Walmart, like countless retailers, still faces challenges protecting its employees and customers, while also remaining open as a much-needed source of necessities for many Americans. As the country gradually reopens — with the hope that the COVID-19 curve is truly flattened — Walmart announced to USA Today that they’re extending the senior-shopping hour indefinitely. That means shoppers above the age of 60, along with caregivers and other vulnerable citizens, can continue to visit stores exclusively on Tuesdays from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. (via Walmart).
Walmart’s intentions are good. Older adults are at a higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19, per the CDC. The reason is, in part, because, “as we age, we start to produce less new immune cells that are able to respond to new sorts of infectious disease,” says Jessica Lancaster, an immunology researcher with the Mayo Clinic. Plus, she adds that an older person’s immune cells simply don’t communicate as effectively, leading to a slower response.
So, why might Americans of a certain age have an issue with their special shopping hour at Walmart? Turns out, it’s just too darned early.
Seniors don't want to shop at the crack of dawn
Walmart’s policy has launched a bit of a retiree revolt. The retailer may not have considered that all seniors aren’t early birds. Plus, they, and people with serious medical conditions, often need more time to get up and ready in the morning. Then, there’s the driving. Some seniors need another person to chauffeur them and that’s a big ask at the crack of dawn. And it can still be dark at 6 a.m., not a safe time to ask seniors, many of whom struggle with night vision, to hit the road. One 84-year-old told Inc.: “I’d have to wake up at 4:30, get dressed, and out the door by 5:30 in order to arrive at Walmart by 6:00. I don’t drive in the dark for your safety.” Another person complained, ” I will not be getting up at 5 a.m. to go shopping!”
What’s more, there are reports of some stores not even enforcing the policy and allowing younger shoppers inside during senior-only hours, per BRG. So, Baby Boomers have spoken. Despite having the best of intentions, Walmart might want to reconsider its policy for seniors.
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