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The Wal-Mart debate thread

Mithrandir86Mithrandir86 Registered User regular
edited December 2007 in Debate and/or Discourse
Wal-Mart!

The exemplar of evil business practices in the United States! Corporate Greed! Outsourcing! Mistreatment of Workers! Sexism! Cheap Socks that destroy America! Wal-Mart hurts America!

Wal-Mart is unfairly treated! Wal-Mart raises a community's standard of living! Wal-Mart offers competitive wages! Wal-Mart is America!

Last week Wal-Mart opened its Facebook group, The Roommate Style Match. Within hours, its wall was defaced by users criticizing everything, from its labor practices, to its environmental damage. Some demanded that Facebook remove the group. Others, like myself, asked that Wal-Mart disable the wall, as it was not being utilized favorably for the company. Wal-Mart should not have to pay to provide a forum for its critics.

Even then, however, the debate is not going to go away.

What should be done about Wal-Mart? Does it need regulation? To be partitioned? Who should clean up Wal-Mart? Does it need cleaning?

Is Wal-Mart just part of the larger problems with globalization and trade?

Here is some reading:

Wal-Mart Facts is Wal-Mart's response to its critics.
Wal-Mart Facts


Pro Wal-Mart
The Ultimate Pro Wal-Mart Article

Critics of Wal-Mart
The High Cost of Low Price
National Organization of Women accuses Wal-Mart of sexist policies
Wal-Mart Watch

PBS Frontline has a pretty balanced take on Wal-Mart using moving pictures and sound! In color!
Is Wal-Mart Good For America?

Mithrandir86 on
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Posts

  • FencingsaxFencingsax Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Fellhand wrote: »
    Gooey wrote: »
    Yeah. But we got into it in [chat].

    We had a thread about it too. Not chat.

    I'm ok with Wal-Mart. I don't see how it's any more of a monster than any other large corporation in America. I'd like them more if they didn't hire illegals, but again other corporations do that too.

    I've heard that before, but I really don't see the reasoning behind it. Certainly there is nothing morally wrong with hiring someone from another country, even s/he has not been given a green card?
    It has to do with the fact that illegal aliens are easily exploited, with little reprisal.

    It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it
  • Mithrandir86Mithrandir86 Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Fencingsax wrote: »
    Fellhand wrote: »
    Gooey wrote: »
    Yeah. But we got into it in [chat].

    We had a thread about it too. Not chat.

    I'm ok with Wal-Mart. I don't see how it's any more of a monster than any other large corporation in America. I'd like them more if they didn't hire illegals, but again other corporations do that too.

    I've heard that before, but I really don't see the reasoning behind it. Certainly there is nothing morally wrong with hiring someone from another country, even s/he has not been given a green card?
    It has to do with the fact that illegal aliens are easily exploited, with little reprisal.

    Yes, but that is a different manner entirely. Abuse is still abuse, whether you entered legally or not.

    Spoiler:
  • slurpeepoopslurpeepoop Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Given the unstoppable and near-limitless power that Wal-Mart wields over just about every industry, the USA and its government, and every company under the sun, I'd say that they handle it better than just about every other company who has tried to assume this level of omnipotence.

    The customer is still #1 in Wal-Mart's book, and that's a lesson many other companies have yet to learn.

    Being good to your customers is what gets you your $400 million salary, Dumbshit McExecutive, not screwing with them just to make your projected profit margin.

    As far as I'm concerned, Wal-Mart is just as evil as every other company ever, but at least they know how to cater to the people who gives them money, and they are brutally strict about keeping prices cheaper than everywhere else, even when they hold monopolies.

    As an aside, giving an ultimatum to the music industry to either lower their prices or destroy them was absolutely beautiful.



  • IncenjucarIncenjucar QA Tester -> Game Producer Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited August 2007
    I've heard that before, but I really don't see the reasoning behind it. Certainly there is nothing morally wrong with hiring someone from another country, even s/he has not been given a green card?

