Really, the title should read, “what Walmart doesn’t have, anymore.” Because the Walmart of today seems to be different than the Walmart we’ve had all along, or they wouldn’t have become the big old thing they seem to be today.
First of all, it used to be so convenient to be able to go to just one place and get just anything one would want: groceries, hardware, electronics, plants, you name it. And all those check-out lines to speed folks on their way. And really great prices. And great selections in brands.
But nowadays, a lot of those conveniences aren’t around. First of all, in September I wanted to see about a particular kind of flower pot. Ah, but before the end of September, all of the garden stuff is mostly gone, to make room for Christmas stuff. The thermometer was reading mid-eighties to mid-nineties, but someone decided somewhere it was time for inflatable snowmen and lots of yard lights. As for their brand selections, in too many things it’s the store brand or else, a marketing technique that raises our hackles and makes us determined to go somewhere else for the things we want. Those great prices we hear about? Well, good luck, because maybe some things are priced reasonably, but not all.
But the ‘worstest’ part of our shopping experience became the checking-out phase. Because there are over twenty registers in our local Walmart, plus self-check registers, but if one has more than five items, the self-check experience is a constant battle with the computer, and otherwise you have the choice of any one of three or so registers. Period. And some of the checkers are simply not properly trained. They want to stuff packages of chips into carry bags, so we would take home chip-dust. They are decent, pleasant, hard-working, underpaid people, many of whom don’t know how to do their job.
So I have made a prediction with myself. Walmart is going to continue to grow and make amazing profits, for awhile. They are going to save money by paying their employees poorly, treating them poorly, keeping staffing to a minimum and failing to train them properly. They are going to try to push their own brands. They are going to ignore good business practices which consider the customer, because of that good old ‘bottom line.’ And they’re going to go the way of other chains who considered themselves too big to fail and too big to care.
Walmart didn’t become successful because of the patronage of wealthy men.