PDA

View Full Version : Bad news for fans of Wal-Mart's layaway



El Chuxter
09-15-2006, 03:27 PM
From AP via Yahoo News (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060914/ap_on_bi_ge/wal_mart_layaway_2):


Wal-Mart Stores to cease layaway service

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will end layaway service this year due to falling demand and rising costs, scrapping a tradition started when Sam Walton founded the chain in 1962 catering to cash-strapped rural shoppers in northwest Arkansas.

Wal-Mart said Thursday it will stop accepting layaway items Nov. 19 with a pickup deadline of mid-December. In its layaway program, customers make a down payment to hold an item and then generally had up to 60 days to pay it off, with a shorter deadline in the peak Christmas season.

Layaway services are used mainly by people at the lowest end of the income scale, who don't have credit cards and may not qualify for credit, analysts say.

The move comes as Wal-Mart is changing on many fronts, from adding upscale fashions to targeting new urban customers, in a bid to revive growth rates that have fallen behind smaller rivals such as Target Corp.

"Demand for layaway service has declined steadily as consumers turn to current options including online shopping, shopping cards and no-cost credit alternatives that were not available when the company was started," said Pat Curran, executive vice president of Wal-Mart store operations.

Analysts said most retailers have already dropped layaway service as it is expensive and cumbersome. Merchandise can be tied up for months and employees have to keep track of a steady trickle of payments.

One holdout is Kmart, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sears Holdings Corporation, which issued a statement Thursday stating that it continues to offer layaway services at its 1,300 stores.

"This is another recognition that Wal-Mart is no longer a little Ozarks company but instead is the nation's largest private employer and the world's largest retailer," said Patricia Edwards, portfolio manager and retail analyst at Wentworth, Hauser & Violich in Seattle, which manages $8.2 billion in assets and holds 51,000 Wal-Mart shares.

Still, Wal-Mart's union-backed critics said the move marked another step away from its founder's vision.

"Sam Walton's Wal-Mart the one that 'bought American', treated workers with some dignity, and gave low income customers a chance to buy an expensive item over time that Wal-Mart is now on permanent layaway," said Chris Kofinis, spokesman for WakeUpWalMart.com.

Sounds to me like a major case of someone shooting themselves in the foot. I know a lot of people who shop at WM over Target or other stores just because of the layaway program. Not to mention that people are more likely to make large purchases if they don't have to pay for everything upfront.

Stupid, if you ask me. Truly, truly stupid.

Slicker
09-15-2006, 03:39 PM
It sounds to me like WM is trying to shed some of the more "undesirable" clients and clean up it's act and become a "higher" end store.



Poor, KH...

CaptainSolo1138
09-15-2006, 03:41 PM
My wife mentioned to me today on my lunch that she was thinking about using lay-away at WM for the first time ever when she starts Christmas shopping, just to see if it's worth it at all. I guess that experiment is gonna have to wait.

Whatever is KH gonna do?! lol

Jedi_Master_Guyute
09-15-2006, 03:45 PM
As a WM employee in the off season, i can say that i'm really happy with this news. You have no idea how much crap people put on layway and NEVER COME BACK for it. It slows down sales, takes up WAY too much room in the back and frankly, if you're putting it in layway due to money reasons, you probably should be putting your $$ into more important things. This is a great idea. Though, i'm going to miss walking back to the break room during the holidays and seeing those long lines of disgruntled shoppers who waited till the last effin' minute to get out their layways. Oh man, those were the days. Walking by on your way home and just seeing them so PO at the situation just made me grin. :crazed:

Kidhuman
09-15-2006, 04:25 PM
Sounds to me like a major case of someone shooting themselves in the foot. I know a lot of people who shop at WM over Target or other stores just because of the layaway program. Not to mention that people are more likely to make large purchases if they don't have to pay for everything upfront.

Stupid, if you ask me. Truly, truly stupid.

I am the same way. Not only do I use it for toys and such, but the wife uses it for household stuff as well. New bedding, curtains and so on...&


It sounds to me like WM is trying to shed some of the more "undesirable" clients and clean up it's act and become a "higher" end store.



Poor, KH...

Moneys money, dont matter if it comes from undesirables or not&

My wife mentioned to me today on my lunch that she was thinking about using lay-away at WM for the first time ever when she starts Christmas shopping, just to see if it's worth it at all. I guess that experiment is gonna have to wait.

