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WalMart and Business Practices [split thread]

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(This thread was split from another discussion at: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9134... -- The Chowhound Team)

They also don't rely on the state to subsidize their slave wages like WalMart does by handing out food stamp applications to their employees.

Hard to believe anyone gives the Waltons their money.

  1. josh: i totally concur with you on this.
    slave wages plus phoney "food" = i will not set foot in either a walmart nor a sams

    1. Oh really? I find it hard to believe people that people can't understand that poor folks enjoy a meal now and then also. Wow, wow, wow.

      42 Replies
      1. re: Jerseygirl111

        jerseygirl: are saying that poor people can only possibly eat foodstuffs made by agribusiness out of artificial color, artificial flavor, huge amounts of salt, transfat, and chemicals that you can't even pronounce:

        i WAS poor for a portion of my life. all i had was a trunk of clothes , an alarm clock, one pot, one plate, and one glass. i washed EVERYTHING including my clothes with bar soap.).
        i came to learn how cook legumes.
        i cam to shop in mom 'n pop ethnic groceries.
        i came to learn that "breaking bulk" was not necessarily a financially smart thing to do even though the unit price of many bulk items was lower, there was much more waste involved.
        i learned that the little old chinese men that would lunch at a tiny hole in the wall with the dishes listed in chinese ONLY, were eating cheap edible food. (to this day, i have no idea what it was but i ate it and got full and paid very little.)

        LOTS of places sell reasonalbly priced legumes and grains in their bulk food departments that don't play hardball with their employees.

        truly, it is a ridiculous idea that in order to eat frugally you need to buy agribusiness crap products from outfits that intentionally game against their employees.

        so, to YOU, i say "right back at you" WOW!

        1. re: Jerseygirl111

          Walmart's isn't the only way to eat frugally. And what you don't pay at the store, you pay in hidden costs, like tax dollars to provide Medicaid to their employees and other sustenance.

          1. re: Jerseygirl111

            If WalMart is one's only option for affordable food then obviously you do what you have to do. The cruel thing about this cycle, though, is that giving the Waltons money helps perpetuate their slave-wage empire.

            I don't know where you live or what's available to you, my comment was more directed at people who make a conscious choice to patronize WalMart when other options are available to them.

            I do know, though, that many larger cities will have ethnic markets, health food co-ops, and other places where you can find inexpensive ingredients to make healthy foods without supporting a company that relies on our tax dollars to feed their employees so they can continue to siphon billions of dollars out of our economy.

            1. re: Josh

              Thought this thread was about TJ's not your personal opinion of WalMart.

              1. re: treb

                It was an on topic reply to a poster who compared the two by pointing to prices at Walmart for comparison.

                1. re: mcf

                  I replied to Josh. However, whether an individual is or is not employed at WM, is probably not linked to whether they're on Medicaid. An individual has the free choice to work where they wish. If that person decides not to work at WM or anywhere else their choice may or may not effect their eligibility for Medicaid.

                  1. re: treb

                    Now that's off topic here. What's on topic is the comparison between the two stores: one is cheap with great working conditions and benefits, the other is cheap without them to the extent that their employees end up with taxpayer funded health care, not employer funded.

                    BTW, you replied to a group in a forum, in response to Josh. You realize the rest of us are in on the conversation, right. :-)

                    1. re: mcf

                      'to the extent that their employees end up with taxpayer funded health care, not employer funded.' So you're saying that TJ's gives health benefits to part-time employee's, right?

                      1. re: treb

                        I've been following this discussion with interest because I quite like TJ's, despite everything I don't like about them. I will jump in to say that one of my friends works at TJ's. She works 3 days a week and receives full medical, dental, and vision coverage as well as free access to several gyms. In fact, her benefits might be slightly better than what I receive working full time at a major medical center. I don't know about retirement, but one thing they absolutely have going for them is that they do take good care of their employees.

                        1. re: ohmyyum

                          The point I'm trying to make is that there are thousands of companies that do not give health benefits to part-timers, not just WalMart. Why pick on just one company? 'cus people don't like WM? then don't go there and don't apply for a job there. This thread is about the OP not getting what TJ's is all about, right?

                          1. re: treb

                            I realize that many retailers do not provide health benefits to their part time employees, and especially not comprehensive coverage, but that is one of the things that makes TJ's stand out to me, and makes me feel good about shopping there. My post doesn't mentioned Walmart at all.

                            1. re: treb

                              This sub topic is a comparison between TJ's and Walmart. Twp companies, not a referendum on capitalism.

                              1. re: treb

                                Because the Walton family takes home billions of dollars a year. It is unconscionable that they force the taxpayer to subsidize their slave wages. How can you defend this kind of corporate welfare?

