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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Walmart's Loss of Control and Respect

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Image via Wikipedia"]Black Friday shoppers at Walmart[/caption]

Recently, we had the opportunity to somewhat experience Black Friday shopping. There was one item I wanted to get for one of my kids that was on sale at Walmart. It was to go on sale at 10:00 PM Thursday night. So, we arrive at about 9:45 PM and there is absolutely no parking. I should have left then, but I was hopeful I could get the one item. It was not to be, of course, but let me continue. We enter the store and it is insanity multiplied by infinity.  This is probably what Hell looks like, to be perfectly honest. First of all, it is not even 10:00 yet, when the items are supposed to go on sale. However, practically every item that was listed as going on sale at that time has already been picked up and people are in line waiting to check out at 10 PM.

I used to work for Target. I have worked on Black Friday, both as a cashier, and as security. We had control. We did not let customers select the items on sale until the appointed time. We sometimes had substitutions (but not always, as these are called doorbusters for a reason). Customers were able to check out in an orderly fashion. We respected our customers by giving them boundaries and rules and they typically respected us.

Walmart does not respect it's customers. In fact, they must hate them. In return, it's customers do not respect Walmart and in fact most likely hate in return. One lady told us that people were stealing stuff out of her cart that she had selected to purchase. Tickets were handed out for the item I had wished to purchase, yet none of those people who had tickets were able to get the item because someone had opened the pallet too soon and there was a mad rush. Basically, Walmart had no control over it's merchandise or the time at which they were supposed to actually sell it. But this is normal for Walmart on Black Friday. If you watch the news, you'll see that the majority of Black Friday violent incidents happen at Walmart. Whether it's pepper spray over an XBox, or trampling at the door, Walmart descends into chaos over a flat screen TV to add to the 5 the customer already has in their home, just because they're "saving" $50.

The depravity and greed of man is very evident in the shopper habits on Black Friday, especially at Walmart. They issue very little control or boundaries to their customers. People need boundaries. Speaking from experience, if I issued no boundaries to my children, they would run amuck and out of control. This is what has happened to Walmart customers. Society complains about the violence at Walmart Black Fridays, and at the same time wants boundaries removed. You cannot have it both ways. No boundaries equals getting run over by a Mack truck.

If Walmart wants to earn the respect of it's customers back, it needs to start issuing boundaries and controls over it's products and in it's stores. Target figured this out years ago. It's time Walmart learned a lesson from it's competitors. It's also time for people to learn respect. Needless to say, we left Walmart about 15 minutes after we got there with nothing in hand. Never again, will we attempt such an endeavor. We'll buy our items either at a little bit higher price or online. There's no need to stress ourselves out over one item while suffering the agony of other people's depravity.