Why doesn't Wal-Mart Hire a few more Checkers?
Posted by Glenn Shelhamer (+78) 11 years ago
Is it just me? Lately every time I shop in Wal-Mart I stand around waiting and waiting to pay. Today it was a joke. Three registers were open, and my God....there had to be half a dozen people standing in line behind each. (Except for the speed isle, where the baskets ran off into infinity). I'm a normally laid back fella, but I left my wife standing there behind this lady with a full cart of groceries, and walked over to the curtesey desk to ask if they could call extra checkers.

Much to my surprise, there was a long line of people checking out there as well.

I asked the lady if there were anymore checkers she could call, and she told me in a unhappy and semi-rude tone..."If there were, I would".

I went back and stood there with my wife and our four little items and waited like a good sheep. What made matters worse, while waiting I counted four blue jacketed and name tagged Wal-Mart employees wandering around in an aimless fashion.

How about cross training these people to be used as checkers when the need arises????????? I don't know who the manager is now, but shame on him....this ain't the way to run a business.
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Posted by Former (+182) 11 years ago
The last time I was at the Miles City Walmart it was the same way - and we're not talking about 2PM on Saturday or 530PM on a weekday, it was like 7:30PM on a Thursday (as in, not a "rush hour" time, if there is such a thing in MC).

Walmart has MC hooked. When they first showed up, they were overstaffed if anything, it was always a fast shopping trip. Fully stocked shelves (last time I was in, there was a huge display case for Ipods and Ipads with NOTHING IN IT! Yeah, Miles City Walmart isn't exactly a high priority in the hierarcy of Walmart's chains). Once the little stores around Miles City went out of business, they cut back a bit on staffing and stocking and no longer have to cater to us. There is no other choice when you need say, a dress shirt. Sorry, suckers, there is no where else to buy casual or dress casual clothes in Miles City. You want a DVD? Walmart or order it online and wait a few days. Go to Walmart and stand in line with everyone else.

I guess I can't really blame them. That is "smart business." Undersell everyone else in town, get your monopoly, and then maximize profits. You and I can stand in line for 20 minutes while 40 people shuffle through the 3 open checkouts out of 20 lanes.

[This message has been edited by Former (6/10/2011)]

[This message has been edited by Former (6/10/2011)]
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Posted by Art (+212) 11 years ago
You shouldn't go to WM expecting good service. Then you won't be disappointed.

Shop Reynolds and Steadman's where you can expect good service and you will get it.
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Posted by Former (+182) 11 years ago
Unless you need one of 100 items that you can now only buy at Walmart in Miles City...
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Posted by gierke (+192) 11 years ago
I never shop there! guess they don't have anything I need that I can't get someplace else
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Posted by Josh Rath (+2312) 11 years ago
I usually go to electronics, or the jewelry counter to check out. The "speedy" checkouts are slower than the normal ones anyway. Just easier to walk to the back, check out, and leave out the front.
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Posted by kcu (+299) 11 years ago
As a former checker at walmart: on a daily basis half the scheduled checkers do not show up for work. Walmart has a never ending daily hiring of checkers- they hire people- those people get scheduled- some show up and some don't bother and...some show up but don't want to do their job. Which personally I don't understand because as a "checker" you are paid more than any other employee starting wage. You basically get to pick your own days and hours you want to work and it is a decent job- that is until you are the only one of 6 scheduled checkers to show up to work. Then it gets extremely stressful because everyone takes it out on you for being there. People of course not realizing you were called in on your day off, putting your family and plans on hold to work overtime- just to hear their customers complain.

I have been to other Wal-Mart stores all over Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota- not one of them have the same "lack of checker" issue as the one we have here in Miles City.

Wal-Mart isn't the only business in Miles City that seems to have this problem though according to other posts in this forum. So is it really Wal-Mart that needs to be bashed? Or the lack of work ethic the current generation seems to have? And really whom is to blame for that?

