Every June, thousands of associates from Walmart locations all over the world are invited to Arkansas for our annual Shareholders meeting. And all of them have a story. Read on for personal perspectives from a few of this year’s attendees in this fourth edition of Walmart on the Street.
The tragic events
surrounding the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States left actor
Gary Sinise asking himself, “What can I do to support our military?” He found
the answer in doing what he loves: entertaining.
a veteran himself, Gary became a vocal supporter of American servicemen and
women. He began touring with the USO across the U.S. and to military bases
abroad, and eventually brought musician friends along to perform. What started
as a group just playing together for fun turned into the Lt. Dan Band,
named after Sinise’s memorable Vietnam War veteran character in the movie “Forrest Gump.” In the past 13 years, the band has played hundreds of shows,
including a recent concert that Walmart sponsored to recognize
Medal of Honor recipients.
In 2011, his
personal mission to champion wounded heroes,
their families and children of the fallen led him to establish the Gary Sinise Foundation. The organization is home to a variety of programs that offer support,
raise awareness and provide necessary resources to wounded heroes and
active-duty service families. Watch as Sinise shares more about his
mission and offers advice on how anyone can support our nation’s military and
Following in my father’s footsteps, I joined the Marines before I finished high school.
home from two tours of duty in Somalia and Iraq, I found that similar to many
veterans, I struggled with the transition to civilian life. Initially I thought
I had only two options: police officer or fireman. I decided on becoming a
patrolman, but there were a limited number of openings, and the salary would
have made it difficult to support my family.
After much research, I decided to
work in retail. I took my first position with Walmart not only because of the
secure salary but also because Walmart seemed to be a company that offered
equal opportunity to every kind of person. Just like the military, I would be
able to prove my abilities and possibly be rewarded for high performance.
Several months after separating
from the Marines, when I felt the desire to rejoin the military, Walmart
encouraged me to return. I joined the Army National Guard and was eventually
called back to Iraq to serve in Operation Iraqi Freedom. I was a lead sniper,
in charge of training more than 200 Iraqi policemen and 15 Americans. I was
responsible for teaching them everything from leadership to gathering
intelligence in a combat environment.
My part in the deployment ended
after mortar rounds landed preceding a serious firefight in which I suffered
several injuries after mobilizing my men to safely return to camp. I was
awarded the Bronze Star with valor for my leadership; however, my recovery took
months of surgeries. Today, I’m legally blind in my left eye, and still have
some memory issues from a traumatic brain injury. But through all those
difficult times, my managers at Walmart were really supportive. They helped me
work around my limitations and even flew me to Kansas City to receive the Sam
Walton Hero Award in front of 5,000 people.
After my recovery, I learned how
to translate my military background to the business world even further. It may
sound very different, going from staff sergeant to running a grocery
department, but leadership skills remain constant. It’s all about establishing
routines, simplifying things for associates, leading them and understanding
them. Because of that, I’ve been able to grow my career.
I was recently promoted to Fresh
Operations Manager and lead more than 1,000 associates. I work in the field,
teaching and training fresh operations in our stores and have remained
committed to our troops by supporting Walmart’s initiative to hire veterans. I
work with HR to help them understand the different military ranks and how that
translates to jobs. In
the last five years, Walmart has hired more than 100,000 veterans and we’re a
stronger company because of it.
I like to stay involved in
supporting veterans in any way I can. I co-founded Helping Hands for Freedom, a
nonprofit that supports the families of wounded and fallen soldiers. Most
soldiers and their families lack the kind of support I was fortunate to receive
from Walmart, so we do everything we can.
It’s great knowing I work for a company that
supports my involvement with veterans. My plan is to continue to grow within
the company and move up to senior leadership on the grocery side of the
business. I want to continue to move forward with my development and growth so
I can continue to lead and develop associates across our company.
People want to save money and time, so it's no wonder online
grocery shopping sounds so appealing. Open your browser, click the grocery
items you need, and let someone else do the shopping for you – right down to
loading them in your trunk, right?
