I like WalMart

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I know some of you do not like shopping at WalMart, and have good reasons. I try to shop locally first, but have been burned so often I prefer WalMart. We have some stores here that offer high quality merchandise at fair prices, such as a local MensWear store. My dh buys an expensive pair of dress shoes there every 5-7 years, and gets good, comfortable, long wearing shoes which are a better deal than buying cheaper shoes more often. The service there is excellent also. I will always shop those kinds of stores in preference to Wallys. Some of our local stores make a point to go all out for customer satisfaction, know their customers by name, etc. and will even let you take things home to try without paying first. (small town)

However, many of our stores are over priced, won't let you return things, have poor service and employees are rude. I'll go to Wallys any day rather than spend my money at these establishments.

Recent experience - I took my daughter to a local optomotrist for a full eye exam and pair of expensive glasses. Six weeks later the glasses fell apart. I called and asked what they were going to do, as the glasses were still under warantee. Well, in looking up our account, the employee mistook us for someone else of the same name who was on "welfare". I was told they would do nothing for me. When I mentioned what I had paid for these glasses, and how quickly they had fallen apart, I got a long lecture on what a discount they gave to "you people" (meaning welfare recipients), I should be grateful for what I got, they gave no guarantees whatsoever, and she was very rude and hostile. She hung up on me. I called back and tried to talk to her again and got more of the same. I finally was able to get through to her that we were NOT on any public assistance and had paid in cash. Attitude changed immediately, and the glasses were replaced. However, even though we are not on assistance, I pity the poor people who are who have to deal with this attitude. I won't be back.

In contrast, I recently broke my own glasses and needed a new set of frames immediately. Went to the nearest big town and headed for the optical company at Shopko. Even though I only needed a repair (at minimal cost) they went out of their way to accomodate me, worked hard to get me what I needed, and charged me very little even after spending a great deal of time on me. They were extremely courteous the entire time.

WalMart is the same way. I can return an item w/o a receipt, no questions asked. They will go out of their way to help. Prices beat anything locally, by far. They have great selection. They are always courteous.

I have no problem whatsoever with WalMart.

-- Lenette (kigervixen@webtv.net), January 13, 2002


Lenette, I have always liked Wal-Mart. Not nearly as much as when ol' Sam was still here, but I used to work there, and they do treat their employees with a good deal more respect than a lot of places. My brother-in-law works there now, and he says it is the easiest job he has ever had! (of course, he used to be a salesman for an oil company, that was a bear!)

I agree with you on the pricing, and the return policy; unfortunately, a lot of people abuse it -- I hope they don't change it based on a few bad apples! Anyway, just putting in my piece -- I shop several locally-owned businesses also, but Wal-Mart still has a good place in my mind.

-- Christine in OK (cljford@mmcable.com), January 13, 2002.

Dear Lenette------ I have been a small business owner for over 35 years--- finding qualified help in rural areas has been a real challange for me---

I hate to say it--but when I have been gone from my business---or left someone else in charge--sometimes I wanted to cry/ when I found out what "my trained help", had done to my clients!!!!!!!

It is impossible for the small business owner to compete with wally world!!!!!

But I have broke my neck over the years to try to give my clients what they can't get at Wally world ----only to have an employee--- think they are God & know more about my business than I do & run off clients----

I have found out from clients later /what some of my help has done & I was sooooooo enbarrassed I could have died!!!!

If you have a problem-----I would suggest "if possible" to call & ask to speak with the owner---I know you should not have to do that---- but we are not in a perfect world-----

I guarantee--- I knock myself out to help my clients----& wanted to die when I found out what some of my employees have done--

But in many small businesses the owner can't do it all--(even sometimes I have tried to be SUPERWOMAN) & have tried!!!

I would say/ to please give all small businesses another chance we we want to have a rural America----

I truely am soooo sorry you were treated the way you were as there was no excuse for that behavior for any reason!!!!!!!

