A Walmart Experience
July 11, 2006
It seems that the media and so-called "watchdog groups" like to pick on WalMart. I have loved Wal-mart since when I attended college and my experience there last night reaffirmed to me how great a store it is.
First: The Greeter. We walked in the sliding glass doors to be met by a greeter. He had long hair and was probably in his 40's, but he looked like a very nice guy. It seemed as though he had just started his shift. Already he had about 4 shopping carts lined up ready for customers to grab. I began to approach one, but before I got too close he had pushed one forward so that I could grab it without even breaking my stride. He smiled and said "Hello" and I returned the greeting.
Second: The Photo Guy. I had just purchased a new cell phone (well, I had a big credit since I had stayed with my service for 2+ years, so it was actually free). I headed back towards the photo-developing and electronics section to check out some accessories. Sure enough, they were cheaper than what the Verizon store had to offer, but that was expected. While I was there I was reminded of a photo guy that had helped me a couple weeks earlier. I needed a roll of film developed. He filled out the form for me, made sure I had a decent price, was very kind, and developed it in less than an hour. When I came back to pick it up he remembered me and retrieved it before I even said anything.
Third: The Prices. My wife and I usually don't shop for groceries at the Walmart Supercenter, but this time we decided to. We had a ton of stuff to get, of course it was all there. As we were looking at prices I realized that Walmart is cheaper than the other places we've been going to. They don't have the great 10 for $10 sales or anything, but on average they seem to offer just as good of a deal as anywhere else. I already had realized from my college days that most other things at Walmart were cheaper. When we needed certain items (like fabric, sports equipment, etc.) would often go to stores that were closer to campus, but we always regretted it when we went to Walmart and looked at the prices there.
Fourth: The Selection. The reason we chose to go to Walmart last night was that we needed a few things besides groceries. I wanted to get a First Aid Kit for hiking and I also wanted to look at the cell phone accessories. While I was walking through the store I noticed some eMachine boxes. I love eMachines, in fact, I'm typing on one right now. The ones on display were decent computers for a decent price ($500). Everything came in one box (monitor, computer, etc.) and you wouldn't have to get hassled by a salesman trying to sell you a warranty or a surge protector if you were to buy it.
Fifth: The Return Policy. I didn't have a particular experience with this last night, but after we got married, my wife and I learned to appreciate Walmart's return policy. With some wedding money we bought a table and four chairs (for $100). I had put all the chairs together and was about to begin on the table when I noticed a crack in the table-top. I grabbed the table-top and took it back. They opened another box for me and swapped the table-top. Naturally, after our wedding we had plenty of duplicates to take back to a bunch of different stores. I learned that I hated Target when we tried to return things there. Target employees always seem to be having a bad day and we always felt jipped after we tried to take something back there. For Fathers' Day I got some walkie-talkies from Walmart. One of them stopped working (I think I might have dropped it). I didn't have any packaging to go with it and I had been using them for about a month. They took them back no-questions-asked and I got some new ones.
Sixth: The Old Check-out Lady. When we went to buy all of our stuff, there was an old lady running the check-out. (To be fair, I must say that I've ran into some such ladies that were extremely slow--too slow to be checking out groceries.) The lady was very nice, as has been my experience with most Walmart employees. I thought about how Walmart employs people that might have trouble getting work elsewhere (who wants to hire an old lady?). They give them opportunities to earn money and contribute to society. The sheer number of people they employ must be staggering.
So basically I love Walmart. They have good service, save me time and money, and seem to make my life a little easier.