March 28, 2023

Walmart’s Latest Move is Bad Sign for the Economy

Walmart is set to lay off hundreds of workers at its e-commerce fulfillment centers — a move that could spell out more trouble for the already battered U.S. economy.

On Thursday, a Walmart spokesperson confirmed to Reuters that about 200 workers at one of its facilities in New Jersey would be laid off.

Additionally, the retail giant laid off hundreds of employees at four other sites: Fort Worth, Texas; Davenport, Florida; Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; and Chino, California.

“We recently adjusted staffing levels at our [fulfillment centers] in select markets to better prepare for the future needs of customers,” Walmart said in a statement.

“This decision was not made lightly, and we’re working closely with affected associates to help them understand what career options may be available at other Walmart locations.”

The cuts were made necessary at the facilities after the company reduced or eliminated night and weekend shifts, the spokesperson said. The laid off workers will receive 90 days of pay as Walmart attempts to find jobs for them at other facilities.

Walmart did not provide a comment on the exact number of employees laid off. The company is currently unsure how many workers will ultimately be laid-off or rehired, the spokesperson said.

The layoffs came after Walmart has made substantial investments in automation technology in order to streamline its online order fulfillment process.

Last month, during a post-earnings call, Walmart CEO Doug McMillion said he was “most excited about the automation opportunity we have.” The company is slated to up its investments in automation tech this year, as part of its $15 billion capital expenditure budget.

Walmart is the largest private employer in the U.S., with about 1.7 million employees across its 5,000 locations.

Source: MarketWatch

March 18, 2023

Walmart Makes Major Change — And People Aren’t Happy About It

Walmart customers will have to make some adjustments to their shopping habits as the retail giant overhauls its bagging policy in multiple states across the country.

More than 100 locations are getting rid of single-use plastic bags this year — meaning that many shoppers will be surprised with an extra charge if they don’t bring their own reusable bags.

So far, 10 states are implementing the plastic bag ban: Vermont, Maine, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, New York, Oregon, and New Jersey.

Walmart stores in Washington and Oregon are doing away with both plastic and paper bags starting April 18.

Jane Ewing, the senior vice president of Walmart Sustainability, said the move is part of Walmart’s “effort to reduce waste at our stores and help keep communities and ecosystems clean.”

In the meantime, the retail giant is making some changes to help customers with the transition. Walmart stores will “continue to offer a wide array of reusable bags and containers throughout stores and at checkout areas for purchase.” Walmart’s reusable bags cost about $0.74.

But some customers aren’t happy with the change.

“It’s a bit crazy. In a month, I can be accumulating anywhere from 40 to 50 [bags],” Walmart shopper Larry Grant said.

Shopper Udi Sela also criticized the new policy.

“It just creates more waste, which is what we’re trying to avoid in the first place. We can’t return them, we can’t do much with them. There are better ways of doing this,” Sela said.

Source: Best Life

March 14, 2023

1.2 Million Walmart Products Recalled

Walmart is recalling 1.2 million candles over “fire and laceration hazards,” according to U.S. officials.

The recall pertains to about 1,210,000 Mainstays Three-Wicked Candles, sold exclusively at Walmart (both in-store and online) between Sept. 2022 and Nov. 2022, per the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

The candles sold for about $7. The varieties include: Jack-O-Lantern, Mystic Fog, Warm Apple Pie, Warm Fall Leaves, Fall Farm House, Pumpkin Spice, and Magic Potion.

The warning comes after the CPSC received at least a dozen reports of the candle “burning too close to the side of the container and the glass cracking.” The hazard resulted in one reported injury — a “minor cut” — and multiple reports of damage to nearby items, the agency said. The agency also received one report of a fire.

The agency says consumers should immediately stop using the candles and contact Star Soap Star Candle Prayer Candle for a full refund. Consumers can reach the company online or by phone. The phone number and hours of operation are available on the CPSC’s recall notice.