It worked great at Christmas time becuase you had from mid Spet until mid Dec. to pay it off.


Whatever is KH gonna do?!

Kmart still has lay-a-way.


if you're putting it in layway due to money reasons, you probably should be putting your $$ into more important things.

So someone who can say afford to put down 100 dollars a week on a brand new TV doesnt deserve to get one? Some people dont like to fool with credit cards and such. This is by far the stupidest idea I have ever seen this company do. Its not just me talking, but alot of others too.

LTBasker
09-15-2006, 05:14 PM
Moneys money, dont matter if it comes from undesirables or not

I've never understood the snootiness some people have towards those who use layaway. True, some people do abuse layaway and put in things they can't ever afford but the majority of people use it because it's something they can't afford right then.



It worked great at Christmas time becuase you had from mid Spet until mid Dec. to pay it off.

It's also used alot during the back to school season so parents don't have to clamor for supplies right when they go back and they don't have to have supplies sitting around the house for so long.



Kmart still has lay-a-way.


I hope your K-Mart has a decent layaway, the closest one here is depressing. You go into electronics and then go into a tiny corridor with low lighting where at the end is a small crappy counter with an employee at random times.
The last one I put in was a JL 10" figure and a few smaller things, to "store" it they put it all in a K-Mart bag and taped that.
The time before that it took 3 employees 45 minutes to figure out a new machine they got.



So someone who can say afford to put down 100 dollars a week on a brand new TV doesnt deserve to get one? Some people dont like to fool with credit cards and such. This is by far the stupidest idea I have ever seen this company do. Its not just me talking, but alot of others too.

Definitely, it's not only a service some depend on in general but here the employees mention that it's part of their largest profits during the holiday. People can put the highest costing items in layaway early in the season and pay it off while not having to hide it and having money for smaller things.

2-1B
09-15-2006, 06:50 PM
I haven't used layaway in probably more than a decade.

bobafrett
09-16-2006, 12:19 AM
I use lay away for times when I see the figures I want, but just don't have the money to get them that day. I think it's a bad plan, as I like to shop at Wal-Mart for my Star Wars fix, because of the Lay-Away.

They let us know at the morning meeting, and I immediatly thought of our man KH.

JediTricks
09-16-2006, 04:25 PM
How come nobody can just put their money in the bank until they have enough to buy the item? I'm not trying to be a jerk about this, but clearly if they have the money within 3 months either way, why don't they just use the bank instead of layaway? (I am guilty of this as well, but that doesn't invalidate the question)

Jedi_Master_Guyute
09-16-2006, 04:50 PM
How come nobody can just put their money in the bank until they have enough to buy the item? I'm not trying to be a jerk about this, but clearly if they have the money within 3 months either way, why don't they just use the bank instead of layaway? (I am guilty of this as well, but that doesn't invalidate the question)


exactly. Glad to see someobdy is sorta kinda on my side. :crazed:

JediTricks
09-17-2006, 03:27 AM
No, I do agree with you, and it's not just holidays that have long lines, because the overall demand here in my area isn't that high there's usually only 1 person in Layaway and during the busy hours of regular days they get SWAMPED so there's a huge line, then you come in an hour later and they look like they're on watch duty in the Mayberry courthouse keeping an eye on Otis' cell to make sure he doesn't escape or at least vomit in his sleep and die. It's not a good system, it's expensive to run, confusing for the customers, annoying for the employees, and - especially in urban areas with plenty of access to banks and such - somewhat redundant.

All that said, there are a few circumstances where layaway has been helpful, like when an item just ain't gonna be there when I come back next week, and that's one of the few things that's kept me coming back to Wal-mart... unfortunately it's also kept a ton of local scalpers coming back to WM and laying away everything before collectors get there.

I dunno, the policy is a throwback to a different time, a relic that doesn't really fit their business model, I'm a little sorry to see it go but I'm not surprised or bitter about it (and I come down on WM pretty hard usually). I think they might want to reconsider keeping the program alive in more rural areas though the way Sam Walton started out and people are less willing to use banks.

