Evilness of Wal-Mart versus other similar stores?

Question Inspired by this nearby thread: Opinion of Wal-Mart.

That is, I’ve wondered this for a long time, but I’m now inspired to ask The Dope.

Are other Big Box stores (or similar) better than Wal-Mart (regarding treatment of employees and suppliers (ETA: And all the other evil things that Wal-Mart seems to do, like driving local merchants out of business) ), or are they about as bad but somehow have better PR? Is Wal-Mart really that much more evil (compared to the other Big Boxes) or are they basically just cursed with really bad PR?

How does Wal-Mart really compare with Target, K-Mart, etc., in their treatment of employees and suppliers and their effects on the local economy?

I believe that Costco pays substantially better wages than other retailers, (about twenty bucks per hour) and has good benefits.

Also, remember that Walmart is one of the largest retailers in the world and also one of the largest employers, so its impact, for better or worse, is going to be greater.

This. Walmart gets more attention anytime the do anything. Better PR isn’t going to stop the number of people they impact.

Also because of their size and influence they can make stronger demands and influence politics in ways other retailers can’t.

IMHO yes Walmart is more evil than other retailers. But that is not to say other retailers wouldn’t be just as evil if they had the size and opportunity that Walmart has.

I’ve never been to Costco. There are three in my state but the nearest is about an hour away. I found this article, though.

Pretty much any large retailer is going to operate similar to Wal-Mart, but on a smaller scale. I work for a retailer with more than twice as many stores in the U.S. as W-M, and our pay and benefits (for example) are about the same - i.e., “minimum wage” and “none” for most associates. But because no one is as big as W-M, there is usually less concern about other chains driving family stores out of business.

The biggest bully is who everyone talks about. #2, #3, and #4 just don’t get much coverage.

I wish I had a local Costco.

Costco can’t and won’t serve all the people walmart serves with their business model though. And perhaps more to the evilness point, the whole “but costco pays better” thing kind of ignores the people at the store who aren’t Costco employees. IE, think the samples you get come from higher paid costco employees ? Think again - lower wage employees of a contracted company.

You actually think that’s equal to how Walmart treats their employees?

Are you aware those samples come from the manufacturer who is promoting the product?
Costco ( or any other store) is not choosing what to provide as samples.

So a theme I think I’m seeing in several of the above posts is that Target, etc., are just as bad as Wal-Mart but just on a smaller scale, hence less destructive in the overall picture. But for the individual employees of Target, etc., that makes it sound just as bad for them, even if there are fewer of them.

Okay, I can understand that Target, et al., just be virtue of being smaller-scale, are less damaging to the local economy. There’s that. So I’m wondering if Target (etc.) employees, even if there are fewer of them, are equally as abused as Wal-Mart employees are commonly said to be.

And, just as mentioned above, I’ve heard some passably decent mentions of Costco before.

Another similar contrast: There seems to be a widespread consensus that McD is a really really shitty place to work. How does this compare to the other fast food places? Here on the Left Coast, we have a chain called In-n-Out Burgers that has amassed a loyal almost-cultish following. By various accounts I’ve heard, they are a waaaay better place to work than McD – better working conditions, better hours, benefits, starting wage about $2.00 higher, . . . So not all fast-food joints are created equal.

I’m not convinced that Costco should be considered a part of this discussion, as they are a membership-based warehouse store, and not the kind of “big box” that Wal*Mart is.

As far as McDonalds v. In’N’Out, Mickey D’s are largely franchised, as opposed to In’N’Outs which are all run as a family-owned corporation.

I work for a grocery store chain which competes with Wal-Mart, is pretty competitive with Wal-Mart when it comes to price, and was the subject of a Time magazine article called “Wal-Mart’s Worst Nightmare”.

As a non-management floor employee, I’m paid union rates (without having to pay union dues), get two weeks of paid vacation per year, have paid sick leave, I get paid holidays and time-and-a-half on top of holiday pay if I work on that day, I have really good healthcare for $26 a month, and a company-funded pension plan which is worth a pretty considerable amount considering that I’ve only been with the company for three years.

