donation is indicative of the kind of place Watkins Glen is.
"This says that we have wonderful people here, good people who care about our community and the people here. Being a part of that transaction was heartwarming, it's part of what makes the season the season," she said.
Being part of such a large donation was heart warming, said Marsiglio, and is the kind of story she wishes were more prevalent. Nickerson agreed, saying, "Sensationalism sells, and there aren't enough true heartwarming, small community stories like this out there."
He added that the thing that makes Watkins Glen special isn't the lake or the racetrack, it's the people who live there.
"The true heart of this area is the year round residents, they are our most important customers and they are what makes this place special," Nickerson said.