Kidhuman
09-20-2006, 10:05 PM
Dont know how true it is, but heard Target is starting a lay-a-way section after the new year.&

JEDIpartner
09-21-2006, 01:09 PM
I never did layaway as my parents didn't do it. I see no need for it. *shrug* If you can't afford it now... don't buy it.

scruffziller
09-21-2006, 05:44 PM
I suppose the only recourse for layaway that I ever used was to make sure I could hold the item before it was picked up by someone else, during our 20% off time. Usually it was an item that was a good deal that could be snatched up before the week we got our 20% off certificate. I put it on layaway and then take it off layaway to buy it at 20% off.

I live in central mid southern Iowa. Further south is the second poorest region in the country. Only places in Mississippi are poorer. We have alot of employees that work at my WM and clientèle that come from that region. Most of the people from that area are strapped for cash and live on the fringe. A good deal of them are in their late 50s early 60s and still have not made it into the 21st century. And they are all up in arms.

Bacta Beast
09-21-2006, 06:45 PM
How come nobody can just put their money in the bank until they have enough to buy the item? I'm not trying to be a jerk about this, but clearly if they have the money within 3 months either way, why don't they just use the bank instead of layaway? (I am guilty of this as well, but that doesn't invalidate the question)

Sometimes those of us that use Wal-Mart's (extensively) don't have the chance to save up for what they want before they see an item on the shelf, on on sale. So Lay-a-Way gives folks a chance to be prudent with their money while not missing out on sales or products that they may have otherwise.
The worst excuse that I've heard Wal-Mart (execs.) issue is that they will save so much money by not staffing the lay-a-way dept. Yeah right!!! They hardly ever have anyone working back in those ares anyway! I have 4 Wal-Marts within 30 minutes or less from my house and I have used the lay a way deptment at each one. I cannot count the number of times I have gone back to each of them and had to wait as someone was being called back to wait on me! Wal-Mart has been treating the lay a way dept. like a red headed step child for awhile now!
And if Wal-Mart thinks they're going to appeal to a more "upscale" (used here as snobby) clietele by making changes like this, they're in for a shock. It's all us "Red State Hicks" that have made them rich. They're going to have to tear down a few stores and give back some wetlands to make their detractors happy. That and allow their employees to unionize.
I can hear Sam Walton rolling over in his grave. Way to corporate CEO's!!!:rolleyes:

JediTricks
09-21-2006, 07:14 PM
Yeah, I did mention the sale price issue being a reason to use layaway, but most of the folks I see using layaway don't have sale priced items.

How much is it costing them? 1,135 WMs in the USA, each one would need at least 3 layaway employees per day, 7 days per week, we'll say average 4 hour shifts in the department, that's 4,957,680 man hours per year at the federal minimum wage that'd be $25,532,052 per year... that is a proverbial drop in the bucket for a company worth over $300,000,000,000, yet larger than the income of most businesses in the US.


WM has been trying to go "upscale" for a year or so now, they want to compete with Target in fashions and home furnishings and stuff, but WM can't really compete with Target because Target's buyers get better stuff and seem to have a better sense of style and quality, WM has more expensive stuff now but not really with the quality and style.

2-1B
09-21-2006, 07:42 PM
JT, I just noticed last night at Wal-Mart that the clothing sections have now had (probably mock) wood grain inlay put in place of the white tiles...it definitely looks more "upscale" as you put it. :)

But I could still definitely tell I was in a Wal-Mart. lol

El Chuxter
09-21-2006, 07:45 PM
I've noticed that, too. I doubt it will work. Their reputation is not compatible with "upscale," and I think folks' opinions are too firmly entrenched.

Blue2th
09-21-2006, 08:17 PM
...unfortunately it's also kept a ton of local scalpers coming back to WM and laying away everything before collectors get there.

I think you hit the nail on the head there. With the Star Wars items anyway. The last time I used Lay-away was for one of those 150.00 Ultimate Soldier 1/6 scale RC tanks about 6 years ago. Anyways, that's what credit cards are for, except they charge interest for a ninety day pay-off. I personally don't like to use a credit card for non essential purchases because it's too easy to run it up, especially if you're a collector. If I don't have the money, I don't buy and suffer. Though being single with disposable income, good job, I usually have the cash. Some will get hurt by this because they have bad credit or no credit. If Walmart would have just said no layaway on toys, I would have been happy. I have mixed feelings about this because of the rest of the poor souls who are suffering financially already. It's a cold world.

bobafrett
09-22-2006, 09:51 AM
I know they won't let you put clearance merchandise on Lay-Away, as I was going to put an item on, not knowing it was clearance priced, only to find out that I couldn't.