Wal-Mart could treat its employees like human beings if it wanted to. It just chooses to go the easier route.

Costco and Sam’s Club have been compared in several previous threads and Costco still hand’s Walmart it’s ass.
Same number of stores, Costco has more employees, better pay/benefits higher and brings in far more revenue and higher profit than Sam’s.

That surprises me not at all.

How does Sam’s Club compare to Wal*Mart, I wonder…

I know a couple of businesses who have been vendors to Walmart. Walmart is ruthless and strong-armed with vendors, beating them down to obtain cheaper and cheaper prices. There are examples of companies that foolishly cut prices to such an extent they lost profitability and went out of business trying to meet Walmart’s demands. Yes, you can sell a lot of product through Walmart, but you need to be extremely cautious to resist their unrealistic demands.

Having said that, it’s still up to individual workers to decide whether or not to work for Walmart, just as it’s up to businesses to decide whether or not to be vendors. People and companies have free will to tell Walmart to shove it if they can do better elsewhere. Other stores who lose customers to Walmart don’t have the same choice, however, and I think Walmart has been detrimental, overall, to our society.

FWIW, I don’t shop at Walmart. I’ve probably spent less than $50 there in the past decade in the rare instances I’ve been there with someone else. I simply choose to shop elsewhere.

Regarding Walmart and how it works with vendors, I don’t know if you’ve read this story, but it’s interesting. It’s from about ten years ago. One example given is how Walmart decided that it wanted to offer a gallon jar of pickles for about three bucks (actually $2.97). So Vlasic supplied the product, which sold in big volume, but wasn’t very profitable for either the manufacturer or the retailer. So making that deal with Walmart both helped (large revenue numbers) and hurt the company (low profit numbers).

The article does say that dealing with Walmart does force manufacturers to become more efficient. But partly this is by making products more cheaply. For instance, my mother has a Rubbermaid dish drain in her kitchen. (It looks like this.) The thing is basically a wireframe with one horizontal wire around the top. Until a few years ago, there was a second support wire halfway up the sides of the drain. But Walmart pressured Rubbermaid to lower its cost on the product and one way this happened was by making the product slightly less sturdy.

Having been a “double victim” of the recent Target credit card fiasco I would rate them up there with Wal*Mart. Also, I no longer buy food from Target after pointing several expired refrigerated items.

Are their employees treated better than Wal*Marts?
I don’t know.
But their customers certainly aren’t, in my experience,

THE largest non-government employer of anyone in the world.
Sorry, but I don’t view a corporation as “evil” because it outcompetes other businesses or doesn’t pay their employees very well. Really, very few large companies act in a manner that is willfully “evil”. Mostly it’s a mix of incompetence or disinterest. I don’t even view the fact that the Walton family now has more wealth than the bottom 40% of the US population as evil. But it does beg the question as to whether a system that allows that to occur is working as efficiently or as effectively as it should. If Walmart doesn’t provide healthcare for most of it’s 2 million employees and we as a society view that all people have a right to some minimum level of health care, who do those costs get passed along to?

That’s because working in a McDonalds is a pretty shitty job for anyone who isn’t a high school student. That doesn’t make it an “evil” place.

I’m sure working at the McDonalds corporate headquarters is pretty nice though.

My mother is one of those - and she is still making $12 an hour handing out samples. It isn’t a cakewalk job - at the store my mother is at its mostly older people looking to suppliment their social security - she was offered a “Costco job” and the person who asked her said “you’d get benefits” - she pointed out that she’s got Medicare. (The Costco job would have paid more, but come with more hours and less flexibility - my parents don’t NEED the money - my mother uses it to spoil her grandchildren without listening to my father gripe and uses the job to get out of the house - turns out, when your husband retires, getting out of the house is nice).