Walmart Moving Greeters Away From The Entrance And To The Checkout Line

Only days after it was reported that Walmart was no longer going to be putting greeters on the graveyard shift comes news of a more radical change in the whole philosophy of greeters — taking them away from the entrance and moving them inside the store where they can possibly be of more help.

So instead of being… well, greeted by the greeters, you may see them standing near the checkout lines guiding shoppers toward shorter lines, or in the aisles helping customers locate the correct section of the store.

One greeter in Fort Worth, TX, confirms to Bloomberg that, starting in February, he’ll be moved away from the entryway and into the store proper in order to direct customer traffic.

“They said we won’t be people greeters anymore,” he explains. “We will be in the store helping people.”

While this will be more practical to shoppers than just having a greeter who smiles at you and wishes you a nice day, it is also a way for Walmart to cut labor costs by combining the greeter job with some of the basic customer service aspects of the jobs done by in-store associates.

“I’m going to be doing part of the associates’ work,” says the Fort Worth greeter. “They have been cutting hours left and right.”

Walmart says this is all in the name of providing good customer service.

“It’s a better position inside the store,” a rep for the retailer tells Bloomberg. “The greeters will be able to assist customers in more effective ways. Whether they are coming in the door or are 15 feet away, they will still be able to greet people.”

Last week, when we polled readers on if a lack of greeters would impact Walmart’s business, more than 85% of you said that it would not people from shopping at the store.

Wal-Mart Breaks Tradition by Changing Role of Its Greeters [Bloomberg]

Comments

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  1. DJ Charlie says:

    So now they’ll demand to see my receipt before I’ve checked out?

  2. Cat says:

    — taking them away from the entrance and moving them inside the store where they can possibly be of more help.

    Like, maybe running a FUCKIN’ CASH REGISTER???

    • Smiley Massacre says:

      Couldn’t agree more. Then again, I just go to the self checkout lane so I don’t have to deal with anyone.

      But only when they’re available.

      And actually open.

      And not broken.

    • dulcinea47 says:

      Ditto! We don’t even *have* a self checkout line anymore, and the lines are always LONG and people’s carts are FULL so it takes forever.

    • failurate says:

      The problem with that idea is that a portal to hell would be opened when an elderly customer enters a check out line manned by a former greeter and insists on paying with change. At the bare minimum they will both starve to death before the transaction is completed.

    • j2.718ff says:

      Normally, (in my experience), express lanes are to be manned by the slowest, most chit-chatty employees (stereotypically speaking: elderly). These are the same type of people who tend to fill the greeter role. I predict if they were added to the pool of cashiers, they would somehow make the process slower for everyone.

    • missy070203 says:

      at my local walmart you spend more time in line waiting to check out than anywhere else in the store…. typical wait time at the register is about 30 minutes

  3. Swins says:

    Most of the Walmart greeters I have seen are in some way mentally disabled. This should prove interesting

    • Chronopoulos says:

      That, or they look like their great-grandkids could have fought in Vietnam.

    • gman863 says:

      And this would be different from other Walmart employees…..how?

    • crispyduck13 says:

      I’ve seen a couple in my local store that were on those little shopping scooters. There was one that was so obese you could only make out the front of the damn thing.

      • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

        Two of ours ride scooters. One man is disabled, and it’s hard for him to walk. He is so friendly, gives out carts, and is always quick with a smile. The other is an elderly lady who belongs to some sort of hat society, and wears the oddest looking hats, usually red or purple. She’s also very friendly.

        I can’t see her buzzing about the store on her scooter helping people, especially since a lot of the areas are pretty narrow, especially in the clothing section. She wouldn’t be able to see around the displays & that could get ugly.

  4. ancientone567 says:

    Bullshit. I have seen these people already and all they do is insult you buy asking to see your receipt to make sure you did not STEAL anything.

    • Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

      Don’t take it personally. They are only doing what they are told. I’m sure they don’t like it any more than you. They’re just trying to make a buck, and since it’s Wally World, I’d bet it’s minimum wage.

      • Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

        I take being accused of theft pretty damn personally, thank you.

        • Azagthoth says:

          I can see it both ways. They are doing what they are told, but I usually just say “no thanks” and walk by. The look on the little old lady’s face that guards the garden exit is always priceless when I do this. I’m surprised she hasn’t tried to hit me with her highlighter yet.

  5. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    sams club already has employees that do this, so it makes sense that their other half would eventually realize the benefits

    • Dallas_shopper says:

      Big difference. When you sign up for membership at Sam’s (or Costco), you agree to have your receipt checked. No such contract exists between me and Wal-Mart. Some rude old biddy at the closest Wal-Mart to me chased me outside to check my receipt when I strolled right past her on my way out.

      Won’t shop at that location again.

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        i don’t mean receipt checkers. i mean the sams club employees who stand near the cash registers and direct people to shorter lines that they might not notice, and basically act as traffic directors to keep the lines flowing smoothly. they can also run and get change for the cashier to prevent slow downs

        • A.Mercer says:

          Must be a store by store thing. The Sams Club I go to is not like that at all. It is “every man for himself” thinking. You better pick wisely or else you get the lane that closes with 5 people still in it.

          • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

            maybe regional. i’ve been to 3 stores in metropolitan area and they all have at least one person doing that and on weekends usually one person at end of the line of registers.
            and there’s an incredibly convenient thing they can do because it’s sams, that wouldn’t work at walmart. when it’s super busy those employees will direct you to a line, then scan your card and scan the contents of your cart and sort of “load” your purchases on your card. so when you get to the cashier you just hand them your card, they bring up your cart and then you pay. and go.
            and then wait in line for the receipt checker. but it’s still MUCH faster

            • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

              edit button please:
              “in MY metropolitan area”

            • lilyHaze says:

              They did a trial run at a Costco awhile ago. It was pretty neat and much faster. And of course, like the express self-checkout line, they got rid of it.

              • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

                the sams nearest my house just got self checkout about a month ago. i got to use it recently and it was very nice

        • Not Given says:

          I like the ones that scan my club card and the goods while I’m waiting in line. When I do get to the checkout they scan my card again and the whole thing comes up on the register and all I have to do is pay.

        • TheHalfWit says:

          If they’re going to pay people to stand around and point to which lines may be shorter then they should implement the single line system. Where everyone is clustered into one big line that then feeds the registers.

          Helps prevent cases where you go into the shortest line, and grandma there takes longer then the family with two carts one isle over.

  6. Shouhdes says:

    “It’s a better position inside the store,”

    So, better position=more pay?

    Wait a minute, what am I thinking.

  7. Coffee says:

    They’re going to be directing me to smaller lines? Thank heavens! When I see the lines at Walmart, I usually stop 30 feet away and try to assess the strengths and weaknesses of each cashier and profile the customers (e.g. avoid elderly women with a lot of cat food) to determine which will likely be the shortest. This take at least a minute or two. Then I assess relative cart/grocery densities, the ratio of smaller-to-larger items, the size of gaps between customers, and the relative chance that a new lane will open next to any given register.

    After taking a deep breath, I pop a couple xanax, them make my way toward my line of choice, but I know that I always pick wrong, so at the last second, I randomly veer into another line that was going to be the faster one after all. And that’s when I realize that I’m behind the cat lady.

    So yeah…it will be so nice to have pseudo greeters tell me which line is the shortest.

    • augiet65 says:

      I read this in Lewis Black’s voice, with a little bit of George Carlin.

    • There's room to move as a fry cook says:

      I trust myself more than a greeter to evaluate what line to choose – taking into account # of people in each line, efficiency of the cashier and type of customer ahead of me (don’t get behind a woman with a cart full of clothes). I’d be pissed if a greeter directed me to what becomes the slowest line.

