By on May 1, 2014

Walmart Storefront at Night

Walmart is the home of low prices on many, many things, from clothes and groceries, to televisions and tires. The retailer also offers a number of financial services, such as prepaid debit cards and money transfers. And of course, they’re even experimenting with heavy-duty truck design for better fuel economy.

As of this week, though, Walmart shoppers can add one more item to their list: Auto insurance.

Detroit Free Press reports Walmart is partnering with price-comparison and shopping website AutoInsurance.com, the latter born out of talks with parent company Tranzutary Insurance Solutions to provide the former’s customer base with a one-stop solution for comparing and purchasing policies online. The service is just now exiting the pilot phase in Pennsylvania, entering additional markets in Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Tennessee and Walmart’s home state of Arkansas this week prior to a full nationwide rollout later this year.

Though Walmart doesn’t operate AutoInsurance.com, the retailer will heavily market its newest financial offering at the front of the store, selected aisles and online through its own website. Plans offered include those from Progressive, Esurance, Travelers and Safeco.

As for the average annual savings Walmart shoppers would gain from buying their auto policies with their new laptops and Monsters High dolls, Pennsylvania shoppers surveyed claimed to have saved $1,100 annually by going through Walmart’s latest financial venture.

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84 Comments on “Walmart Unveils Online One-Stop Auto Insurance Venture...”


  • avatar
    Jeff Waingrow

    Will they be paying their claims adjusters $7.25 an hour?

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      If the people willingly take a job at $7.25 an hour what’s the problem?
      I don’t take a job and get upset that its not paying enough, no reason to feel your entitled to more if you aren’t willing to put the work in to find something that better suites you.

      • 0 avatar
        brenschluss

        It’s a hard lesson for some people when they learn that milling aimlessly around Wal*Mart is really all that suits them.

      • 0 avatar
        imag

        That sounds very nice, but the reality is that these are poverty-level wages. People are taking them so they don’t starve or live on the street, not because they don’t think they are worth more.

        With a company as big as Walmart, this is a systematic problem; folks cannot simply work somewhere else. The Walmart business model involves very deliberate destruction of any competing local retail, which leaves people jobless. Those jobless people then are forced to work at poverty-level wages for Walmart, go on welfare, or starve.

        The fact that Walmart advises their labor force to go on food stamps to stay alive indicates how serious the problem is. Leeching off desperate people and the taxpayers is their business model, and it shouldn’t be supported by a modern society.

        • 0 avatar
          Jeff Waingrow

          Extremely nice of you to so patiently explain this. You’ve summed it up perfectly.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          I know of up to several people who neither work for Walmart, nor live on the street, nor get welfare, nor are starving.

          If the oppressors are scummy and stupid enough to hand out money stolen from others to people working at Walmart, that’s the problem that needs fixing. Not some helpful Walmart HR advisor helping his colleagues make a few more bucks quickly and easily.

          Oh, and so called “modern societies” should in no way be supported, as they’re nothing more than an excuse to keep people oppressed.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I agree with you, what is the root cause of the problem, is it the people or the system/process of the Wal-Mart corp? I’m curious, in a perfect world what is your solution?

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          Sorry, but our local Walmart is <10 years old, and since then our area hasn't had any loss of businesses, quite the opposite, we have more stores popping up, many around Walmart – imagine that! And as if that wasn't enough, we've also had 2 new grocery stores open in the last 3 years, that makes 6 including Walmart.

          Quite frankly its insulting for you to say that small business employees would be forced to go to Walmart.
          On one side you have the owners,
          You have to be intelligent and motivated to start a business, if a business is forced to close due competitors then so be it. But these people aren't going to go from owning a business to working for Walmart, that's ridiculous.

          On the other hand you have employees,
          I can't say I've ever seen a Walmart quality worker at a small business, not for long at least, if you can't pull your own weight and then some, the owners will be quick to show you the door, no unions to protect lazy employees.

          Have to agree with the other poster, if Walmart is telling its employees to take welfare, then that sounds like a problem with our welfare system.

          We're the only species that will cripple the smart and hardworking members to support the lazy and unmotivated.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          Let me add, the whole killing off small business argument is fundamentally flawed.
          How many general stores exist today?
          What type of business would be shutdown by Walmart?

          Walmart carries “popular” items, they specialize in nothing but selling generic “stuff”. And the majority of that “stuff” is made in china with complete lack of quality.

