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(Financial Post)   Wal-Mart shelves are empty. They're empty because there aren't enough people to stock them. There aren't enough people to stock them because stores aren't selling enough. Stores aren't selling enough because the shelves are empty   (business.financialpost.com ) divider line
    More: Amusing, Wal-Mart, department stores, Home Office, second shift, bulk box, peak hour, CPA, Anthony Falletta  
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3287 clicks; posted to Business » on 27 Mar 2013 at 1:05 AM (3 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-03-27 07:53:57 AM  
I quit being a Wal-Mart customer more than a decade ago for the very reasons in the article. The local Target is nicer anyway for general goods. Anymore it's Old Navy and Kohls for most clothes.

Did the most American thing of all; I voted with my wallet.
 
2013-03-27 07:59:19 AM  

I sound fat: The other night, I went to check out, and there were no cashiers. zero. the self scan was open, but zero cashiers around.


I think this is a new tactic that is making the rounds of management in different stores.  I went shopping one Sunday morning at Weis, the local grocery store.  Cart full of items, I make my way to the registers...only to find them all closed.  I ask an employee, and she tells me only the self-checkout lane is open.  I look up at the managers' station, and there are four people up there, in addition to all the floor staff walking around.

Walked out of the store, never went back.  I can understand reducing staff to cut costs, to a certain extent, but not being able or willing to help a customer finalize the sale?  That's just stupid.
 
2013-03-27 08:04:37 AM  

born_yesterday: I sound fat: The other night, I went to check out, and there were no cashiers. zero. the self scan was open, but zero cashiers around.

I think this is a new tactic that is making the rounds of management in different stores.  I went shopping one Sunday morning at Weis, the local grocery store.  Cart full of items, I make my way to the registers...only to find them all closed.  I ask an employee, and she tells me only the self-checkout lane is open.  I look up at the managers' station, and there are four people up there, in addition to all the floor staff walking around.

Walked out of the store, never went back.  I can understand reducing staff to cut costs, to a certain extent, but not being able or willing to help a customer finalize the sale?  That's just stupid.


It is, because people usually hate those self-checkout lanes. I don't mind them too much, but others despise the interface and faulty scales. Want to put something in your cart? Oh, gotta wait for the clerk to come over to make sure you don't steal (Even though they just look at the blinky thing on their monitor, push it, and continue ignoring you).

Cutting staff is the low-hanging fruit to save on costs. It seems to never dawn on these managers that cutting staff degrades service and hurts their bottom line in the long run. I understand having the optimal amount of staff on hand, but it's evident these businesses have cut too close to the bone. Hire people and for f*ck's sakes, pay them enough to eat and keep the lights on.
 
2013-03-27 08:11:00 AM  
It has finally happened. Wal-Mart is now Kmart.
 
2013-03-27 08:12:01 AM  
The shelves are empty at Wal-Mart because all the merchandise is laying in a heap on the floor.
 
2013-03-27 08:14:22 AM  
waaa waaa waaa Walmart. Boo freaking hoo.

Bloomberg Billionaires
(bloomberg.com)
Today's ranking of the world's richest people.
Note numbers 9, 10, 11, 12

Looked at another way, Walmart could fix this problem if they paid a living wage and the Waltons weren't simple, greedy arses. As far as offering low prices, if WM is so good at what they do, I do believe they could find a way to make it work. As it stands, their model is to offer cheap crap and drive costs down by savaging wages while the Walton family lives the high life.

As a counter (this was linked yesterday)............
The Trader Joe's Lesson: How to Pay a Living Wage and Still Make Money in Retail
Sophie Quinton
March 25 2013
The Atlantic

Related Fark Thread
 
2013-03-27 08:18:58 AM  
If this is truly the case then Walmart either hires more people to do this work at whatever wage it requires to get them to work, figure out a way to get it done with the existing workforce, or they slowly die because people will stop shopping there.

It's not rocket surgery!
 
2013-03-27 08:21:03 AM  

cabbyman: If this is truly the case then Walmart either hires more people to do this work at whatever wage it requires to get them to work, figure out a way to get it done with the existing workforce, or they slowly die because people will stop shopping there.

