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Let's Discuss: Why Aren't You Spending More at Walmart?

Walmart would love to know what you're doing with your extra cash. What, are you saving it or something?
Published
Walmart Store
Reuters

The last several months should have been a time of great profits for big retail chain stores, yet retail spending has, at best, remained flat. In fact, Walmart just revealed that their earnings fell short of expectations — and they blame you!

Why Did Walmart Expect Growth?

Over the last few months, several factors should have combined to give consumers a surplus of pocket cash. Firstly, many law-abiding citizens, who'd carefully filled out their tax forms, were receiving tax refunds. (Several law-bending citizens were also cooking the numbers to get even bigger returns, but that's a discussion for another day.) Secondly, drivers all over the country were enjoying a huge dip in gas prices at the pump. Savings of $1 to $1.50 per gallon really adds up when you're filling up a 20-gallon tank regularly.

These factors combined should have given many shoppers quite a bit of extra "mad money" to spend on frivolous purchases like crock pots and bananas and whatever else these big chains sell; however, it didn't work out that way.

Who's to Blame?

According to Walmart CEO Doug McMillon, people are using their recent surplus of cash incorrectly. "Many of our U.S. customers are using their tax refunds and the extra money from lower gas prices to pay down debt or put it into savings." How terrible would you feel if, because of your anti-consumerist saving habits, Walmart went out of business? Shame on you!

Readers, are you partially to blame for Walmart's poor quarterly performance? Did you bravely spend your tax return and surplus gas money on goods to support Walmart's bottom-line, or did you selfishly put them away into savings or use it to pay down debt?

Tell us why you're punishing Walmart, in the comments below! What are you doing with all the money you're saving, now that gas is so cheap?


User Experience Researcher

Jeff Somogyi is the DealNews User Experience Researcher. Since working here he's written deals, features, promotional and newsletter copy, blog posts, as well as scripts for our videos. Follow him on Google+, Twitter at @sommerjam or his blog.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Unless marked as a "Sponsored Deal," the opinions expressed here are those of the author and have not been reviewed or endorsed by the companies mentioned. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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31 comments
01100001
I've spent the most at Walmart this month over all other retailers, since I've noticed some great deals on Dealnews through here, and then looking for other essentials I noticed they had the same, if not lower (sometimes substantially lower) prices than Amazon. However, I've had terrible issues with delivery...If I order a 12 pack of something, I only get 1. If I order 2 6-packs of something, I only get 2 items, etc. Also, large, heavy items, like detergents and large bottles of juice, have come damaged and leaking. They've been a breeze with customer service, but they're seriously losing a lot of money on me alone, and I can't be the only one with these issues.
tahu300
You guys are ripping on Jeff Somogyi when he was clearly writing this article to be satirical. He knows he was twisting the words of the CEO of Walmart. He was JOKING! At least Discount_Dan was able to discern that as well. I thought it was a funny article and if you can't enjoy it's humor then don't read the satirical dealnews features.
clanecks
People who bash Walmart don't understand supply chains.
Anthony S Jennings
What a hot topic!
I can't believe some of these readers defending Walmart! The largest corporation in the world is responsible for adding to the welfare rolls (employees can't get enough hours to get Walmart paid healthcare, etc). They're also contributing to downward pressure on wages, forcing workers to protest and demand a raise via the minimum wage.
And Walmart's business model of using slave labor in foreign lands to manufacture low quality crap to sell to Americans who can't afford to buy what they need because they can't get employer paid healthcare and can't get enough hours at work to make ends meet is not sustainable.
Kplan23
Get your own house in order first. DealNews should fix their app and stop listing deals for companies with bad reputations before attacking Walmart or anyone else by misrepresenting the facts.
rrboomer
Too many times Walmart is not the lowest price. In our case the grocery store a block away very often has the lowest price. Many items we used to buy are not stocked now, they've been replaced by unknown brands. If you try and like one of those brands, it won't be there next month, instead replaced by something else that costs more and tastes less.

Walmart constantly prices larger "Economy" sizes at a higher price per unit of measure than smaller sizes of same product. Purposely trying to price gouge the unwary customer is not a recipe for success.

