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Protesters with signs saying
Walmart "absolutely" uses managers to do non-managerial work because it doesn't have to pay them overtime, an assistant store manager told Salon's Josh Eidelson. President Barack Obama's plan to expand overtime could be a major change for managers like this and for the hourly workers who might then get more hours if the alternative was paying a manager overtime.

At Walmart now, understaffing and reliance on managers to stock shelves and run cash registers isn't just hurting the workers, this assistant manager said; it's also hurting customers and the store's bottom line:

When I came into the role, I thought it was going to be that I’m going to handle paperwork, be there for the associates, and help them with issues that may arise with them; I’m going to be the guy that they can come to for answers, I’m going to develop leaders …

There’s not enough time in the day to do it … They don’t have enough people to get the job done. And it shows. It shows on the shelves, in terms of the stock. You know, it shows with the morale of the associates. That definitely has issues …

If you look at companies like Wegman’s or Costco, you know, that staff their stores, and they have high payroll percentages, but they’re still [showing] profits, because they’re getting the product on the shelves …

If you have empty shelves, your baskets aren’t as good. What really matters is: How much does that customer buy going through the register? You know, if the customer comes in with a shopping list of 35 items, and you only have 20, you lost a good portion of that sale … to your competitor …

The company made $17 billion in profit last year. They paid the CEO $18 million … There’s no reason why they can’t pay overtime, they can’t give hours back to associates.

Walmart's problems with empty shelves and long lines aren't news; they contributed to one equities research firm's decision to lower Walmart's rating, and have been the source of a lot of customer complaints. And if managers are spending a lot of time trying to make up for understaffing at the shelf-stocking level, they have that much less time for actually, y'know, managing. Which might actually be all to the good considering that a significant part of a Walmart manager's job is looking for warning signs that workers might be pro-union. (Though the assistant manager interviewed by Eidelson expressed some sympathy for workers wanting to organize.)

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 11:51 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Sounds like the managers at MalWart... (25+ / 0-)

    ...need a union, too.

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 11:55:29 AM PDT

    •  Unfortunately management is on the other side (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nosmiley, JeffW

      of the table where a union is involved.  I would have to get paid a lot and love what I do to ever accept a salaried position and then, I would have to have some measure of guarantee that I would have lots of time off.  The problem is that people actually accept salaried positions...  I value a work-life balance that favors time with my family and myself over these "kill yourself at work" jobs...

    •  They told us, we don't need one (3+ / 0-)

      because they'll take better care of us than a union could.
      And I was given over an hour of "anti-union", dissertation, and ZERO minutes of training for my actual job function, or a tool (box knife) to do the job.
      Imagine opening wrapped pallets and cases, with a car key, and then listening to how I am not going fast enough.

      Needless to say, I'm not there now, due to a fundamental understanding I have for expectations of respect, pay commiserate with job expectations and fairness in hours and scheduling. Their $30 per hour expectations for $10 per hour, were the start, and after giving a good effort at adapting to their bizarre work practices and scheduling, lack of training and demanding pace, (along with day sleeper issues, such as 7 kids on the block under 8 yrs old) I gave notice and haven't regretted it.

      •  "Their $30 per hour expectations for $10 per hour" (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dksbook, storeysound

        This has become the expectation of all businesses these days.....I know people doing the work of three people who get paid a pittance....and are told that they are "lucky" to have a job.....  As long as people settle for less that is what they will get....once American workers figure out that they are worth a living wage then and only then will they demand it and slap these corporate rich bitches in the face with their bullshit lies......

    •  greed begets greed (0+ / 0-)

      these wal mart sam's kids are like most rich kids they want more for doing less.

      Americans want cheap to maintain their declining standard of living.

      capitalism has much for the  few at the expense of the many.

  •  Wouldn't want those employees to, say, be able to (15+ / 0-)

    afford a frickin' gallon of milk on their way out the door after a 34 hour a week payday or say have a gallon of milk ready to sell. Just give the CEO some more kickback and bonus pay, see, problem solv..oh wait, my bad...more food stamps please.
    Peace and Blessings~!

    “When you victim-blame, be aware that in all likelihood, at least one woman you know and love silently decides she cannot trust you.” ` Steph Guthrie

    by Penny GC on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 12:01:28 PM PDT

  •  It seems... (20+ / 0-)

    ...that in-your-face non-union employers like WalMart aren't very well run.

