All Articles Tagged "Walmart"
A Virginia family received the shock of their lives when they came home to a Prince William County police officer waiting at their doorstep, questioning whether or not their three daughters really belonged to them.
According to a Fox News affiliate, it all started when Joseph and his three little girls made a trip to their local Walmart. Because Joseph is White and his daughter’s are biracial, some of the store’s staff and patrons suspected that he had actually kidnapped the girls. After they left Walmart, Joseph stopped by to pick up his wife Keena and when they made it home, the family was greeted by a police officer.
“He told us very sincerely, ‘Hey, I was sent here by Walmart security. I just need to make sure that the children that you have are your own,’” Joseph said of the officer.
“I was dumbfounded for a moment. I said to myself, ‘Did he just ask us if these were our kids?’ Especially knowing what we went through to have our children,” Keena added.
“He checked my ID and he asked my 4-year-old to point out who her mother and father were.”
According to the officer, the police department was contacted by a Walmart security guard who saw Joseph with his children in the parking lot and thought it was “strange.”
An outraged Keena says she then called Walmart, demanding an explanation for the incident, but security wouldn’t take responsibility for the false alarm and insisted that it was a customer who initiated the allegations by expressing that he saw her husband with the girls and “didn’t think that they fit.”
Walmart reps say they are looking into the situation. Joseph and Keena have promised to never shop at Walmart again.
Check out footage of Joseph and Keena describing the troubling incident below. What are your thoughts on this?
Ever go into a store and just hate the customer service? You are not alone. According to a new American Consumer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) survey, some of the country’s largest retailers have the worst customer service while, on the bright side, e-commerce retailers scored high customer satisfaction scores.
Recently, 24/7 Wall St reviewed the ACSI data to find the companies with the worst satisfaction scores in retail. On average, the traditional retail companies peaked at 76.6 on a 100-point scale in 2012. Internet retailers, however, had an average score of 82 last year. Out of the nine top retail companies with the worst ACSI scores, only one was an online retailer.
Here are the worst top three:
1. Walmart. Just because a company is a major chain doesn’t mean good customer service. In fact, it seems that the largest chains have the worst track record when it comes to satisfying customers. The $469.1 billion chain only received a score of 71 in the survey. For the purposes of the survey, Wal-Mart Stores was graded as a department and discount store.
When graded for customer satisfaction as a supermarket, Walmart’s ACSI score was not much better, at just a 72, reports the 24/7 Wall St. This was the worst in that category. Despite having a history of poor customer service, Walmart has not improved over the years. In fact, it has been the lowest-rated department or discount store in the nation every year between 2007 through 2012. And, it has been the lowest-rated supermarket every year since 2005. Even it’s e-commerce division doesn’t fare well. According to ForeSee’s E-Retail Satisfaction Index, Walmart received a grade of 78 on a 100 point scale during the 2012 holiday season, while rival Amazon.com led all e-retailers with a score of 88.
2. Netflix. This is the only e-commerce business that had poor grades. It earned a customer satisfaction score of only 75. The company, which makes $3.61 billion annually, was slightly up from 2011 when it received a score of just 74. Over the years it has been dropping in rank. Things got really bad in 2011 when Netflix enraged customers by increasing prices and announcing plans to separate its DVD rental and streaming platforms. But, writes the website, after a considerable hit to its image — consumers were outraged at the prospect of having to pay bills for two platforms that would not be coordinated — the company pulled the plug on the service split.
3. Safeway. Despite earning $44.21 billion each year, Safeway hasn’t put much of an effort in improving its customer service. The supermarket chain received a 75 on the customer satisfaction score. Safeway, which is among the nation’s largest retailers., has more than 1,600 stores. “In each of the past 10 years, Safeway has underperformed supermarkets as a whole in the ACSI,” reports 24/7 Wall St. Customers complain often about inaccurate pricing, which led the state of California to sue the company twice. In fact, a court order required Safeway to refund customers $5 or give them the product free-of-charge if they are charged more than the advertised price. Still, according to a report by CBS 5 in San Francisco the company still often overcharged consumers last year.
