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Older Walmart Shoppers Are Angry About This New Change to Its Stores

The lasting effects of coronavirus policies are upsetting some senior shoppers.
Walmart exterior in Florida

You can please some of the people some of the time, but you can't please all of the people all of the time.

Walmart's new policy designed to aid and assist elderly and vulnerable shoppers is getting some pushback from the very consumers it was planned to help.  The specific policy is continuing to designate a special shopping hour for seniors and those most vulnerable to the coronavirus, which Walmart noted in a statement last week to USA Today. Turns out, the early hour designed to provide the cleanest and least-crowded shopping environment is getting serious pushback for being too early in the morning.

Walmart recently revealed plans to indefinitely keep an early, seniors-only shopping policy originally instituted as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, but as Inc. reports, it may not be not going over so well. Writer Bill Murphy, Jr. shared a link to the policy with his readers, then shared responses, which he called "uniformly skeptical if not downright opposed." From his report:

"I'd have to wake up at 4:30 get dressed and out the door by 5:30 in order to arrive at Walmart by 6:00," wrote one reader, who is 84 years old and who called the Walmart idea "idiotic," since it's only one day per week. "I don't drive in the dark for your safety."

Another reader wrote: "I am a tail-end Baby Boomer and over age 60. While it's admirable that Walmart (and other retailers) are opening early for 'seniors' and those with compromised immune systems/other health issues, I will not be getting up at 5 a.m. to go shopping!"

Like many national retail chains, Walmart instituted a number of policies, including making masks mandatory for staff members, introducing one-way shopping aisles to promote social distancing, and allowing only a certain number of shoppers in the store at one time in order to limit interactions.

Like most grocery chains, Walmart also created a special time only for seniors and vulnerable shoppers, which is what's causing the uproar. "As for operating hours, right now our priority is making additional services available (auto care center, vision center, etc.) as it is safe to do so," Walmart said in a statement to USA TODAY. "After that, we'll decide the best approach to expanding hours."

As the world emerges from the coronavirus, we will adjust to a "new normal" until reliable therapeutics and vaccines are universally available. Some changes to the way we live our lives might be an inconvenience and may take some adjusting. Others, however, appear to be a good thing that we may want to keep for some time.

From a revenue standpoint, Walmart can benefit by being open that extra early hour and also provide a benefit to the elderly and most vulnerable among us by keeping their person-to-person interactions low. But, that's only if they wake up early enough to take advantage. Based on anecdotal feedback, perhaps it's not a plan that will last the test of time.

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