Need I mention the longer and longer check out lines and the stores are more begrimed than ever..
vmnrao
The rudest customers and the rudest employees come with the territory of rollback pricing, I assume. Good thing Target is "close enough" on the price, but without the MASSIVE headache that is any Walmart store I've ever been to around the country.
Discount_Dan
I am surprised that some readers could not discern that Jeff was being very facetious in his comments. As for WalMart, we choose not to shop at the "Evil Emporium" because it is a tremendously unethically-run company. They have been found guilty of discrimination, re-labeling products made in China as made in the US, making hourly workers work off the clock, etc., etc., etc. Their latest ploy of closing stores to fix 'plumbing problems' to prevent union organizing is just the latest chapter of a tawdry, shameful story.
rumrunner
Doesn't anyone remember Sam Walton, proud American, and the business he built.
dinkyep
Is it possible we Americans have begun to realize that the extra cash we have for the moment is true luxury in that we can use it to simple get back to square one? Certainly not ahead, wages are declining, but at least not behind? I hope so, better late than never.
R1one
By giving reasons why we dont spent as much at walmart, actually walmart main reason is to find out how to get all the competition crushed. thats their main objectives. All your answers,tips or opinion will be directed to how they can eliminate competition.
R1one
To those that thing walmart is cheaper. Nope they are not. Here are the facts, I drive 1 hr twice every month to ATL just to get all my groceries and get 2 times more than i can at walmart. Even if i have to spent on gas i still save more ! Those big chain Korean food stores or big chain chinese grocery store offer so much much more than those at walmart. They have more variety of fresh seafood and definately cheaper and a whole lot more variety of vegetables. Everything i can find at walmart i can at AZZI supermarket. Food wise, don't ever go to Walmart.

I understand walmart is embedded in your head for years but folks there are other cheaper and more variety alternatives out there. Your salary is still the same for soo many years and everything goes up in price. Look out for those big stores supermarkets especially the Korean supermarkets! If you have them in your area.
pakonom
What is a walmart?
captainspank
I was really disappointed with how this article was positioned. I can't stand Wal-Mart, but Jeff Somogyi really twisted the information he presented. During the the quarterly earnings call the CEO simply stated the reason that profits did not meet expectations, the CEO wasn't saying shame on people for saving money and buying houses, just simply reporting out to shareholders. Just because someone buys a house doesn't mean they are trying to "Punish" Wal-Mart Jeff. It was really disappointing to see manipulative journalism like this, and how many people are so easily swayed by someones manipulation of an event. Do better next time Jeff
xterra
Their still spending it there, it's just that Walmart is never satisfied. We made a trillion last year, we have to make 2 trillion next year.
johnnylately
LOL! #FirstWorldProblems
Stomper1503
There's alot of stuff wrong with Walmart here in Iowa des Moines every Walmart I go to I see open items they cost a lot -_- last times I called for someting nobody had a clue I love Walmart I hope in the future they can change alot... I'm just saving my money we gotta pay rent car light bills Internet and stuff like that I just shop online :)
mike_a
Where do I start?
1) Not enough personal working to accommodate customers.
2) Rudest percentage of customers on the face of the planet.
Seriously, the second a person walks into WM the word
excuse me/permiso is removed fromt their vocabulary.
3) Dirty and SMALL isles in which families of 7-10 take up
the entire row and then indignantly look at you as if you
are the problem, when all you want to do is get by
their (take your choice) loud colorful soccer clothing fanny
packs wearing folks or camouflage wearing folks.
4) Did I mention that there is NEVER enough cashiers to handle
a quarter of the run rates of customers?
5) 50% of the time that your are forced to go there (middle of
the night) the person in front of you runs out of credit cards
to try and pay unsuccessfully (or even better, one family will
load up 1-2 carts, then at the last minute cherry pick items
and different members of the family pay separately.
tboynew
Basically Walmart has only itself to blame. The stores are chronically understaffed and poorly managed. Shelves are messy and empty, popular products are always out of stock. Checkout is slow, returns are even slower. This seems to be true at every Walmart location I see. They just run bad stores. Their prices are great, but it's not worth the hassle -- especially for stuff that can be bought so easily online.
dorothyparnell
gas is going backup and walmart is not where I want to shop, hate the atmosphere and would kill myself if that was the only place to shop
huertac1
Walmart is filled with some of the most uneducated (as far as their policy goes, not their intelligence) and unwilling cashiers I have ever encountered....and this goes for every Walmart within a 50-mile radius. I have never had a coupon-friendly experience there, whether I am using one or three.

The cashiers argue with you, treat you like you're stealing their own personal merchandise...and the managers are equally as ignorant.

