how cost-efficient is the Walmart way vs smaller shopkeepers specifically in the area of retail?

The only new departments would be Money Center (about a year old) and Connection Center (6+ years old). Even a Division 1 store (no grocery) has everything listed except for deli and bakery, and has had them for 20 or more years.

There are a lot of “invisible” positions at a Wal-Mart, which a lot of people overlook. You see/estimate 20 people working at a given time? There are probably 40-60 more working behind the scenes to keep things running.

You’ll pay more, though. A lot more. Americans tend to be bargain shoppers - it’s fine if you aren’t, but it’s part of the culture.

Really? My experience tends to be the opposite; Americans just accept the price on the tag, whereas Europeans aren’t afraid to bargain. You can’t really haggle at Wal-Mart the way you can with a market vendor. As others have mentioned upthread, Wal-Mart tends to be the cheapest for the most popular goods, but can be much more expensive for the others. In a market with so many stalls selling similar items, I’d imagine that competition would drive down the prices for everything, not just the staples.

In my experience in Europe there is virtually nowhere that you can buy stuff even close to as cheap as it is sold in the U.S. Haggling also takes time, which is something people in America value a lot more than in Europe.

The person you were quoting also said “Saturday afternoon” and in my experience in Europe anytime after 2 PM it gets dicey buying anything, especially on a weekend.

Hell, for some staples there’s no where in the entire world you can buy them at the same consistently low price as you can at Wal-Mart or similar stores. For example I’ve seen bottled water going for more in Africa than it costs in a Manhattan rave filled with people doing E.

How’s that market look when there is a rush on snow shovels and snow blowers in winter storms, and then a rush for fans and a/c units in summer heat waves?

I wouldn’t know, as I’ve never lived anywhere in Europe where snow blowers and air conditioning units are commonly used. I suspect that such items aren’t commonly sold in markets, but rather in big-box home improvement stores.

That statement’s virtually meaningless without further elaboration. For example, what “stuff” are you talking about? Where in Europe and the US are you talking about? (Prices can vary greatly from country to country, and even within countries.) Are you considering just the good’s numerical price, or also taking into account purchasing power of the consumers?

Comparisons of the prices of various goods around the world are readily available on the Internet, and a few seconds of Googling will show that plenty of “stuff” is cheaper in Europe than in North America, while other “stuff” is more expensive, while still other “stuff” costs the same.

As a slightly different shade of Walmart’s efficiencies, it’s not just the systems where Walmart has the advantage, it’s the people as well.

Walmart can afford to have top talent (MBA’s, CPA’s, JD’s) managing it’s portfolio of products, supply chain, financings, contracts, and everything else necessary to maximize the return on its stores.

Mom and Pops have to do all that themselves without the adequate time or education to do it optimally.

Hiring an educated workforce seems expensive, but they more than pay for themselves, especially when you can scale their efficiencies across hundreds of stores. The efficiencies can then be split with the customer in the form of lower prices or retained by the company, depending on the optimal supply/demand mix.

You’re off by at least 50-60 people. I know some people that work for a supercenter, and they claim there’s nearly 400 employees that work there (all shifts).
StudentDriver, you’re missing meat, grocery, dairy, and sporting goods, all of which have 2 or more employees…

MY walmart (Pittsburgh area) frequently runs out of snow shovels and salt during snowstorms. So I seriously doubt if this is true. Especially given the unpredictability of the weather (storms can shift course and miss an area entirely, etc), I can’t imagine them tying an order inventory system to something as inaccurate as weather reports.