Woman talking(l+r), Walmart cart(c)

Jonathan Weiss/Shutterstock @kelyons1206/Tiktok (Licensed)

Walmart Employee Overrides Customer’s Review at Self-Checkout

'They absolutely tell the front end people to pick 5 stars.'


Braden Bjella


Posted on Mar 20, 2024   Updated on Apr 2, 2024, 10:47 am CDT

Self-checkouts have been a major area of controversy as of late, with many internet users going viral after sharing their unpleasant experiences using the machines. For example, one user claimed they were asked to tip on a self-checkout; another said that their local Walmart had begun shutting down self-checkouts.

Now, another user’s unfortunate self-checkout experience has sparked discussion—however, this time, their complaints can be attributed to an employee rather than the machine.

Employee Takes Rating Into His Own Hands

In a video with over 85,000 views, TikTok user Katie (@kelyons1206) says that she was using a self-checkout machine when she was prompted to rate her experience. Before she could offer a rating, she was approached by an employee.

“A Walmart employee comes up to me before I can even grab my bag and just taps the five stars,” she recounts. “Like, what? And he just goes, ‘This was a five stars.’”

“It was not a five-star experience,” the TikToker added. “And why are you tapping five stars when I did not tap five stars?”

Pushing for Perfect Scores: Policy or Illicit Practice?

The TikToker then questioned whether this move was pushed on employees by store management.

“Walmart, are you telling your employees to automatically tap five stars even when the customer says that it was not five stars?” she asks. “If you are, I feel like that’s really illegal and really morally wrong.”

Evidence Suggests Corporate Pressure for High Ratings

This TikToker isn’t the first to note this apparent pressure from Walmart management. According to an October 2023 story from Business Insider, “Two Walmart associates told Insider that the pressure to have each customer fill out the survey came from store managers. Stores are supposed to aim for an average rating of 4.6 out of five stars, the two employees told Insider. Store managers receive an annual bonus depending on the rating, they said.”

Additionally, users on Reddit have discussed the topic thoroughly, with some warning not to engage in the aforementioned behavior and others questioning why the practice exists in the first place.

Walmart Stays Mum as Criticism Mounts

In an email to the Daily Dot, Katie said that Walmart has not reached out to her since the incident.

“Nothing like this has happened to me at Walmart, or anywhere else,” she wrote. “I made the video just to vent about my experience because it was so odd. After reading the comments, it appears Walmart, at least at store managerial level, tells their associates to push for 5 stars because it reflects them and their bonuses. According to many current and formal employees, only managers see this bonus, not the associates on the floor.”

Katie continued by noting that many commenters had called out the company for the conduct of their employees.

“I think that if what these employees are saying is true, Walmart should be held accountable and establish a more formal policy regarding potential bonus and how to achieve them,” she detailed. “Associates should not be punished due to a low amount of 5 stars at a self-checkout station. The point of my video, which seemed to be lost to some, was that I was never given the opportunity to review, regardless of how many stars. An employee invaded my space and took away my ability to decide something for myself, so I made a video about it. I just found it to be such a weird experience. I do hope that Walmart does better for its shoppers and employees.”

@kelyons1206 Hey @Walmart this you? #fyp #walmart #shoppingexperience #customerservice #uncomfortable #dobetter ♬ original sound – Kelyons1206

The Internet Reacts: Echoes of Forced 5-Star Demands

Commenters on Katie’s video alleged that they had witnessed similar behavior from employees.

“THIS HAS HAPPENED TO ME !!!!” exclaimed a commenter. The user later added, “I said ‘i think im supposed to do that’ and he shrugged.”

“As a former Walmart employeee… YES!! They absolutely tell the front end people to pick 5 stars,” claimed another. “At the store I worked at here in Maine, if an employee was seen NOT doing that they would be written up!”

Katie concluded by reiterating that this seemed to be a system-wide issue.

“My video was in no way to ‘be against’ Walmart employees, but rather tell to my social media an experience I had,” she said.

The Daily Dot reached out to Walmart via its media relations contact form.

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*First Published: Mar 20, 2024, 2:00 pm CDT