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Serious Question to anyone who works in retail

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Old 01-19-2010, 10:03 AM   #1
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Wal*Mart Discussion Thread: Store Questions

If anybody here on the site has a job in retail, i've got a question for you about something that really bugs me.

Why are the stores set up for like 50 register lanes, but at any given time, no more than 3 or 4 are opened?

I notice it in Walmart the most, especially the one around here. Even during the day on Saturday, there is no more than 5 open at a time. All of the lines are completley full, and nobody comes up from the back to open a new one. I'm talking about a line of at least 10 to 20 people per register.

Martins in Stephens City is the same way, but at least they have the self-checkouts. Whats the point of building the store with 50 lanes when they know that they will never, ever, have a person at all of them.

Could the economy have something to do with it? Meaning they dont have the money to pay more workers?? I saw yesterday that the 7-11 down here now has only 1 person working at a time....
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Old 01-19-2010, 10:06 AM   #2
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Re: Serious Question to anyone who works in retail

The economy probably has something to do with it. Wal-mart has always seemed bad to me when it comes to long lines and not enough cashiers on hand. It's one of the reasons I avoid the place at all costs.
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Old 01-19-2010, 10:10 AM   #3
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Re: Serious Question to anyone who works in retail

is there anybody on the board who works at walmart or anything that could give an official answer??

I mean the biggest question is why build them with all those registers when they never have the intention to use them...
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Old 01-19-2010, 10:18 AM   #4
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Re: Serious Question to anyone who works in retail

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Originally Posted by Mattyk View Post
The economy probably has something to do with it. Wal-mart has always seemed bad to me when it comes to long lines and not enough cashiers on hand. It's one of the reasons I avoid the place at all costs.

Agreed! I hate that place, when I do have to go I try to check out in lawn and garden, I even park over on that side.

From my experiences Target does a good job of calling in reinforcements when the lines get long.

I always say this about the self check out lines at the grocery store. "The self checkout line is only as fast as the IQ of the person in front of you."
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Old 01-19-2010, 10:23 AM   #5
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Re: Serious Question to anyone who works in retail

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is there anybody on the board who works at walmart or anything that could give an official answer??

I mean the biggest question is why build them with all those registers when they never have the intention to use them...

I don't work in retail but I have an understanding of that type of business model.

My thought is they build as many as possible for that extreme situation. Better to have them then not, they are probably fairly cheap to put in. Also, it is cheaper to build the station then man the station.

I bet on Black Friday at Wal-mart most if not all are manned.

Plus I bet they are used as a security measure as well, limits the amount of open space in front of the store to get out.
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Old 01-19-2010, 10:58 AM   #6
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Re: Serious Question to anyone who works in retail

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I bet on Black Friday at Wal-mart most if not all are manned.
While searching through a website called ihatewalmart.com (it is for walmart employees), this was proven false. There was a poster who specifically said that their store in Pennsylvania never opened all of the registers, and according to the employee, this was done on black friday to make the store look busier than it really was.
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Old 01-19-2010, 11:05 AM   #7
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Re: Serious Question to anyone who works in retail

Thank god for online shopping. I probably do 90% of my shopping that way.
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Old 01-19-2010, 11:13 AM   #8
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Re: Serious Question to anyone who works in retail

OK i've spent the last few minutes browsing different forums and websites and i've came to some conclusions that are all backed up by the statements of employees and a few anyonymous managers..

#1) Walmart is attempting to gradually introduce more self-checkout lanes in order to bypass the need for extra human workers.
ihatewalmart.com says that Walmart has 1 worker monitoring 8 self-checkout stations, so walmart could significantly reduce human workforce to 2 humans overseeing 16 lanes, which is probably the most open lines walmart has had for some time. This however will backfire because your average person is too dumb to operate one.

#2) Walmart service/store appearance is directly related to the economic situation/location of where the store is in relation to its customer base.
Old Winchester, VA Walmart: Decrepit old building, only painted cinderblock walls, worn down/torn interior tiling on floors. No self checkout lanes. Store is located in slum/run down area of town. Store always understaffed badly (Poverty level of customers)


New Walmart on Route 50(Winchester, VA): Attractive stucco cielings, vinyl siding outside, terra cotta roof, and fully paved parking lot. Location is in a country, rural setting, so average customer base is probably upper-middle class. Service here is noticably better and there are more workers.

