capitalism to the rescue

Walmart Spokesman: Let Them Eat Cake (They Buy With Discount Cards)


Bleeding heart liberals and latte-drinking East Coast elitists, please do not feel sorry for Walmart workers this Thursday as you enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday and try to think of ways to boycott a store you wouldn’t be caught dead in.

You see, even though Walmart workers barely eke out a living on sub-poverty wages, the liberal media has left out an important part of the story, which is that Walmart workers can supplement their sub-poverty wages with discount cards to the company store. Watch as a stupid CNN reporter is told some TRUTH.

COSTELLO: The wage gap in this country continues to grow ever wider. you know, we hear from economists all the time, we need a strong middle class to make our overall economy stronger. Is it Walmart’s responsibility to make sure that its employees can support a strong middle-class lifestyle?
TOVAR: We’re working hard every day to provide more opportunities for associates. [...]
COSTELLO: But if a lot of them are making $15,000 a year, you can’t live a strong middle-class lifestyle on that. You just can’t. [...]
TOVAR: Our average rate is about $12.40 an hour for a full time associate. We also offer comprehensive benefit packages as low as $17 a pay period, which is very affordable and we also pay quarterly bonuses, which is something that not a lot of retailers do…. And we know that they appreciate that, they also get a 10 percent discount card. So you have to factor in all of those things when you’re looking for how we’re helping associates.

Ten percent off? That’s nothing, when they could be getting 100 percent off thanks to the EBT cards and food stamps up to 80 percent of their fellow workers are receiving! The Walmart heirs are doing their part, America. Won’t you help the six of them continue raking in more than the bottom 40 percent of Americans combined, by not boycotting the store you don’t go to anyway? Cool, thanks.

[ThinkProgress]

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About the author

Kris E. Benson writes about politics for Wonkette and is pursuing a doctorate in philosophy. This will come in handy for when they finally open that philosophy factory in the next town over. @Kris_E_Benson

View all articles by Kris E. Benson

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229 comments

  1. Lizzietish81

    " $17 a pay period"

    That's about what I pay for 1000 dollar deductible plan, which I can do because I am single and healthy

    And of course there's another big difference, which is that I am making far more than 13 dollars an hour.

    Douche nozzle.

    1. Redhead

      I'm also curious about their pay period. Once a month, or every-other-week/twice a month, like a lot of places?
      $34 a month adds up QUICK when you're barely making $1,000 a month (before taxes).

      1. sullivanst

        I'd be willing to bet it's biweekly or semimonthly, if it was monthly he probably would've said $17 a month.

    2. mormos

      Oh no no no no, that is $13 an hour for FULL TIME employees. Guess what percentage of their workers are full time. Here's a hint, you have to be a supervisor or manager.

    1. GhostBuggy

      No kidding. That's the huge reveal right there. I almost can't believe the Walmart dude said it, but then again, it's CNN.

    2. red_kira

      The reporter also conveniently forgot to ask him how much HE makes per hour. Unless he's not paid just an hourly wage…. ?!?!?! Shocks!

    3. Serolf_Divad

      Can't watch the video right now, but I'm guessing he also forgot to ask just what sorts of benefits you get for $17.00 a "pay period." (My guess: a 15% discount on drugs at the Wal-Mart pharmacy.)

    1. sewollef

      I just hate Wal-Mart. But then I live in New York City and have no means to vent my spleen or boycott them, since the good burghers of the local council have decided in their wisdom not to allow a Wal-Mart store inside the five boroughs.

      There are many things to celebrate this thanksgiving for and a company that leeches off the federal government [and my tax dollars] to pay its workers minimum wage is one of them.

    2. Maman

      There is nothing more depressing than a town with no other store than a Wal-Mart. Those are the only ones that I have stepped into and they are the most depressing places on earth.

      1. Biff

        Between them and Home Despot, they've pretty much shut down Main Street in the town that sprung up near me when I wasn't looking.

      2. Negropolis

        Walmart has a very large blast radius of destruction I found out recently when I visited family in Arkansas. There little town had a grocery store maybe a good 20-30 miles from the nearest Walmart, but it killed that, too.

  2. BigSkullF*ckingDog

    "Our average rate is about $12.40 an hour for a full time associate"

    Executive management must be pulling up this average. Also, ABOUT $12.40? What is the +/- on that?

        1. sullivanst

          For reference:

          A 2005 study found that Walmart workers earn an estimated 12.4% less than retail workers as a whole, and 14.5% less than workers in large retail in general. A 2007 study which compared Wal-mart to other general merchandising employers found a wage gap of 17.4%.

        2. Negropolis

          Which is..? Really, this isn't answering the question.

