Updated Oct. 31, 2014 Editor’s Note: We announced our plans for the Checkout Promise to our associates at our annual Holiday Meeting earlier this year. At that time, we were still hard at work making plans and understanding the details for the offer. It is absolutely our intent, in the majority of our stores, to have all of our front-end registers open at peak times, but in the case that unforeseen circumstances occur absolutely all of our registers may not be open during the outlined times.
It’s not time to deck the halls yet, but at Walmart, we
never stop thinking about the holidays. Nearly 6,000 of our managers and
merchants just finished our annual Holiday Meeting in Denver – where we began getting
ready for the biggest shopping season of the year.
While it’s still hot outside, we know our holiday offerings
will be even hotter. But our customers have told us one of their biggest
frustrations is long checkout lines. They want to get in and out of the store
fast, especially during those busy shopping days between Black Friday and
Christmas. We’ve listened and we’re making sure every register in our
stores is open during those times this holiday season. We’re calling it our Checkout Promise. Here's how it would work:
Starting with the weekend after Black Friday and continuing
each weekend through the final weekdays leading into Christmas, all of our
registers will be open during peak shopping hours at our Supercenters and other
stores that offer general merchandise like electronics, apparel, and toys.
Customers can expect to find self-checkouts open and a cashier in every lane.
That’s a Walmart first. We want to do what’s best for our
customers, and as Sam Walton always said – the customer is #1. Shoppers want more convenience, and we’ll
deliver so they can focus on celebrating the joy of the holidays with their
family and friends.
As the season approaches, be on the lookout for more big
changes and announcements to help our customers have the best holiday yet.
Feb. 8 marks the start of Chinese New Year, China’s most important celebration for families. Also known as the Spring Festival, Chinese New Year is a weeklong public holiday during which families celebrate a year of hard work and wish for good luck in the coming year.
Those shopping in our stores in China see lots of Chinese New Year decorations and traditional foods stocked for this busy time. For readers who aren’t in China, here’s some background on the celebrations.
Traditional Family Meals
Before the first day of the first month in the lunar calendar, people all over China travel to their hometowns to unite with their families and decorate their homes in red — a color that symbolizes good luck and joy — and prepare for Chinese New Year celebrations. The night before the Chinese New Year, we prepare a feast made up of symbolic foods:
In Chinese culture, a fish course represents wealth in the future, while peanuts signify longevity and good health.
Some food symbolism in Chinese New Year dishes is more visual, such as hot pot, which involves simmering meat and vegetables in a round pot at the center of the table. The shape of the pot represents perfection and satisfaction.
Dumplings are an example of a food with a more historical tie because they resemble the gold currency — Yuanbao — used in ancient China. Today, dumplings are still thought to signify wealth in the coming year and are a delicious treat stuffed with different fillings.
Like with New Year’s Eve in the U.S. and other western countries, Chinese New Year involves staying up late. We light firecrackers at midnight, a tradition that dates back to ancient folklore. Though the New Year is a cause for celebration now, legend has it that Chinese villagers used to stoke their fires with bamboo to keep away a terrifying, sharp-toothed monster that arose from the sea at the end of the lunar year to prey on people and livestock. Now, we use firecrackers to celebrate the new year and also scare off any bad luck that might be on the horizon.
Celebrations culminate in the Lantern Festival, where people gather to admire the illuminated lanterns (some floating, some carried by children, some fixed as decorations) and guess riddles written on them. On New Year’s Day, people also watch lion dances, in which participants don elaborate, mythical lion costumes that seem larger than life — and eat rice dumplings.
One of our family traditions is for children and grandchildren to wish elders in the family good wishes for the new year and, in turn, the elders will give children a red envelope of money for good luck and to buy toys and books. Children often sleep with the red envelope under the pillow to bring good luck throughout the year.
The Year of the Monkey
This year is the year of the monkey, the ninth of 12 animals in the recurring 12-year Chinese zodiac cycle. People born in the year of the monkey are believed to be energetic, witty and mischievous. I look forward to greeting the year of the monkey surrounded by my family and enjoying the snacks and festivities that come with the celebrations. No matter your Chinese zodiac, may the New Year bring good fortune to you and your family!
Last weekend, my son innocently asked me, “What
was it like before Wi-Fi?” The question gave me serious pause – I remember when
I was young asking my own parents what it was like before television. How
quickly things have changed.
It may be hard to remember now, but there was a
time when Wi-Fi wasn’t so widespread. We didn’t have high-speed Internet access
at home. And when it came to continuing holiday shopping after Black
Friday, many of us waited until Monday to take advantage of the dependable,
faster connection at work. And as millions of customers did just that, Cyber
Monday was born.
Over the years, it’s become huge. The biggest
online shopping day of the year for us. And yes, millions of customers
still shop on Monday morning, opting for clicks and carts versus email and spreadsheets. But as faster
Internet speeds have become ubiquitous, and as mobile has swept across the
landscape, connecting even more Americans to the Internet whenever they wanted,
so many of them have felt compelled to stay awake past midnight to access the
best specials the moment they were posted.
But it’s 2015 now, and as we’re increasingly
able to access the Internet anytime, anywhere, there’s less of a reason to have
to stay up late or fit our shopping into the workday. We can do it when and how
At Walmart, our research shows this interesting
That’s why this year, we’re starting our Cyber Monday hours earlier on Sunday evening, making it easier for customers to get ahead
on saving money during the busiest online shopping day of the year. Historically, when Walmart
released select Cyber Monday deals on Sunday evening, our website traffic
increased significantly. Customers have changed, but until now, Cyber Monday
hasn’t really changed with them. We’re making shopping faster and easier, all
some point in the future, the next generation may ask with wide-eyed disbelief,
“Did you really stay up past midnight to shop online?”
