A few weeks ago I made my big list and put on my walking shoes for my store stocking. The first one before the pool opens always involves two trips through WalMart to get everything needed. Not this time. To my absolute horror I found them eliminating the fabric department. I need frequent fabric fixes and the nearest Joann's is an hour away! This is a half day event, an hour to get there, an hour to get back and two hours to shop. I never have that kind of time during camping season.
I took advantage of the close-out sales and got some fabric, but it is already in a box to go to Minnesota as outfits for my granddaughters. On to the aisle of pool toys. Used to be a whole long aisle of goggles, swimmies, rafts and rings. I like to keep a nice variety available for my swimmers. There is a certain price point I can't exceed or the stuff will hang there on the wall until it dry rots. I don't do outrageous mark-ups, just enough to pay for my time and trouble to stock it. I was shocked at not only the price increase, but the lack of selection they had. No rafts for my swimmers to turn blue in the face while blowing them up. A pitiful few goggles, I wiped them out and the dive sticks that were so popular last season no longer available. I wanted some 6" clay pots. They had the tiny pots and the giant pots .... nothing in between. I would have settled for 8", but none to be had. I went on to the health and beauty section for toothpaste and antiperspirant. They feature lots of double packed items, supposed to save you money. The Degree was in a two-pack for $4.33. The single was $1.97. Fortunately for me, I can add and I picked up two singles for less than $4.00. Kept me on my toes as I continued to shop the paragon of mega values.
Sam Walton is gone and, apparently, so is the concept of one stop value shopping. The employees seemed dispirited about the changes, too. I was told that soon the Great Value label will dominate the aisles and that there will no longer be a variety of other brands to choose from. I buy generic items all the time. But there are some brands I prefer. Hellmann's mayo, Jif peanut butter, Lays potato chips, to name a few. Argue all you want, they do taste better. Does WalMart think these companies have survived without customer loyalty? I remember when Albany, Georgia got their very first WalMart. We lived there and at the time K-Mart dominated the city with its low prices. It was truly an event and a boost to the economy there. WalMart anchored a shopping center and employed many of the good citizens in that city. While living there I took a part-time job at a fabric store..... The Piece Goods Shop. WalMart was our biggest competitor. WalMart did not have a large fabric department, but as the years went by they increased it and became large enough to swallow up all the small fabric stores and put them out of business. Same with the addition of the WalMart Pharmacy putting your corner drugstore in the hole. In some very small rural areas WalMart has become the only game in town and now they would appear to be streamlining their operation to exclude many of the things that have made them what they are.
Great Value ............. not really a great value. I compare prices like most everyone else and find the Great Value brand to be overpriced on some items. I will no doubt continue to buy things at WalMart, but find myself shopping at other stores more and more. It is no longer the one stop shopping store it once was.