If A Walmart Greeter Is Pulled From The Night Shift, Does It Make A Sound?

The next time you go to do your 3 a.m. grocery and table saw shopping at your local Walmart, you may notice that the septua-, octo-, and nonagenarian greeters that used to stand between you and the brightly lit aisles of Walmart wares are no longer there.

The nation’s biggest retailer has spent the last six months slowly shifting greeters at its 3,000 supercenters from the 10 p.m. – 7 a.m. overnight shifts to the hours when most people begrudgingly shop at Walmart.

Greeters have been a part of the Walmart staff since 1980, when store founder Sam Walton apparently decided that shoppers liked saying hi to old people.

One analyst tells Bloomberg that paring back on greeters, even during the overnight hours is a risky move for the retailer: “Consumers have been going to Walmart for years, and greeters have become an expectation. To a degree it defines Walmart.”

We would counter that most people shop at Walmart because it’s convenient and won’t actually care or notice if greeters are there. To that end, please take part in our completely not-at-all-scientific poll:

Wal-Mart Pulls Greeters From Night Shift as Walton Legacy Ebbs [Bloomberg]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:


    Oh, you must be referring to the Receipt-Checkers.

    • DariusC says:

      “Hello, may I see your receipt?”

      Greeter first, receipt-checker second!

      • AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

        Actually, this is all I ever hear come out of their mouths anymore. The folks stationed at the entrance/exit doors have their back to any incoming customers. They are just facing those trying leave.

      • Coffee says:

        But I’m white! >:|

    • Lucky225 says:

      LOL So it’s okay to not treat your customers like a nazi between 10pm a 7am?

      • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

        You’re doing it wrong. If you’re gonna make a Godwin analogy, you have to make Wal-Mart the Nazis, and everybody else the Jews, Gays, Racial Minorities… et cetera.

      • TerpBE says:

        It’s a statistical fact that no crime occurs after 10PM

    • Coalpepper says:

      Exactly, that’s about all they are here any more. Sure, occasionally one says hi or welcome when you come in, but not usually.

  2. TerpBE says:

    In years of shopping at Walmart, I have only been greeted by a greeter once. I guess I just have a “don’t talk to me” face when I walk in.

    • OSAM says:

      Same. Usually I get the 40-some year old indian guy sitting on the bench off to the side digging for gold so far up im sure he was smelling burnt toast.

  3. full.tang.halo says:

    So all you crims remember, do your dirty work at night when you won’t get hassled by a receipt checker….

    • poehitman says:

      Any shoplifter worth anything knows if you are going to shoplift at Wallyworld, do it after 11pm. Even more so now that they got rid of the greeters. The store may be full of surveillance cameras, but after 11pm, nobody is watching the screens they connect to and there aren’t any loss prevention people roaming the store.

  4. dragonfire81 says:

    No greeter = No receipt checking.

    Sounds like a win to me.

    • Taed says:

      No, greeters are at the entrance. Receipt checkers would still be at the exit.

      • minjche says:

        I have yet to visit a Walmart where the entrance and exit are not the same door. Is your Walmart setup different from that?

        • Jules Noctambule says:

          I’ve never been to one that did not have separate doors for entering and exiting, so there you go.

          • minjche says:

            Perhaps my use of the word “door” was misleading. I’ll rephrase.

            I have yet to visit a Walmart where the entrance and exit are not at the same place and greeted/receipt checked by the same person. Is your Walmart setup different from that?

            At the Walmarts I’ve been to (~10 separate ones in PA/NJ, ~5 separate ones in Georgia, and 3 in Kansas) there are indeed separate doors marked “in” and “out”, but they both feed into the same room where the greeter is stationed. Further, many people ignore the “in” and “out” doors so effectively there is no separately defined “entrance” and “exit” to the store.

            It’s not like some Best Buys where there is a door you enter on one side of a receipt checker and a divider, then after the cash registers and on the opposite side of a divider is a second set of doors where you exit. I’ve seen similar setups at Dicks Sporting Goods and Michaels craft stores.

  5. Cat says:

    Where can grandma get paid to sleep now?

  6. I just blue myself says:

    I have never been acknowledged when I walked into a Walmart. Usually the “greeters” are chatting with fellow employees.

  7. TheMansfieldMauler says:

    The “greeters” at my local Walmart don’t greet anyone, nor do they check receipts. They also aren’t elderly people. The only thing they do is take a shopping cart from the line and put it in the walkway so the next person who wants one can get it. They spend the rest of the time lounging on one of the electric scooters.

    If they’re not going to have the cart-putter position filled any more, they can put that person on a register because there are never enough registers open.

  8. Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

    I heard it’s becuase they are all passing away. I haz the sads.

  9. Sarek says:

    The only time I speak to a greeter is (a) if they say hi to me, or (b) if I have a question.

    I think they need to reinstate them. Keep grandma off the streets.

