Why Some Shoppers Are Angry About Walmart's New Policy

Throughout the pandemic, Walmart, the nation's retailer, kept their doors open and their blue light shining, a beacon of hope — and low, low prices — at one of our nation's darkest times. While no grocery store was exactly the safest place to be when the spread of the COVID-19 virus was at its peak, Walmart did try to put some safety measures in place to protect its employees, who were themselves facing considerable risk to the point where they were considered frontline workers during the crisis. 

They also tried the best they could to protect shoppers without treading too far into the tricky territory that comes when any corporation tries to impose restrictions on its customers (as with Costco and all the push-back they received for requiring shoppers to wear face masks).

At long last some of the restrictions are slowly beginning to lift as we think — or at least, fervently hope — that the worst of the danger is past. Walmart, however, does recognize that there is still an element of peril involved in grocery shopping, particularly with some of its older patrons. They have, therefore, elected to keep in place their "senior hour," a time when patrons 60 and older (plus caregivers) have exclusive access to the store every Tuesday from 6 to 7 a.m. 

Sounds like a nice gesture, doesn't it? Well, not everyone was all that thrilled by the news.

The problem with 'senior hour'

Inc. polled its readership as to their opinion about Walmart's senior shopping times and discovered that there was one main objection many of them had. No, the negative comments weren't from disgruntled Gen X-ers peeved that they didn't make the cut-off age and were still forced to shop in company with the Millennial rabble. The problem lies in the fact that, despite the stereotype, it turns out that folks over 60 aren't any more eager to get up and out the door at the crack of dawn than younger people are.

One 84-year-old responding to the poll pointed out a few logistical difficulties, saying "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," and also noting another issue that perhaps Walmart failed to consider: "I don't drive in the dark for your safety." Yet another self-described "tail-end Baby Boomer" over 60 said they found it "admirable that Walmart (and other retailers) are opening early for 'seniors' and those with compromised immune systems/other health issues," but added that they personally "will not be getting up at 5 a.m. to go shopping!"

So yeah, Walmart, nice gesture, but it's kind of akin to offering unwanted leftovers that were just going to waste anyway. Too bad they can't just clear the store of all the young'uns with a whistle blast at periodic intervals during the day like "adult swim" sessions at the pool!