Why People Love to Hate Walmart
There's really NO good reason to hate Walmart, but lots of people do. We're not trying to be their cheerleader here, but the truth is so obvious we are quite surprised so many can't see it.
Maybe its because Walmart is everywhere. 90% of all Americans live within fifteen miles of a Walmart. As of March 2012, there were 3,029 Wal-Mart Supercenters in the United States and they serve 127 million customers each week. They also sell more food than any other store in the world.
According to the Fortune Global 500 list, in 2012, the company was the world's third largest public corporation and the biggest private employer in the world with over two million employees ... the largest retailer in the world.
Americans spend $36 million at WM every HOUR of every day.
WM will sell more from January 1st to St. Patrick's Day (March 17th) than Target sells all year. In fact, WM is bigger than Home Depot, Kroger, Target, Sears, Costco and K-Mart ... Combined.
This year 7.2 billion different purchasing experiences will occur at WM stores (the Earth's population is approximately 6.5 Billion).
An Real Unemployment Solution:
With today's economic horrors, the world has gotten pretty scary. Many workers with strong work ethics and dedicated to their employers, find themselves out in the cold, too old and, amazingly, out of the job market. Many find a new home working at WM giving them a sense of need.
The Killing of Mom and Pop?
Some claim that Walmart is killing small businesses and they put profit over people. They accuse them of being overly competitive, predatory and a killer of Mom and Pop stores.
These "whiners" use buzz words like "slave wages", "harm communities", "higher crime", "family disintegration" and wages that "people cannot live on".
Most of the people making these claims are unions and politicians supporting unions.
The truth is WM is competitive and simply offers merchandise for less. This free market system works for the local consumer and, YES, this does drive others, who can't compete, out of business.
Time Marches On
Most of us can't help but resist change. These old stores are favorites from our youth ... a.k.a. ... retail nostalgia. However, the cost of low prices actually HELPS the community. It leaves money in the customer's wallet at the end of the week to spend elsewhere locally thereby stimulating the local community.
We can't help but shop at WM because their prices are lower. Shocking, I know.
Its probably the greatest anti-poverty program in the country. WM saves the average family over $2000 a year.
Just like the downtown stores that have closed and moved to the malls, WM's success is driven by the shopper.
One misleading claim against WM is that their employees have "no control over their schedules and their wages". Hmmm, that's just like the rest of us, isn't it? And yes, some part-time workers do, in fact, qualify for state and federal aid and benefits. But that's a good thing.
So most who promote hate to WM are actually talking Socialism.
On July 2, 1962, Sam Walton opened the first WM Discount City store in Rogers, Arkansas. 50 plus years later they are the LARGEST employer in America. Two million Americans proudly wear the blue "How May I Help You?" smock.
The Walton family is now worth in excess of $102 Billion.
For the fiscal year ending January 31, 2011, WM reported a net income of $15.4 billion on $422 billion of revenue with a 24.7 percent gross profit margin. The corporation's international operations accounted for $109.2 billion, or 26.1 percent, of total sales.
It is the world's 18th largest public corporation and the largest public corporation when ranked by revenue.
WM has revenue higher than the GNP of nearly 170 countries. Their international operations currently comprise 4,263 stores and 660,000 workers in 15 countries outside the United States.
Poor Wages? No!
While many feel they underpay their workers but the opposite is true. With the 2013 minimum wage being $7.25, WM most wages are equal or better.
Its hard to generalize about WM workers because there's so many different kinds. Some are very sophisticated jobs like buyers and data processors. WM jobs cover the full spectrum from the high end positions all the way to the lowest level part-time retail jobs. The more skills you have the more you get paid - just like any other company.
Starting WM wages:
Retails Sales Associate $7.77
Certified Pharmacy Tech $9.25
Floor Sales Rep $9.90
Licensed Optician $12.16
WM also promotes from within. 70% of all managers started out in floor jobs.
The High Cost of Low Prices?
The 2005 anti-Walmart documentary by Robert Greenwald is well done but completely skews the numbers. Of course a pro-WM documentary wouldn't sell. This just fueled the fire for the hatters. It suggested WM FORCED workers into welfare by paying minimum wages and not offering healthcare. They also promote the negative impact on openings and claim they drive down wages. The film is looking through the wrong end of the telescope.
That's not to say Walmart is not without excessive corporate greed. They've been successfully sued many times. In 2000 they paid out $50 million dollars to settle a suit filed by 69 thousand employees in Colorado who claimed they were forced to work while off the clock.
In 2005 Walmart paid 172 million dollars for a claim filed by 116 thousand employees in California for not giving them their legally mandated 30-minute lunch breaks.
Sometimes the truth isn't pretty (have you seen how sausage is made?). Many items made today are made in third world countries. Because WM demands lower prices from the suppliers. This forces some of them to lower their costs in making those goods and they choose to use, so-called, "sweat shops". While some claim this exploits workers, and it does, using sweat shop labor actually benefits those workers by providing much better jobs than the alternative like working in agriculture and working out in the fields. The pay is also much better and quite a bit more than other domestic employers.
Yep, by comparison to American workers, the conditions there are BAD.
Unions vs Walmart
WM is non-union and has fought it for many years. The people who want WM to unionized are ... wait for it ... the UNIONS. Why? They simply want more union members and more revenue. They disguise their desire by saying its for the "worker" but we all know that's not true.
The "People" don't want WM to unionize because this cost will be passed on to the customer and - BLAM - the price of everything will just go up.
WM is just simple free market capitalism on a grand scale.
If you think WM should "give back" to its community you're right, they should. And they do.
Did you know they donated $20 million in CASH to aid in the recovery after Hurricane Katrina? They also delivered 1500 truckloads of FREE merchandise. They also supplied food for 100,000 meals. For their New Orleans area employees victimized by the flood WM promised each would still have a job when things got back up and running.
No Health Care?
While WM doesn't offer health care for its employees (They have that right, right?) they did lead the way in fighting high costs of drugs by being the first to offer the 100 most popular prescriptions in generic form for only $4. What impact does this have on healthcare for their customers? We know it really ticked of the drug manufactures.
Wm also shares profits with their employees who qualify by working at least 1000 hours a year. WM stock is now selling for about $70 a share.
So, Hate Walmart? Why? They provide what we need at a lost cost and employ many who might be home collecting unemployment or worse.
Let's face it - Roseanne Barr said it best ... "If Walmart doesn't have it, I don't need it."