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Walmart Automotive Center Phone Numbers

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Walmart Customer Service Phone Number ()

() 6 hours agoWalmart Customer Service Phone Number () , Email, Address. Supermarkets and Malls. Walmart Customer Service. Updated on 03/31/

Location: SW 8th Street, Bentonville, , Arkansas

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Contact Us Walmart

Just Now Find important customer service phone numbers for Walmart credit cards, MoneyCards and gift cards. Walmart Financial Help Center . Sam's Club Credit Cards . Investor Relations. Email Investor Relations . Walmart's transfer agent: Computershare ()

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WALMART AUTO CARE CENTERS Tires Harter Rd, Yuba

() Just Now 6 reviews of Walmart Auto Care Centers "Nope! I pulled up and the guy seemed irritated and flustered. I asked for an oil change and to have the fluids checked and topped off. He said they don't do the coolant. Weird, but ok. I asked that he made sure they reset my maintenance light. He promises they will. We get out and go inside. Do all the paperwork.

Rating: 1/5(5)

Location: Harter Rd Yuba City, CA

Sun: AM PM

Phone: ()

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Walmart Auto Care Center Tire Store in Lehighton

2 hours agoWalmart Auto Care Center Blakeslee Blvd E Lehighton, PA Call Get Directions. Hours today: AM - PM. CLOSED.

Location: Blakeslee Blvd E, Lehighton, , PA

Phone: ()

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Walmart Supercenter in Milpitas, CA Grocery, Electronics

6 hours ago Get Walmart hours, driving directions and check out weekly specials at your Milpitas Supercenter in Milpitas, CA. Get Milpitas Supercenter store hours and driving directions, buy online, and pick up in-store at Ranch Dr, Milpitas, CA or call

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Walmart Auto Center Locations & Hours Near Indianapolis

3 hours ago Find listings related to Walmart Auto Center in Indianapolis on YP.com. See reviews, photos, directions, phone numbers and more for Walmart Auto Center locations in Indianapolis, IN.

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Walmart Auto Center Locations & Hours Near Metairie, LA

9 hours ago Find listings related to Walmart Auto Center in Metairie on YP.com. See reviews, photos, directions, phone numbers and more for Walmart Auto Center locations in Metairie, LA.

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Walmart Auto Center Locations & Hours Near Chicago, IL

8 hours ago Find listings related to Walmart Auto Center in Chicago on YP.com. See reviews, photos, directions, phone numbers and more for Walmart Auto Center locations in Chicago, IL.

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Walmart at Westgate Center (San Leandro) – Hours & Phone

4 hours ago View info on Walmart store located at Westgate Center in San Leandro, CA – including address, map, store hours, phone number, and more.

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WALMART AUTO CENTER Auto Parts & Supplies SW

() Just Now 3 reviews of Walmart Auto Center "Great products. Good equipment. Good techs. It takes forever to get tires put on - no appointments, first come first serve - plan on waiting for 4 …

Rating: /5(3)

Phone: ()

Location: SW Highway Ocala, FL

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Walmart Auto Center Locations & Hours Near Fort Lauderdale

6 hours ago Find listings related to Walmart Auto Center in Fort Lauderdale on YP.com. See reviews, photos, directions, phone numbers and more for Walmart Auto Center locations in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

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WALMART AUTO CARE CENTERS 18 Photos & 19 Reviews Tires

6 hours ago 19 reviews of Walmart Auto Care Centers "Terrible service !! Very rude staff They give appointments over phone but then they say we don't have appointment system. 3 hours only for a tire replacement . Ridiculous!!!!! Walmart definitely cannot compete with Costco and Amazon."

Location: Grand Ave Chino, CA

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Walmart Auto Center Locations & Hours Near Milwaukee, WI

Just Now Find listings related to Walmart Auto Center in Milwaukee on YP.com. See reviews, photos, directions, phone numbers and more for Walmart Auto Center locations in Milwaukee, WI.

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WALMART AUTO CARE CENTERS Tires Gosford Rd

2 hours ago 4 reviews of Walmart Auto Care Centers "Fidel is just on top of his game! This guy is doing everything. It's only him working at the front and there's been many people in line. He's been going back and forth very quickly and trying to get everyone taken care of. He's great and looks like he cares for his job and for the people that are coming in to get service here.

Location: Gosford Rd Bakersfield, CA

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Contact Information Contact Lenses From Walmart Contacts

7 hours agoPhone/Fax. Toll-Free Phone: Phone Hours (EST): Mon-Fri am - pm, Sat am - pm, Sun pm - pm. Local/International Phone: Fax Number: or

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Walmart Headquarters, Corporate Office and Phone Number

7 hours ago Company Name: Walmart Address: S.W. Eighth St., Bentonville, AR Customer Service Phone Number: Phone Number: Foundation year: Foundation date: July 2 Foundation city: Rogers Foundation state: Arkansas Foundation country: United States Motto: "Save Money, Live Better." CEO: Doug McMillon Parent organization: Walton Enterprises

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Walmart Auto Care Centers Veterans Memorial Pkwy

() 1 hours agoWalmart Auto Care Centers. Veterans Memorial Pkwy, Orange City, FL () Claim this business. () Favorite. More.

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WALMART AUTO CENTER Auto Repair US , Lafayette

() 4 hours ago 4 reviews of Walmart Auto Center "I just want to leave a review and say that Ron (I believe that's his name) is a manager at the auto center, and he is one of the NICEST human beings I have EVER met. I was on a solo road trip across the US, and very far from home when my tire started going flat and my car started making a concerning noise.

Rating: 3/5(4)

Phone: ()

Location: US Lafayette, CO

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Store Finder Walmart.com

6 hours agoElectrode, App-electrode-store-finder, Comp, DC-prod-az-eastus, ENV-prod, PROF-PROD, VER, SHA-3aabcc6bb0de3dd14f, CID-

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Walmart Locations, Hours of Operation & Phone Number

() 6 hours agoWalmart hours and Walmart locations along with phone number and map with driving directions. ForLocations, The World's Best For Store Locations and Hours. Photo Center Phone Number: () Vision Center Phone Number: () Distance: miles . Edit 2

Rating: 1/5(1)

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Walmart Automotive Center: Looking to get services on your

7 hours agoWalmart Automotive Center UPDATE: After contacting Walmart directly at the links above, the headquarters contacted the local Walmart service manager about the problem I experienced during my recent service visit. The next day, I had received a phone call from the service manager asking if I could call them back to resolve any issues I had with

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Center Walmart Supercenter Store #, Texas Location

7 hours ago Hurst Street. Center, Texas Phone: Map & Directions Website. ( /5 - votes)

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Walmart Supercenter in Center, TX Grocery, Electronics

3 hours ago Get Walmart hours, driving directions and check out weekly specials at your Center Supercenter in Center, TX. Get Center Supercenter store hours and driving directions, buy online, and pick up in-store at Hurst Street, Center, TX or call

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Walmart Auto Center Hours What Time Does Walmart Auto

2 hours agoWalmart does not only offer a pharmacy and a deli, but also a Walmart car center that deals with oil changes, tire installation, battery replacements, etc. Here, you will learn about the Walmart Auto Center hours. Walmart Auto Center closes on Christmas Day, and has a shorter schedule on Christmas Eve and Thanksgiving.

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Auto Service Centres Walmart Canada

6 hours ago MACLEOD TRAIL, CALGARY. NORTHLAND DR N W, CALGARY. MEMORIAL DR NE, CALGARY. - 57TH AVENUE NE, CALGARY. # COUNTRY HILLS BLVD, CALGARY. # CORNERSTONE 48TH AVE, CAMROSE. 43RD AVE, COLD LAKE. CURRENTS DR NW, EDMONTON. STONY PLAIN RD NW, EDMONTON.

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Walmart Oakland CA, Hours & Locations

() 3 hours ago Vision Center Phone Number: () Distance: miles Edit 2 Walmart - San Leandro Davis St, San Leandro CA Phone Number: ()

Rating: 1/5(1)

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How To Contact Walmart Credit Card Customer Service

() 7 hours ago You can reach the Walmart Credit Card customer service by phone at () Representatives are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can use the same phone number for the Walmart&#; Store Card, too. You can also pay your Walmart Credit Card by phone. This service is free if you use the automated payment method.

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Walmart Auto Center, Cagan Crossings Clermont, FL

6 hours ago Photos 2. Walmart Auto Center, Cagan Crossings. / ratings. Given the COVID pandemic, call ahead to verify hours, and remember to practice social distancing.

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WALMART AUTO SERVICE Car Service Prices

5 hours agoWalmart Auto Service History. Walmart was founded in by Sam Walton, and seven years later in was incorporated. Because of its marketing approach and low prices, the company was able to grow rapidly and by had around 1, stores and more than , associates.

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Walmart Supercenter in Wentzville, MO Grocery

7 hours ago Get Walmart hours, driving directions and check out weekly specials at your Wentzville Supercenter in Wentzville, MO. Get Wentzville Supercenter store hours and driving directions, buy online, and pick up in-store at Wentzville Pkwy, Wentzville, MO or call

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Store & Corporate Feedback Walmart

4 hours ago Media / Journalists Email Media Relations or call from 8 a.m. to p.m. Central, Monday - Friday. International journalists dial Investor Relations Email Investor Relations or call Walmart's transfer agent: Computershare Request Materials (annual report, proxy statement, K or Q) Suppliers

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Walmart Auto Care Centers Maumelle Blvd North Little

() 2 hours agoWalmart Auto Care Centers Maumelle Blvd North Little Rock, AR Tire Dealers - MapQuest. Walmart Auto Care Centers. Maumelle Blvd. North Little Rock AR 1 Reviews. () Website. Menu & Reservations. Make Reservations. Order Online Tickets.