It's not rocket surgery!


It's the marketplace at work! Whoda thunk it?
 
2013-03-27 08:24:49 AM  

Dancin_In_Anson: cabbyman: If this is truly the case then Walmart either hires more people to do this work at whatever wage it requires to get them to work, figure out a way to get it done with the existing workforce, or they slowly die because people will stop shopping there.


I don't understand why Walmart haters are complaining about this.  If Walmart dies they get to complain about a completely new company!

It seems win-win from their point of view...
 
2013-03-27 08:30:34 AM  
"It requires a wake-up call at a higher level," she said of the decision to hire more workers.

Hey, genius executive job creators, you're going to have to take a hit to the bottom line. You're not going to fix this problem without it. It was cuts that got you into this problem, after all. So sorry about that 2% cut to your yearly bonus.
 
2013-03-27 08:30:47 AM  

cabbyman: I don't understand why Walmart haters are complaining about this.


It actually appears to be people that liked shopping at WalMart and have taken note of its decline.
 
2013-03-27 08:33:55 AM  

HotWingConspiracy: cabbyman: I don't understand why Walmart haters are complaining about this.

It actually appears to be people that liked shopping at WalMart and have taken note of its decline.


I guess I was referring to the thread, not the article.
 
2013-03-27 08:36:17 AM  

unyon: I'm not necessarily saying I agree with the model, but it's been a successful one for them.  And Fort Mac is a unique example- Working the drive thru at Tim Horton's will net you $15/month to start.  Before you go packing your bags though, it's worth noting that renting a basement suite starts at north of $1k/mo.


How on earth is $15/month even legal?  That's farking slave labor.  Unless you meant $15/hour, which is a HUGE farking difference.
 
2013-03-27 08:42:18 AM  
Wal*Mart is a large, obnoxious, stupid store full of large, obnoxious, stupid people.  It sells cheap Chinese crap that is likely to break before you get it out of the package.  It treats its employees like garbage.  I have no reason to ever step foot in one of those awful places.

But even if none of that were the case, you still see about a story per week about some teabagger at a Wal*Mart deciding to take the law into his own hands, and blowing the brains out of another customer or a shoplifter.  So not only do I stay away from Wal*Mart, but I try to stay out of innocent-bystander-range of Wal*Mart.
 
2013-03-27 08:49:52 AM  

Intrepid00: It has finally happened. Wal-Mart is now Kmart.


THIS.  Empty shelves and post apocalyptic customer levels define Kmart for me.
 
2013-03-27 08:52:26 AM  
The death of Wal-mart would be glorious, it would allow producers to act outside of their oppressive yoke and may discourage the building of box stores, after the failure of Best Buy/Borders/Circuit City those massive utility bills may start looking like a bad business idea and we can start insisting upon good architecture in our cities again.
 
2013-03-27 09:00:33 AM  

cabbyman: I don't understand why Walmart haters are complaining about this. If Walmart dies they get to complain about a completely new company!

It seems win-win from their point of view...


Exactly! Maybe they're pissed that it is happening without the need for legislation.
 
2013-03-27 09:03:38 AM  

12349876: Stores like Wal Mart among with many others certainly have their problem with not having enough staff for customers wanting to check out, but they have to put the infrastructure necessary for the busiest of Christmas shopping days and there will obviously be lots of vacant space at other times.


Why would a company build out shelf space for one holiday?  They build shelf space for "average," then pack the aisles for holidays.  Every store does that, and Wal Mart's no different.
 
2013-03-27 09:04:31 AM  

brandent: Horribly written story with baseless stupidity gets greenlit and then the comment quality in the thread is zero.


Congrats on fulfilling your own prophecn.
 
