A Wal-Mart greeter or Walmart greeter is a Walmart employee whose role is to wait at the front door of a Walmart store and greet all shoppers who enter. CEO and founder Sam Walton implemented the role nationally in the 1980s. The position is considered to be a big part of the company's identity and culture, as well as one of its most recognized hallmarks.
A Walmart greeter stands at the door, wearing a distinctive vest whose color may change during the course of the year. The greeter's primary task is to provide a sunny disposition to welcome customers, as well as to cross-check customers' receipts when they leave.
The idea of having dedicated greeters at the front door of a store may have come from an employee of the company, Lois Richard. She was working in the early 1980s as an invoice clerk at the Walmart store in Crowley, Louisiana. The Walmart store in Crowley, which had opened in 1980, was experiencing shoplifting and had a significant "inventory shrinkage" after two years. The initial idea was to have an employee standing at the door in order to try to decrease shoplifting. After a shoplifting sting conducted by the local police showed that piles of merchandise could have been taken away, Lois Richard pitched the idea the next day to her manager and it was accepted.
In 2019, it was announced that on April 26, greeters would be replaced with 'customer hosts' at 1,000 stores. This new position will require that hosts be able to climb up ladders to get products, lift packages weighing 25 pounds, and stand for long periods of time. The announced change was met with disapproval by disabled greeters. Walmart announced that it would make "every effort" to continue to employ disabled workers in other positions.
- Soderquist, Don (2005). "A Friendly Idea". The Wal-Mart Way: The Inside Story of the Success of the World's Largest Company. Thomas Nelson. p. 240. ISBN 978-0785261193.
- Nassauer, Sarah (June 18, 2015). "Welcome Back, Wal-Mart Greeters". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
- Anderson, George (May 11, 2016). "(Big Smiley Face) Walmart Brings Back Greeters". Forbes. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
- Soderquist 2005, pp. 74
- Fastenberg, Dan (Nov 27, 2013). "What It's Like To Be... A Walmart Greeter". AOL Careers. Retrieved May 30, 2016.
- Hatfield, Mycah (May 18, 2016). "Crowley woman founded Walmart greeter program, served as first greeter". KATC. Retrieved May 29, 2016.
- Lynn, tracy (May 18, 2016). "The Original Walmart Greeter Lives In Cajun Country". KMDL. Retrieved May 29, 2016.