We need to exhume Sam Walton, wrap his entire body in copper wire, then re-bury him and replace his tombstone with a strong magnet. That way we can conduct electricity as he continuously rolls over in his grave.
Seriously, do you think Sam Walton, founder of WalMart, would be pleased at the reputation of his retail giant? Do you think that he dreamed of starting a company that would be known for low prices and an awful shopping experience? Do you think he would be proud of the way people avoid his store if at all possible?
I used to think it was just my local WalMart that had this reputation, but I found that if you start talking about it everyone has their story…and it usually ends with “I only go there when I have to.” Here’s my criteria for when I go to WalMart:
- When I really need to save some money and the savings will be substantial.
- When no other store offering a particular product is open.
- At extreme hours when no one else is there.
The problem is that WalMart knows its clientele. It knows they are low to lower middle class citizens who have no choice but to shop at the place offering the lowest prices. They know that their customers will still be there even if they have only 4 registers open. They know their customers can’t afford to go somewhere else that won’t make them wait over thirty minutes before they push their carts full of now-thawed frozen goods out of the men’s clothing department and into the actual line. They know they won’t lose customers if every empty parking spot is filled with abandoned shopping carts. And don’t get me started on carts that roll straight or have round wheels.
I’m sure Sam Walton didn’t visualize a store whose customers dread shopping. So why doesn’t WalMart change? It could if it cared to.
The McDonald’s closest to my house has, for as long as I can remember, been known for poor service. They are slow, rude, and inaccurate. If I want a Quarter Pounder with Cheese I will drive three miles to a different McDonald’s knowing that I will be home earlier than if I would have gone to the McD’s 500 yards away. At least I did until about a year ago. A new manager took over last fall and started training his employees to be respectful to the customers. They listen to your order and get it right. They work hard to make sure your order is ready quickly. If there is a problem they apologize and fix it. A business can change its reputation and regain customers who have shunned them.
When are you going to change, WalMart?
Better question- When are enough people going to decide that saving a few bucks on groceries isn’t worth the hassle so WalMart will notice?