Straight Dope Message Board

Straight Dope Message Board (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/index.php)
-   In My Humble Opinion (IMHO) (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/forumdisplay.php?f=12)
-   -   Despite the negative views about Walmart, it's still a good place to shop (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=876912)

sta3535 06-10-2019 02:06 AM

Despite negative views about Walmart, it's still a good place to shop
 
It's the best place to shop IMO due to the prices. Now, Aldi is still good, but 99% of their store only contains food, while Walmart sells everything.

Furthermore, Giant Eagle (a northeastern retail chain) has slightly higher prices, but customers can still use their advantage card:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giant_...oyalty_program

I also understand that working for Walmart isn't the best experience, from what I heard, but where else can I buy a wide range food, clothing, and electronics without breaking the bank? Maybe Target, Kmart, or even Costco?

On an extra note, my family & I shop Giant Eagle, Walmart, & Aldi. We choose where to shop every week. We only shop at Target or the mall if we feel like buying something nice.

Beckdawrek 06-10-2019 02:09 AM

Some places it's the 'only' place to shop.

mixdenny 06-10-2019 02:16 AM

90% of everything we buy is at Walmart including such things as tires. Asian food markets account for most of the rest.

Dennis

panache45 06-10-2019 05:21 AM

There's a new Walmart just a few blocks from our home. We live on the outskirts of a large Ultra-Orthodox community, many of whom shop there, where there's an entire large aisle of kosher food.

The only problem I have is the parking and long checkout lines. Early Sunday morning is good.

Ludovic 06-10-2019 05:42 AM

The only time I go to Wal*Mart is when I am in a small town out west and it is the only department store I see because I know they will have a big selection of everything. I don't go to my local one because that one has loud ads that blare everywhere, even in the register.

kanicbird 06-10-2019 05:55 AM

Walmart has it's place in our shopping routine, so does Amazon and a lot of other stores. It is a good 'all purpose place' in terms of selection, however there are other factors to consider, so I will say It depends.

The Walmart near one of our places in a suburban area is run down and sort of has that white trash 'k-mart' feel to it (when K-mart was in trouble), and one feels like they should shower after shopping there. It will do in a pinch, but we would rather shop at other places. OTOH by our vacation home is 2 very nice Walmarts, about equal distance away (about 20 minutes) which are a pleasure to shop at. Often we will buy stuff there and bring it to the other place. We tend not to buy food there as we have at both places great supermarkets which do pretty good at pricing and food items, particularly meats and produce seem higher quality and cut better (Walmart has irregular cuts and sometimes bone 'splinters' as well as sometimes some off tasting steaks, not off tasting as in bad, but perhaps tenderizer was used on them - though they are cheap, It appears like many of Walmarts meats have not a insignificant amount of added water.)

The employees at the vacation home area seem happier too, which I'm sure has something to do with the Walmart experience difference, and it is a lot less pressure.

Balthisar 06-10-2019 06:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sta3535 (Post 21689757)
We only shop at Target or the mall if we feel like buying something nice.

The stuff at Target is nice? It seems to me that it's the same stuff that's sold at Walmart or Meijer.

I love the clean Walmarts in Mexico with excellent customer service. The Walmarts with which I am familiar in the USA, however, make me want to kill myself.

DrFidelius 06-10-2019 07:12 AM

When I do go to Wal*mart I like to dress appropriately but I have not yet been featured on any if the "People of" websites.

Telemark 06-10-2019 07:39 AM

I've never shopped at a Walmart voluntarily.

CelticKnot 06-10-2019 08:13 AM

I had not been a frequent Walmart shopper before we married and moved overseas. So I didn't quite get it that whenever American women would get together and the topic of shopping came up, Walmart would be mentioned and most of the women would sigh "Waaalllmaaaarrt"as if it were paradise. Within 5 months of moving back to the mainland to a town where Walmart was the only major store, the sigh was "Oh, crap. We have to go to Walmart."
Given the choice between Walmart and Amazon, I'll choose Walmart. Given the choice between Walmart and Meijer, we choose Meijer. Unfortunately, even though we would rather go elsewhere, Walmart has better prices and more selection.

