When Sam Walton wrote about the greeter positions in his autobiography, he knew exactly what he was doing when he created them. They served a dual purpose: to make "older" customers feel more welcomed in stores but to also help provide an extra layer of presumed security. If there was someone at the front of the store saying hello and making eye contact with people, maybe many would-be thieves would think twice before lifting some toothpaste or a few cans of beer from the grocery.
Fast forward to the present day and it's clear that the position isn't doing as much as Walmart would like in order to bolster its loss prevention initiatives. Its estimated that the mega-retailer loses a whopping $3 billion every single year due to theft. And while that may seem like a really, really high number (because it is) that's actually a small percentage of what the retailer grosses annually.
Walmart has implemented a number of anti-theft technologies in its stores, mainly around its self check-out areas. These spots are usually located near the front of the store, which has left many people wondering if the "greeter" position is even necessary anymore.
The efficacy of such a position and the expectation of employees to fulfill its intended purpose is further questioned when one considers how low Walmart's minimum pay is for its employees.
This could be why so many folks are commenting on the above TikTok uploaded by Brandon Tamayo, who posts under the username @brandontamayo02. He stitched the now-viral clip with another posted by @commlion, which states "If you see anyone stealing, no you didn't."
Brandon responded by saying that he would intentionally not hassle customers who had Pampers and Formula in their shopping carts/baskets, even if they didn't pay for it.
"Every time I saw a customer, mostly a woman, and I checked the receipt, and I saw Pampers or baby formula that was not on the receipt, I just said, ‘Have a great day,'" Brandon said.
His primary reason for not doing so is the cost of childcare. Chances are if someone is buying baby formula it's because they direly need it. The cost of the food adds up and once it's poured and mixed, a baby needs to consume it almost immediately: it's not like you can put a bottle of formula in the refrigerator and save it for later.
The other reason was because there really wasn't an incentive for employees who curbed thefts; it's not like Walmart was giving a "stopped theft" bonus for every greeter who halted someone from lifting items from the store.
"Why? Because they’re expensive and kids are expensive, in general. And my store, and the company in general, we didn’t really get a reward for the amount of stuff we caught people stealing. Did I care? No, because I was making $11.50 at the time."
Many users on the platform sided with Brandon and his logic, and others who said they also worked as greeters did the same thing, even if it did end in them getting fired from the store. Brandon said that he was never let go because he was one of his location's more dependable employees.
And while many other users said that theft for Walmart shouldn't be an issue because the company makes billions upon billions of dollars, others stated that regardless of the impetus for a person's decision to steal that theft is still theft.
What do you think? Is Brandon a silent retail hero ensuring that moms are getting vital materials to take care of their children? Or is he just a jaded worker who hates the game?