So...maybe next time you are out at Wal-Mart, shopping at the store that everyone loves to hate, please use a little compasion towards your checker...because I'm positive they didn't wake up in the morning knowing their fellow employees were all going to play hookie on their possible only day off, yet still had the ambition to set aside their entire life to come serve you.
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Posted by minime (+150) 11 years ago
i agree with the fact that it isnt the checkers fault that are there. but why is it that there are three csms and managers or whatever theyre called walking around and standing at the little podium chatting about their weekend plans or whatever. its just irritating to see that they have no care in the world when there are fifty people trying to check out through three checkers. i would bet if this was brought to attention of the walmart corp it would be addressed. and maybe some of the managers should go through some kind of training on people skills. last time there i asked for help finding something and they told me that it wasnt their job to know where things were.
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3707) 11 years ago
The joy of managing low-wage, low-skill employees. When I was a security guard in college I became a supervisor and suddenly the last 2 hours of every shift was spent calling people and begging them to come to work.
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Posted by Mandi (+358) 11 years ago
I went to to walmart.com website and sent an e-mail to corporate regarding a problem I was having there. I didn't even begin to imagine that it would make any difference. However, a few days later I got a call from a store manager. There was an investigation, the problem was addressed, and I haven't had an issue since. Sooooooo, my point is perhaps instead of bitching and moaning about the problem, you should try talking to someone who might be able to help. There is no point is complaining. Simply try to find a solution. I swear that if most people spent half the time trying to fix a problem as they do bitching about it........
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Posted by Gunnar Emilsson (+17769) 11 years ago
Levi touches upon my eternal internal political dilemma. I tend to vote for people who will help the underpriviledged pick themselves up by their bootstraps if given some assistance, but there is least half that population who would like to game the system, and get as much freebies from the government and charities as they can.

Who can judge? A government death panel? Or should private companies just fire dead weight as they see it? So said losers can collect unemployment checks and blow it all at Lil's?

I wish I knew the answer.
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Posted by Bob Netherton II (+1912) 11 years ago
One of the big issues in Miles City is the work force. You hear the same complaints about other businesses. Restaurants, nursing homes, fast food joints and retail businesses all have the same problem, especially in Miles City. They all have to draw on the same Miles City work force. I've had some crappy jobs in my life but I always tried to work hard, do a decent job, and most of all, be reliable.

The decent workers in Miles City probably already have jobs and keep them. These service-type businesses have to draw on the rest.
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Posted by j2r (+135) 11 years ago
They need self checkout lanes.
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Posted by Former (+182) 11 years ago
Self Checkouts work great. I'd love to see 'em here.
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Posted by billiam79 (+28) 11 years ago
This Wal-mart had self check-out lanes before the re-model, but got rid of them after because the "supervisor" was helping more people try to figure them out. Granted at that time they were relatively new, so maybe now people could figure them out....
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Posted by B. Hunter (+99) 11 years ago
I was told that "locals" complained that self check out took work away from people. Though, who knows how much truth there is to that.

The Walmart (not the Super Walmart) in Missoula where I'm from has self check out and they are wonderful for the type of runs that include a small handful of items.

But as I state in almost every walmart/mcdonald/etc post... it's not the worker's fault that things are the way that they are. The ones that are there and working should be commended not harped at.

However, me saying something as simple as that will no doubt get a dozen comments calling me a "tard" and such for being what I consider respectful of individuals...

I guess I reply because subconsciously I must be a forum masochist or something. *sighs* Ah, well.
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Posted by Former (+182) 11 years ago
The Walmart on Brooks had a great self checkout setup. If I had 50 things, I just went through the regular line. If I needed laundry detergent, it was in and out through the self checkout. Albertsons there is the same way. I'm doubtful that they take away jobs. Someone has to monitor those lanes. An otherwise understaffed checkout line would run much smoother with the same number of checkers along w/ a couple self checkout lanes.
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Posted by Mathew Schmitz (+279) 11 years ago
The Wal-Mart in Bozeman is exactly the same. 26 checkstands, and never more than 5 open at one time.
I've always thought that when someone is ready to hand you their money, you have no more than 3 minutes to take it, or that customer will be unhappy. It's pretty much the whole reason to be in business. Take the money, and move on to the next person with money. Take it too. If you can't handle that part of the transaction, quickly and efficiently, then lock the doors. You are a moran, and don't deserve my money.
Disclaimer - Not ripping on the checkers at all. Thankless job that I did for many years. But management can fix that problem by helping out when needed. (an occurrence so rare these days it defies logic)
A locally owned ma & pa hardware store here in Bozeman does it right. The owner has helped me carry out my purchases many times. The owner! Go figure.
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Posted by ABE (+416) 11 years ago
The ONLY time I have seen all checkout lines open in a Wal-mart has been during a grand opening. Then the next day you wait, cause only three of the thirty lines are open.
But everyone knows that...
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Posted by Michael LaFayette (+72) 11 years ago
It sounds like the Manager needs to go through some Customer Service courses. He must not know Customer service can make or break ANY business.. You fail the customers, and you fail as a business..
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Posted by dyakoo (+51) 11 years ago
Thank you for putting out a different prospective. However a few days ago I politely said "Thank you" to my checker as I picked up my bags to leave, only to be ignored. I wasn't sure if this checker heard me so I repeated myself a politely a little louder. Still ignored. Rude! They should be happy to have customers with manners. Unfortunately, only certain things can be found at a Walmart in a small town.

