Wal-Mart Sucks! by James Deming
|A letter I just wrote to the CEO.
I am writing you today to express my dissatisfaction with the speed and efficiency of the register employees of Wal-Mart Supercenter #576. This evening I went to your store for a quick trip to pick up catfood for my cat Eddie. I picked up a couple extra impulse items and proceeded to the register. After walking along the registers looking for a short line, of which there were none, I chose a line that I thought might be the quickest as there were only 3 partially full carts ahead of me. I happened to look at my watch and the time was 8:25. While standing in line I began watching the lines to either side of my line and began to notice they were hardly moving. In addition I noticed that the register to the right of mine had three Wal-Mart employees standing at the register visiting with 5 customers in line. After watching the line next to mine for a few minutes and noticing there were still 3 customers in line infront of me, I decided to pull out my iPhone, start the stopwatch and time your employees. I picked register 5 as my sample, Hilary was the associate. This was the line with 5 customers with mostly full carts waiting to check out. I began my experiment at 8:38pm (Note this was 13 minutes after I got in line, and there were STILL the 3 carts in front of me, meaning my register was able to check out only 1 cart in 13 minutes). I started my stopwatch and started counting items as Hilary scanned them. The first sample, 1 minute, 5 items scanned, or 12 seconds an item. So to really understand how slow that is, read the following: BEEP, 1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi, 3 Mississippi, 4 Mississippi, 5 Mississippi, 6 Mississippi, 7 Mississippi, 8 Mississippi, 9 Mississippi, 10 Mississippi, 11 Mississippi, 12 Mississippi BEEP, 1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi, 3 Missi….well, you get the point. This might have been okay had the employee taken a bathroom break between beeps. I conducted 2 more time trials in which Hilary had 10 scans on the second trial of 1 minute (Go Hilary!), and 7 scans on the third trial of a minute. This means Hilary scans 1 item every 7.33 seconds. At this point in my study it was 8:52 and I had finally reached the checkout counter, it only took me 27 minutes of standing in line to get there. My checkout girl proceeded to scan my items slowly as well, and I was so busy watching Hilary in the other lane that I did not notice that my checkout girl had finished scanning my 5 items, and had scanned a few of the next customer’s items for good measure. After the checkout girl removed the next customer’s items from my bill, I paid and headed for the door slowly as I observed the other checkers also moving at a snails pace. When I reached the door I proceeded to ask the greeter “Who is your store manager?” to which I got the following response…Uhhhhhhhhh, John somebody. This went a long way to explain my experience as it takes leadership to motivate employees, and it was painfully obvious leadership was absent at this store location. I am surprised that a company with Wal-Mart’s success can operate under a culture where a store’s employees do not even know the name of their local store manager.