          EDIT: And sullivanst post seems to show that even that bullshit talking point is a lie. Gawd.

      1. PennyDreadful

        The sad irony is that Walmart achieved its unwarranted success, in part, by selling a decent quantity of American made goods. Evidently nobody noticed or cared when that policy went the way of the Twinkie.

        People are fond of saying the company went downhill when Sam Walton died, but the me he will always be the man who brought his own cereal to eat for breakfast in a hotel restaurant (true story).

  3. SorosBot

    "Our average rate is about $12.40 an hour for a full time associate. "

    Considering that the vast majority of Wal-Mart employees are part-time, so the cheapass company doesn't have to pay them benefits, that means jack shit about the average pay. Oh and just $12.40 an hour sucks ass as it is.

    1. Lizzietish81

      Very likely the majority of workers work just shy of what would be considered full time, meaning the company can treat them as "part time"

      1. SorosBot

        Yeah, a place like Walmart won't let people work 35 or more hours a week; to be full-time an employee probably has to be at least an assistant manager.

  4. Maman

    Henry Ford paid a wage so even his employees could afford his product…. Walmart pays a wage to ensure its employees can't afford to shop anywhere else.

    1. BoatOfVelociraptors

      You work 16 hours.. Whaddya get?
      Another day older and deeper in debt.
      Don't you call me saint Peter cause I can't gooooooo.
      I owe my soul to the company store.

    2. Negropolis

      Which was probably the only good thing about Ford. He hated unions with the heat of 1,000 suns. So, for Walmart to make Henry Ford look like a good boss says something.

        1. Negropolis

          Well, that goes without saying. I think that's one of the more open secrets about him. What many people don't seem to connect to Ford paying his workers well is that he did it to try and keep them from unionizing.

        2. mormos

          He received an award from hitler for a pamphlet he wrote about the Jewish menace, it was the highest honor germany could give to a nongerman

  5. SorosBot

    When I had a shitty job at the late Woolworth's, at least their employee discount was 20%; that 10% the ass is bragging about isn't even very good.

  6. BaldarTFlagass

    I am sure that there's one there by now, but about 15 years ago I drove through Artesia, NM during Christmas time. This decent-sized town had no Walmart, and the central business district was still thriving. The main street was all decked out for the holidays, people out shopping, I felt like I was in that Pleasantville movie. It was awesome. Fuck you Walmart.

    1. VodkaGoGo

      A quick google search shows that yeah, Pleasantville is probably dead by now:

      Artesia Walmart Supercenter Store #3427 in Artesia, New Mexico 88210

      At least you still have the memories.

  7. Joshua Norton

    Apparently it is okay if rich people organize themselves into huge economic bargaining units called “corporations” – but it is “tyranny” if you do virtually the same thing by forming a union. It’s legitimate for the government to empower the wealthy to get even wealthier, but “tyranny” to empower you to hold your own against them.

    See how understanding cheap-labor conservatism is all so very simple? Government infrastructure and services are for them, not you. Their infrastructure and services are “natural”, but your infrastructure and services are “unnatural interference”. In other words, they get what they want, you take what they give you – and they never give you very much. Because what they want isn’t “wealth”. What they want is power – over you. Maintaining their position means maintaining your position. They want you bargaining with them on their terms, and that means they want you broke, ignorant and scared – and they don’t want “big government” helping you out.

    That, my friends, is what cheap-labor conservatives are all about.

    Ooops. Forgot to take my snark pills this morning.

    1. sullivanst

      "For me, but not for thee"

      The simple principle that allows you to perfectly comprehend every GOP policy position.

    2. PsycWench

      According to some Wal Mart workers with whom I struck up a conversation, they don't "write up" or "chastise" employees who do something wrong. They "coach". But the coaching is the same thing as any chastizing measure anywhere else. I have to admit, that blew my mind. We are not only going to control you but we are going to bastardize terms normally thought positive in order to do so.

      1. BlueStateLibel

        This bastardization of the English language is pretty rampant throughout all of corporate America, as in "we're all family here." I think the Soviet Union never died but just got reincarnated into corporate America.

        1. doloras

          Newsflash: the Soviet Union WAS just one, big, bureaucratic, corrupt corporation that survived by screwing down the guys at the bottom so the guys at the top could have their toys. The only difference between the Waltons and Leonid Brezhnev is the difference between an art gallery in Arkansas and a few ICBMs.

    3. Negropolis

      Apparently it is okay if rich people organize themselves into huge economic bargaining units called “corporations” – but it is “tyranny” if you do virtually the same thing by forming a union. It’s legitimate for the government to empower the wealthy to get even wealthier, but “tyranny” to empower you to hold your own against them.