As for the long lines, perhaps they should use different judgment upon hiring?
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+12003) 11 years ago
The staffing levels at large stores like Wal-Mart are often NOT handled at the local level. The head office, no matter how far away it is, determines, based on sales per square foot, how many employees to have and what those employees are to do. That's it. Local management has NO say in staffing levels.

It works on a corporate level and that is all that counts.
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3707) 11 years ago
As for the long lines, perhaps they should use different judgment upon hiring?


I'm sure that they would love to hire nothing but people with ivy league educations and years of experience but that's not typically who you have to choose from when you're a grocery store manager.
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Posted by Julie (+414) 11 years ago
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MATHEW SCHMITZ!
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Posted by sdrew (+235) 11 years ago
I personally couldn't work there as a checker. Having all of those people lined up, knowing they just want to pay for their items and get out would send me screaming from the building.Then, God forbid, the checker runs into a snag and has to call a manager for help...!
I try to be patient with the checkers on the very rare occasion that I go to WalMart, knowing it is not really their fault.
I went this week (for the first time in months) for less than half a dozen items and was in line longer than it took to pick up my items.
I used to only get my prescriptions filled there, but have transferred to another pharmacy because I couldn't stand the wait in line just to pay for two medications.
Sad
I save just as much at Albertson's with my preferred card. And of course, I love Ace!
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Posted by Tom Masa (+2103) 11 years ago
I was in Walmart here in Minot on this last Friday afternoon to buy a wheelbarrow. I was in the gardening section where they have 4 check out lanes. Two were manned. I was the 4th of 8 in my lane. The other lane had 7-8 in line. All of a sudden the checker in the other lane turned out his light and left without any explanation. Leaving the the 7-8 people standing there.
It was interesting to see how my lane let the people in the other lane converge.
I usually spend more time in the checkout lanes then I do shopping.
Looks like it is the same all over. I am not sure it goes by volume of sales because this store is always full of shoppers no matter what day of the week it is.

[This message has been edited by Tom Masa (6/12/2011)]
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Posted by Mathew Schmitz (+279) 11 years ago
Thank you Julie!
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Posted by Leann (+179) 11 years ago
Thank you for putting out a different prospective. However a few days ago I politely said "Thank you" to my checker as I picked up my bags to leave, only to be ignored. I wasn't sure if this checker heard me so I repeated myself a politely a little louder. Still ignored. Rude! They should be happy to have customers with manners. Unfortunately, only certain things can be found at a Walmart in a small town.

As for the long lines, perhaps they should use different judgment upon hiring?


As a checker myself at a different store. It is sometimes hard to give a smile back to the person who has just said thank you. Trust me when I say they have heard you even if it doesn't seem like they did. My question to you is, was there another customer behind you in line? If so, this would be the reason you thought your cashier was rude. Most cashiers will make eye contact with you after telling them thank you if they don't have someone one standing over them or another cusomer who has been waiting.
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Posted by Former (+182) 11 years ago
I agree, smiling and saying "your welcome" is outside of the realm of reasonable when there happens to be another person waiting to check out... which... there always is. No, on second thought, I think that returning a smile and either initiating a "thank you" or responding with a "you're welcome, and have a nice day" is not only reasonable, but is in fact the only acceptable way to end such a contact. You're not a doctor fighting their way through triage after a horrific train accident, you're a checker - a "customer service professional" - and customer service does not include ignoring a customer after they thank you for taking their money.