The company says that customers shouldn’t throw away the impacted items until after they receive their refunds, otherwise they will be ineligible.

Source: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

March 7, 2023

Walmart Closing All Locations in Portland This Month

1936: Adolf Hitler breaks the Treaty of Versailles by sending troops into the Rhineland.

Walmart is closing all of its locations in Portland, Oregon, by the end of the month, the retailer announced.

The company claimed that it’s closing both of the city’s stores due to lack of profits.

“The decision to close these stores was made after a careful review of their overall performance. We consider many factors, including current and projected financial performance, location, population, customer needs, and the proximity of other nearby stores when making these difficult decisions. After we decide to move forward, our focus is on our associates and their transition, which is the case here,” a Walmart spokesperson said in a statement.

Local residents lamented the move, telling KPTV that now they’ll have to spend “three times the price” that they’d spend at Walmart.

Some believe the move comes as a result of rampant shoplifting.

“We gotta resolve the shoplifting one way or another,” the customer added, referring to retail theft at the city’s locations, “because that is simply the problem. It’s gotta stop.” 

“Walmart has long been harshly criticized by the city’s left-wing politicians & residents, but this shutdown follows the consequences of the 2020 BLM-Antifa riots that normalized urban criminality,” conservative journalist Andy Ngo tweeted.

Both locations will close on Friday, March 24.

Sources: The Post Millennial

February 13, 2023

Walmart Closing Stores in 3 States

After a recent warning from Walmart’s CEO that stores could close amid a spike in shoplifting, the retail chain is set to soon close almost half a dozen stores.

A “underperforming” Walmart in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is closing within 30 days, a spokesperson said. The company noted that several factors contributed to the closure.

Last May, New Mexico special agents conducted a sting operation to catch shoplifters at the same Albuquerque location that’s set to close. Investigators arrested 16 people during the week-long operation.

Residents of Wisconsin and Illinois will see Walmart closures as well.

The retail giant is set to close a location in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Meanwhile, three Walmart stores in the Chicago area will also soon shutter their doors. Two of the Chicago locations are closing due to failing to meet financial expectations, per a report.

“This decision was not made lightly and was reached only after a thorough review process,” a Walmart spokesperson said. “We have nearly 5,000 stores across the U.S. and unfortunately some do not meet our financial expectations. While our underlying business is strong, these specific stores haven’t performed as well as we hoped.”

In December, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon warned that the uptick in shoplifting could cause the retailer to raise prices or close stores.

Source: The Hill

January 28, 2023

Walmart Under Investigation Over Dietary Supplements

A team of attorneys are investigating the potential mislabeling of dietary supplements sold at Walmart.

Attorneys for Top Class Actions believe that Walmart may be mislabeling some of the supplements it sells, specifically Qunol Extra Strength Magnesium and Equate Magnesium. Walmart markets its generic health and beauty products under the Equate brand.

Magnesium is vital to your health, but supplements may bring complications

According to the Mayo Clinic, magnesium plays a multitude of vital roles within the body, including supporting nerve and muscle function and energy production. Many Americans don’t get enough magnesium in their diets, but eating a few servings of food rich in the crucial nutrient can fulfill your daily need. Foods like nuts, seeds, whole grains, beans, milk, yogurt, and leafy greens are good examples.

But some people choose to take a magnesium supplement instead, and they might be unknowingly putting themselves at risk.

High doses of magnesium from supplements can cause unpleasant side effects, such as nausea, abdominal cramping, and diarrhea, per Mayo Clinic. The supplements can also interact with certain antibiotics or other medications.

According to Harvard Medical School, magnesium supplements are sometimes marketed as “super pills” that claim to fix a litany of health problems, like low energy, insomnia, or muscle tension. But, there isn’t any evidence to support these claims.

The products might not ‘live up to their claims,’ attorneys say

Attorneys with Top Class Actions are examining whether Qunol Extra Strength Magnesium and Equate Magnesium supplements “live up to their claims.”

