Saturday, November 30, 2013

More Walmart Stuff

Walmart has gotten a lot of attention this holiday season not for their great Black Friday sales but for their exploitative business practices.

Yesterday, the CEO of Wal-Mart went on CNN to talk about Black Friday. It was a fairly hostile interview, with Don Lemon (I believe) asking him questions about the protests, about opening on Thanksgiving, about worker pay, etc.

The CEO acquitted himself honorably and made several decent points. He justified opening on Thanksgiving as a service to the public. Understandable. He said they paid holiday pay. He said the Walmart leadership were on the job too, not just the proles. (I bet the stores with C-level execs on site were on their A game.)

But he also said some things that, upon reflection, justified the tough questions. He said something like, "50% of our workforce are full-time employees."

Um, if you wanted to dispel the notion that working at Walmart cannot provide you with a living, pointing out that half your workforce are part-timers is not helping. You run a full-time business with a half-time workforce? It's an implicit admission that you're embracing the whole McJob concept.

Which is why it's funny I saw this commercial:

The funniest thing is that it directs you to a website called, that doesn't mention all the stock-buybacks that have enriched the Walton family heirs, doesn't mention the tax breaks and eminent domain rulings that have fueled their aggressive expansion plans, doesn't mention that half their work-force are part-timers making peanuts.

 Instead, they provide us with heart-warming stories like Kevin's:
I started at Walmart as a cart-pusher with a high school education. I've worked my way up to store manager, and through the Lifelong Learning Program, I got my bachelors degree in management in 2012.
That's just crying out for a "results not typical" disclaimer.

Truth is, companies that are stocked with talented people duly rewarded for their efforts, they don't need to run PR campaigns like this. Their employment policies speak for themselves.

No comments: