Walmart???

@ladyluna (7004)
United States
September 6, 2007 9:04pm CST
Hello MyLotters, I have certainly heard some outrageous claims about Walmart's business practices. However, I read some recent claims presented here in MyLot that absolutely 'take the cake'. Specifically, a member stated declaratively that Walmart instructs its employees to sign up for public assistance, or welfare. This member further indicated that Walmart justifies this statement to its employees by stating that "....that's what it's (welfare) for." Not my words, but the words presented here in MyLot. So, I decided to go to Walmart this afternoon. I spoke with several employees from two different departments. I did not notify management that I wanted to question their employees. I was simply a shopper asking employees about their Walmart experience. Here's what I learned: Of the six employees that I spoke with: 1. Each stated that their starting pay was higher than minimum wage. Which in this particular city is over $9.00/hr. 2. Each had been with the company for over a year, and had received at least two raises in that time. 3. Each had medical coverage. Those without children found the coverage to be "very good" or "excellent". The one who had children used her husband's medical coverage for the kids because it is Blue Cross/Blue Shield. 4. Four of the six volunteered that Walmart is very family oriented. And that scheduling was very accomodating to family emergencies. Further, one indicated that management allowed him tremendous flex-time to accomodate his ailing mother. In fact, this one man had worked for Walmart for several years, then left for greener pastures. He returned to Walmart after one year with a retail pharmacay outlet because he found Walmart to be a much more hospitable work environment. 5. Four of the six indicated that their starting wage was well above minimum wage because they had a stable employment record and experience in retail, which they were able to apply to their respective departments immediately. The other two were quite young and had no retail experience, and thus started at the store's starting wage, which as I said is above the min. wage of $9.00/hr. 6. When I asked about whether Walmart promotes from within, each answered emphatically "yes". 7. When I asked about turn-over it was explained to me that their greatest turn-over rate was among the part-time evening employees because they have other full-time jobs, and simply get burned out by working 1 1/2 or 2 jobs. 8. When I asked about overtime pay I was told that with the exception of the holidays or peak busy periods, that O/T was generally not allowed but was typical during peak seasons. 9. When I asked if any of them had ever been told to sign up for welfare to supplement either their pay or their medical coverage, each and every one of them laughed, and either asked me where I got that ridiculous or silly notion, or said resoundingly "no". So, my questions are: Why do people believe/spread these outrageous claims without doing what I did; go and talk to their employees? I see no deviation in Walmart's employment model as compared to any other retail chain. And yes, I did at one time work in retail. So why does Walmart get this bad rap? Why are people so passionate about deceiving others about Walmart's business model? I'd appreciate your thoughts. I welcome all perspectives, but would ask that if someone feels the need to bash Walmart in this post, please do provide your verified sourcing. This post is all about fact checking, and perceived reasons why people choose to mislead others about this particular retail chain. Thanks! I'm looking forward to your thoughts on this.
5 people like this
12 responses
@deebomb (15322)
• United States
28 Sep 07
My daughter works for Wal-Mart and has for a good number of years now. about 5 or6. She started out head of the dairy department. her biggest complaint was the employees that were continually calling in sick or just not shoing up. They would get counceling so many times it wasn't funny. Some of them she had to keep on and almost do their job for them. She worked just as hard as she expected them to. Some were continually late or would clock in then go sit in the break room. She has been made an associate this year. I also know that it take a lot to get fired from Wal-mart. I know in my area that the friendlyness varies from store to store. we have 3 now with in 10 mile of us. There is a 10 ft 10 second rule that some employees follow and some don't. Every store is going to be run a bit different because the managers will be differnt. As for the shrine that could just be a single store. My daughter has never mentioned shuch a thing where she works. She has worked at 3 diferent store now When they get a permotion they go to a different store. She has talked about the help that has been given to fellow employees at the time of family crises. Those that complain are proble disgruntled employees that have finely gotten fired for not doing their jobs. Some people expect to get a job but not have to work and still get paid. That is a fact of life in every industry.
1 person likes this
@ladyluna (7004)
• United States
28 Sep 07
Hello Deebomb, Thanks for sharing your perspective on this issue. Congrat's to your daughter for rising through the ranks. And yes, I completely agree that differing management styles & personalities will affect how the individual store's conduct business. Good point! I am curious though, what is the "10' 10 second rule"?
