I’ve been a Walmart grocery shopper for about five years now. I know that Walmart is far from perfect, and it’s very easy to find problems and faults with the largest megastore chain on the planet. However, sometime during my Walmart shopping trip this afternoon, I thought it might be a good idea to propose an alternative view on Walmart for your consideration.
Before I shopped at Walmart for groceries, I shopped at Albertsons. I was pretty satisfied with Albertsons, but when a Walmart neighborhood market opened up a little closer to home than the Albertsons, I decided to give it a shot, and the rest is history. It wasn’t that the Walmart was any better than Albertsons, it’s just that it was good enough, it was a little more convenient being closer, and the prices were consistently better. That last point was important for a guy with six mouths to feed.
I’m also a happy Walmart shopper. I’m the guy that you would see in a Walmart commercial, the one who’s smiling while he’s shopping. Am I smiling because Walmart makes the shopping experience so wonderful? No. The shopping experience itself is mostly fine, but it’s not the best I’ve experienced. Target, for example, is consistently better at providing a great shopping experience. They also usually have better prices on milk, which is important to a guy with three teenagers in the house whose biggest major food group is breakfast cereal, and whose second biggest is Nestle Quik.
No, here’s why I’m smiling when I’m shopping at Walmart:
1. The prices are consistently lower than other places
When I’m shopping at Walmart, I know that my total food bill is going to be pretty much as good as I can get shopping at a single grocery store without spending the better part of my life clipping coupons. I honestly believe that we were able to afford to move into a good part of town, into a nice house in a nice neighborhood, in large part because we saved so much money over time shopping at Walmart. That, and the fact that I, rather than my wife, did most of the grocery shopping. When I shop at Walmart today, I think about how it’s one more thing I’m doing to enable us to potentially go up to the next level of financial prosperity, and possibly become wealthy and be able to afford to shop, at least once in a while, at Whole Foods!
2. It’s convenient
Walmart has become a one-stop-shop where we can get groceries, prescription drugs, garden plants, electronics, hardware, clothes, a haircut, and an oil change, all under one roof. They also have self-checkout lanes that are wonderful if you have a few items (not including adult beverages), are somewhat technically literate, and are lucky enough to have at least one self-checkout that’s working. Finally, they (usually) have the price-per-unit posted on the tags so you can compare without having to do so much math.
3. I’m reminded of the abundance we currently enjoy here in America
Do you get frustrated when you’re looking for a particular special type of salad dressing or soup at the store, maybe that’s for a recipe? We have a meal this week that uses Vidalia Onion salad dressing. I actually found it. It was the reduced fat kind. I imagine in places like Soviet Russia, they were glad to find some oil and some vinegar on their store shelves. In America, we have probably 150 choices of salad dressing bottles at Walmart: different brands, different flavors, different fat contents, different sizes. Lots of choices, and usually sufficient supply of most of what you want to buy. Sure, there’s those few items that you may not find in stock on any given week, but considering how many shoppers they have, I think it’s a virtual miracle that they can keep the shelves stocked at all. By comparison, have you ever tried shopping at Toys-R-Us before Christmas?
4. I can listen while I shop
I tell my wife when I’m leaving for Walmart that I need to grab my “essential equipment” for shopping, namely, my earphones. I listen to inspirational music or interesting podcasts or audiobooks while I shop, and this makes the experience much more enjoyable, especially for others when I exercise the discipline not to sing along.
5. I’m a grateful person
Yes, this makes a big difference, too. See, while I’m smiling my way through Walmart, enjoying all those low prices, convenient services, and abundant options and supplies of stuff, I’m also observing my fellow shoppers. They, too, are getting all of the same benefits that I’ve listed above. However, precious few of them are smiling while they’re shopping. Now, I can imagine some reasons why they’re not enjoying the experience as much as I am: a) they’re more financially strapped than we are; b) they don’t enjoy getting great deals as much as I do; c) they have to bring their kids with them to shop; d) they would rather be doing something other than grocery shopping; e) they’re clinically depressed. I’ll give a pass to the chemically depressed among us, but for all of the others, a little gratitude could go a long way toward changing their shopping chore into a more joyous experience.
For these three primary reasons, you’ll see me smiling while I’m carting along through the aisles of my neighborhood
What about you? Are you a Walmart shopper? Is it a dread or a joy for you? Where do you prefer to shop for groceries? Have any tips for improving the grocery shopping experience?