I was surfing the internet when I stumbled on to a few websites devoted to defacing Wal-Mart. Is there any truth in their claims?
While there are plenty of actual claims made by that page, it is kind of hard to pick them out, since there’s a good deal of ranting involved too. In order to expedite things, I made a list of all the claims made. Here they are:[ul][li]Wal-Mart is the nation’s (and the world’s) biggest retailer.[/li][li]Wal-Mart’s annual sales are larger than the entire Gross Domestic Product of 161 countries![/li][li]In a privately owned shopping mall, it’s illegal to pass out leaflets telling shoppers about the suffering of the workers who picked the strawberries, sewed the sneakers…[/li][li]manufacturing is done by people like Wendy Diaz in Honduras. Diaz told Kathie Lee Gifford what it was like to earn 31 cents an hour, allowed to go to the bathroom only twice a day, be cursed and screamed at, and be able to do nothing about it.[/li][li]There is one unionized Wal-Mart - it’s in Ontario.[/li][li]Wal-Mart’s “Faded Glory” t-shirts were made by workers earning 23 cents an hour.[/li][li]Most of the workers in these cheap or slave-labor factories around the third world are WOMEN - or GIRLS!. Think FAMILY VALUES here. And two-thirds of employees in the retail industry are women.[/li][li]The United Food and Commercial Workers led a Women’s Day protest against Wal-Mart;[/li][li]The White House, under pressure from workers’ movements around the world, has instituted a Task Force on sweatshops, pushing for independent monitoring and a living wage. Wal-Mart has refused to join in. They have also opposed health care reform and minimum wage increase, and defied the embargo on Haiti’s former military regime, paying workers 14 cents an hour.[/li][li]Wal-Mart tells the record industry what they don’t like, and the industry produces special “clean” versions for sale by Wal-Mart - versions which are then resold to other retailers.[/li][li]Among those opposing Wal-Mart are the UFCW, FIEF (an international labor organization working against Wal-Mart’s exploitation in many countries), and community organizations from Gig Harbor, Washington, Santa Clarita, California, De Land, Florida, Bath, Maine, Guelph, Ontario…to the fine folks at “Save Our Small Town Way of Life” in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.[/li][/ul]
Wal-Mart is the devil.
There was that great documentary on PBS a few years back which followed a small town debating whether to allow Wal-Mart to move in. The Wal-Mart lawyer, of course, just absolutely slimed everything and everyone.
It was very interesting, and in the end they let Wal-Mart build (even though there was another Wal-Mart like 15 minutes away nearby).
I’m having to be very careful about what I say - not because of known practices in anyplace I’ve been that violate Wal-Mart’s codes, but because I signed a confidentiality agreement with my last employer (not Wal-Mart, but a supplier). That stated up front:
From the site:
Ok. First of all, AFAIK, Wal-Mart doesn’t produce any goods on their own, but purchases them from suppliers/manufacturers.
Wal-Mart has a very strict code of conduct for their suppliers. See here for their stated code. Wal-Mart sends inspectors into supplier’s factories regularly. These may be Wal-Mart employees, or they may be from outside companies that Wal-Mart uses to conduct the inspections. Either way, they make sure that they speak the language of the employees, and make sure they are able to conduct private interviews with employees, off-site if they feel it’s necessary.
If a company is found to be non-compliant with the standards set by Wal-Mart, several courses of action could be taken. If it’s minor - no first aid kits on the production floor, for example, that will be noted in the report, and the company will be required to correct this by the next inspection. These inspections can occur every 30 days, every 90 days, once a year, or at other intervals.
If the problem is more serious - abuse of employees, non-compliance with local minimum wage laws, child labor or the like, Wal-Mart can refuse to purchase goods produced at that factory - including any that are currently in production. They can also require that they be notified if any production may be placed there, and require re-inspection before that can happen.
Companies (at least the US-based suppliers) work to comply with the standards of Wal-Mart, Target and the like. Getting a Wal-Mart contract for say, an apparel manufacturer, is a huge deal, and if things are done right, it can make a huge difference to the bottom line. People don’t want to screw it up.
Now, that’s not to say that the alleged things never happen. Look up Transshipping in an importing context and you can see how it might. Transshipping is illegal, by the way, and my experience is that it’s a good business practice to avoid it.