We wonder if convenience and affordability, at times, trump a retailer’s commitment to customer service. If you can find what you need at the cheapest price at one store, do you care if the sales associate says “please” and “thank you”? (Though that doesn’t explain what’s going on at Safeway.)
Do you shop at any of these stores? What do you think of their customer service?
With wedding season quickly approaching in a tough economy, many brides-to-be might be dreaming of a celebration of nuptials far beyond what their purses can handle. As a result, many might be considering settling for less than their dream wedding, but thanks to Wal-Mart, they don’t have to.
I know you’re thinking, “Wal-Mart? Has she lost it?!” The superstore chain, known for its everyday low prices and door-buster electronic sales during the holidays has chosen to widen its appeal by entering the wedding market, bringing its tried and true low prices AND quality items.
From high-quality bridal jewelry to chic wedding décor and accessories, Wal-Mart is now rolling out their brand new and affordable wedding options across the country, and I had the privilege of checking out a beautiful selection of their new goodies at their bridal bar preview in NYC.
The first station showed off a gorgeous display of bridal jewelry which included engagement rings, men’s and women’s wedding bands, bridal rings and keepsake bands from Wal-Mart’s new “Always and Forever” Bridal Platinaire Collection. The collection starts at $98 with ½ – 3/8 carat T.W. diamonds, which are set in a mélange of sterling silver and five percent platinum. I was impressed not only by the affordability and beauty, but also by the availability both online and in-store at a growing number of locations.
As the country recovers from the horror of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, people across the country are beefing up their stockpiles, purchasing guns faster than stores can keep them in stock.
President Obama held a press conference yesterday in which he announced that new gun control proposals would be in front of Congress next month, a quick response to the horrors at Sandy Hook last week.
“The president’s pledge came as House Republicans restated their firm opposition to enacting any new limits on firearms or ammunition, setting up the possibility of a philosophical clash over the Second Amendment early in Mr. Obama’s second term,” The New York Times reports.
The plan will be developed over the next few weeks with VP Joe Biden leading a group from across multiple government agencies. Rumor has it that a ban on assault weapons and “high-capacity” ammunition magazines could be part of the proposal, the NYT says. Both sides, especially the GOP, want to take a look at changes to the mental health system, education, and other factors besides direct gun control measures as well.
Mayor Bloomberg, a longtime gun control advocate, has thrown his support behind the President’s efforts. That support will likely come with financial backing, as the billionaire mayor is known to put his money where his mouth is. And he has a history of successfully achieving his policy goals. He’s not the only politico in favor of change. Rep. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) has come out in favor of stronger regulation and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has said she will introduce gun control legislation next year. For a list of lawmakers who have changed their tune about gun regulation, click here. (Rep. Heinrich is on the list.)
At the same time, people are making a mad dash to their local gun shop to get their hands on assault rifles and armored backpacks. “A spike in gun sales is common after a mass shooting, but the Connecticut tragedy has generated record sales in many states,” BusinessWeek reports. Background checks in states like Colorado and Nevada broke records in the days after the Connecticut shooting. And Walmart says it was sold out of semi-automatic weapons in five states including Pennsylvania and Alabama. Shoppers are also turning to eBay to purchase ammunition.
Parents are taking precautions with their children, investing in armor that slips into a child’s backpack, priced at $150 to $300. However, CBS News points out, the armor is designed to stop handgun fire, not assault weapon shots. A man quoted in that story bought one for his one-year-old son. All the parents argue it’s a measure they’re willing to take if it will do anything to protect their kids.
Of course, what will really protect children and adults alike would be fewer people firing guns at other people. The National Rifle Association, which crows about the Second Amendment when anyone even mentions gun regulation or gun control, waited until Tuesday to issue a statement, available here. After expressing shock and sadness over the Sandy Hook shooting, they said,”The NRA is prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again.” The group is planning a press conference tomorrow in Washington and its Facebook page is back up and running (and accepting insane comments) after being shut down in the wake of the tragedy. We couldn’t find any detail about what they might be prepared to discuss, however, if you’re interested (and you should be) in the history of the NRA and how it became so politically powerful, check out this New Yorker story from April. It’s eye-opening.