      Good god that is beautifully written. I'm going to have to remember that.

  8. Oblios_Cap

    We’re working hard every day to provide more opportunities for associates.

    To eat shit and die.

    I refuse to go into one of their stores. I inherited a portfolio (much of it lost during the Miracle of the Bush Economy™) that had some of that stock and I sold it posthaste.

  9. GlowneyHouse

    His overlords are going to roast him because he didn't get enough mentions on how wonderful Black Friday is going to be at WalMart®

  10. ttommyunger

    Fuck Wal-Mart, fuck the Waltons and fuck all the soul-destroying, planet destroying MegaCorps, Wall Street and the Banksters. Did I leave anyone out? Oh, yeah, fuck the Republican Party, too.

    1. Callyson

      And fuck the trolls on HuffPo who are defending making their employees work on Thanksgiving by saying "other people have to work on Thanksgiving too." Yeah, so let's spread the misery and make more people miserable, unnecessarily, so that people can buy their cheap crap one day earlier…

        1. shelwood46

          I just got a Kindle Fire and have discovered that the HuffPo app, like a lot of news apps, does not include the comments. Much nicer.

  11. Not_So_Much

    Fuck these guys. Isn't this the same company that got away with paying their associates in Mexico with WalMart cards that could be used only at the store?

    Hopefully there's an extra special ring of fire waiting for them all.

      1. HouseOfTheBlueLights

        This is like when stores call me a "guest." I'm sorry, the place where I'm a guest don't make me pay. It also has a very insidious implication that I'm only there as long as I behave myself. Like malls where free speech ends when the rent-a-cop doesn't like your t-shirt.

      2. Biff

        Once upon a time, "associates" was an apt title–they owned stock in the stores. That all went the way of Sam himself, dead as hell.

  12. Monsieur_Grumpe

    Remember when Wal-Mart used to brag about selling stuff made in the USA? They lied about that too. They were caught several times labeling stuff made in the USA when it wasn’t. That was when I vowed never to shop there.

    1. Mumbletypeg

      I have heard, but never verified, that they also work their "discounts" nefariously, i.e. if you see a drop-dead ("Rollback" ™) markdown for select items or categories – - they'd adjust prices in other departments *out* of cost-efficient range, knowing many shoppers arrive for the discounts but are equally prodigious at impulse purchases too. To which they feel entitled — "Look what I'm saving on Item A, I can 'splurge' a little on this here Item B!" — because the mindset of an insatiable consuma-tron is helpless before the feigned bargain-flavored shenanigans of a predator retail chain.

      1. sullivanst

        I've definitely seen price analyses that drew the conclusion that while roughly 1/3 of the items on sale at Wal-Mart were cheaper than retail average, 1/3 were similarly priced and 1/3 were more expensive. So, if you're not savvy about it you'll wind up paying average prices, on average.

    2. sewollef

      I've never shopped at Wal-Mart. Ever.

      I don't intend to either, since as we've written on here many times, their business practices are reprehensible and the Waltons operate in an ethics-free environment.

      To shop for cheap in Wal-Mart is to perpetuate the cycle of destruction of small businesses, or to chain those businesses to the unprofitable treadmill of ever reducing their overheads and costs at the expense of Wal-Mart's profit margins.

      It's a no-win situation. And one that has systematically destroyed countless main streets and mom-and-pop stores for decades. It epitomises the absolute worst aspects of vulture, laissez-faire, Ayn Randian capitalism, and I want nothing to do with it.

      In fact having written this, I'm now going to wash my hands.

  13. ChillBill

    "Ten percent off? That’s nothing, when they could be getting 100 percent off thanks to the EBT cards and food stamps up to 80 percent of their fellow workers are receiving! "

    Walmart, your tax dollars at work.

  14. Goonemeritus

    The sad truth is that Wal-Mart’s customer base is low income people who are low income in part due to companies like Wal-Mart.

    1. starfanglednut

      Exactly. It's a vicious cycle. The walmart pays their employees shit and outsources their manufacturing, which enables them to put the local retailers out of business, making them walmart the only ones hiring. Then the only thing people can afford is the cheap crap from walmart, and on and on it goes. They have an absolute stranglehold on our economy. And the reeps run around like headless chickens screaming "Free market capitalism, derp derp derp!", as the taxpayer subsidizes walmart's multi billion dollar profits by giving their employees food stamps. It's a fucking travesty.

      1. PennyDreadful

        You have summed it up beautifully. I wish everyone on the planet could read and comprehend this comment.

        My hatred of Walmart knows no bounds.

  15. freakishlywrong

    Good thing all these greedheads are vampires, because I don't see how they can stand to look at themselves.