          Small businesses have two very big advantages, they can specialize, and they can sell quality goods.
          More often than not when I need something that is important I’m going to a store that specializes in that product. However if what I need is generic and basically the same product everyone sells, Walmart or the grocery store is great.

          Also let me make it clear, I’m not pro-Walmart, I’m just Anti-”business hate speech”.

          If a business fails due to Walmart coming on scene its a problem with either the business model, or local politics and economy.
          Walmart can stay regardless if land taxes and every other tax rises, small businesses can’t absorb the increases in taxes.

        • 0 avatar
          baggins

          Every Walmart I have been to is surrounded by other business.

          Only a true believer liberal would say that Walmart leeches off the taxpayers, because its EMPLOYEES get food stamps. Are the employees leeches too?

          Do you think if, in your dream world, we shut down every walmart, the people who shop and work there would be better off?

        • 0 avatar
          Toad

          “The Walmart business model involves very deliberate destruction of any competing local retail”

          Um, I see a LOT of competing retail every day, every where.

          “folks cannot simply work somewhere else”
          99% of Americans DO work somewhere else.

          If you base your arguments on false premises it is hard to take your advocacy seriously.

      • 0 avatar
        Jeff Waingrow

        Hummer, it’s the “willingly” part that’s the problem. I have a feeling that your and my definition of it may be at odds. “Willingly” does not mean”happily” exactly. Frankly, I don’t know how anyone can walk through a Walmart and not become depressed at the squalor at it all.

      • 0 avatar
        mvlbr

        “Hummer”

        Finally someone on here that understands labor economics and for that I applaud you.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    Costco has been doing it for years w/ Ameriprise, the former AMEX company.
    https://www.ameriprise.com/auto-home-insurance/costco/?request_type=un_auth_init&PartnerID=COSTCO&RefID=11m-c3

    Not to denigrate Walmart, but Costco customers are among the most affluent of shoppers. I wonder what effect this will have on the entire industry. Disintermediation march continues.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    I am all for it and have actually tried to find out when Wal-mart will be starting up in Michigan with auto insurance. From what I understand Michigan is in the top few states as far as auto insurance goes. I currently pay about $2,800 per year for full coverage on two autos (very low deductable and high policy limits). My wife and I both have perfect driving records, we have made no claims, live in a community with essentially no crime and have sterling credit. I shopped around about a year ago with 3 or 4 other companies and they were all within a few bucks. I would love to see a player get involved that actually might put price pressure on the auto insurers. I dont feel I am getting anywhere near my money’s worth and I can only imagine what some people in Michigan must be paying that dont have all the same boxes checked.

    • 0 avatar
      mjz

      I live in Michigan also and pay $121 per month for an 11 year old car with 215,000 miles on it. Also have shopped around, and there is very little price difference. Would welcome a Walmart insurance option.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      We get so hosed here in Michigan when it comes to auto insurance. Because I live less than 3 miles from Detroit, the auto insurance companies take me to pound town.

      Its way worse for those who live in Detroit though. Tax season is the time for people to buy a car with their tax return, get insurance that costs $800 a month for less than basic coverage, register the car with the state, then cancel the insurance because the six month premium is more than their car’s value.

      • 0 avatar
        thegamper

        Therein lies one of the primary problems with Michigan auto insurance. The astronomical cost of auto insurance, particularly in some areas means too many uninsured drivers. Cost gets passed on to the people who pay and its a vicious cycle. My understanding of Michigan “no-fault” auto insurance is that in terms of coverage/benefits, it is one of the richest in the nation. Medical benefits for life, catastrophic claims payouts, etc. I think it is time to drop no-fault and model our system after other states. I personally feel, that while the Michigan system takes very good care of those with serious injury, the insurers end up being the biggest winner. You might recall back in 1998 or so, Insurers were required to pay a large sum of money back to anyone holding auto insurance because the catastrophic claims jackpot was so overfunded.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Changes need to be made, but I don’t beleive that my rates will drop that much if they removed the no-fault laws in Michigan. When I lived in Tucson, my premiums were only $200-300 a year less than Michigan for two cars ($500/car per 6 months instead of $600/car). Arizona is not a No-Fault state. My proximity to Detroit is what is screwing me, not No-Fault laws. When my wife and I moved back and stayed with her parents in far Western Wayne County, I actually saved money vs Arizona.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        Gotta keep the lawyers and other expendables living high and mighty, you know…

    • 0 avatar
      TheEndlessEnigma

      I insure a 2103 Mustang V6 and 2010 Jeep Patriot in Florida through Allstate at $95.00/month. We have collision and comprehensive with pretty good limits and low deductibles, no accidents, great credit, home owner etc….

