12 NEWS DEFENDERS: Troy residents fed up with empty Walmart


TROY, AL (WSFA) - Numerous people have complained about Walmart, but residents of Troy say their Walmart is the worst. Now, they're sharing their proof with the 12 NEWS DEFENDERS.

The customers are complaining of empty shelves, filthy conditions and sub par customer service. And to make matters worse, many have no choice but to shop there since it's one of the only grocery stores in town.

"I say every time I walk in Walmart, Sam Walton would turn in his grave," explained Cathi Grant. "He never intended for this to happen." Walton founded the company decades ago, and even though he has since died, his discount chain is one of the world's largest retailers, pulling in billions of dollars in revenue per year.

Grant contacted WSFA 12 News eager for a change to be made. "It has gone completely down hill," she says of the store.

Grant isn't the only one concerned. Emails and messages on social media have flooded the WSFA 12 Newsroom. Picture after picture shows why residents are fed up.

One resident sent in a photo saying it was taken at 5 p.m. Tuesday. There wasn't a single shopping cart available for use. Others shared photos of shelf after shelf entirely empty.

Customers say this is a regular occurrence.

"Many people ignore our store completely because it's in such bad shape," says Sherry Helms. "There's makeup open and then smeared everywhere, and it stays there. It stays for days."

Helms added, "And merchandise? When you don't have any salt on the shelf, no matter what brand, that's pretty bad."

"I try to stay away from Walmart," added Eva Green, another shopper. "When you buy their supplies somebody should be there willing to help you, and that's how you get people to come back. If you have great customer service they are coming, and most of the time I have to work for them." Green added, "I refuse to buy from them and then work for them at the same time."

"You can walk all over the store and find empty shelf after empty shelf, the place is filthy and they don't seem to care," said Russell Liles. "The bathrooms? They have things that are broken in there and instead of fixing the problem, they have a trash bag taped over it, and it smells horrible."

The WSFA 12 NEWS DEFENDERS visited the store and found spots barren including meat, cereal and baking supplies.

"They never have wax paper. How do you frequently run out of wax paper?" Liles asked.

After taking several photos, WSFA 12 News reporter Hannah Lane did some personal shopping only to be approached by three Walmart employees who identified themselves as managers.

The managers demanded WSFA 12 News leave and escorted Hannah out of the store saying they had received complaints that photos were being taken.

The manager refused to speak concerning the incident.

"We have been here forever, and we plan on dying here. So that store belongs to us," Grant says.

The WSFA 12 NEWS DEFENDERS reached out to Walmart's corporate management and spoke with a spokesperson who identified herself as Betsy Harden.

"We appreciate our customers' concerns and we are working as quickly as possible to address these issues," Harden said. "We hold our stores to high standards and we are working very actively to ensure this store meets those standards."

As for other options available to Troy residents, there are three other places where groceries are sold, two Piggly Wiggly stores and a Food World, but when more than groceries are on the shopping list, it's difficult to buy from anywhere else besides the Walmart.

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