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Salon has an interview with a Walmart assistant store manager who talks about Walmart's approach to overtime, chronic understaffing in its stores, and regulatory changes that he says could have a dramatic impact on his work-life balance.

An excerpt:

"What the average customer sees in the store is forcing the manager to step out of that manager role, and into that hourly associate role. So you’ll have managers that are cashiering, stocking shelves … We’re trying to take care of our managerial duties too … As a salaried manager, if I’m [moving] freight all night long, I’m not able to give my associates in the building the attention that they need, or you know, the developmental process … [to] grow within their role within Wal-Mart. You know, it makes the job very hard to do … If you have a manager that’s running a cash register, you know that manager is not on the sales floor ensuring that product is on the shelves. You know that manager is not able to respond to customer calls as quickly …

"So I think customer service definitely does lack."

It is an interesting interview, and you can read the whole thing here.
KC's View:
Listen, there's no question that Salon is a site with a point of view, but I also think that the scenarios described by the assistant manager seem entirely credible - that Walmart is at a point right now that in its stores, there is such a focus on cutting costs that its people spend all their time putting out fires and almost no time trying to build a structure of growth. Such an approach can only go on for so long before the structure collapses under the weight of ineffectiveness … efficiency will only get you so far.