Jophiel 06-10-2019 08:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Balthisar (Post 21689893)
The stuff at Target is nice? It seems to me that it's the same stuff that's sold at Walmart or Meijer.

Depends on the stuff. An ACME Model ABC1001 coffee maker is the same no matter where you go. Stuff like clothing or store-brand housewares, I prefer Target over Walmart for style and quality.

Dewey Finn 06-10-2019 09:20 AM

Target definitely aims to have more stylish stuff than Walmart. And I usually shop at Target, but they also have more stores in my area than Walmart does.

kenobi 65 06-10-2019 09:38 AM

If one wants (or needs) to be particularly price-conscious when you're shopping, Walmart, and that's your primary (or only) concern, Walmart may be a sensible choice. And, as Beckdawrek notes, in many, more rural areas of the U.S., Walmart may be among your only choices for a brick-and-mortar retailer.

That said, I've worked for several companies which supply products to Walmart, and had several more of such companies as clients. Walmart is, to be polite, an exceptionally challenging business partner for their suppliers -- they use strongarm tactics to force their suppliers to lower their prices to Walmart, relying on the fact that they are, by far, the biggest retailer in the U.S. In many categories, if your products aren't available at Walmart, you've instantly lost 40% or more of your U.S. sales.

Similarly, Walmart has regularly been criticized for its labor practices (which, again, seem to mostly be carried out in the name of cutting costs).

RealityChuck 06-10-2019 09:47 AM

There's a Wal-Mart less than a quarter mile from my house, so I go there often. I don't bother with their food, but I get clothing and non-prescription pharmacy items there (since the nearest drugstore is three times as far).

Dewey Finn 06-10-2019 09:51 AM

It's from 2003, but this article from Fast Company describes some of Walmart's strongarm tactics.

kayaker 06-10-2019 10:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Telemark (Post 21689951)
I've never shopped at a Walmart voluntarily.

When I need something, I find it on Amazon and place my order. If I need something ASAP I'll hang my head and go to a WalMart.

HeyHomie 06-10-2019 10:12 AM

Boy howdy would I love to not shop at Walmart. I could, of course, do my (food) shopping at the nearest farmer's market, wherein I could get locally-sourced, organic, cruelty-free goods, but it's 100 miles away. OR, I could shop at the nearest mom & pop grocery and pay a solid 50 percent more than what I pay at Walmart, but they let their employees smoke on the job and that disgusts me beyond all reason and sanity, especially at a fucking grocery store.

So Walmart it is.

cochrane 06-10-2019 10:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kayaker (Post 21690240)
When I need something, I find it on Amazon and place my order. If I need something ASAP I'll hang my head and go to a WalMart.

Wal-Mart has online shopping similar to Amazon. They have two day delivery on most items and free shipping over $35. I just placed a large order with them and got everything in my order within 5 days.

GESancMan 06-10-2019 10:36 AM

The Portland metro area only has a couple of "real" Walmart stores, because the masses have been successful at keeping them out. But we do have their "neighborhood markets" - grocery stores with the Walmart name. There's one within a mile of my house. We went there for a while, a couple of years back, during a stretch of money being tight. We were quite happy when our situation improved and we didn't have to go there anymore.

I guess it's okay if you are buying a name brand that can also be found in other places. I'll still pop in there from time to time to get Tillamook sharp shredded cheddar, as they sell it in bulk for a good price (and unfortunately, Costco doesn't).

But some of their crap is just that. Their produce and bakery stuff is poor quality. On more than one occasion, we bought canned food ("Great Value") that had gone bad in the can. How does that even happen?

I'll stick with paying a bit more at Fred Meyer or Safeway, thank you very much.

Mundane Super Hero 06-10-2019 10:51 AM

I'm not so sure it's that great. Of all the stores I've shopped it, it was the only one where I actively worried that people sitting in their cars and looking around the parking lot were actively looking for cars to steal.

