Five reasons to bag buying groceries at Walmart

58296f50-089e-3545-bdd0-b93629a5da12.jpg
What hell lies within?
In case you haven't heard the collective war cries rising up from the citizens of Boulder, Colorado, they are about to get their first Walmart -- one of the new "neighborhood market" concepts.

Walmart pisses off liberals everywhere, and it's not the big-box chain with the best ethics record -- but people shop there because the products are cheap, and many of the stores are convenient one-stop spots where you can buy food, clothing, shelter and get your tires rotated. I've shopped at Wally's, motivated by poverty-stricken desperation, and I don't mind buying sundries there -- but purchasing edibles at Walmart is a filthy, humiliating, borderline terrifying experience that I hope never to repeat.

Here are five reasons to bag buying groceries at Walmart. At least Whole Foods gives you a kiss and a reach-around before screwing your wallet.

See also:
-Walmart coming to Boulder -- and sh*t heading for fan
-Reader: Boulder Walmart critics outnumbered by people who'd like to shop there
-Photos: Colorado People of Walmart, 2013 edition

bread17s.jpg
I can see the similarities.
5. The Soviet Russian produce.

I swear that buying fruits and vegetables at Walmart reminds me of those old film reels showing people trying to buy food in Soviet Russia. Walmart's dirty, half-empty produce bins are not a comforting sight, and the sight of shrunken oranges, limp celery, bags of salad mix with slimy brown leaves smearing up the inside of the bags, and gaping shelf-holes where the bok choy should be is even less appealing.

The sparse, ratty selection is only trumped by the often-steep prices of "exotics" -- which to Walmart apparently means collard greens and yellow apples. And for the love of russet potatoes, don't ever, ever ask any employees in the produce section if they have anything that isn't out on display, because you will waste twenty minutes of your life waiting for them to turn off their iPods, shift their eyes around to look at anything but you, and tell you four different times in four different ways that what you see is what you get.

knorr_vegetable_bouillon_powder_3x50l_0000x0000_0.jpg
Isn't this special?
4. Not the greatest product selection.

I was once searching the aisles in the grocery section of a Walmart, and I couldn't locate vegetable broth in any form of cubes, paste or powder. After asking two employees who both told me I "wasn't their area," I lucked out and stumbled upon an employee who actually had a working knowledge of the dry goods section, and when I asked about the elusive product, she said something like, "You gotta go somewhere else for that specialty stuff -- we just have normal stuff here."

Okay, so I then had to add vegetable bouillon to my mental Rolodex of specialty products, and thank her without appearing to be snotty. Sure, vegetable extract *could be* considered fancy sh*t, but it really isn't -- and it's not any more or less sophisticated than chicken or beef. I don't expect Walmart to carry some of the things I use -- like Indian hing powder, dried organic kiwi fruit slices or squid ink pasta -- but I think that American palates reflect at least a perfunctory taste for seasonings other than ketchup and Italian dressing in a bottle.

02-ground-beef-sl.jpg
This beef is the unfashionable sort of camo.
3. The meat and seafood are being held on life support.

When I cruise past the seafood "department" at Walmart, I feel guilt and shame when I see the two or three fishes lying in cryostasis with their dry, scaly skins and cartoonish black eye sockets. I hope they had good lives, because their ignominious, funereal appearances are bringing no joy to human customers. And strolling through the meat section is just as depressing, since the rows of frozen chicken parts have price tags on them that seem unnaturally low, and the bins of bleedy beef roasts reflect prices that seem unusually high.

And every time I've broken my own rules about buying ground beef at Wally's, I get a visual reminder of why I made this rule in the first place -- because it might be pink on the outside, but it sure ain't on the inside. The meat and seafood at Walmart might be legally dead on arrival, but the stuff looks like zombie-fied carcasses being kept marginally edible by some evil sorcery, with the spell being broken once you try to cook it.


