Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Cost of Wal-Mart

From a PBS interview of John Lehman, a manager at Wal-Mart for 17 years.
Is Wal-Mart good for America?

... I don't think Wal-Mart is good for America because what's happening is, yeah, you can get maybe a bag of groceries more, or you might spend $50 at Wal-Mart and spend $50 at Target or Kmart and you might get a few more items at Wal-Mart because of the prices.

But there's a cost to low prices. And the cost is [that] good, American jobs are being shipped overseas. … Many times union jobs are going away, and those same people are having to go to work at Wal-Mart, making a fraction of what they made there and not getting good health care; not getting a good company-paid pension, company-paid health care.

So no, I would say Wal-Mart is not good for America. I think the average person out there that you run into in a Wal-Mart store may say: "Yeah, I love this place, because look at the stuff I can get. Look at the cheap prices." But there's a cost for these low prices, and many people don't realize that.
But many people don't look behind that big, yellow smiley face that they show on TV and see the reality of what's happening to our economy here, what's happening to good, American jobs in the United States here. ... Workers are being worked off the clock many times. There's lawsuits, class-action lawsuits, in over 30 states right now of workers saying: "Enough is enough. I'm being worked off the clock, not paid for my overtime." ...

And look behind that yellow smiley face and see what's really happening to workers. Good, American jobs like at Thomson Electronics in Circleville, Ohio -- that poor guy making $15, $16 an hour, now he's [going to be] making a fraction of that, $7, $8 an hour, working 32 hours a week; a meager health care plan that he's got to pay for now, token health care plan; no pension; no future. There's a revolving door at Wal-Mart -- workers coming in, seeing the reality of it. They've been duped by the yellow smiley face many times. Then they go right back out the same door they came in a week later, a month later, a year later, whatever, however long they choose to stay. That's what's happening behind closed doors. That's what's happening [behind] that big, yellow smiley face. ...
On the other hand, who really cares about that other guy's job? I mean I got to save $0.38 on my underwear. Being a consumer is what it's all about.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wal-Mart supporters don't believe anything negative you tell them about Wal-Mart. When I tried to tell one supporter that approximately 630,000 employees who work there have no health coverage, this person said "that isn't true."
When I told another supporter that employees have been locked into stores at night, forcing them to work off the clock, I was told "oh, that's an isolated incident."
Wal-Mart supporters have their heads in the sand and must be living in some sort of box. Negative press about this company appears on a regular basis. Increased crime in their parking lots, employee amd customer law-suits, jobs lost overseas, etc. etc. The stories are endless.
When are Wal-Mart supporters going to wake up and see the truth?