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Old 04-17-2006, 07:58 AM   #31
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Originally posted by nbcrusader
The statement "the company's role is NOT to serve the employee" may be technically true, but is foolish on many levels. No company does business without some form of interaction between its employees and the outside world. A company that provides for its employees and creates a work environment where an employee feels valued enhances the profitability of the company. The success of valuing employees cannot be measured mechanically, but is a function of the genuine communication from management.

Do employees of Walmart feel undervalued? Some do (as evidenced by the union studies), but Walmart continues to receive more employment applications than jobs available. I'd bet the majority of employees do not view Walmart as their only option for employment and continue to work there.
I also find the statement ethically unacceptable on many levels. djfeelgood is correct in his analysis of what Wal-Mart would likely do if actually forced to raise wages and/or benefits. In principle, it's what any business would do, really; but people who take home less than $20,000 a year and don't possess many "marketable skills" are more vulnerable than salaried professionals to such "adjustments", particularly when they have dependents. If low-end-paying service jobs played a more minor role in our economy than they do, I might not see this as such a dilemma, but in fact it's a huge sector and growing proportionally all the time. Which means we ultimately wind up effectively saying that if you are "just" a cashier, if you are "just" a line cook, if you are "just" a filing clerk, then really you deserve to constantly live one crisis away from financial disaster.

Also, from my own experience (a decade ago now, admittedly) of working in retail for several years--some of them as a clerk, some of them as a manager--I'm inclined to be dismissive of the assumption that a retail employee who stays where they are must therefore be a content employee who feels satisfied with their wages. There really isn't a whole lot of significant variation in how much different retailers pay, so most see their options as pretty limited. Also like anyone else, retail workers attach a lot of value to working with a group of people whose company they enjoy, so if they're socially content in a particular workplace environment, they're not likely to jump ship and start over again from square one if there isn't significant financial gain to be had. (Or perhaps access to employee discounts on particularly needed or desired merchandise.) And again, much though I hate this phrase, these are generally folks without a lot of "marketable skills"--they really would need at least a couple more years of training and/or schooling to increase their earning prospects significantly, and a great many of them have neither the money nor the time for that. Yes, a lucky few do stumble across lucrative opportunities that require no further outside training, but they're the exception, and even then they're often folks with above-average networking and self-promotional skills. Finally, retailers in general have drastically scaled back their salaried middle-management tiers over the past decade, so it's increasingly rarer for employees to advance to salaried positions through internal promotion--outside hires with MBAs and prior management experience tend to get those jobs instead.

I can't say I personally have good alternatives to offer, but neither can I say I find this situation acceptable. I'm fine with more highly skilled/educated workers commanding higher pay as far as it goes, but not to the degree that millions must go chronically uninsured, unable to build up a savings account, or unable to send their children to college. If clearly government handouts aren't an adequate solution, then clearly neither is de facto subsidization through a race to the supply-chain bottom.

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Old 04-17-2006, 08:25 AM   #32
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Regarding the worker benefits, it varies by region. For example, Maryland enacted a law regarding health care benefit standards for employers with over 10,000 employees.
Regarding the out-of-stock items - that is not the norm at Walmart. They use advanced inventory methods such as RFID and vendor managed inventory.

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Old 04-17-2006, 08:54 AM   #33
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Good - prices , all in one store

bad - dirt , treatment of workers ?

but for my income , it is the right thing
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Old 04-17-2006, 11:02 AM   #34
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evil, evil, evil.

their treatment of employees is awful, i've witnessed this because my dad is employed by them. one of the worst things is their health insurance. actually, after my dad had worked ther just about long enough for the full insurance (which is still bad) to start, they layed him off, then re-hired him 10 days later. hence making him have to wait the 6 months all over again (i think it was 6) to get fully insured. i saw on some documentary (not sure which one) that this is a common policy for them.

i stopped shoping there ages ago, and it's by far the closest store of it's kind to where i live. i got a weird/bad feeling evry time i walk in the store.

i could rant more, but i'd probably just get annoying.
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Old 04-17-2006, 11:20 AM   #35
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Mr. Blu worked in WalMart back in 89, when he was first out of high school & the chain was new to our area. At the time he started, Sam Walton was still alive and it was a great place to work & shop. Over the course of several years though - immediately after Walton died - you could see the beginnings of the current-day WalMart. Employees were no longer valued for their hard work & dedication, customer service for the most part went out the window & the family's main focus became how they could earn more, more, more.

I do shop at WalMart because of their convenience & pricing, so I suppose I'm part of the 'evil empire'. But until someone else comes along that can do it better, I'm going to continue shopping there - even if it means dealing with cashiers who seem to have the personality and intelligence of seaweed, and contributing to the coffers of a less than moral corporation.

It's a compromise on my part - maybe not a good one, but I can live with it.
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Old 04-17-2006, 08:09 PM   #36
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Originally posted by A_Wanderer
Whats wrong with self registers? I find them just like the ATM to be a real time saver.
They're exactly what you need after battling a Big W with children. I like them. A lot. There's no arguing they're a sign of how things change though.
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Old 04-18-2006, 02:12 AM   #37
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And now for a more shallow perspective:

Wal-Mart is just plain ugly. Everything about it says cheap. Lately, I've noticed products haphazardly falling off the shelves, the stores are messy. . .

Target just has such a nicer "feel."

Like I said, shallow.

Here in Saipan there are no Wal-Marts, no K-Marts, no Targets. I don't really miss them. When I go home in the summer of course we do a lot of shopping. When we first moved out here, the big deal was to "go to Wal-Mart" in the summer. Now I'm finding we go there less and less, and I enjoy the experience less each time. I don't know about their bottom line, but the experience they provide for customers is going downhill.

Of course out here minimum wage is $3.05 an hour so we're living in a whole different world.
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Old 04-23-2006, 02:59 PM   #38
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Melon, just have to let you know I went trinket hunting again today at Wal-Mart. BTW some labels have changed a bit......you ought to venture in to one sometime. As always, I purchase by label and not looks. Got a 5-packer of Matchbox cars......this one just came out.....they are numbered 1 thru 5 {athough I must admit their appearance is impressive}...part of the BT edition.

Just to mention I saw an article the other day about Orson Welles....it was interesting reading.

I do not mean to divert the intent of this post........but it does appears Wal-Mart is making a few changes here and there.

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Old 04-23-2006, 06:21 PM   #39
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According to the capitalist model, Wal-Mart=the best...according to my model, Wal-Mart=the worst. I've seen what it can do to the small business because my dad owns a small photoshop and can't compete with their prices, fortunately he gets a lot of professional photographers' business, otherwise he would be done for. Everytime I go into a Wal-Mart (which isn't often) I get a headache and want to fall over because of the hugeness of the store (around here, all we have are supercenters). I avoid them at all costs, Target and Shopko are much nicer.
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Old 04-24-2006, 08:39 PM   #40
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Originally posted by onebloodonelife
I've seen what it can do to the small business because my dad owns a small photoshop and can't compete with their prices, fortunately he gets a lot of professional photographers' business, otherwise he would be done for.
When you can't compete on price (and not everyone can), you compete on other key fundamentals, like service. People who want personal attention and informed personnel will go to small photoshops - not Walmart.

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