“Qunol claims on its label that it promotes nerve, bone, muscle, and heart health. In tiny wording at the bottom of the label, it reveals those statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and that the product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Qunol claims, unlike other magnesium products, to have high absorption, 100% daily value and ‘extra strength,'” per the attorneys.

The product under Walmart’s Equate brand says on its label that it provides “comfortable relief of occasional constipation,” which has also not been evaluated by the FDA, the attorneys noted.

Sources: Top Class Actions | The Sun

January 24, 2023

Walmart Sued Over Deceptive Pricing Practices

Many customers turn to Walmart for its “everyday low prices.” But now, the retail giant is facing a lawsuit over its alleged price discrepancies.

Ohio resident Kevin Adelstein filed a lawsuit against Walmart in a federal court in Cleveland on Jan. 13, seeking class-action status.

The lawsuit alleges that Walmart violated state and federal consumer protection laws by charging higher prices for products in stores, while charging lower prices for the same product online.

Adelstein, according to the complaint, looked up various items on Walmart’s website that were advertised for sale in-store at a local Walmart in Aurora, Ohio.

But when he visited the store that same day to purchase those products, he claims the prices were higher than what the retailer had listed on its website.

Specifically, Adelstein’s claims a weedkiller was advertised for $19.97 online, but he was charged $21.77 for it in-store. Other lawn care products he viewed online were $7.88 more in the store than what was listed on the website, the lawsuit said.

Adelstein’s attorneys said Walmart’s records should show exactly how many people were impacted by the price discrepancies. They expect that thousands of customers have been affected by the disparity.

Walmart will match the online price for products purchased in its U.S. stores, according to its current Price Match Policy. But Adelstein says the issue is that consumers are not aware that they are being charged higher prices for products than what is listed on Walmart’s website.

Sources: Cleveland.com | Legal Newsline

January 19, 2023

5 Warnings From Ex-Walmart Employees

Millions of Americans turn to Walmart for its low prices and wide selection. But even the most frequent shoppers might not know everything there is to know — until former employees started sharing their inside information. Here are five major warnings from former Walmart employees.

The security cameras can read your texts

Walmart’s security cameras mean business. They cover the entire store and are capable of zooming in to read a shopper’s text messages, according to Athenia Marie, a former employee who goes by @obeygoddess on social media.

“One of the first things they did [during training] was bring us to the loss prevention room and zoom in so far [on a camera image] that you could literally read the date on the newspaper,” she said in a viral video. “They were trying to show us that if you steal from Walmart they will see.”

The self-checkout machines are heavily monitored

It might feel like you’re on an island in the self-checkout lane sometimes, but that is not the case. According to Athenia Marie, Walmart has devices that show employees what each shopper is ringing up at the self-checkout lanes. If they think you may be stealing, they can halt your transaction from afar. When this occurs, it just appears as if your machine is broken.

“At that point, you have no choice but to call for help,” says the employee in another viral video. “When we come over, we pretend something is wrong with the machine.”

At that point, the employee will remove all your items from the bags and ask you to go to a regular checkout instead. And with that, the retailer has covertly thwarted the shoplifting attempt.

Not all security guards wear uniforms

Former Walmart employee Paris Mars, a social media influencer, disclosed that the retailer has undercover security guards working in the store.

“There is security dressed in plain clothes and they look like customers,” Mars said. “They pretend that they’re shopping—they might have a cart, they might have a basket—but they’re watching you.”

And that’s not all. The employees may even be incentivized to catch would-be shoplifters.

“I was told that for every person that they catch in Walmart they get like a percentage, or raise, or commission for the person that they caught,” she said.

Athenia Marie echoed a similar experience.

“At my store, we had two people that would be there [at] all times like every day seemed like… They would walk around the store from morning till night time until we closed,” she explained.