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Walmart Auto Services Prices PriceListo

5 hours agoWalmart Auto Services sells basic auto-parts and provides some basic repair and maintenance services. If you don't have the time or know-how, you can turn to Walmart Auto Services to do it for you. Walmart focuses on three basic services. First, there is the tire change services at $12 per tire. Next, there's the battery change, with free

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Walmart Canada Customer Service Phone Number ()

3 hours agoContact Walmart Canada customer support at toll-free or discounts/ rewards/ cashback phone number. Call or write an email to resolve Walmart Canada issues: Shipping and Delivery, Return/ Replace, Cards. Visit the company website www.walmart.ca or live chat for more information.

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Important Store Info Walmart

Just Now Typical pharmacy hours are Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. - 9 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Most vision centers will be open Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. – 8 p.m., and many will be open on Saturday and Sunday as well. Of course, hours may vary, so check the hours in the Store Finder before heading out.

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WALMART TIRE CENTER Walmart Tires Prices, Alignment

3 hours ago Purchasing tires from Walmart is simple and fast. Just head over to Walmart’s Tire Center website, and select the tires you need for example Car & Truck Tires, Trailer Tires, etc. Once you select the tires you need, narrow down your search results by filtering out the tires for your specific auto by searching for tires by type, brand, size, or vehicle.

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Walmart Corporate

Just Now BENTONVILLE, Ark., Oct. 14, — Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) announced today that Suresh Kumar, chief technology officer and chief development officer of Walmart Inc., will participate in a discussion at the KeyBanc Technology Leadership Forum on Thursday, Oct. 21, at a.m. CDT.The session will be webcast live through the “Events

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Fraud Alerts Walmart

Just Now The following fraud and scams are not from Walmart. We are listing them here in an effort to educate you about these activities. If you feel that you have been defrauded, you may want to contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at www.ftc.gov or at FTC-HELP, or the Consumer Fraud Division of your state's Attorney General's office.

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Walmart Careers Submit a Walmart Job Application Online

8 hours agoWalmart Store Jobs. Accounting and Finance. Administrative and Support Services. Asset Protection. Aviation and Travel. Business Operations. Corporate Affairs and Communications. Customer Service and Call Center. Data Analytics and Business Intelligence.

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Walmart Headquarters Information – Headquarters Info

6 hours agoWalmart Headquarters S.W. 8 th St. Bentonville, AK Phone Number: The corporate phone number for Walmart headquarters is The phone number for investor relations is You can contact customer service at (WALMART).

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Job Application Process FAQ Walmart Careers

2 hours ago As a minimum age requirement, you must be at least 16 years old to work at Walmart and 18 at Sam's Club. Certain positions, however, require a minimum age of As you prepare to complete your application have your prior work history available. To apply for opportunities you are qualified for, please visit our job search page. Expand Arrow Copy.

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Walmart Store Jobs

9 hours ago Hourly Supervisor & Training. Career opportunities in supervisory and training roles include multiple areas within the store such as Digital, Front End, Grocery, Academy, Automotive, Pharmacy, Receiving, Fresh, General Merchandise, Asset Protection, and HR. The hourly wage range for this position is $ to $*. See job description.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the phone number for Walmart Auto Department?

Phone Number: The best number to call to reach a human at Walmart Customer Service Department is listed below: Walmart Customer service: . How to Speak to a Live Person: Call and you will get the auto attendant.

What time does Walmart auto close?

Mondays through to Saturdays operate from 7 am onwards whilst Sundays open at the later time of 8am. Much like the opening hours, Walmart Auto Center hours for closing remain mostly the same for the week. Mondays to Saturdays close at 7 pm while Sundays close at the much earlier time of 12 am.

What are the hours for Walmart Auto Center?

The Walmart Auto Center hours for opening remain much the same throughout most of the week, with only Sundays having a different time than the rest of the week. Mondays through to Saturdays operate from 7 am onwards whilst Sundays open at the later time of 8am. Much like the opening hours,

What are Walmart service center hours?

Walmart customer service hours are from 8 AM to 10 PM on Monday through Sunday. To be clear, this standard schedule applies to the Walmart customer service desk hours, where an employee will be physically assisting you.

Sours: https://www.webcontactus.com/walmart-automotive-center-phone-numbers/

Try as you might, there's no way to fully prepare for your family's Easter festivities. Even after you make your list and check it twice, there's a chance that you'll miss something on your initial run to the grocery store. Luckily, Walmart has it all — Easter basket stuffers, ingredients for your ham feast, and so much more.

Although some grocery stores opt to keep their doors closed on Easter Sunday (Target stayed closed last Easter, for example), Walmart will be open, so that you pick up whatever you need at the very last minute.

While Walmart's Easter hours haven't been confirmed yet, they will likely follow its normal operating store hours. That means, all Walmart stores around the country will be open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m on Sunday, April 4. Some locations will offer no-contact pickup and delivery on Easter Sunday, but there may be limited availability.

Starting in July of last year, all Walmart customers have been required to wear face coverings and practice social distancing while browsing the aisles. Walmart has also increased its no-contact pickup and delivery options at select locations to meet demands amid COVID

Before you head out to the store to pick up another egg dyeing kit or bag of Easter candy, keep in mind that the CDC's updated guidelines continue to encourage people to limit their grocery store trips and order items for pickup or delivery, if available. In addition to wearing masks and practicing social distancing in grocery stores, the CDC suggests wiping down shopping carts with disinfectant wipes, cleaning reusable shopping bags before each use, and using hand sanitizer before and after each shopping trip. That way, you can do your part to keep everyone in your household safe and healthy this Easter.

Amanda GarrityAssociate Lifestyle EditorAs the Associate Lifestyle Editor for GoodHousekeeping.com, Amanda oversees gift guides and covers home, holidays, food, and other lifestyle news.

This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io

Sours: https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/holidays/easter-ideas/a/walmart-easter-hours/
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Wal-Mart Tire & Lube

Page 10 Reviews -
Rated with 1 star
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Patsy of Waynesville, GA Verified Reviewer
Original review: May 3,

After going to Walmart in Brunswick GA, check engine light comes on. Took 2 hours for the oil change being second in line, was promised 1 hour. Haven't figured out what was done to my car. Am retired woman, so car is important but income limited. Wish I had read complaints before I had oil change. Had same thing happen using Walmart in Waycross GA. Had oil in map sensor. Thought maybe different Walmart would be okay but so wrong.

Rated with 1 star
Jack of Odenville, AL Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: April 25,

On Monday 4/24/17 I attempted to have the Springville, AL WalMart install four Goodyear tires on our Jeep Liberty. After a reasonable installation time I was told that they had installed three of the four tires but that they could not remove several of the lugs on the left front tire. I was billed for installation of all four tires. Department Manager said, "We don't do mechanical work," and referred me to a local garage to remove the stuck lugs. I returned the next day after having a real tire store remove the lugs in less than ten minutes. WalMart finally installed the fourth tire. My complaint is with Wal Mart management that prohibits local shops from doing their job properly. Calling stuck lugs "mechanical work" is bogus. They should have the tools and training to install tires even when lugs won't easily remove. I won't be back!

Interesting side point: while second shop was working on stuck lugs, the tech mentioned that they get a lot (about six a year in small Alabama town) of WalMart oil change customers coming in to get a new oil pan as techs over tightened and stripped oil drain plugs. It's the inconvenience and extra time involved that really has me angered. Avoid WalMart tire and auto centers until management empowers and trains their techs to do the job correctly. Stuck lugs are not all that uncommon. Wake up WalMart!

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Rated with 1 star
William of Princeton, WV Verified Reviewer
Original review: April 24,

I had Walmart in Bluefield Va mount and balance 4 tires for me and after doing so they placed hammer on wheel weights on the inside edge of my alloy wheel instead of using adhesive weights on the inside of rim. While traveling on a recent trip I lost my brakes approximately miles from home and after visual inspection there was only about a 1/2 inch clearance from my rear rim and the rear brake line and wheel speed sensor wire. Due to the inside wheel weight it cut my abs sensor wire and brake line in two causing a complete brake system failure! I almost crashed on the interstate with multiple passengers in my truck and was stranded almost 2 hours from home.

I have placed two calls with Walmart management at the store that did the work and so far I feel as though I am being given the runaround. This is my only vehicle and I am tired of waiting for Walmart to call me back and make this right so I can get my truck back on the road. I paid nearly 80 bucks to have the tires mounted and balanced and due to someone's slack ** work it has left me totally screwed and caused much more damage and problems!

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Rated with 1 star
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Carlos of Sacramento, CA Verified Reviewer
Original review: April 22,

Walmart store, Antelope, CA - Terrible service, under qualified technicians. I went to get a pair of tires for my truck. I was told it would take two hours. I waited almost three. They did not balance the tires and my truck started shaking violently while on the freeway! Some of the washers in the lug nuts were missing and one of the old tires was position incorrectly and part of the thread in one of the studs was damaged. For my own safety and my family's I never, ever going back there.

Rated with 1 star
Robert of Hillsboro, TX Verified Reviewer
Original review: March 20,

On March 4, I bought a set of tires from the Walmart at Hillsboro, Texas. They mounted them, and balanced them. I then took my car to Hill Auto Care to have the wheels aligned. When I picked the car up, the owner told me the right front tire was bad. The car pulled to the right. He had moved the tire from the left front because it pulled to the left. We took the car back to Walmart March 19 and they said nothing was wrong with the tire. They balanced it again and said if that didn't fix it to come back. It didn't fix it. I had to hold the car in the road it pulled to the right so bad. I went back to Walmart March 20, as they had instructed me to do. Walmart refused to put a new tire on and said there was nothing wrong with that tire although it was already wearing on the edge. The business where I had the wheels aligned assured us the bands were bad in the tire. We need someone to help us get satisfaction.

