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To the relief of those unsure about the quality of the produce at Walmart, the big-box chain has announced it’s offering a money-back guarantee. If your fruit is spoiled, or your veggies are wilted, you can trudge back to the store and they’ll give you your money back.

Which just raises the question – you mean they didn’t already do this?

Walmart has come under a lot of criticism this year, for out-of-stock issues (read: “Long Lines, Empty Shelves: Is Shopping at Walmart That Unpleasant?”) and the freshness of its grocery offerings (read: “Shoppers Demand Cheap & Convenient Fresh Food”). Now it’s trying to counter those perceptions, with new efforts to ensure the quality of its produce, backed by a “100% Freshness Guarantee”.

Unveiled yesterday, the initiative promises to get fresh food on the shelves faster, and do a better job inspecting for quality issues. “We are so sure our customers will be pleased with the fruits and vegetables they buy in our stores, they can receive a full refund if they aren’t completely happy,” Walmart executive Jack Sinclair said in a news release.

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Shoppers unhappy with their produce purchase can bring back their receipt for a refund, without having to return the actual food item. Walmart’s return policy already allows customers to bring back an item and get a refund without a receipt. One can presume you will not be able to combine the policies and get a refund without either a receipt or the item. Walmart may trust you, but not THAT much.

Many grocery stores already have a no-questions-asked return policy. So Walmart’s guarantee is hardly revolutionary. But it’s not so much the policy, as is it what that policy represents – Walmart publicly standing behind the freshness of its perishables.

Just a few months ago, some news organizations obtained internal notes from a Walmart management meeting, in which Walmart leaders took their stores to task for their poor perishable performance. The New York Times reported the notes indicated that while Walmart has 20% of the market share in dry grocery, it has just 15% in fresh. It also cited a survey that Safeway customers have a 71% rate of confidence in that store’s fresh produce, while Walmart customers are just 48% confident.

The notes included several points that ultimately found their way into yesterday’s announcement – that Walmart will use “secret shoppers” to conduct weekly checks of produce quality, that employees will be better trained, and that more produce will be locally-sourced in order to lessen the length of time it spends in transit. The notes also said that fresh food would no longer be stocked overnight, but put out at 10am, in full view of shoppers (so keep that in mind if you go shopping at Walmart before 10am – the produce will likely be the same stuff that was there the day before). It’s as much about freshness, as perception. Walmart executive Jack Sinclair told the Times that stores would no longer put out produce in huge amounts, instead having employees put smaller quantities on display, “showing customers that they’re bringing fresh produce out all the time.”

Walmart already boasted earlier this year that it’s helped customers save $2.3 billion on fresh fruits and vegetables over the past two years. So it’s got the low-price part covered. Now it hopes to have have the freshness figured out – before customers figure they’re better off getting their produce somewhere else.

Image source: Walmart

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9 Comments

  1. My order on Sunday Oct 18, 2020. Purchased by pick up order 2 pounds of strawberries and when I opened them they were all rotten. Please credit my account appropriately. This is another complaint about strawberries again.

  2. Purchased by pick up order 2 pounds of strawberries and when I opened them they were all rotten. Please credit my account appropriately. This is another complaint about strawberries again.

  3. Purchased by pick up order 2 pounds of strawberries and when I opened them they were all rotten. Please credit my account appropriately.

  4. Got bad chicken for the second time this month. So annoyed!

    I’m going to call tomorrow and see what they want me to do. I will be returning it, I just want to verify whether or not they want me to bring it back with the recipe. I’ve frozen it for the time being.

    I’ll be shopping at the local chain grocer from now on though. Walmart’s meat and produce are pretty gross.

  5. I brought a receipt to Walmart because I bought a bag of apples and found a rotting one in it . The customer service rep and the store manager said I needed to bring the apple in in order to get a refund. This is 3 years after the “100% Freshness Guarantee” return policy went into effect.

  6. I prefer shopping at Meijer, but as of late they’ve been selling some pretty rotten produce that looks fresh on the surface. They’ve also been letting a lot of stale bread and frozen foods go. Didn’t used to be like that up until 2014. What’s going on?

  7. Pingback: Frozen food and shipping policies: the case of the Irish Online Vegan Store | HomoSapoens ~ Home

  8. Pingback: Frozen food and shipping policies: the case of the Irish Online Vegan Store | Homo Sapoens

  9. Pingback: Frozen food and shipping policies: the case with the Irish Online Vegan Store | Homo Sapoens

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