Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Learn it, love it, live with it or leave

I still have yet to understand the attitude of customers who equate shopping at Wal-Mart with the retail process that takes place at a department store, a high-end boutique or a neighborhood Mom-and-Pop type store. Wal-Mart is all about the self-service. Learn it, love it, live with it or leave.

Wal-Mart really does not care about your fragile psyche and the need for someone to "help" you shop. The prices are low. So is the level of service. Learn it, love it, live with it or leave.

So I say to you, Mr. White Trash in the (typical) dirty wife-beater and even filthier blue jeans, coming up to Customer Service, elbowing aside an ever-so-patient woman trying to return a crapload of school supplies, acting like I ought to leap over the counter and help you, and then yelling at me "You better f****** get some help in Hardware because no one in this f****** store speaks English" -- that is really not going to remedy the situation.

Wal-Mart's prices are low because the staffing - the single area largest cost area where money is spent and resources can be cut - is at an absolute minimum. Learn it, love it, live with it or leave.

That very same can of paint you want mixed at 10 p.m. on a Sunday is going to cost you more at the local place - which is well-known around town for the level of service they provide. They'll smile at you, greet you in perfect English and give you tips on how to paint your house. You're paying for SERVICE as well as the merchandise.

At Wal-Mart, you're paying for a damn can of paint. Nothing more. Everything less. Service, knowledge, assistance in the English language. You made the choice to shop here. Your choices have consequences. Learn it, love it, live with it or leave.

If you want cheap prices, come to the Wal-Mart. If you want good service, go anywhere else.

I personally have nothing against hiring people who do not speak English. Someone has to do the work. However, I would not advocate putting them in positions that require customer interaction.

That said, I would estimate at least 70% of the associates at our store have only a minimal grasp of English. When I say minimal, I mean that they drag customers over to the native English speakers whenever they have questions.

The service is not a function of the language though - if I were managing a company, I wouldn't hire more than 1 in 20 of my co-workers - no matter what business I was running - not even to take out the trash.


FARfetched said...

I would estimage at least 70% of the associates at our store have only a minimal grasp of English.

You ought to see some of the emails I get. The ones from China I can understand, but I've seen some from US-born college graduates that aren't much better.

Anonymous said...

Probably one of the best posts I've seen on your site. But it explains so well everything that is wrong with Wal-mart.

Anonymous said...

I hope congress DOES pass it... it will be hilarious to see the ole blue go down in fiery red falames!

Jessica said...

So you think it will be funny to watch the economy collapse because we have outsourced so much business to China that we wouldn't have a hope of standing on our own two feet if that relationship were severed?
I don't like it anymore than you do... I wish American pride still meant 'Made in America' for one thing... but if the China relations collapse you can kiss America as we know it goodbye right along with.

Anonymous said...

To the second anonymous~ It's called spell check. Look into it. Oh, and by the way, the leet speak isn't cute, grow up and learn some grammar.

Kennidy said...

Amen! Speak the Gospel!

DolfanDad said...

I too don't understand why this is a hard to grasp concept. Pretty easy in my mind. If I want someplace where I can get some piece of crap for cheap I go to wal-mart.

If I want a quality product or really don't know which product I need for a certain application go ANYWHERE else.

Pretty easy in my book. But from reading your blog for so long I can see why some of your customers believe otherwise.

I forgot my name badge said...

Thank you thank you! You speak the truth. Walmart is not interested in customer service. They couldn't care less if someone waits 30 minutes for a propane tank because there's no staff in GC. If they can get a truckload of crap for pennies on the dollar and get a 50% markup on it for the idiots that will buy it, then they're happy. Screw customer service. It means nothing to them. Thanks to the skeleton crew, the remaining staff is expected to do the work of those who aren't there thereby sacrificing what work needs done in their own departments. And they wonder why they're losing money as well as employees. DUH.

ShopGirl said...

Ironically, I own a mom & pop store, and people DO come here for service, but don't want to pay. I get yelled at every day just for marking up stamps.

And farfetched is right. Some of the emails from China *are* easier to read than from some college grads.

Everyone is frustrated in their lives and taking it out on those around them. It's the downward spiral.

grundes said...


There are quite a few things in Walmart that are made in the US. Like lots of the cheap crap that used to be China-made is now a domestic product, while TVs and stuff are from China. O tempora, o mores! :)

Anonymous said...

get a 50% markup


I worked at Hobby Lobby and we got more like a 300% Markup? Whatever it is when we had 25c/$ invested. So if you bought a $1 item, 75c of that was profit.

Something tells me good ol' Wally World has a much, much higher markup...

ShopGirl said...

There are some items that are more highly marked up than others. They also have "loss leaders" which they truly lose money based on the selling price. Loss leaders entice customers to come. Items that have a longer shelf life and sit around have a much higher margin. (and 300% for Hobby Lobby doesn't surprise me)

It always amazes me that people ask me what my margin is - on everything! I don't have above 80% (margin, not mark-up), and most stuff is closer to 50%, but I still get asked and people still complain.

The Stranger said...

Very good entry. I think that sums up every blog I've ever read of yours. Not to say I don't love them all, but this one really speaks the truth about the percentage of asshole Wal-Mart customers and their since of entitlement. Here's my beef with Wal-Mart. Look at Aldi, they have low prices and are under staffed but they pay their employees well, at least thats what I hear.

High-Maintenance & Hostile Heidi said...

Great post. I agree with everything you say.

However, while I do get infuriated over the ever-growing language barrier here in the US, I agree with FarFetched and Shopgirl that some US-born college graduates aren't much better when it comes to speaking or writing.

For instance, there's an annoying girl at my workplace who is fresh out of LAW SCHOOL and she can hardly speak "English" in my opinion.

Like, I was, like, wondering, like, you know, like, if this, like, case, like, is, like, the one, like, you are, like, looking, like, for. It, like, is? Oh, that's, like, TO-TALLY AwEsOmE!

Anonymous said...

Slanglish is the language of South Florida now ,,, and heading North muy rapido.

Meghan said...

I'd like to point out that, much like your shoppers, you have made a choice to spend time in Walmart. There's a certain amount of customer dumbassery everywhere, but it sounds like the stupidity at Walmart is second to none. But you know that going in every day. Like your customers, shouldn't you also be expected to "Learn it, love it, live with it or leave" ?

Anonymous said...

And, in response to Meghan's comment, that is precisely what BBC is doing. Living with it and BLOGGING it, in that oh so humorous fashion. It's the customers that BBC sees everyday that don't seem to be living with Wal-Mart's lack of customer service comprehension. She's learned that, LOVES to blog it, and is living with it day in and day out. :)

BeadKnitter said...

Until just recently, most of Walmart's employees wore little blue vests that said on the back: "May I HELP you?"

Could that be why customers think they're entitled to good service? My local Walmart has wonderful customer service. Better than most of the higher end dept stores. Not sure why that is.

Anonymous said...

Again, I'm certain BB meant "black trash" in this post.