Rated with 1 star
Sharon of Lakeland, FL Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: March 2,

I took my car to Walmart yesterday (03/01/17) at a.m for an oil change, five hours later my motor is knocking and my SUV is running hot. I put coolant in radiator and it stop overheating. Now I am driving again and this time the knock is louder and the car is slowing down on speed. I pulled over again to see what's wrong. I didn't hear anything. So I cranked back up and the low oil pressure light comes on. I contacted Walmart and they said get it told to them and they will reimburse me the tow cost as well refund the oil change. I am stuck side the road with an 65 year old lady who has heart problems. I called AAA towing and I had to get a membership for them to even assist me. I only had like a hundred and some odd dollars. The total cost to the nearest destination was one hundred and fifty bucks.

Now I got to get the truck towed to Walmart in the morning. Now how am I supposed to that when I already overdraft my bank card to get car to passenger home, because it was the closest to the Walmart that did the service to my car. I had a good experience with them a month prior to this and it ran very good no problems, Now this time they claiming that it has a oil leak prior to services and and the engine making noise. The dilemma I have is how in the world that happen and this is the same vehicle from a month prior to this services. And it was not knocking prior to me driving it myself up there.

How can I get the car repaired at Walmart's expense. I only have liability insurance so rental car doesn't come with that package because it doesn't carry it and if I wanted it, it would have been extra and that was out of my budget. I can't afford another vehicle. I just got this one in 11/ Come on Walmart this is a raw deal. I am planning to catch bus up there first thing in the morning with receipts of everything I spent. I already emailed them and explained what happen and that I looked forward to meeting with supervisor and resolve this issue.

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Rated with 1 star
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Original review: Feb. 27,

I took my car to the Walmart in Azle Tx for an oil change. When they were done I was told the threads on the oil plug were stripped out and the car was leaking oil. They also made it clear that it was that way before the service. Well since they also changed the oil the last time it was done then they are clearly responsible. My car is now at a reputable auto repair getting a new oil pan and oil plug and Walmart is paying for it. The mechanic at the auto repair shop said he had another car in his shop with the same problem from Walmart. So STAY AWAY from the Walmart automotive in AZLE TX. They are idiots. I can't add a receipt number as the auto repair has it so they can file a claim against Walmart.

Rated with 1 star
Original review: Feb. 22,

I went to get an oil change from my local Walmart & I was told that my oil change would be finished in about 45 minutes; however 1 hour and 47 minutes later they still have not changed my oil. I was the first person in line for an oil change. The certified workers all left & went on their lunch break and left me there waiting on them to finish their lunch and my oil change. This isn't the first complaint I've had about Tire & Lube. It was 2 PM. Most companies' lunches range from ; I went under the impression that their lunch was over & my oil would be finished. I highly recommend that no one uses the Walmart Tire & Lube services on their car at all because of the horrible customer service that I have received today.

Rated with 1 star
michele of Mesa, AZ Verified Reviewer
Original review: Feb. 12,

WALMART RUINED MY ENGINE, DON'T GET YOUR OIL CHANGED AT WALMART. Brought my car to Wal-Mart for an oil change, my car was running great before the oil change and after the oil change the engine started knocking, went back and told them and they said there isn't anything they could do about it and walked away, very rude. I filed a claim with Wal-Mart and their insurance investigator is very rude and laughed at me on the phone. He told me to prove to him that I kept up on the maintenance of the car.

I do have proof and I also contacted the Attorney General's Office and called my insurance, and told them my car has been vandalized by Wal-Mart. So, the insurance adjuster will be out to look at it. I brought the car to an auto center to get checked and they said that the engine is ruined and that the oil was black sludge, and the oil filter had metal shavings in it. The engine is totaled. Also I have pictures to prove it. my case just started and I'm not stopping till Wal-Mart pays for a new engine. Walmart Auto Center, S. Greenfield Rd., Mesa, AZ

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Rated with 1 star
Mumtaj of Glen Allen, VA Verified Reviewer
Original review: Feb. 6,

I went to Stafford, VA Walmart auto center on Garrisonville rd on 02/01/ I been overcharged but not checked all fluid. While driving next day less than 20 miles Engine came, smoke came from car and water started draining from Radiator. I called my insurance and other towing company to get tow. No luck. After waiting for hrs, I took cab and left. Same night my pet cat got very sick and have to take her to Emergency taking cab both way. I been calling tow truck and Mechanic last 4 days, no luck. Each mechanic quoting me $ to $ to more, as wanted to rip me off not checking inside issue. Towing company gave me hard time, picked up and drop off at another location in same parking lot. New towing did not find place. I have to take cab both way. Wasted $60 again to locate my car. Towed again got $ towing bill. And estimate to fix Engine and radiator is $

I called Walmart today at Stafford, Manager refused to come on phone after many calls, long hold and told me that they do not advertise more than three fluid including break, transmission and windshield wiper. Phone was hang up. Called again, long hold, disconnect. Are there anyone ready to file class action lawsuit against Walmart for big loss wasting your time, money and work?

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Rated with 1 star
Michael of Warner Robins, GA Verified Buyer
Original review: Feb. 4,

When the auto tech returned my keys and I paid for tire install, I went to leave and found a big long scrape on the bottom of my truck. I reported it and even had the tech who did the walk around inspection before the truck was parked inside before the work was done. He reported the damage was not there.

Rated with 1 star
John of West Bend, WI Verified Reviewer
Original review: Feb. 3,

I took my F in for an oil change and tire rotation. Waited 45 minutes in line before I was even able to talk with someone. They take it in. Was told it would take an hour. I walked around store for exactly 1 hour. Came back. Guy that I talked to before looked high. Said they haven't started on it yet! Long story short 4 hours went by. Snuck out of store around the front and walked to the tire and lube and peeked in the window to see my truck. There was a man in my truck in driver seat on his phone. Watched him for 15 minutes just sitting in my seat on his phone. Then he got a lighter out started taking hits off a pipe!

After 30 minutes he opens my driver door. A big cloud of smoke came out! Got truck back after 5 hours. Whole truck smelled like weed! What a joke the people smoking dope not doing their job. Looked at all 4 tires as I marked them all with a sharpie in a certain spot!!! No rotation was done! Manager said the "service was performed and I was all set". No refund!! Guy at desk and guy working on my truck came out both high as a kite. Laughing out of control from something on the one guy's phone! These piles of junk will never see me again!

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Rated with 1 star
Original review: Jan. 27,

I've been going to Walmart for my oil change for over two years. A few months ago I found out from Walmart that they had been putting the wrong weight oil in it. They had put the wrong gasket on before and didn't put the shield under back on before. And today 1/27/17 after deciding to go back there and went to NTB after pulling the vehicle in the mechanic opened the hood and called three others over. Then the manager came and got me and asked "who has been changing your oil?" I said "Walmart". He said "ma'am we cannot change your oil". He said "they have messed up your gaskets which has cracked your radiator and needs to be replaced."

Rated with 1 star
Original review: Jan. 26,

Went to Walmart in Pine City, MN to get two new tires and against my better judgement I had them change the oil. It took them 2 1/2 hours. I asked them why it took so long and they said they had problems getting the plug out. Well today when I came out of the gas station I noticed a huge puddle on the ground under my car. I pulled back and looked at it. I was thinking to myself "Is that from my car?" After looking at it I thought "Well that can't be from my car because that oil is black and I just got it changed so it should be almost clear."

I drove home and then to church tonight and then back home. My mom said, "Hey look under your car because you left a huge puddle of oil in the driveway." She shined a flashlight on it and sure enough my whole underneath is covered in oil! I have to take it into town and have a more trusted mechanic look at it to find out exactly what Walmart did. I'm praying that my motor wasn't damaged!

I drove all the way to Duluth and back, plus over to Danbury a couple of times with it like that. I've been driving it for 4 days now. I never thought to check the oil because I just got it changed and it never leaked oil or anything before. My advice: Don't go to Walmart for oil changes. I'm praying that they didn't cross thread my oil pan. After looking at all these reviews I wonder how Walmart can continue to do this to people and get away with it. I will be bringing them my invoices and hopefully they will compensate for it somehow. A simple oil change is costing a lot more! So sad!

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Rated with 1 star
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John of Cambridge, OH Verified Reviewer
Original review: Jan. 22,

Walmart Supercenter Cambridge Ohio Tire Center - Purchased 2 Dextero 17" truck tires.. One was defective and servicemen screwed up spare tire jack. Wal-mart replaced and in exchange for spare tire lift they gave me 4 Dextero tires. Wasn't able to balance correctly. Tire center manager insisted it was rims/frame causing the issue. I replaced front strut assemblies, purchased new wheels and had driveshaft/u-bolts checked as well. Unable to balance tires still. Had a "road force" balance done wherein it showed 2 bad tires! Walmart refused to replace them still. Went to claims department and they refused to replace and pay for my unnecessary improvements. I replaced the tires out of pocket. I have $ invested due tire managers deliberate attempt to evade me.

Rated with 1 star
Edward of Orlando, FL Verified Reviewer
Original review: Jan. 17,

I took my car to Walmart for a oil change. They left the cap to oil open. The second time they forgot to put back the cover the oil can. I learned my lesson. Never again will bring my car there for service. People please check your when they give back to you.