  10. esc27 says:

    Having an employee near the door gave the illusion that Walmart actually cared about its customers and offered plenty of in store support. This move better reflects reality.

  11. odarkshineo says:

    The walmart greeters around here a awful. Rude people that just stare at you and harass you if anything. I would shop there more if they got rid of them.

  12. Scuba Steve says:

    I’ve never been “greeted” at my local walmart. They just have sort of a thousand yard stare, and just check receipts and returns.

  13. jstimson says:

    Bit off-topic question.

    I realize that in the US you are not legally obligated to show your receipt on the way out of the store. Does this also hold true if the door alarms go off? Let’s say one of the items was not properly de-activated at the cashier and the alarm goes off while you exit the store. Are you obligated to show proof of purchase at that point?

    Also, does anybody know if these same rules apply in Canada?

    • rrot says:

      Once you’ve paid, you’re under no legal obligation to stop for a greeter, a receipt-checker or an alarm bell.

      • Skeptic says:

        I think an alarm most likely counts as reasonable suspicion–even if it is the stores fault that they didn’t take off/deactivate all of the tags. I wouldn’t push your luck on the receipt check when the **anti-theft** alarm is going off.

    • Herbz says:

      You still don’t have to show your receipt.

      The store could probably claim Shopkeeper’s Privilege though and detain you until police arrive (at which point you would probably have to show receipt or security footage to police)

      • rrot says:

        No, no, no.

        Not “until police arrive.”

        A few moments, to check his register system, his checkout clerk’s memory. That’s it. Anything more is a wrongful detainment.

    • Lucky225 says:

      Shopkeeper’s privilege varies state to state, in Colorado they can temporarily detain/question you IF an alarm goes off or IF they ACTUALLY believe they SAW you attempt to conceal/steal merchandise without paying.

      Here’s the “receipt” I planned on showing them :)

      https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-snc7/396827_287443117970613_100001147827275_745331_1713464991_n.jpg :)

    • markvii says:

      Depends on the local laws. IMNAL, but here in Michigan, an alarm going off is grounds to exercise shopkeeper’s privilege and the law protects them from “unlawful detention”.

    • cparkin says:

      Yes the laws are generally the same in Canada though we don’t have a nice term like “Shopkeeper’s Privilege” to use.

      You might also be able to get away with not showing a receipt under PIPEDA if the receipt has any personal information on it.

  14. brinks says:

    I’m not a Walmart fan, but I shop at their less evil (but pretty much identical) regional counterpart, Meijer. The nice old people always say hi, and the more industrious folks will even pull out a cart, but they don’t check receipts. I hope they don’t eliminate greeters, too. I was really hoping to have that job when I’m 97, too feeble for a regular job, but too poor to really retire.

    • Don't Bother says:

      Yes! The greeters there are so much nicer. We have one near us that shouts, “Welcome to Meijer! Have a great day!” She’s just so dang happy!

      And I just like Meijer better–fresher produce, the store is cleaner, and a broader liquor selection.

  15. rrot says:

    The “greeter” is an abomination. Can’t disappear soon enough.

    ecs27 sez: “gave the illusion that Walmart actually cared about its customers and offered plenty of in store support. This move better reflects reality.”

    That is *exactly* correct.

    This “humanizing” approach to retail is the most inhuman thing ever. A worker, paid to feign friendliness.

    It’s the exact same thing as those mall kiosks, where your stroll is interrupted by a “hi,” or an “excuse me, miss.” Because they’re pretending to be human rather than corporations, we’re supposed to feel rude if we snub them? Uggh.

    “The greeter” must die.

  16. mbz32190 says:

    Yeah…since the late 90’s, the “greeters” have stopped greeting. Their only role seems to be putting stickers on merchandise brought back into the store for returns. Half the time they are busy yacking to another coworker and I could have slipped behind them with 10 TV’s in my cart.

  17. hoi-polloi says:

    If you’re shopping in the wee hours of the night, being greeted probably isn’t your first concern. I don’t shop at Walmart, but when I’ve gone to 24-hour supermarkets. The lack of people is the silver lining.

    • elangomatt says:

      This is true, but then we have a 24 hour Kroger in my town that screws the late night/early morning shoppers by making you check out your own groceries from 10pm until sometime the next morning, probably 6am or 7am. Of course they still have to have 1 cashier there to monitor the self checkouts.

      • gman863 says:

        At my nearest Kroger (and most other stores, including Walmart), the U-Scan lanes shut down around 10 PM. Adding insult to injury, only one or two checkout lanes are left open, usually with the slowest cashiers on the store’s payroll.

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

    Our greeters actually do say “hello, welcome to WalMart” or variations of that theme, but mostly if they see a bag in your hand, signaling a possible return, they’re right on you with that sticker gun and literally block you from going into the store.

    This even applies to the elderly woman in the big hats that has to use a scooter. She can really maneuver that thing when she has to.

