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Walmart Shoppers Are Abandoning the Store Over "Empty Shelves"

Frustrated customers say the shortages feel like shopping "during COVID."

From homeware and electronics to clothing and groceries, Walmart is the one-stop shop for everyday essentials. And with the impact of inflation, the retailer has become a heavy favorite among shoppers for its generally low prices. In fact, the big-box retailer was named one of the most affordable places to shop for groceries in 2023 by Ramsey Solutions, and received an honorable nod from AARP in the supermarket category as well. But the cost doesn't matter much if Walmart's shelves are empty.

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There are 4,616 Walmart locations scattered across the U.S., but the chain has gotten less and less reliable in recent months, according to reports from shoppers. Several of these disgruntled customers have taken to social media, calling out an epidemic of "empty shelves." Some say they're now turning to rival supermarkets for groceries and other basics.

On X, one user said their spouse ran out to grab some last-minute ingredients for dinner only to find much of the produce section barren.

"I sent my husband to get salad fixings and potatoes for baking for our steakes [sic] tonight. This is the selection for salads & there wasn't a single baking potatoes in the produce section either," they wrote alongside a photo of an empty fridge.

"So, he is going to Food Giant to get everything now," the former Walmart shopper quipped.

Earlier this week on X, another shopper shared that they had to visit two different Walmart locations in search of vinegar. Not only were both out of vinegar, but the second store's frozen pizza aisle was empty as well.

"The store shelves are really empty again, like during Covid, but not quite as bad, but bad enough to make it noticeable," they warned fellow Walmart patrons.

"The local Walmart has been out of vinegar for weeks, so I went to another one further away, and they were all out of vinegar as well. And when I went down the freezer aisle to look for pizza, one of the freezers was almost empty," they said.

Someone else simply wrote on X, "I don't trust Walmart for groceries at all."

Walmart's empty shelves have some feeling the familiar dread of pandemic shopping, when toilet paper and disinfectant were flying off shelves. But don't fret: Experts say any current shortages are a temporary issue that should work themselves out soon

"It's spotty, it's not a widespread situation," Katie Denis, vice president of research at Consumer Brands Association, told Taste of Home. "It's not like at the beginning of the pandemic when people went out and cleared shelves to stockpile and panicked."

In the meantime, you may find yourself making trips to a few different grocery stores to check everything off your list.

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Emily Weaver
Emily is a NYC-based freelance entertainment and lifestyle writer — though, she’ll never pass up the opportunity to talk about women’s health and sports (she thrives during the Olympics). Read more
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