Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Why do you still shop at Wal-Mart?

I know money is tight these days, but when I see stories like this I just can't understand how people can still shop at Wal-Mart.
Judge finds Wal-Mart violated Minnesota labour laws

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A Minnesota judge has ruled that Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N: Quote, Profile, Research) violated state wage and hour laws, requiring employees to work off the clock, and the discount retailer could now face more than $2 billion in possible fines.

Minnesota District Court Judge Robert R. King Jr ruled that Wal-Mart owes $6.5 million to thousands of current and former employees because of wage the violations, which included a failure to give workers their full rest breaks and requiring hourly employees to work off-the-clock during training.
Sure. Isolated case you say. That's until you spend some time reading the news reports over at Wake Up Wal-Mart.

Turns out reports of despicable business practices at Wal-Mart are not so isolated after all.

15 comments:

Me said...

I don't. Under any circumstances. For any reason. I'll drive further, pay more, whatever it takes. But I won't shop there.

Sue J said...

ME, I am so glad to know that -- I am always just shocked at the people who still say "Yeah, I know they're bad but ... it was on sale!"

FranIAm said...

SueJ I was just about to say that - it is my biggest pet peeve. I live in what is still a pretty upper middle class suburb and that Walmart parking lot is full of Lexuses(? plural??), BMWs, Saabs, SUVs of every stripe.

One time I when I was still at my old job, I was standing there with 3 colleagues. Two of them were women at the VERY top, both of whom had made millions in a stock option deal.

They were babbling on about how great Walmart was. My other coworker, the golden boy of our company and the only one who could pull this off just looked at them and said-

"Isn't it a little embarrasing that you two need to save .23 cents on a bottle of shampoo at the expense of other human beings?"

Hooboy- what a moment and so true.

Deep sigh.

This economy is made for those motherf**kers. Sorry, talking about Walmart makes me sooooooooooooooooo
angry.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

$4 prescriptions, sorry.

Nan said...

Target, Kroger, and lots of other chains do cheap prescriptions, too, and they're not quite as despicable as the Evil Empire. If you live near a Costco, check there. I don't know if it's true in all states, but here in Georgia you do not have to be a Costco member in order to use the pharmacy.

Remember, with Walmart it's not just the horrible way they treat their employees, they're also evil for having created a race to the bottom for American industry. The corporation is notorious for pushing vendors to reduce prices more and more. They've driven a many U.S. manufacturers to close plants in this country and relocate to the Third World because after cutting everything else to the bone labor was the only manufacturing cost they could lower any farther. Walmart used to brag about selling stuff made in the U.S.A. but had to kill that campaign back in the 1990s after their demands for wholesale price reductions drove most of their U.S. vendors to offshore production. (There are a few well-known name brands around where the manufacturer told Walmart to kiss off because they had no interest in playing that game, but not many. Most got sucked in by the lure of having a guaranteed market for zillions of whatever widgets they made, and, having dined with the devil. . . )

Anonymous said...

Look people, I work for Wal-mart, and NO I'm not a manager. Wal-mart has made some serious ground in employee benefits in the last couple of years, and yet I'd admit there's room for improvement, but if you really believe that Target, Kroger, Kmart/Sears, ect. are any different, then you've never worked for them. I have a Target Warehouse just up the road, and they don't even take lunch, just two 25 min breaks. Bring your anger to bear on who is really to blame for the America we now live in, our government who, for a few million campain $$$, sold themselves out to corperate America long ago.

Mauigirl said...

I never shop at Wal*Mart and in fact worked with our neighborhood association to keep them from coming into our town as they wanted to a few years ago.

Anonymous, you may be right that WM has improved some of their employee-related policies but it doesn't make up for their very aggressive way of dealing with retailers that Nan talks about.

Glen said...

Anonymous,

While your point that WM may be making strides to improve associate (employee) benefits is valid, it's also known that it is only after much public outrage and decline in sales that they even make the smallest changes. And... While they might not be the only evil retail chain in the world, they are certainly the worst offenders in recent history and they are setting a dangerous precedent. If we, as Americans, simply let their actions continue, even after hearing the evidence, we are just saying "Go ahead and screw us. We don't mind." If that happens, then other industries will follow suite as long as we let them. It is, after all, about the bottom line and we, the consumer, influence that bottom line.

I haven't shopped at WM in over a year now and prior to that, only occasionally.

Linda Sama said...

never shop there and I could not agree more with you about Wal-Mart.

I have personal experience with fighting with them as they wanted to build a megastore next to a marsh bird sanctuary. we stopped them and saved half the acreage.

