Friday, August 11, 2006

Wal-Mart Bids Saranac Lake Adieu

Wal-Mart pulls out. At least that is what the Adirondack Daily Enterprise is reporting. Wal-Mart has ended the property purchase agreements with Carcuzzi Auto Car Care Center and Tri-Lakes Auto Mall.
“We got a letter the other day saying they were terminating the agreement,” said Carcuzzi Car Care Center Bob Bevilacqua said Friday. “As far as I know, it’s off completely. They said they are cancelling their contract with us.”

Wal-Mart representatives told Bevilacqua in June that “unless the public interest changed and political climate changed, they would be terminating it,” he said.
Of course, Wal-Mart has 'left' before, let's not forget that. Bevilacqua also said
“Doug Jerum told me that if they couldn’t get into Saranac Lake that they were going to write off the Adirondacks,” he said. “He told me flat out, ‘We’re not considering going to Tupper Lake.’”'s our way or the highway.

Ever visit It's an experience! Here is one of their 'community commitments':
We will adopt a store siting and construction policy that addresses environmental, social, cultural and historical considerations.
Well, I guess that would just be opened to interpretation, right?

How about this one:

"We believe that one of the keys to our success is our people and how we treat them. Simply put, we treat our associates and suppliers with respect."

Does that statement make you want to laugh or cry?

Or the Wal-Mart cheer! Do you know how it originated?
The cheer originated after our founder, Sam Walton, visited a tennis ball factory in Korea where the workers did a company cheer and calisthenics together every morning. He liked the idea and couldn't wait to get back home to try it with his associates.
I'm kinda surprised ole Sam didn't force the calisthenics on his 'associates' too.

How about the 'Sundown Rule'? Basically, ole Sam believed you shouldn't put off til tomorrow what you can do today. I bet that is the basis for Wal-Mart's policy of unpaid work and lock-ins.

Want to know how Wal-Mart gets everyday low prices? It's right there.
The key to our ability to maintain Every Day Low Prices (EDLP) has been our commitment to forge common ground among the hundreds of thousands of people in our company. Our dedication to provide the best possible service to our customers helps drive the Every Day Low Price philosophy. Going beyond the buyers who negotiate lower prices with our suppliers, we all can affect EDLP by controlling our expenses and being cost-conscious in our day-to-day business.
Does this include the company Directors and executives? I wonder how much the Directors are compensated? Oh wait, it's public knowledge, right there on page 9.

$60,000 compensation, 2957 shares of stock worth about $133,000 and 'other compensation'. Not too bad for someone that is already filthy wealthy huh? But they probably have to attend one or two meetings a year.

But that's chump change compared with what the Directors give the 'execs'. Salaries of anywhere from $642,056 to $1,292,308 (click on public knowledge above and see page 23). Of course that doesn't include millions in stock, other annual compensation, other compensation and LTIP payouts. Oh yeah, Wal-Mart is definitely 'cost conscious' where it counts.

Wal-Mart Follows the Law

Wal-Mart has recently been forced to recognize the Chinese 'labor union' (actually an arm of the communist government). Wal-Mart explains why they did this:
"Our policy is to comply with the laws of every country in which we operate, and in China it is required by law that if even one associate asks to join a union, then you have to install the union in the store."
There may be some disagreement with this statement that Wal-Mart complies with the laws of every country. Maybe the Saskatchewan Labor board disagrees or the fact that Wal-Mart is sued once every two hours may be an indication that the Wal-Mart statement is not completely factual. Maybe this article might suggest that the claim may not be true.
Because the consequences are so minimal, Wal-Mart does not hesitate to break the law in order to stay union-free. Indeed, as the Greencastle handbook to managers notes frankly, during a union drive, "You...are expected to support the company's position.... This may mean walking a tightrope between legitimate campaigning and improper conduct." Wal-Mart has been found guilty of many violations of workers' right to organize, even firing union sympathizers. But paying fines--or in some cases, merely hanging a sign in the break room that states that the company violated workers' rights--is for Wal-Mart simply part of the cost of doing business, a small price to pay for keeping unions out. Until labor laws are reformed to make violating workers' rights a criminal offense--punishable by sending managers and CEOs to prison--running Wal-Mart campaigns based on National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) challenges may be fruitless.
Did they comply with the law in the State of Connecticut? Let's see:
HARTFORD — Wal-Mart has agreed to pay a $1.15 million fine and correct a slew of environmental violations at 22 of its Connecticut stores, violations that state officials said showed a systematic disregard for the law.
Maybe the 'comply with the law' statement should be re-written to say:

"Our policy is to comply with the laws of every country in which we are trying to establish a foothold for our business".


Thursday, August 10, 2006

Community Store Website

Announced today in a Letter to the ADE Editor.

Click HERE for the website.