We use Walmart to cash checks sometimes, but other than that, I avoid Walmart entirely. With stores like Target and Meijer that are extremely coupon-friendly, Walmart's prices don't even compare.
Just Afk
I am boycotting Walmart because of their attitude towards customers. I was using them to do oil changes and when I went back for the next oil change (granted I went over the recommended time frame but that would not strip the head of the oil plug) they took 4 hours to come back to me and tell me they couldn't do it because of the stripped head on the oil plug., and accused me of having it done elsewhere. The customer service called me and were rude as. Then basically said I had to prove that it was done there and hadn't had anything done elsewhere. I took it elsewhere to be repaired. Basically less than 75 dollars and have not shopped at Walmart in over a year and a half. So instead of spending thousands a year there I will support local small businesses even if it costs me more.
CreateAUsername
Marginal Propensity to Consume...He knows what that is won't admit that his clientele would benefit themselves by saving.
Charon
Did you ever try to return something to that store? You may have 4 people in front of you and every one has a problem that takes at least 7 minutes. Usually one cashier is available for returns. I avoid shopping at Walmart unless I really need to, the store is usually messy, not all products have a price, and you need to do a lot of walking around before you find the price check machine. I would rather spend a few pennies more at Target.
Rabbit 1945
We shop at Walmart every week. The shelves always have empty spots. We cannot depend on the store having items in stock. In the grocery section we buy what we can because the prices are good. Then we drive down the road to buy those items Walmart is out of stock on. The overall store is messy and discourages time spent shopping. At one time Walmart had a great computer system to reorder items customers bought. If it's not there we can't buy it so the computer system gives a false positive to inventory.
Twig
"Many of our U.S. customers are using their tax refunds and the extra money from lower gas prices to pay down debt or put it into savings."

This is a good thing for everyone and "anti-consumerist savings habit" is an emotional ploy rather than an explanation. Our government should do the same for the most basic of reasons. An $18T GDP supporting $215T debt, duh.

WalMart, McD's, etc. have survived so far and I suspect they will continue. Jacking up their minimum raise might have been good PR but if the numbers or sales won't support it they will find a way to backtrack.
fuzzymec
I live in Anderson, SC. I do not like to go into a Walmart because the aisles are too crowded with product. They remodel the stores and if there is a foot of space, be it in an aisle or end cap they feel the need to shove some product there so it is impossible to navigate. We shop at Publix and spend more because it is very irritating to shop at Walmart. I have several times pushed the cart to checkouts and find a few open and 7 deep in shoppers. I have left my full cart there and went to Publix. Any Walmart shopping is planned out to achieve the least amount of time in those stores. As far as I can see they are poorly managed, poorly staffed and not pleasant to shop at. When shopping with grandchildren we go to Publix, they give cookies, balloons, coloring page and crayons to the children. The products are a little more expensive but my piece of mind is worth it.
B from C
Personally, I spent all my spare income paying off debt and maintenance of my vehicle and home after a harsh winter. If WalMart goes out of business because I wasn't as frivolous with my money as their greedy hearts had hoped then hooray!

The economy is still in shambles, gas prices are still inflated, and the average person can't afford to blow their cash on Chinese plastic goods. Finding and maintaining a job while supporting a family are still the main priority for most, not shoveling their hard earned cash at evil megacorps who destroy local economies and flood the market with overseas goods.

McDonalds is hurting, Walmart is hurting, it's the fall of western civilization. Maybe this is actually a good thing.
macfamily
I agree with clanecks, your article feels agenda driven. I just don't see McMillon's comments the way you do. It's cool these days to rip corporate america a new one, I get that, but stop trying so hard. We shop at Walmart less because we do not feel they offer the value they once did. And although many would take the time to go on about their wages, treatment of employees or the way they strong arm suppliers (such as the company I work for), the real truth of the matter for our family is they lost their way and no longer offer the items we used to buy at the great price points (Thinking Sam's private label). Please do not get all preachy and political. :-)
HeyTiger
It may simply be that Americans have decideds that, like McDonalds, Walmart's products and business practices are bad for the US and are voting with their dollars. I do hope they shutter every Walmart in the country.
clanecks
What an atrociously-written article filled with deliberate misinterpretation. Doug McMillon's quote was simply offering an explanation for why Walmart--along with most other retailers--underperformed. He wasn't blaming anyone or calling the use of extra disposable income to pay down debt or savings as using cash "incorrectly."

Pathetic.
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