Rated with 1 star
Martin of Brownsville, TX Verified Buyer
Original review: Jan. 14,

Today I went for an oil change on my pickup truck. The oil change package in general includes several item to be checked including final vacuum on the carpet vehicle. When the associate told me my truck was ready to go and parked my truck in the parking lot I notice my carpet was not clean. I complain to the manager Mr. ** and after he inspected the truck. He told me that they don't do full detail on vehicles. I just replied that I notice no difference in my carpet and it's still the same as when I brought it in he agreed to bring my truck back inside shop to re-vacuum my truck. When the employee doing the vacuum finished on my truck he told me that the reason they had not vacuum my truck was because I had shopping bags inside the truck. I told him the bags were put inside my truck after they had finished with the oil change and had turned in my truck. The employee just laughed off his lies. Really bad service at Wal-Mart West Alton Gloor in Brownsville

Rated with 1 star
Eric of Georgetown, OH Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: Jan. 13,

We took in our Equinox which requires the synthetic blend 50/50 oil and for tire rotation. The desk clerk did not seem to understand my oil explanation. The work orders we had to do twice because I wanted the tires rotated too? In the end it was done and I asked an older gentleman again about the oil and he said "Oh yes they use it a lot", which they should. Before I left I know I wanted to check it out but the family was waiting. This car with this oil normally is changed at about 5k miles but can go to 7k per manual so at about 4k I checked it and it was filthy more so than it has ever been before and when I changed it, the level it was about a qts low. No way is this right. They could not have replaced it and the filter was gritty.

I also checked the Castrol oil site. This is even the wrong oil they say they used and they do carry the right type. Never again will I trust these goofballs that have a blank face when you ask a question or get perturbed when doubted. Also the odometer on the order shows all 1s but the right odometer reading is on the separate tire rotation sheet. I plan on going back to the store and getting a complete refund. I have worked on cars and dealt with and worked at auto places before. These folks are not what I would recommend. The old fashioned lube shop in Newtown I would.

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Rated with 1 star
Original review: Jan. 7,

Recently on trip from NY we had to get our tire repaired since it had a nail in it. Took it to the Walmart auto center in Mansfield, Ohio bad idea. This place took 20 min to check a car in for service with 1 person working. I was told 60 min to plug a tire. After 55 min I decided to go check to see how it was coming along. I was then told they couldn't repair it. I would need a new tire. No phone call to let me know they ran into a problem. So after that and another hours I finally got one tire replaced. Guess we stopped at the wrong Walmart. It was ridiculous!

Rated with 1 star
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Original review: Dec. 19,

I have recently bought a battery from my local Walmart. Three weeks after purchase car won't start at a local grocery store. I try jumping it from a hand of some young gal at the store. It took a while but we finally got it started. Took battery to the local parts store and they checked and charged it. Said it was no good. So the next day took it back to the same Walmart that I purchased it and they said "we have to put it on our machine and check it store policy". They had it for more than three hours then called me and said "your battery is ready." Well I returned to get it and was told it checks out fine. I reluctantly took it back and told the man what the parts store had said and also showed him the tag the parts store put on it that said it was a bad battery. He told me they just say that to get me to buy their battery.

So now I leave with same battery and two days later it happens again. This time at a store in Council Bluffs and at in the morning when I ran to get my sick wife and kid some cold medicine. So take it to another parts store and they told me after having battery on their machine it stopped at 53%. And it wouldn't take no more of a charge. So today I take it back to Walmart and it was very busy, but when I got to counter they tried telling me that their manager just told them no more work orders. I told the guy that I've been here for a long time in line and I was here for 30 minutes before he got that call to not take any more orders. So now they take my battery but won't get it done till next morning. So we will find out tomorrow to see about battery.

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Rated with 1 star
Original review: Dec. 8,

My daughter took her car to the Walmart auto center in Battle Creek, Michigan on December 5th, To make a long story short, they changed the oil but didn't tighten the oil filter. All the oil drained out. Her car started knocking as she was driving on I en route to Kalamazoo. I wasn't surprised to read so many other RECENT complaints about incompetence and poor service at these Walmart auto centers. My wife absolutely refuses to use them after they cracked her windshield changing a wiper blade on her truck.

Rated with 1 star
lea of Helotes, TX Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: Dec. 4,

12/03/ @ went in for oil change, was told 40 minutes. Oil change was finally done at , two hours and ten minutes later. Definitely not worth the small saving especially when they do not go in arrival order. This Walmart is very consistent with poor service, they should monitor employees. Last month I went there for tires, was told I would have to wait because they were gonna do oil changes which showed up after me. So I went to discount tire and received excellent service and it took them a short time to switch out all four tires. It's worth it to pay more and receive good customer service. From now on I'm gonna pass on Walmart's ** service.

Rated with 1 star
David of Greer, SC Verified Reviewer
Original review: Nov. 29,

After calling ahead and scheduling a time to purchase 4 tires, I walked around the store for 3 hours before my car was even taken up to be worked on. Waiting was ridiculous and had I known, I wouldn't have even shopped for tires at Walmart.

Rated with 1 star
Vershon of Suffolk, VA Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: Nov. 26,

I ordered tires online through the Walmart.com website and against my better judgment I chose to have the Walmart associates take off the old tires and replace them with the new tires that I had ordered. I left my job phone in the car and realized the phone was missing when I got home. One of the associates had to have taken the phone because they were the only people who had access to my car. The phone has been reported stolen with my job's security department.

I attempted to go back to the Walmart location to retrieve my phone but no one would admit to having the phone. Walmart should not have thieves working for them. In addition to the theft it took the associates 4 hours to put 3 new tires on the car. After a couple hours I asked one of the associates to just put the old tires back on the car but he informed me that the associate that was working on the car had put holes in the tires. This means the associate put holes in the tires without my consent. After waiting for 4 hours I asked the associate twice to just put the spare on for the last tire. I took the last tire to Merchant's the next day and they informed me that my rim had been damaged (deep gashes) by the Walmart associates when they were attempting to get the tire off the rim. I suggested that Walmart investigate the theft. They should also re-train the other associates and provide better tools for removing hard to remove tires.

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Rated with 1 star
Martha of Centerville, LA Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: Nov. 6,

On October 22, , I went to the Walmart Highway 90 E Morgan City, LA. Today I spent 2 hours at Walmart trying to get my oil changed. They broke my oil plug. They never told me that they broke it. They told me that I had a transmission leak. I knew that the transmission had just been check. The next morning when I got up to go to New Orleans the van oil light was on. I had to hire someone to take my son to New Orleans. When I got it to the shop I was told by the when they look at it. I was told that no gasket on plug and threads on pan messed up and they had to be replaced. I called Walmart to speak with the manager and to this day the manager will not call me back. I have not been able to file a claim as of yet. I have called AR several times. They have not return my calls either.

Walmart is the only company that has changed my oil in over a year. They have messed up the Tpms sensors on my van. We had all 4 tires changed. The repairs for the sensors I don't know how much that will cost, but oil repairs cost us over $ I have upcoming doctor's appointments, unable to work I am a notary to go and have no alternative transportation. I worry how long I will be without a vehicle. I don't want to be stuck at home! This has turned into a very stressful situation for me. I'll never let them touch another vehicle of mine. This definitely was not worth the few dollars I saved.

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Rated with 1 star
Original review: Nov. 4,

On Sunday October 9, I went to the Walmart on Charleston and Decatur in Las Vegas to get the headlights repaired. The first person I spoke to (Charles) stated the person who did the restoration was at lunch. It was AM. The person would be back in an hour. I left and returned in a hour. The person was still not there. He (Charles) suggested I try another Walmart 10 miles away. He called and verified that there were 2 people ahead of me, and I would be taken care of. I drove to the location and was informed that they were 5 people ahead of me, and was looking at a 4 hour + wait. Needless to say, I left.

The following Sunday, again I went to the first Walmart. The person (Diego) doing the headlight restoration was there but stated he was the only person there and could not do the restoration. I asked to speak to the manager. I waited 20 minutes, no manager, then proceeded to leave. Diego stopped me and told me if I came back in 1 hour he would do the restoration for free. I agreed, and returned in an hour, only to be told by Charles (from the previous week) that the restoration equipment was not there and they could not find it. Pissed I left.

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Rated with 1 star
Frank of West Columbia, SC
Original review: Nov. 3,

Had the oil changed in my son's three year old car at Walmart, West Columbia SC. The next morning a large oil spot was present on an otherwise pristine driveway. Looking under the car revealed an active leak under at the front of the oil pan, directly under the drain plug and evidence of a large gob of blue sealant. Returned car to Walmart and noticed that the invoice indicated the car had a previous oil leak. I asked the technician that if an active leak was detected, why they would not inform the customer beforehand. He indicated that they were simply too busy to point out any problems. He indicated that the gasket on the rear of the oil pan had a leak although it is clearly evident that the leak is at the front around the drain plug.

He asked if I was trying to blame them for my defective gasket. I again pointed out that the leak did not happen until they worked on the car, evidenced by a pristine driveway and only the new leak from the front of the pan. He looked under the car and then informed us that there was actually no leak but just left over oil from the technician not cleaning up his mess. He even mentioned dirty gloves! He continued to point out that there was no leak because the oil was still full. My son and myself observed this entire encounter from less than 10 feet from the service bay and noted that the hood had never been opened for anyone to check the oil. I asked how he could determine that no oil was missing since he didn't open the hood. He still claimed that this procedure had been done although I watched the entire time.

