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View Diary: Walmart's squeeze on worker hours leaves shelves bare and customers unhappy (72 comments)

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  •  The irony here is that (21+ / 0-)

    Wal-Mart grew to dominance because of its extraordinarily advanced restocking and ordering practices. They were among the earliest adopters, if not the first business to use RFID technology to track orders and sales so as to always be on top of their inventory.
    Of course, seeing them fail should warm all of our hearts. The devastation left in their wake, however, live or dead, will be catastrophic to their communities.

    "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

    by bryduck on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 12:58:42 PM PDT

    •  It seems a huge surprise (9+ / 0-)

      ...for Walmart to break down in logistics, which has been the core of their business.  It certainly hasn't been fashion that has made them a success.

      There may be something bigger going on, here are several possibilities.

      1.  Walmart's business model simply doesn't work all that well outside its home region in the south, and some rural/semi-rural areas in the rest of the country.

      2.  After five years of recession and austerity, people are simply tired of going to a place that makes them feel poor by the act of walking through the door.  At least one can get in and out of an Aldi or a Dollar General quickly.  

      3.  The quality of goods sold at Walmart has fallen low enough that people believe they can simply do without the more profitable general merchandise sold there.  At the same time, Craigslist, large thrift stores, Freecycle, etc. are making the distribution of used goods more efficient.

      •  Hmmm. (4+ / 0-)

        I would argue against you on #1, given that they expanded profitably well beyond the South for many years before this crisis. This is a breakdown of an internal nature, it seems, not one created by market externalities. If they didn't feel a need for ever-increasing profit margins, they wouldn't have an issue, I think. It's a crisis born of capitalism as practiced in the US currently, and not limited to Wal-Mart.

        On #2, I would love to see some research bearing that out (as would Wal-Mart, I'm sure.) It doesn't strike me as too plausible--where else are people forced to be Wal-Mart shoppers going to go where "feeling poor" doesn't happen? I am lucky enough to make enough money that I can afford to buy elsewhere, but I am luckier in that I have other options. Many people don't; once Wal-Mart moves into a location, almost invariably everything else dies.

        On #3, I have no idea, since I've never set foot inside a Wal-Mart. I would say, though, that Craigslist is only useful to those who have access to a PC with an internet connection, which is nowhere near a universality for those for whom Wal-Mart is the store of last resort.

        "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

        by bryduck on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 04:14:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Craigslist is certainly not the biggest factor (1+ / 0-)
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          But it does enable sales from individuals to dealers of used goods, who then make them available for sale.  

          Modern thrift stores are also quite impressive.  Our daughter is a fan of one near us that is housed in a former department store.

          •  True enough. (1+ / 0-)
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            I wonder, though, if Wal-Mart has killed off thrift stores as much as they have every other retailer . . .
            Who's in the mood for a little marketing research? Anybody? Is this thing on?

            "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

            by bryduck on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 04:53:46 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •   The very easiest and most ubiquitous method (1+ / 0-)
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        for driving profits is cutting costs, and especially labor.  It has been that way for a couple of decades, so much so that it is gospel irrespective of whether it works.
        So what is a manager to do?  Even if s/he had a good quarter if the hours were up they would face criticism that it could have been better without the added labor. And if they had a bad quarter, well that would be a whole other discussion.   But if profit are down and labor is down, at least they can show an effort.   There is no downside to cutting labor for the manager.
        That is reflected in the data out of Walmart that they have less employees for more stores.

        These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert to fleece the people, and now that they have got into a quarrel with themselves, we are called upon to appropriate the people's money to settle the quarrel. Abraham Lincoln

        by Nailbanger on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 08:05:40 PM PDT

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      •  People are boycotting Walmart forever (0+ / 0-)

        They pay their employees so little to keep them below the poverty level so that they can use the government to provide the family's food and healthcare.

        Their employees are the largest users of food stamps in the US.

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