Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The perpetual Walmart bashing

Is there any corporation within the continental United States that causes certain people to react with more unhinged lunacy than Walmart? From never-ending protests to "pay a living wage" for menial work to the resentment of the CEO's sizable salary to the outrage over Sam Walton's children all being billionaires, the strenuous objections are little more than vapid chanting points.

Which bring me to this latest saga involving a particular Walmart store in Ohio.

A Cleveland Wal-Mart store is holding a food drive — for its own employees. "Please donate food items so associates in need can enjoy Thanksgiving dinner," reads a sign accompanied by several plastic bins.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer first reported on the food drive, which has sparked outrage in the area.

"That Wal-Mart would have the audacity to ask low-wage workers to donate food to other low-wage workers — to me, it is a moral outrage," Norma Mills, a customer at the store, told the Plain Dealer.

The insinuation being that all low-wage workers are relying upon their Walmart earnings in an attempt to make a living, and thus have nothing to spare. But that just isn't the case. Of the more than one million Walmart employees across the country, a certain percentage is made up of senior citizens who look to supplement their Social Security and/or other retirement income. Another demographic is high school and college kids looking to obtain more spending money as many are dependent upon their parents for basic needs (e.g. food, shelter, etc.). There's another group comprised of "working spouses" who are the secondary breadwinners in their respective dual income households. Heck, there's even a group made up of adults who just look to get the heck out of the house 2-3 days per week.

My point here is that the food drive is likely targeting the generosity of those associates who have financial resources outside their Walmart earnings. Also, there are likely department managers and the store general manager who would certainly look to assist their subordinates in need.

Alas, this opportunity for some Walmart associates to be a blessing to others once again gets hijacked by the "ZOMG, WALMART PAYS SUCH PALTRY WAGES" crowd. Another part of the equation that people fail to consider is the low overhead costs allow the multi-million Walmart customers to pay lower prices for their products. Seems to me those in the lower income bracket greatly appreciate that aspect.

But I am genuinely curious about something. Do those who work as cashiers as well as those who stock shelves at Walmart make considerably less than their counterparts at other retail outlets (e.g. Target)? Seriously, I don't know.

Regardless, I'm just disappointed (though not surprised) that an opportunity for Walmart employees to joyfully help their co-workers turns into another anti-Walmart screed.


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