      I’ve held auto insurance with Allstate for 19 years now and every time I check rates I find that no0one is able to come within 10% of what I currently pay. After some digging, I got my agent to admit that Allstate (quietly) rewards long term customers (10+ years) with reduced rates.

      Now, having said all that, I’m probably not Walmart’s target demographic for hawking insurance. They are probably gunning for the month-to-month insurance customer with poor or non-existent credit.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Did you dump the Delorean after you used it to travel forward and pick up that sweet 2103 Mustang?

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I’m with Allstate as well, and have my car and house with them. My homeowners and auto COMBINED is only around $1,100 a year – so I don’t think they’d be able to save me anything on my car insurance.

        • 0 avatar
          morbo

          One of the few benfits to living in Arlington, VA. My 2011 Chrysler 300C, stickered for $45k. Full auto with average limits and a $1k deductible is only $30/month through Geico. Been the same price since it was bought new in 2011.

          They didn’t increase my rates after a $5k claim from a hit and run, since I wasn’t the cause of the claim.

          No idea what makes Arlington VA so cheap (rated 2nd cheapest in the nation).

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Because lots of politically powerful people/lobbyists live there, and they want cheap car insurance for their fleets.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      Agreed, What we pay in our dump of a state is crazy. I pay $252 a month for a leased Cruze and Impreza. When I had a 2000 Sentra with state minimum liability coverage, I was paying $95 just for that. I was always under the impresion that our so-called “No-fault” law limits our personal liability at $100,000 per person or $300,000 total but come to find out that ambulance chasers can sue way more out of you. If your insurance only covers the $100/300K you are SOL. I can’t wait to try a new state.

  • avatar
    Xeranar

    An interesting argument as Wal-Mart sees their control of the market waning they begin to expand into areas they have no expertise in but have a huge marketing base. It’s intriguing to see how a company that figured out how to shave bone and gristle out of their own organization is facing a reality where all that they did led them to a place where they have to sell themselves like two-bit hookers to keep the profit margins.

    Course this is just my perception…mileage varies.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      Walmart has been looking to get into financial services for quite a while now. They look at the way their core customers get ripped off by “community” banks, by “buy here/pay here” auto dealers, by firms that send money overseas, by insurance brokers, and of course by the payday loans places.

      Walmart is well positioned to use their go-to-market capabilities to gain a strong foothold in financial services, often at prices that are a fraction of what people – especially the working poor/lower middle class – currently pay.

      If someone can direct deposit their paycheck to a Walmart bank, pay their insurance and other bills there, and save $50/month, where do you expect they will spend that $50?

      Not Target.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        So Wal-Mart is turning into a giant version of a local party store (liquor store for those outside of Michigan)?

        • 0 avatar
          TheyBeRollin

          More like a classic company store in a remote location, except it is theoretically a “choice”.

          Clearly they know their customer base well and are aiming to cater to them better.

      • 0 avatar
        tonycd

        Walmart is too big, too powerful and too predatory of other Americans.

        They may be new to auto insurance, but they’re the nation’s largest grocer, sporting goods store, CD seller, and overall receive nine cents of every dollar Americans spend in a store.

        Four of the ten richest individuals in America are members of the Walton family. Yet the company pays its employees so poorly, they’re forced to supplement their paychecks by leaning on their fellow taxpayers for food stamps and Medicaid.

        I hope Americans don’t supplement the Waltons’ income, and encourage their predatory practices further, by enabling their invasion of yet another industry with their “helpful” low prices.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Something Wal-Mart This Way Comes.

        • 0 avatar
          xtoyota

          Your right lets close all walmart stores and lay off 2,000,000 employees. Most of these people will NOT find jobs easily in Obama’s economy and probably will end up with less security and the same pay because they don’t have a good education…………THINK FOR ONCE WILL YOU
          The U.S. needs Walmart both for employment and LOW prices. Thousands of X Walmart employees got their start working for Walmart

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Do they really brag about selling CDs?