2013-03-27 09:05:06 AM  
*prophecy
 
2013-03-27 09:09:52 AM  
Target's cheaper. It's also closer for me anyway. I've got a Red Card for an additional 5% discount on top of any base savings Target currently has over Walmart.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-08-23/target-cheaper-than-wal-mar t- as-gap-widest-in-two-years.html

I don't like Walmart and shop at Target for multiple reasons:

- My mother-in-law works at one and they treat their employees poorly. She mentioned the priority of managers getting bonuses and how understaffed her two local stores are when I last visited with her. She's worked there a for nearly a decade now, and they haven't seemed to started treating her any better. She's nearly 70, so she's not inclined to wanting to try to find other work. She seems to be considering retiring sometime soon though.

- Target may not pay their employees any better, but from what I've noticed in my local store, there's always plenty of help around, and it's well stocked 98% of the time. Employees offer help at least twice before I get to the check out lane.

- Target employees aren't going to be working a swing shift one day, a grave yard the following day and a day shift on the third day because Target opens at 8 am and closes at 10 pm. In that sense, their store hours force at least one level of better treatment for their employees with hours that won't totally ruin their sleep schedules.

- The atmosphere of Walmart is crowded and full of "People of Walmart." It has weird people there every time I've been there.

- I've never been to Target at 11 pm on a week night and found people prodding along their young, crabby, exhausted children because Target's closed by then. Leave the kids in bed with a family member or close friend babysitting while their mother and/or father goes grocery shopping if shifts don't accommodate shopping in "normal" business hours. The kids don't need to suffer too because their parents have crappy shift work jobs. If that's not doable because of lack of social support, go on a day off work during the day instead of two or three hours after the kids should have been in bed.

- Their produce sucks and the poor lighting in the produce sections hides it fairly well. I got a bell pepper once from Walmart only to get home and find it had quite a lot of mold on it.

- Their stores are seldom clean and well organized in appearance. Most of the ones I've been to are run down looking, even if it's a newer store. Shelves have stuff thrown about haphazardly, as if there's not enough people to reorganize after customers and their children trash the place.

- Walmart used to be all American products, now everything's "made in China." I'm not saying stuff at Target's not made in foreign countries, but I don't remember them ever advertising that their stuff was all American at any point.
 
kab
2013-03-27 09:12:17 AM  

I sound fat: Nina Haagen Dazs: So where do the people of Wal- Mart go now?

We go to aldi.


Exactly.   Anyone who genuinely needs to save money isn't shopping at Wal-Mart.
 
2013-03-27 09:18:14 AM  
The best thing about Target is that it's where the hot women shop.  Serious babes every time I walk in there.
 
2013-03-27 10:06:14 AM  

HMS_Blinkin: unyon: I'm not necessarily saying I agree with the model, but it's been a successful one for them.  And Fort Mac is a unique example- Working the drive thru at Tim Horton's will net you $15/month to start.  Before you go packing your bags though, it's worth noting that renting a basement suite starts at north of $1k/mo.

How on earth is $15/month even legal?  That's farking slave labor.  Unless you meant $15/hour, which is a HUGE farking difference.


$15/hr.  Mea Culpa.
 
2013-03-27 10:11:15 AM  
I dont shop at Wally World because of their labor practices.

They scrape the bottom of the barrel and it shows.

When you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.
 
2013-03-27 10:30:51 AM  

ohokyeah: Their produce sucks and the poor lighting in the produce sections hides it fairly well. I got a bell pepper once from Walmart only to get home and find it had quite a lot of mold on it.


I can recall a different chain in Northern Virginia going out of business when I was a kid for the same reason.  I can't recall the name of the place off of 236, but they were Walmart before anyone had heard of Walmart.

My dad and I were shopping, and noticed this place had started selling not only canned/boxed goods, but also produce.  This was a novel concept at the time (imagine if Sears did it in the 80's).  Unfortunately, it was also a poorly tested concept, as I can recall my dad turning his nose at the produce and saying, "Who's going to want to buy bad produce from the same place they buy their power tools?"

I think Walmart's attempt has been working because of their ability to undercut competition.  However, at what point do the costs of shipping and storage outweigh the benefits?  Boxed stuff I can see, but maintaining fresh produce just doesn't seem cost effective.
 