                                1. re: Josh

                                  "How can you defend this kind of corporate welfare?"

                                  It's part of living in a world where it's acceptable for folks to have opinions different from one's own. And it's off topic.

                                  1. re: mcf

                                    chow hound is to talk about food , ok then what do you think about the new Ford Fusion.

                                    1. re: Tucker23

                                      Well, I'm not a fan of Ford--and I'm not a Kia fan, but you know what? I love those little hamsters in the Kia Soul Ad! I wonder if they get benefits!
                                      Oh--yeah, back to the food!

                                      1. re: jarona

                                        Yes they have bebefits and are well paid they belong to IBHOH Local562 located Westerly R.I.

                                    2. re: mcf

                                      So please explain to me what opinion you hold that makes it okay for a family of multi-billionaires to have the taxpayer subsidize their employees since they won't pay a living wage.

                                      I've explained why I think it's wrong - let's hear the counter argument.

                                    3. re: Josh

                                      Ok I agrree, but why would this be discussed on Chow hound, Take it to face book and tweets or contact Elizabeth Warren.

                                      1. re: Tucker23

                                        It was in a thread where people were asking about Trader Joe's, and some compared it to WalMart.

                                        That said I think ethics play a big part in our food choices. When we support places like WalMart and McDonald's financially that means we are tacitly endorsing their lousy labor and environmental practices. Presumably if we care about the food we eat we should also care about how it gets to our plate.

                                      2. re: Josh

                                        The White House pays its interns NOTHING, gives NO benefits. Are you protesting the government and its job hiring practices? The WH interns are working at a base job for people unskilled, unfamiliar, needing to prove themselves for a paying job in Washington DC/politics.

                                        That's what minimum wage is for- to have a base job which requires no skills, then work and acquire skills and move UP to a job which pays more BECAUSE you have skills.

                                        The low paying/ base/starting Walmart jobs are there for people who need to start somewhere. You don't see Trader Joe employees working there as their first job; they have to have shown experience and responsibility to be hired.

                                      3. re: treb

                                        I am not a WalMart lover by any means, but I agree with this. I've only had one job, ever, that has paid benefits (I have my own private policies for health and life, and pay out of pocket for dental). And I work full time in a professional industry... ie not retail or grocery or anything like that. Jobs w/ benefits are becoming less and less... it's not just WalMart that doesn't offer them.

                                2. re: treb

                                  Sure in a fantasy universe where jobs fall off trees people can pick and choose the one that gives them the greatest benefits package. In the world I live in people have limited options. If you can't afford a car you have geographical limitations; if you have only a high school diploma or GED then you have other limitations; etc.

                                  1. re: ferret

                                    It's nice living in a fantasy universe because you can make your own reality. I only have a high school diploma and have been self employed for 23 years in various capacities. I started my primary business when I was 20 years old, with the help of my father, who never finished high school. My father who went from being the son of a piss poor single mother prostitute, in Virginia, to a police officer, to working at Merrill Lynch, to owning several restaurants, taught me from a very young age, hard work pays off.

                                    I have worked hard my entire life and I have built upon what I have earned. I’m still the first one in the office in the morning and generally the last to leave. I have tried to set the same example my father had set for me into my own children and it’s with great pride that my daughter starts college next week. It’s difficult for them to understand the value of an education when they look at me, but I try to impress upon them that I am a rarity and at 43 years old if I fail, I have no future, literally. Who would hire in an executive position someone who has never “held” a job, and has no formal education? The biggest regret of my life is not obtaining a full education but I've never let that hold me back. I love when I interview people with BA’s or MBA’s and they ask me where I went to school, the look on their face, priceless!

                                    If Walmart or Fast Food is all you can get a job at, take the job and work it. Learn your job/trade then apply to Macy’s or Nordstrom or any other retailer, like Trader Joes. Not all jobs are careers there is a need for starting employment, training, and education about work. If someone decides to make that their career, to not aspire to do anything more, then so be it. Nobody if forcing them to stay in their positions, it might take time but there are ALWAYS opportunities.

                                    Is life more difficult if you don’t have an education, sure I’ll agree to that. Does it mean you can’t succeed, no, and I’ll meet anyone, anywhere to defy that notion.

                                    1. re: jrvedivici

                                      You hold a doctorate in "Common Sense" and hard work. Beautiful!! Your words are excellent!

                                      1. re: jrvedivici

                                        Despite the myth of "no child left behind" many children grow into adults who are left behind. We are not all made from the same stuff or have the same abilities or potential (yes, our 2nd grade teachers were lying to us). So we won't all create the next must-have app, gadget or process and we all won't be CEOs/managers/directors, etc. There will always be a need for busboys, stock room employees, delivery persons and any number of untrained, unskilled positions. And there will always be a stream of people who will occupy those positions and not be on the ready promotion path.