      • Coffee says:

        It’s up to you whether you want to listen to them, however I have to warn you that they might take offense if you’re not compliant because you’re not a trained department store check-out logistics engineer like they are. If they’re particularly surly or you get argumentative, it’s always possible that they’ll bump into your cart and fall over, then scream bloody murder. You’ve been warned.

    • alana0j says:

      I feel like 50% of the time I end up in the wrong line…cashier that moves like molasses and a customer that can’t work the damn credit card reader…but I’m always stuck by the time I realize it. This is part of why I’ve shifted some of my shopping to Kroger. The cashiers always seem to know what they’re doing, even with my WIC vouchers that confuse about half of Wal-Mart’s people.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        Tips for finding the quickest lines:

        A) Number of people versus amount of items: Assuming an average cashie speed, the number of items does not indicate the quickness, as half the wait is the payment.
        B) Men: We take less time grocery shopping on average, and usually have smaller loads of groceries.
        C) What aisle you choose: Certain aisles tend to be the “smoker” aisles, ones that smokers choose to get cigarettes. This always takes forever.
        D) Age: sad as it is, 3 people in their 30s take less time than 1 person in their 90s.
        E) Watch the people in the register aisle, and the cashier themselves. do you see chatters? Children? Slow walkers? Look for people who seem to be keeping to themselves and anxious to leave.

        • lockdog says:

          the cuter the cashier, the more likely she (or he) is to have a bagger.Bonus points since the wait is more pleasant too.

          • elangomatt says:

            baggers? what is this bagger thing of which you speak? Both Walmart’s in my area opened their doors with the bag spinners where the cashier bags everything. One of the grocery stores that still have baggers have really high prices and I swear they train their baggers on how to maximize the number of bags they use. The other store with baggers, the bagger is usually flirting with the cashier most of the time so he barely has time to bag groceries.

            • Dallas_shopper says:

              When I lived in the UK we had to bag our own groceries…no baggers in supermarkets that I saw except in the really swanky ones (like Waitrose or Marks & Spencer Simply Food), and even then they weren’t there all the time.

              I MISS being REQUIRED to bag my own groceries. Here people look at you like you’re a fussy yuppie asshole if you say that you prefer to bag your own.

              • elangomatt says:

                I actually wouldn’t mind bagging my own groceries, the problem is that the places without baggers don’t usually give an option for the customer to bag their groceries. They have a bagging rack so the cashier can attempt to bag while scanning. If I have time, I’ll group the meats, cold stuff, and frozen stuff on the belt together for the cashier, but I don’t usually have that much time since they are good about keeping short/no lines.

                And my Kroger just plain Rocks… and they are almost always pretty busy all evening and weekends.

        • RayanneGraff says:

          You forgot the people with a cartload of clearance merch, a good 50% of which will ring up wrong & will need to be price-checked.

      • Dallas_shopper says:

        The cashiers at my Kroger go so fast that you don’t have time to catch scanning errors and they also bang produce around and damage it. That’s why I go for the self-checkout at the Kroger. Speed is fine, but it doesn’t do anyone any good when I have to go back to customer service to correct the scanning errors or I have to ask you to take off those organic apples you just banged the shit out of while weighing them then damaged them further by dropping them into a bag on top of jars or other hard and/or pointy objects.

        • elangomatt says:

          Actually I am thinking that speed does good for the customers behind you. The reason why I usually can’t check for scanner errors at the register is because lots of times there is no waiting so the cashier is already mostly done with my groceries by the time I get the last item out of my cart. The produce thing though they should be more careful on. My Kroger cashiers don’t abuse the produce, but it is surprising when they get any kind of speed going.

          • Dallas_shopper says:

            It may do them good in that it gets me out of their way faster but if they are subjected to the same scanner errors and produce abuse, it doesn’t do THEM any good either.

            My local Kroger sucks rocks, I only go there when it’s not busy and I can take my cart through the self-checkout over the 10-item limit because the place is mostly empty and nobody cares.

