Sam’s Club, owned by Walmart, is cutting about 11,200 jobs nationwide in its stores. That’s about ten percent of the chain’s workforce. The part-time employees who currently hand out product samples and perform demonstrations will be replaced with ringers from the outside company that performs the same service in Walmart stores.
Here’s the company line:
“In the club channel, demo sampling events are a very important part of the experience,” said Sam’s Club CEO Brian Cornell in a phone interview with The Associated Press. “Shopper Events specializes in this area and they can take our sampling program to the next level.”
Shopper Events, based in Rogers, Ark., currently works with Wal-Mart’s namesake stores on in-store demonstrations. Sam’s Club is looking to the company to improve sampling in areas such as electronics, personal wellness products and food items to entice shoppers to spend more.
When I was growing up, my family would wander around Sam’s Club on a Sunday afternoon and basically eat our entire lunch from the samples. We can’t be the only ones.
Our tipster, a Sam’s Club employee, added some information about how the layoffs went down and the likelihood of the now-former employees going to work for the new regime.
[T]hese people were given practically no notice that they were losing their jobs. All associates were threatened with a reprimand if they “gossiped” about it before it was made official. Most of these people are elderly and/or disabled, and the chances of them being hired somewhere else in this economy, even by the “Tastes & Tips” team, are ghastly. One of our people was over 80 years old! I am planning on leaving the company within the next few months because the lack of concern for employees is disgusting. I hope the public crucifies Walmart Stores, Inc. for doing this.
If the company can do better demonstrations, is hiring back the old guard what they really want to do? If they contract to do the same work, but cheaper, these employees will be performing the same work for less pay for a new employer.