I returned to Walmart this morning with pictures and videos of the leak, the clean driveway with the exception of the new leak and was told that they don't fix leaks. They brought out the technician that changed the oil and he said that my pictures showed old oil because it was dark. He indicated that it should be clear if it was a leak. It would be an understatement to indicate that essentially all of these responses are an insult to my intelligence considering that it is clearly evident that I have an active leak dripping off the large glob of sealant they applied to cover up the problem they created.

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Rated with 1 star
Brandi of Greencastle, IN Verified Buyer
Original review: Nov. 2,

So, my mom and I took my brothers car to Wal-Mart to get the oil changed and one tire plugged and one tire replaced. When they came to tell us the car was finished they said "and by the way you have a busted brake line." I said "well how are you going to fix it?" They said "we didn't break it." What??? I said "we drove the car here just find you changed the oil and didn't say anything was wrong with the car? You drove it over and put a new tire on and fixed the other tire and now we have a busted brake line and you didn't break it?" They said "no it must have been leaking or it was already getting ready to break." We said it hasn't been leaking, the brakes worked just fine. They said we had to leave the car there and have their insurance company look at it

This is the first time I've every looked at Wal-Mart's reviews. Wish I had sooner!! It don't sound like Wal-Mart takes responsible for their mistakes. We paid them for service on a car we couldn't even drive home. My brother had to take my son's car to work. The Wal-Mart managers were very rude with us and even threaten to kick us out of the store for complaining to them, that we didn't think it was right what they were doing.

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Rated with 1 star
Laurie of Rochester, NY Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: Oct. 26,

Oct. 18th of , P.M. I went to the Walmart at Chili Ave., Rochester, NY , to have 2 new tires installed on the front of my Dodge Neon sport. I know you're probably thinking about the year of the vehicle and would not have asked for 2 new tires. So to continue, the installer drove the car up on the lift, had some difficulty with lug nuts and had another worker take off the remaining lugs. The original operator then finished installing the 2 tires. Lowered the lift, put the car in neutral, probably thinking it was in reverse, revved the engine very high RPMS, realizing it wasn't in % reverse, suddenly put it in reverse and still in high speed tried to back up.

All of a sudden there was a loud explosion and a blown out transmission. Now there is no longer a reverse on our transmission. We depended so much on our car for several doctor appts., groceries etc. And to make things worse they deny everything. So now we have to take them to small claims court when we get a ride and $ for the claim application. I spoke to a lawyer. He says it cost $, money we don't have!

When he was done he proceeded to, or attempted to take my car off the lift. First lowering the lift, he put the car in gear, which I guess he thought it was in reverse when actually it was in neutral, and revved the engine in high RPMS. Realizing then suddenly put in reverse and still in high rpms tried to back up. There was a loud explosion and he blew out the reverse gear on our transmission. I filled out the incident report. I called back to try to get a name and phone.

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Rated with 1 star
Paul of Melbourne, KY Verified Reviewer
Original review: Oct. 26,

Today I spent 4 hours at Walmart trying to get my oil changed. They broke my oil plug. At first I don't think they were going to tell me. They tried to tell me the last person that changed my oil probably messed it up. However, they were the last persons to change my oil. They even tried to get me to drive my car home leaking oil. I wouldn't do it. Then the manager wanted my permission to drive my car outside with no oil in it. I told him I couldn't tell him to do that. I told him I wasn't a mechanic and I didn't know what kind of repercussions that might have. I thought they would push my car outside. However they drove it out. I would not drive it, but they thought it would be okay for them to do it. Now, my car is stuck at Walmart and I have no transportation.

I have upcoming doctor's appointments and have no alternative transportation. I worry how long I will be without a vehicle. I don't want to be stuck at home! This has turned into a very stressful situation for me. I'll never let them touch another vehicle of mine. This definitely was not worth the few dollars I saved. Now I'm worried if they messed my engine up driving it outside the garage. I'm not sure how long they left it idle. Oh God, what did I do? I received no receipt. My vehicle is still there. They told me a claims agent would contact me.

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CARFAX — Your Vehicle History Expert

Sometimes what you don't know can't hurt you, but that's not the case when buying a used car. As an independent vehicle history provider, at CARFAX we've made it our mission to tell you everything you need to know by uncovering as many events as possible from the previous life of a used car. Our primary goal is to help you get to know your next car from the inside out before deciding to make an investment that will be part of you and your family's everyday life. We believe your next car shouldn't be hiding anything from you.

CARFAX Vehicle History Reports contain over 28 billion historical records from 20 European countries, the US and Canada, which are updated daily with new information.

Even if you live in a country we don't collect vehicle data from, it's still always worth checking the Vehicle Identification Number without obligation. The used car import and export market is booming and many owners would be surprised to find out exactly what happened to their vehicle during its previous life abroad.

Privacy for Customers — Transparency over Vehicles

Let's be clear: Although we strive to find every detail of a vehicle's life so far, we are focused only on the vehicle's history, and do not collect any information on previous owners. The information we provide relates solely to the vehicle, its odometer reading, any accidents that have been covered up, where the vehicle comes from and much more — it never gets personal. We've uncovered irreparable damage several times in the past, but other times our vehicle history checks draw a blank — and sometimes that's actually a good thing.

Second Hand — Not Second Best

Did you know that considerably more used cars are sold than new cars? We think this second-hand system is nothing short of fantastic. However, it goes without saying that it gives rise to different methods and tactics: Some sellers will disguise a car that's been in an accident under a fresh coat of paint, tamper with the odometer or conceal theft. This is one of the less appealing aspects of buying second hand. Our goal is to establish trusting relationships between buyers and sellers, since this is the best way to help customers make the right decision. Your new car should be reliable and make you feel safe, as well as make you feel like you haven't paid too much.

But more than anything else, we don't want you or your family unknowingly sitting behind the wheel of a vehicle that isn't % safe. This is why we strive to take these vehicles off the road, which not only makes the used car market safer but our streets safer too.

CARFAX — 35+ Years of Experience in Vehicle Histories

CARFAX was founded in the US in and expanded into Europe in Around team members spread across six European offices process vehicle information from 22 countries.

Fostering strategic partnerships with registration authorities, law enforcement agencies, government departments, insurance companies, inspection centers and numerous other leading companies around the world has enabled us to compile a unique international database for vehicle histories. We use this database to help make the used car market more transparent. We give everyone in the process of buying a used car access to what is currently the world's most comprehensive source for vehicle history reports, and is growing day by day.

We remain neutral and independent despite our partnerships — our sole purpose is help customers make an informed choice and ensure their safety and the safety of their family. This includes never collecting any personal details — we do not accept any PII from data sources amongst the information we provide about a vehicle. We ensure that data protection laws are observed at all times. Furthermore, we always collect our data in compliance with legal and regulatory frameworks — in all the countries in which we are active. We expressly distance ourselves from illegal activities such as data theft, scraping and hacking.

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Chevrolet Spark Pit Crew Oil Change, Walmart Auto Center, 1710 S Greenfield Rd, Mesa, Arizona

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  • August

    Terrible wait times sometimes it's cause the employs do nothing but talk, but other times they just slow seems sometimes like they don't care any how but who knows anyhow

  • August

    Brunswicks Walmart Auto center is and have been very honest and professional with me and my families Cars. I would like to Thank them publicly. Mr Ellzy.

  • April

    Battery died in the parking lot Went into Auto Center, explained my situation, they fixed it. No extra parts, no upsell, got exactly what I needed in a friendly timely manner.

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When Wal-Mart Comes to Town

For a hundred years Bath, Maine, had done just fine, thank you. Downtown-business owners worked hard, sometimes flourished, and always sustained a small but vital economic community that was the lifeblood of the town. Then Wal-Mart arrived

Gediman's appliance store occupies a sagging storefront on Centre Street in the town of Bath, about halfway up the coast of Maine. Gediman's opened in and kept on selling to townspeople right through the depression -- a dollar down, a dollar a week. The store subsequently was passed down through two generations of the Gediman family and then into the hands of Jayne Palmer, who, with her husband, Russell, bought the business seven years ago. The Palmers put in long hours so Gediman's will stay in business, affirming the human connection that has given their store life here on Main Street USA in an era when so much of the retail action has long since left for the malls. People wander into the Palmers' store to sit in easy chairs and eyeball the large-screen TVs, as if they were settling in over morning coffee in the Palmers' kitchen. Gediman's offers easy terms balanced by a quaint sort of accountability. "I get grandmothers coming in, making sure their children are up-to-date on their payments," says Jayne.

A block farther down Centre Street stands Burgess' Market, which Charlie Burgess Sr. opened in The store fills about 7, square feet of space yet carries most everything a traditional supermarket four times its size does. A swing through Burgess', with its tight and brimming aisles, amounts to an adventure in merchandising, with hand-lettered signs signaling specials at every turn. An expansive and well-manned butcher's case and a bakery in the rear of the store accent the sense of service and familiarity that pervades Burgess'.

Charlie senior passed the business on to his son Charlie junior, who routinely worked hour days until a heart attack slowed him down, at which point his son Craig stepped in to help. Ask Craig Burgess how business is going, and he'll ask you, "Which one?" Burgess owns a computer store in Bath and a convenience store one town over. He runs a tax-planning and financial-planning business off his desktop. If you mention you've been talking to Craig, townspeople are likely to give you a knowing, sideways glance, as if to ask, So what did he try to sell you.