          • 0 avatar
            matador

            A music store in our area advertised a Cassette sale in the paper a few months ago.

            I can’t keep up with all of this new technology.

        • 0 avatar
          TW5

          Imagine 50 Walmart Supercenters condensed into 1 regional Amazon.com distribution center. Walmart doesn’t seem so evil, does it?

          Walmart is powerful, but their terrestrial stores are as vulnerable as the mom-and-pop retailers they cannibalized. If oil prices hadn’t inflated local shipping costs and scuttled the e-commerce delivery model, I doubt Walmart would be as powerful as they are today.

          The trouble with Walmart or any mega-retailer of inferior (economic) Chinese goods is that their anti-American behavior is often rewarded with profit. Vendors of inferior goods generally see a bump in revenues and profitability during recessed economies. What easier way to cause weakness in consumer sentiment than to force suppliers to outsource their entire labor force. It appears Walmart have taken this debauched strategy too far, and now they are trying to repent with the American Jobs initiative or whatever they’re calling it.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          Yeah, lets all get together and hope lower income Americans overpay for auto insurance/lawyer welfare, by going to their local bankster instead. So much better some Goldman exec makes $200 off of them, than some Walton $50…..

          If people really cared about lower income Americans being fleeced, they’d support getting rid of the auto insurance racket altogether. But of course, in progressive lala land, lawyers exist to help people fight the evil corporations blah, blah… While letting poor people get more for their money, is “predatory”…

          100 years of universal public indoctrination sure has worked wonders in this dystopian dump.

      • 0 avatar
        imag

        You load sixteen tons, what do you get?
        Another day older and deeper in debt
        Saint Peter don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go
        I owe my soul to the company store.

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        Walmart is able to keep their margins low on some services by willing to play the scale of economy game. Once they consolidate their control though their prices go up. In the case of selling auto insurance in the store they aren’t pulling money out of the wal-mart investment fund to serve as an actual risk pool, they’re simply acting as an agent to sell policies for already built corporations. If you like small businesses as most of the right is want to claim you should see wal-mart’s encroachment on to the small business insurance market as trouble brewing since the only advantage wal-mart can offer is that their insurance sales associate is being paid pennies on the dollar for the service they provide. Your savings eat into the other person’s livelihood in the most literal sense.

    • 0 avatar
      baggins

      take a liberal, say WalMart and they lose whatever ability said liberal might have had to think about economic issues.

      “Two bit hookers?” Because Walmart want to horn in on the inefficient model of selling insurance? Now its some dude in a blazer who gives you a discount double check in his office and trys to sell you whole life insurance. Yeah, going up against that makes them a two bit hooker.

      You’re a fool, blinded by your liberal hate list. Poor people freaking love walmart, which you dont know, because you never deign to shop there.

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        Ok….First off all Wal-mart is doing is engaging in the same inefficient model of selling insurance as everybody else. They aren’t starting their own risk pool or introducing their own insurance. All they’re actually doing is using their large brick-and-mortar stores as centralized insurance offices to sell policies that individuals would sell using the same material and ideals those individuals use. The only difference is their scale of economy allows their profit margin per unit to be much lower so the theoretical savings are at the cost of the agent model. They’re selling the same as anybody else but if I was an insurance agency with several thousand locations I could do the same thing.

        As for them being a two-bit hooker, it was a remark designed to note that they don’t have a productive edge but a market place edge. They’re using their sheer volume to bully their way into new markets because they can. There is no production value in their activities, they aren’t engaging in more fruitful insurance actions. But yes, my liberalism is blinding me even though I described clear business school teachings about market place power and economies of scale.

        As an aside, I don’t shop at wal-mart not because I have dignity, I don’t shop at wal-mart because I respect workers. I use my economic power as an individual to not support their business practices. Though if you think people ‘love’ wal-mart you are possibly delusional. They tolerate wal-mart because their economic prosperity has been cut down as their productivity continues to soar. People are forced to shop at wal-mart because of the market share they control and the perception of low prices.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          All I know is that if the oppressors weren’t banning Walmart from opening in San Francisco, that evil corporation’s policy of letting anyone with a tent or RV stay for free in their parking lot overnight, would cut the cost of an SF stay by 90% compared to now.

          Of course I do recognize that the progressives of SF don’t want THAT kind of people staying there. People who actually work aren’t hip enough to be wanted. Only wannabe “organizers” or workers are.

