Friday, July 12, 2013


Walmart is like cell phones: a visit to Walmart is distasteful but a fact of modern life.   People complain about the low salaries and the way Walmart treats their workers; but people know the salary scale when they apply for the job – and most people initially are happy to get it.    Walmart, like McDonald's, offers jobs to unskilled workers – workers who are not qualified for any other jobs.   If you have salable skills, you are not looking for a career at Walmart.  Instead of blaming Walmart for their salary scale, how about blame the Senate and Congress for failing to pass a livable minimum wage law.  

A man that lives near me works at Walmart.   He is over fifty and for years worked as a manual laborer for a construction company in the summer and drew unemployment during the winter.    He lost his eye and injured his back working construction doing shovel and grunt work.  He now works at Walmart and his major complaint seems to be that they don’t lay him off during the winter so he can draw unemployment. 

The reality is that most Walmart workers would be unemployed in our small community if we didn't have a Walmart. 

People are gullible and willing to believe things without weighing the factors, and people like to complain.   We complain about the weather, our spouses, our children, our neighbors – the list is unending – just check out my blog: probably ninety percent of my post (as are yours) are complaints.   And we like to complain about Walmart.

My wife and I shop at Walmart.   We probably save about fifty dollars a month by shopping there; and, on a fixed income fifty dollars, to us, is a lot of money.  We don’t buy everything at Walmart, but we regularly buy can goods, cleaning products, appliances, beer, liquor and paper products.   There was an old general store in Maine that posted the sign: If we don’t have it, you don’t need it.   And that pretty much defines Walmart.  From car products to electronics – from bird feeders to candles – you have pretty much one stop shopping. 

We complain that Walmart carries Chinese junk – but get real – many of the products in your life were made in China.  If your phone and computer were not made in china, their components were.  Inside the labels of clothing from L.L. Beans and the sports gear at Cabela's you will find the label made in China.  Many of your cars parts were milled in Chinese factories. 

We have a Walmart and we still have a vibrant little town.  Some of the mom and pop stores closed, and that seems a shame; but mom and pop stores, like dial telephones, are a relic of the past.   No one complained when our little movie house closed and a multiplex opened – like accepting cell phones – we move on.

You get the best prices and the greatest selection at Walmart – and if they don’t have it you probably don’t need it.

the Ol’Buzzard    


  1. Where to begin . . . Well, for a start, if the Walmart wasn't there, where would people shop? Were there no grocery stores, no hardware shops, no auto parts dealers prior to Walmart moving into the area? That older guy with no real skills? How can anyone assume he'd be unemployed? Maybe he'd be working at the tire shop Walmart drove out of business, or at a local hardware store. If he's qualified to stock shelves at Walmart, he's qualified to stock them at a local supermarket -- if that supermarket hadn't closed after Walmart opened its Super store. How many small businesses vanished after the Walmart store opened? How much money does Walmart suck out of the community's tax base by negotiating for tax breaks with local government?

    It's not just the low wages and the made in China crap that are problems -- it's Walmart's business model in general. One reason so much of what they sell is made in China is Walmart drove American companies out of business by insisting on lower and lower wholesale prices. They'd go in, place an order for a zillion widgets, and then right about the time the company's managers were doing the happy dance (not realizing they'd just made their company dependent on Walmart following through on the huge order), start pressuring the company for lower prices. End result? The only way to meet the production goals was to move to a low wage production site.

    And how do you know you're saving money? I've done comparison shopping -- the fresh meat we buy at a local not-a-national-chain supermarket is cheaper and better quality than what the House of Satan sells and paper goods like toilet paper are cheaper at Family Dollar. Not long ago, we provided a ride to a fellow who insisted on shopping at Walmart --he bought a number of items that I knew were cheaper at the Econo Foods supermarket just down the road, but he had been so brainwashed into believing Walmart's advertising that he didn't want to believe things were cheaper elsewhere. Walmart is the master of the loss leader -- having one very noticeable item at bargain basement prices while running higher than average on a whole lot of other stuff. They're very, very good at what they do. They know that if they can suck you into the store for one or two bargains, most people won't notice that other things in the shopping cart weren't such a good deal after all.

    Personally, I have a real problem with shopping at a store owned by a corporation that trains its managers to tell employees how to apply for food stamps and Medicaid instead of either paying better wages or figuring out a way to schedule people for more hours. Their profits are phenomenal so the only reason for keeping workers at poverty wages is corporate greed.

    And, yes, the federal government should get its act together and up the minimum wage, but when Walmart provides so many other reasons not to shop there, the actual dollar amount per hour that their cashiers receive is pretty low on the list of reasons why we don't patronize the Evil Empire.

    1. OB and Nan,
      I shop at WM - But, I also do Ruler Foods (Kroger)and ALDI. As to the minimum wage - that needs to be a campaign issue by the Democrats - Something everyone can relate to.

      The Republicans will block it and that will be yet another nail in their political coffin.


    2. What business actually gives a damn about their workers? If it weren't for unions we would all be working for Walmart salaries.

  2. Besides the fact that Walmart has been the driving force behind sending manufacturing to China and now even cheaper labor places, a major factor to consider is the corporate policy of playing local governments against each other in sweetheart deals on taxes and other things. If Walmart has a tax abatement for 20 years (reduced property taxes, not sharing sales taxes[which they do regularly, that's SOP] with local governments,etc), when the time is near for them to start paying their fair share of taxes they build a new store just over the line in another jurisdiction. In town after town you see what were obviously Walmart stores that are closed and if you go a short way down the road you'll find a new "Super Walmart" just across the line in another township or county.

    So, is it worth saving a quarter on ass-wipe to support these ass-wipes?? Your taxes go to support the workers in their stores. Hell, we'd be better off just giving the people the money directly when you consider how fucking much each Walmart job is costing the local area!!!

    1. Walmart is not going away. We can bitch about it but it is like big oil...we are all oil spills but we drive our cars and heat our homes and burn our electricity.

      Just as gay marriage is not an issue with young people; neither is Walmart.

      We (the older) are the only one's that even remember mom a pop stores. Young people have been raised with Walmart - and cell phones.

    2. When's the last time you saw a Woolworth's let alone shopped at one??? Every "two horse" town or bigger had a Woolworth's at one time and now they are gone.

      There are a couple of things we can do.
      1. Get the state and local governments to stop giving away your tax dollars to the various companies that promise jobs or at the very least hold those companies accountable. If the jobs don't produce more income for the area than the tax breaks, get the money back from the companies. (Good luck with that!!)
      2. Don't shop at places that game the system. Walmart isn't the only one, but they are masters at it and have perfected it!! Walmart needs to do more changes to corporate policy than a couple of "green" projects like skylights to keep young people shopping there. Too many people are still enamored with the Walmart catch-phrase, "Always Low Prices". They actually believe that shit, but if you check prices at other stores, you'll find that isn't always true.

  3. I have no problem with the demise of mom and pop stores, mom and pop farms or mom and pop towns. They served a need and now no longer do or they would still be in business. In that sense I have no quarrel with WalMart. BUT as Nan and her SO have so ably pointed out, their treatment of employees and their business model sucks because it also forces their suppliers to follow suit. And their prices are not always lowest.
    Decent labour legislation would solve many of WalMart's problems but in USA it is not going to happen. And Canadian governments are trying to roll back ours


COMMENT: Ben Franklin said, "I imagine a man must have a good deal of vanity who believes, and a good deal of boldness who affirms, that all doctrines he holds are true, and all he rejects are false."