@deebomb (15322)
• United States
28 Sep 07
The 10 ft- 10 second rule is that if a wal-mart employee comes with in 10 ft of a customer they have 10 seconds to acknowledge the customer with a hello or some kind of greeting.
1 person likes this
@ladyluna (7004)
• United States
28 Sep 07
Thanks Deebomb for the follow up explanation. Wow, I'd say that 10', 10 second rule is a fine rule!
1 person likes this
• United States
7 Sep 07
I read the same discussion you're talking about and I just shook my head with disbelief. My best friend has worked at the local Walmart for 2 yrs now and they have treated her unbelievably well. Shortly after she started working their she was diagnosed with a kidney disease. She had to go on dialysis immediately so they gave her an extended leave of absence while she went thru a bunch of tests and a surgery. They kept her job for her for 3 months. I don't know of any other store that would do that for someone who was only part-time to begin with. She now works one day a week and they still treat her very well. So as far as I'm concerned their employee practices are excellent and no, they have never suggest to anyone that they go on welfare! If one person was told to go on welfare by a manager or supervisor it was probably just a personal suggestion, not company policy. I'm sure that was just blown way out of proportion.
1 person likes this
@ladyluna (7004)
• United States
8 Sep 07
Hello Craftcatcher, How is your sisterly friend doing? Last I read, she was on the list for a transplant -- and her one son was resistent to being tested. I hope that mess worked itself out, and that she has been elevated on the list. She sounds like a heck of a gal, and I wish only the best for her! I'm thrilled to hear that Walmart treated her so respectfully! Keeping her position open for her, especially as a P/T employee, was very gracious of a big corporation. I know that if something were to happen to me (cancel/clear), the same courtesy would not be afforded. That's not a shot at my organization, it's just a reality. I would have to be replaced immediately for the sake of the business. Which, I guess, is just a reminder that we're all expendable. Anyway, thanks for sharing your perspective.
@ladyluna (7004)
• United States
10 Sep 07
Hello Craftcatcher, Thanks for the follow up. Please do extend my belated birthday greeting & continued well-wishes for only the best for your dear friend.
• United States
7 Sep 07
I think a lot of people want to make Walmart look worse than it is because they don't like the fact that walmart has turned into a large corporation that puts small businesses out of business. I mean, that's just how business goes. And, you can't say that every Walmart behaves the same way. Walmart may not be the best place to shop, but it's just an easy place to shop at with relatively nice prices compared to a lot of other places. Some people don't like them because they aren't unionized, but once again, you can't say that because one store is horrible, that all stores are.
1 person likes this
@ladyluna (7004)
• United States
7 Sep 07
Hello Highflyingxangel, Thanks for sharing your thoughts about this. You present some interesting observations.
@Ravenladyj (22937)
• United States
7 Sep 07
"I think a lot of people want to make Walmart look worse than it is because they don't like the fact that walmart has turned into a large corporation that puts small businesses out of business" Yea thats what I think it is...ppl around here b!tch about the new SuperWalmart that went up a yr ago in a nearby town and yes a few of the small privately owned family businesses (grocery stores) did in fact go out of biz within 6 months BUT EVERYONE around here STILL shops there...LOL and they continue to complain..they just do it out the sides of their mouths now :-/ I personally LIKE Walmart..its convienent, cheap and open 24 hours...the ONLY thing I dont buy there is meat (as in beef, chicken etc cause we have a different place to go to where they dont pump the meat full of a "solution" which makes it taste like crap! oh and my husband doesnt buy auto parts from there either....He likes to "GET IN THE ZONE....AUTOZONE" LOL..... I definately thing ppl natter, make up lies and so on because they feel burned (especially if they WORKED in one of the places that went under) BUT You can lay bets they SHOP at Walmart when nobody is looking ;-)
1 person likes this
@ladyluna (7004)
• United States
7 Sep 07
Hello Ravenladyj, Nice to visit with you again. And I see that you still have your witty sense of humor! Gotta' love a great humor. I suspect you're right about resentment being the fuel behind the smear campaign. Ya' know, it's interesting about big 'ol Walmart forcing little shops out of business. I personally commend old Walt for bringing the dirty little wholesale to resale markup secret to the public's attention. I doubt that most people realize that the mark-up from wholesale to retail for jewelry (for example) is generally 1000%(+). When I was in college I worked for an upscale retail coutour shoppe. I about fell over when I saw how much of a mark-up was applied between wholesale & retail. Granted, the retailer takes the risk that the product might not sell, but wow, 1000% plus? Talk about taking advantage of the buying public. Anyway, thanks for sharing your perspective here. I don't much shop at Walmart myself. Instead, we buy a great deal at Sam's Club. I avoid Walmart because of its inconvenient location. Sam's Club is much more convenient for us. Yet, I agree with you about the meat purchases from Walmart or Sam's. Way too many anti-biotics in most retail meats.