That’s exactly why Walmart will be expanding its online
grocery service to nine more new markets this month, such as Columbus,
Ohio; Omaha, Nebraska; and Raleigh, North Carolina. But our customers want more
than just the ability to click and shop from the comfort of their own homes or
workplaces. They want to know the perfect tomato – or better yet, banana or
avocado (because those can be especially tricky) – finds its way into their
grocery bag every time.
Before we began expanding the service to more markets, we
worked tirelessly for quite some time to pilot and modify our online
grocery service – and that’s because we’re committed to getting it right
every time. The key to how we build a trusting bond with customers rests with
our managers and, most importantly, our personal shoppers. We select only the
best of the best for this critical role, and each associate undergoes rigorous
Selecting great produce and meat is essential. Personal
shoppers not only learn the art of selecting these items by look, but also by
touch and smell. For example, when a customer selects strawberries, our
personal shoppers peek through each side of the carton. Similarly, finding the
perfect pineapple or cantaloupe requires extra time – and we make the time.
When our personal shoppers are gathering frozen and refrigerated items, they
work quickly to select those items and return them to a designated,
temperature-controlled holding area to ensure quality is not compromised.
But all the training in the world can’t account for
everything. That’s where personal relationships matter.
Our promise to customers is that we’re not just here to
gather their groceries. We learn their names. Over time, we’ll get to know whether they
prefer softer or firmer avocados, because we understand that texture makes a
difference if you’re adding a slice to a salad or mashing it for guacamole. And
as we get to know our customers more, we can begin to know which customers are
fans of yellow bananas, and which opt for slightly green for a longer shelf
We’re in the business of saving our customers money so they
can live better. In our eyes, taking grocery shopping off a customer’s growing
to-do list, while ensuring quality and convenience every time – that’s definitely
Senior Vice President of Services for Walmart U.S.
May 17, 2016
Thumbing through multiple gift cards at the register.
Scrambling to find the one receipt you need to return an item. Trying to
remember whether you need a refill for your prescription or not. We’ve all been
But why? We live in a digital world. We receive alerts about
news breaking around the world in real time, rather than waiting for the Sunday
morning newspaper. We can control temperature in our homes, lock doors and set
alarms from our smartphones. So it’s time for the retail industry to step up –
to allow customers to shop in new ways.
With the development of Walmart Pay – a new feature built
into the Walmart mobile app that allows customers to use a smartphone to pay
for in-store purchases – we weren’t focusing on payment for payment’s sake. We set
out to marry our physical and digital assets to create a more seamless shopping
experience for customers. We designed Walmart Pay to work with
almost any smartphone and accept almost any payment type, even allowing for the
integration of other mobile wallets in the future. And beginning this summer, it
will work at every one of our stores across the U.S.
So, if you take a moment to activate
the new Walmart Pay feature on your Walmart App, your next checkout really will
be as simple as one, two, three.
If you discover the shirt you bought a
few weeks ago doesn't fit, there’s no more keeping up with a paper receipt.
It’s now stored electronically and at your fingertips because you’ve used
Walmart Pay. Have a handful of Walmart gift cards you’ve been meaning to
redeem, but hate the thought of handing them over one by one? Load your gift
cards into Walmart Pay, and your balance will be ready with a single scan the
next time you check out.
The best part is that none of your payment card information
is stored on your phone or at the point of sale. Everything with Walmart Pay is
stored in a secure, cloud-based environment. No payment credential is ever
transmitted at the physical register, so you can rest easy knowing those
details are safe and protected.
More than 20 million customers actively
use the Walmart app each month, checking in to pick up an online order at a
Walmart store, refilling pharmacy prescriptions, finding an item’s location
within a store, and tapping into our popular Savings Catcher feature. When
we set out to develop Walmart Pay, we’d asked ourselves how we could make
shopping even faster, easier, more convenient and secure for our customers.
We’ll continue to find new ways of merging our physical and
digital assets to produce a better, more convenient shopping experience. That’s
what our customers demand and it’s what they deserve.