    It's the whole "laws" thing, mostly, and all the things attached to them, like regulations.

    But the main public objection there would be because many Americans are still trying to make a living via very old economic systems which don't work out so well with increased globalization and economic differences between neighboring regions.

    It's kind of scary to realize that though you live in the first world you have to compete with the third world for your living if you failed to take maximum advantage of your environment (college, etc).

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  • FencingsaxFencingsax Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Fencingsax wrote: »
    Fellhand wrote: »
    Gooey wrote: »
    Yeah. But we got into it in [chat].

    We had a thread about it too. Not chat.

    I'm ok with Wal-Mart. I don't see how it's any more of a monster than any other large corporation in America. I'd like them more if they didn't hire illegals, but again other corporations do that too.

    I've heard that before, but I really don't see the reasoning behind it. Certainly there is nothing morally wrong with hiring someone from another country, even s/he has not been given a green card?
    It has to do with the fact that illegal aliens are easily exploited, with little reprisal.

    Yes, but that is a different manner entirely. Abuse is still abuse, whether you entered legally or not.
    Yes, but the legal citizens have protections, supposedly. Even if they don't get their 40 hours, which is another issue that's pretty bad entirely.

    It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it
  • ZeeBeeKayZeeBeeKay Registered User
    edited August 2007
    I dislike Wallmart, but I must admit that it is because of the kneejerk stuff that Gooey was talking about in [chat]. Also, that Vlasic pickle story that was brought up in the last thread.

    The major problem that I have with Wallmart is that they are the store for people without much money, and they have an enormous profit margin, and yet they do nothing to try and make their products better. They have such huge economic power and don't do much positive (that I've heard of, I could be wrong) with said power.

    Also the Wallmart in my town is really depressing.

  • GoslingGosling Looking Up Soccer In Mongolia Right Now, Probably Watertown, WIRegistered User regular
    edited August 2007
    As a person who has been working in third shift for three months now, I can comment with some authority on this whole packaging-reduction thing they're trying to do.

    It's a load of hooey. La de da, I'm stocking picture frames. Open box. Remove bubble wrap. Remove second layer of bubble wrap. Remove THIRD layer of bubble wrap. Remove layer of paper. Remove sheet of cardboard. Remove HOUSE BRAND picture frame. Stock HOUSE BRAND picture frame. Move on to the SECOND picture frame with three bubble wrap layers, paper layer, cardboard sheet of its own. Break down box after removing all four- FOUR- frames. I am not exaggerating for effect. This has actually happened. Several times.

    Oh, yes, and if it's cardboard, it goes in the baler for recycling. But if it's straight paper, which I have been told is made of the same wood pulp that cardboard is, it goes in the garbage.

    Also. A few times I have been assigned to 'ball duty'. This was basically a reprieve from actual work. Fill up big ol' inflatable balls with air, run them to the bin out on the floor, repeat until you either run out of bin or run out of balls. They fill up slowly enough and there are enough balls that I can spend half the shift on this and still be able to say I've been going as fast as humanly possible.

    The balls are of course rubber, which has to come from somewhere that produces rubber. South America, Mexico, Indonesia, somewhere. The rubber is made into ball form in a factory in China. The balls are then shipped from China to Ohio. From Ohio, the balls backtrack to the distribution center in Beaver Dam before coming here.

    Now, how much gas is this using up to fly the balls from tree to shelf? Best-case, it's a route of Indonesia-China-Ohio-Beaver Dam-Watertown. Worst-case, it's BRAZIL-China-Ohio-Beaver Dam-Watertown. For balls that sell for $2.50. What you ought to do here is get the rubber from Mexico and have the balls made in the States as close to Bentonville as possible (as many of the stores are in that area or otherwise in the South). That makes a much greener route of Mexico-Arkansas-Ohio-Beaver Dam-Watertown. Better yet, cut Ohio out of the route entirely.

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  • MalkorMalkor Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    I think in England they have little stickers showing how far any goods needed to travel to get to your store. That's a damn good idea.