    If Costco can make a large profit while paying well above what WalMart's is paying, what does that say about WalMart's business model?  The issue with stocking shelves isn't just the problems with in-store staffing.  Their entire merchandising system is a joke.  They never had to do any of that when their strategy was to locate in farmland outside of small-to-midsized towns in red state America.  They no longer have their real estate advantage or lack-of-competition advantage, and their wage advantage is highly illusory.  As it is, when you buy brand name products in WalMart, they are either knockoffs or aren't the lowest price.

    •  You buy brand name items (23+ / 0-)

      that are substandard because they are designed to Wal-Mart's specifications, not the company's.

      I'm living in America, and in America you're on your own. America's not a country. It's just a business.

      by CFAmick on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 12:32:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I believe they also sell seconds. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Creosote, mikejay611

        A lot of name brand stuff that is too flawed to be sold in a better store, and not so flawed as to be destroyed or written off.

        •  That would explain a lot of the appliances. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lonesome Jeff, JeffW

          I absolutely refuse to shop at Walmart anymore, but in the days that I did (holding my nose and sallying forth, as you might imagine), I had a strict rule:

          Never buy anything from Walmart that has moving parts.

          Why?  It was inevitably going to be crap that malfunctioned or broke shortly after you got it home, and Walmart would not willingly take it back.

          •  I needed... (0+ / 0-)

            Or rather I thought I needed some yarn for a project late at night, badly enough to try a Walmart store.. I went to their craft section and bought a name brand yarn for maybe a dollar less a skein than I would have paid elsewhere. The yarn was not useable. The little gifts I was making would have been embarrassing to give. I am new to textile crafts. I would not have believed that yarn could be that screwed up. It ended up in the trash. Walmarts return lines are gargantuan. It wasn't worth the time to wait to make the return. The place is just a waste.

            •  ALL lines at Walmart are gargantuan. (0+ / 0-)

              Not only do they not have enough people to stock the shelves, they never have enough registers open to properly service the customer load, which is why I generally check out in the department I'm shopping in. What's the point of installing 20 registers at the check-out area if only 2 or 3 are manned at any one time?

              I avoid Walmart as much as possible. The only thing I go there for is when I need a thumb-drive. They often do fairly amazing sales on them, and since none of them are made in the US I don't see a problem paying half of what every other retailer sells them for. I'm sure the ones on sale are loss-leaders, so Walmart isn't making anything on them, which suits me just fine.

              •  Check out Office Max. (0+ / 0-)

                On occasion they offer a promotion where you can pick up a thumb drive for a couple of bucks if you are buying something else. At least they do that locally where I am. I have picked up a couple of 8 gig verbatim thumb drives for a couple of bucks because I needed a pack of sharpie pens. MAybe see if they offer that where you are.

                I also try to avoid walmart as much as possible. But on occasion I will check them out if I think I am desperate. I generally regret that I wasted my time. It's like certain types of fast food that I loved when I was younger. It sounds so good, and like such a good idea, until you are eating whatever it is and wondering how you survived to reach adult hood.

          •  Ditto - I hadn't been in a Walmart for years... (0+ / 0-)

            Until I dropped in on one a month or so ago. Initially, we stopped shopping there in order to support local business. Now, there are lots of reasons to avoid Walmart stores, including shoddy merchandise, poor selection, often out of staples, huge, scary parking lots at night, scary customers, and too darn much real estate to trudge through for what you find there.

      •  I read once about the owner of a lawn mower (3+ / 0-)

        company, known for the quality of its product.

        Walmart wanted to sell the mowers in it's stores. They wanted the owner of the company to sign an exclusive contract with them, so that the mowers could ONLY be sold at Walmart.

        He was told just in time by his lawyer that Walmart already had plans to "retool" the mowers, to make them as cheaply as possible....and that the contract allowed that. He refused to sign.  

        As for too few employees.....I see the employees in the grocery section of our local Walmart literally running to try to get everything done. And there are more and more gaps on the shelves. They just won't hire the number of people needed to do the work.

        Freedom has two enemies: Those who want to control everyone around them...and those who feel no need to control themselves.

        by Sirenus on Thu Mar 27, 2014 at 06:45:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Wal Mart... (12+ / 0-)

      Has certainly reached market saturation.  They have made billions off of moving into rural markets and undercutting all of the small businesses there.  Now that there are no more small business jobs, they can compress wages even further - which means less people can shop at their stores.

      In fact, Wal Mart has been shutting down less profitable smaller stores in favor of super centers.  So people have to drive farther to shop there.  But that doesn't mean the small stores are coming back.  If Wal Mart decides that they are losing to that competition, they can either lower their prices or open up an old store fairly quickly or cheaply.

      And you are absolutely right about the name brands.  I know for a fact that many suppliers lower the quality of their product in order to meet Wal Mart price demands.

