Is Wal-Mart letting you down?
Customers are complaining that stores have too little help to keep the shelves stocked. Has that been your experience?
This post comes from Karen Datko at partner site Money Talks News.
Everywhere you look, it seems, there's an article about empty shelves and bad service at Wal-Mart. "Hey, Wal-Mart, it's hard to make sales when store shelves are empty," chides a headline for a Brad Tuttle column on Time.
An oft-cited statistic is that while the Bentonville, Ark.-based mega-retailer has increased its number of U.S. stores by 13% in the past five years, its workforce has shrunk by 1.4%. A March article by Bloomberg says there are too few workers to reliably move the trucked-in merchandise from the storage area (what Wal-Mart calls "the steel") to the shelves, where people can buy it. That observation is based on interviews with Wal-Mart employees (called "associates" in Wal-Martese).
And, Bloomberg reported: "Last month, Wal-Mart placed last among department and discount stores in the American Customer Satisfaction Index, the sixth year in a row the company had either tied or taken the last spot."
A Wal-Mart spokesperson told Bloomberg that store stocking has not been in decline.
That Bloomberg story prompted a large reader response. "More than 1,000 emailed complaints signal that Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s restocking challenges are more widespread than the world's largest retailer has said," a follow-up story said.
This time, Wal-Mart responded that its own much larger sampling shows that things are better than ever. "These customers continue to tell us they have had a positive shopping experience and those numbers have trended upward over the past two years," the spokesperson told Bloomberg. "Our in-stock shelf availability is at historically high levels and averages between 90 and 95 percent."
But, The New York Times says, Wal-Mart executives are concerned, particularly about the stocking of fresh foods like produce.
Internal notes from a March meeting of top Walmart managers show the company grappling with low customer confidence in its produce and poor quality. "Lose Trust," reads one note, "Don't have items they are looking for -- can't find it."
Analysts have noticed too. "In its larger supercenter stores, Wal-Mart can't keep the shelves stocked, and that is driving customers away," Terrie Ellerbee, associate editor of grocery industry publication The Shelby Report, told the Times in an email.
We'd like to know: Has that been your experience? Are you getting the goods you're looking for and the prompt customer service you want at checkout and elsewhere in the store? Has your Wal-Mart shopping experience been in decline in the last year or two?
While we're at it, here's another thought: Some research says retailers are better off if they provide decent pay and benefits, which keeps and incentivizes workers. But raising its low wages would require Wal-Mart to raise prices.
Which would you prefer: cheaper goods or better service, including fully stocked shelves and quicker checkout? (Did you know that members of the Walton family, whose late patriarch founded the chain, held four spots on Forbes' 2012 list of the 10 richest Americans?)
More on Money Talks News and MSN Money:
I cant stand Wally-world. They move everything in the store every 5 seconds and THEN when you do find something you need, it takes you 2 weeks to check out. I complained to a manager about having 24 check-out lines but only 2 were open and he said - "well we have plenty of self service checkout lines". He got a real "deer in the headlights" look on his face when I asked if I got the 10% discount for working for Wal-mart.
More than once have I left my intended purchase because there was no one ringing up the sales.
I HATE WALMART AND THE OWNERS ARE ANTI-AMERICAN. They will do anything for more money as if they don't already have enough.
I do not shop at Walmart and I do everything I can to discourage everyone I come in contact with not to shop theor either. They sell refurbished as "NEW" electronics. Everything there comes from CHINA and they no longer support the American ideals. They underpay their employees so that we, the taxpayers, are supporting their WELFARE Bills and FOOD STAMPS.
They DO NOT PAY TAXES AND ARE A SERIOUS BLEMISH ON AMERICA.
What's wrong with Wal-Mart?
1. Lack of help in the store to wait on customers.
2. Long waiting at check out ,too few cashiers.
3. Substandard fresh produce.
4. Stores are not clean and neat like years ago.
5. Prices are not always the lowest.
6. Chinese made products that are not built to last.
Customer service has declined markedly in the last 10-12 years ,its not the pleasant shopping experience anymore
Have called the corporate office so much with complaints I'm surprised they even answer my calls. Were I live they are about the only store without driving about 40 miles. Have bought dirt 3 times and got my money back 3 times because no one there to load. On one of the occasions talked with manager and informed him he worked for Wal-Mart and could load dirt just like any other employee. The look on his face when I told him that in front of other employees was priceless. I go only when I haven't got the time to drive the 40 miles to go somewhere else. They have put too many small american owned with american made products out of business. They move everything around all the time and when you look for something that they stocked a month ago all of a sudden " we don't carry that item". So if I can, I avoid Wal-Mart like the plague.
I have seen wally world for the last time. cannot believe the decline the past two years. the execs
obviously have their head in the sand. sam must be rolling over in his grave
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