Study Shows That Walmart’s in White Neighborhoods Are Better Than Those In Black Neighborhoods
By USA Today
Do some Walmart stores provide “better” customer service, cleaner stores and shorter check-out times, than others?
According to a new study, yes.
Andy Reich, a Columbia University Assistant Professor of Sociology says his study has revealed that not all Walmarts are created equal. According to his study, white affluent neighborhoods have better Walmarts than Black and poor neighborhoods.
“People used words like ‘unorganized’, ‘nasty’ and ‘worst’ to describe stores in communities of color much more than they used those words to describe Walmarts in Whiter communities,” Reich said in a Skype interview.
He says he analyzed 35,000 Yelp reviews across 2800 Walmart stores in the U.S. He then used those keywords and matched them with the reviewers’ race and neighborhood they live in. The data was collected between 2004 and 2015.
Walmart said in a statement to Business Insider that Reich’s study is “flawed and without merit.”
Walmart went on to say in its statement, “We’ve invested $2.7 billion on associate education, training and wages. We’re also proud to provide to communities across the country, regardless of social or economic background, access to affordable goods and career opportunities to help them better provide for their families.”
Reich notes that while that is positive, the study didn’t find that. “I think that if [Walmart] actually put its money where its mouth is, it would go a long way towards improving customer service in these neighborhoods,” Reich added.
Reich said he doesn’t believe Walmart is racially motivated or intentionally making stores in predominantly white neighborhoods better than those in minority neighborhoods.
To put it simply, he said it come down to money and competition.
“Walmart is in the business of making money so when it goes into a wealthier, whiter neighborhood, where it does have to compete with more retailers, it’s forced to make more investments in staffing,” Reich said.