the tampa bay florida wal-martian report
In Tampa Bay Florida there is no shortage of Wal-Mart department stores; they are everywhere. There are 10 plus 2 "Neighborhood Market" types within a 10-mile radius of where I live in Tampa.
In my Garmin nüvi 205 GPS I purposely list all the local ones by store number and that's how I know which to go whenever I have to go to one.
Here's my official review of the stores I routinely go to, what I like and moreover what I don't like about them.
Ones that are labeled as "Supercenters" are 24-hour stores.
I give each store a rating, with 1 being worst and 5 being best.
In this post I will be scoring 5 stores.
Note to Wal-Mart corporate: Interested in hiring me as a "mystery shopper"? You should; your money would be well spent.
2701 E Fletcher Ave, Tampa FL
There are only two reasons I ever go to this store:
- It's the closest to where I live.
- It has a particular product (7-day candles) that only one other Wal-Mart local to me carries.
This store is cramped, the aisles are too skinny and the location (other than it being local) is terrible. Driving in from the Fletcher Ave side is a nightmare. However, driving in from the back of the lot or from the Livingston Ave side is much easier.
You are guaranteed to have a long wait in line at this store. Never have I had a quick in-out trip to this place.
Hand baskets are non-existent at this place. You know those little carry baskets with the handles on them for quick shopping runs? Non-existent.
All the shopping carts are loud with wobbly wheels. Very irritating.
Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market #5221
8885 N Florida Ave, Tampa FL
This is a 24-hour store.
The first thing you will immediately notice about this supermarket is that finding a shopping cart is next to impossible. And like #2627 there are no hand baskets anywhere.
I once asked an employee where the hand baskets were because how can you operate a market without them? The response was "We don't have any." Couldn't believe that, but totally true.
Also like #2627, all carts are loud with wobbly wheels.
The checkout staff out of all Wal-Marts I've visited here in Florida is the absolute worst here. Very understaffed and agonizingly slow. I only go here when I absolutely have to.
During the later hours of the night, this store is wrecked. Boxes everywhere, loud annoying employees, it's just bad. This place should not be open 24/7, period.
Wal-Mart Supercenter #5220
8220 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa FL
This store like #2627 is the only other place that sells 7-day candles and that's the primary reason I go here.
The location isn't that great. Getting in is not so bad. It's getting out that's the problem. Once you leave the parking lot you're most likely going to perform a U-turn (as I do) to get back to W Waters Ave. If you are there during daylight hours, Dale Mabry is absolutely mobbed, and it's very common to be waiting almost 15 minutes just to turn around once you leave the lot.
This store is fine unless you have to ask someone for help. It is very typical you will encounter Hispanic employees that will outright lie to you and say they don't speak English when in fact they do. I have personally caught one in the act. He was having a conversation in English with someone, so I walked up and asked if he could help me find something. He replied, "Err.. sir.. I dun speak Engliss." I could have cussed him out right there but didn't feel like it, so I went and found what I needed myself. That was the last time I ever asked for help in that place.
Before that instance there were several other times I ran into the exact same problem. If I can't find what I'm looking for in the store, that Wal-Mart loses my business and I will go elsewhere.
This is why I only shop there usually for one item and one item only. I know where it is, when it's stocked and how to quickly get to it. Other than that, I usually buy nothing else from that particular store.
11720 Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Seffner FL
This store has a weird location and the parking lot is a bit difficult to get into, but once in you're okay.
It is notably cleaner compared to #2627 on the inside and the employees are more helpful. However the biggest knock is that it does not follow the standard Wal-Mart store layout, so if you walk in expecting to see stuff as it is in other stores, that doesn't happen here. The reason is because it's an older store and is too small to fit what it's supposed to look like on the inside.
Speaking of which, the size is another issue. Very skinny aisles and too easy to bump elbows with other shoppers.
I rate it a 3 because it's clean and when you ask for help, you actually get it.
Wal-Mart Supercenter #2740
19910 Bruce B Downs Blvd, Tampa FL
This is the best Wal-Mart in the local area where I live for seven reasons.
- There is a traffic light next to the entrance to the lot. Easy in, easy out.
- It's relatively easy to find parking.
- The store is large, wide and clean.
- The aisles are wide.
- The staff is helpful.
- It is rare you will ever find anything out of stock here.
- It is much better lighted compared to other Wal-Marts.
If this store carried my 7-day candles I would never, repeat, never go to #2627 or #5220 ever again. This store absolutely crushes the others in every way. Even the shopping carts are nice - and they have hand baskets.