Back downtown on Bath's main shopping street, Front Street, sits Renys Department Store, its high ceilings dissipating the hazy glare of fluorescent light. A broad, creaky staircase at the store's center descends into a basement brimming with bargains. Renys is known for buying up odd lots and spicing its displays with quality brand-name goods at hard-to-pass-up prices. Halcyon Blake, the owner of Halcyon Yarn, a mail-order yarn business in Bath, says Renys is more bazaar than department store. "You go in there and you never know what you're going to find, whether it's Woolrich shirts at 80% off or some other incredible deal," says Blake, relishing the thought. "At Renys there's always an element of surprise."

Bob Reny actually has 15 such bazaars scattered across Maine in small towns like Bath, whose population is about 10, He has been in business 43 years, working with his sons Bob junior and John, and when he describes his retailing methods, it is clear that Reny revels in surprise: "We do crazy things around here. You never know what tomorrow's deal is going to be, because we don't know." Dave Morse, who publishes seven small papers along the coast, says Reny "gives his customers incredible value." He also gives them good theater. A few years ago, when New York City refurbished Yankee Stadium, Reny sent a couple of trucks down to the city to collect old seats and other fixtures from the rebuilding of Ruth's house. He then peddled some of the goods off the back of his trucks in the city, before returning the rest to Maine to be sold in his stores.

At a rough count Bath has some merchants like the Palmers, Burgess, and Reny. Many are small-town shopkeepers given to working in comfortable proximity to -- if not in solidarity with -- one another. In a place like Maine, cooperation is a notion that takes a backseat to more native traits such as independence, resourcefulness, and stubbornness. But those attitudes shifted about two years ago, when the merchants of Bath first heard that a different sort of business was coming to town.

That business was begun by an entrepreneur named Sam Walton, who started out in a small town not unlike Bath. In Walton opened Walton's 5&10, in Bentonville, Ark., and by he had grown the chain to 15 locations and opened his first discount store. These so-called Wal-Mart stores then multiplied in the s and s, as discount stores took market share from conventional department stores with their higher overhead costs -- and higher prices. From to annual sales by discount stores in the United States exploded from $2 billion to $68 billion, with Wal-Mart responsible for igniting much of that growth.

Wal-Mart thrived by locating its stores in rural areas, where people were traditionally underserved by retailers. Thus they were willing to drive 30 miles not just to shop but to indulge, as well, in the postwar cornucopian experience of walking into a store the size of a hangar, stacked to the rafters with consumer goods.

Wal-Mart invested more heavily than its rivals did in technology to better manage its inventory and reduce operating expenses. It cut distributors out of the daisy chain and tied inventory -- via computer -- directly to manufacturers to further ratchet down costs. And finally, as the company grew very large in the s, it exerted leverage against its vendors in pricing, production, and delivery. By then it was not uncommon for Wal-Mart to tell a Coca-Cola, a mere $billion company, to deliver on Sunday, or to suggest to a Procter & Gamble -- at $30 billion in sales -- that it should seriously consider siting its distribution centers adjacent to Wal-Mart's.

The company could do that because, incredibly, it had come to dwarf those Fortune giants. In Wal-Mart had revenues of $ billion. By the company had swollen to $33 billion, bringing Wal-Mart roughly equal to K mart in annual sales. By last year Wal-Mart had added another $22 billion in sales, while Sears and K mart saw revenues plateau. This year Wal-Mart will open another discount stores, putting the total at roughly 2, It currently has Sam's Clubs -- warehouse-type buying "clubs" -- and 35 Supercenters, which are ,square-foot hybrid operations combining a traditional Wal-Mart store with a supermarket. In Wal-Mart went public, and shares of its stock bought that year would have cost $1, Today that stake would be worth almost $3 million.

In a poll of corporate executives taken last year, Wal-Mart was selected one of the three most admired U.S. corporations. But others view the company as a voracious force that has altered forever the pattern and tempo of commercial life in small-town America. As Wal-Mart rolled out its franchises, it sucked commerce off Main Streets, destroying traditional retailers that had served their communities for generations. But in the face of the abundance Wal-Mart produced in the form of more jobs, consumer savings, and expanded trade, the loss of Main Street life seemed an incidental price to pay.

The keenest student of Wal-Mart is Ken Stone, a professor of economics at Iowa State University who specializes in retail trade and rural development. About eight years ago Stone started hearing from small-town Iowa merchants whose downtowns were dying. He began gathering sales-tax data and concluded in that Iowa towns within a mile radius of 14 Wal-Mart stores saw total retail sales decline by % after five years. Even towns outside that mile radius felt Wal-Mart's pull. Their retail sales declined by % after five years. "I was amazed by the impact of Wal-Mart," says Stone.

Stone further found that the sales of small specialty stores decreased substantially. Eight years after Wal-Mart's entry into Iowa, department stores -- led, obviously, by Wal-Mart -- had added $ million worth of revenues, amounting to a % gain in market share, while clothing, drug, jewelry, auto-parts, hardware, variety, and grocery stores had all lost market share ranging from 2% to 44%.

Wal-Mart's strategy relies on developing overwhelming critical mass. The chain often simultaneously opens stores of 90, square feet and up, eventually putting them so close together that they compete with one another. (Wal-Mart has stores in Texas alone.) Wal-Mart's vice-president of corporate affairs, Don Shinkle, says that the number of stores the company has closed because they have not performed to expectation "can be counted on one hand." That does not include stores the company routinely closes -- only to move them to more strategically placed sites.

The more Stone observed this juggernaut, the more he realized that the only hope small merchants had was to niche around it. That meant improving customer service, tailoring selection to customer needs, and not competing directly with Wal-Mart's product lines. "There are a lot of voids and niches that can be filled by specialty retailers -- and that's the only hope," says Stone, "because Wal-Mart skims the cream. It has a distribution system that is the best in the world. Its costs are lower than anyone else's because it ties the manufacturer right into its stores."

Stone also notes that Wal-Mart management won't tolerate shrinkage -- loss, theft, and damage of inventory -- and adds that not keeping an eye on that is a way for Wal-Mart managers "to get fired real fast." Wal-Mart aims to keep shrinkage at around 1%, while other retailers typically settle for between 3% and 5%. Similarly, Wal-Mart, which relies on word-of-mouth promotion, spends .5% of sales on advertising, roughly one-quarter of what K mart and Sears each spend. By running leaner, Wal-Mart can charge less -- and make more. Last year Wal-Mart's gross margin was 22%, eight points below that of Sears, yet Wal-Mart's net profit margin was 4%, nearly double Sears's % in (Last year Sears took a onetime charge, resulting in a loss.)

In the process of understanding the Wal-Mart phenomenon, Stone began advising local merchant groups on how to parry the retailing giant's thrusts. In that capacity he has traveled to every state in which Wal-Mart now has a store.

Two years ago Wal-Mart announced it was entering yet another state -- Maine -- building about 12 stores there, all to open within about 15 months. The number of stores occasionally expanded to 15, inevitably the product of Arkansas secrecy and Maine rumor. The sites shifted, as did the opening dates. But what emerged for sure was that Wal-Mart would build on the outskirts of Brunswick, about 6 miles west of Bath; in Rockland, 45 miles to the north; and in Auburn, 30 miles northwest. Bath would not come under siege on its eastern flank, as Wal-Mart had yet to float an offshore platform on which to put a store.

Bath, Maine, is a predominantly blue-collar town dominated by shipbuilding, a trade embodied by Bath Iron Works (BIW), whose giant cranes loom above the town, competing with the church steeples that pierce the sky. BIW has been building ships for the navy since World War I, and before that Bath's shipyards built many of the great clipper ships of the 19th century. In Bath was the fifth-largest shipbuilding center on the East Coast. Today it is a sleepy town of 10,

With defense cutbacks, BIW, which once employed 10, people and drew workers from as far away as miles, has been in slow and steady decline for the past 10 years. Into that void there have stepped -- to some degree -- specialty retailers who have scratched a living from the spartan Maine economy. The specter of decline recedes in downtown Bath, with its occupied storefronts, brick sidewalks, and street lamps harking back to the gaslit days.

The prospect of a Wal-Mart opening just six miles away, on the outskirts of Brunswick, divided Bath's business community. On one side, a comfortable old guard looked at the traditionally high occupancy rates in Bath's busy downtown and wondered what all the fuss was about. "There was a fear on the part of some people that if you talked about something negative, it would make everything negative," says Jayne Palmer. "We, on the other hand, saw Wal-Mart's coming as the catalyst that would mobilize and organize the downtown merchants."

Palmer and Bill King, the owner of RVI, which sells motorcycle and snowmobile accessories, led the faction that split off from the chamber of commerce to form a new, more activist group, the Bath Business Association (BBA), which claims 75 members. "Wal-Mart is a threat to every small business in Bath," says King. "That's not to say it's going to put everyone out of business, but there are certain things you have to do or else it'll kill you." He immediately went out and bought some Wal-Mart stock. "I started photocopying its quarterly P&Ls and bringing them to our meetings just to scare people."

Bob Reny, who had spent four days trooping through Wal-Marts in Florida, came to Bath to speak before the BBA about the company and its tactics. The association also organized two exhaustive four-hour sessions in the face of Wal-Mart's imminent arrival, which amounted to sort of a plumbing of the civic soul. "Each of us had to make a commitment of what we were willing to do to make the community move forward," recalls Halcyon Blake.

In the spring of Ken Stone came to Maine to address merchant groups from towns in the path of the Wal-Mart advance. His advice was simple and direct: don't compete directly with Wal-Mart; specialize and carry harder-to-get and better-quality products; emphasize customer service; extend your hours; advertise more -- not just your products but your business -- and perhaps most pertinent of all to this group of Yankee individualists, work together.

