The employee forum at the crudely-named yet very useful Walmart-Blows.com has a very interesting thread
now about the company's habit of not hiring enough labor. The store in question is in Gallipolis, OH and the authors are "a collaboration of concerned associates" who sent these concerns directly to Bentonville:
For starters, shouldn't upper management, from assistant on up, know how to run the front end of the store. When lines get out of hand due to management demanding cashiers from an already short staffed front end to every other department on a daily basis and then have no clue how to help during a code purple (long lines with long waiting times) it makes management and Wal-Mart in general look bad.
Here's more from the same letter on the same theme:
Cashiers are constantly sent to other departments because the person that was supposed to be working that department left early to cut payroll, no one was scheduled, or they just wanted to go home and management let them. This happens even while lines are long, breaks and lunches are running behind already, and then management wonders why the customers are angry and they yell at the CSM in the middle of the sales floor in front of the customers because the lines are back in soft lines.
There have been associates at work sick who should have been at home in bed so they could effectively do their job later. On a few occasions some of these associates were told to go home by management when it was busy in the store only to come back and find that member of management denying any knowledge of talking to that person.
Think this is restricted to Gallipolis, Ohio? Think again. Here's one response from the forum:
As a former (by my choice) associate for nearly 7 yrs I've seen the same things happen in 4 different locations. I still see them now as a customer. They do their best to hire "pleasers". Those of us who will "drink the kool-aid" & buy into the whole idea that customer satisfaction is #1 & it's our responsibility. & we will break our backs to make sure we do everything to make it so. For these efforts meager rewards are promised & even sometimes delivered. If they can do more work with less people they will. No one except you & the customers care about the long lines-especially if Wal-Mart is the only place in town where people can afford to shop.
Simon Head, relying upon scholarship from last year's academic conference on Wal-Mart at UCSB explains the process by which every store is fated to end up this way:
In her paper "The Quality of Work at Wal-Mart," presented at the conference in Santa Barbara, Ellen Rosen of the Women's Studies Research Center at Brandeis described in detail how this squeeze on labor works. Each year Wal-Mart provides its store managers with a "preferred budget" for employment, which would allow managers to staff their stores at adequate levels. But the actual budget imposed on the store managers always falls short of the preferred budget, so that most Wal-Mart stores are permanently understaffed. The gap between the preferred and actual budgets gives store managers an idea of how much extra work they must try to extract from their workforce.
And you thought only the pay and benefits stunk at Wal-Mart. Add systematic overwork to the big list of Wal-Mart abuses.
By the way, if you do actually shop at Wal-Mart, this is why customer service is so bad. And what are you doing shopping there, anyway? If all you care about is saving money, isn't time money too?