posted on Aug, 17 2009 @ 01:36 AM
Speaking as a former Wal*Mart Assistant Manager I can tell you exactly what it's like here in West Michigan. I am closely related to the market
assistant and good friends with the district manager as well as several store managers here on this side of the state and I can tell you that it is
not a conspiracy, nor is Wal*Mart trying to rip off the people in any way shape or form.
And here is why:
#1--The reason that certain products aren't carried is due to the economy in that given part of town and each sub-district of the
region. Every few weeks each and every department in the store changes their shelves in what is called a "modular reset" to which different products
are brought in and some products are removed. Each of these products are chosen by the home office in Bentonville, AK. The reason for these modulars
changing items even from some of your favorites is not because the company wants to screw you out of a product, but it is based on overall sales of
that item per quarter. If a given item such as laundry detergent is a good seller such as "Xtra", one of WM's top sellers, it's facings on the
shelf will increase due to high volume and high public demand. However if the "Tide" brand detergent of the same size is not selling adequately
enough they will reduce it's facing to 2,1, or remove it altogether. The company is not out to get you, only to provide the products that are of high
demand to the given town that they are selling to, and at the same time they also try to introduce new products to each department based on the
demographic, psychographic and geographic location to which they are based.
#2 IMS: Commonly known in Wal*Mart circles as the "Inventory Management System" was a computer inventory program put into place
several years ago that takes away the "let me look in back for you" answer that most customers got annoyed with. The IMS program is a series of
labels that automatically bins and assigns a location to any given item in the store and tracks that item's sales, ordering product automatically so
that they are never out of stock of the items they carry. This is not always the case as high selling items can still go out of stock if one
individual buys numerous quantities and leaves none for the rest. Secondly this system allows for the location of each given item to be accessed from
any handheld terminal in the building and any associate no matter the department can scan a shelf tag and walk right to the back on the steel
warehouse racks and get another case of said item if it is out on the shelf. The system is also designed to automatically pick the items during the
day for replenishment based on sales during that day to which one associate is assigned the task of taking it out to the sales floor and stocking it
via a special screen on the handheld. Which brings me to my third point:
#3 Equipment: One of the biggest issues when working in each department at walmart is the quality of the computer terminals that each
department manager and associate have at their disposal. The store that I just left is using the same equipment for over 11 years. This includes
computer terminals and printers that they must struggle to accurately complete price changes which come down to benefit the customer. If the equipment
is not working properly then they cannot pass the savings on to the customer in a timely manner.
#4 Store standards: Several of the stores that are being remodeled here in West Michigan are being done specifically because they have
not been upgraded since they were built. My former store in particular is over 11 years old, and the average remodel is I think about 5 years. This is
over twice the amount of time that the store has gone without being refreshed. They are not being remodeled to post a loss and aquire a bailout, but
rather they are remodeling the stores because they genuinely need it. The stores that are being remodeled have broken fixtures, outdated bathroom
fixtures, some of them cast iron models that are not even produced anymore, and a fresh layout incorporating new "centers" where certain themes can
be applied for customer satisfaction such as a celebration center or an on-site chef in the supercenters.
#5 Budget: The reason that the stores are posting losses in so many markets is due to the economy and the application of the stimulus
checks. Do you know that the average customer spent 85% or more of their stimulus check on high end electronics and not on survival needs such as food
or clothing? Even in a tough economy Wal*Mart is striving to provide customers with the essentials necessary for their survival. If you really look at
the trend throuought most walmarts the emphasis is on basic need items such as laundry detergents, food and basic home goods that fit the season. Very
seldom do you see special items that are unecessary unless it is brought in by the store manager for that specific store.
My recommendation to you all would be to actually talk to an associate about how they feel and you will be suprised to find out that they are just as
unhappy as you are, yet they are still happy to be employed in one of the toughest employment decades since the great depression. Michigan is leading
the unemployment rate currently and they are not slowing down. I am not a cheerleader for Wal*mart as we have had our differences, but I am thankful
that I was working for such a company that actually cared about the individual in a time when everyone else just cares about money.