Walmart: The other side of the story
I've seen a lot of links posted here over the past few days to sites and organizations bashing Walmart. I think we can all agree that it's important to get information from different sources and perspectives, and consider both sides of the story. Here's Walmart's side: Walmart Facts. Some interesting tidbits I found on their website: - Walmart employs over 1.2 million people in the US. The majority of their hourly employees work full time, compared to the 20-40% averages for the rest of the retail industry. The average hourly wage for a full-time employee is $9.68 an hour (about a dollar higher in urban areas), which is almost twice the federal minimum wage of $5.15 and hour. - Walmart moves employees OFF of public assistance. 7% of employees were receiving Medicaid prior to their employment with Walmart, this drops to 3% after two years employment with the company. - Walmart's health insurance starts at less than $40 per individual or $155 per family per month. After the first year there is no lifetime maximum for benefits. (I'd like to add here that this is a hell of a lot better than many health insurance plans, including mine.) - 60% of Walmart's associates and 40% of it's managers are female, and Walmart promotes women at a higher rate than their representation in the qualified applicant pool. 76% of store management were promoted from hourly positions. - Walmart paid $16.8 billion in federal, state, and local taxes in 2004. They also made over $130 million in charitable contributions. - In 2004 Walmart spent over $137 on US products and services, or almost 8 times the amount ($18 billion) they spent on goods from China. - Studies have found that Walmart's prices are 17-20% lower than other supermarkets and Walmart potentially saves individual families more than $500 a year. ... Walmart is not all bad, nor is it all good. It does some good things and some bad things (and what one considers a good thing or bad thing will vary by your individual values). Relevant to this community, it does allow poor people to buy more than they would have been able to buy at other stores. For those who claim that people would not be poor if it weren't for Walmart, as you can see above Walmart's wages and benefits are not as low as it's detractors claim and are in fact better than many other retailers, including "Mom and Pop" stores -- how many small retail businesses offer health insurance at all? or pay twice the minimum wage? Even if you think that Walmart's already relatively high wages and benefits should still be higher, please keep in mind that an employee must bring at least as much value to the company as he or she costs to employ (and wages and benefits are just part of the cost of an employee). Walmart hires many people who, due to a lack of ability, experience, or work ethic, simply do not bring that much value to an employer -- hence the low pay. The people who work at Walmart choose to work there because it is the best available job for them. If you want to make people better off, don't work to take away their best available option. Work on giving people more and better options instead.