As many of you may know, I have a special place in my heart for WalMart. I’ve hated the place since before I read _Nickle_and_Dimed_, and since then I haven’t even let someone mention it without going off on some sort of tirade. I was recently reading slashdot when I came across a comment (http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=89856&threshold=5&commentsort=0&tid=141&mode=thread&cid=7761374) that really summed up why I think the place is so awful:
Top 5 Reasons Not To Shop At Wal-Mart
1. American Wal-Mart Employees Are Exploited.
2. Wal-Mart’s Low Prices Are The Result Of Human Misery.
3. Wal-Mart Forces Its Unethical Practices On Its 65,000 Suppliers.
4. Wal-Mart Destroys Local Communities.
5. Wal-Mart Is Not Accountable.
1. AMERICAN WAL-MART EMPLOYEES ARE EXPLOITED:
* “Full-Time” (actually 28 hours/week) employees only gross $11,000 a year,
* Health benefits are available only after two years, but premiums are so
high only 38% of employees can afford it.
* Even discussing working conditions or unionization will result in
retaliation and firing.
* There is “a harsh, anti-woman culture in which complaints go unanswered
and the women who make them are targeted for retaliation.” (Quote taken
from a national class-action suit against Wal-Mart.)
2. WAL-MART’S LOW PRICES ARE THE RESULT OF HUMAN MISERY:
* 13-16 hour days molding, assembling, and painting toys, 7 days a week; 20
hour days in the peak season.
* Workers are paid 13 cents/hour wages in China: the minimum wage is
* There is no health or safety enforcement: constant headaches and nausea
from chemical fumes, indoor temperatures above 100 degrees F, rampant
repetitive stress disorder, no protective clothing available.
* Most employees are young women or teenage girls.
3. WAL-MART FORCES ITS UNETHICAL PRACTICES ON ITS 65,000 SUPPLIERS:
* Suppliers have to open their accounting books to Wal-Mart executives so
they can cut “unnecessary expenses” like unionized workers, health
benefits, and American-made products.
* Suppliers are forced to move facilities to China and other low production
cost nations to meet Wal-Mart’s demands.
* Competitors are also forced to abandon customer service while slashing
employee wages and moving production to foreign sweat shops to remain
4. WAL-MART DESTROYS LOCAL COMMUNITIES:
* Wal-Mart stores average 200,000 feet in size: more than 4 football fields
and destroying any sense of community or character where they are located.
* By pricing items below cost they crush local retailers. Once they hold a
monopoly in the market they raise prices.
* Three good jobs are destroyed for every two Wal-Mart jobs created.
* Instead of business profits being reinvested in the community they are
shipped to Wal-Mart headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas.
5. WAL-MART IS NOT ACCOUNTABLE:
* The media won’t report negatively about Wal-Mart because Wal-Mart would
pull its huge advertising budget.
* The 535 members of Congress have no power compared to Wal-Mart’s
global reach: Wal-Mart does not have to answer to American voters, just
it’s stockholders who are seeking unethical profit.
* Wal-Mart is radically remaking our labor standards and local economies
by stifling debate, suppressing knowledge, and not asking our consent.