Monday, March 29, 2010

Stuff It, Walmart!

Everybody's going "green" these days. It's the new "black" of the marketing world. Hey, I'm all for conservation and sustainability and waste reduction and all that. I am a Native American, after all. But recently, the green movement has collided with my world. In case you haven't heard, Walmart is on a mission to reduce plastic bag use . . . how? By getting rid of them, altogether. That means that customers must either remember to bring their OWN bags to the store or . . . for 15 cents, buy Walmart's blue-clothy, politically correct recyclable bags.

It never fails, every time I go to Walmart, I always forget to bring my own bags. Mostly because my decision to shop there is usually SPONTANEOUS (a key word) and I don't make it a practice to drive around with a stash of empty grocery bags in my car. Do you?

So today I stop by Walmart to pick up a a few odds and ends. And that part is important. Odds and ends, meaning I bought a lot of loose stuff. I get to the checkout and DARN! -- I realized I forgot my bags again. Now, I REFUSE to pay 15 cents apiece for their recyclable bags because I think this whole "going green" thing is a scam by Walmart. I think they got rid of their plastic bags at a huge inconvenience to customers to force us to buy these recyclable bags and thereby create another stream of revenue for the company . . . all in the name of "conservation."

Sure, 15 cents doesn't sound like much, but when you multiply that by, say, five bags -- on the average -- per customer, TIMES the million or so customers that come through that place on a weekly basis, well, that's a helluva new revenue stream, Mr. Sam Walton.

So I told the clerk to wait on the next customer, and I ran out in the rain to my car to fetch the only thing I could think of that would hold these odds and ends that I bought -- a winter blanket, the one thing that I DO drive around with at all times. I ran back into the store, soaking wet by now, laid out the blanket in my cart, threw all my items into it, and then wrapped it up and twisted it like a giant piece of oragami -- praying the whole time that I didn't squoosh the bread.

The really fun part is when you get back to your car and you have to toss all these loose items into your trunk, pretty sure that they're going to roll around in every direction the entire ride home. Good thing I didn't buy any soda, which would have shot fizz into the air when I opened it and which probably would have rolled all over the bread, anyway.

I know everyone is applauding Walmart for "doing the right thing." Some companies are even following suit and have decided to deprive their customers of a means by which to carry their cherished purchases to the car, too. But I want you to know, Mr. Walton, that you have created a great inconvenience to many of your customers. Especially the ones who shop in your hallowed halls spontaneously.

You know, moms, like me, who make the spur-of-the-moment purchases that have made you the very rich man that you are today.


Mocha Dad said...

I had this same discussion with my wife about Wal-Mart. They rid themselves of their bag expense while generating new income from "green bags." Brilliant!

Lynn said...

Hey, thanks for stopping by, Mocha Dad! How's your blog going? Good to know I am not the only one perturbed by this Wal Mart stunt. My feeling is, if they really cared about their customers -- which they claim they do -- AND the environment, then they should be providing the cloth bags for free. OK, so it costs the company a little money to do that. But isn't that expense worth maintaining goodwill with yur customers? Instead, Wal Mart sacks us with the expense of their so-called "green" gesture, and they come out looking like heroes. Like you said, "Brilliant!"

Jouda Mann said...

And here you thought I had faded into the background, never to be heard from again.
Of course, you and Mocha Dad are correct, on both fronts. WalMart is generating more income, and at the same time promoting themselves as a "green" company and looking the hero for it.
I tend to agree with you, Lynn, especially since WalMart is the largest employer, the largest retailer, the largest grocer, and I'm sure largest many-other-things in the world. You want to send a real message to your patrons? GIVE them the bags, at a monetary loss, so that you can show them that both they and the environment mean something to you. You would more than make up for the loss with the revenue it would generate.
But I don't think it will ever happen like that. WalMart is very much a conservative company, and they rely on real numbers to further their growth. This plan, while probably being perfectly viable, doesn't have any hard, concrete numbers backing it up.
Just my opinion, of course.

Lynn said...

Hey, Jouda! Great to have you back! I'm really surprised more people haven't spoken up about this issue. With as many customers as Wal Mart gets, I find it hard to believe that nobody else has been unnerved by this, or at the very least, inconvenienced.

I can't believe I am saying this, but maybe you can try to recruit a few of your Farker friends to get the word out about this. They seem to have a strong enough reader base (I know this all too well!) to be able to make the kind of noise that would get Wal Mart to sit up and take notice.

You up for the task?

Lisa Benest MD said...

Awesome solution. Agreed - couldn't they just get free paper bags?