Monday, June 8, 2009

A Confession

I admit it. I shop at Walmart.

Okay, I'm not fond of many of the things the chain has done-- like mistreat employees, like drive little stores out of business, like play super mean hardball with manufacturers, etc. On the other hand, they're cheap. There's one every few miles, and they never close. That's important to me because I work extremely odd hours.

The New York Times did a Saturday story on Walmart's annual meeting. Before I get in to it, notice the new logo. It's supposed to be kinder, gentler, and less threatening. The colors are softer. A sunburst replaces the star. Upper case letters are gone. Personally, I don't care.

Back to the NY Times... At the annual shareholder's meeting, Walmart's president said store designs will be tweaked. Health and beauty products and groceries will be on the same side of the store so customers don't have to wander. Aisles will be wider. Products won't be stacked as high. There will be more and better signs, and more and better electronics. There will be fewer brands of some items, like toothpaste, so customers won't be overwhelmed by all the choices.

Nowhere, nowhere, nowhere does he mention my Walmart pet peeve, and the major annoyance of just about every other Walmart shopper I've ever spoken with. Open more cash registers! Get me in and out. Don't make me wait in line.

Walmart can design the most wonderful store in the history of mankind, but if you keep me in a long line, I'm shopping elsewhere.

It all comes down to this. A store re-design is a one time expense. Hiring people to run the cash registers costs money every day. Do the math.