Today being pile on Wal-Mart day, I thought I'd share my recent experience. I never shop at Walmart, but this week was different. I donâ€™t really have a rule about avoiding it, I just don't like them, and I never seem to have any reason to go there, so I don't. The Wal-Mart near my 'hood added on a grocery-mart recently and this week I finally caved in to my wife's gentle prodding and decided to have a look. The biggest surprise, for me, was the people. I'll stick with the old idea, if you can't say anything nice about someone, don't say anything at all. I'll just say I actually experienced culture shock, 5 miles from home. I actually do now believe all that I've read about Wal-Mart paying poorly, because they clearly have the bottom of the barrel of retail employees.
I compared what prices I could, and Wal-Mart was slightly cheaper on some things, and about the same on others. Two things that stuck out in produce section (other than the toothless manager), were the oranges and the potatoes. The oranges where about 6 cents cheaper, but were clearly much larger than what I see at Wegmans. The potatoes were slightly more expensive at Wal-Mart, but were about double the size of Wegmans. I've never been happy with Wegmans potatoes, I'm a man who likes a big potato. Most of the other produce at Wal-Mart was marginal at best. We bought a watermelon that was terrible.
So while the Potatoes were impressive, and the oranges were bigger, it was just painful shopping there. The lines were forever long, most of the employees, and many of the customers, looked like they were on work release from Attica. The layout of the store was annoying, and parking was a nightmare. The prices came out just slightly in favor of Wal-Mart, not enough for me to worry about. Overall, I saw no compelling reason to return.
I suppose my biggest reason for not shopping there is rather simple, and it just comes down to choices. I have a choice between giving my money to the #1 employer in the country (Wegmans), or giving my money to a company that many people believe is dragging our country to an early grave (Wal-mart). I have a choice between extremely friendly & hard working employees who seem to care about the place they work, and employees who couldn't care less about their jobs, company, me or themselves. I have a choice between a company who is owned by a Western New York family, and one that is publicly traded. Given those choices, whether I believe the hype about Wal-Mart, or not, I'll choose Wegmans, even if it costs me a few bucks more a week.