Results of my personal "Don't shop at W/M" experiment

Discussion in 'Tightwad Tips and Frugal Living Archive' started by Cheryl in SD, Nov 17, 2006.

  1. Cheryl in SD

    Cheryl in SD Living in the Hills Supporter

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    I started boycotting Walmart last September, the first to be exact. Friends of our family were selling product to Walmart and they ended up going backrupt. When we heard the details, things like WM holding product - beyond shelf life in the truck because they didn't have time to fix a glitch in their computers, wouldn't let this guy get the glitched fixed & then said it was late when they finally figured out they had entered a number wrong, the way they carry liability insurance (did you know that WM covers themselves by having their suppliers carry their liability inurance? If a lightbulb breaks in the lighting section & someone gets cut, the salsa maker in groceries will be one of the ones paying for the suit) and some other business practices I didn't appreciate and were against my values. The result was I just didn't like how I felt when I shopped there. We decided to go locally owned businesses whenever possible & Shopko for the rest (Kmart in a real pinch.)

    But I figured I was going to take a hit financially. Today I ran our quicken program to see how I was doing, expecting to have spent more. From January to Sept. 1 my spending for clothing, groceries, & household items averaged $758.34 a month. In the months of Sept. & Oct. we averaged $733.46!! So much for saving at Walmart. For groceries, the part I was so sure would go way up, AND I have been stocking up at sales all fall...

    Jan.-Aug. $575.63 average/month
    Sep.-Oct. $527.44 average/month

    I will be interested to compare this Nov.-Dec. to last Nov.-Dec. as those months are when I do present shopping & holiday food and more major stocking. I need to find an index that says how much prices have risen. But I am feeling pretty good.

    I know a lot of you spend a whole lot less a month. For reference this feeds a family of 7 people, plus 7 goats, 40 chickens, 2 dogs & 1 cat. This is just to show saving money does not necessarily mean shopping at Walmart.
     
  2. longshadowfarms

    longshadowfarms Well-Known Member

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    We just got a new Walmart Super Center after many years with a plain Walmart, very few groceries. I HATE it! Prices are no better than our local Wegmans which is supposedly one of the highest priced grocery chains in the country. The employees are terrible, the parking and traffic is a nightmare and it is so big that it is exhausting to get to everything you need. There are some things that I'll probably keep getting there just because it is really hard to get them at other places but I think I'll try to be more careful to stock up so that I can go there as infrequently as possible. Maybe I'll even branch out a bit and see if I can find some of those items at different stores.
     

  3. SquashNut

    SquashNut Well-Known Member

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    We are doing the same thing. No more wal-mart.
    We were going there cause there was a few things we couldn't find any where. Like a peanut butter My Dh likes. Since I don't go often I boought 4 jars. The peanut butter in the jars is like soup this time. Wal-mart must sell seconds cause I know the peanut butter does not usually come this way.
    Our Micro wave we bought there is dead after only 9 monthes and a can opener I bought broke in 4 monthes.
    We shop any place else now. The clothes in thrift stores are superior to wal-marts.
    I am not suprised your totols are coming as they are. You'll save even more when your purchases don't fall apart or break down.
     
  4. cindyc

    cindyc Well-Known Member

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    I am with you on this Cheryl.

    Cindyc.
     
  5. Cheryl in SD

    Cheryl in SD Living in the Hills Supporter

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    Better quality items was one of my reasons. I bought a cordless phone there. When i got it home i noticed the phone wasn't new! I plugged it in & it did not work. I returned it and just got my money back as I was in a hurry. Told them it was broken & had been used. Later that week, I went in to get a cordless phone. The one I returned was ON THE SHELF! I had marked the box so I know it was mine. I got a NEW one (lasted 6 months) and took the old one back up. Explained that IT WAS BROKEN suggested thy check it themselves. They assured me they would & I left. That phone came and went for months.
     
  6. Tracy Rimmer

    Tracy Rimmer CF, Classroom & Books Mod Supporter

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    I hate WalMart. With a passion. They're unbelievably bad here, their service sucks, half the shelves are empty of the advertised sales (they're "sold out quickly" but the shelves seem to magically restock the day after the sale is done)-- they pay garbage wages so they get people who don't really much care whether your shopping experience has been positive or not.

