Walmart: There is a price for cheap
Photo by: tom.arthur
I have this love/hate relationship with Walmart. I love the fact that they have pretty much everything you could ever want all in one place. I find their stores easy to navigate and the their overall selection excellent. Their prices are hard to beat as well. While they aren’t always cheaper on everything, I’ve seldom found any local store offering a lower price than Walmart.
My wife loves Walmart. We have a supercenter literally 5 minutes from our house which is both convenient and dangerous. My wife even does our primary grocery shopping their due to the low prices.
Here’s the problem: I literally HATE going to Walmart. I hate going their so much, I’d rather pay extra money to avoid it. Here’s why:
Unless you go early in the morning, say before 10:00am or you go late in the evening after 10:00pm finding a decent parking place is difficult. It seems that our Walmart is always packed. I don’t mind walking, but parking in the back forty when it’s 90+ degrees outside isn’t my idea of fun.
As if finding a parking space isn’t bad enough, just getting to one without getting in an accident is challenge. Walmart’s are so busy, the parking lot reminds me of interstate traffic during rush hour. There are cars and people everywhere and avoiding hitting one or the other requires intense focus. I get stressed out every time we make that left turn into the main parking lot. Maybe I should invent a new game for the Wii…hmmmm.
Unfortunately, we aren’t the only one’s that have recognized the great selection and prices Walmart offers. The rest of the world has as well, and I think they all visit our local Walmart. I am amazed at how many people are actually in the store at most any given time. Navigating the store is far more difficult than navigating the parking lot. While I don’t find the aisles particularly narrow, I do find them full. When you get 3 or 4 people on each aisle all trying to go their own way with those big’ol shopping carts, it’s a bit chaotic. As with parking, just walking around the store stresses me out and frankly just puts me in a bad mood.
While difficult to deal with, I am willing to deal with the parking, the chaos and the people to get the lower price. After all, you have to give up something for lower prices. Few things in this world are free or without cost right?
What I have the biggest issue with at Walmart is checking out. When you arrive at Walmart, it takes a little longer to find a parking space and a little more time to get what you need due to the people and the size of the store. What takes literally forever is waiting in line.
Not sure about your local Walmart, but ours probably has 30-40 registers. I would be surprised if we have ever been there and there were more than 50% of them open. Most times it’s more like 10 are open. Lined up at the ones that are open are usually 5-10 people with full shopping carts. On average, I’d say we spend anywhere from 15-30 minutes waiting in line, depending on how busy the store is.
The icing on the cake
For me, Walmart just isn’t worth it. For my wife though, it’s completely worth it. She doesn’t like waiting, but feels waiting a little extra is the price you pay for the discounted prices, so we wait anyway. What really does me in, and this occurs probably 50% of the time, is walking out the door and having the theft alarm go off. Far too frequently, the cashier fails to correctly deactivate the anti-theft system on some item we’ve purchased.
As a result, we get accosted by the senior citizen greeter at the front door who has to sift through all of the items we’ve purchased to find the offending item. They must then write down all the details of the item, validate your receipt and once again attempt to deactivate the anti-theft device. If you have more than one item, you may as well find a chair.
My time is valuable to me
I know my main issue is lack of patience, but at the same time my time is important to me. Instead of waiting at Walmart, I could be playing with my kids, playing Wii with my wife, working on our house, working on a new web project, or writing an article for one of my blogs. All of which are far more better uses of my time. The extra time and stress I waste at Walmart just isn’t worth the cost savings to me. To be honest, I’m not even sure what the real cost savings is.
Walmart: Why can’t you raise your prices just a bit and keep more of those lines open? Or how about coming up with a system where you you have extra lines and charge a premium for the people that go through those “express lines” ? I’d pay!
How about you? What’s your take on visiting Walmart and the cost of saving money? Am I just on a crazy rant or does my argument make sense? Add a comment!