          • 0 avatar
            Xeranar

            Ad hominem much? The RV policy is limited and only means ‘dry camping’ in other words being self-contained so no electrical hookups or support. Second, who is staying in San Francisco one night that is such a hard worker that they can afford an RV? It doesn’t make sense as a business model.

            Now to attack your vaunted discussion of ‘organizers’ in quotes. So you’re attempting to attribute our current president’s past job working for a non-profit organization as less valuable than say…an engineer or a business person. It doesn’t really have a point in that relationship because most of San Francisco and the Bay area in general’s housing problem stems from private sector desires to move into the area and drive out working class individuals and drive up housing costs. Those organizers you deride are people fighting for affordable housing. But it’s convenient to view a liberal urban center with a jaundiced eye of partisanship while ignoring the realities of capitalism that create the situation. Our liberalism works within that framework for the most part so perhaps before you make a comment you should and I quote ‘Check yourself before you wreck yourself’ because you seem to have.

        • 0 avatar
          baggins

          you use a lot of words, but know very little.

          You want them to invent a new type of auto insurance, or they else are a two bit hooker. Ok dude.

          What new type of auto insurance should they create, oh wise font of business school teaching?

          In your view, based on your extensive business school knowledge, they should hire actuaries, set aside capital etc, and become an actual insurer, or they are “two bit hookers?”

          You need to write a book on corporate strategy: Xernar’s guide how to avoid being a “two bit hooker”- ignore your obvious competitive advantage, and instead expand into heavily regulated areas in which you have no advantage.

          How do find time to post between lectures at HBS?

  • avatar
    kosmo

    Anything that breeds more competition in the insurance marketplace is a good thing, whether WalMart succeeds or falls flat on its face, pure fear amongst the established underwriters is likely to have a positive impact on prices.

    They know nothing about insurance, and the government knows nothing about health care. Let’s see whose rollout goes more smoothly.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    I have to think this is a tough time to be a retail insurance agent. With all the push to sell insurance over the internet, I wouldn’t be surprised to see their numbers start dropping, especially those who primarily sell to individuals.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      My next door neighbor has a State Farm agency, and has been in business for 15+ years. He’s seen some drop off because of insurance sales over the internet. He captures some internet business because State Farm funnels things to local agents (many insurance agencies do that too). His complaints seem to be with State Farm as a company more than anything else.

    • 0 avatar
      Joe McKinney

      I have never had any luck with online auto insurance quotes. Several times over the last decade or so I have requested online quotes from a few of the companies that advertise big savings only to get quotes much higher than my current premiums.

      In my experince nothing beats talking to a real agent at a local office. Sometimes you have to call around and talk to agents at several companies, but this is usually worth the trouble.

      Of course I am old fashioned in that I prefer to do business face to face. I like to talk to people and to at least be aquainted with the people I do business with.

      • 0 avatar
        TheyBeRollin

        In spite of my being young and doing literally everything I can online (dislike time-consuming face-to-face stuff), for some reason insurance is extremely sticky and old-fashioned. The most modern thing I do now is call them instead of showing up for an appointment at their offices. The independent agent my parents and I went to back in the 90s got us incredible deals from insurance companies I had never even heard of. The disparity gets even wider when you start bundling. Maintaining the level of insider knowledge they do is not possible without being in the industry. It’s a lot like tax preparation.

        I wish I could still get the AAA reciprocal insurance I had in SoCal. Their rates were unbeatable, their service was great, and they had a great reputation. It’s the biggest thing I lost when moving away. Returning to the terrible commercial insurance market where prices are high and service is mediocre was a serious shock.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Any competition is good for auto insurance, for something required by law, the laws should also exist to prevent price gouging.
    Insurance prices for autos are nonsense, I have a very good record, no at fault wrecks, no speeding tickets and even so I get hosed, I don’t even keep insurance on most of my vehicles simply because its cost prohibitive. Leave them in the shop unless I get an urge to drive at which point I finally get them insured.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I have a limited understanding of insurance but it strikes me if you go to the effective mecca of American consumerism and sell insurance, wouldn’t your overall risk shoot way up? Perhaps enough to outstrip any additional profits from expanding sales, or is this effectively insurance which pays little to nothing no matter the claim?

