Walmart Greeters Will No Longer Greet At The Door

Walmart removing greeters job positionsAfter 30 years, "People Greeters" will no longer welcome Walmart customers with a "cart and a smile." Four months after Walmart got rid of its night-shift "People Greeters," the big-box retailer is moving its day-shift greeters inside the store. Walmart claims it's all in the name of better customer service, but the announcement has left some greeters uncertain about the future of their jobs.


'Welcome to Walmart. How are you doing?'

Jerome Allen has greeted morning shoppers at Walmart for five years, the last two at a supercenter in Fort Worth, Texas. He heard through the grapevine that the store was reassigning its night-shift greeters, but was surprised when the store manager called him into his office on Thursday, and told him that there would be no more door greeters at all.

Allen's new position, which begins Feb. 6, will be to stand in "high traffic" areas of the store, ask customers if they need any assistance, and direct the flow of traffic. Allen doesn't think his new position will be particularly useful. The store, he said, already has a full roster of employees manning the floor, who are required to ask nearby customers if they need any help, as dictated by the "10-foot Rule."

David Tovar, a Walmart spokesman, claims store greeters have no cause for concern. "They're not going anywhere," he told AOL Jobs in an interview.

But Allen isn't convinced. "I don't think they're going to let me stand around doing nothing," he said. "I don't know what my career is going to be here at Walmart. They're moving me to a position that isn't going to be here very long."

Allen fears that many greeters, once they're in their new positions, will be found redundant, and let go. Allen's hours are already reduced for next week, to 16 hours from 20. He would love to work more; with an hourly wage of $10.45, Allen is struggling to support his two children.

Aggressive Hospitality

After Walmart got rid of night-shift greeters in September, Tovar told Bloomberg that the decision was a way to to rein in costs and prices. Walmart's sales have thinned in recent years, as many customers flocked to dollar stores instead, which offered even lower prices. Same-store sales at Walmart dropped for nine straight quarters, but picked up by 1.3 percent in the quarter that ended in October. In contrast, between 2007 and 2010, Family Dollar and Dollar General grew by 15 percent and 37 percent, respectively, according to a December report from Colliers International.

Most of the night-shift greeters were assigned to other roles, "and a very small percentage ended up leaving the company," said Tovar. But that's not what's happening here, he emphasized. Walmart had given greeters extra responsibilities over the years, he explained, like helping customers return products, and cleaning and prepping carts. The change frees greeters from these other duties, so that they can "really focus on customer service," he said, and interact more with customers while they're in the store.

Analysts doubt the move will have any real impact on sales, but say it does raise questions about the future of Walmart's smiley-faced image. "The Walmart greeter put a friendly face on the big box, self-service store," said Wendy Liebmann, CEO and chief shopper of consulting firm WSL Strategic Retail. "More than ever, shoppers are looking for an engaging experience at retail. Especially in this new digital world. It's not only about the lowest price. Hopefully Walmart understands this, and will find a new way to deliver it."

The "People Greeter" was an idea dreamed up by Sam Walton himself, first introduced in 1980, and quickly imitated by retailers everywhere. The "People Greeter" has become such a cultural staple that he even had his own cameo on "Family Guy." Walton believed "aggressive hospitality" would set Walmart apart from other retailers, and Tovar insists that this new development is simply a continuation of that legacy. Even so, "Welcome to Walmart" isn't quite the same, when said in a "high traffic" area.

-- Barbara Thau contributed reporting to this article.

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CHRIS

News flash --> There are now greeters back in almost every store as the theft that was going out the door from no greeters checking receipts shot up like a rocket --> Look, no one checking receipts let's seal more! --> Walmart did get what they wanted though --> They got rid of a lot of older higher paid employees but at what cost in theft?

June 17 2014 at 2:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
JDintheOC

Personally, I really don't care whether I'm greeted at any store. I go there to purchase a product and then leave. Anything else just holds me up.

January 29 2013 at 12:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cpaytonpitmom

what the?