[This message has been edited by Former (6/13/2011)]
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Posted by Ag (+63) 11 years ago
Did anyone notice the large NOW HIRING sign at the front of Wal-Mart today?
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Posted by Leann (+179) 11 years ago
I did
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Posted by nevets (+359) 11 years ago
The new store manager at the miles city walmart is in fact a her not a him. Her name is Dana Alder and has barely been here a month. She has been dealing with countless staffing issues primarily caused by the former store manager barb moore and the lack of applicants that meet walmart's criteria, all while trying to find housing, move a family, sell a house and driving back and forth from butte to do so. One of the first things she did as the new store manager was get approval to hire more cashiers, and associates for all service departments (deli, bakery, tire and lube ect.). She is doing a pretty good job considering the circumstances. Fact of the matter is you can only hire those who apply and can pass a background check, have not been fired from a walmart before, can pass a simple test to see if your atleast halfway compitent and have basic math skills. Unfortunatly that rules out alot of the people who apply. And on top of it all the hiring process takes a couple of weeks. How about everyone cut her a little slack and give her a couple of months to get things worked out before passing judgement and making her feel unwelcome in our community?
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Posted by Bob Netherton II (+1912) 11 years ago
Regarding poor customer service ruining a business....as long as most people think they're saving money at Wal-Mart, people will put up with the crap.
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Posted by Former (+182) 11 years ago
I'm glad to hear that the new store manager is making an effort to remedy these issues. (Perhaps they will initiate a "smile" policy as well, for the cashiers who are too busy to be polite).

Lets also hope that she will fast track the new hires through the 1 week Sam Walton History course that you're forced to take before you can step on the floor to work...
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Posted by Wendy Wilson (+6172) 11 years ago
Fact of the matter is you can only hire those who apply and can pass a background check, have not been fired from a walmart before, can pass a simple test to see if your atleast halfway compitent and have basic math skills. Unfortunatly that rules out alot of the people who apply.


This says a lot about Walmart's pay scale.
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+12003) 11 years ago
Staffing levels are still based on corporate policy and who you can find to fill the position. Employees have to punch out at their scheduled time, even if 40 people are waiting in line, and a local manager can't change that.

A store manager can try to get their employees to greet people (this is a HUGE problem at the local store) but there is very little the local store manager can do about either corporate policy or the local hiring pool.

Wal-Mart will never have department store level service. If you want that kind of service, you have to pay people to provide it and that means higher prices. There is no way around that, no matter who is in charge locally. You wait in line longer in exchange for lower prices. Simple math. It would be nice if we had alternatives in Miles City but we don't so we have to learn a little patience.

And if the rumored Burger King arrives. . .god help us all because there simply aren't enough competent, dependable people in Miles City to fill all the job vacancies as it is.
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Posted by Jeff Denton (+758) 11 years ago
This has been a fun one to follow. The whole WalMart love/hate scenario is different in every town. I don't know just how horribly your WalMart has affected the independent retailers in your town. But where I live we have learned how to fight back. We do it with traditional service and customer appreciation. There is a class of people who actually demand it. The rest, as we say, "so just go to WalMart then". Funny how the manager of our WalMart comes to my store to buy the kind of stuff she sells, but needs better selection and quality. Not to mention the personalized service.
So the question is, is Miles City mostly the "WalMart class shopper" or is there the clientele in sufficient numbers for beloved, hard working "Mom and Pop" retailers to thrive?
A phrase overheard in my store, so often that it is part of a radio ad now, is "Gee, we should have come here FIRST". And (not in the radio ad) "well, we can get this and take all that other crap back to WalMart".
Sure there's lots of stuff we don't have that WalMart does, simply because of copyrights and trademarking, so we do have to send people there for specific items, and it's not unusual for a reaction like "ick, we don't do WalMart." With a smile my answer is "I don't, either, sorry."
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Posted by Bridgier (+9307) 11 years ago
If only Miles City had the tax base of the Flathead valley, just imagine the shopping (and swimming) opportunities that would abound.
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Posted by Glenn Shelhamer (+78) 11 years ago
Instead of worrying about hiring a ton of cashiers...why not cross train dependable people that normally stock. or work in electronics to come up to the front when things get busy?????
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Posted by Buck Showalter (+4456) 11 years ago
That seems to be the issue here. You get two lines and half a dozen people standing around who couldn't help if they wanted to. Stupid a-holes and their picturesque views - holding up my land raping Super Wal-Mart. Someone wrote "land rape" on the sign that says "Future home of Super Wal-Mart," good stuff.
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Posted by nevets (+359) 11 years ago
As for the cross training issue that can create just as many issues as it would solve for example- The electronics associate just got called up to the front to cashier who will help you find the tv that best suits your needs or get that ipod you want out of the locked case? Or if the bakery cake decorator gets called away who will write happy birthday and your childs name on that cake for you? It's a darned if you do darned if you don't type situation that can only be solved by hiring.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+15122) 11 years ago
I have it on good authority that Pastors are the only people in that are truly "cross-trained".
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Posted by Aaden's Mom (+48) 10 years ago
ACTUALLY--Wal-Mart checkers do NOT get paid more than other people in the store, that is incorrect. They go by pay classes, 1-7, and cashier is a 3. I don't think that's the highest paying job. It's one of the worst jobs in the whole store because you get to deal with the lovely customers at the end of their time in the store. You get grouchy a-holes, impatient people, being told your incompetent--that by itself SHOULD grant cashiers to be paid more but it doesn't.

