The Rant: A Monday Morning View - Walmart
Few people hate shopping more than I do. Making a list of what I need is easy but I have to force myself to do the shopping. A recent trip to Walmart confirmed my hatred for shopping and the Walmart cashiers (or lack of) is the inspiration for this Monday Morning Rant.
Let's talk about Walmart, the corporation for a moment. A quick visit to the corporate web site didn't reveal anything earth shattering. Walmart leadership boasts that they provide service to their customers in 27 countries. They boast fiscal year sales for 02012 of approximately $444 billion, And, they claim to employ 2.2 million associates worldwide.
A Bit of Walmart Trivia
- Mr. Sam (Sam Walton) opened his first retail store, a dime store, in 1950. He was 32 years old.
- The first Walmart opened in 1962 in Arkansas. Mr. Sam was 44 years old.
- Mr. Sam is credited (by the company website) as believing that lower prices help people live better.
- Mr. Sam died in 1992 shortly after receiving the Medal Of Freedom.
- In the early 1990s, Walmart wanted to bulldoze a large sacred burial mound they said was blocking the motorist's view of their store in Paso Robles, California. The attempt was blocked by the Chumash and Salinan Indian nations.
- In 1998, Walmart built a Super Center in Nashville, Tennessee on an ancient Native American site containing dozens of graves and a pre-Columbian village. Protesters tried to prevent the grave desecration but the court ruled in favor of Walmart. Excavation of native graves began in February 1998 and the remains of 154
individuals were taken from their graves.
- In 2004, Walmart began building a Sam's Club in Hawaii. They unearthed the remains of 64 natives buried there. In 2007, those remains still sat in a box in a trailer underneath a parking ramp, waiting to be repatriated.
- In 2005, Walmart paid $11 million in fines to avoid criminal charges for hiring illegal immigrants to perform janitorial services.
- In 2012, 500 women Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi and North Carolina filed a suit against Walmart for sex discrimination, claiming Walmart favors men over women for pay raises and promotions.
The list goes on but clearly demonstrates that Walmart has little regard for the living or the dead as long as money can be made.
Some Good Things From Walmart
Fighting Hunger Together
A $2 billion Walmart initiative to end hunger in America. By the end of 2015, Walmart plans to:
- Donate more than 1.1 billion pounds of food.
- Award $250 million in grants to support hunger relief organizations
- Mobilize Walmart associates and customers to get involved in ending hunger.
Breakfast in the Classroom
In Prince George's County, Maryland, 80% of the students at Port Towns Elementary School live below the poverty level. Walmart provides a healthy breakfast every day for every student.
Walmart has set three goals for environmental sustainability:
- 100% dependence on clean energy (currently 22%)
- Zero waste (currently 80% of Walmart waste is recycled)
- Support local farmers and provide healthy food (currently 10% of Walmart produce is purchased locally)
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What about the rant?
Okay, you asked for it.
I live in a city with a population of approximately 100,000 people. We have four (4) Walmart Stores and a Sam's Club within a twenty mile radius. Four! On my recent visit to the Walmart closest to my home the parking lot was less than full. A lot less than full and yes, it's a Walmart Super Center.
After making a quick run through to pick up the four or five items I needed, I made my way back to the front of the store. Although I didn't actually count them, there appeared to be at least twelve check out counters. Three (3) were open and there was one that had no one in line. Can you guess which one I chose?
The Walmart cashier never spoke, even though I offered a friendly "hello" as I placed my items on the conveyor belt. In fact, he never looked up to even physically acknowledge me. Now, I can be a real ass when I want to be so I said to him "How's your day going?" Again, no response. So, I processed my purchase using my debit card and before I could finish the transaction, this less-than-friendly customer service person tossed my bag of items across the counter into my shopping cart while reaching into his pocket for his smart phone.
For a moment I was tempted to head for the customer service counter and ask for the manager. But then, I realized this experience was no different than any of my other rare visits to this store. Telling myself that my complaint would not result in any positive change, I walked out, vowing not to shop there again.
So, Mr. Sam, I have some questions, even though you're dead and gone?
- Why are there four of your stores in my area when there doesn't seem to be enough business to support them.
- Why do your stores need so many check out counters if they aren't going to be used?
- How sustainable are your stores if they are using all that electricity to stay open 24 hours a day with so few clerks actually doing anything?
- Where is the great customer service that you built your reputation on and still promise to provide?
I'm no economist but even I have enough sense to know you can't operate a store than big with what I witnessed. It can't be possible to maintain so much inventory and burn a ton of electricity 24 hours a day, when you only need three unfriendly clerks to conduct the store's business. Can you?
Will I be back. Probably. If nothing else, you are convenient and I don't have to fight a crowd to make my few small purchases. Do I care if your cashiers aren't friendly? Yes, I do, but my life won't stop because they ignore me. And in case you're wondering Mr. Sam, yes, I do feel guilty that I didn't complain to the manager. I shouldn't be writing this without confronting the situation in person. So, since I have a great memory and could pick that Walmart cashier out of a line-up, I'll be back, just like I said I would and when I am, I'm going to rat that rude little sucker out to your manager.
© 2012 Linda Crist, All rights reserved.