  16. CrunchyKnee

    Then spokesperson Derp Derpson added, "Compared to our kid worker-slaves in China, these "associates" are living the good life!"

  17. Mumbletypeg

    How far *out* of the store can you get with your purchases on one of their courtesy Hoverrounds? If I rode one through the checkout and on out the door, could I just keep driving? I really feel like pranking these bastards/ their enablers.
    Maybe just puncturing the lard-buckets' wheels with a sharp object ever so stealthily would be feasible…

    1. HouseOfTheBlueLights

      Not far. They have these magnetic stripes embedded in the pavement that lock the wheels if you run over them. Which could also be extremely entertaining.

    2. SorosBot

      To the strip club at least!
      http://wonkette.com/430321/scooter-crime-plagues-

      Oh and I Am SO DISAPPOINTED THAT THIS WAS POSTED BUT EVERYONE IS NOT AWARE OF WHEN ONE SHOULD REALLY THINK ABOUT WHAT IS BEING POSTED AND HOW IT mAY mAKE ONE FEEL
      Personally Karen I am SHOCKED that you isolated those in scooters into your political views when you do not even know someones politcal views Which this year has been turmoil in many peoples hearts I never discuss politics as everyone knows it is the Golden Rule but this infuriated me about the scooter people with the lardbottoms that can not drive them etc
      http://wonkette.com/418217/scooter-person-asks-us

  18. kittensdontlie

    try to think of ways to boycott a store you wouldn’t be caught dead in

    1) Get store reciepts Wal-marters discard.
    2) Buy same products at other stores.
    3) Return products to Wal-Mart for full refund.

  19. Come here a minute

    Just don't try to take advantage of the five-finger discount, Walmart associates, because the old man at the door sees all, and Walmart Corporation will cut you to the fullest extent of the law.

    1. Jimmyone

      Heh…I tried out for the "old guy" at the front of the store….For $25 per hour…"Good day…may I help you get a cart?…Do you have a sales brochure?" For $12 per hour "What the fuck do you want?…Hurry up and git yer shit and get out"…seems sensible to me…

      1. shelwood46

        I've mentioned this before, but… when Walmart opened their first store in NJ, they ended up going back to headquarters for a waiver. Seemed when greeters followed the proscribed Walmart script of, "Hello, welcome to Walmart" etc, we good citizens of Jersey reacted with open hostility, so they had to get permission for the greeters to not say anything and just sullenly point to the carts.

    1. TribecaMike

      Thanks, but I disagree with the author on one point: "The goods in this case consist of the best American paintings… There are Marsden Hartleys and Thomas Hart Bentons, Georgia O’Keeffes and Hans Hofmanns.

      Hans Hoffman sucks.

  20. Mahousu

    But as Tim Worstall of Forbes says, "If you’ve no debts and have $10 in your pocket you have more wealth than 25 percent of Americans." Heck, the Walmart employee makes more than that in an hour – well, ok, two hours after deductions – so they must be some of the wealthiest people in America!

    1. Lizzietish81

      Christ that's stupid.

      Debts are actual crucial to your overall credit, paying them off entirely actually does not improve your credit (means you're not all that profitable to lend to)

      The key is taking on debt where you can afford to make more than minimum payments on.

    2. SuspectedDemocrat

      File that under, "Things rich people should never say."

      When the Walmart greeter is trying to figure out how to feed his family with that $10, pat him on the back and say, "Hey it could be worse. You could be making $200k a year with a $700k mortgage and only $500k in your 401k. Thank you're lucky stars you have more net worth than that guy!"

  21. TheGyrus

    When I’m at the Wal-mart or grocery story I typically pay with my debit card. On the pad it comes up, “EBT, Debit, Credit, Cash.” I make it a point to say loudly to the check-out clerk, “EBT, what is that for?” She inevitably says, “it’s government assistance.” I respond, “Oh, you mean welfare? Great. I work for a living. I’m paying for my food with my own hard-earned dollars. And other people get their food for free.” And I look around with disgust, making sure others in line have heard me.

    And then the checkout lady says "Fuck you, asshole. How else do you expect me to feed my family on the shit wages they pay here?"

  22. randcoolcatdaddy

    Wow. I think I'll go start a business where I pay minimum wage to part-timers so they can live in poverty and get the rest of their compensation and health coverage from the government so I can pocket what would usually be a business expense as pure sweet money profit.

    Now that's how capitalism works! And why it should die.

    1. SayItWithWookies

      And then get your corporation's taxes, with which the government keeps your employees slightly above starvation, cut because you're a job creator. And these people accuse the poor of being leeches on the system.

    2. HouseOfTheBlueLights

      Funny, I always thought that that was how feudalism works. Probably shouldn't have slept through high school.