In , after hearing Stone's pep talk, Jayne Palmer increased her advertising budget by 30%. She computerized her inventory and tied her system in with General Electric Credit, enabling her to order GE products direct from the company and save money by getting better terms. She extended her hours and eased credit to customers. She created a room in her store where people could watch TV while their children played on the floor. She cut back on the low end of her inventory, knowing Wal-Mart could always undersell her there.

John Hichborn, who operates the True Value Hardware store in Bath, which had been in his wife's family for four generations, felt he was well positioned -- even though Ken Stone's Iowa data showed that hardware stores took a huge market-share hit, minus %, when Wal-Mart came into the state. "Our customers know our inventory and are responsible for it," says Hichborn. People had been coming to the store for generations and apprising Hichborn of their hardware needs, and there they'd always find employees who knew the inventory. "Each department is run distinctly with two employees responsible for all decisions within it, including purchasing and merchandising," says Hichborn.

Craig Burgess extended the hours of the family market and stepped up promotions. "It's important that we keep on emphasizing the low prices we do have," he says. He claims that Wal-Mart creates the illusion that it always undersells the market, based on a handful of heavily marketed items at rock-bottom prices, but that the rest of Wal-Mart's inventory is not all that competitive on price. He says that if customers perceive that Wal-Mart consistently undersells specialty retailers, those retailers are as good as dead.

The Bath merchants also came together for the Christmas shopping season, with 39 of them kicking in $ each to fund a campaign promoting downtown as a shopping destination, the first time that had ever happened. They lit every tree in town. Sales in December were brisk. Bill King recalls how customers coming to his store told him how relieved they were to get out of the malls and do their shopping in the relative peace of downtown Bath.

The merchants' efforts even extended to some informal intelligence gathering. Some of them used the same contractors that had worked on the Wal-Mart construction. They tapped into that source to guess at a completion date for the building, so they could mount a preemptive ad campaign. They continued to comparison shop at Wal-Mart stores in New Hampshire, in the process getting thrown out for taking notes. They then started using concealed tape recorders activated by voice.

Wal-Mart could also play that game. Last summer it sent Don Shinkle, its vice-president of corporate affairs, to Maine for two weeks to soothe groups of local merchants. Jayne Palmer recalls few if any substantive answers to questions at the meeting she attended.

In late January the Holiday Inn in Bath received a call from Wal-Mart asking for a quote on 30 rooms for six weeks -- an obvious tip-off of the grand opening. Which six weeks, the motel asked? We can't tell you that, replied Wal-Mart, just give us a price.

Matt Eddy, the town planner in Bath, says, "Wal-Mart is exceptionally well organized. Before most people knew it was even coming to Maine, it had four or five building sites it had strong options on and was going through the simultaneous review-and-approval process."

Wal-Mart likes to move as quickly -- and as quietly -- as possible. That is understandable, given that wherever the retailer goes, it sends inevitable ripples through local economies. Developers and bankers become camp followers of Wal-Mart because they know that when the company puts up a building, it immediately creates value for miles around. Andy Rosenthal, a Maine developer who has worked with Wal-Mart, notes that typically Wal-Mart owns land until it has its building built -- then it sells the land and becomes a tenant. "That gives it control when the project is under construction, and flexibility once it's up," Rosenthal explains.

Wal-Mart thus recoups its investment and is on the hook only for its lease. Ken Stone explains the rationale behind that strategy: "If K mart comes into the market with a bigger store, you can bet your bottom dollar that Wal-Mart will soon find a place for a bigger store." He notes that according to Wal-Mart's K report, the company owns only 16% of the properties on which its Wal-Mart stores are located.

That is not atypical for large retailers, which are not, after all, in the land business. But Wal-Mart's tendencies implied a lack of commitment that worried people in Bath, many of whose families and businesses had stayed put for generations. Another troubling element involved the disjunction between how many jobs Wal-Mart claimed it would create and how many of those jobs were really only part-time -- as many as 60% by some estimates. "That creates a hidden cost to the community," asserts Jayne Palmer. She reasons that if Wal-Mart ends up "paying less than people can live on" and doesn't offer sufficient benefits, local taxpayers will simply end up subsidizing a ragtag work force.

Again, a high percentage of part-time jobs is not atypical in retailing, and Wal-Mart's Don Shinkle maintains that the company's work force is at least 60% full-time. But Wal-Mart hardly defines full-time in a conventional way. By the company's standard, any employee who works at least 28 hours a week is eligible for benefits -- and thus is considered full-time.

Beyond the Wal-Martspeak about who qualifies as a full-time worker, Bath had bigger things to worry about, namely, Wal-Mart's quest to vertically integrate the shopping experience. The traditional Wal-Mart discount store -- which powered the bulk of Wal-Mart's first $50 billion in sales -- can be seen as just the first of three waves of multibillion-dollar corporate growth. The second wave began in , when the company entered the club-store/warehouse business, opening its first Sam's, which sold dry goods in bulk. Bill King recalls recently going into a Sam's and finding motor oil priced below what his distributor charges. That meant that Sam's, buying in significant quantities, had the power to "turn the market on itself," as King puts it. Retailers could simply bypass their distributors in favor of Sam's -- and Sam's could take revenues from local merchants on two levels: as a supplier at the wholesale level, and as a competitor at retail. Wal-Mart envisions being a $billion company by the year , with the spread of Sam's stores to as many as units fueling much of that growth.

And then there is the third wave of the Wal-Mart growth strategy, which could turn the corporation into a retailing colossus. That involves entering the $billion-a-year grocery market, which Wal-Mart has begun addressing through its Supercenters, combination discount stores and supermarkets. (The first of those opened in , and today there are ) Also, in Wal-Mart bought McLane's, a grocery distributor with $ billion in sales. In it bought the Phillips Cos., an Arkansas-based grocery chain with $ million in sales. Taken together, those two acquisitions allow Wal-Mart to operate a controlled experiment and refine the concept before rolling it out nationwide.

Bob Reny, like any entrepreneur, loves to turn a buck. But he also has a thing about stores' being open on Sunday. To him, Sunday is for church, rest, and family -- not to mention ice fishing and berry picking. For 28 years Reny had successfully fought the repeal of state blue laws that denied major stores Sunday hours. Says Reny, "I believed that if you rescinded those blue laws, you would irrevocably change the face of Maine." Finally, two years ago, Reny lost the blue-law battle when his opponents, backed by $, from large retailing interests, won a referendum by only two percentage points, having outspent Reny's side 12 to 1.

Earlier, on the New Hampshire side of the border, Wal-Mart had built a distribution center and readied to open up in Maine, if and only if the state's blue laws were rescinded. Bob Reny says that , Mainers work in retailing, "and a lot of those people have families. Now some of them will have to work on Sundays." He notes that this puts the squeeze not only on people working for large retailers who can afford to pay their employees time and a half to work on Sundays but also on small retailers like him who are forced to keep pace.

The repeal of the blue laws was the first example of the muscle large interests like Wal-Mart could bring to bear when they entered a market. The second occurred in Augusta, the state capital, when the legislature voted to allow the newly built Augusta Mall -- to be anchored by a Wal-Mart -- to use $7 million in sales-tax receipts it generated for improvements specifically around the mall. Reny was fighting that measure until he went away one weekend -- and it was summarily passed. He considers such a tax break outrageous, since it uses public dollars to give further advantage to the mall against downtown merchants, who are already reeling from the flight of business to the mall.

In November Wal-Mart opened its second Maine store, in Rockland, 45 miles north of Bath. In one week it received 2, applications for work and hired people. Some left their existing jobs to work for Wal-Mart, believing it would offer steadier employment. After the Christmas rush ended, the store laid off some newly hired workers. In December, the Rockland Wal-Mart's first full month of operation, Rockland showed a 55% gain in retail sales. The four surrounding towns showed declines ranging from 6% to 17%.

Some of that big gain could doubtless be chalked up to initial curiosity about the new Wal-Mart store, but it also pointed out the two-edged sword that Wal-Mart represented. Wal-Mart, in industry jargon, had "pulling power." It also stanched "leakage." Before Wal-Mart arrived, Rockland's leakage rate was about 50%. The city lost half its retail business to neighboring towns: for every $1 Rockland consumers spent in Rockland, they spent another $1 somewhere else. And that spoke directly to the quandary Wal-Mart created for small towns wherever it went.

If your town doesn't attract a Wal-Mart, then a neighboring town might, translating into increased trade and tax revenues for your neighbor -- and less for you. Your neighbor's pulling power creates your leakage. That was the problem faced by Amy Naylor, the town planner in Brunswick, when Wal-Mart bought property in Cook's Corner, an area about two miles east of Brunswick and four miles west of Bath. Recalls Naylor, "We had just finished a townwide plan that really brought home citizens' desire to create neighborhoods, keep the town livable, and have a human scale. That came over clearly."

Wal-Mart entered on the heels of that debate. "People were knocking on my door for two weeks, asking, 'How can Wal-Mart come in after we've just been through this process? This is not what we want,' " Naylor says.

She was leery of Wal-Mart's site plan. "I tried to call Wal-Mart and see if its people would come up and talk to us about it," she recalls. "They wouldn't set foot in the state until they had gotten all the approvals." In other words, Wal-Mart's message to Naylor was, Talk to our hired guns in Maine.

Second, she worried that Wal-Mart would accelerate the drift of business out of downtown Brunswick to Cook's Corner, where a new courthouse complex, a hospital, and a new mall were going in, creating what Naylor called an "economic vortex." "Wal-Mart is not going to generate new sales," says Naylor. "It's going to earn its money from existing stores. It's not providing great jobs with a future. Wal-Mart will not do its banking in Brunswick or in Maine. We are a colony market to it. It will use our consumers and our labor as its raw material, and everything except the low wages and the tax revenues it provides will be pumped out of state."