Inigo Montoya 06-10-2019 11:04 AM

I'm finding it hard to find an OP I disagree with more than this one, but I may have missed a thread singing the virtues of wearing golf cleats to stomp newborn kittens. WM is the absolute pits. They treat their employees like crap, many of their electronics are substandard (compared to identical models sold at legitimate retailers) with regard to durability and features, and they consistently force the customer to choose between waiting 30 minutes in line because only one cashier is working, or to do the cashier's job without the pay and do their own checkout. It's a system designed to abuse consumers, employees, producers (underpaid Chinese manufacturers), and legitimate retailers (by underpricing and selling substandard crap) while increasing income for the filthy rich owners. It's an immoral operation in just about every regard and it's not worth my time, soul, or money to set foot in one.

Helena330 06-10-2019 11:34 AM

I'm glad to have other options. I've been to Walmart once in the last six months. Their produce is terrible. I also can't stand the receipt-checkers at the door.

Asuka 06-10-2019 11:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Helena330 (Post 21690450)
I'm glad to have other options. I've been to Walmart once in the last six months. Their produce is terrible. I also can't stand the receipt-checkers at the door.

I know people love on CostCo but I can't go to CostCo becuase their receipt checking is much much worse at least in my local store. There will literally be 20 people waiting to leave the store because their one receipt checker is slowly looking at the merchandise making sure it's correct instead of signing the damn thing and letting people move on.

Gatopescado 06-10-2019 02:01 PM

Ain't nuthin' wrong with WalMart.

zimaane 06-10-2019 02:31 PM

In my experience, for groceries, Safeway is slightly less expensive than Walmart. I don't shop for clothes or other stuff often enough to have an opinion.

Wesley Clark 06-10-2019 02:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Beckdawrek (Post 21689758)
Some places it's the 'only' place to shop.

In many small towns its about the only store.

digs 06-10-2019 02:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sta3535 (Post 21689757)
Despite the negative views about Walmart, it's still a good place to shop.

OP, you didn't mention what negative views you meant. And if you personally don't have any negative views, why not just shop there, why the thread?

I'm thinking that if you're wondering what negatives are, it might help if you ask that question.

GargoyleWB 06-10-2019 03:27 PM

From my experience, if only evaluating purely on price, then it may be the best deal. For any other definition of 'shop' (product quality, in stock, wait times, customer service, ease of shopping, trust, community support, treatment of employees) the only other place that compares is a few Sears stores slowly withering on the vine while being liquidated.

WildaBeast 06-10-2019 04:01 PM

I typically shop at Target because there's one just a few blocks from my house. Having become accustomed to to Target, on the rare occasion that I stop at Wal-Mart just because I happen to be near one, I find the shopping experience overall is much less pleasant at Wal-Mart compared to Target. As someone else mentioned about the only good thing is Wal-Mart's prices are a bit lower.

Guinastasia 06-10-2019 04:38 PM

I loathe going to Walmart. The one nearest me is full of hicks. It's like going to Larry the Cable Guy's family reunion. (If I dared, I'd take pictures, because it's prime hunting for People of Walmart)

Helena330 06-10-2019 05:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Asuka (Post 21690512)
I know people love on CostCo but I can't go to CostCo becuase their receipt checking is much much worse at least in my local store. There will literally be 20 people waiting to leave the store because their one receipt checker is slowly looking at the merchandise making sure it's correct instead of signing the damn thing and letting people move on.

Ours, too. Ironically, I liked our Sam's Club before it closed. Great produce, reasonable quantities, and a nice parking lot. Our Costco parking lot is insanity and the quantities much too large for our small household. They do have some cool stuff, though.

I miss our Sam's Club! :eek:

Saintly Loser 06-10-2019 05:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GESancMan (Post 21690304)
The Portland metro area only has a couple of "real" Walmart stores, because the masses have been successful at keeping them out. But we do have their "neighborhood markets" - grocery stores with the Walmart name. There's one within a mile of my house. We went there for a while, a couple of years back, during a stretch of money being tight. We were quite happy when our situation improved and we didn't have to go there anymore.

