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Old September 12, 2012, 08:45 AM   #1
Rifleman1776
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Wal-Mart experience

I use Wal-Mart because of selection, prices and (almost) everything under one roof. To a point I am a fan but realize there are limitations.
One of the limitations is understanding the people who work there (associates) have limited training and cannot always answer questions whether it is in the shoe department or sporting goods.
Recently I was in the sporting good department near the gun case. There were four clerks behind the counter, two men and two women. A man walked up and said he wanted to buy a Mini 14. One of the women spoke up and said, "We don't have that.", the second woman asked, "Do you want that in a Ruger?", one of the men asked what caliber. The customer said, ".223", the first man said "we only have it in .243". By this time the customer was getting frustrated. After all, he had said, "I want to buy....". Finally, the other man grabbed one out of the case, handed it to the customer and said, "All mini 14s are Rugers and they come in .223. Here is one." He knew something about guns and knew what he was doing. The other empolyees knew nothing. To their credit, they were trying to help but were still useless. They could have cost the store a big ticket sale and lost a customer.
Lesson is, know what you are doing, do not expect minimally trained clerks to be much help. Want more help? Go to the local gun shop where service is more expert but prices are also higher.
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Old September 12, 2012, 08:55 AM   #2
kchaneymb65
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Walmart

I also (try) to buy ammo at Walmart. Out of the 4 employees that I have dealt with in the sporting goods department, only 1 has knowledge of firearms and ammo. And she isn't there all of the time. I have waited on a clerk to come and open the case for over a half hour on several occasions. I have sometimes not waited and just left. This may not be the case at all Walmart stores, however, I live in a rural area and don't have many choices on where to buy ammo. I do go into the city quite often, so I usually stock up. Again, I'm not out to "slam" all Walmart stores. Just don't have great experiences when I go there. Heard the same from many other locals.
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Old September 12, 2012, 09:02 AM   #3
Rifleman1776
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Ammo is not locked up in my local WM store.
I don't tolerate waiting. If a clerk does not show up within a reasonable amount of time I use my cell phone and call the main office and ask for a manager.
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Old September 12, 2012, 09:07 AM   #4
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When I go to Walmart or any other big box retailer, I don't expect the employees to know much about what I am looking for. I go there because of the price and availability. If they say they don't have something I think they should have, I ask them to look to "make sure". I try to do my research before I visit the big boxes.

If I go to a gun shop or other specialty store, I expect them to know their products and give me good advice.
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Old September 12, 2012, 09:16 AM   #5
kchaneymb65
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Walmart

I don't really expect the clerks to be "experts" but I like to feel confident that they may understand what I'm looking for. I do go online a lot and check prices and availability. I found that Academy Sports has great prices on ammo, it's all out in the open and the clerks acknowledge you right away. Only problem is, the closest Academy is about 35 miles. So, I do stock up when I go there. I'm retired and try to go to the range at least twice a week.
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Old September 12, 2012, 09:23 AM   #6
Mike Irwin
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Why would anyone who shops for specific products at a GENERAL retailer expect the clerk du jour to be an expert on any particular item in the store?

I look at situations like this as opportunities to pass some of my knowledge on to the clerk and hopefully make that individual a little more knowledgeable for the next person who comes along.
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Old September 12, 2012, 09:31 AM   #7
kchaneymb65
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Retail store

Mike, Yes you are exactly right. I do share my knowledge (what I have) with the clerks when they have an interest.
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Old September 12, 2012, 11:05 AM   #8
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Some times unknowlegable clerks pay off.

Back in the late 70s one my shooting buddies was at one of those box stores buying primers when a guy came in complaining about his pistol not working.

Apparently he bought a Model 52 Smith and some ammo. The ammo wouldn't fit. Couldn't even get it in the magazines.

The clerk checked and sure enough he couldn't get 38s to load in the pistol either. So they gave the guy his money back. The pistol sold them for $400.
And they were going to send it back to Smith for repairs.