      Costco has a different business model in that they look for upper-middle-class neighborhoods to open their stores.  They aren't the store for everybody.

      “Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” - John Steinbeck (Disputed)

      by RichM on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 12:38:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Brand Destruction (9+ / 0-)

        Wal-mart and a number of the other big box stores have the clout to get their suppliers to design products which look like the brands' standard offering but which skimp on critical elements in enabling them to reach the big box stores' price points.  Just looking at the brand name on the box isn't good enough anymore.  The consumer customer must look at the specs on the product to assess the difference between that big box special and the regular brand product.  Crucial changes in small things like horse-power, casing material, type of cords can make a big difference between a product which will last only 2-5 years and one which could last 20 - and paying only 10% less for the former really means the consumer just got screwed.  The big box store might not care, but the brand is headed for destruction.

        "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

        by PrahaPartizan on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 02:54:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  first chinese made Buck knife I ever saw was (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bronx59, Creosote, PrahaPartizan, Vixter

          at wally world and I have never seen one anywhere else.

          Even the actual models they sell elsewhere are not the same let alone the ones strictly for the wal mart market.

          I do have to give Buck credit for making by far the best Chinese blade I've seen, it's still not what I expect when I pick up a Buck.......

          Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
          I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
          Emiliano Zapata

          by buddabelly on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 04:23:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  A lot of brands are more careful than that (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          PrahaPartizan, RichM

          In general, branded products have one of several strategies.  (a) Rely on their brand power and just tell WalMart to take it or leave it.  (b) Give them a knockoff (this is easier with things like TV sets, where a given company has about 99 different models) that has the brand, and take steps to minimize the connection.  (c) Give them erratic inventory; this is a strategy of using WalMart as an inventory buffer.

        •  Even when you research the model number (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          PrahaPartizan, SherrieLudwig, Amycat

          there are serious quality issues.  I remember when they almost killed Rubbermaid because they wouldn't bow down to the price/quality strongarming.  Unfortunately, I suspect a lot of it is showing up on Amazon.  I'm beginning to realize they are the mostly peddling unsold junk and they also treat employees poorly.

      •  I agree with you totally on the name (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SherrieLudwig, Lonesome Jeff

        brand issue.  A little over a year ago I bought an HP notebook computer from Walmart.  Here a few weeks ago I had to send the computer out for warranty repairs.  I just got it back and began reinstalling HP software on the computer.  At one point a program asked for the product number for the computer (in order for the HP website to be able to identify the correct programs that match my computer).  The product number HP came back with doesn't match the product number that is inside the battery case.  I can only assume that the inner workings (the guts) are from a cheaper model and then slapped into a case, as specified by Walmat.

        •  Costoo does the... (0+ / 0-)

          ...exact same thing with many products. In fact, many big retailers do. But in the case of electronics, I wouldn't assume without further evidence that the internals of the product are any different.

          Often this is just a way of reducing the consumer's ability to compare prices. Sometimes the product is actually identical except for the model number. Sometimes it's just bundled differently (for example, a laptop model may be identical to a "mainstream" model except in model number and the fact it comes with less/more memory -- a fact that is fully disclosed). Sony's overpriced retailers don't want to/can't compete with Costco so Sony, to keep their channels as happy as possible, has a vested interest in making pricing opaque.

          However in some products, especially clothing, at Costco and the other big box stores the designer/brand name means little as the Costco version is made more cheaply. In most cases it would be fairly obvious to a discerning consumer who regularly frequents the "high end" channels that sell the higher quality versions but most people who shop at Costco don't know the difference and just fall for the "designer" name.

    •  Costco has a very different business model, but (4+ / 0-)


      Costco actually make a large piece of its money on memberships, which is part of their ability to pay well and operate on thin margins.

      But the point is exactly right.

      Wal-Mart used to be a retailing pioneer, innovating in the supply chain and beating up the competition while offering a pleasant, if low-rent, shopping experience to customers.  now they're just clueless parasites shoveling as much short-term money to the Walton clan as possible.

      I have a feeling that Sam Walton would not be amused.

      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

      by dinotrac on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 09:20:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sam Walton was a big a crook as his kids are... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        penelope pnortney

        ...and he created one hell of an illusion: that "Made in America" shtick was some brilliant sleight-of-hand, because most of his stuff was manufactured on Chinese manufacturing ships anchored just outside of U.S. territorial waters, in international waters, off the coast of California. Because those ships were closer to America, he could get away with the "Made in America" lie.

        But this is what AmurrriKKKa has become: predatory business plans predicated on ripping off the customers, and anyone else that does business with them.

        Walmart has destroyed our economy. And we let them do it.