    3. GeorgiaBurning

      The US Constitution forbids titles of nobility, that's why conservatives had to set up a new version of serfdom.

    1. LibertyLover

      One box of ten… on ebay…

      Some are going for as much as $50 a box… so $17 doesn't go as far as it used to.

  23. LibertyLover

    You load Sixteen tons and whadaya get?
    Another year older and deeper in debt…
    …St. Peter don't you call me, coz I can't go…
    I owe my soul to the Walmart store…

  24. OneDollarJuana

    And Mr. Half-Smirk keeps talking about how the employees love it at Wal-Mart and so many are repeat hires after going "elsewhere". Well, maybe that's because there is no "elsewhere" because the Waltons killed off all of the local stores. You can work at Chick-Fil-A-Hole or Wally World. Yer choice.

  25. MathBozo

    "Full-time associates" doesn't describe the vast majority of workers. Also, $12.40/hr for 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year is less than $26K/year. Wow, it's like they're kings!

  26. Defeatably_Joe

    Ten percent off? That’s nothing, when they could be getting 100 percent off thanks to the EBT cards and food stamps up to 80 percent of their fellow workers are receiving!

    Right, but that's just because they have yet to have some asshole show up at their workplaces and loudly shame them for being shiftless lazy mooching parasites yet, I'm pretty sure. At their workplace. While they're working.

        1. sullivanst

          Because it's a pain in the ass? I've given up on trying to get links to work when replying to a comment via email; links entered through the normal web interface need to have spaces and + signs (the proper URI representation of a space) replaced with %20 (the other URI representation of a space). But your link doesn't appear to include either, so maybe it's just being pissy now.

        2. FeloniousMonk

          Weird, isn't it? If you're not careful you leave a link to the page you're on, no doubt causing people to sneer and point at you. I'm relieved to know it's not just happening to me; I was getting seriously paranoid. I'm afraid it may be as inexplicable as the tides.

          1. Defeatably_Joe

            Well, specifically, it's a empty link that reads, [a href=""]STUFF[/a], which happens to link back to the page you're on, because it literally goes nowhere.

            I often catch it quickly enough that I can fix it, unless some OTHER asshole replies befure I see it.

  27. Trannysurprise

    Can I use my 10% discount card at the Abortionplex? So many companies are honoring the others discount programs this year I thought this might one of them.

    1. HistoriCat

      Show them your Obamaphone at the Abortionplex and you get a 50% discount AND a free latte (small size).

        1. emmelemm

          I know! I was workin' the card because I got free soy milk. But, alas, no more. No more giveaways for me!

  28. Terry

    " they also get a 10 percent discount card"

    Which means that they draw a paycheck from WalMart and are then expected to give a big chunk of that paycheck back to WalMart.

    When my grandfather immigrated to the US as a kid and went to work in a coal mine in Pennsylvania, he was given two choices. One, he could work for a slightly higher salary but be paid in "script" that was only good at the company store and for company housing. The second choice was to take a lower salary but be paid in actual money that you could be spend anywhere you like. He was very proud that he'd insisted on being paid in money and thus hadn't entered into what he considered servitude.

    F%^& WalMart and their discount card.

  29. CommieDad

    It's been proposed, and in some sense the ACA implements it, but how 'bout this:

    For every employee, full or part time, that qualifies for government assistance of any kind, a tax shall be levied against the employer equivalent to 120% of the full cost for implementing this program for the aforementioned employee, including administrative expenses.

    Call it the "Job Killing Tax the Corporate Leaches" bill.

  30. widestanceromance

    Selling poor folks flat screen TVs for less than $100 (or even $90 if they are employees) is genius because they will need to replace that piece of crap appliance every year, and every year, the poor think they've done good because they can afford a new TV every year. Sweet Jeebus, I hate everything about that evil company, but most of all I hate the illusion of value they stand for.

  31. BaldarTFlagass

    Someone please tell the Israeli Defense Force that the Palestinians are occupying the Walmarts across the nation on Friday.

  32. hexermich

    Nice to know that Walmart permits its employees such a massive discount that they don't have to worry about the sales tax.

  33. AngryBlakGuy

    …this may come about as strange to those of you who know my post from 4 or 5 years ago but, as a former management level employee of Wal-Mart, I can speak to the positive impact the company has had.

    #1. They build and hire in low income areas(something I don't see other retailers do)
    #2. I live in S.Fla and yes they do generally keep associates under full-time hours, but generally it is not under 28 hours a week.
    #3. Wal-mart generally goes way over the top to support employees, I can say this because I can personally attest to situation where I have attempted to terminate associates for integrity issues(I.e. time theft, ridiculously poor job performance) and have been overruled.