Sr. Director – Private Brand Food Initiatives, Walmart
February 04, 2016
Big change is coming to the grocery aisles.
The U.S. Food
and Drug Administration has mandated that partially hydrogenated oils – most
commonly found in industrially produced fats and oils – be
eliminated as a food ingredient by June 2018. Research clearly shows a link
between trans fats and cardiovascular disease. So a timetable has been set to
A big reason why I work for Walmart is that we’re constantly
looking for ways we can help people live better – oftentimes, before federal mandates
like these are handed down. In fact, by the end of this month, we anticipate having
successfully removed all partially hydrogenated oils from Walmart private brand
food – such as Great
Value – sold in our U.S. stores, a goal
we’ve been working toward since 2011. But we’re not stopping there.
Simultaneously, we’ve been working to reduce sodium in
Walmart’s private brand foods and national brand food products by 25% and added
sugars by 10% by the end of December 2015. We’ve long since surpassed our
sugar-related reformulation goal. And, while we’re tracking about 5% behind our
sodium reduction goal – results through December 2015 are being vetted and will
be announced publicly this spring – we continue to work toward completion and
are proud of the precedent we're setting across the grocery industry.
There have been some big wins along the way to help us move
the needle. One example was when we set out to reduce sodium in all varieties
of Great Value Potato Chips and Great Value Kettle Cooked Chips. We
successfully removed a combined 30 tons of sodium from 36 million bags of chips
annually. And, according to test data, we did so without compromising taste. To
put that into perspective, 30 tons is equivalent to an entire Walmart truck
(cab and trailer) or about 70 Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
In the end, every slice of progress in the reformulation of
the thousands of private and national brand food items Walmart sells
contributes to a healthier tomorrow for our customers. But the reality is, you
can’t simply go out and turn the dial down on sodium, sugar and trans fats and
say, ‘We’re there. We did it.’ Our palates are accustomed to certain tastes, so
the key is taking small, incremental steps toward long-term change. You're
basically giving consumers’ palates a chance to adjust rather than shocking
them all at once.
Every step forward involves extensive time, testing,
evaluation and more. Many of the wins we’re realizing today are several years
in the making – and, in most cases, there was no road map for how to get there.
As senior director of private brand food initiatives,
I’ve been deeply entrenched in helping develop a road map. We recognized, for
example, that the majority of sodium in the diet of the average American comes
from processed foods. So we’ve focused our efforts on the 47 most popular
processed food categories, which include such examples as cheeses, cereal,
crackers, canned tomatoes and more.
One interesting discovery along the way
was that the sodium within the recipes of our own Great Value breads varied
from one production facility to another. So by working with each facility to
understand needs and challenges, we were able to develop a standardized process
that, in turn, helped produce long-term results in sodium reduction. There are
a variety of hurdles and challenges to reformulation work within private
brands, and there is the potential for even more with national brands. But
we’ve already proven that, with a relentless work ethic, real progress can be
made in the areas of sodium, sugar and trans fat reformulation. We continue to
identify and zero in on additional opportunities.
There was a day when all of this seemed
so overwhelming. But we’re creating a road map. We’re building best practices.
We’re growing relationships, learning from our experiences and helping to
influence a healthier tomorrow.
I can still remember how the walls shook each time one of the space shuttles launched. Even though the launch pad was seven miles away, everything around me shook like an earthquake.
satellite engineer, I got to be close to the action. I had a lot of great
experiences during my 13 years with NASA. I worked as a satellite controller –
including the Hubble – and even built and tested rocket launching systems. It’s
something I will never forget!
shuttle site was deactivated in 2012, that left me needing to find another job.
I ended up moving from Florida to Wyoming to work as an engineer for a
satellite TV company for a year. After experiencing a harsh winter and a nearly
fatal car accident, I was ready to move back.
excited to be coming back to what I considered my home state. I wasn’t born
there, but Florida felt like home from the instant I arrived. It’s also where I
wanted to start life with my soon-to-be husband. It was easy to make the
decision to move back, but what I didn’t expect was how hard it would be to
start a brand-new career there.
very fortunate to have had a solid work history and had even spent eight years
in the Army supporting communications for the Pentagon and the White House. I
thought I had a great background that would help me easily find a new career,
but I was trying to find a new job right when unemployment was high. It was
hard for everyone to find work. I went on interview after interview, a lot of
them hourly jobs, each one telling me that I was overqualified. What none of
them understood was how badly I wanted to work and contribute to something
bigger. It was hard being without a job and to be continually told no.
applied at Walmart, but expected the same answer. It was an hourly job in a
store – there was no way they’d tell me yes when so many others had said no.
I’m so glad they proved me wrong.
gave me a chance, I can make Florida my permanent home and build a life here. They
knew that the leadership and problem-solving skills I’d learned in the Army and
at NASA would help me be a great associate. My experiences taught me how to
manage people well and get them focused on the task at hand. And being in the
Army taught me how to take the resources I had, analyze the situation and
create quick and efficient solutions. All of these things really help you when
working in a store.
I was hired as an electronics associate at store 1172 in Jacksonville,
Florida. It was challenging and fast-paced. I loved helping people and I
brought that attitude to work with me every day. After only a year, I was
promoted to Homelines department manager. I’ve been with Walmart for just over
two years now. I tell every associate that if you work hard, are conscientious,
use initiative and quickly take care of the problems you see – you’ll be
recognized. I only see opportunity here – there’s no limit to where you can go.
What’s my next step? I love people and leading teams, so I hope to work my way
up to be an assistant store manager soon.