For a long time, I shopped at Walmart under protest.  As concerned as I was about the way it treated its workers, there are certain items that, sadly, you can't get anywhere else in Charlotte.  Plus, their pharmacy generally had everything I needed.  But then I found out something that merits a repost from Friday--for the benefit of everyone out of town or in the stores.

Recently, Huffington Post obtained a copy of Walmart's compensation policy, and found out that most of its workers are effectively locked into wages that aren't nearly enough for them to live decently, and their schedules are such that second jobs aren't viable.  If you missed it,  read it here, and read the actual policy as a PDF or at Docstoc.

I was even more alarmed to find out that rather than lower health care premiums to a level where most employees can afford them, Walmart actively encourages its employees to get on public assistance.  Walmart's own CEO even admitted that in some cases, going on public assistance may actually be cheaper than actually providing health care.

This situation, to my mind, calls for a new talking point on the Walton empire-- "deadbeat capitalism."  After all, the closest parallel I can draw is to deadbeat parents.  There is no other way to describe a company that knowingly disregards its basic duty to ensure that its employees are able to live decently.  Unless I need to run an errand for my mother (sadly, Walmart is the only store near my home that carries the pomegranate juice she drinks for her cholesterol), I'm going to Trader Joe's.  Fortunately, there's two here in town.

Now what steps can be taken to make the Waltons end these practices?  The only ones I can think of off the top are to raise the minimum wage and repeal any tax breaks, as well as encourage anyone who has sponsorship deals with Walmart to back out.  We don't tolerate deadbeat parents.  Companies like Walmart should get the same kind of pressure.

This should be our new talking point on Walmart--it practices deadbeat capitalism.


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