    •  When Walmart came in this area (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nosmiley, Lonesome Jeff, JeffW

      A friend of mine that ran his own small TV/electronics store showed me that many of the TVs in Walmart was actually the old model. Also do you remember just how thick and heavy the material in LS 501 jeans use to be? Walmart made them use lighter cloth until now they can't sell a decent pair. I am proud to say it has been a year since I set foot in a Walmart.

      •  Costco does the exact same... (0+ / 0-)

        ...thing with eyeglass frames.

        I've seen the rep for a frame company come into one of their "mom and pop" opticians and remove the frames that were about to appear at Costco and replace them with newer models that wouldn't appear in Costco for some time. They briefly explained why they were doing that to the owner who was happy (as one could be competing with Costco) this was being done.

    •  never understood this comparison (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WillR, dksbook

      The bussiness model of Costco and Walmart are differnt.  The number and size of items stocked are differnt.  I certainly have never really been in a Costco because I don't have the storage space to keep a year supply of ketchup. I know this is an oversimplification, but the point is comparing two disimiliar things and then saying one is better is not always effective.

      What I will say is this.  I have known people who worked as store managers for a while, and even 20 years ago, at stores that were no walmart, they were responsible for keeping the store running.  That often meant 60-80 weeks for not enough pay.  For some it seemed to be a good trade off, supplying a good lifestyle for the family.  It sucks.  The new Obama regulations is going to help.  Just screaming COSTCO is not going to help.

      Here is one thing I ran across in my reading.  Costco, like many firms, use independent contractors.  In the case of Costco, the truckers are given a pretty bad deal.  They have apparently won a deal to unionize.  We will see if Costco supports this or fights it.

  •  this may be interesting (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
  •  rather, this may be interesting (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, RunawayRose, CenPhx, QuelleC

    It's a little old now, but I know Walmart was expanding full time workers about six months ago. Apparently it has been too little, too late, however.

    •  They tried to push the $13.00 wage per hour thing. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CatKinNY, SherrieLudwig, nosmiley

      It was debunked, as I'm sure you know.  So the push to hire people full time and the happy commercials lasted, like you say, about six months.  They're getting the message.  They've oversaturated markets and maybe 20% of those double check out lanes are staffed.  My son insisted on taking me along the other day to get personal hygiene items and he elected to use the self check out for 5 items.  That's another part of the plan to cut out employees.  Their stores are seriously outdated.  They've been trying at this particular store to improve the produce they ship in from where ever but
      Walmart is not cheap compared to our employee owned store, Woodmans.  And everyone looks miserable just like at MdD.  Here in Green Bay they are pushing very, very hard to put a store in our historic downtown.  Yet, we have 3 other supercenters in a ten mile triangle.

      •  Woodman's? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:


        We used to go to a Woodman's up in Illinois.
        Don't have 'em down here in Texas.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 09:23:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Self checkout is getting worse. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        A month or so ago, my local Walmart decided to close their standard checkout lanes starting at 10pm. If you're in there at midnight, your options are self checkout or nothing, unless you get the single cashier (stationed there to oversee all those stations) to check you out.

        That has to have a negative effect on their third-shift sales.

        Former libertarian...who grew up.

        by RevBobMIB on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 01:10:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I guess consumers differ... (0+ / 0-)

 what they want.

          At most stores, I always use the self-checkout if it's available. The lines are usually shorter and the checkout faster. More importantly, I'm aware if each item is ringing up correctly (esp. with personalized deals attached to a "loyalty" card) and I often catch an error (rarely in my favor).

          I really feel no need to interact with a human out of a sense of tradition when buying something if they don't add value to the transaction.

          •  If you like self-checkout, you can keep it... (0+ / 0-)

            ...and I would even argue that most stores should offer that option - but it should never be the only option. Sure, if I'm only buying a couple of items, that's one thing; I've got no problems with using a self-checkout in that circumstance.

            However, if I'm buying a week's worth of groceries, that's a completely different situation. In that case, the transaction goes faster with me loading a conveyor belt on one side while a cashier rings things up and bags them on the other. By the time I've put the last items on the belt, I can start loading the bagged items back in the cart, and the process goes smoothly. To me, that "adds value to the transaction" in a big way.

            After 10pm, that simply is not possible at Walmart. The one "manned" checkout station doesn't even have a conveyor belt, as it's designed for supervision rather than function. The store is effectively telling people that, if they want to buy a lot of merchandise, they'd better not do it at night.