I guess it's okay if you are buying a name brand that can also be found in other places. I'll still pop in there from time to time to get Tillamook sharp shredded cheddar, as they sell it in bulk for a good price (and unfortunately, Costco doesn't).

But some of their crap is just that. Their produce and bakery stuff is poor quality. On more than one occasion, we bought canned food ("Great Value") that had gone bad in the can. How does that even happen?

I'll stick with paying a bit more at Fred Meyer or Safeway, thank you very much.

Yeah, this.

We don't actually have WalMarts in New York City, but from time to time, when we're driving somewhere outside of the city, my wife likes to stop at a WalMart and see if there are any deals to be had.

But, probably due to the way I've read they push their suppliers for lower and lower prices, even brand-name stuff on WalMart's shelves quite likely isn't what you'd buy somewhere else.

Case in point -- a few years ago we were in a WalMart somewhere. I forget where. New York State, or New Jersey. We were looking around, and my wife got some kitchen stuff. Pots and pans. I saw a rack of Levis. I grabbed a couple of pairs. I wear plain Levis jeans all the time. Like, outside of work, it's the only thing I ever wear. And the price was good.

They disintegrated within a year. Within six months, actually. I usually get a few years out of a pair of Levis.

And the pots and pans? On two of them, the bottom separated from the body of the pot (hard to explain, but that's what it was). One of them cut me so badly, when washing them, that I had to go to the hospital to get stitched up.

So I don't trust WalMart not to put some absolute garbage on their shelves, using (and perhaps degrading) a well-known, trusted brand to sucker in the customers.

And then there's their labor practices...

Ludovic 06-10-2019 05:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Guinastasia (Post 21691144)
I loathe going to Walmart. The one nearest me is full of hicks. It's like going to Larry the Cable Guy's family reunion. (If I dared, I'd take pictures, because it's prime hunting for People of Walmart)

I hate it more for the "full of" than for the "hicks" part. My local Target has been drawing a more ... diverse ... clientele as of late but I don't mind because the aisles are not always full with customers and/or pallets.

digs 06-10-2019 05:31 PM

The story of the Levi's disintegrating confused me until I did some research.

According to Teh Interwebs, Walmart squeezes their vendors to keep coming up with ways to hit an absurdly low price point (at least the price Walmart pays the vendor). What companies like Levi's end up doing is to make a separate line of clothing just for Walmart. With thinner fabrics and cheaper thread.

No wonder they don't last.

sta3535 06-10-2019 10:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by digs (Post 21690913)
OP, you didn't mention what negative views you meant. And if you personally don't have any negative views, why not just shop there, why the thread?

I'm thinking that if you're wondering what negatives are, it might help if you ask that question.

What he said:

Quote:

Originally Posted by Inigo Montoya (Post 21690365)
I'm finding it hard to find an OP I disagree with more than this one, but I may have missed a thread singing the virtues of wearing golf cleats to stomp newborn kittens. WM is the absolute pits. They treat their employees like crap, many of their electronics are substandard (compared to identical models sold at legitimate retailers) with regard to durability and features, and they consistently force the customer to choose between waiting 30 minutes in line because only one cashier is working, or to do the cashier's job without the pay and do their own checkout. It's a system designed to abuse consumers, employees, producers (underpaid Chinese manufacturers), and legitimate retailers (by underpricing and selling substandard crap) while increasing income for the filthy rich owners. It's an immoral operation in just about every regard and it's not worth my time, soul, or money to set foot in one.


GESancMan 06-10-2019 11:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Asuka (Post 21690512)
I know people love on CostCo but I can't go to CostCo becuase their receipt checking is much much worse at least in my local store. There will literally be 20 people waiting to leave the store because their one receipt checker is slowly looking at the merchandise making sure it's correct instead of signing the damn thing and letting people move on.

Huh. At the two Costcos near me, they just glance at the receipt, glance at the cart, and mark the receipt. It's totally painless. I suspect it depends on the individual store.