    In short, yes Wal-Mart can come across as the corporate equivalent of Jill Kelley, but where I live they do decent job of supporting the worker.

    Please, deliver me the verbal beating that I deserve!

      1. AngryBlakGuy

        …trust me, I don't blame you! In my opinion, they build Wal-Mart's on dimensional rifts where space time interacts with straight up weirdness. Since I left the company I have not been back into a single one of their stores, just due to the "Twilight Zone" factor!!!

    1. boskolives

      I get the "Angry" part, just not sure why you defend them even though they're by your description the kindly "Massas" who seldom beat the wage slaves. A management level employee of Wal-Mart makes minimum wage plus what, an extra $2.85 an hour or so?

      1. AngryBlakGuy

        …lol, errrr no! Once again I am speaking for my area(Miami). I was well compensated as manager. If the argument is around hourly associate pay, then we have an argument.

    2. Biel_ze_Bubba

      28 hr/wk, at $12/hr, for 50 weeks, is $16,800. What kind of life does that buy you, even in Floriduh?

      Building in low-income areas is building where the land is cheap, and so is the labor, and the customers are plentiful — and with Wal-Mart jobs, the place is going to remain low-income.

      Someone should do the math, and figure out how many fewer billions the Walton clan would be raking in if they paid a living wage. I suspect they'd make a lot less, but still have more money than any human being could possibly need.

      1. AngryBlakGuy

        …excellent points! And please do not take me as the Wal-Mart shill and NO MY ACCOUNT was not hacked.

        My experience within the company was that most employees had another individual contributing to the bills. Not to say that the current wage is right, however the fact they are willing go into areas wear no one else willing to go is something positive

        1. Oblios_Cap

          I'd join in the beatdown, but you're generally a pretty reasonable sort so I'll just agree to disagree.

        2. Biel_ze_Bubba

          And $12/hr being the average, you know a big fraction make less than that.

          I guess the bottom line is that it's like flipping burgers at McD's, or waiting tables at the local Applebees: it's not a "real" job (in the sense of a union job on a GM assembly line), just an adequate source of supplementary income. In a crappy economy, people are desperate enough to try living on it, which I guess puts Wal-Mart in a spot they didn't expect to be in.

          1. AngryBlakGuy

            …Trust me, I understand your point! What I would like to emphasize is that be it part time or full time it is still the same hourly rate. If the hourly rate is the problem then the federal government should implement a minimum wage hike(which I would love to see). What I disagree with is Wal-Mart being blamed for essentially following the rules. Don't get me wrong! I understand that a multi-national conglomerate should have a higher vestment in their people, but if at the end of the day the minimum wage hasn't increased since 2009 then who is to to blame.

          2. decentcitizen

            Gaming the system is more like it. The public assistance available to supplement employees is a subsidy the Walmart incorporates into its business model. They have employees whose responsibility it is to assist other Walmart employees in navigating Medicaid and SNAP requirements.

          3. AngryBlakGuy

            …true points, but my question to you is:

            "If it is a systemic problem then how do we fix it?"

            The obvious answer would be legislation!

      1. AngryBlakGuy

        …NICE points! However I think those number are skewed towards rural America. As I said earlier, my experience is within the urban Miami area. What I can say is this:

        -the neighborhoods that they opened locations were borderline blighted(if you haven't been to Miami, I would encourage you to visit the areas that these stores are built)
        -are wages low? He'll yeah!!! But that in my opinion is a minimum wage issue that should be taken up on the federal level.
        -lastly, go to a a true single payer health plan!!!!!1!1!1!1!

        Is Wal-mart borderline evil? That is arguable, but I think simple legislation could correct these issues across the board for all employees

        1. sullivanst

          The threshold question for me when it comes to choosing to locate in run-down neighborhoods is, are they providing enough input to the local area to bring it up, or are they simply exploiting cheap land and available cheap labor?

          Also, while I'd certainly agree that the minimum wage should be raised (there isn't a state in the country where 40 hours/wk at minimum wage pays the average rent for a 2-bed apartment), that's no excuse for paying below the sector average.

          And yes, single payer would eliminate a lot of evils, but we don't have it, and there's no realistic prospect of getting it soon, whereas anywhere that doesn't already have a nearby Wal-Mart probably isn't far off getting one.

