Walmart observations

Brian Lutz
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Re: Walmart observations

Post by Brian Lutz » October 28th, 2019, 8:11 am

Last week I was in Las Vegas for a few days, and when we visited a Walmart there (the one on Charleston Boulevard) I observed that almost the entire HBA section of the store (as well as most of the tool section) was being kept in locked cabinets. When I made a purchase, I had to find an employee to open the cabinet, take the item out, and put it into an anti-theft container and have the cashier unlock it to make the purchase. This seemed like a very busy store, and I'm guessing they're doing enough volume to make up for those types of security measures, but I don't think I've seen anything that extreme in terms of anti-theft measures in a Walmart before.

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Re: Walmart observations

Post by mjhale » October 28th, 2019, 3:34 pm

Brian Lutz wrote:
October 28th, 2019, 8:11 am
Last week I was in Las Vegas for a few days, and when we visited a Walmart there (the one on Charleston Boulevard) I observed that almost the entire HBA section of the store (as well as most of the tool section) was being kept in locked cabinets. When I made a purchase, I had to find an employee to open the cabinet, take the item out, and put it into an anti-theft container and have the cashier unlock it to make the purchase. This seemed like a very busy store, and I'm guessing they're doing enough volume to make up for those types of security measures, but I don't think I've seen anything that extreme in terms of anti-theft measures in a Walmart before.
Wow! What you describe is draconian compared to the anti-theft measures I've seen in the Walmart stores near me. The Supercenters around me are very busy stores in my observation. The most I've seen in terms of anti-theft is a separate section with its own cash register for high theft HBA items. Also baby formula is in a locked cabinet behind the registers. The only things in locked cabinets within HBA are electric razors. Walmart has to do what it feels it needs to in order to reduce shrink. However as has been discussed here before the more barriers you add to a customer making a purchase the less they actually end up purchasing. Finding an employee in Walmart is hard enough. But forcing me to find an employee for almost every HBA purchase I wanted to make would cause me to go elsewhere. The cost savings gets eaten up in time and frustration.

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Re: Walmart observations

Post by Alpha8472 » October 29th, 2019, 12:41 am

I have friends who work for Walmart. I know of several stores in high theft areas where they have to do this. The Oakland, California area is filled with professional shoplifters who can wipe out entire aisles of products. The local Walmart stores have locked up entire aisles with glass cases, but provide teams of employees whose sole job is to run around and unlock items. There are call buttons in the aisles that call employees to come help. This is similar to the buttons that Target used to have. Products are then placed in plastic containers to be rung up at the registers. This system is not perfect, but it is a team effort. Employees who stock the shelves also have the keys, so customers are attended to. These "Happy to help" employees have to be quick and friendly. The system works for the most part, but when it gets busy there is a longer wait.

The corporate office is cracking down. If shoplifting is not kept down below a certain limit, the stores will be closed. This is what the corporate office has forced upon these stores. If the employees want to keep their jobs and their store, they need to do this. It is not so great from a customer perspective, but if the key holders do their job the system works for the most part.

The reason for locking these items up is to stop those shoplifters who wipe out the entire aisles of merchandise. The losses drive up prices, and could lead to stores closing. The Oakland, California Walmart was closed due to shoplifting. The nearby stores have to take action or they will be next to close.

The result of this is that shoplifting is reduced greatly, and the shoplifters go elsewhere such as CVS or Target. I kind of feel bad for Target.

Strangely enough, in this area the only options for cheap products is Walmart. There are few Target stores in this area, as Target knows that this high theft, high poverty area is not a good place to open up stores. People do not have a choice as to where to buy cheap products. Many people in this area do not have cars, they are so poor that they have to take the bus and cannot travel long distances to find a Target store.

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Re: Walmart observations

Post by cjd » March 3rd, 2020, 4:43 pm

I typically go to Walmart on Friday evenings, and I've noticed the last several trips there were no employees to check receipts stationed at either the grocery entrance or the health and beauty entrance.

However last week there was a receipt scanner and cart there. Someone was already having their receipt checked as I approached the door, so I just went on outside.

I've never been stopped for a receipt check, they just say "have a good evening" or I walk on by if someone is already there.

Another thing I noticed is some kind of gates have been installed at the health and beauty entrance door. I'm not sure if these are one way gates or not, but they are right past the checkouts going into the main aisle of the store. They were added just around January or so but it seems like the last few times I've gone, they were all standing open. Putting pressure on them causes them top open when going in, not sure what happens when going out. If they are one way they seem like a big annoyance if someone is leaving without buying anything and is forced to exit through an empty checkout or find another entrance. They don't appear to have these at the grocery entrance and definitely aren't at the garden center side.