I signed an agreement with Costco that I will stop and get my receipt checked. I have signed no such agreement with Walmart. On the rare occasions I go into a "real" Walmart, I just blow right by the receipt checkers. Fuck them.

Asuka 06-10-2019 11:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GESancMan (Post 21691697)
Huh. At the two Costcos near me, they just glance at the receipt, glance at the cart, and mark the receipt. It's totally painless. I suspect it depends on the individual store.

I signed an agreement with Costco that I will stop and get my receipt checked. I have signed no such agreement with Walmart. On the rare occasions I go into a "real" Walmart, I just blow right by the receipt checkers. Fuck them.

Leaving my local CostCo is like entering West Germany from the East. Every single cart is thoroughly inspected before the receipt being checked off and let through, and they seem to get the oldest fogey to check who moves as slowly as possible when he literally physically checks your cart and looks through each bag.

The one time I bought an HDTV there during a super sale and I was just bringing the TV by itself not in any sort of bag, it still took a good minute of inspection of the receipt, then the TV, then the receipt, then the TV again before being let through.

Urbanredneck 06-11-2019 08:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by digs (Post 21691218)
The story of the Levi's disintegrating confused me until I did some research.

According to Teh Interwebs, Walmart squeezes their vendors to keep coming up with ways to hit an absurdly low price point (at least the price Walmart pays the vendor). What companies like Levi's end up doing is to make a separate line of clothing just for Walmart. With thinner fabrics and cheaper thread.

No wonder they don't last.

It's the same with Goodyear tires. Their is a Goodyear brand especially for WalMart that a regular Goodyear store wont touch.

Urbanredneck 06-11-2019 08:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Wesley Clark (Post 21690875)
In many small towns its about the only store.

Actually Dollar General has filled that role because they go into even smaller towns than WalMart and often their prices are lower. They do this by having smaller stores with a smaller selection and no areas like jewelry, shoes, automotive, or lawn and garden.

Jophiel 06-11-2019 08:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GESancMan (Post 21691697)
Huh. At the two Costcos near me, they just glance at the receipt, glance at the cart, and mark the receipt. It's totally painless. I suspect it depends on the individual store.

This is my experience as well. I don't especially like the pause while they cast a cursory glance at my cart and run a marker over the receipt but I have to admit that it's mostly painless.

Dorjän 06-11-2019 08:59 AM

Due to my work and class schedule, I'm often only free to do grocery shopping and household shopping at odd hours like 1-2 am. WalMart is the only place open during those hours.

california jobcase 06-11-2019 09:33 AM

I live out in the sticks. It's a ten mile drive to get to the nearest Walmart or other grocery store. However, when I do get into town, I can get from any of the four grocery stores to another in about five minutes so I read the weekly ads and shop accordingly.

A Dollar General has opened up in view of my front yard. It is a welcome addition, IMHO. I can now buy ice cream and get it home without it melting. Prices on most of the grocery items I buy at DG might be a bit higher than those in town at a grocery store, but probably not higher than the price of the gas I'd burn on the 20 mile trip to get one or two things.

The local neighborhood Walmart is weird. It has a big "DAIRY" sign on the back wall. There is no cheese, sour cream, or yogurt there. Only milk. The aisle sign for "Asian Foods" has been hung in the wrong place for five years now. It's the only store in town where the hot dogs aren't near the bologna and other cold cuts. They claim to label unit pricing on their shelves, but they play games with it. On one brand of paper towels they may list the price per sheet cost, on another cents per square foot, and another, price per roll. It's done so the expensive stuff looks cheaper than it is to the unobservant.

peedin 06-11-2019 10:01 AM

I have absolutely no problem with WalMart. There is a WalMart, Meijer, Jewel, and Target all within a 2 mile radius of each other. I buy meat at the local butcher, and buy the majority of my dry goods (toiletries, cleaning products, paper products, etc) at WalMart. I'm tired of hearing "WalMart put the mom and pop stores out of business." There hasn't been a "mom and pop" store in my geographic area since the 80s, and WalMart didn't even show up here til 15 years ago, long after Meijer, Jewel, and Target. If Levi's wants to cut a deal with WalMart, then so be it. Nobody is forcing Levi's to do that.

