Thursday, April 14, 2011

American Ingenuity

Walmart announced this week that they are adding back 8500 products that were removed from shelves two years ago in a company wide reduction plan to cut costs. Since I am a Walmart shopper... we live right smack dab in the middle of Walmart country... it changed the way we ate. Shopping in a small town is dicey. Sometimes you can find products like sundried tomatoes or artichoke bruschetta, and sometimes you can't. If Walmart, Aldi or Harps doesn't carry it, you are out of luck. You didn't really want to make a Tuscan inspired dinner, did you???

Walmart lost a chunk of it's loyal base of customers when they were forced to go to other stores to buy products they had eliminated from their shelves. I was one of those. Not everyone loves Walmart, maybe what they dislike about the company is it's size or growth or strength. We went to church with Sam and Helen Walton years ago. The couple who dreamed big and grew Walmart from a meager Five and Dime store on Bentonville's square were as easy to talk to as your next door neighbor. They were honest, hard working people who gave back to their community. The company still gives back, if you don't want to believe this then don't Google "Walmart Contributions." Regardless, when I couldn't buy bean sprouts for my Pad Thai and salads, I went to Harps and while I was there I spent money on other things that Walmart no longer carried. A lot of people did the same thing. We all spent our hard earned bucks other places which helped Aldi to grow and Harps to thrive and Walmart lost customers and money. For 7 straight quarters, Walmart sales were down. The recession hit us all, even the big boys. But the American way is loss for some, growth for others. The American way also is when you can't find what you want, you figure out other ways. I learned how to grow my own sprouts and you know what, they taste even better than the little $1.44 package I used to get at Walmart!


  1. Oh, I hear ya! Bartlesville is the same way, so many things I just can't find. If I ask, they just blink because they never heard of such a thing!

    I hate going to WMT. The aisles are too narrow in our "supercenter", yet they have those riding things for disabled people and some of those disabled people are downright rude. And somebody's kid is ALWAYS having a tantrum. The lines are long and I always come away with some things not marked off my list because they don't have it. Annoying.

    So I watch the sales and support my local grocery stores, where the aisles are wide and there are no motorized carts in the way, you can actually talk to the produce manager and the store manager will order something for you if you ask. They still push your cart out to your car and load you up.

    Did you know you can plant some of those mung beans and grow your own? They grow just like bush beans grow. I grew some last year and plan to do the same this year. Thanks for reminding me. I just love bean sprouts.

    Good post. Hugs!

  2. So interesting you should post this... I love(d) Wal-Mart but in the past five or more years I was not able to find so many item I was looking for. I used to be able to get just about anything now I leave with only half of my list crossed out.

    Happy to hear more items will be brought back!

  3. I hear ya.
    I sure wish we had a Whole Markets or somewhere/anywhere we could purchase organic & hormone free foods. But till then, Walmart it is. Small town living has lots of pluses, but a variety of supermarkets is not one of them.

  4. Glad they are paying attention!

    I am lucky we live about twenty miles from Springfield and 5 from a local market I love, Murfins.

    But Murfins no longer has an ad that reaches me! I shop sales and often will drive right by them and go to town for some sale items.

    Also they can't meet WM's prices on paper or soaps. I hit WM about once every two or three food is the draw. When there, I do the rest of my shopping. On my side of town there is Walmart, Aldi's, Fresh Foods, Murfins, and Price Cutter and Dillons (Kroger). I feel fortunate to have so many choices.

    BTW, I have never tasted a bean sprout....

  5. I live in a small town and there are only 3 grocery stores (including Wal-Mart) so I am very thankful for them. When they did our remodel, they took away so much! No more prepared pesto! The manager was told to request certain items that the locals wanted. She requested, they denied. I talked to her recently and said I heard that they were restocking...she hadn't heard that. I hope we get back some of the things that we lost. I have grown sprouts before. I need to do that again. Joni

  6. Oh I didn't know there was a company-wide drop. I thought I just had a bad memory or something, and that I had never really bought certain things at walmart and had imagined the whole thing. A full grocery trip for us takes 3 different stores, and none of them are specialty grocery stores either! Glad you can grow your own sprouts at least - I stopped eating them altogether when the store-bought ones kept getting recalled. Not only will home grown ones taste better, but there isn't the chance of sickness! Makes me wish I had some sort of gardening skill...
    It's good to read a different perspective on the recession (and walmart in particular, who has a pretty bad reputation). It's easy to see how the recession hurts businesses, but as you said, when it hurts one, sometimes it helps another. A good thing to keep in mind - and a good reason to get out there and help the small guys survive in this tough world. Thanks for the bit of optimism! :)

  7. In NE, we do have more specialty shops in our little towns. I generally don't like the Walmart model, but I do appreciate that many folks only have that as an option. I love this tutorial for the mung beans. I really want to become more self sufficient in the future. I want to try this soon! Thanks for the tutorial!!

  8. They just put in a Super Center WalMart about 12 miles from us. The Pres doesn't shop there...never did, never will, even though it's cheaper than Kroger! Growing your own stuff is fun!!!...:)JP

  9. You don't know how happy I am to hear that news. I could make a list a mile long of things WM no longer carries that I used to buy there. Hopefully those products will return!

  10. It didn't take long for the powers that be to figure out what a huge mistake they made. I knew it so why didn't they? I kept waiting for our store to finish with the remodeling and restocking when they told me, that was it. I was shocked. I guess they were too. Now, I hope they fire all the birdbrains that thought the new plan up.


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