2013-03-27 10:45:44 AM  
Every Wal Mart I have ever been in is dirty and understocked. If I go for a product it's because they have the best price, it will invariably not be in stock and the next most expensive product will be there, negating any savings. I used to go there because I could get ammo, TP, hot sauce, a frozen pizza and beer. Now I just hit Target (above poster isn't lying, way better looking women, and people in general), the liquor store (same prices, waaaaaaaaay better selection) and Amazon (Prime for the win).

And ammo is always out because of idiots.

Also, I used to work at Wal-Mart. Besides the shiatty treatment, they forgot to tell me and my buddy that we were seasonal. It was a shock on our last day because nobody had ever mentioned we were just seasonal. Every other crap retail job I had was very up front about that little fact.
 
2013-03-27 10:55:28 AM  
My ex's current husband used to work at wally world for 9 years as a night stocker.  He told me he was up to 11+/hr and got fired for a 3rd occurrence of being late to check back in from break in a 6 month period.  Why was he late?  Because customers need assistance whether you are on break or not and you can't ditch the customer to go clock in real quick because that is another firing offense.
They did hire him back 2 weeks later for a little less than 8/hr
 
2013-03-27 11:20:38 AM  

Intrepid00: It has finally happened. Wal-Mart is now Kmart.


Yup.  And Target is slowly turning into Wal-Mart.
 
2013-03-27 11:23:03 AM  

trotsky: I used to go there because I could get ammo, TP, hot sauce, a frozen pizza and beer.


Sounds like a hell of a weekend you have planned.
 
2013-03-27 11:35:11 AM  
Looks like they are in the same death-spiral that Sears and K-Mart are in. Marketing and stocking decisions are made in the main office without any input from the field. I remember a manager at a Sears in Tucson, AZ complaining because he couldn't get windshield wipers and blades. Why? Because he didn't sell many. Why? Because in Tucson, you buy new blades in the Fall when it starts raining. But headquarters, in Chicago where it rains or snows year-round, averaged his monthly sales and wouldn't let him stock up when he knew he would need them.
 
2013-03-27 12:16:07 PM  
Everything ever is Walmart's fault, and if it isn't, it's Bush's fault.
 
2013-03-27 12:20:29 PM  

midigod: 12349876: Stores like Wal Mart among with many others certainly have their problem with not having enough staff for customers wanting to check out, but they have to put the infrastructure necessary for the busiest of Christmas shopping days and there will obviously be lots of vacant space at other times.

Why would a company build out shelf space for one holiday?  They build shelf space for "average," then pack the aisles for holidays.  Every store does that, and Wal Mart's no different.


Infrastructure is not shelf space.  It's checkout space.  And Christmas traffic is SO SO SO SO SO SO much greater than regular traffic that folks would be waiting hours and hours if the number of checkout lines were only at regular levels.
 
2013-03-27 12:37:25 PM  

I sound fat: Iczer: "Thirteen of 20 registers were manned- with no lines..."

Whaaaaaaa?! Christ the last time I was at my local wally world (the other day, needed some ethnic stuff I've found only there) there were like 4 registers open and all 4 had lines. The one I came across first for farkssakes had a woman with her two sons(?) and three farking full shopping carts of crap with them.

The other night, I went to check out, and there were no cashiers.  zero.  the self scan was open, but zero cashiers around.

I went and put a bunch more stuff in my cart, then just left it there by the empty cashier supervisor station.

/ cause I am stubborn and resistant to change, thats why.

I have always wondered if there was a time limit a customer should have to wait before they are allowed to just walk out of the store with products without paying.  I have been in situations where I had to wait a while for someone to take my money for a product, waited a good while, then just put the product down and walked out of the store.

I mean, if I leave my house open and unattended then discover a bunch of items missing, the police (and insurance) would tell me I should have closed the doors and been paying attention to my house.  Can't the same logic/argument be applied to retail stores?
 
2013-03-27 12:44:21 PM  

WhoIsNotInMyKitchen: The net worth of the six walmart heirs is a as much as the bottom 40% of americans combined. I can see why they can't afford to pay a few more people to stock the shelves in the shiatty stores.