Urbanredneck 06-11-2019 10:25 AM

Quick note: we were once in Viborg South Dakota. We dropped my mother off at the local Ma and Pa grocery store then drove around the block and down the street and parked at the hardware store thinking we would drive back to pick up my mother and the groceries. The stores were about 1 1/2 city blocks away. Well the grocery store has this policy of carrying out customers groceries (normally just parked right outside) so while we were finishing up at the hardware store and about to leave and go to the grocery, here comes my mother and a grocery store clerk walking down the sidewalk, he was carrying 2 shopping bags with my mothers groceries.

Point: they really took their store policy of taking groceries to the customers car seriously! They might by more expensive than the big chain store 30 minutes away but no way near such great service!

Jophiel 06-11-2019 10:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by peedin (Post 21692255)
If Levi's wants to cut a deal with WalMart, then so be it. Nobody is forcing Levi's to do that.

No one claimed otherwise. They said that Levis jeans sold at Walmart are of lower quality to meet the required Walmart price points. Maybe you don't care, but as a consumer you should at least know about it.

cochrane 06-11-2019 10:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Urbanredneck (Post 21692095)
Actually Dollar General has filled that role because they go into even smaller towns than WalMart and often their prices are lower. They do this by having smaller stores with a smaller selection and no areas like jewelry, shoes, automotive, or lawn and garden.

Wal-Mart has Neighborhood Markets which are groceries only, no big ticket items.

pulykamell 06-11-2019 10:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Balthisar (Post 21689893)
The stuff at Target is nice? It seems to me that it's the same stuff that's sold at Walmart or Meijer.

It's pretty similar, but it's amazing to me the difference, at least in my neighborhood. Years back, in back-to-back shopping plazas, there was a Walmart in one, and a Target in the other. I went in the Walmart to buy yarn or some shit like that (which Target doesn't carry--or at least not the ones around here). Describing it as pure chaos is overstating it, but it was pretty crazy in there with kids running loudly up and down aisles, folks blocking aisles with their shopping carts, and just in general too much humanity concentrated in one place. We then went to Target to buy some follow-up purchases, and it was peaceful, serene, no loud kids running around loose, no shoppers with no concept that they're not the only people in the store. Just a night and day difference.

Now, I've been to very pleasant Walmarts. When we were traveling through Arizona, Utah, Idaho, in an RV, all the Walmarts we visited were fine. Nice, even. Hell, they all let us park our RV in the parking lot overnight, even though that policy had been officially discontinued by that time.

So it varies quite a bit from location to location, but, around here, I do my best to avoid Walmart. There's other stores I could go do just as cheap (or nearly so) and I could avoid the hassle.

Helena330 06-11-2019 12:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jophiel (Post 21692325)
No one claimed otherwise. They said that Levis jeans sold at Walmart are of lower quality to meet the required Walmart price points. Maybe you don't care, but as a consumer you should at least know about it.

Rubber Maid and White Stag also come to mind. The Rubber Maid items I've bought at Walmart have all been rigid and more breakable than RMs I've bought elsewhere. I also bought some White Stag shirts at Walmart before I knew about them being lesser quality, and those things really itched. I don't trust a lot of brand names at Walmart. I haven't noticed a difference in branded food quality, however.

Urbanredneck 06-11-2019 02:40 PM

They do the same with so called "factory outlet" stores where they sell a lower quality item.

california jobcase 06-11-2019 04:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cochrane (Post 21692326)
Wal-Mart has Neighborhood Markets which are groceries only, no big ticket items.

Heh. In Georgia, there are 708 Dollar General stores and only 187 Walmarts of all types excluding Sam's clubs. Dollar Generals are growing like kudzu in North Georgia.


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:15 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright © 2018 STM Reader, LLC.