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In light of the leaked internal strategy for squashing unions at Walmart as well as other first-hand accounts of shady management policies, an unidentified Walmart employee of five years emailed Gawker this week with a list of answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). He or she seeks to explain why the box store's customer service is abominable. It's really thorough, so we've snagged a few choice quotes below.
How come every time I come into Wal-Mart, there's never anyone around to help me?
Well, even though the company is worth billions, home office gives store managers a set amount of hours and payroll dollars that they can schedule people/pay people in each area of the store, and it is based on what the sales were in that department on that day the previous fiscal year. So even though last year was a Friday, it was snowing out, and no one was shopping, this year, on a Saturday, when its sunny out and everyone is shopping, you won't have anyone around to help you because LAST YEAR we didn't make enough money! Add to that the fact that store manager's and assistant manager's incentive bonuses (to the tune of $80K for store managers and $20K for assistant managers, once yearly) are partially determined by how much they can bring scheduled hours/payroll DOWN from the year before (of course, while still keeping sales up,) and you begin to see how this pattern of never having any help around comes to be. Us hourlies get quarterly bonuses, of course, but they're usually less than $300, and they don't even make up for all of the hours that they cut from our paychecks to earn said bonus.
How come nobody ever knows where anything is whenever I shop here?
Another excellent question! Well, as you know, we live by a culture of attrition here at Wal-Mart! As I mentioned before, the assistant managers and store managers are given incentive in the form of $80K and $20K bonuses to cut payroll and scheduled hours. Given that knowledge, you would be correct to conclude that you aren't going to find a lot of people in any Wal-Mart who have worked there long enough to actually learn where everything is.
What happens to people who stay there long enough to actually tell you (correctly) where the toilet plungers are, you ask? Well, if they don't get into the store manager's good graces and become a manager themselves (much faster to accomplish, if you have a penis), my bosses make up a BS excuse to fire them just before they hit $12 an hour! Isn't that great? "You took a 17 minute break instead of a 15 minute break, and that's time theft" and "lack of productivity" (aka, you couldn't help customers/answer phone calls in 5 departments at a time AND back up cashier AND clean up YOUR entire area all at once) are the most common excuses I've seen, though occasionally they'll just fire you for saying a swear word, without any previous coaching or provocations.
How come everybody who works at Walmart is so grouchy and surly?
... You might be asking yourself how a single person can do all of those things in an 8, or sometimes 4 hour shift. The truth is, they can't, and salaried management knows that no person could, but nevertheless it is expected that every associate do the impossible and complete 3 days worth of work in a single shift. If they can't do this for whatever reason, they are treated with contempt, rage or ridicule by salaried management, who mockingly insist that "its not that hard" to get that much work done...while they sit in the office all day and chit-chat amongst themselves and their few chosen toadies. ...
...So when you, Mr. or Ms. customer, approach me with a question, I certainly don't mean to be surly. It's not that I don't want to help you, I'm sure you're a nice person who didn't mean to bother me, but if given a choice between pissing off you, a stranger I don't know, or my boss, who will call me incompetent, lazy, etc. if I don't get my notes done, I choose to piss you off with my dismissive, rushed service instead of my boss, because ultimately my boss signs my paycheck and you're a face I will forget in a few hours. Honestly, if someone is making $8.20 an hour, they're rightly only going to give you $8.20 an (overworked) hour's worth of service. I'm sorry it has to be that way, but I assume if you're shopping here you know on some level what you're getting into.
Head to Gawker for the full brunt of his/her rage.
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