Walmart Workers: There Aren’t Enough Of Us To Keep Shelves Stocked

If you’ve been frustrated by finding empty or disorganized shelves during your recent visits to Walmart, some employees at the nation’s largest retailer say that disarray is due to a lack of manpower.

Bloomberg reports that during the last five years, Walmart has increased its total number of stores in the U.S. by 13% at the same time as it has pared down its total number of employees by around 1.4%. Thus, the math would tell you it’s likely that some stores are under-staffed.

“There’s a lot of voids out there, a lot of voids,” says one longtime Walmart employee from Wisconsin. “Customers come in, they can’t find what they’re looking for, and they’re leaving.”

When she started the job nearly 25 years ago, she says the manager’s motto had been “in the door and out to the floor,” but now she tells Bloomberg that the back of the store is full of inventory because there aren’t enough workers to stock the shelves. She says the store hasn’t been replacing workers who leave.

Another employee at a Pennsylvania Walmart tells Bloomberg, “The merchandise is in the store, it just can’t make the jump from the shelf in the back to the one in the front… There’s not the people to do it.”

Some employees say they would be willing to work the extra hours but that corporate policy is rewarding managers for keeping payrolls lean.

“We’re not getting as many sales because there’s simply no one to help the customers throughout the stores,” says yet another Walmart worker, this time from Missouri. “I asked, ‘Why can’t we have enough hours to make the store work?’ They said, ‘It’s orders from Home Office,’”

In response, a Walmart company rep tells Bloomberg:

“Our in stock levels are up significantly in the last few years, so the premise of this story, which is based on the comments of a handful of people, is inaccurate and not representative of what is happening in our stores across the country.”

We know that there are plenty of Walmart employees who read Consumerist. We’d love to hear from you regarding these claims. Shoot us an e-mail at tips@consumerist.com If we publish anything you tell us, we will never identify you to the public or to your employer.