    And I know a guy who works nights unloading trucks at one of their stores. You don't want to hear what goes on in those places at night.
     
  7. AngieM2

    AngieM2 Big Front Porch advocate

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    I always thought there were elfs in at 2am to move the store around so I couldn't find things!

    Angie
     
  8. ginnie5

    ginnie5 wife,mom,taxi driver,cook Supporter

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    I have been on a WM boycott too. I hate the lines, the crowded aisles you can never get down, and just the fact that they seem to be moving towards a very family unfriendly agenda. I too thought I'd spend more without going there. But you know what? My grocery bill is less each month than it was when i shopped there exclusively! I've found that I can get what I need at good prices elsewhere and don't have to stand in line for hours to do so. And yes their clothes do not hold up. Bought dd a sweater there one year, she wore it once and it unravelled like crazy. I couldn't fix it and couldn't find the receipt. Of course by that time they were giving it away in the store.
     
  9. Wildwood Flower

    Wildwood Flower Halfway, OR & Wagoner, OK

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    Unfortunately WalMart is the only store in our town with groceries. BUT I have gone to getting our meat at a local fresh meat market, I buy bulk grains and beans--only every few months, and I limit my trip to the store to once a week.

    This has helped a great deal. What I found is that I used to pick up so many things on impulse. Now if I see something I think I would like, I wait until the next week---usually I've forgotten all about it.
     
  10. A'sta at Hofstead

    A'sta at Hofstead Turkey Wrangler

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    I hate it too, but in my town if you want socks and undies etc, there is no other place to go (they have no grocery dept at ours) and I have to drive and hour round trip to get there! I can't wait until they put in the shopping center up the road!
     
  11. patience

    patience Well-Known Member

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    way to go!

    Haven't been in a WM in years. I believe people spend more than realize there because they toss stuff they don't need in there carts because it's cheap there. Keep up the good work y'all. I would much rather buy local if I can. You will find it just as cost effective.

    A funny for your viewing pleasure
    http://www.jibjab.com/jokebox/jokebox/jibjab/id/42819/jokeid/30964

    :)
     
  12. TnMtngirl

    TnMtngirl Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We dont buy much at WM,I just hate the big stores and it wears me out just walking thru one.Have found most of the products we bought at WM just as cheap at Dollar General.If I never go there again it wont bother me.
    We have to drive 20 miles to get there to.Heard last nite they are talking of building one in our county,we need jobs here,but I dont want a WM.We have 2 Dollar Generals,2 nice grocerys & a country hardware feed store.If its a super WM,we can kiss the little stores goodbye :Bawling:
     
  13. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We are weaning ourselves from Wal Mart too. Ran out of organic milk the other night and had to go to town anyway, so I ran by Wal Mart to pick up a carton (was the only place still open with groceries). Every single carton of organic milk had an expiration date over a month old!!!

    UGH...every time I go in a Wal Mart I leave aggravated about something. NO MORE.
     
  14. Peacock

    Peacock writing some wrongs Supporter

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    ME TOO, I hate Walmart. Sometimes you get lucky, like the sweet lady in the fabric department at the one I stopped in about a month ago (I needed embroidery thread pronto - don't ask :)), though she told me it wasn't her usual department (surprise!). But I don't buy fabric there, it's overpriced and low quality. Never, ever, ever buy fish (pets) there! You're lucky if they live all the way home, and the pet dept. is usually gross.

    Fortunately, where I live there are many options. But if you don't have options where you live, at least for nonperishable items, why not buy online instead?
     
  15. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Guest

    Given the way the rest of business America does much the very same thing that Wal Mart does I am not one of the folks that damn them for being what they are.

    On the other hand I have no great fondness for them either so I take them or leave them as needs suit.

    I used to shop a pretty fair amount at a local Super WalMart in a neighboring town but I have been gradually drifting away from it for some time.

    As groceries go they are very often no better in price than what I can find elsewhere often closer to home. I won't buy fresh meat from them period as I really resent the way it is all pumped. I once worked my way from one end of their meat aisle to the other and every single bit of fresh meat they sold (not frozen, cured, etc.) had been pumped. They're not the only store that does that, but I won't buy it from anyone else either.

    There are a few bulk type foods that I can get cheaper at the Super Wally than I can more locally so I'll buy big on those when I'm there, but groceries now I mainly buy elsewhere.