To the second part of the quote above, I really don’t get what this person is all up in arms about most of the workers being women. Many or most (I’m not sure of the statistics) women in the United States work. Why is it different if they are in a third world country?
My wife’s uncle liked to say “The Baptists and kudsu are taking over the south.” Now we can add Wal-Mart.
I really enjoy it how some people ignore the fact that a “good,” and by this I don’t mean morally, buisness is supposed to make as much money as it is possible to make. Thats the idea behind a buisness. Or that they forget that those mom and pop shops would probably do the same thing if the roles were reversed.
Just opinions though.
scares the ever loving heebeejeebees out of me…
Not sure why EXACTLY,’
but… my daughter worked there for about 6 weeks and could not abide the policies, and “chants” REQUIRED every day.,
My husband refused a job (" paying exceptionally well" in construction management …due to their…
(have to"s) and ( policys’s)
s h i v e r s…
I worked at Wal Mart for two years and I don’t know what you’re talking about. What “daily” chant was she required to partake in? They didn’t exactly force me to sing along the two or three times I had the bad luck to be present when a Wal-Mart cheer was going on; as a matter of fact, I refused and no issue was made of it.
For some reason when I was a kid I used to always get my ass whiped by my Mom or Dad when we were in a Walmart.
Now as an adult, It seems like every time I goto Walmart there’s some kid getting his ass whiped screaming and crying and it reminds me of when I was a kid.
Hmm, maybe Walmart is evil…
Wiped is spelled without an “h”.
s wrong with your parents wiping your ass? Would you want to walk around all day with a poopy bottom?:) (i know, it should hve been whipped, i couldnt resist)
m not really up on this but, if Wal-mart and like stores didnt use sweat shops and pulled out of those countries would those people have ANY jobs? 32 cents/hour is better that nothing. Are they being forced to work? I mean, if they could work at some place better they likely would.
It also seems to me that if they raised the wage on these jobs, they would be taken up by the men. The women and children would be out of work altogether.
The issue is making sure that what is paid is a living wage - that the people can actually survive on what their being paid, and how much a living wage is varies from country to country.
Honduras, for example, has a 44 (day shift - 36 hours for night shift) hour work week, with minimum wage equivalent to $3.52 a day - last time I was there, the exchange rate was approximately 14.5 Lps, so that’s 51.04Lps/day. I honestly don’t know if that is a living wage in Honduras - some sites say it isn’t, some sites say it is.
You can see good and bad in everything. After all, some guy actually took on Mother Theresa.
Here’s the way it works. Wal Mart beats the crap out of their suppliers in order to purchase at the best prices possible. to them, the suppliers are the enemy. They openly resent the inefficiences of their suppliers. When they see execs of a supplier company playing golf or living high on the company dime their attitude is, “Quit wasting money on that nonsense and just lower your price to us.” Their buyers are not allowed to accept ANYTHING from their supplier. It’s ground for firing.
They work constantly to reduce operating costs whether it is in distribution end, at the stores or in the corporate offices. Compare the Wal Mart headquarters in Arkansas to the Sears Building or the K-Mart Headquarters in Troy, MI.
Now, where Wal Mart changed the game was that by exercising austerity in every phase (that’s been done in plenty of places) they used it to lower prices in the stores, not to increase profit margin. That changed the whole game and made it impossible for less efficient competitors to compete. There is no slush to hide inefficiencies.
Getting back to the suppliers, the pressure gets pretty heavy on them so, of course, they look to produce at the lowest costs in order to protect their profits. Then comes the balancing act between efficiency and abuse. In many, many cases the job in the low wage manufacturing plant is the only income the family has. In many cases the nurse in the factory is the only access they have to any medical care. It isn’t all great but is better than the alternative.
You can choose to posture on the issue any way you want. I’m not trying to make a moral judgement but understand the process and the implications on both sides.
Spartydog, thanks for that great explanation!
Luckily for those that aren’t Walmart shoppers (such as myself), there is viable competition. Not everyone shops by price alone. Things like selection and quality do a lot for many shoppers. Walmart may be dirt cheap, but in English cheap also has some bad connotations. Nope, nothing’s ever the best by being cheapest. Sure, stores like Meijer (here in Michigan) and Target do sell some cheap stuff, it’s not all extraordinarily bad like in Walmart. Even those that claim they can only afford Walmart tend to fool themselves – is it better to pay $15.66 for a pair of jeans that last 9 months, or $30 for something that’ll last two to three years?