But I'm very sorry to say/ I have for 35 years worked my butt off to build a business & please all who came to me/ to have an employee ruin business- for me in one day--&--has truelly ran off more people in one day /than I had worked for months to get their business---& since that person was my employee they represented me---& my business!!! One time I was away from my business & called back to see how things were going----now mind you I left it with a person who had been trained & had worked for the public before & was reccommended by another business person-----& had worked for me several times--- guess how she answered the phone???????? "H--ELL-----O????" I said is this so & so business????? when she answered yes what do ya want??????????--- I said /go to the front door & turn the sign around to closed & I'll be back in a short while/ this is the owner!!!!!!!

I can not tell you how much time I have spent with employees & stressed our business policy----paid them more money than they could have ever dreamed of makeing at Wally world----to have them-----just not ever get what I was upset about!!! Or what they were doing to my business!!!

There is no excuse for the way you were treated----& the way some of my clients have been treated in the past 35 years------ BUT ALL I CAN SAY IS----PLEASE GIVE THE "OWNER" ANOTHER CHANCE!!! Best wishes & Bless all those who shop at home before they go to Wally world!!!! As we(as small business ownere) will usually break our necks to help you----but sometimes we have employees who don't really help us out any!!!! Wish sometimes we could do it all on our own---but is not always possible!!!

-- Sonda (sgbruce@birch.net), January 13, 2002.

Sonda, that is so well put. I'd suggest Lenette contact the optometrist directly and explain what happened with the receptionist. Owning a business myself, I've seen and heard everything you mentioned and more.

Personally, I avoid WalMart. I'll spend an extra buck at a local store. Generally speaking, I think I do get better service and more knowledgeable assistance there. It's the same with restaurants, especially when I travel. I can go to franchise places here if I want. When I travel I want to go places I can't find on every corner in every town. I go for the local fare.

I guess I find the thing that's good about 'Generica' as I've heard it called is the consistency. It's also the bad thing about it...the sameness. I like supporting the local places. Maybe I'm just contrarian. ;o)

-- Gary in Indiana (gk6854@aol.com), January 14, 2002.

We do shop at Wally World some, but don't like it. (it's more coonvenient) I don't like supposrting places that Hillary Clinton's involved in and I was told that she's on the board.

-- Cindy (SE. IN) (atilrthehony@hotmail.com), January 14, 2002.

We shop at Wal-Mart all the time. The prices are good and the employees are courteous and helpful. I am disablied and use an electric cart. Whenever I request assistance, I receive it along with a smile.

-- Ardie /WI (ardie54965@hotmail.com), January 14, 2002.

I don't mind going to Wal-mart as far as the general business, nothing against the company. But ours is always so crowded! It is laid out poorly, I think. All of the traffic seems to move towards the right side of the store, and sometimes you can barely walk. So if I am in a hurry I usually go to K-mart instead.

As far as prices are concerned, Dollar General, K-mart, Phar-Mor and Aldi's are just as reasonable on most items. My kids won't buy clothes there, they think it is too expensive! They prefer to go to Gabriels, or K-mart when they are having a sale.

I think the main thing is to comparison shop and not be loyal to only one store. That is if you are looking for rock-bottom prices. I realize people shop at various places for other reasons. But for me, at our income level, cost is usually the prime consideration. Different stores usually run sales on different items each week, so the best thing to do is check the sale ads!

-- Melissa (me@home.net), January 14, 2002.


FYI, Hillary Clinton is NOT on the board of directors at Wal-Mart. If she was I would not go there either.

Talk to you later.

-- Bob in WI (bjwick@hotmail.com), January 14, 2002.

I live in Bentonville AR home of Wal-Mart, so for me it is a "local" store. Many of my friends either work for Wal-Mart or for a vendor who sales to Wal-Mart. I get kind of tickled when people don't consider Wal-Mart a local business. They hire most staff locally and they are very good to give money to local schools and charities. And, to reiterate, Hillary Clinton is NOT on the board. I know some of the people who are, and I think people would be suprised to know that many of them live a type of homestead philosophy. Many of the people who became millionaires while working at Wal-Mart have been good to buy up local farm land and keep it farm land instead of letting it be developed into housing. Our area is still in a building boom, and it is so sad to see 500 -700 acre farms sold for housing developments. Many of these people have bought out farms that families no longer could run or could afford. So, every story has an up side and I think Wal-Mart is like anyother business, good people and bad both work there.