One funny thing is, they say "No TV's of Furniture on Lay Away" but someone went and put one of those huge plasma screen TV's on Lay Away, it took up almost an entire pallet and bin. Last I saw, it was still up in the bin, with a pick up date of last month.

dindae
09-22-2006, 10:54 AM
I used layaway for the first time last year during christmas. I was short on cash from buying gifts and trying to stick to my budget and I walk in and see the mother load of Star Wars. I could have put it on a credit cards but I was really trying to pay those off (something I thankfully have now accomplished). So I took it all to layaway and picked it up when I got my next check. I like the option as a collector and would have used it again. And for christmas I can see it being a good option as well you can do your shopping early, make some payments, and you don't have to store it until christmas. I'm not really concerned one way or the other but I don't think dropping it will class up the place. As long as they are the hub for items like singing mounted fish and 8 foot inflatable christmas displays they are going to attract a certain clientele.

Jedi_Master_Guyute
09-22-2006, 12:01 PM
Sometimes those of us that use Wal-Mart's (extensively) don't have the chance to save up for what they want before they see an item on the shelf, on on sale. So Lay-a-Way gives folks a chance to be prudent with their money while not missing out on sales or products that they may have otherwise.
The worst excuse that I've heard Wal-Mart (execs.) issue is that they will save so much money by not staffing the lay-a-way dept. Yeah right!!! They hardly ever have anyone working back in those ares anyway! I have 4 Wal-Marts within 30 minutes or less from my house and I have used the lay a way deptment at each one. I cannot count the number of times I have gone back to each of them and had to wait as someone was being called back to wait on me! Wal-Mart has been treating the lay a way dept. like a red headed step child for awhile now!
And if Wal-Mart thinks they're going to appeal to a more "upscale" (used here as snobby) clietele by making changes like this, they're in for a shock. It's all us "Red State Hicks" that have made them rich. They're going to have to tear down a few stores and give back some wetlands to make their detractors happy. That and allow their employees to unionize.
I can hear Sam Walton rolling over in his grave. Way to corporate CEO's!!!:rolleyes:


Yeah, most of the time the layway associate is helping out in other departments as the amount of people who put stuff on layway is only 3-4 an hour. So, instead of paying somebody to sit back on their keister and wait for folks, they assist other departments, hence why you usually have to get them paged.

Bacta Beast
09-22-2006, 07:18 PM
How much is it costing them? 1,135 WMs in the USA, each one would need at least 3 layaway employees per day, 7 days per week, we'll say average 4 hour shifts in the department, that's 4,957,680 man hours per year at the federal minimum wage that'd be $25,532,052 per year... that is a proverbial drop in the bucket for a company worth over $300,000,000,000, yet larger than the income of most businesses in the US.


But they don't staff their lay a way depts with three employees! By no means! Around here (as I said in 4 different Wal Marts) there is rarely even one employee back there when you need help. Two is a very rare occurance!


If Walmart would have just said no layaway on toys, I would have been happy. I have mixed feelings about this because of the rest of the poor souls who are suffering financially already. It's a cold world.

And why would ayone be happy if they (Wal-Mart) had just said "no toys" on lay a way? Even if you don't use the service? How does it hurt anyone having it there? It's not necessarily a representation of people who "shouldn't be buying something that can't afford". It's actually a more frugal way of buying in some cases. It gives shoppers a chance to make the payments they can afford instead of spending more than they should at the time. My daughter bought her bike on lay a way. She made her initial payment to hold it, and continued to make weekly payments with her babysitting money until it was paid off. The difference between just saving the money at home or in the bank as opposed to using lay a way, is that she was able to get the bike at a lower sale price that she wouldn't have been able to get if she had waited. If we had just bought it with credit she would be paying interest. By using the lay a way service she was able to make payments, just like saving the money up, but had the extra incentive of seeing each week how her payments were adding up to purchase the item she was saving for.


I never did layaway as my parents didn't do it. I see no need for it. *shrug* If you can't afford it now... don't buy it.