Anonymous said...

Glen, let me first respond to you. I don't wish to seem overly zealous in my support of the company I work for. I am simply grateful for the improvements made, and if it weren't for great consumers like yourself, who make your dollars heard, I'd have no improvments at all. So, thank you. However, "worst offenders in recent history"? As I remember Enron screwed their employees pretty harshly. Goodyear all but broke their union two years ago, the local plant, which used to start at $18 now starts at $10,Payless Shoe Souce has announced that they're closing their main wharehouse at their world headquarters to build a new plant in Southern California, closer to the cheaper south of the border labor forces, and Tyson foods recently closed a processing plant, eliminating close to 2000 jobs, and this was after they had helped several hundred Samalians immagrate to the U.S. from Moga-(Black Hawk Down)-dishu, which overwhemed that cities public health system, (because Tyson wouldn't give them health care) and exposed the citizens to TB, which they brought with them from the refugee camps that Tyson recruited from. Since you guys seem to like to boycott, I wonder, do you buy Goodyear tires, Payless shoes, or Tyson meat? The worst part is , that these places were unionized. WakeUpWalmart.com is a website run by unions, and I'm sorry,but after seeing how the unions "helped" them, I'd have to say, good consumers like you have done more for me and my family than any union ever could.

Anonymous said...

Mauigirl,
I too agree with Nan's comments about Wal-mart's heavy handed tactics, but this is a double edged sword, because those same tactics have and will continue to save all of us a great deal of money, and not just if you shop at Wal-mart, i.e. $4 prescriptions were mentioned, and Nan noted that those were available elsewhere, but I ask you, WHO started that program, and WHO jumped on the bandwagon. Would there even be such a program at ANY of these places if it weren't for the "Evil Empire". Why hasn't our government ever set up such a program?

Anonymous said...

Linda,
I am glad that guys were able to save that sanctuary. I probably sound sarcastic, but I assure you I am not. I truly believe that the value of the land you guys saved, far outweighs the urban sprall that is fast infecting our land, however Wal-mart is, at least, trying to go green, if only for the pr effect. Where I work, for example, we recycle all we can from cardboard, to plastic wrap and lable backings, to the aluminium pop cans and plastic water bottles. They ever put in a new florescent lighting sys, that has motion detectors, so that it can shut itself off when no one is in that area.
In the new stores they put in nearly 100 sky lights, so that during daylight hours the lights can be dimmed saving untold amounts of ele. They have recycling centers in their parking lots, and are ready to more away from using plastic bags in favor of reusible ones, and look at the new store designs

http://www.greenerdesign.com/news/2008/03/19/wal-marts-latest-green-store-slashes-energy-use

Look, Walmart is far from perfect as corperate entities go, but all I'm saying, is don't hate them because them unions tell you to, but rather give a little bit of credit where credit is due.

Oh, And I don't wish to be rude, but I'm pretty sure John McCain wants to start drilling for oil in your sanctuary, sometime next year.

Mauigirl said...

Anonymous, you are right, WM is doing a lot of "green" things as well. And no matter what their motivations, it's all good in the end.

As for things being cheaper - people wouldn't need it to be so cheap if so many companies weren't feeling the pressure to follow Wal*Mart's lead and lower their prices, so that more and more people are out of jobs because those jobs are being outsourced to China in order to produce the cheap goods...it's a vicious cycle.

I do think you have a pretty balanced POV. No company is all evil, and WM is not the only one. But they are so powerful that they affect everything.

Anonymous said...

Mauigirl,

Thanks, I do try to see both sides of the issues. That is why I commented if the first place. The story is more than a bit lopsided. I don't love Wal-mart, but I don't see it as the "Evil Empire" either, and I have worked there for over 13yrs. If Wal-mart did not exist, then would this story go away? No, it would simply be about Target or Kmart or Exxon(you wanna talk environment)Mobile. This is Capitolism like it or lump it. Does that men we let them do what they like? Heck no, and you guys all tell stories of how you changed thier minds, but just once in a great while lets really check to see if they've changed at least a little, and if they have lets just say ok....thanks before we tyraid on to the next thing they need to change. No one, says thank-you anymore, wether it be the Government to the people, or the employee to the corporation, the, or me to you.... so again, thanks for listening.

And when the light of common courtesy, had left thier eyes the people began to hunger for war and a gereral hatred of (W)all things.

I stay in my employ, not for lack of intelligence, but rather lack of education.

Anonymous said...

Just for fun, you guys will love this.

http://www.jibjab.com/originals/big_box_mart

check it out.