Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Wal-Mart: Babies too, are living paycheck to paycheck

October 21, 2008

walmart.jpgIn one of the more chilling consumer spending anecdotes thus far, a Wal-Mart executive told a lunch crowd in Los Angeles that more of its customers are waiting to have paychecks or government assistance checks in hand before they buy necessities like baby formula.

“We have started to see some very disturbing behavior,” said Eduardo Castro-Wright, president and chief executive of Wal-Mart’s U.S. operations.

The world’s biggest retailer already has said that its U.S. shoppers are increasingly living paycheck to paycheck as the economy worsens and credit gets harder to come by.

On Tuesday, Castro-Wright said Wal-Mart has noticed a spike in sales of baby formula when checks are issued at the beginning and the middle of the month — a trend that suggests consumers are rushing to buy basic necessities when they have cash.



People have been doing this for years, so why do you report this story now? I sure hope wal-mart is not supplying baby formula from china like alot of their other products.

Posted by Shawn | Report as abusive

There have always been families who live paycheck-to-paycheck, but their number has been steadily growing. The rising unemployment rate in the U.S., combined with rising food costs, makes it difficult for more people to afford the basic necessities. The lowest estimate I could find for a year’s worth of infant formula is $1500.

The Palin wardrobe would provide 100 babies formula for one year.

Posted by Diane dp | Report as abusive

This sad news comes on top of the NY Times report that people scaled back on their medications in the first eight months of 2008. This comes as no surprise with no restraints on Big Pharma’s ability to charge what it wants for medicines, a tribute to its power in Washington.

It’s a sure bet that these troubling trends will worsen. The Wall Street crisis and $700 billion bailout are going to pale in comparison to the human suffering that is about to be wrought as a result of unfettered Wall Street greed. The next President better be ready to reshape health care in 2009. Babies can’t wait for their formula, nor diabetics their insulin.


I would love to tell Eduardo (as an employee) thank you for the 10% off of food items. I was looking forward to the extra 10% off of one item (was going to buy my family a $1200 tv – and save $240 on it) … now I get 10% off of food items that I didn’t before. I dont’ have money to entertain people … I shop were they have coupons and discount cards and what is closer to my home. I now lost out. this employee will be purchasing all her Christmas gifts elsewhere. Thanks for spoiling my family’s Christmas. Many people I work with were going to buy snowblowers – so instead of giving us a gift of around $100+ you now give us a discount of maybe $30-40

Posted by concerned employee | Report as abusive

My newborn twins are on elecare, it costs us 1500 a month and he is a lube mechanic at toyota 9$ an hour, and I have severe medical problem, including a stroke… So imagine, 1500 a month for JUST FORMULA… then the wipes and diapers…


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