Monday, January 10, 2011

Walmart

Everybody knows the convenience of Walmart. If you cannot find it anywhere, you are sure to find it in Walmart, and there is a good chance it will be pretty inexpensive too.

Some history about me and walmart :
I have always disliked shopping there. For numerous reasons, I am not snooty nosed, I just dislike dirty stores and most of the walmarts i have been to are dirty. Then, there is never anyone you can ask questions to. Not a person in sight and if there is someone, chances are they are on a break and will tell you as much and not tell you where the commodity you are looking for is. On multiple occasions I have bought produce from Walmart and upon arrival home discovered that there is rotten onion or strawberry lurking on the inside of the bag or box. The last thing is they never have enough check out lines open. It will take me 15 minutes to shop but about 30 minutes to check out, does that seem fair?

So despite all this, we do go to walmart, but now it is limited to getting frozen or canned foods that we might be looking for and baby supplies. So this past weekend we went to walmart, looking for some baby items and then some. Now first of all, our Walmart has gone through re shelving, things are not in their usual place. So it takes us a little time to get the things we need. Of course there is no one to ask any questions so G n I just have to figure it out on our own. So after 45 minutes or so of looking for the items on our list, we were ready to check out. As always there were exactly 5 counters open and out of the 8 self check out kiosk 3 were working. So G looked for the shortest line and stood waiting for our turn with the cashier.
O by the way, Murphy's law always applies to us. Just as we were getting our shopping done, M started crying intermittently, we rushed through the rest and I started to stroll around with the kids while G waited in the check out line. M's cries were growing louder by the minute. So G and I swapped places and he decided to take the kids to the car and feed them.
Now, I swapped places with G at 7:42, G had already stood in the line a good 10 minutes by then. While I was waiting my turn I started looking around at the other cashiers. All of them seemed to be working at breakneck speeds and the lines seemed to be moving fast. So I looked over to our cashier. And that's when I lost my cool. She must have been checking out 1 item a minute. She was gesturing with both her hands in between scans and giving her gyaan on every item she was scanning. I started getting super annoyed. I think there were 4 carts ahead of me and about 4 behind. The line kept getting longer. The lady behind me saw me fidgeting and said she felt the same way. The cashier was indeed taking forever. So finally my turn came at 8:17. Yes I remember the time, because I wanted to make a point to the woman. She started checking out my stuff and started discussing the item. She made the very intelligent observation that I had babies who were still on formula.
I decided I needed to vent my feelings and I started with how long the lines were. So she stops scanning and starts looking around. At this, I tell her, you probably shouldn't stop, that is what is causing our line to be so long. She didn't get the hint. So I told her that my turn came in over 40 minutes. She completely stopped scanning and looked at me with horror and said what are you trying to say. So I told her what I thought. How if people worked faster, it would be better for everyone. She threw her hands up in the air and goes, I am just doing you a favor here! And I was totally dumb founded. Thankfully all my items had been scanned, I just needed to pay. Which I did. The cashier meanwhile had turned around to talk to another cashier and says to her "these customers are very rude'. The other cashier, looked at her and gave her an understanding nod and continued to scan. My cashier printed my receipt, threw it in my hands and didn't look me in the eye.
I was pretty irritated and tired and not to say late, so I just took my squeaking cart with me and walked away.
Not that such incidents only happen in walmart, they happen in a lot of places. But if you point out, the store people are more polite and don't throw a tantrum that you called them out! My problem is the nonchalance and the fit throwing. Was I wrong to say something to her? Should my expectations be low because it is a low end store? But it's the biggest chain in the world!!

Will I go back to walmart, yes I will. Where else will I go? (Target as good as it, doesn't have a lot of brand options, but I love you target). But their reputation of bad CS continues and I am beginning to wonder, do they not care because it's one of those rare chains that made a profit even in the rescission?

4 comments:

  1. It's been a long time since I regularly shopped at Walmart, but at that time, the lines were an issue, though not as much as you describe now.

    By being a regular shopper, I knew more how my store worked. I knew the good times to shop that were less busy, I knew the secret places where one could check out quickly even during busy times, I knew people's names and got special treatment, etc. I also knew where everything was because I shopped there so often.

    Anyway, lower headcount is part of their recipe for keeping prices low, and I think that their customers are in general willing to to trade their time for convenience, variety, and low prices.

    I now do much of my shopping at Costco, and they have a similar low headcount policy. Sometimes lines are really long, and most of the time the customers' giant shopping carts are filled to the brim. I have come to accept the line and use the time to think about what I'm going to do next, crack jokes with C or D, etc. I have the luxury of not having screaming babies with me so I know it's an easier burden to bear. Also, Costco pays really well for retail and gets better people, to the checkout people are fast, but still those lines are loooooong.

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  2. Anonymous3:47 PM

    After reading your last post, yes,
    i also read your blog regularly Megha :). And this is the perfect post to comment on here as we may have a connection. I still miss the Walmart in Arlington on Cooper! That was the cheapest option available and never had complaints. May be because i was yet to explore alternatives for daily shopping. Trader Joe's and Target it is now since NYC wouldn't let Walmart come here for good reasons...
    -Daxa

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  3. @ Mighty
    You know, I really don't go often enough. After having kids, we've realised it's easier for G to go than me or haul all of us there. Next, we have to schedule our visits according to the kids schedule. This was a Saturday when we went, you'd think would envision more crowds and have more lanes open?

    Walmart doesn't pay its employees well, they are not cared for like Costco does. Costco's employees are happy, they have incentive for doing better. So costco prospers. We used to go to Costco, but we don't want to buy so much in bulk and the brands we use for the kids are either not available in Costco or cheaper online.
    Yes Costoc's lines are long too, but the cashiers are pretty fast, can't fault them and I cannot fault their CS at all!

    @ Daxa..thank you so much for coming back :) Well in UTA, I didn't know better, so I was happy about Walmart and again, the low prices were very attractive. Now, our only concern is time and convenience. I like that I can go to one place to get anything, that is Walmart. But I am super pissed at the management and workers there.

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  4. I agree...WM is not the most pleasant place to shop at. First of all, milk which is the only urgent thing i am always out of is at the very end! Dang! And you can never do a dash in and out. If you are going to WM you at least need to save like 20 mins aside even if it just one item.

    The one next to our house is kind of crowded but I have rarely had issues with line check outs...and the one in plano is my all time favorite but it also charges Target prices! :( As much as I like Target/TomThumb/Kroger, I realize that WM beats their price. Most stores only have a few items at less price...but WM has most items at a low price...and in these times I want to be saving as much as i can...

    Yes, it is one of those things we all learn to love and hate...

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