            Former libertarian...who grew up.

            by RevBobMIB on Mon Mar 31, 2014 at 11:56:45 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Wal-mart (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Keep 'em out if you can. They do more damage to an areas' economy than the benefits they claim to bring. All the profits end up in Arkansas, and you live in Green Bay. I live in a city of about 250,000 middle to low income folks. All the decent hardware stores are gone, the appliance stores, ( washers, dryers, refrigerators) are gone, because of Wal-Mart, Lowes, and Home Depot. I end up ordering hardware from out of town, and paying ridiculous shipping. ( I found stainless tee nuts for 38 cents each. They weigh about as much as each M&M peanut variety. Shipping is  $12.00 for ten of them. I could ship several hundred for that much !

        •  New Paltz, NY did so successfully (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lonesome Jeff, JeffW

          and I was living in upstate NY when they did.  It was after my own four-month stint as a Walmart cashier, and I was practically jumping up and down in excitement when I heard about it.

          I worked in the supercenter in Oneonta, NY from June-October of 2002 and hated every second of it - hell, after I filled out my application, I was immediately regretting what I'd done.  And while I was there, I learned from some former employees that the preferred method of quitting was to just not bother showing up for work one day and staying gone - I soon found out that they barely noticed I was gone.  I can remember nearly having anxiety attacks going in to work on a Saturday when the place was jam-packed, unsympathetic managers (I was frequently late because there was never a place to park), and the shortened breaks because of how long it took just to get to the employee break room.

          I would not wish that experience on anyone.

          •  That doesn't sound unusual... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            ...for low wage jobs even long before Walmart.

            I worked a couple summers many years ago (okay, many decades now) in manufacturing jobs and the usual means of quitting was just not showing up (one of the jobs was nasty enough that over half of the new hires just didn't come back after their first break!)

            I don't think Walmart invented this work environment. Certainly I never worked a job where I was supposed to arrive at a certain time "ready to work" where being late "frequently" was an option -- no matter the excuse.

  •  just for a point of reference (12+ / 0-)

    as of 11/13, the total family wealth of the waltons was over $144 billion.  6 members of the walton family were listed in the forbes 400 with bank balances ranging from $4 billion to over $35 billion.

    it seems ridiculous that, with all their wealth, they cannot find an extra few 100 million to run their stores with greater efficiency and effectiveness.

    hope springs eternal and DAMN is she getting tired!

    by alguien on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 12:42:56 PM PDT

  •  Having worked at Walmart, no surprises here (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CenPhx, Creosote, hepette, SherrieLudwig

    The managers never seemed to be available, and looked like they were being run ragged when they did show up. There were never more than the minimum of supplies needed to keep the store operating.

    And don't ask what conditions were like behind the counter in the Deli section.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 07:49:04 PM PDT

  •  The Walton family is made of protoplasm.... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CenPhx, Vixter, carrps

    ...and they are as entirely edible as the rest of us are.

    "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

    by leftykook on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 08:05:30 PM PDT

  •  I'm Alice Walton, Bitch! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FiredUpInCA, hepette, SherrieLudwig
    According to the UK's Independent, she hit a gas meter and told the responding police officer: 'I'm Alice Walton, bitch!'

    And as if that wasn't bad enough of a display of how far down the rabbit hole of Affluenza we have fallen, then we have this:

    "It will cease to exist for us in any way — literally," Assistant Parker County Prosecutor Fred Barker told the local Dallas/Fort Worth NBC affiliate last October, referring to Walton's DWI charge. Barker's office decided to let the statute of limitations to prosecute Walton expire. They had video evidence of her all sloppy, fumbling through her gymnastics exam, but Trooper Davis was unable to testify after he was mysteriously suspended last March and no blood-alcohol testing was ever conducted. Three weeks later, a Parker County judge granted a petition from Walton's lawyers to remove records of the arrest from the county's file system.

    "There's really no way to stop it," Barker remarked. “[I]t's gone, gone, gone."
  •  Be nice to people (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vixter, MyOwnReality

    I want more than anything for people to understand that the customer service woman you call, the tech support person who sits with you on the phone for 45 min, the very old and very young who are serving you at restaurants, are maybe earning $8.00 an hour and are doing the work of 3 people.  As much as they want to help you and are REQUIRED to establish a personal relationship and are disciplined for non adherence to a script, they have a quota down to the second of how much time they are allowed to spend with you. It's all about the numbers.  Having done customer service for many years, most customers pretty much KNOW they outearn you, and you can't afford the service you're supporting. They boast about it. That's where a living wage results in dignity of work.

  •  Managerial positions (0+ / 0-)

    I am surprised they don't give all of the workers a manager title just to avoid paying overtime.