On a positive note, New Jersey held its gun buyback program over the weekend in Camden, one of the state’s most troubled cities. A new record was set, with 1,137 guns turned in, beating the previous record of 700. Among the weapons returned were sawed-off shotguns, rifles used for elephant hunting, and fully automatic weapons. With $110,000 in cash and $6,000 in gift cards to hand out, the program ran out of money. The New York Post says that nearly all of the weapons will be destroyed.
And some companies are taking steps to distance themselves from the gun industry. The Washington Post reports that package’s Sporting Goods will stop selling sporting rifles, at least for the moment. And investor Cerebus Capital Management, which has a stake Freedom Group, the company that manufactures Bushmaster Rifles, said that it will be selling that stake. “It is not our role to take positions, or attempt to shape or influence the gun control policy debate. . . . There are, however, actions that we as a firm can take,” Cerebus said in a statement.
The paper says that the gun industry generated $11.7 billion in sales this year. Sales have been strong since the moment President Obama took office with gun advocates nonsensically fearful that gun laws would tighten to the point where they wouldn’t be able to add to their collections.
New and stronger gun regulation is needed in this country. If Sandy Hook (and the the other recent shootings) hasn’t made that clear, then nothing will. Of course, we haven’t yet addressed all of the hundreds of millions of guns that are already in people’s homes and on the streets. A fundamental change in our gun mentality will have to be coupled with any legislative measures.
Nicki Minaj has a lot to gripe about lately. She just accused Steven Tyler of being a racist when he questioned her ability to select talent on American Idol. She questioned Barbara Walters (harshly) for not interviewing her after the Mariah Carey feud story broke. And now, she is saying her latest CD, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded – The Re-Up, isn’t selling because two of the nation’s biggest retailers passed on the album.
The original CD, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, was released in April 2 and “was certified platinum after selling more than 1 million units in the U.S. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, selling 253,000 units in its first week,” reports Billboard. The Re-Up was released on November 19 and has eight new songs. It is packaged with a DVD featuring the album’s music videos and 90 minutes of behind-the-scenes footage.
During an interview with New York radio station Power 105.1′s “The Breakfast Club,” Minaj blamed low sales of the new album on Walmart’s and Target’s failure to carry it. ”… [T]he stores basically said that the last few re-releases they had put out did not do well and they didn’t want to take a chance. So, Target and Walmart is not selling the album. Target is actually my biggest retailer — they’ve always been my biggest retailer. They’ve sold the most Nicki Minaj albums ever, so, thank you, Target. But I wish you could’ve sold this one,” said Minaj.
Best Buy, said Minaj, did take a limited number of units.
Having Target and Walmart behind your product can equal great sales. Taylor Swift used Target to sell the only deluxe version of her latest CD Red with additional audio content (three bonus songs and three remixes), reports Billboard. Target, Walmart and Best Buy also sold the standard version of Swift’s album, which sold a 1.208 million copies last week in the U.S. according to Nielsen SoundScan. “That’s more than any album has sold in a single week since 2002, when Eminem‘s The Eminem Show sold 1.322 million in its first full week at No. 1 on the Billboard 200,” reports Billboard.
Not having a presence on the shelves in Walmart and Target probably is hurting her. But, on the other hand, do her fans want to a spruced up CD with only a few new tracks? Or would they have preferred an entirely new album? Or maybe Nicki Minaj needs to give us all a break and take a holiday vacation. A day with no Nicki news would be a gift to all of us.
The numbers are in and this year’s Cyber Monday is the all-time online shopping champ.
Sales for the day were up 30.3 percent year-over-year with department stores leading the pack, according to the AP. “Results show Americans are getting more comfortable shopping across all screens — computers, smartphones and tablets — and retailers are capitalizing on this by improving e-commerce offerings and beefing up Cyber Monday-specific deals,” the news outlet reports. Still, online sales only account for 10 percent of total holiday sales. We’ll have to wait for the November and December numbers to get a fuller picture, but The National Retail Federation is expecting an overall increase of 4.1 percent in holiday spending this year.