-- Ivy in NW AR (balch84@cox-internet.com), January 14, 2002.

I'm not against Wal-Mart-- only all the small town business it has put out of business-----all over the country!!!! And all the small town down -towns that no longier exsist because of them---& other huge corporations-- All the thousands of small downtowns that no longier are there because of the strip malls-- I personlly know hundreds of small Mom & Pop business owners from all over the USA that are no longier in business because they could not compete with Wal-mart-- I know Wal-mart hires a lot of good people /who would not have jobs with out it----many handicapped people are better able to shop there-- -as many small businesses /can not remodel & make the old buildings they own /handicapped accessable--- I just happen to know hundreds of small towns that no longier have a down town because of Wal-Mart!! And feel it is a great loss/ in many/ many ways!!!! I also shop at Wal-Mart--but not /if I can buy it from some one in my area who is the small business owner--even if I have to pay more for it---because I want those small businesses to be there as long as they can be--- Wal-Mart is not all bad--but not all good either--- I just know small businesses can not compete with Wal-Mart at all--- & I paid my employees far more than they could have made at Wal- mart!!! And did far more for them/ than the company is able to----as part time employees /or employees that are not in management--- I think some people move to the country(or rural area) for some of the reasons they forget /when they quit supporting the small businesses----and shop at Wal-Mart & then wonder why those small businesses & small towns are no longier there---why are there as many ghost towns as there are----start studying the town history---you will get your answers!! Wal-Mart has helped many people & it has killed many small towns in the process!! Wal-Mart is not the only large company that has also done this---small businesses can not compete with corportations---any more than the small farmer can compete with corporate farming!!! Just my own opinion basised on over 35 years experience as a small business owner & also being friends with several hundred other small business owners---

-- Sonda (sgbruce@birch.net), January 14, 2002.

I forgot to add that there is a National Main Street organization---- that is working hard in all most all 50 states to rebuild the small town main st----why are they dyeing???????????? Why is this organazation important to keep small town America alive????? I could write for hours---but to all small farmers & small business owners /I would be preaching to the Choir-(as they already totally understand)-- & the others are off shopping at Wal-Mart & bragging about it & wouldn't understand any way /as they don't think it effects them!!!!! Those of us who it does effect---we have to work harder---& the others/ I hope they get good sales & are treated great in the corporate America!!

-- Sonda (sgbruce@birch.net), January 14, 2002.

Thanks Bob for the correct info.

-- Cindy (SE. IN) (atilrthehony@hotmail.com), January 15, 2002.

I think that "Main Street" and Wal-Mart" can co-exist, but Main Street needs to get its act together.

My biggest problem with "downtowns" is that there is often no free parking, and the pay parking is either on really short parking meters (I recall seeing 30 minute meters visiting in Carmel, CA once, but even 2 hours is not very long either), or is tied to purchasing a huge amount at a store (spend $25 and get 2 hours free, but spend $50 at the same store and they WON'T give you the other 2 hours--go figure). In other words, unless you take public transport, it is more hassle than it's worth to shop downtown, especially if you are looking to purchase large items (you're not going to load a couch on a bus to take it home). City governments have made it so difficult and expensive to shop downtown that it is no wonder people go to malls and "big box" stores.

Now, Wal-Mart. Large parking lots, and I even hear that they welcome RVers to stay overnight (good business practice, that). Easy to get in and get out of, for the most part. Good prices, decent service. Don't have to pay just to walk in (by that I mean parking fees).

Don't get me wrong, I love shopping downtown, but not enough to pay to just walk in.

-- GT (nospam@nospam.com), January 15, 2002.

I shop at both Wal-Mart and the smaller stores. Wal-Mart employees are trained to be polite and the smaller store employees (in most cases) seem to just not care at all. I hate going to the register and having to look for the toatal because the cashier is having a bad day with boyfriend, sister, brother,mother,farther(you get what I'm saying) and how many tell you what your change is or say thank-you. I always say thank-you to the cashier. I also find that when you go into Wal_mart from work in dirty clothing the employees still treat you the same as if you were dressed up. When I go to a smaller store after a dirty day at work I am treated very poorly yet if when I've had time to go home shower and change what a difference. I get the royal treatment all smiles and thank you and so on and so on. Yet I just watched them treat a customer who oviously just got out of work and has dirty clothing on like crap. I think that more of the small business owners have got to have a tighter rein on the employees they chose to wait on the public.