@magikrose (5423)
• United States
7 Sep 07
9yrs ago I worked for walmart as a full-time employee and I was already on welfare when I started working at wal-mart. They never encouraged me to stay on welfare nor did they tell me I had to get off it. The managers ALL were very carring and understanding that I had to work certain hours because I had a child at home and I was a single mother at the time. During my time as an employee of walmart I had the privelege of creating a clientell. I was a typical cashier and there were certain customers who would use ME as there cashier and No one else. If they cam into Wal-mart to shop and realised I was not working that day they would ask the manager when I would be working next and come in that day. We had 1 customer who was deaf and many of the cashiers wouldent talk to him because they felt that he wouldent understand. Well he was one of the customers who would only come to me cause I would talk to him as if he was a normal hearing person. He loved that. I loved working for walmart and if I didnt have the medicle problems I have now I would definately go back and apply for them again. I hope in the near future I can do that.
1 person likes this
• United States
7 Sep 07
I worked at Walmart for 7 years on and off.I did make $9 an hr.I did get health insurance.I also had a manager that harassed me.I also had a district manager who didn't care. We didn't get breaks much at our store.I don't know about walmart as a whole company.The store that I worked at was horrible for the most part.
@ladyluna (7004)
• United States
7 Sep 07
Hello Magikrose, I'm sorry to hear that you're having medical problems. I do wish for you a full and speedy recovery. Thanks for sharing your personal work experience with Walmart. One of the six that I spoke with yesterday had very similar things to say about Walmart's management. Very caring, family oriented, adaptable when scheduling around family, understanding. He also said that when he left Walmart for greener pastures, he found those other pastures terribly disappointing. The other retail chain wasn't nearly as family-oriented, or caring. Which is why he returned to Walmart after one year. If they re-hired him, then you'll probably be welcomed back when your physically able to return to work. Best wishes for bountiful health. And, thanks again for sharing!
@4ftfingers (1314)
7 Sep 07
In the UK here we have Asda which is part of the Wal-Mart chain. I have never heard an employee complaining about the conditions. But I'm pretty certain there's no way an employee would put up with ill treatment because there are a number of other competing supermarkets they could work for instead. I don't know if it's like that in the US? A lot of the time hearsay gets blown out of proportion by the media. But on the other hand I think it's good to keep an open mind about it because you know the saying, there's no smoke without fire. There have been other complaints about their use of sweatshops in the countries where they make their products, which would be harder to prove or dissprove.
1 person likes this
@ladyluna (7004)
• United States
8 Sep 07
Hello 4thfingers, Nice to visit with you again. I see that you've changed your avatar. Perhaps that's why I've missed your recent activity??? Thanks for providing the 'over the pond' perspective. I'd not heard of Asda. And, you're so right to point out that the free-market is our link to personal choice. We needn't work for an abusive organization, as long as their is an alternative. Which there almost always is. As for your reference about 'sweatshops', I will address this in a response on page two of this thread that deals with unionized labor.
• United States
7 Sep 07
I've worked for Wal-Mart for 3 years and I've never heard anyone complain about having to sign up for welfare or any public assistance.It's their choice to do that if they need to and I know alot of them do but I don't think they have to do it.
