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If you want to see how companies function behind the scenes — the good, the bad, and the ugly — check out what their employees say on Reddit. We recently fell down a Walmart Reddit rabbit hole, and let me tell you: Walmart employees hate certain things we do.
Curious about their pet peeves? We’ve got ’em rounded up here. So before you find yourself the subject of an employee rant on Reddit, educate yourself and make their lives (and the lives of your fellow shoppers’) easier.
Here are 10 things Walmart employees hate — and how you can help.
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1. Walmart employees hate when you put items back in the wrong place.
It’s happened to all of us: You’re shopping at Walmart and realize that your kid snuck something into the cart, hoping you wouldn’t notice. There’s NO WAY you’re buying it. But you’re nowhere near the toy aisle to put it back. You’re not even really sure it came from the toy aisle, TBH. But that doesn’t mean you should just stick it in the clothing section, hoping no one will notice.
Someone will notice. There are entire job positions at Walmart for making sure the shelves are looking tip-top.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP: Just put stuff back where it belongs. If you can’t fold it as pretty as the Walmart associate did, take it with you to the checkout line. This happens so often that they have a whole system for it called ‘go-backs.’ At some point during the shift, someone will come pick up the go-backs and restock them in the right place, and folded all prettily.
2. When you insist they have items in stock that they just don’t.
This has gotten even worse since online shopping and tools like Brickseek have become prolific. Customers can now see in the app if a specific item is in stock at their specific store. And if that data defies the reality in the aisles?
Some customers get insistent (aka annoying).
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP: Be respectful. It is possible that the inventory count online isn’t in sync with what’s actually in store. It’s also possible that you have the wrong store location pulled up on your phone. Yet a third possibility is that Walmart has it available to ship to you, but it’s not actually at this specific store.
Now, I’m not going to tell you to never ask someone to double-check if it’s a really important item. About half the time I ask an employee to check the back, it turns out they are able to find extra inventory.
But be kind about it. And understand that Walmart has some pretty wide divisions between employees who work in different departments — so for someone to check the back, you might have to wait for another employee the Walmart associate in front of you has never worked with before.
3. When you park illegally.
When you park illegally, you’re violating the rules of polite society. It doesn’t matter whether you’re parking in the ADA-accessible spot when you don’t have the required tag, or whether you’re parking your truck across four literal parking spaces. Nobody likes it. Not the cart attendants. Not the other customers. Nobody.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP: Park inside the lines. And definitely don’t be the jerk who takes the ADA spot when you don’t need it.
4. When you brag that you’re not using self-checkout.
You might think you’re being funny when you tell a cashier that you’re saving their job by not using self-checkout. But if Reddit is any indicator, they’re definitely not amused.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP: Save your hero complex for another situation. Walmart employees aren’t paid well enough to grovel.
5. When your item doesn’t scan and you ask, “Does that mean it’s free?”
Again, Walmart cashiers are not loving your attempts at humor. If an item doesn’t scan, it actually opens up a whole process where they might have to override their system or call their manager in to get it done. All this adds time to your transaction — and, yes, the cashier is getting timed.
Laughing at a lame joke they’ve heard a million times is not something they have the emotional bandwidth for in the midst of all the inconvenience.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP: Hold the attempts at standup for open mic night.
TIP: If you really want a free item, put in the work. Here’s how you can get freebies from Walmart using couponing strategies.
6. When you lick your finger before counting your cash.
Oh, boy. Apparently more people do this than you’d think!
Cash money is physically dirty, people. You don’t need to add saliva to the mix before handing it to the poor cashier who has to touch it. And if you’re really trying to stress that your bills are so fresh they’re sticking together, maybe Walmart isn’t the place to be showing off.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP: Stop licking money.
TIP: Do you work for Walmart? Check out the Walmart employee discount. Because you deserve it and then some after dealing with loogie money.
7. When you get mad that your phone card is unreturnable.
Walmart employees report a disproportionate amount of customers who get upset when they realize their phone card is not refundable — even when ‘No Returns’ is printed clearly on the card itself. Sometimes these situations escalate and the anger gets downright scary.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP: Don’t get mad at Walmart associates. Instead, before you buy, familiarize yourself with the Walmart Return Policy, particularly the items you can’t return:
- Airsoft and air guns
- BB guns
- Archery bows
- Pepper spray
- Gas-powered recreational vehicles
- Used or mounted tires, rims, etc.
- Trading cards (doesn’t matter if you opened them or not)
- Precious metals like gold bars or silver coins
- Medical devices
- Vibrators and other sex toys
- COVID-19 tests
- Pregnancy tests
- Other home diagnostic tests
- Diabetic supplies
- Other hygienic medical supplies
- RV sewer lines and related products
- Items that say ‘No returns’ on the packaging – LIKE PHONE CARDS.
8. When you open items that clearly aren’t supposed to be opened.
You know that hair dryer box you opened to see if you liked the quality? Or the clearly-not-the-sample makeup bottle you used just to see if it was the right shade?
Wanna guess who has to deal with the merchandise after you put it back on the shelf in unsellable condition?
That’s right. The store associate.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP: Aside from the items listed in #7, you can return almost anything at Walmart. The Walmart return policy can range anywhere from 2 weeks to 1 year depending on the product, so if you buy it and don’t like it, you do have the option of bringing it back for an exchange or a refund. So if you’re gonna open something, at least purchase it first.
The only other exceptions to this strategy are:
- Air mattresses
- Unlocked phones
- Medical equipment like crutches, walkers, and slings
You can only exchange these items — no refunds or store credit. You’ve got 90 days to exchange air mattresses and medical equipment, but only 14 days to exchange unlocked phones.
9. Walmart’s customer policies. (Associates don’t write the rules.)
The things Walmart employees hate aren’t limited to customer behavior. It’s the company policies, too. If you’re annoyed that Walmart doesn’t price match competitors anymore, or that your local location did away with plastic bags, you can be sure there’s a Walmart associate who feels the same way.
Walmart associates don’t write Walmart policies. Even if they think the rule is dumb, they’re expected to enforce it.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP: Don’t expect the associate to violate or change corporate policy. If you really must complain or ask for an exception, kindly ask the associate to speak to the store manager. They might be able to give you some wiggle room on store policies, but they’re not obligated to. And if it’s a corporate policy, sometimes even the store manager can’t help you.
10. Managers who work associates to the bone for their own bonus checks.
Walmart associates are famously not treated well. They are often paid so horribly that full-time Walmart employees are actually one of the most represented groups on welfare.
One of the big things Walmart employees hate is that when it comes time for year-end or other bonuses, associates don’t get a cut for their hard work. Those bonuses often go to managers who have overworked their associates, only to keep all the spoils for themselves. Because that’s how the stores’ corporate structure works.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP: When a Walmart associate goes out of their way to provide you with a positive experience, fully appreciate them for it. If you’re filling out a customer survey, be sure to praise them by name. Or, if you noticed a specific section of the store was clean, be sure to note the aisle number so the person who zoned it can get credit.
The thanks won’t get them compensated immediately, but if they’re looking to move up the food chain, enough positive mentions may help get their name up for promotion.
If you’re really motivated, you could also become an activist investor in an attempt to change corporate policies. But real talk, you’re probably too busy trying to make sure your kid doesn’t slip anything extra into the shopping cart for all that.