-- george (bngcrview@aol.com), January 15, 2002.

I don't mind Wal-Mart, but I do miss the old-time, everybody-knows-you small-town downtown. Bigger cities are able to afford to keep up a "downtown" center of shops, but not the smaller ones. If you have a town of less than 1000 located within an hour's drive of big name have-everything-at-a-discount stores, the small town gradually dies away to nothing. I remember going to town with my grandfather. Everybody knew him, and lots of people remarked on how much I'd grown since last summer, etc.

Recently I went for milk or something at the 150-year-old grocery a mile down the road. It's a small place, with convenience store prices, but they still have wood floors and shelving, and a butcher shop in the back. While I was paying for my stuff, another woman came in, picked up a liter of milk, and started to leave. She waved the carton at the shop lady, saying, "Put this on my bill, please." Now, that's small town!

-- Cathy N. (keeper8@attcanada.ca), January 15, 2002.

In the hundreds of SMAll towns/ I have worked with to help keep from dyeing---there were NO PARKING METERS!!!!! ha! I guess where I come from /if there are parking meters---that is a big town to us!! ha! In rural Kansas /the city governments have lost soooo much revenue they are listening to the small business owner & takeing out the meters!!!(if it was a big enough town to even have such a thing)- There is no excuse for haveing parking meters in RURAL AMERICA!!!(if people use common sense---) I agree finding employees who will follow small business policy is really hard!!!!! That has been my number one problem as a business owner is finding qualified ---or trainable help----who don't have an "ATTITUDE" problem!!!!!!!!! Either they know it all---or they act like the business is theirs!!! Or they treat my clients badly!!! And I have fired more help because of that very reason!!!! Or for stealing from me!!! Like I said /a small business owner can't always do it all--- & if there is not enough family memembers to do the work----sometimes hireing help is a night mare!!! But I can also say as a small business owner /I am expected to do things that could never be done anywhere else on earth---- just like the woman comming in & leaveing with milk & saying put it on my bill----try that at Wal-Mart---- What is really bad is several of those who also shop at Wal-Mart pay cash & still charge at the small business & expect the small business /to run on credit!!! Several may buy the bulk of their things at Wal-Mart----but still expect the small business person to operate on credit----for what ever they forgot at Wal-Mart--- I think if people truely want RURAL America to live --they have to support it!!! I do all I can for the AG people in my area I can---as they also have the same struggles /I as a small business owner does--- We had a small business owners meeting once & it was brought up that Wal-Mart helps with donations in the community----- the next meeting we had several/ of us(small business owners) brought what we had as records of checks for donations we had given to the area that last year --not counting the cash donations & inventory donations---or personal donations-----we found that if compared to our incomes & then Wal-Marts income---the average small business owner gave many hundred times more than Wal-Mart----did in comparassion!!! Wal-Mart has signs on their walls where they give to this or that-----there is not one day that has gone by that someone in the local area doesn't come in with their hand out wanting a donation for something/ or another some group or organization-or - class --or school group---or 4-H /or scout troup---always wants money ---the small business person supports far more than many even would even dream of!!!!!!! Many have no clue what so ever how much the small business owner does to support them all & the community!!!!! It may not be a large amount to any one --but they support hundreds of clubs & school functions/etc/etc/etc/ in rural America every day of the year!!!!

-- Sonda (sgbruce@birch.net), January 15, 2002.