My Voice Nation Help
32 comments
Faycless
Faycless

Didnt I just read this article 2 weeks ago?

Moose Brown
Moose Brown

as much as i cant stand wal mart these are pretty crappy reasons. there are many better ones.

Chris Cater
Chris Cater

@Janeen, might I recommend an 8$ an hour job at WaL-Mart? Grow your own folks!

Peter Navarro
Peter Navarro

I work for one of their competitors so I don't but I try to avoid them at all costs. I shop locally whenever possible.

Mike Bailey
Mike Bailey

Support local business. It's not about buying (or not buying) the shitty food at wal mart. It's about lifting up the community you live in

Chrissy Burgell
Chrissy Burgell

While I agree, don't go fooling yourself into thinking that Whole Foods doesn't try to mislead you, too.

Evelyn Maria
Evelyn Maria

Safeway, Walmart buys lower quality products so thus the cheaper the price.

Janeen Sharbono
Janeen Sharbono

I do shop at Wal Mart for paper products and such but never produce or meat. I agree they are bad. But being unemployed for as long as I have, I need to shop cheap for certain things. Also the greeter and employees at the one I go to are very pleasant.

Beth Harris
Beth Harris

Sprouts or King Soopers. Farmer's markets when available.

Julie Barrickman
Julie Barrickman

Sprouts and Whole Foods. Industrialized and misleading food labels aren't my thing. Garbage in, garbage out just look around.

Naomi Wolinsky
Naomi Wolinsky

The Vitamin Cottage. A good reason not to buy food at Walmart would be that they don't sell "real" food. Gogurt is NOT food people.

Skinney85
Skinney85

Out of absolute desperation straight out of college and strapped with student loans I myself have worked at Wally World  as a cashier for  $8/hr for 28hrs a week. Store management treated just about everyone terrible, there was a 75% turnover rate and in turn gave us no incentive to go above and beyond for the customers who were pretty dismal themselves. Wholefoods may not be too much better but they have great health benefits and you at least get a reasonable discount on great food versus the 10% we got on already cheap chemical laden shit.

gftw
gftw

lol, jennstir iz ppl of walmart.

BackOffImStarving
BackOffImStarving topcommenter

Spot on with your assessment of Walmart, Jenn, however Whole Foods isn't exactly the poster child of treating employees well.  Here is a link to an interesting site that details, among other issues, some of their shortcommings: http://michaelbluejay.com/misc/wholefoods.html  (*Note the section on LABOR*)

Here is some good stuff on what goes on at King Soopers: http://www.complaintsboard.com/complaints/king-soopers-colorado-c392899.html

Sprouts isn't that much better: http://www.indeed.com/cmp/Sprouts-Farmers-Markets/reviews


Julie Raines
Julie Raines

I try to never shop at Wally World, but on the rare occasions I have, the store in Broomfield next to Flatirons Mall is pretty decent.

jenna-furrr
jenna-furrr

@Moose Brown And what would those better reasons be?

jenna-furrr
jenna-furrr

@Chrissy Burgell I believe that. But Holy Foods is better at misleading. And having those zucchini muffins that I want.

jenna-furrr
jenna-furrr

@Stephen At Half Aspen You can't beat the all-you-can eat free chili at the nacho station.

jenna-furrr
jenna-furrr

@Naomi Wolinsky GoGurts would be better if they came in flavors that weren't gross.

NWDenver
NWDenver

@Skinney85 The most surprising part of your story is that you were paid $8/hr.  That seems like an awful lot for WM to be paying.  I thought they only paid the minimum required by law.

jenna-furrr
jenna-furrr

@gftw Where you been, man? I've actually missed you! I thought you wuz ded!

Skinney85
Skinney85

@BackOffImStarving Glassdoor.com is another website that has accurate current and former employee reviews of most publicly traded companies

gftw
gftw

@jenna-furrr It's taken me all this time to figure out how 2 use ur new complimicated commenting system.

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...