  • avatar
    mu_redskin

    Insurance companies already use your credit score and other criteria to rate policies, walmart could find new rating criteria based off of their massive customer database.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      If you’d think about this a moment, you’d realize it makes no sense. They can’t track what individual customers buy unless they’re keeping records of purchases associated with card numbers.

      Wal-Mart does not have a store card, which is what companies like Kroger do to track customer habits.

      • 0 avatar
        mu_redskin

        So tell me again how marketers know to send parents to be marketing info and coupons without registering via a loyalty program? Walmarts prowess with big data is legendary – sometimes able to react on Black Friday as conditions dictate. Just maybe they have so much data on consumers that they don’t need a loyalty program.

  • avatar
    April

    Guess it’s inevitable. They have killed off every other business in the small town I grew up in.

    • 0 avatar
      brenschluss

      You can’t blame Wal Mart alone for “killing off” anything. They offer convenience, and most people can’t figure out or don’t want to accept that convenience isn’t always in the best interests of the commons. Anyone who participates and patronizes is complicit.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Quite right. Convenience and price are the keys to succeeding in American capitalism. Most people don’t know how WM exploits their workers or mistreats them – and many others wouldn’t care because “Hey, better him than me.”

        Consolidation is the nature of a mature market in almost any industry. Consider how many independent car manufacturers we had in 1915. How many total companies making mainstream cars are there now, when you consider consolidated ownership. Ten? Seven?

        The same can be said for farms, restaurants, farm equipment, computer manufacturing since 1980 – economies of scale always win over the little guy.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Walmart drives down prices to the point that local store operators can’t compete. (The smaller shops are necessarily less efficient and have to charge more just to stay in business.)

        That inability to compete motivates at least some of the entrepreneurial types to move away to other places where they can fare better economically. The resulting brain drain hurts these towns, as their best and brightest bail out, supporting a downward spiral that leaves even more spoils for Walmart. It’s a nasty cycle in terms of economic diversity, although the locals do get to pay less for what they buy.

        • 0 avatar
          brenschluss

          It definitely requires some soul-searching (and obviously extra funds if whatever you’re buying is truly necessary,) to spend $100 on something when you can get a serviceable substitute for $60 from WM. You may or may not be getting a much higher quality product that won’t require frequent replacement, but that’s long-term thinking that a small purchase usually doesn’t stimulate.

          I don’t know how to tell the masses that they need to live with less if they don’t want to see small businesses run out by large ones, but it seems simple to me: patronize the stores you want to stay open. Everyone else needs to do the same, too.

          If I could solve this problem I’d be much smarter than I am.

      • 0 avatar
        kmoney

        “Anyone who participates and patronizes is complicit.”

        Yes and no. I would posit that for a large swath of their customer base the $15-20 a week savings in their grocery bill is material to their economic well being and they have little, or at least much less, choice in the matter.

        I fully agree with the anti-Walmart sentiments, but not everyone can afford to take the hit involved in standing up for the greater good.

        • 0 avatar
          brenschluss

          Unfortunately you’re right. My perspective is one where the local farmer’s market or CSA plus cheap basic (and delicious) proteins can feed a low-income family as effectively or moreso than agribusiness corn-based crap from a normal discount grocery store. Just requires the will to make the effort, which can admittedly be hard to come by when you have no money and aren’t happy.

          WM takes advantage of locations that have none of this. Problem then becomes, do you praise them because you have an extra $20/wk that you’d have spent on groceries, or bury them because your neighbor ran the general store and now he’s out of a job?

    • 0 avatar
      an innocent man

      Really? They killed off businesses? They forced consumers to buy at their store when those consumers really wanted to buy from a local retailer? Seems some kidnapping charges are in order (J/k).

      Seriously, all Wal-mart does is open a store. Consumers make the choice where to buy. (Personally I don’t like Wal-mart. If I am buying discount much prefer Target, but again, personal choice).

      • 0 avatar
        xtoyota

        Walmart prices generally cheaper than Target and Walmart has a bigger selection of product. Both stores sell the same Chinese merchandise.
        It’s nearly impossible to buy an American made product.

    • 0 avatar
      SaulTigh

      I doubt very much that the small town businesses that Wal-Mart “killed off” in your home town were offering 6% 401K matches, discounts on merchandise, and affordable health insurance premiums.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        But they WERE open on Thursdays from 11:00AM to 4:45PM, and sometimes on Saturdays from 10:00 to 6:00.