The bottom line is i think that Walmart figures the poor people are used to being treated like crap, so they give the poor stores nothing, while they take care of the richer areas.....

a manager on walmartsucks.org states that their unspoken motto is "Do more with Less". As Walmart continues to be the retail leader, they can get away with providing worse service and laying off human jobs, since they realize that customers aren't going to shop somewhere else...
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Old 01-19-2010, 11:20 AM   #9
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Re: Serious Question to anyone who works in retail

Solid Snake you should watch this DVD:

WAL-MART: The High Cost of Low Price


Then come back here and express your thoughts, if you think you hate them now LOL watch the above.
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Old 01-19-2010, 11:27 AM   #10
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Re: Serious Question to anyone who works in retail

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Solid Snake you should watch this DVD:

WAL-MART: The High Cost of Low Price


Then come back here and express your thoughts, if you think you hate them now LOL watch the above.
They watched this video in the marketing classes when i was a sophomore in college. I am watching excerpts from it now.

Totally blown away that 80% of the walmart workforce is considered below the poverty level going by their salary alone.

A guy just said that if they only raised the price of every item by .10 cents, they could afford to pay their store workers 10$ an hour...

Watching this now makes me wonder why/how the government has not been involved yet....
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Old 01-19-2010, 11:55 AM   #11
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Re: Serious Question to anyone who works in retail

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They watched this video in the marketing classes when i was a sophomore in college. I am watching excerpts from it now.

Totally blown away that 80% of the walmart workforce is considered below the poverty level going by their salary alone.

A guy just said that if they only raised the price of every item by .10 cents, they could afford to pay their store workers 10$ an hour...

Watching this now makes me wonder why/how the government has not been involved yet....
To be fair, Walmart typically underprices competition by 1 to 3 cents for marketing purposes - lowest price etc. so if they raise prices by 10 cents they will have successfully undercut their main selling point and reduce their customer base. The logic on that thought sounds purely governmental, ie ignore real world consequences and force an action that sounds good to the masses.

I am fairly certain Target and Kmart would love to see Wal-mart make that pledge!

Yes I do shop at Wal-mart, I do like the self checkout lines, and I can be patient in line when at a popular market place. If I am in a rush, I probably would go to a slightly more expensive store and expect their lines to be shorter.

I don't work in retail, but I do know how expensive even part time workers can be on a company's bottomline.
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Old 01-19-2010, 11:58 AM   #12
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Re: Serious Question to anyone who works in retail

I think you're missing my point. They can still be the #1 leader in retail and can afford to pay their employees more than minimum wage. They dont have to be shady with their employee health care, or lack therof.

Target is just as busy and they at least give people 8.25 an hour. I think Target could overtake WM if they had the # of locations.

I've read Sam Walton's book before. He pulls no punches. He was all about coming in, driving the "mom and pop" places out of business, and beginning his monopoly. With that said, he also beleived in treating his workers better..
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Old 01-19-2010, 12:08 PM   #13
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Re: Serious Question to anyone who works in retail

you are missing my point, you said they could pay better if they just increased their price 10 cents. But increasing their price by 10 cents would incredibly reduce their customer base, because their base is the bargain hunter/lowest price customers. Target has fairly loyal customers that would shop there even if they are not the lowest on every item, Wal-mart does not have that type of market. Wal-mart markets two things, convenience and low price. If you take away low price, suddenly BigK's or Super Targets look mightily convenient.
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Old 01-19-2010, 12:11 PM   #14
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Re: Serious Question to anyone who works in retail

Ok CRedskins...i get what you are saying.

But asking you honestly, do you think the average person would care if it went up 10 cents? I would not. I do not shop there much, but they would still have that "convienience" factor...its still a one stop shop, etc...
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Old 01-19-2010, 12:19 PM   #15
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Re: Serious Question to anyone who works in retail

My ex wife would!
as for me, maybe not, but I think a huge base of theirs would. Especially if everything was more. I don't think the advertisement " we charge more so our employees are paid better" would make as much of an impact to budget shoppers as a target ad "every item lower than WalMart" would.

But all of this is off from your question. I think mredskins nailed it with his answer: better to have the capacity and not use it, and it's better than having a wide open area right in the front of the store.
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