Walmart: The Store You Hate to Love

Another day of grocery shopping…another day when never having to walk in Walmart again would lower my blood pressure by at least 10 points and take me to a whole new level of happy.

The obvious reasons that I keep going to Wally-World are the convenience of food and so many other items all in one store and prices, which are usually cheaper than other stores. They also claim to “price match” although they have wiggled out of that one occasionally.

I would prefer to go to stores like Publix, Winn Dixie, Kroger, and Target. So in my list of “hates” I will limit myself to those items that I find at these other stores but are sorely lacking at Wally-World.

Customer Service – This is by far the #1 reason most of us hate to go to this store. It would be easy for me to blame it on the people who work there, the associates.  Good customer service, like most things, is sustained from the top – down. Yes, each person has to make a decision to “be nice” and “go above and beyond” as an individual. But the encouragement, the example is set by those in management. And so although I have never worked for Walmart, my work experience in other corporate worlds tells me that what is professed in the orientation manual is not always what is proclaimed in the day-to-day workplace. Do managers show how to be more efficient in their own work responsibilities and yet still have the time and attitude to answer their employees’ questions and care about their work environment?

Store Appearance and Layout – Publix and Target stores (that I have been in) are not just filled with light but are clean and spacious. Though they have many items, I do not feel, nor expect, that they have every item so that it is spilling off the shelves. Spilling being the operative word that causes Wally-World to be often described as cluttered and dirty. Then there are the boxes stacked in the middle of aisles that would be appropriate if I were at Sam’s Club but are just annoying in this store.

Handicap Assistance – This could be listed under the Customer Service but I believe it merits its own slot. Senior citizens and other people with limited mobility are frequently also part of the group who are on fixed incomes and have no option to go to other stores. Parking spaces and motorized carts are essential to this group of people. 4 out of 5 times that I have been to Walmart spaces and carts are not available. In a car lot of several hundred spaces, less than 10% are handicap accessible. Granted that is more than many stores, but most stores do not have the turnover of Wally-World. Ten to twelve motorized carts are not going to handle the need of most Walmart stores.  These customers can not stand around waiting for a cart. People who are in pain are not happy people!

I believe these three areas are easily identified and fixed which begs the question of why they are still problems. Maybe Walmart has succumbed to the obvious terminal disease. It attacks most stores that begin as a ‘local’ store and grow into something that loses the best of the owner and becomes a “bottom line” corporate monster that no longer sees the individual.

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