                                        It's unrealistic and somewhat arrogant to say "I did it, so why can't they?"

                                        So yes, without a doubt there are many, many people who can find success through adversity, but that doesn't mean the majority will.

                                        1. re: ferret

                                          Yes! It's foolish to think everyone can become anything they want through hard work. Sure, you can improve your life- I did it but, contrary to my mother's theory, I can't be anything I want. No amount of hard work is going to make me a physicist or an astronaut. Basic jobs need to be done and those people need to be treated fairly and make a living.

                                          1. re: ferret

                                            I don't disagree with anything you are saying, we differ in the fact of your initial statement that people with just a high school diploma or GED have limitations. That's all.

                                            In my opinion, you are limited only if you allow yourself to be. Any obstacle can be overcome if you work hard enough at overcoming it. (outside obvious physical challenges).

                                            There is always a need for busboys, stock room employees, without a doubt, but there is not a need for a busboy, stock room employee to always remain in their current positions.

                                            I never said I did it so can anyone, I actually said I'm a rarity, I'm a rarity for most college educated people as well. What I'm saying is, I did it, SO CAN you. Not WHY CAN'T you.......I believe we should culture an environment in which we encourage people to strive for more. Not blame them for their circumstance's and lead them to believe they CAN"T do anything or to believe they are limited for any reason.

                                            I believe if people believe they are limited then it limits they ambition to succeed. "I don't have a college education, I can't become a CEO or business person", simply isn't true. Why let people believe that. They might not become a CEO, but why thwart their desire or ambition for trying by saying they have limitations. They have obstacles, yes, but those can be overcome. Again, in my opinion.

                                            1. re: jrvedivici

                                              "In my opinion, you are limited only if you allow yourself to be."

                                              Bluntly, some people are limited at birth by low intelligence and some are limited at some point by disabilities. Not all will necessarily fail to achieve, but there is a point in many, if not most cases, where those with low or below average intelligence will not. Environmental and other factors may apply to make it even less likely than their impairments alone might.

                                              Your experience is heart warming and all, and clearly you had the capacity to achieve given the gifts you were born with, including your father.

                                              1. re: mcf

                                                C'mon mcf let's play and copy paste fair. One sentence after what you copy pasted I say;

                                                " (outside obvious physical challenges)."

                                                Again, my primary objection is to the statement that lack of a college education should be considered a limitation. There a many reasons why "some" people won't be able to certain things, but in fairness those are the minority of cases, and not whom my comments were directed.

                                                1. re: jrvedivici

                                                  "Again, my primary objection is to the statement that lack of a college education should be considered a limitation. "

                                                  But I didn't see that as your primary objection.

                                                  That was a point I ignored, since I rose to the top ranks of my own profession by working harder and smarter than my masters and PhD level peers. For me, that's a given.

                                                  But I had advantages over others, and so did you. They might include parenting, stability of having a home, role models, living in a geographical area with an assortment of opportunities, a good school system, access to very smart friends to learn stuff from as well. And the dumb luck to be born with adequate intelligence and stamina to support my ambitions.

                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                    Actually, the main advantage to success is desire to succeed.
                                                    I too have gone from a GED to owning my own resort business in Mexico in a mere 35 years.
                                                    When I worked in the "real world" it was first one in, last one out and push for the next level. Don't make excuses for when you dropped the ball and don't make the same mistake twice.

                                                    1. re: genoO

                                                      No, that's not the main advantage, it's just a very helpful trait. One has to have certain skills and abilitiies to go with it first.

                                                      1. re: genoO

                                                        Cogent advice for all the single moms out there.

                                                2. re: jrvedivici

                                                  And again, in my opinion, not everyone is you. There are countless reasons why others can't achieve the same success and overcome the same obstacles as you. It's not just a matter of wanting it bad enough or working hard enough. So the suggestion that all people who are in low-paying jobs have options to escape their circumstances if they just follow these steps is a little condescending.

                                                  1. re: ferret

                                                    And again, I never said everyone was me, I've said repeatedly "I'm a rarity". If I felt everyone was me, I wouldn't be that rare would I?

                                                    Our only true difference comes down to this;

                                                    " It's not just a matter of wanting it bad enough or working hard enough."

                                                    I truly do believe it is a matter of wanting it and working hard for it. If you consider that condescending than I apologize for offending you. To be perfectly honest the reason why I believe in that, is because it's the only way to explain my entire life. We don't have to agree but I do respect your opinion.

                                                    1. re: jrvedivici

                                                      Tell that to any given single mother trying to scrape by on slave wages.