I'm one of the people that stocks the shelves. You oughta hear the earfuls we give them half the time about getting us bodies. (They keep telling us things about nobody 'suitable' being found in the hiring process. We're like, fark suitable, just get us someone and we'll take care of it.)

You ever try and unload a truck with two people? One in the truck putting stuff on the line and the other running himself ragged trying to get it all separated by department? I have. It ain't fun.
 
2013-03-27 12:45:17 PM  

germ78: Someone should forward that link about CostCo, Trader Joes, and QuikTrip to Wal-Mart brass.


I just sent a complaint to Walmart a week ago. Essentially, they had people in long lines at the cash register at 10 pm. I walked out leaving $100 worth of crap. This isn't the first time with this particular store. I've walked out of there at all hours of the day, because it is ALWAYS!® understaffed. I concluded my complaint with "Yes, I'll be back. I'll be back just like I came back to Montgomery Ward, Sears, Circuit City, and Best Buy when I got ticked off at them. That is until I quit going back," Walmart is definitely at a crossroads. It has grown to big to be centrally managed. To survive and thrive they have to begin trusting and empowering their in-store management. My complaint went back to the store manager. He has no power within Walmart to do anything. This is a system wide problem and upper management has shielded itself from the complaints.

To all those supporting CostCo: Do you really like being treated like a herd of cattle? Dropped my membership there a few years ago. They may treat their employees well, but they treat their customers like crap.
 
2013-03-27 12:47:30 PM  
Every time I see these circular problems, I'm reminded of this gem from my childhood.
 
2013-03-27 01:04:20 PM  

Gosling: WhoIsNotInMyKitchen: The net worth of the six walmart heirs is a as much as the bottom 40% of americans combined. I can see why they can't afford to pay a few more people to stock the shelves in the shiatty stores.

I'm one of the people that stocks the shelves. You oughta hear the earfuls we give them half the time about getting us bodies. (They keep telling us things about nobody 'suitable' being found in the hiring process. We're like, fark suitable, just get us someone and we'll take care of it.)

You ever try and unload a truck with two people? One in the truck putting stuff on the line and the other running himself ragged trying to get it all separated by department? I have. It ain't fun.


I used to unload trucks for a Big Lots, I got to handle all the furniture by myself, the sleeper sofas were the worst.
 
2013-03-27 01:12:17 PM  
FTA, unpopular colours

why you haute ameriua?
 
2013-03-27 02:58:42 PM  
No one to keep the shelves stocked, you say?

It's almost as if Walmart had a reputation for treating their employees so horribly that only the truly desperate would work there. But that can't be it. Hmmm...

Thanks, Obama!
 
2013-03-27 03:05:23 PM  

bgilmore5: germ78: Someone should forward that link about CostCo, Trader Joes, and QuikTrip to Wal-Mart brass.

I just sent a complaint to Walmart a week ago. Essentially, they had people in long lines at the cash register at 10 pm. I walked out leaving $100 worth of crap. This isn't the first time with this particular store. I've walked out of there at all hours of the day, because it is ALWAYS!® understaffed. I concluded my complaint with "Yes, I'll be back. I'll be back just like I came back to Montgomery Ward, Sears, Circuit City, and Best Buy when I got ticked off at them. That is until I quit going back," Walmart is definitely at a crossroads. It has grown to big to be centrally managed. To survive and thrive they have to begin trusting and empowering their in-store management. My complaint went back to the store manager. He has no power within Walmart to do anything. This is a system wide problem and upper management has shielded itself from the complaints.


I don't think its a size issue, its a culture issue. Walmart got massive by using a one size fits all agreesively cutting everything culture. Most of the senior managment have grown up in this culture and don't know any different. So what does their training tell them when sales fall? Cut costs. What costs are left after suppliers are working on wafer thin margins and can't cut costs any more? Staff costs. The idea of treating staff better and making changes due to local conditions is so alien you migh as well be talking Marx in Cantonese to them.
 
2013-03-27 03:07:13 PM  
Our new Supa Senter in Gainesville, Florida is really low on bullets. So sad, so very, very sad.
 
