A Rant About Walmart - How it went from worst to first to third in our household

Love it or Hate it - Walmart is a fixture of our daily lives. Read on to hear how Walmart went from an infrequent stop, to our number one store, and back to the sidelines.
Once upon a time, I used to shop for groceries based on which store had the best produce department. Fresh fruits and vegetables are important to me, and they are expensive - even more expensive if they end up in the trash...

Then my husband lost his job and I looked for any way to cut costs - so I started using coupons and driving to multiple stores to get the "best deals." It was an educational experience!

During this time, I frequented 2 or 3 stores per week. I may have shopped at Walmart once every 3 or 4 months to buy paper towels, cat litter...stuff like that. But groceries were my main spend and Walmart was never part of the rotation.

Eventually, our local Walmarts became "super centers" and started carrying more food. Their produce was abysmal so I avoided shopping there. Then I started to notice that most "coupon items" were sold at Walmart for less than the regular grocery store. Time became a premium and I started buying more of my food from Walmart.

Then Walmart came out with the savings catcher app. This app scanned your receipt and then matched any advertised price automatically. What a time saver! I found it to be about 80% effective at catching price deals and so Walmart became my ONLY grocery stop.

The produce section was still lacking but did seem to be improving. We grow a lot of our own fruits/veg or pick at orchards over the summer/fall and load up our freezer with good stuff, so I thought it was an okay compromise.

But I could never get over the gross feelings I have whenever I'm inside a Walmart store. It's not the "capitalism." Target, Cub Foods, Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Aldi - they are all big capitalist giants. They have the same low wages, same tax breaks, same environmental destruction, same greedy CEOs.

No. It's the fact that everyone at Walmart appears to be depressed, ill, or deranged. Now, keep in mind - I live in an upscale area. I am a stay at home mom, so I shop during the day when only people without jobs go to the store. The stores are not packed. They are reasonably clean.

But the people still look ill. Maybe it's just what America is really like? It's hard to know because my neighbors, friends and acquaintances are mostly healthy, young professionals. Walmart is the opposite.

In case you're wondering.... I have also shopped at Walmart stores in disadvantaged areas. And I've had the interesting experience of going to Walmart at night. It's more intense, but it's just a brighter picture of the same. People in scooters. Carts loaded with garbage food. People in a zombie like daze.

Why? I don't know, but it bothers me every time I go to Walmart.

Since you've read the title of this article, you realize that I eventually stopped shopping at Walmart to often. The ick feeling is part of it, but I was clearly willing to put my own feelings (and health, to be honest) in order to save money. I am betting most people would have reacted the same.

Here's why I stopped shopping there. Maybe a year ago, Walmart started the policy of "checking your receipt/cart" every time you left the store. ANNOYING!!

I have never in my life stolen something from Walmart, and I hated being rallied up in a line to have our receipts checked. Every. Single. Time!

In all honesty, it made me want to steal from Walmart. They were accusing me anyway! And it would be so simple. Their stupid receipt checks did nothing to prevent it. This miffed me royally and planted a seed of real hatred.

The saving catcher kept me hooked. Then - they decided you had to use Walmart pay to get any rebates from the savings catcher app and that was the last straw. The thing is, I have the walmart app, they have my credit card saved. It's just pulling my phone out at the register instead of my credit card, but it was too much. It was the straw that broke the camel's back.

I already hated their food selection (and by food I mean, produce, dairy, the bakery, and meat). Their boxed foods are the same as anywhere else.

I started to realize just how damn loud it is in Walmart - there are big ass blower fans, music overhead, people, uggh. I also started seeing more of the in store shoppers - the walmart delivery people and they were clogging the aisles with their gigantic rolling carts. They were on timelines so they were bossy and rude - their goals clearly more important than any one else's. Plus it's dim and lit by overbearing fluorescent bulbs.

So I wasn't sad to say goodbye to Walmart. I may go there every once in a while to buy cat litter or underwear (yep, I'm cheap like that) but it's not "my grocery store" anymore. It's actually been a lot of fun and an eye opener. I am really loving the meat department and the fresh fruit areas in my local grocers. Awesome stuff!

As luck would have it, for the past month I went to walmart 3 times. Wow - you say. Well, during this time we did adopt 3 stray cats and everyone needs new underwear at Christmas, so.... But the ironic part of those visits is that I was not stopped to "check my receipt" even once. WHAT???!!! How exciting. Maybe enough people complained. Why didn't I complain? Because I complained to Walmart customer service once in the past and it was as horrible as waiting in the store customer service line. Took forever, nothing was accomplished.

So... there you have it. The round trip of how we barely shopped Walmart, to making it our main hang, then back at the end of the line.

In case you are in a place where you want to "save money" and start using coupons - just don't. I recognize that we all have to learn for ourselves, but it's just not worth the health costs to eat that junky stuff. All coupon items are overpriced and the coupon just makes it closer to a realistic price, but the food is generally really poor quality. Buy real food - and probably not from Walmart until they make further improvements in fresh food quality. Just my 2 cents.

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Stephanie Ann said...

Hence the "people of Wal-mart" pictures etc

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