Sonda, you are right that I should talk to the business owner, and I will. I will add that I prefer to shop at small business, provided I can afford them, and provided I get decent service. I am NOT picky, most little things I will just let slide. Actually a lot of bigger issues I usually let slide too, I prefer to think that someone's just having a bad day or whatever. We live in a small town and know/are friends with many of the business owners and I do know what they go through to get and keep customers. My dh grew up in this town and ran the streets (all 2 of them) when he was 3-4 years old. When he was 6 or so, he and his brother provided sawdust for the butcher shop floor of the only grocery in town, and got paid in treats. The owners of the men's wear store I referred to earlier kept a pillow and blanket for him so he could take a nap at the store. Their kids and grandkids now run the store. My dh has known Les Schwab (the Tire company "baron") since Les ran the "OK Rubber Welders", and our entire family still uses his business....and Les still gives good service. There used to be an old lady here that was a (true) kleptomaniac....she would just take whatever she wanted from stores, and the owners just kept track and billed her dh at the end of each month and the dh would come in and pay the bill. :) Our bank still hands out goodies to the kids and dog biscuits to the dogs. My dh has kept a business running for many years and despite the local monopoly's underhanded efforts to sink him, he has kept the lion's share of clients in this town....due to good customer service.

The point is, we get good products & good service at these stores and a number of others in this town. A number of businesses here will let me walk in and do the "Put it on my bill" thing. Dh and I haul hay for our vet in exchange for services. One of the local fast food places will run a lunch over to my dh if I call and say he can't come home for lunch....and let me pay for it the next time I get to town. There are many great things about our town and I will always support the business owners that deserve it.

However, we also have some business owners who treat customers like they're doing you a favor to wait on you. Some will let you stand there in line for 10 minutes while they chat with a friend or employee or someone on the phone. Some sell nothing but the lah-de-dah boutique clothes, and look down their nose at you if you walk in wearing jeans (Hey, I might wear jeans, but my money's as good as anyone else's). Occasionally I do need those $100 and up dresses. Some of our rancher friends sometimes have to go to town covered in diesel or cow manure, and get treated like you-know-what.....these business owners don't realize that some of these ranchers could buy them out a hundred times over and never notice the dent in their pocketbooks.

And yes, there are those who abuse the welfare system but there are also many people who would rather be earning a living and are embarrassed enough at being on assistance without being humiliated by a store clerk. When I run into these kinds of people, I will gladly take my business to WalMart or elsewhere and not feel the least bit guilty about it. As for the big box stores putting others out of business, many of these huge chain stores were once small backyard businesses run by ordinary small business owners who wisely treated all their customers with respect.

-- Lenette (kigervixen@webtv.net), January 16, 2002.

One other gripe about small-town stores (mostly the uppity boutique type): they are very reluctant to let you use the restrooms. Most of them have signs up saying "no public restrooms", and I can sort of understand not wanting every homeless person on the street camping out at your store (if you have ever lived in or visited San Francisco, you know exactly what I'm talking about). I know it costs money every time you flush the toilet, but having a restroom is a business expense, like having the lights on. That is why you carry insurance as a business owner for slip and fall injuries.

However, most of these little stores won't let potential customers (browsers) or even someone who's bought something the minute before or has it in their hand to buy it use the restrooms! What's up with that? You know 99% of these stores have to have at least one restroom for the employees, and they're not using it all the time. If they are worried about theft (at the few that do have an open restroom policy) I am happy to let them look through my bags, or offer to leave them at the counter (although I do not shop at stores that MAKE you leave bags at the entrance, because they will not take responsibility for loss or damage). Once I offer, they usually say no problem, don't worry about it.

My sister had that experience in downtown Petaluma, CA. She was with my 5 year old, was going to buy a book in this garden decoration store, had it in her hand, and my little one had to go. They told her to go across the street to the public restrooms, which are mostly populated by deadbeat teenagers, druggies, etc. I am not kidding. Last time she shops there! On the other hand, you come in the same store with a small dog and they would feed it dog biscuits--go figure.

In Balboa Island we ran into the same thing. A friend was on diuretics, and when you gotta go you gotta go. We were dressed okay, and had actually bought stuff here and there, but apparently the stores had a policy of steering everyone to the public toilets (of which there were only two stalls for the island) that were quite a walk away. We finally asked at a restaurant, and the manager let her use the facilities, saying he understood completely, and would never refuse a request like that. Needless to say the restaurant got some business from us when we would visit.

You definitely do not have that problem with the chain stores.

-- GT (nospam@nospam.com), January 16, 2002.