                                                1. re: treb

                                                  People love fairy tales.

                                                  1. re: Josh

                                                    People love to hear what they already believe.

                                  2. You and I have more available choices. You made that argument about job availability and it applies here, too.

                                    I don't think shaming shoppers is necessary when discussing Walmart policies.

                                    1. I refuse to be self-righteous when it comes to discussions like this. All I know is....when I lost my home, and went through a horrific divorce. I was what one would consider "poor". I worked, not at Walmart, but after being a stay-at-home mom for over 20 years, it was hard to break into the job market. As such, I ended up working at a franchised excercise club for women that boasted a 30-minute workout. I received minimum wage and had to support two children. It was awful. Through hard work and a strong work ethic, I rose above,switched a few jobs and now have a nice career in healthcare.
                                      During my "poor" time I went food shopping at Wal-mart because they had the best prices. The "Great Value" brand had many teriffic items that were just as good as the brand names. Their dairy products were fine as were the produce...and the local Wal-marts where I live have great produce.
                                      If I nit-picked every single company that I had "issues" with, I would be living in a cave with no electricity, I would have no phone, I would be limited in my clothing choices and would most likely be wearing a burlap bag.

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: jarona

                                        "If I nit-picked every single company that I had "issues" with, I would be living in a cave with no electricity, I would have no phone, I would be limited in my clothing choices and would most likely be wearing a burlap bag."

                                        I completely respect that you had to make the most of every dime and made the decision that was best for you.

                                        I also will not patronize Walmart because it's *not* nit picking to vote with one's feet when one has the luxury of doing so, it's living one's principles. Understanding that's a luxury and a privilege that not everyone can afford or would choose.

                                        But that doesn't make it trivial. I refuse to shame those who shop in Walmart and I refuse to accept the "self righteous" label for living consistent with my own principles.

                                        1. re: mcf

                                          But that doesn't make it trivial. I refuse to shame those who shop in Walmart and I refuse to accept the "self righteous" label for living consistent with my own principles.

                                          It's cool. You're thinking is certainly not self-righteous--but there are those who ARE--I should not have been so judgemental with my words but sometimes..........

                                          1. re: mcf

                                            I absolutely vote with my dollars and my feet. I am incredibly fortunate to have the choice to do that.

                                            But I have found that many folks are funny about that concept. I only tell people "why" if they ask me. Sometimes they get defensive because they might choose something different, but I say "you asked me".

                                          2. re: jarona

                                            Since my divorce in '05, I've lived in a very mixed neighborhood and am blessed to have very good neighbors all around the home I rent. The nearby Wal-Mart expanded in '07 or '08 to include Fresh produce/meats/fresh foods and I *will* say that it has been a godsend for families who need to walk to a grocery store...our Wal-mart is on "our side" of U.S. 41 which is 8, count 'em eight lanes across and very treacherous to cross...Publix is on the "other side" of this highway so having this *closer* and safer option for buying fresh foods is excellent, I will say that. I see mcf's point for sure but when you are struggling, it really can help.

                                          3. As "Bill Gates" said on The Simpsons..

                                            " I didn't get rich by writing a lot of checks. "

                                            6 Replies
                                            1. re: rochfood

                                              Yet he's writing lots and lots of them since having become rich beyond any human need or want. Billions worth. Buffett, too.

                                              1. re: rochfood

                                                I'd like to think that as a species we're capable of being motivated by more than mere material gain.

                                                1. re: Josh

                                                  I believe most are motivated by more than material gain and those people, with the fortune to have been extremely successful, give a lot back to society. i.e Buffet and Gates et al. What troubles me about some of your statements goes way beyond a single business yet, you refuse to recognize this is a global issue. For example; are you wearing or using anything made in China or other country where there are no fair trade laws? Drinking coffee from a similar place? WM pays minimum wage as do thousands of companies and although some people may require federal assistance, at least they have the dignity to WORK and begin a path to hopefully get off assistance. WM will hire 100K veterans over the next 60 months and also has career tracks to management. Other companies, who pay minimum wage, like McDonalds etc, have the same opportunities as well. Be fair, if you believe the minimum wage is 'slave wages' then take it up with your congressional reps, senators and Obama.

                                                  1. re: Josh

                                                    Pretty silly. I spent the first decade of my working life taking any job that would pay me more than I was making at the time.
                                                    What is the point of working if you have nothing to show for it at the end of the week?

                                                    1. re: genoO

                                                      This country isn't the same one you grew up in. Read a newspaper (just not one published by Murdoch).

                                                  2. re: rochfood

                                                    That's true - He got there through a government protected monopoly (licensed DOS).