There had been concerns that Cyber Monday had lost its oomph. In response to yesterday’s numbers, Jay Henderson, IBM Smarter Commerce’s strategy director tells USA Today, “The reports of the death of Cyber Monday are greatly exaggerated.” The “most-searched-for products” were Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Ugg boots. The most-searched retailers were CyberMonday.com, Target, Amazon, and Walmart. The data shows that mobile devices were used by many people to visit a retailer and make purchases and “PayPal had almost 200% more volume in mobile payments,” the paper writes. (Interestingly, Mashable reports that Twitter contributed zero to online sales on Black Friday. Or .34 percent to be exact.)
For the weekend as a whole, Ad Age says the average shopper spent $423, up from $398 last year. The magazine outlines four things that they say the weekend showed about the consumer habits. The one that we found most interesting is, “Consumers could care less about the ‘fiscal cliff.’”
“More Americans this month said the U.S. economy will improve than at any time in the past decade, according to the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index. The share of households saying the economy would get better rose to 37%, the highest since March 2002. A year ago, the measure showed a record number of consumers said it was a bad time to spend,” the magazine continues.
We’re curious about whether this optimism is something that comes with the holidays and a coming new year. The holiday season is a happy time, and New Year’s brings with it lots of hope for the year ahead. And after years of this recession, who doesn’t want to let go a little now that things seem to be slowly turning around? (Though unemployment numbers in the black community still show many still feel a strong level of economic strain.)
But an analyst that spoke with the AP, Brian Sozi, also makes an interesting point: ”Retailers have done a fine job at shifting the pool of holiday buyers to earlier in the season, but have not necessarily created demand outside of the carefully scrutinized shopping list.” So the question is whether the level of optimism and enthusiasm will be sustained for the next month? Or will shopping fever cool as people reach their budget thresholds?
This also ties in with one of the other things that Ad Age said about the holiday shopping weekend: “Retailers are nervous about the economy.”
From Eur Web
Nicki Minaj’s “Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded” album may have gone platinum, but its follow up – an expanded version titled “Pink Friday Roman Reloaded: The Re-Up,” released Nov. 19 – hasn’t gotten off to as good of a start, and she’s putting the blame on three of the nation’s biggest retailer for making the CD difficult to purchase.
“It is hard to get the album because the stores basically said that the last few re-releases they had put out did not do well and they didn’t want to take a chance,” she said in an appearance on New York radio station Power 105.1′s The Breakfast Club
Read more at EurWeb.com.
Sales associates — on both a year-round and seasonal basis — at retailers across the country have gotten their marching orders for the big Black Friday shopping day. But some Walmart associates are thinking of marching all right… right out of the store to strike against the company over opening hours that will interrupt their Thanksgiving holiday.
Walmart stores are scheduled to open at 8pm Thanksgiving evening. One million workers are meant to be on the floor. But staffers at 1,000 locations across the country are planning a work stoppage that could start even before Friday.
As ABCNews.com notes, other retailers including Best Buy and Target have pushed up their Black Friday opening hours, giving customers the option to shop basically throughout Thanksgiving Day. And some associates are excited to be part of the day. “We respect the rights of our associates to express their views but if they are scheduled to work, we expect them to show up and do their job,” Kory Lundberg, director of National Media Relations for Walmart told the website in an email.
This isn’t a new argument, but rather one that was also waged last year with many people signing online petitions against the Thursday start to Black Friday. “What seems to really getting folks up in arms, however, is the way that commercialism is creeping into the once-sacrosanct holiday of Thanksgiving, as it becomes commonplace for stores to open with deals aplenty on Thanksgiving night,” writes TIME magazine.
Looking back at one of last year’s petitions, the magazine further reports, “The petition states that it is ‘inhumane and inconsiderate’ to ask employees to work go into work after their holiday dinner and then work through the night into Black Friday.” Other petitions directed at Walmart have argued that the working hours put a strain on and “hurt” families.
The article makes the point that stores wouldn’t open if there weren’t shoppers there to spend money. A valid point. But part of the reason that shoppers are there is because they want to make the most of the holidays, which includes gifts for everyone. And with these tough economic times, people will go to great lengths to save precious dollars any way they can. If that means getting to the shops earlier and earlier each year, so be it. It’s kind of chicken and egg. But we would be curious to find out if the same people show up every year for the doorbuster deals, or if these earlier hours are attracting even more people or leading to more sales. (Some local media are reporting that lines are already forming.)
