Friday, November 22, 2013

Walmart Stuff

I've posted before about how abjectly awful the Walmart near my house is.  I have, on at least two occasions, been so discouraged by the long lines that I pushed a full cart into a dark corner and walked out without purchasing a damn thing.

That's why it amused me to read this article in the paper last week about my hated Walmart.
Walmart officials told police this year that the store at 7800 E. Smith Road loses $1.5 million each year to theft, putting it among the top 5 percent of the chain's locations nationwide for shoplifting. The store is far and away the city's leading destination for shoplifters, with 283 offenses reported in the past year — 179 more than the second-highest location, a Rite Aid on the 16th Street Mall.
The article talks about how the lack of door-greeters and Walmart's reluctance to prosecute first-time offenders may be a factor.  From bitter personal experience, I have a different take.

This Walmart is poorly managed.  They skimp on staffing, causing the long lines and the messy shelves and have several basically non-functioning departments.  I mean, good luck finding someone to help you in the paint department..... 

This dude from Slate, who has never been to the Stapleton Walmart, figured it out by looking at Yelp reviews. 
How does all this relate to shoplifting? Research has shown that shoplifters seek out cluttered stores with indifferent employees.
The Denver Post article hints to as much when it talks about how susceptible the Stapleton Walmart is to scams:

The Smith Road store saw some improvements after police counseled managers on dealing with what Perry called "resurrection cases," in which thieves try to return items they never purchased in the first place to earn store credit.

The shoplifter who tried to take the futon and pillows on Nov. 8 produced an old receipt for the items and tried to "return" them to get money for bus fare, according to police reports. The next day, a suspect attempted a "no-receipt return" of $47.92 at the customer service counter then left without paying for other items in a cart.
I mean, we're not talking about people sticking merchandise up their shirts and walking out.  We're talking about employees doing a piss poor job of "minding the store." What this does is create a situation where the paying customer must tolerate the poor service while the scammers actually rely on it.  This should kind of scenario should put any store out of business, but of course, Walmart's size inures it to that kind of market discipline.

The cause --and the solution-- to this problem seems obvious to me.  This Walmart already has the best employees their low wages can attract. 

If they want better labor quality, they'll have to pay better wages.

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