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By Henry Gekonde

It’s hard to go shopping at a Walmart store and emerge from those comfortably wide doors without feeling guilty about the whole experience (you remember vividly the $7 T-shirt you bought there last year that you didn’t want to wear again after the second wash). 

Yet we return again and again! And again, we’re disappointed by our purchases. Consider these work boots I bought there the other day. After just two days of wearing the shoes, whose label says they were made in China, the insole in the left shoe has detached itself and the outsoles are already breaking off, like pieces of bark from an old tree. 

Obviously, the problem doesn’t lie entirely with Walmart — no one forces us to shop there. Some philosophical questions: What does Walmart know about how the average American consumer judges value? (Obviously, their secret has to do with more than just low prices.) Can Walmart’s retail imperium last?    

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Comment by Munsey Ladiwala on April 21, 2012 at 7:37pm


So sorry your boots had problems.  The great thing about WalMart is hassle-free returns.  I think you'll have a good experience if you'd just return them to the store.  Either you got a bad pair, so a different pair might work better, or just get a refund.

I'm always confused about people crying about WalMart, etc.  No one forces anyone to go there.  WalMart at least has benefits for their employees, which is more than almost any locally owned retailer can offer.

Look at hardware stores.  In some parts of the country, you can't find any, just the Home Depot/Lowes etc.  In other places, like Texas, there's ACE hardware stores everywhere.  There's lots of Home Depots and Lowes, too, but the locals have figured out how to compete with the "big box" stores...they offer service, friendly helpful service with a smile.  No one likes to shop where people are not nice to them, and, surprise, we have choices today.

Henry, you're unhappy, take the boots back and go to your local retailer and get something else.  They'll still be made in China or another low labor cost nation, but you'll feel better about it.

Comment by John F.J. Sullivan on April 12, 2012 at 10:08am

I think Walmart is often unfairly maligned, but it's true that shopping there is usually a risk vs. reward proposition.

Flashlight batteries and Fruit of the Looms are the same everywhere,so why not save money on them at walmart? But you have to expect the dye's Going to run in a pair of $10 leather gloves, right? Offering low-cost merchandise is no crime.


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