SHOW LOW — All appears business as usual shopping inside Walmart’s Show Low store on Friday, July 5, despite the a recent power outage and equipment failure that required the store to throw away meat, dairy products, produce, deli and frozen foods.
The store was closed for approximately five hours on Sunday, June 30 causing what appeared to be a difficult time for employees and shoppers trying to prepare for a holiday weekend. To make matters worse, the situation occurred just before the first of the month, a day known to be exceptionally busy for Walmart.
On June 30, Walmart posted an apology for the inconvenience to customers and indicated that they were “unable to sell any perishable items.”
The Independent attempted to contact the store manager for comment several times between July 1-5, but calls were not returned.
The Independent followed up with a visit to the store’s customer service counter Friday, July 5. A store employee offered to contact a Customer Service Manager but after 15 minutes, no one from management arrived.
The Independent was eventually able to speak to Customer Service Manager Maria Olsen.
“A freon sensor in our back freezer room failed,” explained Olsen. “A transformer blew and the power went out. It messed with the sensor but we replaced it.”
“The Fire Department was called twice and the building was cleared both times so that employees could safely re-enter,” adds Olsen.
Social media posts on June 30 and in the days following the incident indicate a power outage may have affected isolated areas in Show Low and Wagon Wheel.
Navopache Electric Cooperative was contacted on Friday, July 5, via email for information about the alleged outage but their offices are closed on Fridays.
At this time it is unclear if the root cause was the faulty sensor, the power loss or a combination of the two.
A representative from Walmart’s national media relations department returned the Independent’s call on Friday, July 5, confirming that “a transformer blew in the area which took down the power to the store’s refrigeration systems.” He added that the store could not sell products that had been stored in the freezers and coolers and added that “the store is back up and fully operational.”
It is unclear the extent of food that had to be discarded or the financial loss suffered as a result of the outage.
“We had to throw away produce, dairy, meats, vegetables and other produce because we can no longer sell it once it’s been stored above a certain temperature,” says Olsen.
When asked if any items were donated to food banks, Olsen was not sure, but indicated that they donate through the a national hunger relief organization called Feeding America, when possible.
Other comments on social media hinted that Bashas' and Walmart in Taylor as well as Safeway stores Pinetop and Show Low experienced higher than average sales in the days following the Show Low Walmart incident.