Wal-Mart recently went to a new system that is called a "score" card. You can't blame employees for this set up, it was some corporate bull poop they decided to pull because they were bored one day and figured they could screw with all of their employees. It sucks, trust me. They are told when they go to lunch, break, etc. They are scheduled via "computer," because the computer "knows" the customer flow (it goes back to a year as of the date and schedules according to the business and customer flow of that day a year ago, stupid, yes). If people are so bothered by the fact that there aren't enough cashiers, go shop somewhere else. Go early in the morning. Go at night. Those are the times when Wal-Mart isn't busy. The Wal-Mart here doesn't rehire people. Why? I'm not entirely sure, but it's a dumb idea in a town that's barely on the map. You can't come to the store and become frustrated with the people working there when it's out of their control. How would you like it if I came into your place of work and blamed you for the times the business is open? That's not your fault, unless you are a big wig (but if you were you wouldn't be living here, so). But we all need jobs to get by, Wal-Mart is one of the means to an end. The reason you see people "aimlessly" walking is probably because they are on break or they have other things they are doing. Wal-Mart can't cross train the entire damn store because they all have their own responsibilities within the store. They can't constantly be called up to check. Do you want stuff to be on the shelves when you go into the store? Do you want there to be plenty of your favorite items to be stocked on that shelf? That takes a few people to do that. Oh, and what else do they need? Supervision. There are managers that are over departments and believe it or not, they have a lot they have to do in order to keep YOU, the CUSTOMER, happy.

Moral of the story: Quit your bitching and if you don't like waiting in line, get a job there and help out. Geez.
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Posted by Marcy (+597) 10 years ago
I was shocked this last weekend! My family and I went to the Wal-Mart in Billings at 10:00 Sunday night, the place was very busy! And I commented to my spouse at the amount of checkers, I think that there were 10+ working. Not to mention the fact that there were over ten employees stocking shelves. Needless to say we were quite pleased!
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Posted by me55 (+18) 10 years ago
Why is everything out of stock at Walmart lately? In particular the produce, yogurt and meat... I hardly even go there anymore because they stopped carrying a lot of the things that I used to buy, and so many things are always out of stock that I end up leaving empty handed half of the time anyway.
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Posted by Jody K (+103) 10 years ago
I was told that the local Walmart doesn't do any ordering. They get whatever they are sent. I guess they don't look at inventory or what sells well because sometimes the shelves are bare. They would make a lot more money if they had things for sale that people go to the store expecting to buy, like you know, milk?!
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+12003) 10 years ago
Wal-Mart depends on Point Of Sale Replenishment i.e. POSR. As an item is scanned out, it is theoretically reordered. This system doesn't work particularly well for a number of reasons but it does allow a corporation using it to hire fewer human workers and depend on computers instead. Rather than paying a person to work an eight-hour day going through the shelves and ordering, the system does it automatically.

HOWEVER, aside from the problems that occur with any computer-based system, there are all sorts of formulas to take into account like minimum order amount that can cause problems. Have to order 12 of something to get it shipped? If you only have ordered 11, too bad. Processing times means you will probably be out before a new shipment arrives. If the minimum is saved until the next order and added on, you have additional waiting time and a good chance that the previous order will disappear somehow.

