Tuesday, January 24, 2006

WAL-MART

With $290 billion in revenue during its last fiscal year, it is the world’s largest corporation. With over 5,500 stores and 7.5 billion shoppers every year, it is the largest retailer far and away. With over 1.3 million employees it is the largest private employer in the U.S. economy. To call it a goliath doesn’t do it justice; WAL-MART is the most powerful non-governmental entity the world has ever seen.

And it is not a benevolent giant. As the “Most Admired” company for two of the past three years (according to Fortune magazine), WAL-MART is leading the U.S. economy, and indeed the global market, in a petrifying direction. With a singular focus on the bottom line, it puts profits before people, or any other consideration for that matter. The stores low prices have been cited by some political pundits and corporate apologists to greatly benefit the poor; in truth the hidden costs to all of us has created an explosion of poverty in this country. It's associates are the definition of working poor, with WAL-MART dealing a massive blow to organized labor and the rights of all workers. And this doesn’t even take into account the legions of sweatshop workers that the company has spawned throughout the developing world. Or, for that matter, its role in suburban sprawl and environmental degradation. Indeed, as a retailing monopoly, WAL-MART sits at the crossroads of the difficult questions my generation faces about economic justice, reckless materialism, and socially-conscious consumerism.

For all of these reasons, and many more, I will infiltrate WAL-MART and become a low-wage retail worker. This will be an opportunity to learn firsthand about the struggles facing the working poor and to live in solidarity with them. In addition to this my experience should be a means to educate the public about the stores high costs. Ideally, both of these will translate into a way to spark change for the better by reforming WAL-MART.


Unfortunately, WAL-MART’s tendency to retaliate against dissident employees has forced me to take several precautions. First of all, the dates of these posts will not match since they are based on previous entries in a journal that I have been keeping the past few months while working at the store. However, the posts will be roughly chronological and the extra time has given me an opportunity to base my conclusions on a multitude of experiences. More importantly, I will have to keep the identities of my co-workers in the strictest of confidence and will only share anecdotes that will not betray who they are. While these steps will undoubtedly detract from the power of my experience, I believe that there is still a story worthy of being told.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ah, another word fraught with gravitas: solidarity.

No doubt about it, your favorite color is red. I’m also betting that your favorite icon is a raised red fist.

“Reforming Wal-Mart,” my ass. What a pathetic pipsqueak you must be.

Ooooh, more vomitous stuff: “dissident employees,” no less.

Well, not much of a need to protect the identities of your co-workers because of their many anecdotes, was there?

There’s little chance that my comments are going to see the light of day in your blog is there?

Fortunately for me, I decided with the long one to save what I was writing on my computer.

My wife is going to laugh at quite a bit of what I’ve written, so thank you for the opportunity you’ve given me.

You could learn a lot from her. She could make you smart, too.

Kilahatra said...

Thanks for giving me a heads up! I'm going on my 2nd interview tommry with wal-mart and I feel as if i'm selling my soul. I am not a meek, quiet, do what your told person, so this will be interesting to say the least!

kila

Anonymous said...

Here's another word, anonymous: loser.

Awesome comment though; it had no substance whatsoever. "'Reforming Wal-Mart,' my ass. What a pathetic pipsqueak you must be." ...Yeah, you really got him there. Nothing constructive whatsoever, nothing disproved at all, just an insult...

"Ooooh, more vomitous stuff: “dissident employees,” no less." Dude, seriously? If what he wrote was stupid or didn't make gramatical sense then sure, quote him and make fun of him and it's cool (although regardless that was a fail of an insult. Vomitous? Good one...).

"My wife is going to laugh at quite a bit of what I’ve written."

I would think that she would cry at the fact that her husband surfs the internet looking to flame people he doesn't know... but on the other hand that's partially what I'm doing. At least in this case a constructive comment might do you some good. In case you haven't figured it out, said comment is don't post if you have nothing to contribute. What I'm contributing here is the explanation that your post meant just about nothing.

"...so thank you for the opportunity you’ve given me." Well you sure know how to thank someone. Flaming everything they write.

"You could learn a lot from her. She could make you smart, too." Another case of 'Internet Tough Guy', and a severe superiority complex (on the behalf of your wife, apparently). If she were half as smart as you make her out to be, she wouldn't be married to you.

Should I dissect the other stupid parts of your post? I think I'll leave that to you. I hope that from now on you double-check any comments you may post in the future (and please don't reply with "WOW YOU REALLY TAUGHT ME TO NOT POST STUPIDLY, GJ NUB YOU CAN'T MAKE ME DO ANYTHIN AHAHAH" or the like. I would hope that as a responsible adult you would recognize the validity of this post and take it upon yourself to make some small self-improvements in your online life).

I know I haven't properly refuted anything you've said so far (and so this as strong a post as I would normally make), but there wasn't much to refute. Maybe you were just in a bad mood when you wrote this, but I still believe that the original article posted was honest and decently thought-out.

--Anonymous 2

Anonymous said...

I know I haven't properly refuted anything you've said so far (and so this [EDIT]*is not* as strong a post as I would normally make), but there wasn't much to refute. Maybe you were just in a bad mood when you wrote this, but I still believe that the original article posted was honest and decently thought-out.

Anonymous 2

Anonymous said...

I like how you just became a hypocrite with this post. You claim he is flaming someone he doesn't know on the internet and has a superiority complex, yet you imply his wife is dumb because she married him. What right do you have to insult his wife's reasoning for them being together?

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