Walmart is one of the world’s largest companies and the largest employer in the world. In many states, Walmart employees that majority of people. In a lot of small towns, the only thing to do when you have nothing left to do is go to Walmart and hang out. It’s often the only place in town you can buy groceries, clothes, electronics, and even guns! It’s no secret that working conditions in Walmart can be unsavoury. Large companies often maintain a disconnect between high profits on the top levels and poor conditions for the lowliest employees, and Walmart is a perfect example.
Because of Walmart’s low prices, it attracts customers from all kinds of places - when you cast a wide net, you’re bound to catch some garbage. Employees have to deal with craziness on the daily, having to balance high workload, a stressful environment, literally insane people who have never flushed a toilet in their lives, and management that would rather replace them than listen to them. It’s all in a day’s work, though. When your workplace spawns famous websites like People of Walmart or crazy documentaries like like Walmart: The High Cost of Low Prices, you just know that things are probably going to be bananas. Here are 15 underground secrets Walmart DOESN’T want you to know, and the insane things employees have to face.
15 Employees Are Forced To Wear Humiliating Capes
Walmart’s tacky yellow capes went viral after customers noticed – and how could they not? – employees wearing them around the stores. The capes were part of Walmart’s “Own the school year like a hero!” campaign to back to school products. Employees couldn’t say no to the capes either, despite the nearly universal cry of “but why????”.
Dozens, if not hundreds, of employees were secretly photographed in their capes.
Free marketing. The story of caped employees was picked up my news outlets across the country. Maybe that was the plan all along? If so, that’s pretty shady, but Walmart is definitely not above that kind of nonsense. Thankfully for those poor staff, the measure wasn’t meant to be permanent. Let’s hope for their sake that they won’t try to pull off something even more demeaning next back to school season.
14 Employees Get LOCKED INSIDE ILLEGALLY Stores Overnight To Clean
Despite this being both against fire code, this is a frequent practice in stores that are not open 24 hours. Overnighters that get locked in are subject to the same hour-long playlist of family friendly music that plays during the day, repeating over and over until they can leave. Reddit user Rnuff complained about this occurring during his stint at a Walmart store, saying
“I quit after being locked in the store after hours to clean and my shift was over.”
The company admitted to the practice in a 2004 New York Times exposé after an employee broke his ankle at work and was unable to leave – and nobody with a key was present on site. “Wal-Mart is like any other company,” a former manager explained to the NYT, while competitor stores like Target and Toys R Us did not make use of the same practice. Shady.
13 Staff Are Forced To Return ANYTHING, Even When It's Broken Or Used
Any employee who has worked in Customer Service can tell you that people will try to return anything. Broken toys, half-eaten food, and even used underwear. Literally, ew. Generally, to avoid confrontation, employees are instructed to accept any return, even if there’s no receipt. This means that if a customer is told no, they know that making a scene will generally result in their return being accepted. Reddit user arcadiancrush professed that the oldest return he had to process was a 10 year old printer – with the receipt! Another user, chinesecabbage_, said that she had to allow the return of a dead Christmas tree… in July. Another common scam? Coming into the store with an old receipt and pulling a new item off a shelf. There’s literally no limit to customer madness.
12 Walmart Changes Pay Without Warning And Cuts Health Benefits
A tale as old as time. Many people work at Walmart because it’s the only place in their area that will hire them, and for most of these people, the job is their only chance for benefits like health insurance or dental care. Unfortunately for 30,000 employees who were previously covered, the company decided to change its policy so that staff who worked less than 30 hours a week would no longer be eligible for coverage. Yikes.
In order to make it difficult for employees to work more than 30 hours a week in order to fulfill the minimum requirement, Walmart just hired more part time workers.
Thankfully, even part-time Walmart employees are still able to receive a store discount for Aspirin, McDonalds, and at the Walmart Hair Salon.
11 Employees With No Supervision Smoke And Intake Illegal Substances In The Store
Walmart employees online have long professed to the tradition of spying fellow employees smoking in the stock room. Customers frequently complain that employees smoke too close to the door. News reports are full of stories of employees being arrested for smoking illegal substances on the premises, and often, they’re profiling repeat offenders.
