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Frustration with Walmart

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Does anybody else get as frustrated with shopping at Walmart as I do? Or can anybody explain their business model to me?

It seems that they are often out of certain products. Why is it so difficult for them to keep all products stocked? I do remember asking once why they seemed to almost always be out of the sugar free, fat free peach yogurt and the answer I got was "Because it's the most popular." So why don't they stock more peach than strawberry and plain if that's what their customers are buying? I know that it has already been discussed how hard it is to find the Lurpak salted butter in stock yet there always seems to be the unsalted available. Why do they not stock more salted butter? Finding chocolate chips is like spinning a wheel of fortune. The freezer facing the main aisle at the end of the big freezer section is usually filled with bagels and English muffins. Yesterday it was stuffed full of bagels and one measly package of English muffins. And there were some package of bagels in the regular freezers too. In a country like Mexico which seems to produce fruits and produce year round, why are some not available in the produce section sometimes. Yesterday there was not a camote (yam) in sight.

Sundays are usually pretty busy because of all of the families shopping. Why would they choose that day to completely redo their cookie aisle and have all of the merchandise piled in carts and on the floor? Why do they not rearrange and restock shelves at night, or at least in the opening hours instead of in the middle of they day when there are customers trying to buy and just get by?

I know these may be foolish questions but there seems to be a lack of understanding of merchandising and providing for customer convenience, at least at the local Walmart.. Is there anybody out there with retail experience, especially in grocery, who can explain any of these practices? Or is it that they just don't care because they are pretty much the only game in town, save Soriana, which is further away for many.

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No comfort, I'm sure, but I've read in some of the humorous things written about moving to Mexico that the yogurt and the other situations are absolutely typical and classic re merchandising in Mexico. This seems to be a case where a stereotype turns out to be true.

Take heart and try to chuckle about it, because it isn't likely to change. If what you needed was bagels, the case would be loaded with English muffins.

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I can't remember how many managers were replaced when it first opened here due to the foreigners complaining about how it is run.

I gave up trying to buy fried chicken breasts. The Deli manager told me that if they plenty of chicken breasts then that is all people buy and they can't just grow chicken breasts. I guess he thinks that will force people to buy other cuts and not just skip buying any fried chicken.

It's the attitude they have that they are doing the customer a favor by being open at all.

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Gallo cerveza is my whine. It appears the local manager is stocking the coolers etc. with more "favored" brands (see higher priced + kickback I'd bet) and so I have at times driven to Guad to get it up there. It's not that it's not a hot seller, at times in the past I've seen them bring in an entire pallet of Gallo and it's gone within a couple days because those of who prefer it will buy cases to stock up because we may not see it again for months. So, it's just a way of life, you go with the flow and sometimes it means going to Guad for a grande load of whatever.

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Bdlington, I believe that your experiences with Wal-Mart are only typical of the Wal-Mart where you live--therefore a function of the management there. We don't go to the one nearest us very often, but it is always loaded with everything you're missing, including fresh produce. Wish we could send the manager here over to Ajijic!

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I don't think it's a Walmart thing, I think it's a Mexican thing. I try to just laugh about it, and stock up on something when I find it. Never assume you will find something, and never assume an errand will be a quick one. It's one of the things that make living here interesting and sometimes challenging.

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As was said above it is a Mexican thing. No use trying to fight it just accept it.

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Datura - "stock up" - exactly, one time I had 5 cases in the cart and someone said "wow, fiesta?" - I said no, just something to drink on the way home, I live at least a mile from here - that sort of ended the conversation.

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Datura - "stock up" - exactly, one time I had 5 cases in the cart and someone said "wow, fiesta?" - I said no, just something to drink on the way home, I live at least a mile from here - that sort of ended the conversation.

Giltner,

Next time they are out and before driving to Guad try the Bodega Aurrera in Joco first. It is also my favorite beer.

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Thanks, yes, I sometimes go that way to see if they have it. It's cheap, doesn't hurt you much, what more could you want and you can brag to your NOB friends you drink nothing but "imported" cerveza - ha.

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For months, they were out of the "finish" stuff you put in the dishwasher. When it magically appeared, we bought 6 to stock up. It's gone again, of course. After a while in Mexico, you get the hang of the system, and you build extra shelves.

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For months, they were out of the "finish" stuff you put in the dishwasher. When it magically appeared, we bought 6 to stock up. It's gone again, of course. After a while in Mexico, you get the hang of the system, and you build extra shelves.

:lol::lol::lol:

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After living here 6 years, I have learned to buy when available.

I was shopping at El Torito the other day and spotted my favorite instant coffee on the shelf, so I bought it. Now, I have 2 in the pantry because I may not see it again for months.

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More Liana probably has a good point; when I do hit the WalMarts in Guadalajara, they have much more inventory. Same with Soriana in, say, Manzanillo. Our WalMart and Soriana... well, senior management in these chains seems to think we're just country bumpkins, so what do they care?

What interests me most, having designed retail inventory software (including concepts like just-in-time stocking) way, way back, is why that same senior management allows a tried-and-proven methodology like WalMart's to operate differently in the first place? I mean, WalMart pretty much invented what we up north know in terms of inventory and management chain stuff... that's one of the things that makes them successful.

On the other hand, I once complained to Kleenex via their website at Kimberly Clark that a package I had purchased here actually had "rougher" tissues than normal, and even though it was Kleenex Worldwide, they said they had no control outside of the U.S. So I am guessing franchises here are bought and sold and bribed, and we are lucky that what we get has any semblance of the real thing.