      • 0 avatar
        April

        But the employees of the local Mom and Pop businesses did not require a yearly 6.2 Billion indirect subsidy.

        http://www.americansfortaxfairness.org/files/Walmart-on-Tax-Day-Americans-for-Tax-Fairness-1.pdf

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I went back to Ohio
      But my city was gone
      There was no train station
      There was no downtown
      South Howard had disappeared
      All my favorite places
      My city had been pulled down
      Reduced to parking spaces
      A, o, way to go Ohio

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    You know, I like Wal-Mart.

    Where else can you load up on bullets for your AR-15, milk, eggs, and of course, windshield washer fluid and motor oil all at once (all of the essentials)?

    On the other hand, Customer Service is nice. Real Customer Service. Not someone looking at you saying “I don’t know… sorry… ask that person over there…”.

    They did the Bluebird American Express thing. Whoop Diddy Dooo. That’s just what a bunch of subprime debtors need. A prepaid AMEX. Living the dream, baby.

    No they’ve got insurance they plan on offering. Heh, I needed a laugh.

    I’m sure it will take a hell of a lot longer than 15 minutes for a quote.

    Oh, and by the way, per my May ’14 issue of Consumer Reports: an insurance company called “AMICA” is highest recommended on many different levels. Look into it. I’d never heard of them, myself.

    • 0 avatar
      brenschluss

      I use Amica. They’re fantastic.

      Only time I’ve been to WM in the past few years was for shotgun shells. They didn’t have any, and the rest of what I saw convinced me I’d never go back. It was Hell’s own zoo.

      Incredible how cheap some things there are, though.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      I like shopping at Wal-Mart too, but I don’t get how their limited in-store customer service is relevant for cross-shopping Walmart.com and esurance, for example. Both sell state-mandated car insurance online.

      Car insurance companies always advertize the cost savings of customers who switch. What they don’t say is savings come from shopping for the best introductory rate each year. Brand loyal customers get ripped off while customers who look for discounts tend to find them.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Walmart is just such a depressing place to shop. Decor right out of low rent hell.

    You know, department stores circa 1962 were more pleasant places to visit in the small town I grew up in. Colorful, bright, not brown putresence with costs shaved to the bone, dim lighting and prices exactly two cents cheaper per item so they can say, we sell for less. Predatory pricing, I call it.

    So now you will be able to buy car insurance in one of these depressing halls of commerce and save $1.29, while a management trainee with a clipboard makes sure each policy takes less than 11.35 minutes to write up.

    Just great.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      I agree, I dislike going to the place, but if it helps lower insurance prices across the board you won’t find me complaining.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      “You know, department stores circa 1962 were more pleasant places to visit in the small town I grew up in.”

      I loved the knotty-pine and sawdust decor, too. Gooseys, ducky-lucks and chickens running in the aisles… the sawdust was real helpful there.

  • avatar
    CapVandal

    This is a nothing burger.

    Go to autoinsurance.com. This is it. Nothing more. It is an online rate comparison website.

    Walmart isn’t going to underwrite the insurance. Isn’t going to directly sell it.

    All they can do is set up a computer and perhaps walk someone through how to compare rates online, which they can already do with no help from Walmart.

    They won’t have binding authority. They won’t run DMV records, so even with a quote, the ‘customer’ will have to go through the insurer’s underwriting process. Which is roughly what they would have to do if they bought through any other channel.

    The same idea has been around forever in one form or another. Selling insurance at bank branches. Getting life insurance agents to cross sell auto insurance, the financial supermarket, &c.

    Sears actually put together a ‘financial supermarket’. http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1928&dat=19811016&id=8_QpAAAAIBAJ&sjid=32QFAAAAIBAJ&pg=1293,3453361

    In the early 80′s, Sears bought brokerage, Dean Whitter and real estate broker, Coldwell Banker, the Discover Card, to go with Allstate. The idea collapsed because people didn’t want to see their stock broker or real estate agent at Sears. And vise versa. And even shoppers decided they didn’t want to shop at Sears.

    The Walmart venture is more like putting in a vending machine than getting into financial services. Walmart’s expertise is in supply chain management. Other companies have caught up. Now they have to deal with both Costco and Dollar Stores as they are attacked from both above and below. And everyone is better at logistics now.


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