  •  Walmart (3+ / 0-)

    is a disgrace. I refuse to shop at Walmart unless and until the hourly workers are unionized. I'll pay $300.00 for Carhart union made coveralls before I'll pay $70.00 for non-union made coveralls produced in a slave wage factory in a third world country or China.

    •  I respect your position but (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      penelope pnortney

      you also have to take into account, that there are A LOT of people in this country right now, who literally do not have the option to spend $300 on a pair of coveralls - they barely can afford to spend the $70.

      In many parts of the country, Walmart is the cheapest shopping option - at least for some items. My sister and I already spend hours every week, shopping at multiple stores, both the regional grocery store and big box chains, to feed never-ending hunger of my teenage boy, and the constantly changing palette of her two-year old son, while struggling to bring both our diets under carb restrictions to get our weight down - and low-carb shopping is NOT cheap. Shopping for us is a chore and a half, involving sometimes a half-dozen stores in one day, just so we can afford everything we need in a week. And my hours are about to be cut in half (not a corporate crunch, I work for a non-profit and it's been a tough year), so managing everything is going to be even harder.

      I respect that people don't want to shop at Walmart, if they can afford not to - especially since I did my own time working at Walmart, when my son was a baby, and I know just how awfully they treated their employees then. But the reality is that not everyone has the luxury of avoiding it. Too many people in this country are struggling every week, to put food on the table, and paying Walmart's prices help them accomplish that.

      I find other ways to support the unionizing movement. But unfortunately, my wallet is too empty to be able to vote with it.

      •  CeverTitania is right.... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        and that's the scariest part of all of this recent Big Corp. worship... we may have passed the tipping point because so many in our area too, can't afford to shop anywhere else.

        I found myself there today at our Walmart.  What others have said is true, the isles were sloppy, the stocking was poor, price tags were confusing or missing but even though I was taking a neighbor who has no car and hadn't intended on buying anything I found several things I use daily, for much less than I've been paying at our smaller local grocery.  Yes, I bought them because I need every penny I can get for my organic, gluten free diet and have to save on other necessary supplies.

        It's outrageous that Medicare can't negotiate for bulk rates on pharmaceuticals and medical services but Walmart can corner the market using the same negotiations.  It's heart-breaking that the same people who shop at Walmart can't see the inequities and keep on voting for conservatives against their own self-interest.

      •  I respect your position (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        but I'm sticking to my guns.  I'm also fortunate now, in that the small town I moved to in February (Ipswich, MA) does not have a Walmart, nor are there any plans to put one here.  There isn't one any closer than Danvers, and it's a good 15 miles away - my grocery shopping is kept mainly to the smaller Shaw's here in town or to the larger one a few towns south in Beverly.

        And my wallet isn't much fuller than yours.  My take-home pay varies anywhere from $450 to $500 (if there's overtime) per week, and a good chunk of that goes to my rent, insurance and cell phone.  (I'm lucky enough to live in a place where my utilities are covered by my rent.)  My reduced income is due to being separated from my wife, and I find ways to make do.  I don't even have kids, which is just as well considering I'd be a lot worse off trying to look after them on my own (two cats are hard enough).

        But I do feel your pain.  We do the best we can with what we've got.  At the end of the day, that's all any of us can do.

        •  "Making do" on $2000/mo (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JeffW, nancyjones

          That's nice . . . now try it on $904/mo (or $750/ mo like I have for the last two years as DOE garnished my check because I could not pay $700/mo for student loans, so they only took 15%.).

          For some of us, the choices are not so easy. Yes, I try to go to other stores as much as possible rather than Wal-mart, but there a some food items that I just cannot find at other places at a price I am willing to pay. I also have to limit my driving even though my car -- a 1988 Chevy--gets good gas mileage, $4+ a gallon cuts way too far into my budget, and Wal-mart is less than two miles from where I live versus 10 miles to the stores I prefer.

          I am pretty sure I am not the only one who fits this scenario considering that $7.50/hr is a more predominant wage than $15/hr.

        •  Winddancer's point is mine. (0+ / 0-)

          Because that's it in a nutshell. You and I are actually doing pretty damned good, compared to a lot of people in the country. Even as I struggle, I know there are people getting by on a lot less than I do, and they have even less leeway to vote with their wallet.

          I agree though - the best we can do, is all any of us can do. I'm glad your environment makes shopping at a better store a more feasible option. I live in the Quad Cities - where there are four Walmarts in the metro area (and another on the way). Most people struggling around here, do the same thing my sister and I do - they cruise the ads and shop at multiple stores. And Walmart has to be included in the run, because some stuff is never as cheap on sale, as it is at Walmart.