            • alana0j says:

              The Kroger near me usually has very friendly cashiers who quickly, but properly, get me through their line. Even with the WIC situation. And they are WAY less packed than Wal-Mart so I guess until the Publix here opens I will frequent my Kroger

  8. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    I hope the new position has a clearly defined job description – otherwise these old greeters will become overworked utility players.

  9. goldenargo85 says:

    “85% of you said that it would not people from shopping at the store.” Your missing it would not STOP people. Proofreading -1.

  10. jp7570-1 says:

    The greeter idea needs to die. There are numerous options to replace this antiquated practice:

    1) Automated self checkout lanes for “express” purchases (like Lowe’s and Home Depot);
    2) Store concierges that actually know something. Scatter them throughout the store in key locations;
    3) Department “experts” to help answer questions (NOT to pressure sales). This is an old idea from the pre-big box hardware store era.
    4) NO MORE RECEIPT CHECKING.

    • sqlrob says:

      Single line for all checkouts would eliminate the need as well.

      • Coffee says:

        Yep…that’s my preferable setup in any store. It’s really the only way to make the process fair and it eliminates certain things that are huge pet peeves of mine (e.g. people who run from the back of an adjacent line when a new register opens up).

      • cromartie says:

        The Canadian locations actually have this for the express lines. Marshalls, TJ Maxx and Burlington Coat Factory do it as well and it’s a godsend.

        I’ve always been a fan of the checkout machine myself. Much faster, and I don’t have to deal with humans. Meijer, Kroger and Fred Meyer understand this. Why Wal Mart doesn’t is beyond me.

    • surreal estate says:

      I’ve always thought that instead of the robo checkout stands that eliminate useful human jobs, they should have a robo-greeter. I guess that would be a “self-greeter stand.”

      The greeter role at these places has always been pretty confusing to me anyway. Most could easily be replaced by a photocell and a recording that says “Welcome To Walmar.”

      • Conformist138 says:

        I never think saving a job just for the purpose of saving a job is a good idea. We have to let some old jobs go and make room for new ones as business changes. The automobile made wagon makers cry, but eventually society adapted to include a whole range of jobs relating to the new tech.

        Cashiering isn’t the highest skilled job, so these people could easily be trained to do something else where real people are needed and allow for the development of even better automated check out systems.

  11. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    1) Many stores are moving away from self-checkout. They are a pain to maintain and haven’t provided the anticipated cost savings to stores.

    • HomerSimpson says:

      Yup…so back to 10-deep in the checkout line again….

      • Dont lump me into your 99%! says:

        Our Meijers is always busy, and they have 10 10 item or less checkouts and 4 full grocery checkouts, they are ALWAYS packed. Then they never have enough regular lanes open either. Its as bad as Walmart. Kroger is not bad, but I dont like their small store thats on our side of town.

        • shadowboxer524 says:

          The Kroger on Industrial is so small. I stopped by there once on my way back from the mall. Just awful. And checking out is a pain, too, because there’s just not enough space.

          I live on North, though, so I go to the Kroger on Plymouth. So much nicer after the remodel! But I’m still having trouble locating stuff…

        • Murph1908 says:

          That’s what you get when you have a store where the parking lot is so big, you have to look up at the light post and remember you parked in Jabber Jaws 3.

          I hated Meijer for this reason. Just too damn big.

  12. Firevine says:

    “I’m going to be doing part of the associates’ work,” says the Fort Worth greeter. “They have been cutting hours left and right.”

    It’s either that, or the soylent green factory, gramps. Take your pick.

  13. 2 Replies says:

    LET ME SEE YOUR RECEIPT!
    Um… I’m going to checkout. I don’t have one yet.
    NEIN! Your PAPERS! LET ME SEE YOUR PAPERS!

  14. SecretAgentWoman says:

    Uh…who is going to give me my “I came in with this product to return” sticker? I’m not going to be accused of stealing items I’ve paid for, but need to return for whatever reason.