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  • thundercakethundercake Registered User
    edited August 2007
    I know pretty much nothing about business, but I really feel depressed every time I go into Walmart. They're so bleak. Everyone working there looks so sad. I always come out of there feeling guilty and somewhat less human than before. Might just be my imagination, but looking out on those football-field-size parking lots stuffed with cars makes me a little sick inside.

  • Irond WillIrond Will Dragonmaster Cambridge. MASuper Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited August 2007
    ZeeBeeKay wrote: »
    Also the Wallmart in my town is really depressing.
    Wal-Marts are depressing, bleak places coast to coast. If it weren't for the ubiquitous fluorescent lighting, you'd actually be able to see the desperation vapors swirling around.

    Wqdwp8l.png
  • SamSam Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    yeah, how much would it cost wal mart to class their stores up, just a little bit? like softer lights and a bit of carpet, or at least flooring that doesn't look like a high school auditorium.

  • Mmmm... Cocks...Mmmm... Cocks... Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Irond Will wrote: »
    ZeeBeeKay wrote: »
    Also the Wallmart in my town is really depressing.
    Wal-Marts are depressing, bleak places coast to coast. If it weren't for the ubiquitous fluorescent lighting, you'd actually be able to see the desperation vapors swirling around.
    Really though - where I use to live (Oxford, PA) we only had two very new Wal-Marts which were nice. When I moved out here(Wyomissing, PA) and worked for Target we were told a lot about how shitty Wal-Mart was and when I went to a local one... it was probably the worst store I had ever seen in my life. I couldn't find a single employee to ask for help or the damn thing I wanted either (zippo fluid).

  • GooeyGooey Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Sam wrote: »
    yeah, how much would it cost wal mart to class their stores up, just a little bit? like softer lights and a bit of carpet, or at least flooring that doesn't look like a high school auditorium.

    The most expensive Walmart built is in Madison, Mississippi, oddly enough. Or, at least it was at the time when it was put up.

    Madison, MS has a building code that states all buildings must be made out of brick and resemble a train station. I kid you not.

    So, they have a Super Walmart built entirely by hand-laid brick that looks like a giant train station.

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  • templewulftemplewulf Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Anecdotally, you'll find a wide variety of opinions on Wal-Mart. Not every store shorts people on overtime or locks them in overnight. However, corporate management has extreme pressure on store management to cut costs. When store management cuts costs by "forgetting" to pay you what you worked, corporate management looks the other way. Basically, you have to hope that the store manager you get stuck with isn't a dick.

    From a customer's perspective, I haven't actively shopped in a Wal-Mart for years. Their products usually aren't much cheaper than a competitor's, and sometimes it's actually slightly more expensive. The quality of most goods (especially produce and textiles) is so poor that I busted a pair of jeans within a month and some ground beef I once bought turned green within 2 1/2 days.

    I've found Target to have only slightly more expensive stuff with much more reasonable quality. I used to think it was the same in both stores if it was the same brand, but a lot of brands have a "Wal-Mart edition" of their products, and you can guess how it compares to their mainstream edition.

    All in all, Wal-Mart does a lot of morally reprehensible things that other companies do as well, but their size means the impact of these practices are larger. I would expect that anti-Wal-Mart crusaders would take on the next-worst corporation once Wal-Mart is fixed/put out of business, but I don't see either one of those ever happening.

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  • BroloBrolo Broseidon Lord of the BroceanRegistered User regular
    edited August 2007
    I remember reading a sci-fi short story that reminds me strangely of Wal-mart. It's the story of this industrialist in who has created a Wal-mart-like store that has finally grown so large that they are able to replace any mall or strip mall with a single gigantic store a few acres large. A grocery, pharmacy, clothing, electronics, automotive, home improvement, restauraunt and everything else behemoth. In turn every product inside of it will be produced by corporations that have gobbled each other up, each one eating the ones smaller than it until there are only a few left producing anything. Eventually everyone works for and produces for one aspect of the company or another, and even between nations it controls so much that it's able to create its own laws and boundaries.

