Society

Walmart Greeter Booted By Company After 21 Years

| by Kathryn Schroeder

A Pennsylvania man who is confined to a wheelchair was fired from his job as a Walmart greeter after working for the company for nearly 21 years.

Danny Ockenhouse, 41, worked at the East Stroudsburg Walmart location as a greeter, according to the Pocono Record.

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His required use of a motorized wheelchair did not stop him from directing shoppers to the products they needed or checking receipts of those leaving the store.

Ockenhouse’s employment at Walmart came to an end after nearly 21 years when he was let go because the company's decision to replace greeters with hosts. 

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In May, Walmart announced it would still have greeters in some stores, but others would have the newly created position of customer host, Consumerist reported.

The host position has different responsibilities where the risks for theft, safety and security are higher. The hosts would wear yellow vests instead of blue ones, deter shoplifters, make customers feel welcome and maintain clean and safe entrances.

Only about a third of Walmart store’s will have hosts, and it is determined by the amount of shoplifters at the location.

Walmart spokesman Kory Lundberg confirmed greeters are being replaced with hosts in stores with greater theft and security issues, according to the Pocono Record.

Due to Ockenhouse’s limitations, he has less opportunities in the workplace than others. Walmart gave other greeters new jobs in the store, but he says the company did not offer him one.

“I can do parts of a lot of jobs, but they said I have to be able to lift 50 pounds, put groceries in the back of people’s cars,” Ockenhouse said.

“Being in a wheelchair doesn’t preclude someone from being a host,” Lundberg said.

Lundberg said Ockenhouse opted to not apply for the positions displaced greeters are eligible for, including cashiers, fitting room attendants and shelf stockers.

Ockenhouse wants his job as a greeter back.

“I just want my job back, and I want to be appreciated," he said with tears in his eyes. “The customers appreciate me.”

Sources: Pocono Record, Consumerist / Photo Credit: Pocono Record