G.T. The reason I don't have a public rest room is it has to be able to be used by handicapped --my building is old!!!! It is not possible to make it handicapped useable------but that is the law /if I have one open to the public /it has to be able to be used by the handicapped--- --if I put in a bathroom that would be able to be used by the handicapped--I would have to find another building---it would cost what profit I make in a year---or more---probably a lot more-- If someone comes to me & askes/ of coarse they can use my PRIVATE BATHROOM!!!! But a law suit is what many are looking for---not the use of my bathroom!!! Does that help explain just one on the many thousands of reasons the small business owner may not have "PUBLIC" restrooms???? I have had a handicapped friend use my private bathroom-also----but her wheel chair won't fit in there---so I had to help her----if we had fallen /she would not have sued me/ we both would have layed there & laughed until someone came & helped us!!!--But it isn't that way most of the time!!!!!!! It just isn't always possible!!! there are a frw thousand other reasons---that I could also give you-- that is just one on my list!

-- Sonda (sgbruce@birch.net), January 16, 2002.

Lennette---bless your heart-----thanks for going to the owner---- There are some people who own businesses who it is just their nature to not be as kind as some others---- after working for the public as many years as I have-----some days I'm not as nice as I use to be either----ha! I use to be able to take the rudeness--- & disrespect from some of the public better than I do any more----but the publoc has really changed also----you use to have maybe 10% who were terrible-----now some days I want to hug that sweet person who comes in & treats me like I'm a human being!!!!! I'm an old farm girl & I'm probably more comfortable with the person in overalls & jeans than the one dressed to the 9's--- I have had some of my best clients over the years that yothers probably didn't think they had a penny---but could have bought me out with their pocket change----but you know they were probbaly the best to me---because I treated everyone the same--- Well no I lied /as not too long ago I had two couples come to my warehouse & everything they said was a put down--they were rude & nasty----I was polite & even when I opened the front door & told them it was time for them to leave now!!!

-- Sonda (sgbruce@birch.net), January 16, 2002.

I can't tell you how many times I have been in a business buying from them and have been denied the use of their rest room. If I ask to use their rest room prior to my purchase and they say, "I'm sorry but we don't have a restroom" then I turn and walk out the door and go somewhere that has one. I lived in Volusia county Florida and I believe that if you were opened to the public then you had to have a bathroom for the public. I think it should be that way everywhere. Nothing worse than having to go to the bathroom and not having one to use. Sorry I know some will not agree but you wait until you have to pee real bad in a business that won't allow you to use the restroom. I want you to rememeber this post and running water at the same time lol George

-- george (bngcrview@aol.com), January 16, 2002.

Sonda, I understand your concern, but I also know that there are in many places grandfather clauses about retrofitting buildings, restrooms, etc. I also know that a lot of businesses don't have "public" restrooms, but they do have a private one, and people aren't asking to use it all the time.

People have to go, or they get sick, or baby needs changing. You sound like a very reasonable person who is realistic about these things. It's a sad but true thing that having a very small child hopping on one leg is just about the only way you are able to use a "private" restroom any more (except for the above experience my sister had). It would not present a good image to have a little one relieving himself/herself on the shop floor in front of other customers who just heard the shopkeeper say, sorry, can't use the restroom.

And don't forget that our population is aging. I know people now who have bladder control problems, it's going to be a lot worse ten years from now.

-- GT (nospam@nospam.com), January 16, 2002.

i do enjoy shopping at Wal-Mart also but ran into a problem there the other day. Had to get a prescription filled. Never had any filled there before. They seemed to have a problem with my Union plan. I know...Wal-Mart isn't Union and my husband gave me heck for trying to get it filled there. But..anyways...when I called the Union and asked what my problem was they said that Wal-Mart will not accept Union plans but we will have to pay full price instead. I know I MUST have understood them over this and will call again tomorrow to ask the same question and make sure I understand fully. Has anyone ever had this problem ?? I probably should just have it filled at a Union store since I do believe in Unions but also believe in people having a choice of what and where they want to work. But guess that's another different topic. Anyone ????

-- Helena (windyacs@npacc.net), January 20, 2002.

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