Click here for answers to all your questions about a Community Store.


Wal-Mart Shoppers Complain

They shopped at Wal-Mart for the low price and got what they paid for. I'm pretty sure it's just the odd case though.

Does anyone remember Wal-Mart 'Black Friday'?

Customer service at Wal-Mart.

Tioga, PA
When the Walmart store in this area first opened it was a real blessing. Eventually, other businesses in the area started to fail and finally, closed. Now that there is nowhere else to shop Walmart has gone downhill as well. The selection is terrible, and the quality of items has turned sour.
Don't get your prescription for Tamiflu filled at Wal-Mart!
The reason the doctor called in the rx was because it was already 5pm as we were leaving his office and this med needs to be started within a 24 hr period of the first flu symptoms.

Although this was explained to them they had no interest in our urgency and were very unsympathetic.
How much money did she save on the Wal-Mart bike after the doctor bills were paid? Remember, Wal-Mart forces suppliers to cut costs.
On August 12th, my daughter was riding this bike down a hill when the crank and pedal came off. The bolt came right out of the crank and you could see where the threads were stripped or crossed over. This caused her to flip over the handle bars.

She received a broken left arm, a sprained right wrist and 3 stitches in her chin. On August 13, I returned this bike to Wal-Mart and they gave us a new bike. They said that once the bike leaves their store, they are not responsible for accidents, even if they assembled the bike.
This guy got a great buy on some tires at Wal-Mart. He's lucky to be alive.
On the 30th, My family and I were returning home from dinner. On the interstate, the van started to sway abit. My wife asked me what was I doing, and I told her it wasn't me, that it must be the highway, where they had just re-paved. Upon exiting the interstate the van started to swerve again. The next thing we knew, we heard what we thought was something that hit the van and the left rear of the van dropped down. We thought we had blown a tire.
How about vision care at Wal-Mart, want to save money?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

News Ten Now Reports

Go to the website and view the video.

Beaverton, OR Says No to Wal-Mart

Announced in the The Times.
Beaverton’s City Council Monday night unanimously rejected plans to build a new Wal-Mart store in Cedar Mill.

More on the Wage Increase

When Wal-Mart reported that they were 'capping' wages in all of their job categories I naively assumed they would still give 'cost of living increases'. But, it's more like long-time employees are being forced to give up wage increases (unless they change positions) so that money can go to starting employees.

Go here and read some of the comments from real Wal-Mart employees (although they are probably just disaffected union stooges). I guess Wal-Mart employees just don't get the 'Free Market'.

Does the wage cap apply to Wal-Mart executives?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Wal-Mart Public Relations

It would be interesting to know how much Wal-Mart pays for Public Relations advice. They sure aren't getting much bang for their buck. Look at '', Wal-Mart's gunslinger critics that are paid to criticize Wal-Mart's critics (boyoboy that is complicated). They are having a ball criticizing WakeUpWalMart's bus tour of the country and some of the Democrats that show up at each stop.
"It’s time for the Paid Critics and their candidates to stop playing politics and start offering real solutions to the challenges facing working men and women across this country."
I agree. It's time for someone to start offering real solutions to the challenges facing working men and women in this country. Where are the Republicans? They hold all the power. They control the government. They were elected with dollars provided by Wal-Mart. They have been in power for over 5 years. When will they start offering real solutions?

Isn't there some Wal-Mart VP in charge of overseeing these guys? Maybe Wal-Mart could get better PR if they outsourced their PR overseas. They could save money at the same time.

The Writing On The Wal

One of my favorite Wal-Mart information websites is "The Writing On The Wal". I like it because it is written by independent, intelligent, unpaid bloggers and because they always have the most up-to-date info on all things Wal-Mart. I encourage visits to that website for anyone that wants to read well written commentary on Wal-Mart.

I read Walmart Watch and WakeUpWalmart too, which are union supported websites. But I tend not to cite them too much for the same reasons that I discount what I read on Walmartfacts, Working families for WalMart and Paidcritics (all paid by Wal-Mart).

Wal-Mart Raises Wages

Wal-Mart has announced that starting employees deserve a pay increase "based entirely on wage surveys in every market where we do business".
The nation's largest private employer is rolling out an average pay increase of 6% for new hires at 1,200 Wal-Mart and Sam's Club warehouse stores nationwide, including some of its nearly 200 stores in California.
This is in spite of the fact that Wal-Mart has long claimed that it cannot afford higher wages for its employees. However, you do not want to remain a shelf stocker, greeter or cashier forever. The new policy also means move up in the ranks or your salary remains stagnant.
Wal-Mart is instituting the salary caps to encourage workers to move up through the ranks rather than remain in the same job for years. Employees who earn more than the maximum amount for their job won't see a salary decrease but will no longer be entitled to raises unless they change positions.

