May 30, 2008

Why I Hate Wallllmart

The employee pep rallies they have, the degrading ones where the employees are forced to "Give me a W! Give me an A!" etc., clapping and yelling how much they love working at Wallllllmart, every single day. How many days could you do that before you brought in a squirt gun and started using it?

They raise a price briefly, then "rollll it back" and brag about it: "We're rolllling back prices allll over the store!" Uh huh. Those crackers WERE $2, until a week ago when you marked them up to $2.47. Then you rolled them back to $2. Wow, you do rock.

If something is marked "rolllled back," it's highly likely it'll ring up at the pre-rolllled-back price. I've shopped at three different Walllllmarts in three dramatically different parts of the country, and they've all been the same. If it says "$1.50! Was $2.78!" it might ring up at $1.50 or it might ring up at $2.78. I try to keep an eye on things when they're being rung up, but I'm usually distracted by the kids.

If something is "30% more free" on the packaging, Walllllmart will often have it at a higher price---i.e., the extra is NOT free. If the 10-ounce one is $1.00, and the "30% more free!" 13-ounce one is $1.25, that is not 30% free, that is 30% for 25 cents. I know not everyone is good at math, but I have tried to explain this to SEVERAL Wallllmart employees (including, in one case where I was there without children and highly determined, the STORE MANAGER), and NONE of them understood what I was talking about, except for ONE perfume-counter worker who instantly grasped the situation---and then couldn't get her manager to understand. (Her manager kept saying, "Yes, but see this is a THIRTEEN-OUNCE. That's why it costs more. It's a larger size." And she and I would say in unison, "But is says the part that makes it 'larger' is supposed to be FREE.")

It is often difficult to find the prices on things. Shelf tags will be missing.

When you can find prices, the unit prices are unhelpful. One kind of vegetable oil will give the price per ounce, one will give the price per liter, one will give the price per gallon, and one will give the price "per each."

They will be out of something for months at a time. On every visit, the shelf space will still be there, empty. They are unable to tell me when---if ever---they will be getting more. It is out of their hands: they are merely conduits for the Delivery Gods. They'll be getting a truck in on Thursday; I could check back then. I understand that they don't have stone tablets telling them of each Twix bar that will be delivered and at what minute of what day. But I would like them to DO something about it if they haven't received a shipment of Twix in three months. The empty shelf space is not good for either of us.

The employees put pallets and carts in all the aisles, so that you can get trapped: every way out is blocked, and the only way out is the way you came---halfway across the store. In an emergency, where they run out of pallets, they will fling their own bodies in front of your cart.

Their bags rip. Sometimes the clerk goes through a couple ripped ones just bagging things up. The others rip in the car, or while I'm carrying things into the house. I once had three glass jars of jam fall to the basement floor as I carried the groceries down to put them away. Astonishing mess.

Their bags shed choking-hazard-sized ovals of plastic, just perfect for a baby to inhale. I panic every time I forget to bring my reusable bags with me and have to use those horrible dangerous plastic bags. Other stores use plastic bags and manage not to shed those little shapes.

If I hear it called "Walllly's World," as if it's a fun and happy amusement park, I'm getting out the squirt gun.

63 comments:

TLC said...

I completely understand. Those reasons, and a few of my own is why I bite the bullet and pay extra at Target. Walmart is evil, and no one actually seems to LIKE working there.

JMC said...

I saw that first thing in the morning pep rally thing ONCE. I stood there staring open-mouthed until it was over, walked up to one of the employees and asked if there was some sort of special occasion today (thinking in the back of my head: special occasion = awesome deals). He said no, they did that every morning. WTF? Most ridiculous nonsense I've ever seen. (Well, I could be exaggerating there; I've seen some ridiculous stuff.)

Jess said...

I haven't been to that store in ages, and now I remember why. It's because their business model is based purely on price. They don't care about quality AT ALL. That's how they work. It's really amazing.