    Of course things take a turn for the worse when the owner of it, in true tycoon fashion, passes it on to his two sons and they incite what's more or less a corporate civil world war, With Wal-mart turning against Wal-mart and individual stores trying to destroy the competition in order to enlarge their profit margins and curry the favour of the Chairkings of the company. I wish I knew who wrote it, it was some pretty entertaining stuff.

  • Pants ManPants Man Registered User
    edited August 2007
    PBS Frontline has a pretty balanced take on Wal-Mart using moving pictures and sound! In color!
    Is Wal-Mart Good For America?

    ah man, this is so good. i've actually seen it like three or four times, and it does a great job of providing a balance look at wal-mart

    i'm not a fan of it myself, but i do think it's fascinating how they were able to turn the supplier-seller dynamic on its head

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  • bloodatonementbloodatonement Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    My aversion to Walmart isn't so much their business practices, it's their clientele.

    That said, I can buy pretty much anything I want at 1am.

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  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    If there was a video game called Sim-Retail, and you wanted to min-max everything and exploit every game mechanic you could, Wal-Mart is basically what you would end up with.

    I'm not a fan, and I don't shop there (nine times out of ten, Costco/Winco/Target has a cheaper/better alternative anyway. The most frightening thing to me is the case of Wal-Marts in a few smalls towns, where they basically turn into the modern Pullman Company Store.

    gkcmatch_zps97480250.jpg
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  • NightDragonNightDragon Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    I find myself having a constant moral debate every time I enter a Wal-Mart parking lot.
    I think to myself
    This huge sprawling box-like facility put many shops out of business.
    This massive building sells things from third world countries that are paid pennies on the dollar to manufacture.
    Then I realize I am very poor and cannot afford a moral debate about buying over-priced crap at Mom and Pop shops.
    D:
    The money usually wins.

    This is pretty much me exactly.

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  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Sam wrote: »
    yeah, how much would it cost wal mart to class their stores up, just a little bit? like softer lights and a bit of carpet, or at least flooring that doesn't look like a high school auditorium.

    Yes, you'd think it'd be to their benefit. The second I walk into Wal-Mart, my skin crawls and I just want out. This leads me to quickly grab the shit I came for, and move the fuck on. The lighting, the displays, the constant chatter over the intercom, just everything.

    Unlike, say, Target...I can wander around there for an extra half-hour and have no problems. Often I'll end up buying shit I neither needed, nor even particularly wanted, because of this.

    You know what's really fucked up? ShopKo. I don't even get their purpose. They lack the relative "class" of Target (generally their displays are even worse than Wal-Mart), yet they also don't seem to have the retail clout to compete directly with Wal-Mart on price. How they stay in business is beyond me. Their employees actually manage to look more depressed than Wal-Mart employees, too.

    Oh, and while Wal-Mart is not always the lowest price, their prices in general are quite competitive. Especially on the low end (as opposed to, say, higher-quality brands). You may not save on a Sony television or shit like that, but if you're looking for the cheapest lamp in town they likely have it. And most of their other lamps will be either the same or cheaper than elsewhere. Basically on any given basket of goods it's highly unlikely that they'll end up costing more at Wal-Mart...though the savings might be marginal. [EDIT: Discounting stores that require membership, like Costco]

  • KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    I have a similar negative reaction to Wal Mart like stores, yet for some reason that doesn't click when I go into huge super markets. I guess I like food a lot more.

    Speaking of which, the Whole Foods in Kensington, London (first in UK iirc) is pure food porn. Oh and Whole Foods also had the FTC oppose it's takeover of a smaller rival, which has to be a first for the FTC. Although admittedly the WF CEO does seem a little crazy.

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  • GoslingGosling Looking Up Soccer In Mongolia Right Now, Probably Watertown, WIRegistered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Food porn... is that a bad thing or a good thing?