January 19 2013 at 9:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Anita Arnold

They are getting rid of us as fast as they can. Can you say class action law suit. They fired me and one other ex greeter in the same month after making us take other jobs we weren't qualified for.

October 26 2012 at 10:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ParadiseE

Walmart store on North Tryon,, Charlotte NC.,, still have greeters at the front door. When the older people are not there to stand by the door. They are using their Cashier's to stand at the door. It is more like a a Guard.

August 09 2012 at 12:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
wendy

There are a myriad of reasons that I no longer shop at Wal Mart. I used to LOVE WM and I spent a lot of money there over the years. For one, I use a service dog that wears a vest stating such. Every single time I go to Wal Mart, every single store employee stops me to tell me that pets are not allowed in the store. I have to explain to every single one of those employees that he is a working dog, not a pet. I feel harassed. Secondly, the WM store employees USED to be friendly and helpful. Not so much anymore. I had to wait 36 minutes to get assistance so I could purchase a TV. Thirdly, I HATE being stopped on my way out of the store so they can check my receipt when they just saw me PAY at the register. Nothing like treating your honest, loyal shoppers like thieves. Again, it feels like harassment. Fourthly, the quality of their name brand has gone way down hill. Fifthly, their prices just aren't competitive anymore. I save more money shopping at Target and I get quality Target brand products and I don't get harassed there. Lastly, one cashier for 20 shoppers just isn't cool. I love Target. I have none of the above problems there. Oh, one more thing, 78 percent of all WM hourly employees are on public assistance so we the taxpayers that are paying for that assistance aren't really saving money are we? Yet, they have built a massive empire on the backs of taxpayers. They are raping us while getting rich. They are so focused on employee theft when they are the ones that run the store that they are getting robbed by external thieves. Cost cutting, no, they are cutting their own foot off due to their corporate GREED. And no, I don't have a problem with the employees getting assistance. They aren't paid enough for what they do and they are treated like crap. I do have a problem with WM running a con job at the taxpayer's expense. WM stopped caring about their customers AND their employees. Putting door greeters within the store isn't going to help them regain their customers. They are going to have to become competitive again with their prices, produce better quality products, and start focusing on quality customer service (not customer harassment). I for one will do the happy dance when Wal H^ll starts seeing the red. They have earned it,

July 06 2012 at 2:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to wendy's comment
JDintheOC

Agreed!

January 29 2013 at 12:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to JDintheOC's comment
Vic

I think you must be a target employee

September 21 2013 at 1:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down
paulntraci99

The store, he said, already has a full roster of employees manning the floor, who are required to ask nearby customers if they need any help, as dictated by the "10-foot Rule."..........I've never, in over 25 years of shopping at Wal-mart, been asked if I need help. The employees seem to turn and run the other way whenever you have that lost look, sensing your going to ask a question and not come up and ask you if you need help.
As for moving the the greeter deeper inside the store, half of them never said anything anyway. Just looked like they were put out by even being there. I'm not saying all, but about half of them.

July 03 2012 at 12:39 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Dave

Hmm, no. The idea of a people greeter was suggested by a Walmart employee, not by Sam Walton. Please get your facts straight.

July 03 2012 at 3:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dutch

Walmart Greeters? You mean the people standing over at the side, jabbering in Spanish to their friends, while you get your own cart, clean the litter out of it, and try to find a sterile wipe to clean off the filthy handle on the cart? No a word from the "Greeters." Not in English, anyway.

July 03 2012 at 1:45 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
mrwgd

I go into Wal -Mart very rarely , American Made in China you know. As for the greeters ,, they were a deterrent in some ways to thief's, On my recent visits I couldn't help but notice people just walking out with merchandise. NO Greeter, No Questions Asked. Not just a few people, but in packs of 4 to 6 people at a time, sort of 3 with the merchandise and 3 just fronting. But remember Wally World ,,,,,, your saving a big $8.25 an hour as thousands walk out the door. You guys are Brilliant, let me go to work for you and I will save you 10's of thousands of dollars. But not at $8.25 an hour. Common Since Cost. But you guy's don't have it ,,,,,,,,,,,

July 03 2012 at 1:31 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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