Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Wal-Mart Stimulus plan

I have to say, I'm no fan of Wal-Mart. I pretty much hate the store. I recently emailed the corporate office because the local Wal-Mart So-Called-Super Store in Simpsonville mis-priced an item and caused me undue grief. They also were out-of-stock on several items which I noted in my email. I did get a call from the local manager, not sure if anything has or will change though.

But my hatred of the store is because of the lack-of-service, the sheer size of the store, and a loyalty to the grocery store where I worked as a teenager (a three-steer Bi-Lo, but I digress). It has nothing to do with the reasons most people that you read about in the paper hate Wal-Mart. Seems people think Wal-Mart doesn't pay enough. No matter that there pay is comparable to their competition, no matter that Wal-Mart employees are never held at gun-point and forced to work.

Some people hate Wal-Mart because they don't provide full benefits to their employees. While true, there is no mass exodus of Wal-Mart employees to Target, K-Mart or other comparable stores. Some people hate Wal-Mart because the employees aren't unionized. The unions want to take control of the store and some how Wal-Mart management doesn't want to give up control.

But now, Wal-Mart has come up with their very own stimulus plan. Wal-Mart plans to hand out $2Billion to their employees. With the down-turn in the economy, more consumers are shopping at Wal-Mart and their profits are up. The payout comes in cash, profit sharing, pension savings accounts and merchandise discounts for employees. And they have also reported that they are increasing the percentage of health benefits that they pay.

Hats off to Wal-Mart for their very own stimulus plan. And hats off to Eric over at the Edge of the Galaxy for pointing me to this article.


Brooke said...

What can I say? Wal-Mart gave me a job after my husband suddenly lost his.

It's not great pay but it's more than fair considering the low-skill work it is.

I have to re-certify my license to work in the medical field after being a stay-at-home mom for years, but W/M has been a good stop gap, and I have to say I have never been treated anything but fairly. Hell, they even feed us most evenings, and for free.

We did an 'auction' with lightly damaged merch for an employee who'd fallen on a hard spot financially.

I can't complain. I've worked places MUCH worse.

Chance said...

The Wal-mart issue is almost a litmus test for free-marketers vs. others.

I personally hate Wal-Mart because it is always so busy. And yeah, the service is pretty craptacular (wow, I think I took 10 years off my age with that word).

But, if things ever got tighter where we had to shave dollars off our budget, we could go there and save some money. I like knowing that.

Thomas said...

I'm also not a fan of the store, but this shows that they're at least trying to rectify things. Let's not forget that they have the cheapest fiber capsules in town ($4 for 160).

MojoSteve the Lightningman said...

In Walterboro, options can be limited. We shop there out of convenience & price, but some of the corporate policies suck. Why have 28 available registers when only 4 are ever open? Why shut off the self-checkouts before 9PM? Those are our preferred method of checkout, and we often end up shopping at really oddball hours. When the climate is controlled by an unseen force in Arkansas and you have no local control over your heat or A/C, something ain't right.

"The Edge" said...

Ok, I better chime in to be the lone wolf here. I am a Wal-Mart champion, for every reason you can think of. Better prices, long term creation of jobs in a local economy. Help to drive down other stores' prices who compete with them - all of it is good for the consumer. True, their selection can be lacking at times. But are you really going to Wal-Mart to buy a really nice dress shirt (blouse)? No, you're not. You go to the JC Penney's/Lane Bryant's of the world to do that. Like it or not, Wal Mart is good for everybody, whether or not you hate them. And that's exactly why the unions hate them, because the union wants your money, your dues, your loyalty, your time, your picket line (why? I don't know?????). At Wal-Mart, you don't have to pay anything to belong - you just fit it, do your job, and go back to your own life. Ah freedom. Something Wal-Mart provides, and unions only talk about.....

Randy said...

Brooke, nothing wrong with working there at all. Maybe you can help bring the quality up a notch. It also sounds like your local W/M is doing some things to help an employee. Great!

Chance, I agree, it seems like it's a free-market vs. others issue. Sounds like we are in the same opinion of Wal-Mart.

Thomas, I'm not sure this is "trying to rectify things." Personally, I don't see that anything needed rectifying. No one ever was forced to work at Wal-Mart, all the employees were voluntary. What they are doing is good business, keeping employees happy.

MojoSteve, I need to blog the details, but I got some quasi-reasonable results from an email to the folks in Arkansas. You might try that.

Edge, I'm not sure I'd ever admit to being a Wal-Mart champion, but I agree with you...