    I have a blog. Read it. Blog-reading makes you pretty and popular.
  • KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    mtvcdm wrote: »
    Food porn... is that a bad thing or a good thing?

    All possible meanings point to yes.

    Freedom for the Northern Isles!
  • ElendilElendil Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Sam wrote: »
    yeah, how much would it cost wal mart to class their stores up, just a little bit? like softer lights and a bit of carpet, or at least flooring that doesn't look like a high school auditorium.

    Yes, you'd think it'd be to their benefit. The second I walk into Wal-Mart, my skin crawls and I just want out. This leads me to quickly grab the shit I came for, and move the fuck on. The lighting, the displays, the constant chatter over the intercom, just everything.
    Don't forget the people. They're the deal breaker for me.

    I loathe the people in Wal-Mart, even as I am one. The cognitive dissonance alone is enough to keep me focused on getting the hell out.

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  • imbalancedimbalanced Registered User
    edited August 2007
    I wish people would leave Walmart alone. Yeah I get it. Some people that shop there are crazy, some people that work there don't get huge benefits. Who the fuck cares. The great thing about a free market economy is you can A) not shop there, and B) not work there.

    There's nothing I hate more than people petitioning because they don't want to be associated with a Walmart, yet have five Starbucks within a three mile radius. "Oh but Starbucks is nicer, and has quality products!" Fuck you.

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  • IncenjucarIncenjucar QA Tester -> Game Producer Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited August 2007
    I don't go to Starbucks either, and they're actually one of the best companies so far as treating their employees goes.

    If you just stopped talking against things you're against, nothing will CHANGE, -ever-.

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  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    I wish people would leave Walmart alone. Yeah I get it. Some people that shop there are crazy, some people that work there don't get huge benefits. Who the fuck cares. The great thing about a free market economy is you can A) not shop there, and B) not work there.

    Bullshit. Yes, in theory any given individual can choose not to work there. But until we hit 0% unemployment, at some point some people will end up effectively "forced" to work there (or, you know, starve).

    Though apparently at my wife's school there's this teacher who is very vocal about never ever shopping at Wal-Mart, and refusing to support them. But every now and again if somebody else says they're going there, this teacher will give them money and ask them to grab something for her.

    Because, you know, she doesn't shop at Wal-Mart.

    So obviously economics is not part of the elementary education curriculum. Dumbass.

  • werehippywerehippy Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Oh god, this thread is destined to end poorly. I'm calling it now, we'll either have this slowly die out in the next day or so, or 15 pages later it'll be a handful of people who enjoy economics beating their heads on their keyboards while arguing with random people who simply hate the way capitalism works and dress it up in various bits of rhetoric.

    Just because I randomly found it again recently, I think this was the last WalMart thread. It's pretty thorough, but it was split from another thread so there's some oddness in the first few pages.

  • imbalancedimbalanced Registered User
    edited August 2007
    mcdermott wrote: »
    I wish people would leave Walmart alone. Yeah I get it. Some people that shop there are crazy, some people that work there don't get huge benefits. Who the fuck cares. The great thing about a free market economy is you can A) not shop there, and B) not work there.

    Bullshit. Yes, in theory any given individual can choose not to work there. But until we hit 0% unemployment, at some point some people will end up effectively "forced" to work there (or, you know, starve).

    That is so much crap I don't know where to start. I had several friends who worked at Walmart, but none of them felt like they HAD to work there. Most of them were in junior high or high school and didn't even expect more than minimum wage, much less benefits. A high school diploma will get you a job outside of Walmart. Seriously.

    Keep in mind I grew up in Arkansas, where Walmart DEFINED a "real" city. Despite that, there ARE other jobs out there. Nobody HAS to work ANYWHERE. To be forced to work there is the epitome of laziness.

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  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    imbalanced wrote: »
    That is so much crap I don't know where to start. I had several friends who worked at Walmart, but none of them felt like they HAD to work there. Most of them were in junior high or high school and didn't even expect more than minimum wage, much less benefits. A high school diploma will get you a job outside of Walmart. Seriously.