1 person likes this
@ladyluna (7004)
• United States
8 Sep 07
Hello Eachen2002, I think the earlier response here about Walmart being part of the Workforce Development Program explains the Welfare link. Yet another responder pointed out that she was accesssing the Social Safety Net when she was hired by Walmart. So, the link is explained. However, the supposition that Walmart suggests to its employees that they sign up for Welfare seems to be debunked by this thread. Thanks so much for sharing your personal experience!
@TerryZ (22083)
• United States
7 Sep 07
Well I love to shop at walmart I go every sunday. Rain or shine Im there. As far as their workers they are always pleasant and very helpful. I dont know why they get such a bad rap. I wish I did. But thats okay I love the prices there so I will be always shopping at walmart.LOL
1 person likes this
@ladyluna (7004)
• United States
8 Sep 07
Hello TerryZ, Rain or shine, eh? It's a good thing Walmart has good roofs, eh? I will admit that I pointed out to the six employees that I spoke with that I would like to see more home-grown products in our Walmart stores. To which the electronics associate pointed out that only Phillips products are still made in the USA. The rest are manufactured in Japan, South Korea, Thailand, and China. So, Walmart can't be blamed for where items are made. We still have Phillips to choose from if we're committed to home-made/grown. You're so right about their lower prices. 'Ol Sam knew the wholesale to retail mark-up game, and went way out on a limb to negotiate crazy voluminous purchases to get a lower price. Good for him for thinking of the little guy, eh?
• United States
7 Sep 07
Good afternoon LADYLUNA, I know that our walmart only starts out now at 5.85 an hour. The health and dental is almost impossible to pay for if you are a single mother. This is the area of the south that we live in. This type of situation is not uncommon and its not just wal-mart, It's all of the retail stores and business that can not afford to pay more then minimum. Unfortunately when families get stuck in low paying jobs their only recourse is help from our welfare systems. Does Walmart and such advocate the use of the welfare system? No way. I find it preposterous that people do not educate themselves before making such asinine statements.
1 person likes this
@ladyluna (7004)
• United States
8 Sep 07
Hello Angelwhispers, Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate the details of the precariousness of particular areas. I imagine it has much to do with lower population bases, yet that is just a theory. If I've mistated, please let me know. Like you, I've seen the retail industry, as a whole, follow the same employment model as Walmart. It's not an industry that's geared for life-long employment. The majority of people who work in the retail world are young, seeking experience, and move on to better opportunities as they develope themselves. Retail has always been geared this way. Perhaps as the USA has developed into more of a service economy base, the retail world might want to reconsider this. Any thoughts???
• United States
7 Sep 07
Thank you for this understanding because I haven't read that here(not stating that it wasn't posted it's just I haven't seen it) Because My hubby work for Walmart here (NC) the minimum here isn't as high even though I wish(I'm orinigally from NJ) but anyway my hubby have been promoted to dept manager and he haven't been there a year. So I do know they promote w/in before surfing outside(in least its around holiday time and thats usually for Part time work) Any who the scheduling is correct also because when he need time off due to unfortunate events they give it to him w/out any problems. the only I don't agree on is the benefits(medical & dental) maybe its because of the area where in because I do know back home in NJ they do offer decent benefit package, but here its not good at all. Nowhere in they handbook to they promote their employees to collect welfare what they do is ask if your are receiving benefits(state funding) because they are part of the Workforce program. Helping people get off of welfare. I just want to say THANK YOU for clearing that up. And your findings was good and supportive and I do have your back on this one.
@ladyluna (7004)
• United States
8 Sep 07
Hello Hardworkingmom, Congrat's to your Hubby for his department head promotion in less than a year. He must be a 'hardworking(dad)'. The one employee that I spoke with who had children opted to use her husband's Blue Cross/Blue Shield because it is far superior to Walmart's medical coverage. Although in fairness to Walmart, I have an excellent medical package at my place of employ, yet they offer no dental at all. And, I have to suspect that their med/dental package is geared toward young, single individuals -- because that is generally the demographic who works in retail in the USA. I'm curious about whether their management benefit program is more geared toward family coverage??? Thanks for pointing out that Walmart is part of the Workforce Development Program. I did not know that. It now makes perfect sense why Walmart might inquire whether a new hire is accessing the Social Safety Net/Welfare System.
