STAFFING PROBLEMS: Short Walmart staffing is cited as a reason for complaints about stocking. I've experienced that at my neighborhood store on Cantrell.

The New York Times has been leaked a Walmart memo to managers to address complaints about stocking and out-of-date items. The leaker suggested the problems were related to short staffing

Last month, the retailer issued an “urgent agenda” memo to managers across the country pushing them to improve performance on “Chilled and Fresh” items in its dairy, meat and produce departments, part of an effort by Walmart to stem long-sluggish sales. It also reflected customer complaints that Walmart has received in recent years as it has expanded offerings of organic foods and produce, often at cheaper prices than its competitors.

The memo, marked “highly sensitive,” tells Walmart marketing managers to make sure that the company’s 4,965 United States stores discount aging meat and baked goods to maximize the chance that those items will sell before their expiration dates. The memo — leaked for public use by a Walmart manager unhappy about understaffing — also tells stores to be sure to “rotate” dairy products and eggs, which means removing expired items and adding new stock at the bottom and back of display cases.

Walmart confirms.

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A Walmart spokeswoman, Deisha Barnett, confirmed the memo’s existence, and acknowledged some of the problems outlined in it. She pointed to the start last year of a 100 percent money-back guarantee for customers dissatisfied with less-than-fresh products.

I do all our family grocery shopping because I cook most of the meals and we rarely eat out. I mostly abandoned my neighborhood Kroger when it reorganized with a de-emphasis on broad inventory and heightened emphasis on takeout prepared foods. Edwards Food Giant has been a strong replacement. It’s a real grocery store with broad inventory and engaged help and clean premises. A bigger Kroger farther from my house also suits most of my needs. The newish Walmart Neighborhood Market that I can see from my house? It’s only a convenience store stop, and then not often. Produce and meat are particularly skimpy and poorly stocked. Finding an employee to help find something? Good luck with that. Plus it is a grim barn of a place.