Is Wal-Mart Good For Blake?

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 don’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.


I remember the Wegmans on Dick Road (WNY sure can pick road names- Dick, Scajacquada, Chairfactory, Blood, Girdle).

We have Publix in Florida that is a nice employee owned store in Wegman's class. I don't go to WalMart anymore it is just not worth the eighty-seven cents I save on cat food a week to deal with the great unwashed.

Fair enough. No offense intended, sorry about that kctipton just one mans observations in one Wal-Mart

Is there a local pharmacy in your town? Or has it been driven out of business by CVS or the Wal-Mart? Where did she work before she worked at Wal-Mart?
Sorry I just can't think of anything nice to say about Wally world. It's all bad (except your wife).

My wife works at Wal-mart part time (as a pharmacist) and has worked with plenty of good people in that area of the store.

Blake, that's too broad a brush you're using.

Culture shock, yes, but don't think of it as another planet.

... Wal-Mart *is* the only place where you can get Mary Kate & Ashley toothpaste.

I, too, avoid W-M unless dragged there by the missus. But it is educational: Last time, I learned that "clearance" is a verb.

Brushing one's teeth (or tooth) does not require a great deal of money or education.

Nor does showering.

This reminds me of another reason I don't like going there, it makes me sad.

...would indeed wrap things up in a tidy little package.

However, these Walmart employees look like they do because they are trapped in dead-end employment, with no chance of advancement, with no benefits and no respect. They essentially are doing the dirty work of the MAN, raking it in for Sam Walton. That's why they look like they couldn't care less--they don't, and they don't see a way out for themselves.

Great post Blake. The WallyWorld by our house is 100% busy, 24 hours a day. They have 30 or so checkouts, but only staff two or three at a time. You make yourself miserable shopping there to save a penny or two here and there. I guess for a lot of people its worth the hassle.

heh, I'm neither.

Quoting our fearless leader:

"if you can't say anything nice about someone, don't say anything at all"

"the bottom of the barrel of retail employees"

"most of the employees looked like they were on work release from Attica"

"employees who couldn't care less about their jobs, company, me or themselves"

Yes, a few independent pharmacies still are around. One of them shills an awful lot of new-agey supplements and all that in order to stay in business.

The big problem with the pharmacy industry (if that's the right term to use) is that mail order refills are mandatory at many large employers, essentially bypassing everybody in town in favor of a few big mail order businesses in the US. In addition, low medicare reinbursement rates are making some pharmacies refuse medicare, driving away people who otherwise would visit a pharmacy more than not.