@ctrymuziklvr (11059)
• United States
7 Sep 07
I personally know 3 people who work for walmart here in my city and they have nothing but good things to say about it. Everything you mentioned is true. I think people who have problems with an entity love to bash them and that's the bottom line. I see no need for it really. Good for you for doing some "private eye" work.
@ladyluna (7004)
• United States
7 Sep 07
Hello Ctrymuziklvr, Thank you for sharing your experiences with the three Walmart employees that you personally know. One might suspect that the six employees that I spoke with may have done a bit of sugar coating, as they don't know me. Yet, it's conceivable that if Walmart really was the 'bogey man', as is often depitcted, that folks who you know personally would share their disgruntlement -- if they were disgruntled. So, do you think that so many people bash Walmart because it's the current trend of 'who' or 'what' to bash? Or, do you think that it's just a large-scale trend to bash -- whatever?
7 Sep 07
I know alot of people who have worked for wal mart for a very long time and some get burned out from time to time and don't we all and wal mart is one of the leading companies when it comes to helping the environment and cutting edge green building. Thanks for checking ot the claims your self. gossip is easy the facts much more difficult
@ladyluna (7004)
• United States
7 Sep 07
Hello Flowerpeople, Thanks for sharing your perspective on this issue. Yup, you're right about getting burned out from time to time. I know I have. I appreciate your perspective that "Gossip is easy, the facts much more difficult." That's a very interesting observation! Thanks again for sharing.
@filmbuff (2909)
• United States
10 Sep 07
People don't like Wal-mart because of the impact they have had on their towns and cities. Wal-mart puts small, family-owned businesses out of business because they can't compete with the prices of the products that are bought in such bulk that are made in china, and third world countries. Studies have shown that when a Wal-mart opens up in a neighborhood, property values decline because small business's go belly-up, and people lose their jobs. To be fair I will disclose that I worked for Walmart at one point in time. I was about 20 at the time working there as a seasonal employee during Christmas. When the holiday season ended and they were letting people go, they offered me a full-time job which I promptly turned down. Below is a list of the unethical and often ILLEGAL acts that I personally witnessed, some of them were just plain weird or scary: 1. Forceing employee's to work off the clock: When the store closed, they locked all the doors. Which is in and of itself illegal due to fire code violations. No one left the store, until it was all clean or would pass somekind of the muster. Sometimes (especially during Christmas) this took hours. Hours the company would not pay for because they refused to pay for overtime. When the store closed at midnight, they instructed everyone to *clock out* and then finish cleaning and prepping the store. Even in my youth I knew that was illegal and refused to clock out. When I brought it up with co-workers, they told me to "shut up and do it" or else I would lose my job. I still refused to work off the clock. I later discovered that my Supervisor started clocking me out when I checked my timecard. Again this is illegal, immoral and unethical. Granted most Wal-marts stores are open 24 hours now, but I don't doubt that this still goes on, despite the lawsuit that walmart lost that addressed this very issue. 2. Brain-washing of Employee's: In the backroom of every walmart there is an *altar* to Sam Walton. It is very strange. Several pictures, surrounded by candles, figurines, and even incense. Bizarre. The way they talked and acted it was like a strange Religion or cult. It seriouslly freaks me out to this day. They also have a "Wal-mart" way of dealing with things and life. They often instructed us on exactly what to say should customers or the media ask us questions similar to the ones that you asked. The answers you recieved I will note, echo the same types of things we were instructed to say. They justified not giving raises, no overtime, and no benefits by saying things like, "Walmart is just barely getting by. If we have to pay for these things we (walmart) won't make a profit and will be ran out of business by our competitors because we will have to raise our prices." Hello. They are putting good people out of business by using illegal business practices and on the backs of their employee's. "DO what your told, or 'there's the door'" was their motto. 3. Ignorant workers: It was my experinces, that the vast majority of employee's were not the smartest knives in the drawer. I think that was by design. They almost never hired anyone with a college degree. Basically I think their intent was to hire people who didn't know any better and who be grateful for *any* steady job. That is my own speculation, I do not claim it as fact. I will go out of my way not to do business with walmart, including paying higher prices for the same things. In my opinion they need to be heavily regulated and broken up, they are a dispicable organization that their founder, Sam Walton would be ashamed of.