Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Why I Don't Shop at Walmart Anymore...

Last year, one of our New Year's resolutions was to never shop at Walmart again. After reading a very informative book, The Walmart Effect, we became convicted and vowed never to support that business again. It was a personal choice to help reduce stress and enrich our lives by consciously choosing who we let serve us in the retail industry.

Over the past year or so, we have stuck to our resolution, save a few times when we had no choice. For example, whenever one of our phones goes out, we buy prepaid phones for less than $50 rather than spend $100 or more for a new phone from the ATT store. Walmart seems to be the only store in the area who carries ATT prepaid Pay-As-You-Go phones for a good price, so we sucked it up and bought it from them. This past weekend, we needed another phone since my 3 and a half year old cell phone went kaput.

Let's just say, I was brutally reminded as to why we no longer shop there.

Before we even got out of the car, it was a circus outside in the parking lot. Cars were zooming past the front entrance at remarkable speeds, and people were spilled out in the middle of the driveways. We finally found a spot in the back and cautiously walked to the front entrance, trying not to get run-over by drivers backing up out of their parking spaces.

As we entered the store, I immediately noticed the ground-which was covered in filth. Now, I understand that it's winter and the floor gets dirty very quickly, but it was to the point where it looked unsanitary. I was shocked, because I didn't remember it being so dirty the last time I went into a Walmart. This particular Walmart was a fairly new super-Walmart as well, if that helps.

Making our way to the back of the store, where the infamous electronics section is located, we dodged many a person and family scrambling to get whatever they needed. People were, in general, very rude and pushy. Kids were running around like wild animals, knocking over the few displays still standing. I noticed the aisles were in complete disarray, meaning it would be very difficult to find what one was looking for since all the items were pushed all the way to the back.

When we finally made it to the electronic's section, we waited in line for an attendent to unhook our product for us. While in line, I became squished by more people eager to get their things, without so much as an 'excuse me'. The electronic's section has got to be the craziest area of the whole store. My husband and I kept exchanging glances, remaining silent as we observed the chaos unfolding before us.

Since we also needed a loaf of bread, we stopped by the grocery section to pick one up. Most of the bread was gone. I picked through what was left, shocked at how expensive bread was at Walmart. I am used to paying less than $1 a loaf at both Kroger and Aldi, but the cheap brand at Walmart was at least $1.50. The cheapest brand wasn't even a brand! It had clear wrapping on it, with the words 'white' or 'whole wheat' scrawled across it. I am normally ok with off-brand food products, but even I had to turn up my nose at this one.

So we looked for a more expensive bread, but this wasn't successful either. One loaf we picked up seriously looked like there was something growing in it!! My husband exclaimed, "WHAT is THAT?!" in utter disbelief at the unidentified specimen. Eventually we found a reputable brand that looked acceptable, although it did expire within three days so we would have to eat it quickly.

The checkout line was pretty bad too. Out of the 20 or so checkout lanes available, only 3 were open. Lines were wrapped around the front of the store. Even the self-checkout lanes were long. We stood in line for 15 minutes before the check-out machine in our lane broke. Then another one broke. Pretty soon, the lines started resembling queues at an amusement park. The poor lady who was managing all the self-checkout lanes looked extrememly flustered as she began ringing up everyone herself, making the wait three times as long.

We left Walmart an hour after we arrived, having only bought a loaf of bread and a prepaid cell-phone.

And that, my friends, is why we don't shop at Walmart.

Note: I understand that not all Walmarts are like this, and that there are some nicer ones out there. I was an avid Walmart shopper for many years myself. I know that things are cheaper there- but they are cheaper for a reason. Many of the products are designed specifically for Walmart using cheaper materials that break down quicker. One of the biggest problems I have with Walmart is the treatment of their employees. My recent trip confirmed that they were being un-necessarily over-worked and under-paid, and I feel for them. For more information on how Walmart operates and how they treat their employees, read The Walmart Effect. I assure you, it will open your eyes. Please understand that this is my personal view of Walmart, and I in no way am condemning anyone who chooses to shop or work there. This is simply a reflection of my personal experiences and my greivances against the company itself.

Linked to: Works for Me Wednesday


The Surviving Mom said...

I am so with you on this. I do go to the neighborhood market that is close to my house for coffee because it is so cheap for Melitta brand ($2.30 compaired to 5.99 at publix). But other than that I am all about Aldi and Publix. Walmart is just too much for me. I get a headache by the time I leave.

Bitterroot Mama said...

I shop there on occasion, but the closest Wal-Mart is an hour away. All we have in town is a K-Mart. If you think Wal-Mart is bad, come visit our dinky little K-Mart.

SkylarKD said...

I saw a documentary based on that book, and it was very enlightening! I still find myself there on occasion, but we try to shop elsewhere. Now if only I could wean myself off the dollar store...

Mom2fur said...

I actually like Walmart, although I prefer Target. I've been to several, and I'm happy to say the one by me is pretty well-run and well-stocked. The customers are generally nice, too. I have, however, been to Walmarts that seem to cater to...let's just say it: 'white trash.' (My definition is people who are dirty, pushy and rude. Honestly, being poor is no excuse for being dirty--soap is cheap. And rich people who are snotty are white trash, too, IMHO.)
I did a price comparison and am happy to say that Target is just pennies away from Walmart, and it's a much cleaner and nicer store! So, while I don't object to Wally World, it doesn't have to be my cheap store of choice. (Alas, we don't have an Aldi's.)

Kaye said...

I am with you on being anti-Walmart. My hubby likes getting groceries there when he does the shopping, but I leave it to him. I think I have probably been in there 3 times in the last year.

Katie said...

I don't usually shop at WalMart, althouhg ours is no where near as bad as yours. Maybe because I never go on weekends? I tend to go to Target for non grocery things and No Frills for my groceries. I'll occasionally go to Aldi, but ours is really small, the hours are strange, and it's right next to WalMart, HOome Depot, and Menards, so I still have to deal with the big box traffic. It's also half way across town from No Frills, which does not make a two store trip easy.

Theresa said...

There is another book called The Bully of Bentonville, it is amazing. I look at Walmart very differently now. For about a year I did not go into one, but convenience won out, and I have been back. I am in Canada, and do have a Canadian equivalent, I need to get back to only supporting that store.

Rachel said...

Theresa, that sounds like a good book to check out!

Your Frugal Friend, Niki said...

Wow, what a great idea!

I should totally put this into practice. I loathe our local one and so does hubby. It always puts us in a bad mood. And eats up all our time.

Thanks for sharing! I'll be looking for that book, too.


Maria D. said...

I'm pretty sure that I live across the street from the scariest Wal-Mart in the world. I know a co-worker who was attacked IN THE STORE for her purse, and there are all sorts of scary people lurking about. I'm kind of sad to hear that the long, long lines are not unique to my local Wal-Mart, because I definitely wait in line forever anytime I'm there!

Good thing you took a look at the bread before you bought it! That is super-gross! The food department here isn't too bad, but the produce leaves much to be desired.

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