Moneybox

Wal-Mart Laying Off Greeters on Overnight Shift

Wal-Mart Supercenter in Florida.

Wikimedia Commons

Wal-Mart has “removed greeters from the overnight shift at its U.S. supercenters, chipping away at a 30-year tradition of making sure all shoppers are welcomed to the store.”

The company says this is a cost-saving measure, which of course it is, but that doesn’t really explain why paying people to greet customers used to be worthwhile and now isn’t. Nor does it really explain why paying people to greet customers is worthwhile when the stores are busiest, but not during the overnight shift. I think the right way to understand this is as another indicator of the end of retail. Cutting costs by degrading the in-store shopping experience only serves, over the long term, to marginalize physical retail vis-a-vis online shopping.

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