Employees have practically zero product expertise

If you have a question about a particular product at Walmart, the workers likely don’t know any more about it than you do.

“We’re trained to read the box and basically tell you what we see on the box,” Mars said. 

One former employee said Walmart workers don’t have specific expertise about the departments they’re assigned to.

“No, I don’t know which non-clumping litter would be best for your asthmatic rescue cat. Yes, I do work in the pet section. Today, that is. Yesterday, I was in hardware, and tomorrow, I might be in health and beauty, or I might be in paper and chemicals,” the ex-worker wrote on Reddit. “Same goes for everyone else here.”

Beware of hearing “code brown” over the intercom

Your ears may be trained to ignore the announcements that blare over the store’s intercom, but you should be alert for a “code brown.”

Code brown means that there’s a shooter within the building, according to one former employee.

There are other intercom color codes used to convey information to employees as well. Black is a weather condition, green is a hostage situation, blue is a bomb, red is fire, and orange is a chemical hazard.

Sources: The Sun 1, 2 | Mashed

January 17, 2023

Walmart Removes “Inappropriate” Boots from Online Marketplace

Walmart has removed a pair of boots from its online marketplace after determining that the item violated the company’s “prohibited product policy,” according to the retailer.

“KKK” men’s boots listed for $50

The boots, which were listed for sale by a third-party seller on the Walmart Marketplace, had the letters “KKK” emblazoned on the tongues.

It’s not clear why the letters were printed on the boots, listed as “Men’s Tactical Military Hiking Ankle Boot Outdoor Trekking Shoes” by a company called “Harsuny.”

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) issued a press release, thanking the retailer for “dropping an online listing for oddly/poorly named ‘KKK’ boots after we brought this to their attention.”

A Walmart spokesperson told Business Insider that the boots were “listed by an outside third-party seller and removed because the item is inconsistent with [the company’s] values and violates Walmart’s prohibited product policy.”

While the company has “a process in place designed to prevent third-party sellers from offering inappropriate items” on its marketplace, “at times, inappropriate items make their way onto our platform,” the spokesperson said.

“We are reviewing how this happened and will apply what we learn to further improve our rules and processes to prevent the sale of inappropriate merchandise.”

Not the first inappropriate item from a third-party seller

Third-party sellers have previously come under fire for items listed on the Walmart Marketplace. Previously, the retailer had to remove a T-shirt with the phrase, “I’d Rather Be Snorting Cocaine Off a Hooker’s —.” The retail giant has also removed a third-party seller’s listing for a coffee mug parodying the “Got Milk?” campaign slogan, with “milk” replaced by a slur for people with developmental disabilities.

Just a few days into the new year, Walmart removed a third-party seller’s listing for a children’s toy sold after videos of the “joke-telling” play phone gained viral attention on social media. The jokes reportedly included inappropriate subject matters, including Catholic priests and sexual abuse.

Source: Business Insider | Mashable | Grub Street | TODAY

December 10, 2022

Walmart CEO Warns of Store Closures Amid Rising Theft

People are stealing from Walmart at an alarming rate — and if it doesn’t slow down, stores across the country will close.

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon issued the warning during an interview with CNBC.

“Theft is an issue,” McMillon said. “It is higher than what it has historically been.”

“If that’s not corrected over time, prices will be higher, and/or stores will close,” he added.

The Walmart CEO didn’t say how much money the retailer has lost in stolen merchandise this year. But theft likely costs Walmart about 1% of its U.S. revenue — or $3 billion — according to Reuters.

McMillon said that the way to reduce theft in Walmart is by working with local law enforcement agencies, stressing the importance of such agencies being fully staffed.

Walmart isn’t the only retailer to sound the alarm on skyrocketing theft.

Former Home Depot CEO Bob Nardelli recently told “Fox & Friends” that retail theft is “spreading faster than COVID.”

Source: Business Insider | New York Post

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