          Wal-Mart isn't just exploiting the system, they've waged a vigorous, long term, occasionally illegal campaign preventing their workers from taking advantage of the means the system provides for fighting back (namely, unions)

          1. AngryBlakGuy

            …in general, poor areas are always going to be cheap to develop. That being said why isn't Bloomingdales and Nordstrom rushing in to take advantage of cheap property value, low wages and tax abatements?! I have lived in the "ghetto" and have seen how the lack of development can erode a neighborhood. My opinion is, any development is better than no development! Not to say that slave wages are the answer, however the oppurtunity mean a lot to these communities. If you gave me the option of allowing a Wal-Mart to move into a blighted neighborhood or not, I would opt to have them do so. The overall oppurtunites(that I have seen) are more than the risk

          2. sullivanst

            It's pretty obvious that Bloomingdales and Nordstrom don't go there because their customers don't live there and don't want to go there. Wal-Mart's customers do live there.

            The fallacy here is to assume that a new Wal-Mart job is simply a new job. The truth is in fact the opposite – every new Wal-Mart job displaces 1.4 jobs from other local retails, causing a net decline in local payrolls. Similarly, the development of the new Wal-Mart building is going to be offset by the decay of the buildings vacated by the retailers Wal-Mart drives out of business.

          3. AngryBlakGuy

            …God I hate this argument! Because:

            1-I agree with you in theory and concept
            2- agree with you in theory and concept
            3- agree with you in theory and concept

            My statement is:

            Please come into disadvantage urban areas(I'm not saying that you are elitist and have no idea what is going on in poor neighborhoods). When I see a company willing to invest in a community that no o e else is willing to invest in, I see it as positive. Would I like to see an increase in minimum wage? HE'LL FUKK YES, but at the end of the day it is our legislators that need to push this!

          4. fuflans

            this is very like chicago's dialectic (yeah i said that, sorry). we finally let them in and i'm not at all sure what the verdict is.

            i know people wanted jobs so there's that.

          5. sullivanst

            If we're talking about legislative approaches as solutions, I would offer that expanding CDBGs would probably do a lot more good than expanding a big box chain notorious for paying below market rates and selling imported products.

            I'm totally an elitist with only the most perfunctory knowledge of what goes on in poor neighborhoods, but (a) I do try to learn, and (b) don't claim to know much. I totally see where you're coming from, but I'd also caution that it's much easier to see direct effects (shiny new store, lots of people inside wearing crisp new uniforms) than indirect effects (vanishing corner stores that kept their profits locally), but those indirect effects could very well, in aggregate, be more significant. Paul Krugman, in his famous essay, A Country Is Not A Company, pointed out that the micro is much simpler and much more easy to grasp intuitively than the macro. He also identifies some differences that as an ex-physicist, I recognize as the distinction between open and closed systems, and between intrinsic and extrinsic properties, before going on to show how CEOs (who live in open systems and deal largely with extrensic properties) cannot be trusted to apply their business expertise to national economies (which are almost closed systems, and so strategies must focus on intrinsic properties). While I understand that you can't truly appreciate a forest without knowing an oak from a beech, it's also true that a vigorous new paper mulberry isn't necessarily a good thing for a forest ecosystem.

    3. Mojopo

      By the same example you've posed, ABG, it's also good to remember that the Devil can't sell evil unless it has some good points.

    4. James Michael Curley

      For many reasons Wal-Mart as it practices it employment policies in NJ has a lot to pay for which always seems to be the fault of their retained agents. There was the practice of having undocumented workers which would be terminated as soon as they reached the age and tenure where they were eligible for full 'minimum wage' as it is interpreted in NJ. There wee also several other infractions which resulted settlements two of which garnered checks for my son even though he was employed for only one Christmas season.

      Since we are bashing I will ad a smite or two to the 'class action' obsessed in the legal profession. Both settlement agreements garnered close to as much legal fees for the attorneys as they did for the employees who had been shorted pay and benefits which comprised the law suits.

      For any of you reading this and in New Jersey the state has made this Saturday "Small Business Saturday" where one is urged to make an effort to shop and purchase some holiday dodad from a small business instead of a megashop for the one day out of the year.

      'Course the question is whose 'Small Business'. Obama's at $250,000 or below or Romney's at "up to $2,500,000, at least."

  34. elviouslyqueer

    "In fact, a lot of our associates are asking why aren't we speaking out, which is why I'm doing shows like this."

    If that's true, Tovar, then why aren't you letting those associates have their facetime in front of the camera, instead of you (who likely makes well over than $75K)?

    You smarmy, lying asshole.

    1. James Michael Curley

      I was driving up the NJ Turnpike today and had occasion to think about you. Seems a couple NJ State Troopers (Highway Patrol) had stopped cars and I noticed they were switched over to their winter uniform and I would love to hear a full blown description by someone who is "intent on making the South more fabulous …"

        1. James Michael Curley

          I don’t know – ever since being drafted people in uniform scare me.I always thought the Periwinkle Jacket and Jodhpurs with Yellow stripe were somewhat retro Seventh Avenue. Course maybe you should have seen them twenty years ago when it was still a tunic and they wore a hat right out of the Prussian Palace Guard.

