Friday, February 19, 2010

I Returned To Wal*Mart, And My Manufacturing Manager Past Took Over

A friend wanted to go to Wal*Mart yesterday, so I braved the new world of bagless checkout.

How right I was! You should have seen the poor checkers, trying to get various and sundry bags to stay open (they're not hanging conveniently on the lazy Susan, like Wal*Mart bags can!) while loading them. I joked to my friend about how inefficient this is, and the checker said, "You're not kidding."

Even worse, we didn't bring in enough bags. We only expected to pick up a few things, so we only brought in one shopping bag apiece. Roaming about, though, we each decided there were more things we couldn't live without. The poor checker had to try to cram things into the bags we brought; is it our "fault" for not bringing more bags, or should Wal*Mart make it easy for us to buy more than we planned by not requiring us to bring our own bags?

Of course I knew this would occur. How could it not? Anyone who's ever spent a day looking at manufacturing plant efficiency could see this train wreck coming--and remember, this particular store has had a month and a half of being bagless to (supposedly) work out the kinks! Bad, bad, bad. Inefficient. Inconvenient. This is what happens when you try to appeal to lefties.

And the (sarcastic) good news for Wal*Mart continues with this story:

In the important holiday quarter ending on January 31, net sales at Walmart’s 3,400-plus US stores fell 0.5 per cent year-on-year to $71bn (€52bn). Comparable store sales declined 2 per cent. Customer traffic also fell.

I contributed to this, playing my small part by not shopping at any Wal*Mart store in January.


Mr. W said...

Nice job.

I know this is coming to southern CA sooner rather than later. I read a story about how things like this will cut back on impulsive shopping because you have to plan to bring in a bag. Curious to see how that plays into their plan

Skip said...

I see this as appealing to the right. The Walton family. Cut costs at every chance to increase our profit, regardless of the consequences. Here in MI we've cut billions from our state budget due to falling revenues. But we are going to lose out on federal money for roads because we can't find enough for a down payment. I don't remember the exact dollar amount, but we will get something like 4x in federal funds. Democrats don't want to cut programs, republicans don't want to raise taxes, so our roads will crumble.

Darren said...

Profits at the expense of customer service? That may appeal to stockholders, but not to "the Right". Most of "the Right" are just ordinary people, like me, who don't want to get crapped on by a business or by a government.

As for raising taxes--I'd be ok with raising taxes *if* I knew the money wasn't going to be wasted or given away, as so much has before. In other words, cut the crap *first*, then come to me if the government needs more.

Ellen K said...

As I said before, Walmart profits greatly on impulse buys displayed at the endcaps as well as check point displays. With less bags, there's less of a chance that people will buy them. And when you consider the nonsense with self-checkout stands (which always seem to breakdown when I use them anyway...) it is going to greatly slow down efficiency. And that translates into MONEY.

allen (in Michigan) said...

Can we not ignore the obvious?

Walmart's caught the Green Plague one of the symptoms of which is mortification of the flesh, of others. Walmart will now demonstrate its commitment to environmental orthodoxy by inconveniencing its customers. It's probably part of an effort to move up-market to a younger, hipper and more free-spending demographic.

Look for opportunities to short Walmart stock.