8 Walmart Problems No One is Talking About

Even if you love to shop at Walmart, beware that the retailer also has some shortcomings you’ll want to try to avoid.

Walmart Store Exterior and Trademark Logo
Updated May 28, 2024
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For decades, Walmart has been the premier big-box retailer with low prices to help save money shopping and welcoming sales associates. But no store is perfect, and Walmart has its own shortcomings.

Following are some of Walmart’s biggest problems and challenges. Knowing about these less obvious downsides to shopping at Walmart can help you make smarter money moves.

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Prices aren’t always the cheapest

Aziz/Adobe woman shopping in supermarket

Walmart often sells items at the lowest prices you will find anywhere. But “often” is not “always.” Sometimes, you can get a better deal elsewhere.

And even if Walmart does have the lowest price on an item, chances are good that another retailer, such as Target, will match it with a price-match guarantee.

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Quality is not always the best

Chris Wright/Adobe Robot with key

As we all learn over time, you typically get what you pay for. If you get a product for a much lower price at Walmart than you would pay elsewhere, you might be accepting the tradeoff of reduced quality.

Because Walmart specializes in low-cost merchandise, they aren’t always promising great quality.

Some find the store layout confusing

yooranpark/Adobe Blurred mart shop store background with customer shopping

Some shoppers complain that Walmart stores are messy, visually confusing, and not always sparkling clean. This makes for a shopping experience that takes too much time and frustrates customers.

Walmart seems to be aware of this problem. In January, the company announced its plan to build or convert over 150 new stores in the next five years while also remodeling existing stores for improved layouts and enhanced navigation.

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Great Value products might not save you much

sheilaf2002/Adobe Grocery store shelf with cans of Great Value brand vegetables

Walmart’s store brand is called Great Value, and it is sought out by those looking for a low price. However, when comparing Great Value products against name-brand competitors, it’s important to focus on unit sizes and servings.

If you do this, you might find that Great Value doesn’t always save big money compared to name brands. Don’t simply assume that buying the Great Value brand is the wisest way to shop.

Walmart+ isn’t always worth it

The Toidi/Adobe Walmart + membership in store sign

Walmart's membership program gives members free unlimited deliveries, returns from home, and other perks.

Members of Walmart+ pay a monthly fee of $12.95 or a yearly fee of $98 and get free home deliveries on orders over $35. If you’re a frequent Walmart home-delivery shopper, the program might make sense

However, membership isn’t right for everyone. For example, sign up for a competing service, like Amazon Prime, and you can get free shipping with no minimum. Walmart+ makes the most sense for those committed to doing the vast majority of their shopping at Walmart.

Some shoppers want more customer service

pressmaster/Adobe frowning young female customer with shopping bag on shoulder

Some Walmart critics say the stores are understaffed. Other critics bemoan the fact that employees are spread out all over the store, making it difficult to find them and ask for help.

Finally, some shoppers charge that Walmart managers are unavailable when customers need help.

Customer satisfaction is low

Krakenimages.com/Adobe Middle age man holding groceries shopping bag at home stressed

Based on numerous surveys and reviews over the years, it’s safe to say that not all Walmart customers are satisfied with their experiences in the store.

Walmart has been found to rank lower in customer satisfaction than other grocery store chains and big-box retailers.

Some say it’s bad for local economies

Maridav/Adobe Closed sign on retail business store window

For decades, Walmart has had the reputation of coming into an area that supports local retail, then selling loss leaders and undercutting local retailers to put them out of business.

Critics say this has destroyed thriving local economies while pumping more money into Walmart’s headquarters in Arkansas.

This effect is so well-known that when community members find out that Walmart has targeted their area, they sometimes form activist groups to prevent Walmart from coming in to destroy their local economy.

Bottom line

The Toidi/Adobe walmart delivery

Some people love Walmart for its low prices and huge selection. But other aspects of shopping at Walmart give some folks pause.

There is no question you can save money by shopping at Walmart. But to get the best deal — and to feel good about doing so — make sure you weigh the concerns on this list before heading out to shop so you can keep more money in your bank account.

Author Details

Elizabeth Rollins

Elizabeth Rollins has degrees in literature and business, and she's combined these loves into a career in writing about personal finance. Her special areas of interest are debt, value, budgeting, education, and retirement.