A viral Facebook video depicted a woman smoking in the back of a Walmart McDonalds,
and while she was later fired, we can only assume that the only people who do get fired are the people who get caught. One such employee was cancer patient Joseph Casias, who used a legal substance in order to to alleviate pain generated by his brain tumour. When the ball drops, it drops hard. On behalf of Mr. Casias, the ACLU actually sued Walmart, but the verdict of the trial is unknown.
10 Crazy Customers Try To Scam Employees All The Time
Did you know that the old people who greet you at the door are actually a part of the loss prevention team? They are part of a chain that begins with them and sometimes ends with armed security – measures which are necessary to prevent theft on the scale Walmart is used to dealing with. Unfortunately for the company’s minimum wage employees, they have to deal with these people all the time. Door greeters check to make sure you’re not trying to process a fake return, and
measures are taken by cashiers to ensure you’re not trying to buy something like a Crockpot filled with lipstick, headphones, and DVDs.
The people who attempt this sort of scam are the absolute worst, and the company constantly has to introduce new strategies in order to evade them. Maybe that’s the real reason behind the superhero capes?
9 Employees Are FORCED To Clean Up After Customers Who Forget Where The Bathroom Is
If there’s one place in the world I would never want to touch anything without a hazmat suit, it’s the bathrooms at Walmart. Walmart customers are the worst at respecting the facilities, and every employee has a bathroom related horror story.
One former Walmart employee told Business Insider "The women's restroom is one hundred times more disgusting than the men's room."
"Blood on the walls, feces everywhere, and sometimes they just choose to go on the floor." She also explained that she frequently had to clean up puke around the store. Other employees chimed in on Reddit to share their stories of having to clean up things like diapers left in the change rooms and even poo in the middle of the floor! It’s always best to visit Walmart with 0 expectations and a pair of rubber gloves.
8 Injured Employees Are Not Compensated For Debilitating Injuries
When Walmart employees are injured on the job, they are advised to not file for workers’ compensation. This is because Walmart frequently terminates employees who file for workers’ compensation, even if workers’ compensation is granted. Why? In the case of one employee who sued, Walmart stated it would be “an undue hardship to accommodate her because it would have meant doing away with one or more of the essential requirements of the job.” Scarily enough, whenever cases like this emerge, Walmart’s powerful legal team are careful to assert that fired employees for reasons other than filing for workers’ comp, but employees and lawyers have long noticed this pattern. It just goes to show that Walmart is a company that doesn’t care about its employees on a fundamental level. If you work there, try not to trip.
7 No Background Checks Mean Employees Might Be Convicted Felons
While having spent time in prison does not necessarily mean you should be barred from any chance at normal life, it is a fact that Walmart will knowingly hire felons… assuming they do a background check.
“Walmart did a phenomenal job in hiring my older brother for the hunting department,” says Reddit user Rnuff.
“A convicted felon not allowed to handle firearms with a history of violence in charge of bullets and shotguns… My mom was hired as a cashier and she had a long history of theft from all of her other cashiering jobs but I guess that they didn't know that.” Yikes! Seems like a solid family. While the will attempt to work with felons in order to help them re-integrate, that only applies to those who took the honest route and disclosed their information during interviews. It’s not a far reach to assume that people fall through the cracks.
6 Staff Aren't Allowed To Stop Customers From Stealing And Will Be Punished If They Try
For the safety of the employee, they aren’t allowed to stop people from stealing. Some stores hire security, who are sometimes armed, in order to curb theft, but of course this doesn’t always work. People who realize employees can’t technically stop them from stealing might just stuff their purse in front of them. That doesn’t mean some employees don’t try, but those who do discover that the consequence for doing so is pretty harsh. Because the risk against their safety is so high, it’s likely any employee who intervenes will be terminated for their own good. Shoplifters have turned stealing at Walmart into a science, with guides online that are readily available to anyone who knows where to look. That doesn’t mean you should try it, though. Walmart always presses charges against the shoplifters it catches. At worst, you might get shot by armed security.