    Gee whiz, what a surprise. A person in junior high or high school doesn't feel like they "had" to work somewhere. That's because presumably these people are not supporting themselves. I mean, what the fuck?

    Actual grownups need jobs. There are, despite a growing economy, a limited number of jobs available at any given time. It's like a giant game of musical chairs, and some poor fuckers are going to get stuck standing (or, in other words, working at places like Wal-Mart or Wal-Mart specifically).

    Just because your buddies who were putting in a few hours for weed money didn't feel too trapped there doesn't mean there don't exist actual adults who are pretty much stuck there. Also, a high school diploma may not get you a job outside Wal-Mart, depending on your local economy. It certainly won't get you a job outside retail, and retail wages are also affected by Wal-Mart's practices.
    Keep in mind I grew up in Arkansas, where Walmart DEFINED a "real" city. Despite that, there ARE other jobs out there. Nobody HAS to work ANYWHERE. To be forced to work there is the epitome of laziness.

    Yes, but EVERYBODY (who doesn't want to starve) HAS to work SOMEWHERE. Gee, caps are fun. The point is that given that there are a limited number of jobs available, some people do actually have to work at Wal-Mart.

    This doesn't necessarily mean we should take any particular actions towards or against Wal-Mart. But to act as if anybody working there is either there because they want to be or are too lazy to find another job is just a wee bit inaccurate.

  • werehippywerehippy Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Actual grownups need jobs. There are, despite a growing economy, a limited number of jobs available at any given time. It's like a giant game of musical chairs, and some poor fuckers are going to get stuck standing (or, in other words, working at places like Wal-Mart or Wal-Mart specifically).

    This is somewhat technical, but I love me some economics, so here goes: The current unemployment rate is pretty near optimal, meaning that anyone that wants a job can get one and no one (barring extraordinary circumstances) is forced to work in any job they do not wish to. 5% (I think that's roughly our current unemployment rate) is just about the number you expect at "full employment" where just short of all jobs are filled by people who want to be working them.

    Now, this isn't to ignore the transition costs that may keep people in a job they don't like because they can't afford to risk quiting, but that's going to exist no matter what else is going on.

    Long story short, and really tangential to what the issue at hand, I think it IS fair to say that, as much as is ever humanly possible, most people who are currently working at walmart are doing so because they want to.

  • imbalancedimbalanced Registered User
    edited August 2007
    mcdermott wrote: »
    imbalanced wrote: »
    That is so much crap I don't know where to start. I had several friends who worked at Walmart, but none of them felt like they HAD to work there. Most of them were in junior high or high school and didn't even expect more than minimum wage, much less benefits. A high school diploma will get you a job outside of Walmart. Seriously.

    Gee whiz, what a surprise. A person in junior high or high school doesn't feel like they "had" to work somewhere. That's because presumably these people are not supporting themselves. I mean, what the fuck?

    Actual grownups need jobs. There are, despite a growing economy, a limited number of jobs available at any given time. It's like a giant game of musical chairs, and some poor fuckers are going to get stuck standing (or, in other words, working at places like Wal-Mart or Wal-Mart specifically).

    Just because your buddies who were putting in a few hours for weed money didn't feel too trapped there doesn't mean there don't exist actual adults who are pretty much stuck there. Also, a high school diploma may not get you a job outside Wal-Mart, depending on your local economy. It certainly won't get you a job outside retail, and retail wages are also affected by Wal-Mart's practices.
    Keep in mind I grew up in Arkansas, where Walmart DEFINED a "real" city. Despite that, there ARE other jobs out there. Nobody HAS to work ANYWHERE. To be forced to work there is the epitome of laziness.

    Yes, but EVERYBODY (who doesn't want to starve) HAS to work SOMEWHERE. Gee, caps are fun. The point is that given that there are a limited number of jobs available, some people do actually have to work at Wal-Mart.