But back to the headline. Walmart’s VP of communications made an appearance on CNN today and the reporter, Carol Costello, brought up the fact that Walmart pays some of its workers wages that are barely above the poverty level even as the net income for the retailer during the third quarter was $3.63 billion and as the wage gap in the US grows. Think Progress pulls the quote (emphasis theirs):
Our average rate is about $12.40 an hour far a full time associate. We also offer comprehensive benefit packages as low as $17 a pay period, which is very affordable and we also pay quaterly bonuses, which is something that not a lot of retailers do…. And we know that they appreciate that, they also get a 10 percent discount card. So you have to factor in all of those things when you’re looking for how we’re helping associates.
The holiday season is here (as of Thursday), with droves of shoppers looking to spend their extra cash on the latest gadgets, toys and big purchases. And while the economy might seem a bit more stable when it comes to driving consumers, many still struggle with unemployment. As 7.9 percent of Americans face the possibility of unemployment during the holiday season, the craziness of the popular consumer season sparks an increase in seasonal job openings.
According to the Tribune Chronicle’s TribToday, retailers nationwide “are expected to hire 585,000 to 625,000 seasonal workers this holiday season, according to estimates by the National Retail Federation.” So if you are still in search of a job, or looking to earn a little more money for extra spending or expenses, try your hand at getting a seasonal position for the holidays.
It might be Election Day, but we still have to eat. And the just-released survey of the worst supermarkets in America shows that I have shopped at more than half of them.
A number of factors make these supermarkets so bad, but one thread running throughout is that the bigger they are the worst they are run. There is a major lack of customer service. And while prices are usually great, they run out the competition. Small grocery stores, where you will most often get great customer service and quality prices, just can’t compete with the supermarket chains.
Ironically, many of these chains were opened decades ago as small grocery stores but are now supermarket chains. We’re sure when they were small and family run, customers were more satisfied. Today people complain of long lines, rude employees, unsanitary conditions and poor selection. Consumer Reports surveyed 24,000 shoppers to rank the best and worst out of 52 grocery chain stores.
The stores were rated on four categories – service (includes employee courtesy and checkout speed), perishables (food quality), price and cleanliness – were scored from “very satisfied,” “fairly satisfied,” “neutral, “fairly unsatisfied” and “very unsatisfied.” “The highest-rated supermarket, Wegmans, received a score of 88,” reports the Fiscal Times.
Among the worst were: Stop & Shop, which scored 73. The store was founded in 1914 as Shopmate and now has locations in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. Ralphs, which also scored 73, is a Southern California store founded way back in 1873. After all these years you’d like they would be getting things right. The chain is now actually a subsidiary of Cincinnati-based Kroger. It ranked below average on cleanliness.
Food Lion, which was founded in 1957 and is located in the Mid- and South Atlantic regions, is no stranger to bad publicity. A 1992 segment on ABC’s PrimeTime Live show accused the chain of deliberately selling spoiled food. Today, on the Consumer Reports survey it scored 73. “Food Lion was mediocre across the board. Customers weren’t even just a little bit satisfied with cleanliness, service, food quality, or price,” reports The Fiscal Times. Maybe next year they will fair better—the company recently announced it would be closing 113 stores and rethinking their marketing strategy.
And if you’re on the East Coast, no doubt you’ve shopped at A & P. The chain, which was launched in 1859, scored just 70 in the survey for issues with poor service and poor prices. According to The Fiscal Times, the company, which includes supermarkets Food Emporium and Pathmark, filed for bankruptcy in 2010 and is now a private company.
Even though they get the most business (Walmart accounted for 22 percent of American food sales in 2010), Walmart Supercenter is nearly the worst on the list, receiving a rating of 69. Of course you can get everything in one location—from food to furniture—but if you hate going shopping at a Walmart Supercenter, what’s the point? The only thing people who took the survey were satisfied with about the Walmart Supercenters was price.
But the worst of them all turned out to be Pathmark. The chain, which is located in Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, earned a score of just 68. And like most of the those surveyed, I have found Pathmark stores are usually unclean. “One customer on Yelp who reviewed the Harlem, New York location went so far as to call Pathmark, ‘the bane of my existence.’”
For the full list, visit The Fiscal Times.