What's it like to work for Walmart?

You hear a lot from people with pro and anti Walmart agendas, but I’ve heard and/or seen relatively little from actual Walmart workers with respect to the work environment and what it’s like working there. Any dopers put in some time at Walmart? What was it like?

I worked for a Wal-Mart operation back in the late Eighties for a few months. Except for the creepy team-building exercises where we were required to sing the company anthem and the crappy way they’d run you right up to forty hours a week but never at or over, it was pretty much like any other shitty retail job, elbeit one in which I didn’t really have much use for my employee discount.

Complaints about how Wal-Mart treats its employees are probably valid, but I imagine the same to be true of any large retail chain–just not as widely publicized. Working retail just sucks.


ASDA , the UK supermarket chain owned by Wal-Mart , have just been fined £850,000 by an industrial tribunal for trying to bribe workers to “give up a collective agreement negotiated by the union”. So it looks as though Wal-Mart’s dubious employment practices have found their way over here.

Full story here

I work at one part-time. It’s not too bad, actually, though retail sucks and there’s no two ways about it. Still, management is generally pretty good and most of my coworkers are okay. I’m not being paid any less than I would be elsewhere locally for a comparable job, though they are indeed kind of cheap – I was hired as seasonal and kept on, and told (mid-January, when I was expecting to be evaluated soon!) that I wouldn’t get my 90-day evaluation until 90 days after the day I was made permanent. This means they get to pay me less for two extra months, since I can’t see how I won’t get the “you’re doing fine” raise at that point.

I think a lot of it depends on the individual store. I know I wouldn’t want to work at another local one that is right up the road because it’s constantly slammed. It’s always a bit of a mess and dirty and overrun, but I don’t think it’s because they don’t try, it’s because they’re so damn busy. And corporate is another thing altogether, but I really needed a job.

I’ve been better trained than I was at another retail job here, that’s for sure. Not that it takes much actual training to do the stuff I do.

I am not so sure about that. In the 80’s and early 90’s I had friends that worked at Sears, Rickels, JC Pennies, Home Depot and even K-Mart.
The Sears employee was an evening part timer in Hardware and loved it.
The Rickels Employee was full time and used to rack up 60 hour weeks between Halloween and Xmas. He didn’t like it but no where near the horror stories you here about WalMarts.
Pennies Employee was a Teen, and she thought Pennies beat most teen jobs by a mile.
Home Depot guy was a Carpenter during the early 90’s downturn. He didn’t like it, but it was paying his bills.
Kmart Employee hated it and said the management was stupid and evil. (Pretty much heard her saying similar stuff to Walmart Complaints.)


I’d be very cautious about generalizing from the late 80s to today. That’s practically 20 years ago. I know, it sped by for me, too. Wal-mart’s practices drive practices in the rest of the retail sector.

I worked at a Supercenter full-time from June 1999 to March 2001 and out of the three jobs I had before my current one, it was by far the best and paid the most. My experiences with the company are totally opposite everything you normally hear about them.