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OT: Walmart, Radio Shack and the retail experience

 
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johnsfine
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Joined: 10 Aug 2003
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Location: Bedford, MA

PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2003 1:58 pm    Post subject: OT: Walmart, Radio Shack and the retail experience Reply with quote

Broken off from the Not experienced enough to be a newbie thread...

usblipitor wrote:
Wal-Mart, for $19, and it is always out of stock. Even stupid people know a bargain when they see it.

I'm afraid you're giving both Walmart and stupid people too much credit in this case.

It is normally out of stock at most Walmarts not because it sells so fast, but because they stock so few and wait so long to get more after they go out of stock. Maybe UEI is limmiting their allocation, but I really doubt it. I think Walmart just is making a mistake (unfortunately for us a very trivial mistake on the scale of operating a Walmart store and an inconvenient mistake for prospective JP1'ers).

Stupid people rarely know a bargain when they see it and frequently "know" a bargain when they see something that is not.
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jamesgammel
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Joined: 03 Aug 2003
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Location: Gillette, Wyoming

PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2003 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wal-mart managers are just plain stupid, not their customers. For instance, Here "Winter" generally Sept1-June1. Over a month ago, The local wal-mart quit selling insulated underwear. Now, this year "Winter" cam really late, in Fact we had a record warm october and november. Now, why on earth they would quit selling an item that had barely come into season is beyond me. However, had I wanted to I could have bought a snowshovel and Christmas decorations last august hmmmmm, temp was upper 90's then.
Then there's "sections", houseware, hardware, paint, etc. I've yet to figure out why or how window air-conditioners fit into "material and crafts" which had several large piles last March. (yeah temps were still snowing and cold).
They must require all their managers to go to a special stupidy school.

Jim
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The Robman
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Joined: 01 Aug 2003
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2003 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jamesgammel wrote:
They must require all their managers to go to a special stupidy school.

When they can find an opening, Radio Shack usually has those courses booked WAY in advance.
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mr_d_p_gumby
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2003 9:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Robman wrote:
When they can find an opening, Radio Shack usually has those courses booked WAY in advance.
Hmmm, I was under the impression that Radio Shack owned that school.
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The Robman
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2003 11:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mr_d_p_gumby wrote:
The Robman wrote:
When they can find an opening, Radio Shack usually has those courses booked WAY in advance.
Hmmm, I was under the impression that Radio Shack owned that school.

My bad, you're right!

You've got questions, we've got batteries
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jamesgammel
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2003 10:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did a google search for "Stupidity". That search came up with just 2 hits. The first hit was "Tandy school of marketing". The second was "Walmart Local Managers School of Marketing". Not being satisfied at this point, I did more digging.

That search yielded an amazing find: The Board of directors for both schools happened to be exactly the same. Sad. A deeper search yielded that listed as "Professeor Emeritous" was none other than the manager for Rob's very own local store Sad

I also found that they offer a correspondence school, evidently so local managers don't have to leave town and accrue traveling expenses. I was curious about the "How may I Help" seen on all Wal-mart employess' vests. I took a peek into the first chapter in the correspondence book, and the first thing they learn is where to point shoppers for batteries. Oddly enough, that was the only book, the chapter ended there, and there were no more chapters. I guess that answered my puzzlement as to why there were battery racks all over the stores, including every check-out line.

Jim
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johnsfine
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2003 11:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't really like jumping deaper into this off topic discussion, but I feel compelled. I think Walmart especially, and even Radio Shack are quite a bit better about the sort of things you're complaining about than typical stores.

"You've got questions, we've got batteries": That totally fits my RS experiences. You can malign them for the advertising campain that pretends otherwise. But every high tech product I've asked (even simple) questions about in ANY store gets similar results. Retail workers know nothing about the high tech products they sell. It's a lot worse in Best Buy than in RS.

The computer says it's in stock: RS seems about average for retail stores and Walmart a little better than average at the standard problem of the computer containing wrong data. The key difference among stores is what happens when you ask a clerk to physically check and see if it's really there.

At RS I've never had trouble directly over the phone getting a clerk to physically check if the product is there (as opposed to the problems you DO get when you ask an RS clerk in one store to call a clerk in another store and find out if it's there. I'd never trust the answer that gets you).

At Walmart it's harder to get them to check, but when they do check they come back with the right answer. At Sears it's even harder to get them to check, but still tends to get the right answer.

For most of the rest of the retail industry, forget it. Best Buy, Circuit City, Kmart, Comp USA, and many others. They won't really understand which product you mean even after they find the details in the computer, so they'll see something distantly related on the shelf and say what you want is physically there, and/or they won't have a clue where in the store to try looking.

Running a retail store correctly for profits: All the stats say Walmart is simply better at that than everyone else. Maybe they miss a bunch of 8810w sales by understocking it. Maybe they make all the seasonal errors Jim has seen. But on average they make fewer of those mistakes than the rest of the retail industry.

Compare pricing and price displaying at Walmart vs. Kmart. A price a Walmart is often so good it would convince you to buy a product you otherwise wouldn't or to buy it there when you otherwise would have bought it elsewhere. When the price is that good, it is clearly displayed. If the price isn't very good they usually don't show it at all (many stupid shoppers buy without looking at price). The price of 2 liter diet coke changes often at the Walmarts near here. It's either displayed as 97 cents or it isn't displayed. When it isn't displayed I used to ask and it's always significantly higher. Also, the displayed price matches the register's price far more consistently than at other stores.