      •  Sichuan, there are a lot of people in this country (0+ / 0-)

        who do their clothes shopping at Goodwilll. That incudes me. $70 for a pair of jeans?  $70 is how much I can afford for six months worth of clothes!  So yes, I shop at Walmart. Because the only other grocery store in my town, Albertson's, charges $4.25 for milk to Walmart's $3.45.....and $3.75 for a four pack of toilet paper to Walmarts $2.69.....and $14.95 for twenty pounds of dog food to Walmarts $10.35. Thank God for the local butcher shop where I can get a whole chicken for $4 or I'd be an unwilling vegetarian....

        Freedom has two enemies: Those who want to control everyone around them...and those who feel no need to control themselves.

        by Sirenus on Thu Mar 27, 2014 at 06:57:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Coveralls, not "jeans". (0+ / 0-)

          Coveralls are work clothes (except for posers) and focus on durability rather than style. They have more material and labor in them than typical jeans and can be much more "complicated" (insulated et al).

          Although, $300 seems pretty darn expensive for anything but an extreme specialty pair.

  •  Indeed a disgrace (0+ / 0-)

    Fuck Walmart! Went once, 23 years ago.  Never again!
    There are plenty of other retailers that are nowhere near as bad as these parasitic spoiled children who never created anything in their entire lives.  I bet even old Sam would not be proud of his progeny.

  •  Ideation20 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The behavior of Wal Mart shoppers have changed, many don't shop  they are zeroing on a particular item or two.
    Here is a quote from a relative
    WalMart is depressing...they are no longer fun like 15 years ago.

  •  It will be a very, very cold day in hell... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SherrieLudwig, penelope pnortney

    ...before I ever set foot in a Walmart store. They are the epitome of the profit motive run amuck.

  •  Walmart sucks (0+ / 0-)

    Boycott Walfart. Costco is 100 times better.

    •  Unfortunately, Costco is 30 miles away. (0+ / 0-)

      A 60 mile round trip in an old truck that gets maybe 12 miles per hour, when gas is $3.45 and rising, is not an option.

      Freedom has two enemies: Those who want to control everyone around them...and those who feel no need to control themselves.

      by Sirenus on Thu Mar 27, 2014 at 07:00:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Attention Kmart Shoplifters! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The word is on the street!  Walmart managers are under-manned and doing the menial jobs like stocking shelves and working the registers! CALLING ALL shoplifters, Kleptos, and the sticky fingered it sounds like open season at Walmart!!!  Just Joking  HA,HA...

  •  Walmart's owners (3+ / 0-)

    I read that the three heirs of the Walmart fortune were in the top 10 richest people IN THE WORLD!

    If each of them donated a billion or so, they could give all their employees ample raises now and for the rest of their employment days and they (the heirs) wouldn't even feel it.

    How does one even contemplate spending a billion dollars, anyhow?  A person can only eat so much, sleep so much, etc.  I don't think I could spend a billion dollars in a million years.

    So, bottom line, the Walmart heirs, who claim to be Christian, BTW, can never need all their wealth, but refuse to pay their employees a living wage.  Doesn't sound very Christian to me.

    •  Actually... (0+ / 0-) Do the math.

      Walmart has about 2.2 million employees worldwide.

      I believe four "Waltons" (Christy Walton is not a direct heir but she inherited her wealth from her husband John Walton when he was killed in a plane crash) occupy positions 8, 9, 10, and 11 on Forbe's "World Billionaires".

      If each contributed $1B (for a total of $4B) that would work out to be $1818 per employee.

      If we assume that, on the average, a Walmart employee works 30 hours a week, that's 1560 hours a year (assuming no "unpaid time off").

      I don't know what you meant by your imprecise "rest of their employment days" term. It could be the length of time a particular current employee will be working at Walmart. It could the remaining "working life" of every current Walmart employee regardless of where they are working in the future. It could even mean other harder to estimate things. However, to give your calculation the benefit of the doubt, I'll pick the "best case" for your assertion -- that it's the length of time a particular current employee will be working at Walmart.

      I have no idea how long, on the average, an employee works at Walmart - but perhaps two years would be reasonable. Thus, on the average, an employee has one year remaining in their employment with Walmart. Thus, with the suggested contribution, each worker would get an hourly raise of $1818/1560 or $1.17. Note that when they leave the company, their replacement would not get this upward adjustment.

      I'm not convinced that most folks here would consider a $1.17/hour raise for current, and only, current Walmart employees was "ample".

      Remember, Walmart's profits, and hence the Waltons' wealth, are derived not just from the US -- it would be parochial to assume that only US workers should benefit from these profits.