My buddy offered to buy it, saying he might know how to get it to work. The manager shows up and they decide to sell the gun for $150 if my buddy agreed not to try and return it if it didn't work.

My buddy got the gun, got some of our National Guard Winchester 38 WCs and found the gun worked just fine. He's still shooting that gun today.
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Old September 12, 2012, 11:25 AM   #9
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When I go to Wal-Mart to get ammo (rarely) I care about one, maybe two things from the employee.

1. Do you have the key to the ammo cabinet?
2. If not, do you know who does?

Expecting them to know what you are talking about is pretty presumptuous.
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Old September 12, 2012, 11:53 AM   #10
Woody55
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I have some rules about Walmart.

If it costs more than $100, I don't go to Walmart.

If it has a bunch of moving parts, I don't go to Walmart.

If I need advice, I don't go to Walmart.

That kind of leaves replacement socks and underwear for me - if I need them and so happen to be near. The closest is about 30 miles away.
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Old September 12, 2012, 02:57 PM   #11
Nine the Ranger
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My Brother had a situation somewhat similar experience at a Gander Mountain when He was researching a starting rifle for me.

He asked a clerk at the gun counter "Other than a .22 what caliber should someone start out on?" The clerks response was ''Maybe a 7mm? Or a 10 gauge?"

I had never fired or even held a gun at that point, But there was NOOO way I was going to start on on those. I hate buying from the big box stores.
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Old September 12, 2012, 03:03 PM   #12
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The real problem is that the older you get, the more you hang out in gun forums, attend gun shows, read gun books, research obscure guns and gun things, and accumulate guns - there aren't too many people who know a whole lot more than you do!

Oh, there will always be plenty of people who know more gun-things than me, but they are becoming fewer and fewer. So, I thought about some of those comments made by WalMart staffers and how I would have perceived them when I was 18. What I find hilariously "stupid" now probably would not have caused me to even raise and eyebrow when I was 18. Just rambling.
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Old September 12, 2012, 04:01 PM   #13
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The hard part at my WallyWorld is not finding a knowledgeable person, I only go there for ammo so it's pretty self-explanatory: Tell them what I want, they get it for me.

The hard part is figuring out who has the keys to the ammo case One time they must have paged the entire workforce before finding the keys
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Old September 12, 2012, 04:08 PM   #14
Tom Servo
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Folks, it's WalMart.

I mean, is anyone really surprised that they can't get competent assistance from a company that pays its employees minimum wage and prices its goods at pennies over wholesale?
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Old September 12, 2012, 04:48 PM   #15
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Quote:
I mean, is anyone really surprised that they can't get competent assistance from a company that pays its employees minimum wage and prices its goods at pennies over wholesale?
Not a bit. If I want knowledgeable advice I come here or go to LGS, if I want ammo, I go to Walmart because they are cheaper than LGS. I like to support local businesses whenever I can, but $5 a box more is a lot to ask for the same product in a dustier box
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Old September 12, 2012, 04:49 PM   #16
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Time is getting more precious these days, so I'd much rather spend money, instead of time, for what I need.
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Old September 12, 2012, 05:19 PM   #17
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I want the best brand but the lowest price. It has to be right by my house. I don't want to drive very far. It should be open 24 hours. I have a really bad schedule and if you want my business you better be open all the time. I expect to be treated like royalty even if I am not buying anything. The bathrooms better be clean or I am leaving. The store must have anything I need. I have no time to go by several stores. And like the OP alluded to , by George I expect the minimum wage clerk to be Albert Einstein , John Browning and Davey Crockett all flipping rolled into one or I am taking my business elsewhere. And I am not waiting or standing in line!
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Old September 12, 2012, 05:34 PM   #18
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We do our best in our own best ways.

Quote:
I mean, is anyone really surprised that they can't get competent assistance from a company that pays its employees minimum wage and prices its goods at pennies over wholesale?
Very true and they often rotate between departments. Currently our sportng goods manager, is also the manager in the Auto Supply department. Her husband is a hunter as well as her teenage kids. Her husband is out of a job and she had to go back to work for the family. She realizes her limitations much like all forks whether gun savy or not. The guys at the LGS have more knowledge, also long on BS and attitude and I'm sure they are doing their best as well. .....