    This doesn't necessarily mean we should take any particular actions towards or against Wal-Mart. But to act as if anybody working there is either there because they want to be or are too lazy to find another job is just a wee bit inaccurate.

    At any point in your life have you felt like if you didn't work at a certain company you would never work? I know that I haven't. Even when I had zero experience. If you cannot get anything better than Walmart when you're an "actual grownup" then it's not Walmart's fault. It's the dumbass's fault who doesn't have enough education and experience after 20+ years to have an excuse.

    What were they doing the whole time? Why is it Walmart's fault that people in this world are lazy idiots? Guess what. I'm not even 30 and I don't EVER have to work there for any reason. It's not like I came from rich parents. I'm from Walmart Country. Arkansas isn't exactly the top 10 economies in the USA, yet I didn't feel the need (nor did anyone I know) to work at Walmart.

    Cry me a fucking river, people have to work. Waaaaaaah. They don't have to work at any given institution, and to think that someone is forced into a third-world living condition because of Walmart is fucking stupid.

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  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    werehippy wrote: »
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Actual grownups need jobs. There are, despite a growing economy, a limited number of jobs available at any given time. It's like a giant game of musical chairs, and some poor fuckers are going to get stuck standing (or, in other words, working at places like Wal-Mart or Wal-Mart specifically).

    This is somewhat technical, but I love me some economics, so here goes: The current unemployment rate is pretty near optimal, meaning that anyone that wants a job can get one and no one (barring extraordinary circumstances) is forced to work in any job they do not wish to. 5% (I think that's roughly our current unemployment rate) is just about the number you expect at "full employment" where just short of all jobs are filled by people who want to be working them.

    Now, this isn't to ignore the transition costs that may keep people in a job they don't like because they can't afford to risk quiting, but that's going to exist no matter what else is going on.

    Long story short, and really tangential to what the issue at hand, I think it IS fair to say that, as much as is ever humanly possible, most people who are currently working at walmart are doing so because they want to.

    This is somewhat true, and I'd agree that at the moment our unemployment rate is pretty damn low (I instantly regretted that "0%" comment, because I too know enough about economics to know that "full employment" occurs slightly above that).

    But of course, I also learned in economics that unemployment figures often fail to take into account both underemployment (either lack of hours or employment well below one's education level) as well as those who've left the job market because they were unable to find a job.

    So yeah, since you threw that "as much as is humanly possible" part in there, I'm inclined to agree with you. But keeping in mind that that 5% unemployment rate is only achieved with Wal-Mart as a major US employer I think imbalanced's attitude is largely horseshit.
    What were they doing the whole time? Why is it Walmart's fault that people in this world are lazy idiots? Guess what. I'm not even 30 and I don't EVER have to work there for any reason. It's not like I came from rich parents. I'm from Walmart Country. Arkansas isn't exactly the top 10 economies in the USA, yet I didn't feel the need (nor did anyone I know) to work at Walmart.

    Yes, because the only people working at Wal-Mart who don't enjoy it are "lazy idiots." Also, Wal-Mart's policies and practices affect the entire retail industry, and as I said when you open it up to retail as a whole some people are quite honestly going to get "forced" (though lack of other viable options) into such jobs.

    However, I'm not expecting to hear much more than libertarian propaganda out of you so I'll be unsurprised when you disagree with another dose of healthy rhetoric.

  • ShogunShogun Hair long; money long; me and broke wizards we don't get along Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    I hate Wal-Mart, but I go there occasionally because I refuse to preorder stuff and they actually carry copies of the game.

  • Irond WillIrond Will Dragonmaster Cambridge. MASuper Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited August 2007
    imbalanced wrote: »
    There's nothing I hate more than people petitioning because they don't want to be associated with a Walmart, yet have five Starbucks within a three mile radius. "Oh but Starbucks is nicer, and has quality products!" Fuck you.

    Well fuck dude, "Starbucks has better products and a nice atmosphere and they treat their suppliers fairly and their employees generously" is pretty much the whole point. What more do you want?