2013-03-27 03:12:21 PM  

NewportBarGuy: gopher321: So why are the shelves empty?

Because of unions and capital gains taxes. Duh.


I love when people who aren't Poe's Lawing it up unironically try to suggest unions have anything to do with how WalMart does business.

Note to the ignorant: WalMart is pretty infamous about disallowing its workers from unionizing.
 
2013-03-27 03:37:23 PM  

Crotchrocket Slim: NewportBarGuy: gopher321: So why are the shelves empty?

Because of unions and capital gains taxes. Duh.

I love when people who aren't Poe's Lawing it up unironically try to suggest unions have anything to do with how WalMart does business.

Note to the ignorant: WalMart is pretty infamous about disallowing its workers from unionizing.


I don't think you understand sarcasm.
 
2013-03-27 03:47:44 PM  

bgilmore5: To all those supporting CostCo: Do you really like being treated like a herd of cattle? Dropped my membership there a few years ago. They may treat their employees well, but they treat their customers like crap.


They've never treated me that way in any of their stores I've ever been to.  Sorry you got treated that way.  Maybe it was you.
 
2013-03-27 03:57:27 PM  

midigod: bgilmore5: To all those supporting CostCo: Do you really like being treated like a herd of cattle? Dropped my membership there a few years ago. They may treat their employees well, but they treat their customers like crap.

They've never treated me that way in any of their stores I've ever been to.  Sorry you got treated that way.  Maybe it was you.


probably asked for his receipt, which as you know is a huge violation of the 4th amendment.
 
2013-03-27 04:00:32 PM  

Why Would I Read the Article: Everything ever is Walmart's fault, and if it isn't, it's Bush's fault.


Thanks, Obama.
 
2013-03-27 04:22:15 PM  
I worked at a Walmart for a year as a stocker. None of this is surprising.The reasons for this
1.People get tired of working full time hours as "part time" employees
2.Most people are not willing to switch over to a 10pm-7am schedule for an extra $1 an hour.
3.Most people are doing the job of multiple people but getting paid for one job (ex having to both work backroom/stock. 2 nights worth of work in 1)
4.Unrealistic stocking goals( You get 60 seconds an item and are timed.This times decide if you get a raise in a annual meeting.However; the times do not account for cleaning up a section when you are done or recycling.So you start out your workday already behind schedule.That is if the unloaders managed to get the stock on the floor.And yes they are also understaffed)
5.After the holidays hours are cut to make up for the bonuses given out.Cut to the point where a part time worker might get down to working twice in 2 weeks.Keep in mind these people stocked 2-3 nights worth of goods since Fall.
6.The thing that bothered me most....the main reason people leave is the management.A lot of people get treated badly.People who are ignorant of how a business should be run will be taken advantage of.
 
2013-03-27 04:30:33 PM  

Girion47: Crotchrocket Slim: NewportBarGuy: gopher321: So why are the shelves empty?

Because of unions and capital gains taxes. Duh.

I love when people who aren't Poe's Lawing it up unironically try to suggest unions have anything to do with how WalMart does business.

Note to the ignorant: WalMart is pretty infamous about disallowing its workers from unionizing.

I don't think you understand sarcasm.


I picked up on Newport's sarcasm, hence the "aren't Poe's Lawing it up". I realize he was doing that, I was talking the people he was mocking. Uh, genius.
 
2013-03-27 04:32:42 PM  

midigod: bgilmore5: To all those supporting CostCo: Do you really like being treated like a herd of cattle? Dropped my membership there a few years ago. They may treat their employees well, but they treat their customers like crap.

They've never treated me that way in any of their stores I've ever been to.  Sorry you got treated that way.  Maybe it was you.


Everyone has different experiences and perceives situations differently, but let's make smartass comments just because you can hide behind the internet. I didn't find CostCo to be a good experience. The store feels like a corral to me from the moment you arrive until you leave. Waiting in line to check out feels like cows must feel when their lead to slaughter. The only difference is at CostCo they expect you to butcher yourself. You evidently don't agree, Good for you.
 
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