That's fine for you. Obviously you make enough money to not have to worry about it, cool. But there's alot of us that the layaway service really helps. Don't begrudge us that service just because you're accustomed to living in a more comfortable income bracket. It's like that old indian "walk a mile in his moccasins" saying.

--------------------------------

I just don't understand the attitude that some have about lower income folks using layaway to purchase toys, or "things they don't need" because if they can't afford to buy it when they see they shouldn't by that it at all. It just seems pretty narrow minded and elitetest. Kind of snobby. Doing away with the layaway dept isn't going to help anyone. It's not going to result in lower prices or do anything to keep them down. How much money did Wal Mart (or any other company) save over the last two weeks as gas prices fell sharply in their shipping cost? Was any of that passed on to us? Will it be any different with the "savings" from closing the layaway. the only other justification is the desire to weed out lower income families as a "undesirable" demographic that prevents a more upscale from shopping there. And that's just plain snobby! As well as ungratious to the folks that made them such a success in the first place. Also I still say they're going to have a hard time winning over the group that already refuses to shop there because their decision not to is more firmly entrenched in other reasoning.

Lowly Bantha Cleaner
09-22-2006, 07:33 PM
Damn' it, what's going to happen to that milkshake I put on layaway 6 months ago?

El Chuxter
09-22-2006, 07:56 PM
It'll bring all the boys to the yard, and they're like, it's better than yours.

God, I hate that song. It makes "It's Getting Hot in Herrre" look like Pulitzer winning poetry.

Blue2th
09-22-2006, 11:42 PM
And why would ayone be happy if they (Wal-Mart) had just said "no toys" on lay a way? Even if you don't use the service? How does it hurt anyone having it there? It's not necessarily a representation of people who "shouldn't be buying something that can't afford". It's actually a more frugal way of buying in some cases. It gives shoppers a chance to make the payments they can afford instead of spending more than they should at the time.
Sure you have a good point there. But as has been said, there are scalpers. Who will take everything that is worth anything on the secondary market, and if they can't afford all of what they have hoarded, they will put them on layaway. Tell me they wouldn't........I think that Wal-Mart just wants to free up some room for stock on hand. Popular items get depleted, and they won't have to wait for a truck for more goods because of not having much room to put stuff except for the shelves. I don't remember how many times I've asked if they have or will be getting more of a certain item in, only to be told it might be on the next truck.........I also think that some items when they are very popular get put on layaway, only to not be paid off in 90 days, become old stock that they can no longer make profit on or no longer have shelf space available for. It may not make good social sense, but it probably makes good business sense. I don't think it has anything to do with being more "upscale"

InsaneJediGirl
09-23-2006, 12:06 AM
Layaway is a pretty good service. I always liked putting things in there you know Wal-Mart wont have again (seasonal stuff,etc) but I can see why they might want to get rid of it. If it is a cost issue,why not charge for layaway like K-Mart does?

JediTricks
09-24-2006, 02:18 AM
But they don't staff their lay a way depts with three employees! By no means! Around here (as I said in 4 different Wal Marts) there is rarely even one employee back there when you need help. Two is a very rare occurance!But they have layaway open 12 hours a day, that's going to be at least 1 employee per shift so probably 3 partial shifts (as pointed out, those employees are shared to other departments).



If it is a cost issue,why not charge for layaway like K-Mart does?It'd come off as unethical and possibly not legal in some states, people would see it as a tax on poor people - which isn't that far off unfortunately, it's a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation.

Phantom-like Menace
09-24-2006, 02:38 AM
How come nobody can just put their money in the bank until they have enough to buy the item?

Sure, but you're talking to the wrong crowd on that one. I'd happily save up for that one item that I can get one time in my entire life if I am faster, smarter, more committed, and willing to fight dirtier than, and/or hip-check more old women than some other person who is running down the aisles at breakneck speed in sheer competition with me to get himself. However, clearly, I have exactly as much time as it takes for him to get from the door to the toy aisle to save up for the item or it's a moot point.

If I'm looking to buy a deep fat fryer, though, it's probably going to be there three months from now . . . and six months from now . . . a year from now.

For the record, I've never used layaway. It's for poor people.;) Seriously, I have used it exactly once for Star Wars figures because I wasn't getting paid until the next day. Also for the record, I'm a poor person.