Also, have you read Nickel and Dimed? The author worked there for a bit and she talks about the scary cheer. I've only witnessed it in person once.

d e v a n said...

hahaha! I've never seen a pep rally there!!
DO you know why their uniforms say "May I help you?" on the BACK? Because that's the only part of the employee you'll ever see as they're running away from you.
Seriously hard to get customer service there!
You'd think the guy who was stocking dog food would offer to put mine in the cart when he could see me struggling with it at 8+ months pregnant with little kids in tow. Instead he sighed like I was blocking his damn pallet.

vague said...

Oh my god -- I have always hated Walmart, but the new knowledge you've given me of their pricing scams and pep rallies makes me absolutely infuriated! If I worked there and had to cheer for Walmart every morning, I'd be grabbing something stronger than just a squirt gun.

Also, the thought of trying to explain the 30% more FREE business, and the inevitable circular conversation that would ensue, will be giving me nightmares tonight.

Erin said...

Wooo boy. This makes me immensely glad we don't have a Walllmart super center around here. I don't ever shop there, unless there is something very specific I must get there, which has only happened like 3 times in the past 6 years. I am sorry for your troubles.

Will you consider printing this in letter form and mailing it to Walllmart headquarters, cc-ing the store managers in your town? Pretty please? I'll help you get the addresses together. Really, I'll help. Just give me the "go" sign and I'm on it.

Nowheymama said...

All of these things are true, and yet it is the only non-grocery store in our town, and I just cannot drive 45 minutes away to Target or wherever anytime I need a W@lmart-type item. I'm part of the problem, not part of the solution.

But I did steal a freestanding cardboard Cars display that was about to be thrown away after I asked a manager for it and she said it had to be destroyed because of copyright laws. Whatev. It's still in K's room two years later. Eat that, W@lmart!

Anonymous said...

I couldn't have said it better myself. Walmart is the worst shopping experience, bar none. I am willing to pay more anywhere else to avoid darkening the doors of the place. Two times this year their advertised price of mega-diapers has lured me in, and much to my self-digust, I have gone shopping there. All three times they were "out" of the diapers in the sale size box, and the only employee I could track down knew nothing about diapers but suggested I keep coming back every couple days and checking. As if it was a simple matter of popping in, not an ordeal of packing up the baby and driving across town. ONLY to be thwarted in my quest for cheap diapers.
So I have officially resigned from Walmart, no matter how wonderful the flyer deals. It's a big lie. They only want to get you in the store, and then they deny all knowledge of the sale. That shipment must be delayed, one employee told me. As if!
Sorry to rant, but it's a sore subject with me. Down with W!

Missy said...

I'm sorry, I loved Walmart. Then again, I was a camp counselor and Walmart and one bar were the only places for us to hang out. We played Marco Polo in Walmart all the time. And now I must see this pep rally thing.

donna said...

I hate them also for their despicable employment practices. They have commercials about how their benefits paid for this kid's kidney transplant. But what they don't tell you is that the continually cut their "full time" employees' hours so that they can't make the cut-off to be benefit eligible. The managers are told to send employees home if they are getting too close to full-time status. A friend's husband just took an executive position at Hell-Mart and I almost gagged.

In fact, yesterday we won a hell-mart gift card and I won't use it. I refuse to spend money in that store, even if it's someone else's money.

starsgoblue said...

I find their checkouts too much to take. I mean, sometimes, it takes longer to checkout than it does to shop. And if you go to the self-checkout...OMG...things won't ring up then you have to wait till the person overseeing the self-checkout comes over to help. It's just maddening. I always swear I will never go back but end up there anyway cursing myself for not sticking to my plan.

elizasmom said...

I HAAAAATE Walmart and only go in there about once a year and that is too much. But in all fairness, I must point out that Target can be similarly skeevy r.e. prices. If you see one of those yellow "special price" stickers, do yourself a favor and check out the "real price" that's underneath. Usually, they are the same. SKEEEEVY. Big box shopping is not a fulfilling experience any way you slice it, frankly.

Cara said...