    • discipleprodigy says:

      Good point.

      • Southern says:

        My guess is they’ll be like most OTHER stores on the planet, you’ll simply take your item to the *gasp* customer returns area along with your receipt and do your bidness.

    • RayanneGraff says:

      They’ll just set up a self return-scanning station. Instead of the old lady trying to work the handheld scanner/printer combo & cursing under her breath when it malfunctions, it’ll be YOU trying to work the handheld scanner/printer combo & cursing under your breath when it malfunctions.

  15. gman863 says:

    Given the typical number of checkout lanes open at my area Walmarts after 10 (usually two), how ’bout training them to open an additional register and actually check people out?

    • PLATTWORX says:

      Good point. Directing people to a checkout with the shortest line when only two out of twleve are open is a bit silly. I don’t shop Walmart often because you can’t get out.

  16. MrMagoo is usually sarcastic says:

    At our stores, the greeters already do double duty: They either greet you, or if you have a return, they grunt and go through a laborious 5 minute process to print out a UPC sticker for the item, and then they point you to customer service.

    Is Walmart getting rid of the return person?

  17. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Also, the greeters will no longer be octogenarians. Look out for muscular men in their 20s and 30s, demanding to see your receipt.

  18. SporadicBlah says:

    I remember when “Door Greeters” used to GREET. They would say hello, pull a buggy out of the corral for you and sometimes even wipe the handle. Now they don’t do a damn thing but stand there backing up the exit line trying to police receipts. I haven’t received a friendly hello or had a buggy pulled out for me in years. I’m with CAT on this one. Teach them how to run a fukn register and get some lines open! 42 front registers in one of our two WMs and usually only 6 lines open and one end of self checkouts. Why even HAVE a self checkout if its not going to be open?

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      For that matter, why have 40 checkout lanes and only 3 cashiers?

      Target does this also.

      • crispyduck13 says:

        I’ve adopted the theory that they want to make sure your shopping experience was as miserable as possible.

        Between the lighting that makes everyone look like a middle-aged meth head version of themselves and the size 22 spandex “active wear”, I mean come on, that shit can’t be a coincidence.

        • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

          I almost choked on my Moosetracks reading this comment! So true!

          I can say this as I am totally qualified: JUST BECAUSE IT’S MADE IN YOUR SIZE DOESN’T MEAN YOU SHOULD WEAR IT!

          There, I said it. Spandex should go to a size 10, max. I’ve seen stretch spaghetti string cami tops in size 32W at my WalMart. That’s just wrong.

          • FashionablyDoomed says:

            Spandex and skinny jeans. I’m sick of seeing plus size skinny jeans. They should also stop at size 10.

  19. Jemaine says:

    Great, make it harder to avoid communicating with the employees of Walmart…

  20. MaytagRepairman says:

    I don’t think there is any such thing as a graveyard shift in a Texas Walmart.

  21. dush says:

    Wow, 15% of people really think they won’t shop at Walmart just because they don’t get a greeting? Crazy.

  22. Outrun1986 says:

    The greeter as far as I can see it is pretty useless, they just stand there at the entrance of the store. They don’t talk to you. I guess their purpose is to try to deter crime, but I don’t think the 90 year old lady standing at the doorway is going to be able to do anything if someone is running out of the store with merchandise. The store has security cameras presumably, so if something is going down in the store, it should be caught on camera. Walmart does not receipt check here as far as I know and I have never seen it, but even if someone was stealing, again it would be caught on camera. Besides I don’t think any retail employee is going to risk their lives trying to stop a thief that is running out of the store, and if they are they shouldn’t be risking themselves for this reason.

    The only place I have seen receipt checking here is at a closing store or at Sam’s club, where you have to sign a membership agreement agreeing to receipt checking, obviously that is a different situation. I live in NY state, so perhaps we have some law against receipt checking.

