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Cross-posted at the Writing on the Wal.

This woman deserves a medal.  From ABC News:

Everyone loves a good deal, and low prices were reason enough for Texas mom Lisa Stauber to travel up to 30 minutes to the nearest Walmart to nab the best deals for her family of 11.

But after 12 years prowling the aisles of the retail giant, the mommy blogger finds little reason these days to shop at the store where she once spent more than $10,000 annually.

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Cross-posted and slightly embellished from a post at the Writing on the Wal

I thought profitable companies weren't supposed to cut jobs.  Actually, it's worse than that as the people whose jobs have been cut have been invited to apply for their old positions back at what you know is going to be lower pay and probably fewer hours.

Corporate evil this scummy deserves a long excerpt:

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said Sunday it is cutting more than 10,000 jobs at Sam's Club, representing about 9 percent of the warehouse club operator's staff, as it outsources its product-sampling department to marketing company Shopper Events and eliminates another unit.

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I wrote about this subject a long, long time ago.  Nevertheless, I rarely see this little-recognized truth put so plainly as I did in today's NYT review of Ellen Ruppel Shell's Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture:

"Wal-Mart actually has higher than average prices on about one-third of the stock it carries," Ruppel Shell writes. "On those items for which prices are lower, the average savings is 37 cents, with about one-third of items carrying a savings of no more than 2 cents."

Ruppel Shell (as summarized in the review) actually goes on to make a more obvious point that I never see anywhere (perhaps because people are afraid they'll be attacked for elitism if they make it):

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Cross-posted at the Writing on the Wal.

I have papers to grade, but getting this story out is too important for me to shirk on my self-appointed duty as a Walmart watcher.  From the Miami Herald:

Workers at a North Miami Beach Wal-Mart Supercenter are hoping to make their store one of the first Wal-Marts in the United States to unionize.

So far, workers say they have gathered signed pro-union cards from 150 of the store's 476 employees. Under federal labor law, that's just about enough for union supporters to demand a vote on unionization by all rank-and-file workers at the store.

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Cross-posted at The Writing at the Wal.

From the Wall Street Journal:

The United Food and Commercial Workers union is ramping up organizing at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. after a five-year lull, dovetailing with its efforts to win support in Congress for a bill to make union organizing easier.

The Bentonville, Ark., retailer, a leading opponent of the legislation, said managers have seen increased union activity at a number of stores, prompting mandatory meetings to discuss unionization. "We have noticed that the UFCW has been working harder lately in its attempts to get Wal-Mart associates to sign union cards, but we don't think our associates have any reason to be more interested than before," said Wal-Mart spokesman David Tovar.

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I bet you thought Walmart's worst nightmare was the Employee Free Choice Act.  Nosiree, Walmart's worst nightmare is happening right now.  This is a new press release from the United Food and Commercial Workers union (via Wal-Mart Watch):

   Yesterday, after nearly a decade of legal maneuverings and circumventions of federal law, Wal-Mart was finally forced to the bargaining table in Jacksonville, Texas. More than nine years ago, workers in the meat department in the Jacksonville Wal-Mart voted to be represented by United Food and Commercial Workers Local 540. What Wal-Mart proceeded to put these workers through was both unlawful and unconscionable.

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I really am a masochist.  I actually read the transcript of Sarah Palin's interview with Hugh Hewitt today and came across this:

[T]here’s been a lot of times that Todd and I have had to figure out how we were going to pay for health insurance. We’ve gone through periods of our life here with paying out of pocket for health coverage until Todd and I both landed a couple of good union jobs.

[Emphasis added]

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Cross-posted at the Writing on the Wal.

This would be funny if it wasn't so sad.  From the Morning Sentinel (ME) (via Wake-Up Wal-Mart):

A Lebanon man alleges he was fired last month by the local Wal-Mart because he refused to dress up as the store's Santa Claus.

A spokesman for the retail giant denied the claim, which was filed this week with the Maine Human Rights Commission on behalf of 27-year-old Christopher Nolan.

In his complaint, Nolan said he thought it was a joke when he was asked on Dec. 8 to fill in as the store Santa Claus at the Wal-Mart on Main Street. He said his co-workers were laughing.

Nolan, who described himself as an atheist who does not believe in Christmas, said he laughed as well and then declined. "I said, 'Uh, no way,'" he said in an interview last month.

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When the subject is Hillary Clinton, the discussion occasionally turns to my chosen expertise, Wal-Mart.  It certainly does in this article in the Las Vegas Review Journal:

Clinton once worked for the retail giant, whose labor practices are reviled in union circles. Serving on Wal-Mart's board in Arkansas, she apparently never voiced objection to the company's union-busting tactics and anti-union philosophy.

Today, she has distanced herself from Wal-Mart and remade herself as an ardently pro-labor politician.

Clinton's campaign views her failure to advocate for labor back then, which it has not disputed, as ancient history. She left the board in 1992 when her husband was running for president.

The campaign believes Clinton's current positions, not her past, are what counts.

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Yesterday, I brought you this link to the anti-union brainwashing section of a Wal-Mart employee orientation video that (presumably accidentally) ended up online.  Then, I  started fisking it.  Today, I'll finish with the fisking.

First thing though, I have to repeat a bit of dialog here to get you the context of the conversation:


If you've seen the film linked above and you didn't vote yesterday, do you think it would be effective at fighting unionization at Wal-Mart?

69%16 votes
13%3 votes
17%4 votes

| 23 votes | Vote | Results

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On Monday, somebody found a link to a Wal-Mart orientation video on the web site of Paul French and Company, a production company that films these videos for Wal-Mart.  To say there was interest in would be a tremendous understatement.  By the time I found it two days later, it had 631 Diggs.  If you read Barbara Ehrenreich's classic Nickeled and Dimed you know why.  As she explains:

"For sheer grandeur, scale, and intimidation value, I doubt if any corporate orientation exceeds that of Wal-Mart.  I have been told that the process will take eight hours, which will include two fifteen minute breaks and one half-hour break for a meal, and will be paid for like a regular shift."  

Perhaps the most important part of this process, is Wal-Mart's anti-union indoctrination.  At the end of her attempted brainwashing, Ehrenreich concluded:


If you've seen the video linked above, do you think it would be effective at fighting unionization at Wal-Mart?

32%9 votes
50%14 votes
17%5 votes

| 28 votes | Vote | Results

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Cross-posted at the Writing on the Wal.

Many thanks to Damien Sullivan for directing me to this study by Zenith Management Consulting (.pdf) on Wal-Mart's not-so-low-prices.  The key concept any Wal-Mart shopper needs to understand is the "opening price point," which Zenith defines as:

a very low-priced high velocity item placed in a highly visible spot in each store section.  This creates a perception that since the first item is so very low-priced, the other items in the section are as well.

In fact, Zenith found:

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