  •  what a crock... (2+ / 0-)

    ...those assistant managers got their bonuses, too: and they are solely based on the store's bottom line: the more profit they make after costs (energy, expenses, labor, etc), the bigger the bonus. So they don't give a rat's ass about full shelves or nice displays or full staffing, all they care about is that profit margin, which staffing cuts into like a hot axe through a pat of butter.

    If they ever figure out how to totally automate a store, they will fire each and every human they can, just to pad that bottom line.

    Profit at all cost, y'know...

    •  That is the direction all businesses are going. (0+ / 0-)

      Automation.  Self check out is just the first step.  We are in a drasticly changing world, need to prepare ourselves for it.  

      •  My way of preparing (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JeffW, nancyjones

        ... is to want and need less.  We've been seeing this trend for quite some time.  I'm old enough to remember the days of service stations - you know, you pulled in, a guy filled your tank, checked your tires and would even check your oil and water.  My dad often had to fly off for three months TDY at a time, but he knew that my mother (with three kids under 5) could have everything taken care of to keep the car driving and in good repair by just taking it to the service station they used.  In ways we contributed to the inevitable destruction of the service station and hardware store jobs that made things more convenient for customers (back before we became consumers), jobs that could raise a family comfortably, if not luxuriously.  We bought into the idea that the cheapest price was the ultimate prize, and that cancer has been killing jobs and souls ever since.  We've become a self-service world where you have to become an expert on everything then stay vigilant to avoid getting screwed because of someone else's error or because the company changed the rules on you.  I'm learning to need and want less because I'm not a masochist, but mostly because I'm too mule-headed to keep playing in a rigged game.

        •  Well in many cases the only way to need (0+ / 0-)

          less is to put a bullet in your brain.  That goes especially for things like food where you have to eat if you want to live.

          You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

          by Throw The Bums Out on Thu Mar 27, 2014 at 07:31:51 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  The service station argument... (0+ / 0-)

          ...misses changes in technology.

          Cars don't "use" hardly any oil anymore due to technological improvements. So, there's no need to check your oil every time you buy gas. Often there's no need to add oil to a modern engine between scheduled oil changes.

          Similarly, cooling systems now have recovery tanks and other improvements and rarely need checking except at scheduled maintenance intervals.

          Many (all?) passenger cars sold in the US now have Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems so the need to specifically check tire pressures will be virtually eliminated in the not too distant future.

          Many of the services provided by service station attendants would be wasteful overkill now as they would be done too often -- roughly equivalent to breaking every tenth window in town on New Year's Day just to keep the local glaziers employed.

          As well, the simplistic checks that a service station attendant did do are not sufficient. You should still service your car periodically and it makes more sense to pay someone with specific training to do that.

          Anyway, unless you think we should ban electric cars because they will render gas station attendant jobs obsolete, there may be little need for manned gas stations at all in the future.

    •  if you have no staff, (0+ / 0-)

      a gang can loot the store.

  •  Basic rule (0+ / 0-)

    You manage things. You lead people.

  •  Still no Walmarts in New York City (0+ / 0-)

    and I don't miss them. :)

  •  "Penny wise and Pound Foolish" the new (0+ / 0-)

    Walmart slogan.

  •  death spiral (0+ / 0-)

    It will take a few years, but Mall-Wart is clearly going the way of the other mass merchandisers which have gone before it.  It's clearly entering its death spiral.

  •  I wouldn't spend even a dime at Walmart. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dodgerdog1, kfunk937

    Indeed, I detest everything the company stands for:  low wages, forced work without pay, few or no benefits, etc.  Yet Walmart's apparent policy to understaff its business is not unique to Walmart.  Many--perhaps even most—large corporations these days operate at reduced staffing levels relative to what they operated at even five years ago.  Characterized as "lean" operation—lean manufacturing, lean production, or lean enterprise—this strategy is responsible for frequent layoffs and the onerous productivity demands placed on the workers who remain.

    When unchecked by government regulation, capitalism becomes a race to the bottom.

  •  I wouldn't spend a sou. . . (0+ / 0-)

    at WallyWorld.

    Since the sou is one one hundredth of a franc and the franc is no longer money, I think I'm being generous enough.

    Walmart is bad for our country, our economy and our people. Why would anybody shop there who claims to be a patriot?

  •  Wal-Mart is broken, and it still makes (0+ / 0-)

    BILLIONS of dollars.

    Their philosophy is: "If it generates billions in profits, it can't be broken that bad" (so why give a shit?).

    I quit shopping there years ago, and thus, I no longer support China or gross stupidity, as a result.

    Now if I could only convince a few more billion sheep to quit them as well...

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