I worked at Wallllmart for 2 years in college and it's just as horrendous as you can imagine. Being a college student, I never worked that early in the morning, so the only time I had to witness that godawful cheer was when they had mandatory store meetings at 7am....usually after I had worked until midnight or later the night before. Nice.

I try to avoid it as much as I can, but it's about 10 miles closer to me than the nearest Target and with gas the way it is, sometimes I just have to suck it up and go.

The thing about blocking the aisles with the pallets is one of my biggest pet peeves!

Michelle said...

OMG! You were serious about the pep rally. Wow.

You forgot the other thing that I hate about Wal-Mart. I've been in twice. Both times, aisles are marked with things like "shower curtains" or "Barbie" yet the items in those aisles have nothing to do with the aisle headings and the item I'm trying to find that should be there quite simply isn't. I don't go to Wal-Mart. My sanity is too precious.

Beth A. said...

We generally don't go to Walmart because of their horrible labor practices. But what makes it really easy to boycott them is that every time I decide to screw my principles and go in for some reason, they never have what I want. And the stuff they do have is cheap looking and sort of randomly thrown on the (dirty, poorly-lit) shelves. Then by the time I decide to flee this store of horrors, I can't get out because of the pallets. I think even if they were owned by the president of the AFL-CIO, I still wouldn't bother to go there.

Jennifer said...

Confession: I worked at Sam's Club one summer during college and I thought it was the bee's knees. $7.50/hr. and all the bakery samples you could eat, son!

It was a great summer job for a spoiled college kid living with her parents. If I had to support a family on it I'm sure I would have to moonlight as a cat burglar to make ends meet.

The only scoop I have is that in order to be eligible for benefits you had to be a full time employee, which at Sam's was like, oh, 32 hours or something weird. With the exception of a scant handful of employees, they kept everyone hovering at around 31 hours - considered just as "part time" as someone (me) working 15 hours a week. Boo!

Banana said...

Um... a Pep Rally? The biggest reason amongst many (see above blog post for starts) to never go there. Lucklily, I don't have one near me so it isn't a convenience for me. GAH!

Jessica said...

Wal-Mart has been fairly good to my family. Both my mom and I have worked there (my mom still does). However, the stupid cheer sucks. And they'd make you kind of twist for the - (which they call out as squigly). Now, this is a Wal-Mart in Canada, so some of the things are different. My mom doesn't really like the job, but the benefits she gets through them keep her there because of my dad's medical condition (basically, his meds cost more than her annual salary and are covered by her benefits). And I got a $1500 scholarship from them for my university studies.

But yeah, shopping there makes me want to claw my eyes out.

Bird said...

I know I may be biased since I lived in Arkansas for a while, but I really don't have any problems with the place. I mean, I think it throws local store out of business and is probably not a great place to work, but generally speaking, I don't mind buying my groceries there. I don't shop there very often, but I do go sometimes.

I've never seen the pep rally, though, and I will say that things are never actually on sale. Also, at my local store I CANNOT go down the salad dressing aisle ( I SO wish I could spell). I'm claustraphobic amd that particular aisle is freakishly narrow.

Carrie said...

Hm. Guess those jam jars ARE pretty breakable ;-)

I entered Wal-Mart for the first time in years recently to buy a bunch of All You magazines with a gift card to get a certain coupon within. Immediately, the place depressed me. I hear ya.

Mary said...

I worked at WalMart for three days. During orientation they made us watch an anti-union propaganda video. Not cool.

Katie said...

Also:
1. They are a sexist company, routinely paying women in the same position as men LESS.

2. They are one of the richest corporations in the world and still hire illegal immigrants so they can pay them less.

3. They put mom and pop stores out of business.

4. I get angered when I show up at a Walllmart at 11 p.m. at night and there are CHILDREN running rampant through the store. Really? You couldn't put your kids to bed at a normal hour and come back in the morning? And, further, you can't WATCH YOUR KIDS while you're in the store?

5. TRUE STORY: I went to a Walmart in Anchorage, Alaska where there was SHIT smeared up and down about three different aisles. One long shit smear. That is what I think of you, too, Walllmart!!

Welcome to our World said...

