Yay! Here comes Wally Walmart!

2011-03-26 08:43

People look at me strangely when I get excited about the possibility of Walmart coming to South Africa.

But, let me tell you, I lived in America for three years and I can’t wait for them to open here!

On one condition, though, it must be the same ugly, boxy blue and grey warehouses that they have in America.

It must be outside the city, and must have hundreds of staffers to help you with your every need.

I am no fan of the level of service we get in this country, even from high-end stores.

In those three years in America I quickly understood what they mean when they say the ­customer is king.

Like most SA retailers, ­Walmart has some questionable business and employment practises, but it is unbeatable for shopping variety, good prices and great customer services.

You want to buy mascara, ­baby nappies, a couch, Levi jeans, biscuits and tyres? Sure, because Wally Walmart has it all in one store, and at prices that make you smile.

We lived in Washington DC, and you had to drive a good 40km to get to the nearest ­Walmart, but once you got there, it was worth the drive.

My son was quite small when we lived there, so toys and baby products were high on my list.

And Walmart delivered. One year the toy of choice was a ­hideous Elmo doll that giggled when you tickled it.

It cost $10 less than any other store.

The latest DVD out? Walmart discounts the price so much that you just have to buy it.

It’s called competitive pricing, and if the competitors don’t like it, there’s a simple fix – drop your prices too.

Walmart calls these things loss-leaders, because no right-thinking shopper will go into a store and buy only one item.

And they manage to have sales on their cheap merchandise, something South African stores cannot seem to fathom.

South African shoppers get a very raw deal from our retailers.

About shoes, I’m resigned to buying them in the men’s ­department, but when I got to Walmart I found all women’s shoes affordable and ­fashionable.

Walmart’s coming here is a bonus.

Maybe their customer service ethic will rub off on the rude and surly staff we have at the moment.

Can someone please open an Ikea store here too? 

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