  19. scoutermac says:

    All walmart stores inside Indianapolis close at midnight.

  20. gttim says:

    Welcome to Moes! Wait, I mean Wal-Mart!

  21. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    The poll is flawed – it needs an option indicating that the removal of greeters would be a positive move.

    Because it would. I don’t know of anyone who “enjoys” being “greeted” by the “greeter” – and certainly no one who goes to WM because of an expectation of being “greeted.”

    I find it highly annoying…not quite as bad as the “helpful” people at Ace Hardware constantly trying to “help me with something” – but it’s still annoying.

  22. HalOfBorg says:

    I find them annoying. it’s nothing they do – it’s just me. I can walk into a store all by myself.

  23. emax4 says:

    I can only think of elderly greeters at the Wal Marts, and I remember seeing one elderly person around midnight at the door. I’m imagining the sound of a Wal Mart greeter being pulled as, “My life has been spared!” Wal Mart is better off using bouncers that didn’t get hired at a club rather than elderly people who can’t chase after thieves.

  24. iConsumer says:

    Elimination of a forced hello and awkward moment for us all? How horrible.

  25. NumberSix says:

    I hate to say it since these folks probably need the income or insurance, but its a do nothing job.

  26. the_Jenkins says:

    I’ve been to Wal-Mart once in the past year (only because I received a gift card), walked in and was greeted by one of the creepiest old ladies I’ve ever seen in my life. She looked like a real life witch. I ran past her and got my junk and left. She tried to say “bye”, or cast a spell on me, so I ran out even faster.

    I can’t believe people shop there still. Such a disgrace of a store. Their prices are not much cheaper (some stuff is more expensive) than the Kroger we frequent. I shall not be returning again. If I get another card, I’ll just get gas with it so I don’t have to rummage around with “The People of Wal-Mart”.

  27. soj4life says:

    If they moved that one employee to the registers it would be a welcome sign, having only one register jockey in a walmart is just insane, no matter the time of day.

  28. SpamFighterLoy says:

    Where is the “Don’t care because I don’t shop at Walmart anymore” option?

  29. pot_roast says:

    Another thing that seems to vary wildly by location. In my area, the Walmart stores are clean, well stocked, and have helpful employees. The greeters at one particular store that I’m thinking of (Highland Village, TX) are friendly folks that keep the carts & baskets organized and have a few sitting out when you walk in. They pick up trash and help people with the Redbox. In general, they do their best to provide a useful service.

    Other Walmart stores I’ve seen? An old guy sitting in a chair glaring at people.

  30. LiveToEat says:

    Who will tag the item I’m returning and have a receipt for so I can bring it to customer service?

  31. gman863 says:

    Aside from an occasional “hello”, I don’t remember being officially greeted (“Welcome to Walmart, would you like a basket?”) since they closed their regular stores and replaced them with Supercenters around 15 years ago. Even if I’m returning an item, the most I get is “Let me put a sticker on that.”

  32. Kuri says:

    Hmm, well that sucks, because the greeter at the one I go to is just an awesome guy.

  33. Southern says:

    I actually know most of the greeters at my Walmart by name. and they know me by sight (if not by name) also. Sometimes I’ll stand around and BS with them while the S.O. clothes shops (Ours aren’t that old, but about the only thing they can be are greeters; Calvin is in a wheelchair, Charles uses a cane to walk (back injury), Katherine is elderly.

    I can say I’d miss them, yes — but I’d still shop there.

  34. Not Given says:

    At first I didn’t know they were ‘greeters.’ When they said hello to me it kinda skeeved me out, some creepy old person I don’t know speaking to me for no apparent reason. I just thought they were on a break, or hanging around the entrance until they got off work.

  35. hahatanka says:

    GF keeps making me go to Wally World as a Greeter. Last time there, thought about applying for job. See pairs of teenage girl employees just wandering around. There must not be any supervision.
    I’m applying, find a sleeping hole and get my eight hours.
    Reminds me of a guy I worked with years ago. Told me a great story.
    During WW II, he worked at a Texas steel mill (Black = not soldier material). Mill was so huge he would spend an hour walking from one end to the other outhouse. Then the next hour back to the other outhouse. Said it worked for a month before a supervisor told him to move a full wheelbarrow. Told him #&$&$&)$@%. He Quit.
    Told me, “Should have have pushed that wheelbaoorw, now I’m stuck at the Post office.
    Slowest worker you ever saw. But after an 8 hour shift, he had actually moved the most mail of any employee.
    He really was a great worker, just didn’t wanted to be treated like a slave.

  36. mcgyver210 says:

    They have a new plan to implement the use of TSA Gestapo & full body scans along with a minimum purchase to exit the store without being assaulted. Oh & you will not be aloud to bring previous purchases back into the store which will cut down on returns.

  37. FiorellaMajumdar says:

    So now they’re just Target, but with less class?

  38. Debbie says:

    I wouldn’t notice if the greeters left.