Always stupid decisions. ALWAYS

The stupidity and shortsightedness of many Wal-Mart managers never ceases to amaze me.  I’ve said many colorful things in the past about the managers at a store where I once worked, but at least our store manager had a pair. The co-managers, well, they had about one apiece (depending on the day), but I digress…

Today, I’m in a Supercenter that shall remain nameless and I notice they have three widgets on clearance that I know I could resell for a miniscule profit.  I can’t afford to buy all three (or really even one, at the moment) and clearance items technically aren’t supposed to be put on layaway, but rules — especially those that fly in the face of profit — are made to be broken.

So, I seek out an assistant manager and tell him I’ve got a proposition: let me put the widgets on layaway, and I’ll take all three.  He says he “can’t do it,” so I find a co-manager who surprisingly says the same thing.

Now, any time a salaried member of management at a Wal-Mart store tells you he “can’t” do something, he’s lying — plain and simple.  Every salaried member of management at every Wal-Mart is empowered with the authority to pretty much do anything he/she chooses as long as they believe it’s in the best interest of the company (read: stockholders), necessary to satisfy a customer or, well, just something he feels like doing for any reason, basically.

These widgets are discontinued, non-replenishable and have been marked down since Dec. 20, 2005 without going anywhere.  They’ve been taking up precious shelf space in a department where space is always at a particular premium for over a month now.

January is one of the slowest months of the year for retail sales, so you’d think that a co-manager whose large annual bonus is directly tied to the store’s performance would jump at the chance to add $250 to his store’s bottom line by just bending one small rule.

If Sam Walton were still alive, I can imagine him looking these guys in the eye and asking, “Do you think you’ll ever be merchants?”  Sam wanted associates who were merchants, not automatons.

I'm a Mid-South photojournalist, Kentucky writer and digital media consultant (or eNinja™). Circle me on Google Plus at, follow me on Twitter at @surattb and Instagram me at @BillySuratt. Got a news tip or suggestion about some journalism that needs committed? Email (discretion is always guaranteed).

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