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Wal-Mart cuts back on greeters

The retail behemoth has been phasing out greeters on the late-night shift at its 3,000-plus US supercenters.

By Karen Datko Jan 25, 2012 7:07PM

When you go to Wally World late at night, don't expect to hear "Welcome to Wal-Mart" when you walk through the door.

 

The nation's largest private employer has been eliminating greeters on the 10 p.m.-to-7 a.m. shift at its 3,000-plus supercenters over the last six months, "chipping away at a 30-year tradition of making sure all shoppers are welcomed to the store," Bloomberg reports. Most supercenters are open 24 hours a day

 

Cost cutting has much to do with this. "Same-store sales at Wal-Mart's namesake U.S. locations declined for nine straight quarters before snapping the streak with a 1.3% gain for the quarter ended in October," Bloomberg says.

 

The greeters have been moved to other jobs, like stocking shelves.

 

Greeters have been a fixture and the face of Wal-Mart for many years, but I'm betting that some of those greeters welcome the change. A greeter has what's probably one of the toughest jobs in the store -- being on your feet all day, blasted by outside heat and cold through the open doors, and saying the same thing over and over again. Post continues below.

Oh, and then there's the customers. Plenty of news reports indicate the challenges they can pose to these low-paid workers -- $9.08 an hour, according to Glassdoor (and a hat tip to The Consumerist for keeping excellent track of these incidents):

  • A 69-year-old greeter reportedly was fired after a customer who set off the alarm tried to punch him and he swung back.
  • A 71-year-old greeter was allegedly choked after asking to see a customer's receipt. The injuries weren't serious.
  • A 100-year-old greeter -- yes, 100 -- said she was knocked down after asking to see a receipt. (The incident was later ruled an accident.) The greeter, who worked five days a week, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel "that her employers treat her well but that she works because she needs the money."
  • A 72-year-old greeter had to be hospitalized after he was punched in the face outside the store.
  • A 70-year-old Wal-Mart employee was allegedly slugged by a customer on Christmas Eve after she asked to see a receipt (which the customer had). It's unclear from news reports whether the employee was a greeter or a cashier.

I haven't noticed a change in the greeter presence because my local Wal-Mart is no longer open 24/7 and I'm generally asleep at night. Wal-Mart suspects other shoppers won't notice either.

 

Will the elimination of late-night greeters affect your shopping experience? Is Wal-Mart making a mistake by moving away from late founder Sam Walton's vision for the company?

 

More on MSN Money:

193Comments
Jan 29, 2012 1:06PM
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 Lets all steal more form Walmart now! No one at the door! Easy pickings now! Love it!Tongue out
Jan 26, 2012 10:19AM
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Anybody who is nasty to a Wal Mart greeter has obviously got a problem.
Jan 26, 2012 9:06AM
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At least these Greeters are trying to support themselves. Where else are they going to get paying positions? I am happy for them and I know that they do not want to be there, however, they are just doing their jobs and trying to survive with food and shelter. Thank you Greeters for trying.
Jan 26, 2012 8:46AM
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It seems most of the posters here that are negative are people that no one, greeters or anyone else, would want to talk to anyway. You are just a stuffed shirt, and if you don't like the way things happen at Walmart, then go somewhere else with your big shoulder chip. Walmart tries to give good service, but some people think the employees are their personal valets, and you can give a load of lip to an employee anytime. People that come in yapping on their cell phones don't care for anyone to say anything to them anyway. Rudeness is a way of life these days, cell phones, texting all get in the way of common manners. To a lot of the posters, and others out there, open your own business and see what it is like to be the recipient of peoples bad manners.

You all have a great day.

Jan 26, 2012 10:10AM
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 My Mother was a wal-mart greeter  and was told as a Greeter that She was to act as a Security Guard  , she was 62 years old  with Health issues, Walmart is at fault for all these injuries   expecting  senior citizens  to take on shop lifters  tring to exit the store .  Sam Waltons vision of Wal-mart died  with him .
Jan 26, 2012 11:01AM
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As a current Walmart Associate, I am appalled with the current direction that Walmart is taking with these people greeter positions. The folks who fill these positions want to work and some  need to work for various reasons. They are at the doors to Welcome us to Walmart, Thank us for shopping and to discourage shoplifting by checking receipts. I for one, applaud these older, hard working folks for all they do.
Jan 26, 2012 7:35AM
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When you join Costco it is their POLICY to check your ticket on the way out. EVERYONE knows this. Other stores have no such policy & I don't have to let them check mine. HOWEVER, I have enough respect for senior citizens to say "sure no problem" to stop for a few seconds & let them look. I even thank them & tell them to have a nice day.

NOW: IT'S SAD WHEN THEY LOOK AT YOU WITH RELIEF IN THEIR EYES THAT YOU'RE NOT BEING RUDE TO THEM! MIND YOUR MANNERS PEOPLE. THAT COULD BE YOUR FATHER, MOTHER, GRANDMOTHER, GRANDFATHER!!!!!