5 Staff Have To Fend Off Insane Customers Who Try And Fight Them
We’ve already established that Walmart attracts the world’s craziest customers. It’s up to employees to bear the brunt of the oft-abused notion that the customer is always right, and sometimes the consequences are debilitating. For reasons unknown, customers are known to fight each other. The majority of times an employee is involved in a fight, it is because they have tried to interfere during a fight between customers. Other times, customer service disputes are to blame.
An El Paso, Texas employee was attacked by 3 men after he attempted to stop one of them from following a young girl around the store.
WREG reported that in a Memphis Walmart, “the customer reportedly became angry, asked for a manager and punched her. The employee confirmed she did punch the customer back.” Can anyone blame her? Walmart employees do not get paid enough to deal with this.
4 Flexible Scheduling Means Staff Need To Be Available ALL THE TIME
Walmart makes use of a practice called “Flexible Scheduling”. The system by which Walmart creates its schedules is largely automated, working in a way that allows the company to save as much money as possible. Walmart is able to save boatloads of money by forcing its employees who would otherwise be willing to work full time work less than 30 hours a week, and because the scheduling is often inconsistent, it is incredibly difficult for employees to hold other jobs. Employees are essentially on-call all the time in order to make sure they’re able to take last-minute shifts. Often, employees have trouble arranging for child care or planning for appointments through the uncertainty. A lack of available hours contrasted with a need for constant availability means that part-time employees are unable to receive many benefits as well.
3 Employees Have No Choice But To Clean Up Mold, Bugs, And Mice Because Management Doesn't Care
Never a dull day at Walmart. When asked what the craziest thing employees had even seen was, Reddit user Uppgrade wrote that after a woman had an accident on the floor, “a second elderly lady went into the bathroom, slipped, and had a heart attack.” The woman died!
Employees also sounded off about dirty, fly filled breakrooms, pest filled stockrooms, and bathrooms that never stay clean.
Any large building is bound to have some kind of problem, but with a client base like Walmart, you never know what they’re going to bring through the door. Other employees report having to clean things like cigarettes and empty beer cans from the changing rooms. Some complain about having to clean up the mess left by collapsing shelves of mayonnaise. Next time you’re at Walmart trying on a shapeless beige dress, check the change room for mouse traps.
2 Employees Will Use The New Products Before Selling It Back To Customers (Deodorant, Baby Powder, Perfume, Snacks)
Walmart takes shoplifting very seriously… sometimes. When South Carolina employee Chandler Roberts was caught on camera using deodorant on multiple occasions before putting it back on shelves, an investigation revealed he had also shoplifted nearly $2000 worth of stuff while on the job. The only reason he was caught with the deodorant at all? Somebody noticed him in the back room eating Oreos he didn’t pay for and wanted to check the cameras to verify their suspicion. Now imagine how many other employees, strapped for cash, sweaty after a long day of work, might try the same thing? It just goes to show that you can never be too careful. Before putting anything new on your armpits, make sure nobody removed the plastic protective cover or left any trace of armpit hair. What’s wrong with people?
1 Innocent Employees Have To Deal With Abuse From Other Crazy Employees
One thing employees probably don’t account for when applying for a job at Walmart are other crazy employees. Workplace drama is guaranteed anywhere, but some Walmart staff can be just as crazy as their customers.
A video of an employee going on an in-store rampage went viral, depicting a former employee pulling items off shelves and yelling profanities at coworkers before punching a hole in a sign.
After finishing his shift in February 2014, employee Myron Lamar Terrell retrieved a handgun and shot a customer standing in line. Walmart employees have been filmed following customers around, being accused of racial profiling, while photos have emerged that employees themselves have taken engaging in illicit acts. There was also, of course, our deodorant friend entry mentioned previously. Thank you for shopping at Walmart!
Sources: reddit.com, injuredworker.org, occupy.com, dailymail.co.uk