      1. sullivanst

        They were wearing their blouses by Sept. 21 when I saw The Boss at MetLife. The Missus was most freaked out by them.

        1. James Michael Curley

          In older days if the NJ State Troopers put on a few pounds they were severely disciplined so they always had that somewhat Mr. Olympia look and their usual demander may have been from endless dieting.But, from the experience of a life time of being pulled over in several states, looking into your side view mirror and seeing that Blue Tunic seemed more daunting that even being pulled over by a ChiP.

  35. SayItWithWookies

    So if a corporation pays its employees slightly less than the average salary, it's considered a luxury because if you add up every little nickel-and-dime benefit it brings it up to slightly higher but still below average, which has to be done to keep wages affordable, and really the schlubs should be thankful.

    Except that at the executive level the whole thing is reversed, and if a CEO rakes in 300 times what his average employee makes, it's really barely enough to keep him in Armani suits and if they don't pay him even more then — gasp — the worthless shit might move on to some better gig elsewhere.

    1. GeorgiaBurning

      I appreciated the Japanese system when I was there: yes, the CEO's and execs are an old-boys club, but their salaries were small compared to the US and the perks all belonged to the company. Meaning that should the CEO screw up, he's pushed iinto a nothing job and that nice apartment and fancy car are no more.

  36. smashedinhat

    I recently returned from Latvia and lived with my parents for a year or so to help them through a medical situation with my sister and in a fit of insanity went to the local WallyMart and got the manager to complain about all the shopping carts being left all over the neighborhood, making it look like a ghetto (my exact words, by now I was surrounded by a wide eyed group of employees). It was calmly explained to me that the carts were picked up once a week by a contractor with the implication being that in spite of a full parking lot many ppl didn't have cars and this was how they got their stuff (food) home. They were right of course.

    After my sister passed I returned to Latvia, one of the poorest countries in the EU and wondered at the similarities. Sorry, no snark. Just recalibrating my situational awareness and peripheral vision. And looking for a CEO to bugger in the middle of the street.

  37. Biel_ze_Bubba

    Apparently, "class warfare" is like any other war … and plutocrats like the Kochs and Waltons naturally expect the U.S. government to take their side.

  38. smitallica

    "Don't believe everything you read in a union press release."

    No, you should believe everything you hear from a highly paid corporate PR shill spouting carefully crafted talking points. Silly woman.

  39. red_kira

    Wait a minute. Almost first thing, he said "the majority of our workers are full time." Is that true?

    And yes, he is a douchenozzle.

  40. HouseOfTheBlueLights

    Heavens, I thought I was joking last week when I said that they get paid in scrip. (Also, every retailer I ever worked at gave employee discounts of 25% to 40%. Ten percent basically just covers the sales tax.)

  41. fawkedifiknow

    They treat their employees so well that they steal 100's of thousands of dollars worth of merchandise from their employer every year. That's a kind of loyalty only a world class oppressor could engender.

  42. larrykat

    He forgot to mention that the Walmart employees can go and cry in a beautiful place like this, all paid for by one of the old Walton bags off the backs of their stocking shelves and returning shopping carts and mopping up piss.
    http://crystalbridges.org/

  43. valthemus

    Kudos to Walmart workers for noticing that the people telling them how great is is to make minimum wage pay themselves six- and seven-figure salaries (and think they actually deserve it).

  44. barto

    For $17 a pay period they are undoubtedly offering a "mimi-med" type plan, one of the biggest rip-offs in the insurance industry. Many of these plans have MAXIMUM benefits that are quickly exceeded by your yearly premium payments (like $2000). They should be outlawed.

  45. Detesticle

    I spent $2 at Walmart last night for two Beware of Dog signs. Then I went to Pier One for a lamp. Then I went home and listened to a Buddhist podcast. I don't feel great about any of this.

  46. Baba_NinjaCat12

    I thank god for a country where $9,000 is considered middle-class. Living the high life with my family and where I can use my master degree instead of working in a F#@!ing Wal-Mart. F#@! YOU, WALMART!!!!

    P.S. There is a Walmart in my new homeland but they are forced to provide health benefits and even a living-wage, prescribed by law.

  47. Negropolis

    I don't mind eating cake, but only if it is those "cakes we like."

    I like how they get some tossle-haired young'un speaking Standard American English out there like that changes anything. You, Mr. Tovar, went to college and spent all that money on a degree to get a job at…Walmart. Yes, you did that; bless your heart.

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