Plus a store is shipped inventory based on sales per square foot. If a store has reached the dollar amount of inventory it is allowed, then shipping on everything besides promotional items will be suspended until enough has been sold to allow resupply. Inventory control is critical to low margin businesses and one store being out of socks doesn't matter when compared to the overall flow of inventory.

Is the item in the warehouse? Has the minimum order been met? Have sales been adequate to allow for replenishment? Is the system count accurate? Has a buyer miscalculated and there is an overage of one product preventing the re-ordering of another?

In the old days, the store owner went to market and bought what that store owner thought was needed. If you ran out, you ran. Today, the scope is HUGE compared to the past, multinational, with contracts for next year's Christmas items let six months ago, and shipping times taking into account oceans.

In other words, this Wal-Mart probably has absolutely NO control over the product it receives. I guarantee that it makes the local employees tear their hair out when they are out of something they need and desperately overstocked in something they don't but there is very little they can do.
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Posted by Pam Buford (+26) 10 years ago
I know a lot of formal worker and I've been told that one reason their always shorthanded is because the way some are treated. Also they're not trained like they should be. I think if they had some competition, things would be different.
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Posted by Terry L. Brown (+58) 10 years ago
ok.....I just have to chime in here! YES.....Wal-Mart is having hiring issues. There are also issues with associates who get hired because they want a job and then they call in 2 to 3 days of the 5 they are schedualed and wonder why their check is SH*T!!! Cashiers are schedualed to cover all hours....with more schedualed during the busiest times. For example.....out of the 13 schedualed the other day....7, Yes I said SEVEN of them called off!!!! That left ONLY 6 for the whole day. We have cross trained floor associates that work in other areas of the store that are constantly being called to the front to cashier....therefore....it takes away from the job they are supposed to do, resulting in empty shelves!!! Its a vicious circle!
The new Manager, Dayna is doing an excellent job in trying to turn things around for this store...ecspecially in dealing with what was left for her to fix!!! It takes time and a lot of hard work, a lot of patience and the effort of those who work their butts off to make the difference. A lot of us are trying really hard to make our store a great place to shop and work. Cut us some slack....Please!!! I know its frustrating for all of you who shop there....just keep in mind we are trying. Believe me when I say....it bugs us too that our customer service is suffering!!!

I work in the Deli as the supervisor. come see me and say Hi! I might even give you a smile!!! Terry
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Posted by Terry L. Brown (+58) 10 years ago
Oh....and BTW.....when I started Working at Wal-Mart almost 5 years ago....My starting wage was slightly higher than the journeymans wage I was making at Albertsons!!! I make a darn great wage for Miles City standards! Its not the wages....its the work ethic that matters and the putting in the hours you need to make a great paycheck!!!! ok.....that is all!!!
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Posted by cubby (+2651) 10 years ago
Anyone complaining about our walmart should go to Glendive and try out their Kmart good luck with that one!! LOL
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Posted by stef428 (+239) 10 years ago
I'm from Glendive and our Kmart is HORRIBLE! I was in walmart last sunday, around 5ish, it was bad. I just ran in to get a few things (maybe 6) and I kid you not I could have had my mom save me a place in line, shopped and been back before she got to the front of the line. Our checker was really nice, but it was her and 3 other checkers. There were at least 15 people in every line!
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Posted by luvlife (+292) 10 years ago
I, too...have all the same complaints with our Walmart. I can not believe how the shelves look....nothing faced and some of them look so bare....I went down the candy isle and it was a total mess and out of everything.

In saying this....I would like to say I do appreciate the employee's that have to listen to all the complaints...the one's that have hung in there and are trying to do their jobs and picking up the slack from not enough help.

Alot of the employee's do not look happy...but, are trying to be pleasant. I really feel for them...it can't be easy when so many are complaining.

I just wonder exactly where the problems lie here??? It has gone down hill terribly in the last couple of years. I like Walmart and I hope it can turn around and be the store it once was.

Thank you to the employee's trying to make a difference everyday and still have time to smile and say "thank you"!!!
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Posted by C.Kee (+371) 10 years ago
That was nice luvlife!
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