Quote:
A man walked up and said he wanted to buy a Mini 14. One of the women spoke up and said, "We don't have that.",
Well if by chance he knew what one was, why didn't he just point and ask to see it?

Be Safe !!!
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Old September 12, 2012, 06:08 PM   #19
Stressfire
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Quote:
I want the best brand but the lowest price. It has to be right by my house. I don't want to drive very far. It should be open 24 hours. I have a really bad schedule and if you want my business you better be open all the time. I expect to be treated like royalty even if I am not buying anything. The bathrooms better be clean or I am leaving. The store must have anything I need. I have no time to go by several stores. And like the OP alluded to , by George I expect the minimum wage clerk to be Albert Einstein , John Browning and Davey Crockett all flipping rolled into one or I am taking my business elsewhere. And I am not waiting or standing in line!
That is the best thing I have read all week!
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Old September 12, 2012, 06:18 PM   #20
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At a store like Walmart, I expect to know more about what I'm looking for than the person working there. No offense, but generally those working at the gun counter aren't experts and I don't expect them to be. If I'm going in to buy a Ruger Mini 14, I've already done my home work and at that point, all I expect is the counter folk to let me examine the gun, fill out the paper work and walk the gun to the front door for me.
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Old September 12, 2012, 07:44 PM   #21
jasmith85
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This topic has reminded me of back when I worked at Wal-Mart. It was 5 years or so before I got into guns so I knew nothing about them, yet I worked in sporting goods. Everything I knew was learned from the people I worked with who also knew nothing about them. For instance, everyone thought .357 Sig was a shortened form of .357 Signature rather than knowing the Sig was for Sig Sauer. I also recall someone asking for 45 ACP but no one knowing what it was because the box says 45 Auto. One other interesting thing from when I worked there is the price of the Mini 14. When I worked at Wal-Mart it cost $275. I looked at one a few months ago and it was marked $729. That is an outrageous price increase even if it has been 8 years.
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Old September 12, 2012, 08:20 PM   #22
Daggitt
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Thanks Stressfire. It's been a long week. Ah , I feel a little better now.
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Old September 12, 2012, 08:31 PM   #23
Justice06RR
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Oh Walmart...

You really can't expect too much from a big box store that sells everything at the lowest prices. I buy ammo and groceries there because its cheap, thats about it. Their clerks aren't gun gurus or grocery experts, so do not be surprised that they're not.

At least the Walmarts in my area cater to the gun ethusiasts so thats good enough for me. If I want something high quality or customer specific, I go elsewhere
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Old September 13, 2012, 08:23 AM   #24
Rifleman1776
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Quote:
why didn't he just point and ask to see it?
Pahoo, in this instance, the guns are in glass fronted cases behind the counter. It is not possible for a customer to identify the guns.
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Old September 13, 2012, 10:17 AM   #25
Pahoo
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Can't sell them if you can't see them.

Quote:
It is not possible for a customer to identify the guns.
I'm really not understanding this and that's okay. ...
At our remainding WalMart, that sells guns and in every other WalMart that I have visited, their guns are in verticle glassed in cases, that the customer can rotate into a good viewing position. There are large tags hanging from the trigger guards that clearly identify the firearm. Perhaps it's only a reagional thing.

Now, I really don't expect them to relate to to everything, especially M/L stuff. Once saw FFG on the shelf and asked if by chance they carried any FFFG and the lady said; I really don't know but will check. I told her that was okay and she insisted on going to the back room and checking. Came back and said that they did not and then proceeded to ask me about the difference. Would not surprise me if I see her in the paint department next week. ..

I help them as best I can and they in turn try to do likewise. They may not know it all and willing to admit it, unlike the some LGS guys that often try to fake it. .....

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