I agree with all of this. I actually stopped shopping there. The whole we pay our employees nothing and we are like McDonald's and tell people we will fire them for joining a union. That sucks. If we go there it is maybe once a year.

Alice said...

I handle this by going to the local Kkkkkk-Mart since it's always empty (comparatively).

Maggie said...

I am so with you. Walllmart is in no way eligible to be my boyfriend. Ever.

So if Target and I ever break up, I'll just have to be single.

Target better be nice to me...

JMH said...

I am with Nowheymama...I prefer Target, but the closest one to me is a 45 minute drive away. Walmart is 10 minutes from my house. And with gas prices these days, you can bet that I will give up Target for Walmart *ducking to avoid things being thrown at me*

Jill said...

Just before Christmas my husband found the tv he wanted on the wallllmart website for cheap cheap cheap. He didn't want to pay shipping, so went to the store to buy it, where it was $300 more. They told him they don't match their own website prices, but if he bought it online he could ship it to the store for free and pick it up there. He said, let me get this straight. I can't have that tv right there in that box for the website price, but if I go home and order it online, and 'ship' it to your store, I will get the website price and the drive here and pick up that box? The manager said yes, and didn't understand why there was something wrong with that.

Missy said...

All of these are the reasons I began my quest for what I like to call Wal-mart free living about a month ago. Perhaps it is time to start a crusade...

Chelle said...

I completely agree with your assessment of the Hellmouth.

And, I hated their bags so much, I bought my own reusable canvas bags. When I whip them out at the check-out,the cashiers look at me as though I have just landed on the planet.

Of course, they are more than happy once they realize that I intend to do my own bagging, thus saving them from having to do anything more laborious than scanning each item.

HATE.

Anonymous said...

Target has a morning meeting. When I worked there, they made you do stretches. Also while it wasn't a cheer, we had to do this "head shoulders and toes" thing while saying FAST FUN AND FRIENDLY. Most mornings at 8 am I didn't feel any of the above.

About their stocking stuff, yes it sucks but they really can't do anything about it. They send their information to the distro. center and what they do with it there is anyones guess. Still Walmarts fault but less of the stores.

I've found Walmarts in the midwest better than on the east coast also. Back in NJ they SUCKED. Here, people do their job a bit better.

On a note about prices- there a quite a few things that are cheaper at Target. Just sayin'.

pinkelefant said...

seriously... a morning cheer??? you have GOT to be kidding me!

SLynnRo said...

I hate Wal Mart because of everyone else at Wal Mart. That and the fact that they have 3 checkers for every 600 customers.

Amy said...

Had I written this Why I Hate Wal-Mart post, it would have been summed up in one word: Parking. I don't go because I waste too much time trying to find a spot. I pay (probably much) more at my locally owned, excellent-in-customer-service, 1.5-miles-from-my-house market because I don't get aggravated when I go there. I haven't been to a Wal-Mart yet in 2008. Don't plan to anytime soon.

Kristin.... said...

I am not a huge fan of Walmart, but I have to say that the building of Walmart kept food on our table, as my husband is a civil engineer and has worked on more than a few Walmart designs. But, he works for Target too, and Lowe's and other big box stores too.
The Walmart is 10 minutes from my house and I go there only when necessary. Target is 30 minutes from my house, so you can see the advantage.
I miss Target.

Lady Why said...

Oh, you and I are kindred spirits! I despise, with every ounce of my being, Walmart! I do everything I can to avoid that store at all costs. Thankfully we have a Target. Yes, it's more expensive but, hey, my sanity is worth a couple of bucks, right?

At least that's what I tell my husband!

drowninginlaundry said...

I hate Wal-Mart, but alas we have no Target here and some days when The Dictator wakes up at 6am and Stewart needs to sleep in for a night shift at work - Wal-Mart is the ONLY thing open that we can kill an hour or so at until the rest of the world catches up with us.

I also detest them for their employment policies. Not so bad in Canada because we have some sort of shoddy health care here - but in the USA? Denying benefits and overtime is not acceptable.

drowninginlaundry said...