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And then, visitors from the states who see my shelves with eight jars of a certain brand of marmalade give me really funny looks and wonder if?????????? :wacko: :wacko: :wacko:

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But why? This is not Russia when there were shortages of food. As far as I can tell, there does not seem to be a shortage of these products, at least the Mexican-made or -grown ones. I do stock up when something is in stock that I like, but sometimes I feel like I'm a hoarder because someone else may want that product too but I've taken all, or at least a lot, of it. If it were always in stock they would sell more overall. How many sales are lost because the product you want is out of stock? I find it hard to believe that Walmart does not care about selling as much product as possible. Is the corporate philosophy of Walmart in Mexico truly that different from the philosophy of the company I the US? As More Liana says, this appears to be a problem at just our local Walmart, not at all of them. Everytime I leave our local Walmart I say to myself, "Walmart US would be ashamed."

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It's just the way it is and it ain't gonna change in the foreseeable future. Has nothing to do with "shortages". The mañana attitude has to do with a lot more than "not finishing up today". But you will always find chicken, and cereal, and milk of some kind. That's good enough for many, and keeps the blood pressure down and the heart attacks at bay.

And even CostCo has these difficulties, and they actually try to do the right thing. Managers tells us they are only allowed quotas of imports of any given item over the course of a year, and so stuff often disappears for months, only to suddenly turn up later when we've given up hope.

And don't worry: we've all asked the same questions you are.

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Regarding bdlington's question about the availability of fruits and veg, an official with the Mexican federal dept of agriculture told us that Mexico has been importing about 45% of her food from the USA for the past 3 years. The US government doles out between $120 billion to $150 billion a year of our tax money in corporate welfare handouts (ag "subsidies") to US big agribusiness, which artificially lowers US food costs to prices below production costs, even in Mexico. US leader's talk about free trade is a joke, especially since most of the $350 billion a year in US corporate welfare goes to red states and their Tea Party voters.

Since almost half the overall food for Mexico comes from the USA, let's make a guess as to how much food the local Walmart manager has to effectively order and ship from the USA, making Walmart shopping a major driver of factory farming and shipping products over 2,000 miles before it hits our local Mexican Walmart shelves. My wife had a small truck farm in the past, and Walmart had ZERO interest in buying her fresh-from-the-farm produce, melons, peppers, cucumbers, or squash.

Regarding bdlington's questions about shelf stocking practices, if you look at many of the shelf stocker's shirts carefully, you'll notice they are not Walmart employees. Walmart gets their vendors to stock the shelves for free, so, maybe blame the vendors for restocking in mid-day?

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Our local Walmart is a poorly run store. Our Mexican friends who come lakeside on weekends and holidays tell us it's so much worse than the one(s) they shop at in Guadalajara. The stores I've visited in PV and Guadalajara are very nice and seem to be fully stocked.

Walmart did not invent inventory control or supply chain management. Remember, Walmart was originally an "everything except groceries" store. Groceries were added years later. Big chains such as Albertson's, Safeway and Kroger existed for decades before Walmart got into the grocery business. Walmart's success is built on selling cheap crap for low prices, not their grocery business, or inventory management.

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All chain stores use suppliers to stock their shelves, that is true in the US aswell except in the States where it is illegal. I remeber the Gallo guys coming and moving everything that was not gallo out to less desirable spots during resets in the middle of the night..I do not know what the laws are here but who knows how the system works.

Do the suppliers pay for shelf space, facing etc..if they d,o they probably stock the shelves with what they want to sell and may be their suppliers are giving them super discounts to sell peaches versus

pears...

Looking at the shelves here the turn over on one item has obe terrible so maybe there is a whole lot more than poor management involved, although it could be just that as well...

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WalMart "created/developed/invented" so much more than you know, Saltos. Groceries has nothing to do with it... that came after. Remember, I said "Pretty much invented", supply chain management, which means to me that they took the concept and pioneered it into what it is today for all stores of their kind. Your named grocery stores had nothing on these guys then; now, they may be following the example set. Just one example: WalMart created their own trucking line and their own distribution centres across America, when no one else had even considered it.

And bmh hit the nail on the head about suppliers and stocking shelves.

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When in Rome... As a Mexican friend of mine said recently, it's Mexico, we're Mexicans...we're not going to change. I have about a 6 month supply of flavored liquid coffee creamer because it's one of the few things I don't want to live without. At Super Lake today they had a special...I bought 4 bottles, and I may go back tomorrow and get more. Other than that, I've changed the way I eat to more closely resemble the Mexican way and I find I'm healthier and happier...happier, mostly because those things are rarely out of stock. It's the American specialty items that are most often gone. I'd kill for a couple of SKOR bars though. I think it's unrealistic to think gringos griping is going to change anything. And I find that when they do have some special item that I haven't seen for a while I'm all excited to get some. Kind of like a kid at Christmas.

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It's not just Walmart,- Mega and PV Costco as well. When I have asked the managers why they can't keep things stocked, they have all told me the problem is on the supply and delivery end, not the ordering end. While this may just be a case of passing the buck, I suspect it may actually be true. Around Xmas, New Years, Costco was out of aged cheddar (both Tillimook and Kirkland), as well as other items, for at least a month and a half. The manager told me the shipment had been held up at the border.

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