    Some OTC meds and toiletries and stuff I can get cheaper there unless I've been staying on top of local sales which can usually beat their prices. It sort of works out to whether I have to go there for something else already and whether I'm near enough to being out of whatever it is to not want to wait for a sale.

    Clothing is about the last major item I'll go there for but it's never a sure thing. There's a particular style of khaki trousers that Wrangler sells through WM that I like a lot that I can't find a substitute for elsewhere so I'll buy those. But I have to make a point of checking every single time I go in as they often do not have them in my size. Much the same thing for their shirts. My friends may not believe I have much taste in clothes, but I am particular about what I'll wear as shirts go. There seems to be a buyer for WM with similar tastes because every once in a while they'll get in a raft of shirts that I really like. Then the next six trips I won't be able to find anything that I'm willing to buy. Unfortunately Target doesn't seem to carry the sort of clothes that I like and places like Sears and Penneys are only at the mall which is on the other side of town and once I escaped from that mall security job I seldom care to go there any more.

    Personally, I think Wal Mart is approaching or maybe have even reached their zenith and are now going to plateau. Maybe even begin a gradual decline for all I know. Whatever it is I have been gradually drifting away from them as what they sell and what I want are increasingly no longer the same things.

    .....Alan.
     
  16. lgslgs

    lgslgs Well-Known Member

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    I'm still very pleased with our local Walmart super center store. After reading a number of threads on these boards, it seems like ours does have the advantage of very low employee turnover.

    It's one of the better employers in the area, and a large proportion of the staff have been there at least five years. I'm sure that also says something about the quality of the local management.

    That said, we do shop rather selectively - so we are quite happy with the products we buy. But I did give up eating meat because ALL of the local grocers seemed to be stocking progressively lower quality product. I figured that was more an indicator of how the meat industry as a whole is going rather than how any particular retailer is doing business.

    We don't have any problem with Walmart. We think that most of the products at ANY store are generally not worth buying - so we keep purchasing to a very, very low level at ALL stores we shop at. :)

    And I do have to point out that the staff at our local Walmart are just a top notch bunch of people who work hard and treat their customers well.

    Lynda
     
  17. Peacock

    Peacock writing some wrongs Supporter

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    Oh, heck yeah...the only thing worse than Walmart is THE MALL!!!!
     
  18. peacebaker

    peacebaker Well-Known Member

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    Your survey is very interesting! I wonder how much of it has to do with impulse buys (just picking up more things while you're there) or if WM "bargain" prices are balanced by other items being higher priced?

    I always hear people say that they *have to* shop at walmart because it's cheaper, and I'm happy to see that's not the case.

    I haven't shopped there in years, I'd like to say it was for purely ethical reasons (mostly the ones you mentioned) but to be honest it was also just depressing to shop there!
     
  19. Ramblin Wreck

    Ramblin Wreck Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I was sorry to read about your friends's bankruptcy, and I've read on many sites about discontentment with shopping at Walmart. It use to befuddle me. Then I visited a store in Augusta, Georgia a few weeks ago. It was a dirty, poorly stocked, superstore with very bad customer service. The local Walmart at home has many of the same staffers who opened the building a few years ago. You can always get help, and the shelves are usually well maintained. The only complaint I've had with the local store is with their penchant to move items to different locations. Then I have to ask for help to find it.
     
  20. Sharon in NY

    Sharon in NY Well-Known Member

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    I'm no fan of Wallyworld, although I do shop there occasionally, for similar reasons to the ones Alan articulates - because the alternatives do business much the same way. I'm not sure I think it is better to shop, say, at Kmart or Target. So what I'm mostly doing is trying to reduce my need to do either.

    For food, we try very hard to get at least 75% of our diet local or homemade/grown. For clothing, I'm trying to make more of it. And we're trying hard not to need widgets :) . Since we're not buying anything but food, gas and electric this year, it doesn't come up much anyway.

    But it does seem to me that simply boycotting Walmart doesn't get at the central issue (not criticizing anyone for doing so, just saying that I think there's a deeper problem) of cheap imported stuff taking the place of things we make and do. Still, I'm happy to see Walmart taking a hit.

    Here's my take on Walmart. http://casaubonsbook.blogspot.com/2006/10/walmart-dilemma.html

    Sharon