Oh, I’m not speaking of groceries, since around here we seem to only have Walmart, not those “super” Walmarts.
Does Walmart really have chants?
but… my daughter worked there for about 6 weeks and could not abide the policies, and “chants” REQUIRED every day.,
Does it relate to like Pledge of Alliegence (excuse the spelling) to Wal-Mart?
32 cents an hour may be a living wage in Honduras or wherever, but is sure as heck ain’t here!
I suppose the end result of a truly global economy is that all similar workers make about the same thing for the same type of work, much like it does an a given city or region now. Good for 3rd world Countries, sucks for the rest of us as our standard of living drops. I don’t know why we want to encourage lowering our own standard of living by buying cheap imported goods, especially when it’s usually in response to the marketing people rather than an actual need on the part of the buying public.
Maybe after we get Asia pumped up to a few dollars per hour we can exploit South America or Africa. Then eventually we’ll work ourselves into the low-wage position and we can take the work back! But then who would buy the goods?
I’ll continue to pay a bit more for things that are made near me whenever I can thank you.
Where I grey up there was basically one pharmacy that was a mom and pop pharmacy. I was great when one of the big pharmacy chains moved in. We got lower prices better selection it was great.
Next to the Federal Government, a local radio station reported that Wal-Mart has more law suits filed against them than any other entity! I believe it ranks at about one suit per minute! I am not sure how they figure this, but the radio stations have their sources…this was a trivia question, and I would wager the radio station would have to back up their trivia answer with some source. In general, when you’re “King of the Hill” Like Sam Walton, there are a lot of people trying to “dethrone” you!
I have two separate points to make,
1) About the Chanting
I noticed while waiting in line at Wally World that there were a lot of little stickers posted around the cash register that said CHANT, and some said CHANT BOB & LISA. After several visits, my curiosity got the best of me, and I asked the cashier what the chant thing was all about.
It turns out that their acronyms used in training.
CHANT = Customers Have A Name Too, this reminds the cashier to call customers by their names after they pay by check or credit card (which allows the cashier to see their name), i.e. Thanks Mr. Adams, come back soon.
BOB = Bottom Of Basket. Customers often put things on the bottom of the shopping cart and either forget they are there or try to sneak by without paying for them. This reminds the cashier to check the bottom of your basket as you roll by.
LISA = Look InSide Always. A lot of shoplifters buy something cheap that can contain something else. For example, you could buy a purse with a zipper and put something more valuable inside it. Shoe boxes also work for this trick. The cashier is always supposed to open everything to make sure you’re not using one item to steal another.
Just because they used the word “Chant”, everyone wants to start calling them weirdos!
Second, regarding this statement:
It just so happens that I’m general manager of a company that supplies a bunch of stuff to Wal-Mart. Actually, my company is a subcontractor to a company that’s the actual supplier, but I make all the stuff, they just get credit for it. I employ massive numbers of unskilled laborers.
First, it’s not a sweatshop, we have breaks, air-cond., workers comp, unemployment, etc. etc. AND all my workers are legal (not aliens)
But on the other hand, they make about 6.50/hr. and a lot of them are “bottom of the barrel” type people or recent immigrants/refugees.
I have never seen a Wal-Mart inspector or any sort of Wal-Mart rules or regulations. Ever.
If I send them something that’s wrong, their incoming inspection catches it and rejects it. They give the sales people crap. We fix it. End of story.
No inspectors. No interviews. That would be a fustercluck anyway. People at that income level have nothing better to do than complain. They would talk the inspectors ear off, but the stuff would still need to get made.
I was wondering, is there a website that can direct me to businesses in my area that produce locally and treat their employees well? I tried an experiment a couple of years ago. I tried to buy clothing that was made in the U.S. All I was able to buy were some t-shirts and some items made by Liz Claiborne. I’d like to support businesses other than Walmart, but it’s very difficult to buy items that aren’t imported; especially from China.
It’s been two years since I’ve worked there so my memory’s a bit fuzzy, not to mention that they weren’t all that common, but it was basically a really cheesy “Give me a W! Give me an A! Give me an L!” sort of thing… not any sort of pledge of allegiance or chant to the God of retail or anything.
Nuthinboutnuthin was basically just living up to his or her name with that post.