Jan 26, 2012 10:01AM
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Come on Wal-Mart....you have put most of the competition out of business, buy almost everything overseas & rake in billions of dollars and you want a senior citizen in the 70-100 year old bracket to be not only the "greeter" but the "store security" as well.  I suggest leaving the "greeter" to do exactly that & open you billionaire wallets & hire the proper security personnel like someone half their age at 6'2" & 225 of muscle & I guarantee you no one will be punching anyone in the face.  Wal-Mart should be ashamed of themselves!!!!!!!!
Jan 25, 2012 8:10PM
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That's only one of the very many associate cuts they are doing. Less people to stock shelves means less merchandise on the shelf, which means less sales,..Walmart believes just the opposite less sales means, which means less associates to stock,..and lower and more upset customer traffic. Shelves at some Walmart stores have several 4 ft. sections of empty spaces in every aisle of the grocery side. Hey, but, Mike Duke is gettin his money,..that's all that counts. Sam Walton wouldn't even recognize Walmart now,..because it ain't his anymore.....
Jan 26, 2012 9:18AM
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WalMart started going downhill the minute Sam was gone, thanks to his greedy little brats !!!
Jan 26, 2012 9:50AM
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Pieces of human garbage. To harrass and cause injury to elderly is as bad as doing it to a child. Sorry , but wallys world does seem toattract some dismal  pieces of crap that masquerade as humans in our society. Dont know why it makes me want to return the favor some time.
Jan 26, 2012 11:01AM
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I believe Sam would roll over in is Grave,if he new what his family is doing with his company. His motto was service and they are doing away with it. The company will suffer in the long run and will go down.
Jan 26, 2012 11:24AM
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walmart is on its way out if it continues it new ways.  since march of 2011 i have watched them raise prices as much as 35% on items we buy regularly and 20 to 25 % on other items in the store. i used to do all my grocery shopping there because on the average it was the way to go, but now i find discount food stores and sales at local food stores. we are having financial problems everywhere in america . instead of them supporting us and joining us a little in the problem they are determined to stay rich at our expence . beware walmart, consumers are not idiots, regular customers keep the doors open and they do notice when you are just trying to grab every dollar while you can. walmart didnt make us, we make walmart and we can open yours eyes. my spending there has gone down at least 50% so far. so that shoots your 35% down the drain. and Im not the only one.
Jan 26, 2012 9:37AM
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The problem here is...that criminal charges should have been filed against these 'gangsta' weirdos who object showing their receipts for products puchased and then start throwing haymakers at the greeter.   Hmmmm...or were the products actually purchased??!!   Kinda' makes ya' wonder just how bad the sleaze element has become in today's society.  Local law enforcement should certainly start to wake up and realize what's going on here!!!!  Hell-oooooooo!!!! 
Jan 26, 2012 11:09AM
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From a lot of the posts here I don't think people realize that these greeters are just trying to do what they are getting paid for.   They are  just basically trying to  keep an eye on things and they are not picking on you when they ask to see a receipt.  I think some people forget that these workers are just trying to earn a living too and they deserve some simple respect.  (At least they are not sitting on their butts at home collecting a check)  There are some angry folks on some of these posts speaking of hitting the greeter or suing Wal-Mart just over asking to see a receipt.  Get some help people and don't shop there if you don't like it.
Jan 26, 2012 10:21AM
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I do understand the inconvenience of being stopped at the door to check my receipt.  However, the fact is that all retail establishments have to do something to stop theft.  We as customers all pay for the theft out of the stores we choose to shop at.  I for one want the stores to do things to make it more difficult to steal.  I would rather see a person be given a job even if all they do is cause the store to maybe break even on items being stolen.  If theft goes up, I hope they return to using greeters.  I am sure a company this size will be able to figure that out.
Jan 26, 2012 11:29AM
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I worked for WalMart from 1980-1983. Sam Walton would land in helocopter in parking lot early in morning and have meeting with store employes or just drop by at anytime. He was a wonderful man and would roll over in his grave if he knew what His WalMarts have turned into. He was all about customer service and his employes. He said, one time. I will close every store I own before I would let them go union. He would also say if customers arent happy we go over and above to make them happy. He also cared very much for the walmart employes.
Jan 26, 2012 11:26AM
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The Story of Walmart*,  Open a new store in your town, Hire many people, Act like you like to compete with other stores like mom & pop's, Make your prices so low that mom & pop have to close there doors, Now raise your prices back up, fire some of your employee's and Cut back on customer service, You are now trapped to shop with them!!!!  Is this the american way or is it a way to china running?  Walmart* has none of it's values that it had when it first started in the 1960's, Sam Walton said he would not sell beer in his stores, People would get paid extra for working sunday's and we would close for holiday's, His people would have profit sharing and health care... Now Walmart* is now a money machine, it eat's up and it spit's out any body who get's in it's way at the cost of it's employee's and customer's, It's time to shop somewhere else and show Walmart* that it is time to change it's way's.......
Jan 26, 2012 6:20AM
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as a associate of walmart that works at a distribution center for the company,i have seen first hand when at store how the associates are treated by the customer.most people show respect but some do not.we do work hard  and sometimes our hours are cut back to the point we feel like we should find another job somewhere else,but there are not alot jobs to try and find one right now.people that are rude make shopping at the store bad for others and they may not come back ever and with that hurts us by not selling our products that are made all over the world and not just china but here in the United Sates also.there are alot of people that come in and leave and it is hard to say hi and bye to them all.most people that work in a factory would not like it if their boss got in their face and started cussing them or hollering at them,but the walmart associate has to stand and take it and have saw cashiers hold back tears and smile. at the same time though have saw some men stand up for these women and tell another man  that lady no matter who she works for should be shown respect because without woman no man would be alive today and that lady could have a husband or father that would bring boots to a$$es if he was standing in line at that time.so next time you are at the walmart store think about what we bring into local communities with jobs,charity money and a product that most can afford to buy.most of us walmart associates will give you respect no matter what you say or do.it is sad though that someone would attack a person that is old and cannot defend themselves because if they do may lose the only job they can get
Jan 26, 2012 10:46AM
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What other company do you know that hires employees in their 60's, 70's + age?
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