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  • Irond WillIrond Will Dragonmaster Cambridge. MASuper Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited August 2007
    imbalanced wrote: »
    That is so much crap I don't know where to start. I had several friends who worked at Walmart, but none of them felt like they HAD to work there. Most of them were in junior high or high school and didn't even expect more than minimum wage, much less benefits. A high school diploma will get you a job outside of Walmart. Seriously.

    Wal-Mart: We're Not That Bad To Work For If You're A High-School Student Living In Some Rural Shithole

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  • werehippywerehippy Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    mcdermott wrote: »
    So yeah, since you threw that "as much as is humanly possible" part in there, I'm inclined to agree with you. But keeping in mind that that 5% unemployment rate is only achieved with Wal-Mart as a major US employer I think imbalanced's attitude is largely horseshit.

    Ok, taking as a given the fact that the US economy is near or at full employment and therefore it is as easy as it currently can be made to move between jobs at will, your caveat that this is only the case with Walmart as a major US employer is irrelevant (at least as far as the point you want to make goes).

    If there is full employment and Walmart was treating employees "too" poorly, their employees would leave in sufficient numbers and they would be unable to find enough replacements. This would force Walmart's hand and make them treat employees better (in terms of the a more general "treatment" and more specifically wages and benefits). If that ISN'T happening, the thing we have to assume is that Walmart employees are, if not "happy", then at least sufficiently satisfied with their work relationship to remain employed there.

    I'm not in the least saying that Walmart treats their employees well, and I'm certainly not taking the position that workers in shitty jobs deserve what they get (I've been on the shit end of life's stick enough to know what a crock that is) but the fact is, in purely objective terms, the exchange with Walmart treating workers the way it does, and the workers being of the caliber and productivity they are, is a free one both sides are happy with.

  • werehippywerehippy Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Irond Will wrote: »
    Wal-Mart: We're Not That Bad To Work For If You're A High-School Student Living In Some Rural Shithole

    You'd be amazed what isn't that bad for anyone in a rural shithole.

    Maybe it's just locational bias, but I honestly think we could fix vast swathes of what's wrong with America if we just found a way to improve economic transitions, because the majority of what seems to go wrong in poor neighborhoods is simply that they're poor and no one has any options.

  • imbalancedimbalanced Registered User
    edited August 2007
    mcdermott wrote: »

    Yes, because the only people working at Wal-Mart who don't enjoy it are "lazy idiots." Also, Wal-Mart's policies and practices affect the entire retail industry, and as I said when you open it up to retail as a whole some people are quite honestly going to get "forced" (though lack of other viable options) into such jobs.

    However, I'm not expecting to hear much more than libertarian propaganda out of you so I'll be unsurprised when you disagree with another dose of healthy rhetoric.

    I have yet to hear about one person who's actually worked at Walmart and got trapped by it, so this theoretical person is bullshit. Have you worked at Walmart and have no choice but to continue working there? Has anyone in this thread? No? Then you've got no legs to stand on.

    People demonize pretty much everything nowadays with power, so it makes sense that the retail sector would be the same, but damn. I have never heard so many people spit acid about something that hasn't affected them AT ALL in their own lives.

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    Wii Code: 1040-1320-0724-3613 :!!:
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    I have yet to hear about one person who's actually worked at Walmart and got trapped by it, so this theoretical person is bullshit. Have you worked at Walmart and have no choice but to continue working there? Has anyone in this thread? No? Then you've got no legs to stand on.

    Me, the people I know, and the people in this thread (as well as the people they know) are not exactly a large or representative sample of the US population. But whatever.
    imbalanced wrote: »
    I have never heard so many people spit acid about something that hasn't affected them AT ALL in their own lives.

    Being the single largest retailer in the US, the largest grocer in the US, and the largest private employer in the world I'd say the effects of Wal-Marts policies and practices just might go beyond their employees and customers.

This discussion has been closed.