The announcement by Wal-Mart comes as the company continues its battles against legislative oversight of how it treats workers.
Heavy criticism of Wal-Mart and loss of 8% of its customers may actually be making Wal-Mart re-think its business strategy.

2005 Data

Wal-Mart profit margin 3.6%

Costco profit margin 1.9%

BusinessWeek ran through the numbers from each company to compare Costco and Sam's Club, the Wal-Mart warehouse unit that competes directly with Costco. We found that by compensating employees generously to motivate and retain good workers, one-fifth of whom are unionized, Costco gets lower turnover and higher productivity. Combined with a smart business strategy that sells a mix of higher-margin products to more affluent customers, Costco actually keeps its labor costs lower than Wal-Mart's as a percentage of sales, and its 68,000 hourly workers in the U.S. sell more per square foot. Put another way, the 102,000 Sam's employees in the U.S. generated some $35 billion in sales last year, while Costco did $34 billion with one-third fewer employees.

Yet the cheap-labor model turns out to be costly in many ways. It can fuel poverty and related social ills and dump costs on other companies and taxpayers, who indirectly pick up the health-care tab for all the workers not insured by their parsimonious employers. What's more, the low-wage approach cuts into consumer spending and, potentially, economic growth. "You can't have every company adopt a Wal-Mart strategy. It isn't sustainable," says Rutgers University management professor Eileen Appelbaum

Monday, August 07, 2006

Advice to the Poor

"it's not Wal-Mart's fault that its associates are poor. "
You see these people are poor because:
1) They charged too much on their credit cards.
2) Had kids and now can't support them.
3) Didn't get an education.
4) Failed to save for the future.
5) Made unnecessary purchases.

Can anyone think of other reasons why people are poor and should be punished or abandoned? Maybe you add some more good advice for the poor.

con't. "If they had made the correct choices in life, the wages they receive would be sufficient to sustain them and they would be on their way to better lives".
Yes, you can easily live on the wage Wal-Mart pays you if:

1) Tear up all those credit cards
2) Give the kids up for adoption and get sterilized
3) Go to medical school or law school
4) Save up at least 50% of all the money your poor relatives give you
5) Don't buy unnecessary stuff. Wait, forget that last one, Wal-Mart wants you to buy unecessary stuff.

Then just live on the $320 (minus taxes and health insurance) you take home everyweek.
(No this isn't from me, it came from a pro-Wal-Mart blog. With friends like that, Wal-Mart really doesn't need any enemies.)

Does Criticism of Wal-Mart Effect Anything?

Today at the Washington Post:

Or consider the environmental behavior of U.S. companies at home. This used to be the classic case of politics leading business: For most of the past generation, regulators have forced environmental rules on grumbling corporations. But in the current debate on climate change, this order has reversed itself. Impatient companies are capping their own carbon emissions: Wal-Mart has promised to double the efficiency of its vehicle fleet and achieve a 30 percent cut in its stores' energy usage. Its motive is not complicated. Internet-enabled critics have assaulted Wal-Mart, and the firm's polling has suggested that 8 percent of shoppers have quit visiting its outlets because of its stance on social issues. An environmental makeover was essential to the brand.

The Dark Heart of Wal-Mart

From the Houston Chronicle last year, an article about keeping employee tenure short at Wal-Mart. Lots of part-time employees and a high employee turnover rate of 50% a year helps keep wages and benefits down at Wal-Mart. This is the primary basis of their Always low prices. Always business model. Other retailers must do the same to compete with the giant. Wal-Mart suppliers keep costs down by shipping jobs overseas.
Wal-Mart is not alone in struggling with these costs. But its proposed solutions reveal the company's dark heart. It's extracting the cost from those who can least afford it.

Business doesn't look back. Wal-Mart led the charge from the town square to the edge of town. It trained us to believe that the cost of our purchases was all that mattered. Somewhere along the road, the company started believing that, too.

It taught us to expect low prices — always. Chambers' memo shows a company that believes in the low price at any cost.
Wal-Mart makes people poor.
During the last decade, dependence on the food stamp program nationwide increased by 8 percent, while in counties with Wal-Mart stores the increase was almost twice as large at 15.3 percent, according to the study. Although Wal-Mart employs many people living in its communities, for most, the hours worked and the wages paid do not help these families transition out of poverty, the study said.
This article from The Globalist, a syndication of the San Jose Mercury News and the Boston Globe compares and contrasts Wal-Mart with General Motors.
No company of Wal-Mart's size and influence can long remain a truly private enterprise. By its very existence and competitive success, it rezones our cities, determines the real minimum wage, channels capital throughout the world — and conducts a kind of international diplomacy with a score of nations.

In short, the company's management "legislates" for the rest of us key components of U.S. social and industrial policy.