Kmart less often (these days) has good prices and the good prices (and especially the really great prices) are usually a secret, so they just cost Kmart money at the register without having the intended value of getting the customers to buy the item there rather than Walmart. An extreme example: they seem to have some automatic system of reducing prices further on items that failed to sell when initially reduced for clearance. That would make sense if the clearance price and further reductions were clearly marked, but they're both usually hidden. The blue denim shirt I'm wearing was marked $9.99 for clearance months before I bought it, but only on a tiny hard to find price tag that I assume other customers never saw. I liked the shirt. I'm much too cheap to consider buying such things at the usual price. Normally I look for prices even better than 9.99, but I decided to get it. At the register it was $1.34 (I assume because it had failed to sell while clearance priced for months). That's my best example, but it isn't atypical. Kmart seems to make some sort of price display error on more than half of their displayed prices.
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mr_d_p_gumby
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2003 12:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

johnsfine wrote:
"You've got questions, we've got batteries": That totally fits my RS experiences. You can malign them for the advertising campain that pretends otherwise. But every high tech product I've asked (even simple) questions about in ANY store gets similar results. Retail workers know nothing about the high tech products they sell. It's a lot worse in Best Buy than in RS.
It's also a lot worse at RS when you get away from the high-tech products. Try asking one of them for an inline female stereo 2.5mm jack sometime.

And their latest slogan on the bags you bring home is "we've got careers". Anyone have a ten-foot pole handy?
johnsfine wrote:
At RS I've never had trouble directly over the phone getting a clerk to physically check if the product is there (as opposed to the problems you DO get when you ask an RS clerk in one store to call a clerk in another store and find out if it's there. I'd never trust the answer that gets you).
Agreed, although I'd have to say that in the one store calling another area, RS still does much better than, say, Circuit City.
johnsfine wrote:
For most of the rest of the retail industry, forget it. Best Buy, Circuit City, Kmart, Comp USA, and many others. They won't really understand which product you mean even after they find the details in the computer, so they'll see something distantly related on the shelf and say what you want is physically there, and/or they won't have a clue where in the store to try looking.
I'd tend to agree with you here. I have this discussion with my wife all the time when she phones such stores to check on something, and it turns out to be the case more than 50% of the time. But hope seems to spring eternal with her, and she'll try again next time... Smile Not to belabor the R-S-bashing (I'll try to make this my last for now), but maybe these are the dropouts that couldn't make it at RS?
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jim_henry_esq
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2003 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the slogan was supposed to be "You got answers, we've got careers" as they tried to upgrade the staff and fulfill the original promise. But the staff being what it is, they set the type to big to fit the whole thing on the bag.

I've had pretty good luck at RS by limiting my requests to asking to be left alone.

Happy New Year!
Jim Henry
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The Robman
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2003 7:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, but do they obey? I even said to the guy ringing up my purchases one time "how much would it cost to have you not offer me any more stuff?" and he still didn't stop!

Btw, welcome back Jim, it's been a while.
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hagmanti



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PostPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2004 7:02 pm    Post subject: Retail Expectations Reply with quote

None of this is directed at anyone on this board. I work retail, and sometimes after a long day at work I just need to rant. Before you post calling me names and saying my dog smells funny, read the disclaimer at the end.

I think it's funny
  • that people are surprised that our capitalistic system and constant "bottom-line" price comparisons lead to a poorly trained and unmotivated work force in retail organizations, where turnover is purposely kept high and wages forced to the lowest the market will bear
  • that people expect retail employees to know the ins and outs of every device they stock, and all possible ways it will interact with every other device that any other store might once have stocked, when they're not willing to read the manuals themselves
  • that these same people complain about how badly those manuals are written, but won't pay 5% more for a product made in a country where wages are measured in dollars per hour (instead of per day)
  • when people come into a store where the employees have spent hours getting a display working, break it, trash the area, waste that (commissioned) employee's time asking questions that could be easily figured out from either the price tag, the box, or common sense, and then go buy it on the internet to save $10 (or $2 extra after S/H fees)
  • that people walk into a store where the employees are not paid on commission, and expect those same employees to be upset if they threaten to "take their business elsewhere"
  • when people come into a retail store and pretend that the ratty old piece of used merchandise they're trying to return w/o a receipt would be gratefully accepted by every other retailer in the country
  • when people come into a retail store and lie through their teeth about what a great customer they are, especially when the employee they're lying to can pull up their entire purchase history in about 20 seconds
  • when a customer literally screams at an employee for 10 minutes because of a perceived slight from another employee, using constant profanity and occasional threats

Disclaimer: The truth is that I think one of the single biggest problems facing our country in this, as well as many other areas, is lowered expectations. So god bless those ornery, crazy, misinformed, rude, and just plain hypocritical people who are doing their best to keep retail America from sliding any farther into the morass of "Buy this and your life will be better-- trust us {tm}" than it's already slid.

Me
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gjarboni
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2004 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I went to Radio Shack this week and their plastic bags have a new slogan on them:

You've got Ambition: We've got Positions

Now what I'm wondering is, what's the ambition? I'm thinking their ad campaign should be:

"Do you want to push drugs, but are worried about the risks and illegality? Well, come to work at Radio Shack, and you can push batteries instead!"
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j18_speed



Joined: 05 Feb 2004
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2004 5:56 pm    Post subject: A good RS experience Reply with quote

Hey just to defend the big Circle R for a second...

I went in and grabbed a $40 coaxial digital audio cable. The manager said from the counter "How many feet is that one you have?" I answered 6ft and expected him to produce a battery for a 6ft coaxial digital audio cable but he instead walked to the back of the store and grabbed the same item in a discontinued packaging style and sold it to me for $5.97.

I'll be going back to that store next time I need something but I'll bet Tandy will have delt with him by then Wink
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