Yet no matter what Naylor thought, she had little choice, as the issue boiled down to the realities of pulling power and leakage. "If I had gone to my town manager and said, 'We have to stop Wal-Mart because these are low-income jobs, Wal-Mart does all its banking out of state, and it will put a real strain on services,' I'd be told, 'It's jobs, we'll get tax revenues, and if we don't take Wal-Mart, Bath will.' I couldn't go to the town council and say, 'I lost Wal-Mart.' If I did, I'd be out of a job."

As Wal-Mart readied to open its Brunswick store, in late April, concern prevailed in Bath over who would draw the Wal-Mart bullet in this game of Russian retail roulette. "I think that man's business is going to be devastated," says Halcyon Blake over lunch one day, referring to Don Povich, a specialty clothier on Front Street. Povich says he isn't worried. He endured the first wave of flight to the malls, 20 years ago. Another merchant worries that Jayne Palmer at Gediman's would get hurt, while Palmer points out that Wal-Mart seems to be stalking Bob Reny by locating near his stores. Reny foresees his sales initially declining 10%, and then rebounding because Wal-Mart can't match him on value: "With Wal-Mart there's a lot of hype and no reality," he says defiantly.

To date, Wal-Mart has opened seven Wal-Marts and two Sam's Clubs in Maine. It will not reveal how many locations it will eventually have in the state. Company spokesman Don Shinkle says, "Wal-Mart believes that the type of discount retailing we do will be fully appreciated in Maine." He adds, "Regardless of where we locate, acceptance is going to be very good. There is nowhere that we are not accepted with open arms. Our results in Maine to date are nothing short of overwhelming."

Asked for specifics, Shinkle demurs. "We do not share numbers."

Whereas Shinkle showed predictable confidence, the locals displayed a native skepticism, which held that Maine was different and that Wal-Mart's highly centralized operation -- the Rockland store had its lights and thermostat controlled by a company computer in Oklahoma -- would be a negative in a traditional state like Maine. On top of that, Wal-Mart had brought in a manager from Florida to run its Rockland store.

Despite making a huge investment in Maine, Wal-Mart, locals suspected, had done scant market research. A number of sources claim to have heard as much directly from Wal-Mart officials. One source, Amy Naylor, the planner in Brunswick, recalls a meeting where "they told us they just had a feeling it was going to be right."

Don Shinkle replies that Wal-Mart may move fast, but it moves with care. "You can rest assured that some of the finest marketing and real estate minds in the country work for this company." That may be so, but to what extent were those minds, calling the shots from headquarters in Arkansas, oblivious to nuances in regional markets? When the company built its store in Bangor, it installed electric heat, which, as every homeowner who has endured a Maine winter knows, is about three times more expensive than oil heat in the state. In its first month the Bangor store ran up an electricity bill of $80, -- whereupon it ripped out its electric heating system and replaced it with oil.

The Bangor blunder, Wal-Mart's opponents contend, revealed the hubris of a large national corporation that was sure it could roll out its formula to every corner of the country. But would the formula work in Maine? A recent study commissioned by a large local business projects that retail sales in Maine will grow only between 1% and 2% in each of the next 15 years. The state's retail environment has already been honed by years of rigorous discounting in the form of numerous factory-outlet stores coupled with an enduring recession. Says Dave Morse, the publisher of a number of weekly Maine newspapers: "If you've survived in Maine to this point, you know what you're doing. You're not just a shopkeeper, you're a merchant."

Maine is not a wealthy state, and its population is older than the national average. Older people tend to shop on Main Street. Living in the land of L. L. Bean, Mainers know the meaning of value and quality. "These are people who will walk into a store, buy the one thing on sale, and walk out," says Morse. "They shop for value, and they shop hard." Many simply have found Wal-Mart lacking. "Everybody I've talked to has said its inventory is phenomenal and the layout is nice," he says, "but its prices are not always the cheapest, and its quality is not always the best."

What's more, Wal-Mart paid far too much for the Rockland site, asserts John Morris, a local architect and developer who six years ago built a nearby shopping center that now competes with Wal-Mart. Morris notes that Wal-Mart paid $ million for an eight-acre site -- and added another $1 million in improvements. "I know a development group that had an option on the site two years earlier for $, and didn't exercise it," he says. He doubts Wal-Mart will be able to generate enough revenues in Rockland to service its debt and turn an acceptable profit. "If your net margin is 5% and you paid $1 million more for the site than you should have, that means you have to generate another $20 million in sales to compensate."

Morris believes Wal-Mart may have overpaid because it had an inflated view of what the Rockland store could produce. In one meeting with local merchants, the store's manager, Kevin Arnold, let slip that he expected to turn over his inventory, valued at $6 million, five times. Says John Morris, "Anyone who believes that store is going to do $30 million in sales should be put in the loony bin." Another local merchant at that meeting recalls Wal-Mart's speaking confidently of exceeding its projections of $22 million for the store. But that number is well above what the average Wal-Mart store grosses, $18 million, and the Rockland site, jutting out on a fjordlike stretch of sparsely populated land into the sea, seems far from ideal.

Another possible misstep involved advertising. Wal-Mart prides itself on its low advertising costs, the product of economies of scale realized, in part, by generating print advertising from Arkansas in the form of preprinted inserts sent to local newspapers or distributed via direct mail 13 times a year. But Dave Morse says that local merchants can outflank a monthly insert by setting ads on their desktops and getting them in the local paper weekly, to niche around Wal-Mart's less timely advertising and more centralized marketing strategy.

Wal-Mart's slow start in Rockland degenerated from there into strange financial dealings and growing employee discontent. The store was stringing out local suppliers for up to 10 weeks. Then, in April, the Rockland manager, Kevin Arnold, abruptly resigned. Wal-Mart's Don Shinkle refuses to specify if Arnold resigned or was fired. "That's a personnel matter." He does add, though: "Like any good business, we believe in paying our bills with a sense of urgency. Does that happen in each and every one of our stores? No, but when it doesn't, we react and respond as we did in Rockland."

Meanwhile, management in Rockland, in an effort to limit its labor costs to no more than 10% of sales each week, would summarily tell employees to go home, curtailing their hours, wages, and enthusiasm for their employer. When the local paper, the Rockland Courier Gazette, ran a story suggesting there was employee discontent at Wal-Mart, store managers turned the newspaper box outside the store face down on the sidewalk and called the paper to come retrieve it.

Back in Bath the merchants are sounding confident as the late-April opening of the Brunswick store approaches. John Hichborn at True Value Hardware notes that "people have to drive six miles past my door to get to Wal-Mart. I'd be surprised if I had this place up for sale in two years."

Craig Burgess sees "no massive door closings." He believes that in today's economy, people "crave service," something Wal-Mart can offer "only on a superficial level." Burgess envisions a pendular swing in retailing, away from price and back toward the level of service that existed after the war, when people bought clothing not from catalogs but from their local haberdasher, when milk arrived in glass bottles on the doorstep.

Mary Danzer, an editor at the local Bath weekly, the Coastal Journal, says that everyone she knows who has made the mini-pilgrimage to the Rockland Wal-Mart was underwhelmed. "Everyone came back and said, 'What's the big deal? It's just K mart with the stuff stacked a little higher.' "

That moves Danzer's thoughts to the macro if not the cosmic. "When you think about the s, Wal-Mart matches the excess of that decade. People are now talking new values, and it takes a while before that translates into action, but the trend is definitely toward decentralization. Megagovernment, megainvestment, and megaretailing are going the way of IBM and Sears. And Wal-Mart will be the next white elephant."

When measured against Wal-Mart's phenomenal success, that kind of talk could be considered wishful thinking of the first order. Walter Loeb, a noted retail analyst, says, "Last year Wal-Mart did $55 billion in sales, and this year it's looking at $69 billion. Wal-Mart's an amazing company, powered by the dedication and drive of its management people. I believe it will continue to grow."

But to Bath merchants like Halcyon Blake, growth is not the issue: "We have to tell people that the Bath merchants are not just taking it all in. We have to focus on being good citizens and giving back to the community. We have to focus on making that story available to people -- not just making it available but stuffing it down people's throats.

"There's no argument that you can get a damn light bulb for 10¢ cheaper at Wal-Mart than you can at John Hichborn's hardware store. But do people know that John Hichborn is a major contributor to Elmhurst [a local trade school for the handicapped]? He works at finding jobs for people from Elmhurst. If Hichborn goes out of business because people want a cheaper light bulb, then you lose more than just the tax revenues that business generated."

In some strange way Bob Reny likes Wal-Mart. It gets his retailing juices flowing and reminds him how he has already seen a lot of retailers -- Sears, Penney's, Grant's, Woolworth's -- come and go, while he has steadily prospered. Reny has been in business 43 years, and he has withstood them all. But now, at 66, he finds himself confronted by a new force, perhaps more formidable than the others. "Wal-Mart thinks it's invincible," says Reny. "The problem is, it does not want just its share. It wants it all. A lot of small towns in the world need to survive. Wal-Mart comes and goes, but after Wal-Mart goes, there's nothing left."

But to Reny the moral of the Wal-Mart story is that as you sow so shall you ultimately reap, and in his view Wal-Mart has scorched the market. "The real secret is, if you step on a lot of hands on the way up, those hands won't be there to catch you when you come back down." He adds: "They're affecting our business, that's for sure, but we'll survive -- provided we can get communities to fight back and come together like never before. If not, a lot of people will get hurt real bad."

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