  23. donovanr says:

    I was waiting for them to give me a hug (as an informal pat down) and tell them that they love me like in Idiocracy.

  24. jayphat says:

    “more than 85% of you said that it would not people from shopping at the store.”
    I think you accidently a word there.

  25. Cacao says:

    1. The receipt checkers at Costco will sometimes direct you towards a rebate on an item you bought.

    2. Instead of having greeters direct you to the shortest line, whatever happened to the system of having 1 master line and then going to the next cashier that’s open?

    • elangomatt says:

      Does #2 even work with Walmarts? My local walmarts both have checkout areas that are like a 2 miles long. And of course the open checkouts are never anywhere close to each other so you can’t find the best one easily.

      I do agree though, I wish many more stores employed #2 instead of just Kohl’s

  26. PeanutButter says:

    I gave up on Wal-Mart long ago. Fruit should not be left in the yarn section for days. Pineapple that has become so moldy that it’s black should not be in the cosmetics section. When the cashier rings up a cd, it shouldn’t be a 10 minute process.

  27. nocturnaljames says:

    I don’t want to be pointlessly annoyed by someone upon entry of a store, so this is a step in the right direction. I refuse to shop at walmart anyhow…

  28. Kuri says:

    Eh, the greeter at the store we shop at is an awesome guy and very helpful.

  29. shinazzle23 says:

    I’d always heard that “greeting” customers cuts down on shoplifting.

    e.g.

    “Why is Eye Contact Important?
    • Shows you’re focused on the customer
    • Shows respect for the customer
    • Shows you’re a professional
    ‚Ä¢ Cuts down on shoplifting in a retail shop”
    http://www.sjc.org/business/training/Customer_Service.pdf

    Guess that was just more B.S., huh?

    • Cacao says:

      Same principle to deter bank robberies. FBI suggested it. You’ll notice that bank employees will now look up and greet you when you enter. That’s the last thing a robber wants.

  30. skakh says:

    I stopped shopping Walmart a long time ago. Many reasons including the plethora of people loitering at the entrances of all Walmart stores trying to get my money for one cause or another.

    I do know I do not to chit-chat with a reassigned Walmart greeter while shopping. Just one more reason to avoid Walmart.

  31. scoutermac says:

    This might work if there were shorter lines to be guided to. Every time I go to Walmart there are very few open lines at all.

    Notice how everything Sam Walton stood for has been changed for profit?

    • HomerSimpson says:

      Walmart board: “Sam WHO? Oh yea, that old guy. Well he’s DEAD y’know!”

    • elangomatt says:

      I still remember “made in the USA” posters and other stuff prominently displayed in my local walmart when it first opened in the mid 80s. I’m surprised there aren’t Karl Marx writings all over walmart stores now. Of course that walmart closed and moved to a new location a while back after their tax incentives expired. So they got new ones to open a Super Center!

  32. watcher says:

    Over the years Wal-Mart corp has gotten almost $15 from me, but I haven’t shopped at Wal-Mart since my first run in with the receipt checking “policy” they adopted. Maybe I will consider changing from Target to Wal-Mart if they do indeed get rid of greeter who is forced to be a security guard. Then again, I’m happy with Target which is always cleaner and generally has lower prices…..

  33. PLATTWORX says:

    “Whether they are coming in the door or are 15 feet away, they will still be able to greet people.”

    Um, never seen a Walmart where the checkouts (where the greeter is headed) is 15 feet away or a spot where one would “greet” people since they would have already shopped before heading towards the checkout area.

    That said, for some time now in our local Walmart stores the “Greeter” has not been greeting. They stand at the entrance like a soldier and perhaps nod at ever 10th customer. I have not been “greeted” by one of these people in years. Lost as to why they are standing there anymore anyway.

  34. Charmander says:

    I just hate it when more than 85% of you said that it would not people from shopping at the store.

    Whatever that means.

  35. FrugalFreak says:

    GOOD! no receipt checks and hassle from the old ladies.