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Re: Walmart observations

Post by Brian Lutz » March 3rd, 2020, 9:16 pm

One interesting thing I saw on a visit to a Walmart in Lynnwood last week was that when I checked out, the cashier at the front end wasn't using the regular checkout, but instead was using one of the newer handheld checkout devices. When I got into the line I was asked if I was planning to pay with cash or card (I assume I would have been directed to another checkout if I was using cash), and I was also asked to leave my items in the cart instead of putting them on the belt. The checker used the hand scanner to scan the items in the cart and to run my debit card, but used the regular bagging station on the checkout line. I didn't see what the other lines were doing, and this obviously wouldn't work for any items that needed to be weighed (this isn't a Supercenter store and doesn't have deli, produce or meat departments,) but it almost seems like they might prefer the handheld scanners over the conventional ones, at least in this case.

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Re: Walmart observations

Post by storewanderer » March 3rd, 2020, 11:14 pm

cjd wrote:
March 3rd, 2020, 4:43 pm

Another thing I noticed is some kind of gates have been installed at the health and beauty entrance door. I'm not sure if these are one way gates or not, but they are right past the checkouts going into the main aisle of the store. They were added just around January or so but it seems like the last few times I've gone, they were all standing open. Putting pressure on them causes them top open when going in, not sure what happens when going out. If they are one way they seem like a big annoyance if someone is leaving without buying anything and is forced to exit through an empty checkout or find another entrance. They don't appear to have these at the grocery entrance and definitely aren't at the garden center side.
These gates have been installed at most of the Reno locations and are on both the grocery and the drug sides (but none of the rural ones, also not at one in central Reno on some Indian Tribe land which is interesting given that location has a lot of issues being in central Reno- I am wondering if the Tribe did not want them there). My impression is the gates are going into stores "with theft issues." I do not like the gates, they remind me of the old turnstyles from the 80's which were ultimately removed from most retail stores due to being deemed unsafe and a fire hazard. You can exit via the gate but you have to physically push it (it does not automatically open when you try to exit it) and then an alarm goes off and the receipt checking person is supposed to "look you over." I wouldn't be surprised if the security camera also goes onto you and takes a photo of you trying to exit improperly. But you can just go walk through the self checkout a few footsteps away and exit through the proper exit. I am not sure what the point is. Also what a pain for employees coming and going from the store, or pharmacy customers who just go in for a script and nothing else.

The receipt checking people have a scan rate they are supposed to be following and basically there are some locations that are very aggressive and they will try to scan every receipt, other locations where it is a lot more casual. The "policy" is that they are only supposed to ask for a receipt if you have unbagged merchandise. That policy is not being followed in many stores "with issues" where they are basically implying that it is required for a receipt check of every customer. Makeshift signs have been posted at some locations that were obviously not from the corporation, that say "please present receipt to exit" or similar. I will not wait in a line to have my receipt checked and I actually had a couple customers try to stop me as I bypassed a line of about 8 of them waiting patiently for their turn for the receipt check (the employee did nothing as I walked by- was too busy digging through someone's bags) and carried my bag out. But if there is no line then I will comply.

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Re: Walmart observations

Post by TW-Upstate NY » March 4th, 2020, 7:25 am

This is why I do little if any shopping at Walmart. There are theft issues and I get that but I will not give my business to a company who pretty much thinks every one of their customers is trying to pull a fast one.

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Re: Walmart observations

Post by veteran+ » March 4th, 2020, 8:55 am

I have not shopped at Walmart for decades and never will.........no matter what (I am biased because of what they did to my Mom and several friends).

I have accompanied a friend or two from time to time because they needed transportation.

I ignore those front door receipt checkers. I just keep on walking. If they want me they can come and get me. They never do................and that's very good for them because they are very vulnerable to saying and doing the wrong thing. And THAT would be a huge mistake in "dealing" with me.

There is not ONE thing about the Walmart experience that I find redeeming or excusable. And I understand that I am often the lone wolf on this subject.

But who cares, right? They are the most powerful and richest retailer in the world and clearly, that is what matters.

:?

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Re: Walmart observations

Post by pseudo3d » March 4th, 2020, 9:07 am

Despite the fact that the local Walmart has pulled annoying things like receipt checks in the past, I walked out of my last Walmart run empty-handed because they have replaced Georgia Pacific printer paper and Avery plastic sleeves with their own house brand. I ended up finding the brand of plastic sleeves I wanted at H-E-B(!) but the printer paper was a real disappointment, used to be that Walmart reliably had GP, even when others (like Target) didn't.

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Re: Walmart observations

Post by arizonaguy » March 4th, 2020, 10:19 pm

pseudo3d wrote:
March 4th, 2020, 9:07 am
Despite the fact that the local Walmart has pulled annoying things like receipt checks in the past, I walked out of my last Walmart run empty-handed because they have replaced Georgia Pacific printer paper and Avery plastic sleeves with their own house brand. I ended up finding the brand of plastic sleeves I wanted at H-E-B(!) but the printer paper was a real disappointment, used to be that Walmart reliably had GP, even when others (like Target) didn't.
This is a trend I have noticed with Walmart (and Sam's Club). A number of items in the store are moving to private label. I haven't been disappointed with the quality level of Walmart's private label suppliers though so it really hasn't been a big deal for me.

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