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Something is rotten in the state of Walmart

And not the parasitic business model, or the sexist supervisors, or union busting and beating the workers down to the ground, or the depressing stores, the empty shelves, or the shoddy goods. No, management's gone completely round the twist:

Wal-Mart Stores Inc is considering a radical plan to have store customers deliver packages to online buyers, a new twist on speedier delivery services that the company hopes will enable it to better compete with Amazon.com Inc.

Wal-Mart is making a big push to ship online orders directly from stores, hoping to cut transportation costs and gain an edge over Amazon and other online retailers, which have no physical store locations. Wal-Mart does this at 25 stores currently, but plans to double that to 50 this year and could expand the program to hundreds of stores in the future.

"This is at the brain-storming stage, but it's possible in a year or two," said Jeff McAllister, senior vice president of Walmart U.S. innovations.

"I see a path to where this is crowd-sourced," Joel Anderson, chief executive of Walmart.com in the United States, said in a recent interview with Reuters.

Can anybody who isn't a CEO and doesn't live in a gated community or a penthouse suite see the problem here?

So, I order next month's case of frank 'n' beans online from Walmart, and the next day some meth freak in a pickup -- to carry the beans! -- shows up at my door, to case the house for copper piping? No thanks.

These Walmart executives -- like the executive and managerial class in general, I might add -- are completely detached from ordinary human experience. That's the only way this batshit scheme could have made into print -- as a Reuters "EXCLUSIVE" no less. Reuters reassuring these little emperors that "Sure, you've got clothes on. I can see 'em!" adds cream to the jest.

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Jay's picture
Submitted by Jay on

Anyone who has been in board meetings knows exactly how an idea like this becomes a "great idea!" Wal Mart has been taking a free ride on everybody else for so long (medicare, food stamps for employees) that nothing seems impractical or outrageous to their management team. No doubt they would seriously consider selling your own children to you in the form of sausage links. No overhead! We control the labor! Cheaper than chicken! A valuable service to the community . . . .

Seriously, the problem is that they have to always be expanding to make money. The US is saturated with their stores, so they want to go after Amazon. They already have distribution to most anywhere, but how to get it from the customer's local store to the customer's door? If postage is a barrier to sales, especially larger items like a TV or exercycle, and they never want to have to pay for anything, up comes this idea of having customers deliver goods for a "discount." Added bonus: They don't pay your car insurance. And if the package gets dropped off and the customer somehow doesn't receive it, guess who would fit the bill? The delivery person! Bingo! Double order! That should move more inventory! Customers needing discounts are disposable anyway.

Submitted by cg.eye on

This corporation created one of the most glorious supply chains since D-Day, and they want to turn over the last mile to the people they treasure so much they cheat their relatives out of hours and wages, and have them front the costs of becoming an uninsured, unsafe delivery fleet.

Upper management ritual seppuku wouldn't atone enough.

diptherio's picture
Submitted by diptherio on

Self-check-out lines at the grocery store was the last variation on this recurring theme: fire your employees and get the customer to do it for themselves. Saves on labor costs and helps you out-compete those businesses that actually employ people. I wonder if Domino's and Pizza Hut will pick up on this idea...it would probably work better for pizza delivery, since the customer-deliverers would already be stuffed with dough and cheese and so less likely to pilfer pie pieces.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

I don't know about your stores, but when my local (not Walmart)store put in self checkouts(which still have to have cashiers monitoring them) they took the rest of the cashiers and had them open manned lanes. The whole thing is much nicer now.

diptherio's picture
Submitted by diptherio on

Only the big groceries have put in the self check-outs here (Safeway, Albertson's) and it seems like an obvious ploy to decrease staff. Most of the manned check-out lines stayed closed most of the time, so your options end up being wait in a long line for self check-out or stand in a long line at the one or two manned check-outs.

Arwen8Aragorn's picture
Submitted by Arwen8Aragorn on

Our Walmart just put in self-checkout and now only has 1-2 manned lanes on the opposite side of the store. The combination of no cashiers and sub-human intelligence level that manifests when people attempt to scan their own products makes line waits begin to approach the 20 minute mark. I went to get a key cut the other day in automotives and waited in line 15 minutes because people were checking out back there. I was irritated, confused but mildly amused as to why so many people were paying for groceries in automotives. I had my key cut and then grabbed some other necessities for my MIL and went to leave... that's when I discovered the new self-checkouts and reduced number of cashiers. There were close to 10 self-checkout lanes, 4 people in line waiting for a free lane and I still waited nearly 15 minutes. Ugh.

As for the deliver packages to other customers thing... how stupid is Walmart? "Ooh... a 65 inch 3D TV for my neighbor... no, no, no, that's for ME! What do you mean I left the store with it? Never saw it. Check my house." Meanwhile, the TV sits at a friend, relative or storage facility until the coast is clear. What incentive for the neighbor to deliver it in the first place?