And the morning cheer? It's sometimes followed by finger exercises (like when Jane used to do her finger stretches on The Jetsons before she "cooked" dinner).

Mommy Brain said...

In my household it is referred to as the Evil Bastion of Capitalism. We are a family of four on one very small income but it pains me to shop there. I'd rather pay the extra 5% at Target.

Susiewearsthepants said...

I hate that they swoop into a small town running out family owned small businesses. I have never seen the pep rally thing. It sounds humiliating. I must shop at WallllMart because of the cheaper prices. I have price compared between them and other grocery stores for the items I buy. Unfortunately for me, WalllMart won out. You are right about the customer service too. I had an old bat try to run me out of the self checkout lane. Needless to say I prevailed. I too am shamefully part of the problem.

Jenni said...

Lets not forget the fact that they are union busters who pay their employees so little they can ONLY afford to shope at WM. And, since they pay their workers so little, they can't affort to patronize small businesses (that charge more, but offer better quality products and treat employees better), and these small businesses end up going under. Oh, and of course, the fact that almost every piece of general merchandise is made out of country, not supporting American manufacturing or American workers, leading to yet more job loss.

Wal-Mart is one of the worst things that can happen to a community.

Amy said...

That's why I'm strictly a Target girl!

Rah said...

Once I approached the "feminine hygiene" [love that term] section of a WM only to find it blocked by a pallet of goods. The friendly MALE clerk chirped "Just tell me what you want and I'll hand it to you." Well, no, you won't be handing me any super tampons and minipads for light days because we aren't that close.

jennifer said...

"In an emergency, where they run out of pallets, they will fling their own bodies in front of your cart."

That may very well be my favorite quote ever.

Ellen said...

I'm Canadian and all I can say is if they get us a Target here TOMORROW it won't be soon enough. That and Trader Joe's, for that matter.

Also, not trying to complain or anything, but is everyone required to write a novel to fill in the word verification box, or are some of them shorter than others?

Cristina Mathers said...

one day while i was getting ready to go to walmart, my husband pointed out a bible verse that describes hell at the wailing and gnashing of teeth. that is what my husband thinks that walmart is.

i agree. and also that i hate how customers treat the elderly sales people there. 2 times recently a young person was beyond rude to a checker and i left infuriated.

Amy Q said...

These, and a few dozen more are the reasons I now boycott the damn place. It makes me sad what it has done to our semi-little town, and even sadder when people think that getting it here was "progress".

Astarte said...

You didn't mention how they're frequently FILTHY. The ones in this part of the country are fine, but when we lived about an hour south of here, all the Walmarts there were just DISGUSTING.

Also, in more densely populated areas, the stores know that the only people that will a)work there or b)shop there are those who cannot go anywhere else, so the employees are just terrible. There were fistfights at the one where we used to live on a routine basis around the holidays. It would be on the news, and I would laugh, but it also made me despair for humanity.

I only go to Walmart if I'm desperate, or if I have other errands in the same shopping center and can't justify the gas to drive over to Target.

Jen said...

i know they're not everywhere but, if you have a meijjjjer and/or a marrrrc's near by, check them out. individual prices are different (slightly lower sometimes!) but i think our total grocery bill is about the same since we switched from all walllmart to a combination of those two.

it's a hard habit to break - and i have plenty of options around here. i can't imagine how hard it would be if it's the only choice around. i really feel for peeps who are in that situation...

Alice said...

i feel anxious and icky whenever i enter a wallmart, which is virtually never, thank goodness. it's oddly comforting to know that there's a REASON i feel so creeped out when i'm there.

ChefSara said...

I absolutely HATE walmart! It almost gave me a nervous breakdown when I realized that it was the *only* place my cousin and his fiance registered for their wedding. Fortunately, our Target is only *slightly* further than the Walmart, so I can honestly say I've never had to shop there. I've been in once, and it's enough to make me never go again.

Though when we were in a tiny town where there was no other option, we went in around Easter. I was shocked to see them selling huge EASTER baskets with TOY GUNS in them! really? a gun for easter?!?!?

Minnesota Matron said...

The Matronly toe will never cross this threshold. Icky!

Melani said...

My husband works for WM (as did I years ago) and I think the company gets a bad rap. Our insurance premium is MUCH lower than anywhere else we've ever worked and so far has covered anything we've ever needed. Sure the cheer is completely cheesy but there's been something goofy to deal with at every job I've ever had. I just think it's unrealistic to expect a company that large to do everything perfectly.

While pallets in the way and the occasional rude associate is annoying I'd still much rather go there than pay so much more at another store that more than likely has just as many problems (they just aren't broadcasted across the world).

RainyPM said...

Walmart is the next world super power. Do not underestimate its power. You will all be assimilated. (I put that last part there for your husband because it sounds very technical.)

Anonymous said...

I have worked for the "hellish" Wal-Mart that you all speak of for 12 years. I love it! I have been treated with nothing but respect and feel that I have been paid fairly, given many benefit choices (all of which have met my family's needs) and cannot imagine working for another employer. They have afforded me the opportunity to live in three states and work in three different locations and move up the corporate ladder based upon my skills and knowledge. I am a woman with a family and do not feel that I have been treated unfairly in any way by Wal-Mart. We get a bad rap from alot of "misinformed" people out there that believe all the half truths that they hear. Wal-Mart has been a good chioce for a career for me...I do the cheer proudly and shop there exclusively. It's all a matter of choice and I choose Wal-Mart.

Pann said...

Posts like this one make me happy.

I don't shop there, ever -- and sometimes I feel like I'm left out of the super cheap stuff that the rest of the country just scarfs up.

But I am sticking to my guns, abiding by my own principles, and then along comes a post like this and I think "I am not missing anything!"

Swistle said...

Anonymous- It's still a crappy place to shop. You'll notice my post didn't address employment issues, because I don't know anything about that. The only things that affect me are things like do things ring up as advertised? do employees know the answers to questions? are things in stock? And for Walllmart, the answers are no, no, and no.

Whimsy said...

Chiming in with the HATE on Walmart. We have one just four blocks away from our house, but I will drive great distances to go to Target instead.

I've decided that shoppers are split into two groups: you're either a Walmart shopper or a Target fan. There is no in-between.

Target fans of the world UNITE.

Ginny said...

I hate Walmart as well. I try not to go there as little as possible. I've never liked those employee meetings, they always make me uncomfortable when I'm in there. Our grocery store, Meijer started doing something similar. I told one of the workers, that is a big reason why I won't shop at Walmart. I haven't seen it in awhile, I wonder if enough people complained.

Jaci said...

Ha! Your blog is hilarious. Seriously, the Wal-Mart chanting scares me. Those poor, poor employees! No wonder they all look constantly pissed off.

I set up a link to you on my blog! I'm thrilled to find other funny mommies! :)

bacioni said...

I haven't been to YakMart (as in "ewww the cat just yakked something up on the carpet") since just after Christmas AND I was returning a gift so you can imagine what a super-fun time I had! At least the person "helping" me was not surly. Just s-l-o-w. Maybe the morning cheer wore her out.

That said, I will ignore the giant YakMart that's close to my house and go to Target or Trader Joe's or somewhere, anywhere else.

Manager Mom said...

I have been told that there are nice Wal-Marts somewhere. I don't believe they exist...

Mommy Daisy said...

Completely hilarious, and so very true! Unfortunately there aren't many options here, so I keep shopping there.

Anonymous said...

i realize this is an old post, but just thought i would give you a heads up on something i heard that might make you hate walmart even more:

a family member of mine used to supply to walmart, but now they have changed their policy so they DO NOT PAY the supplier for an item until it is SOLD in the store.

somebody shoplifts it? TOO BAD SUPPLIER. you're on the hook even though WALMART lost it.

it makes it incredibly unfair to smaller companies, since their paying a HUGE portion of their income if walmart loses something... even though walmart could easily cover THEIR OWN loses without as much impact on the bottom line.

end rant.