let them eat stock

Walmart Wages Are No Problem, Says CEO of Walmart

walmart: the temple of socialized capitalismYou liberals, getting all excited about Walmart workers and their low wages. How typical.

It’s cool though, the Walmart CEO is here to helpfully explain to all of us why these low wages are really not a problem, nope, not a problem at all. In fact, he thinks that Walmart employees are “inspirational” because of what they do. I mean, THEY should be paying HIM to go to work because working at Walmart is like attending a leadership seminar, but with discount cards.

Last night, Bloomberg LP President Dan Doctoroff asked Walmart CEO Mike Duke about how he paid employees. […] Duke responded that he pays his 2.2 million employees competitive wages. The average full-time, hourly U.S. associate makes $12.57 an hour, according to Walmart.

See? There you have it. Walmart pays competitive wages, says Walmart. Case closed. End of story. So don’t worry about that scholarly study [PDF] stating that Walmart workers make 28% less than workers at other retailers; reality has a liberal bias, everyone knows that. Also too, it’s not like Walmart is raking in the dough, OK? Retail is a “lower margin industry,” apparently. See?

Duke said that retail is a lower-margin industry in general, and that Walmart’s wages are competitive.

“Retailing is the most competitive industry out there, and we do pay competitive wages,” Duke said. “Last year we promoted 165,000 people from entry-level to managerial positions.”

It’s SO low margin that everyone really had to sacrifice so that the CEO could get his $18.7 million dollar salary last year, and also for that $5 million they spent on lobbying, and also for the $61 billion they paid shareholders over the past five years. It’s lower margin, they would LOVE to pay a fair wage, but they just can’t, you understand.

[Business Insider]

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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  1. nounverb911

    "The average full-time, hourly U.S. associate makes $12.57 an hour, according to Walmart."
    When did Walmart start hiring full time workers?

    1. Jukesgrrl

      And they arrange for the free mammogram truck to stop by the parking lots. And if breast cancer is detected they can fire the worker right away before she becomes an emotional drain rather than an inspiration. "Here are your instructions on how to apply for unemployment and good luck with that home cyst-removal kit!"

  2. nounverb911

    “Last year we promoted 165,000 people from entry-level to managerial positions.”
    Managers don't get paid overtime.

    (My old architectural firm used to promote the peons to management to save money on overtime).

      1. MoeDeLawn

        Those positions are real beauties. You get $6 per hour to lie to those you supervise, AND ANOTHER $6 to lie to those who supervise you.

  3. hagajim

    Competitive with what? McDonalds? I understand that the company works in a competitive environment. So slash your CEO salary by $10 million a year, pay out $10 billion less to shareholders, and pay your fucking employees an actual living wage. Oh – and actually give them full time work and benefits instead of training them how to file for food stamps and Medicaid.

    1. Negropolis

      Oh – and actually give them full time work and benefits instead of training them how to file for food stamps and Medicaid.

      THIS one million times and then a million times more. Walmart is a racket.

    2. Biel_ze_Bubba

      The only way to be competitive with Costco, who pay decent wages with benefits to unionized employees, is to not do those things.

  4. SexySmurf

    I just realized that between the myself and the CEO of Walmart, we made an average of $9.35 million dollars last year. I also just realized I'm rich, biotch; you dirty fucking hippies better not raise my taxes.

  5. Tommy1733

    The way I see it, under normal circumstance, people make decisions to support their own interest, so it is no surprise that the wealthy are hesitant to part with their money. But there seems to be something missing – some wealthy people are known for their benevolence. This benevolence seems to be missing from the Billionaire-American community.

    1. bikerlaureate

      Sometimes indistinguishable from "pragmatism".

      …if grabbing as much money now (in lieu of thinking long-term) isn't the goal.

  6. SmutBoffin



      1. actor212

        I told you, we're an anarcho-syndicalist commune. We take it in turns to be a sort of executive officer for the week but all the decisions of that officer have to be ratified at a special bi-weekly meeting by a simple majority in the case of purely internal affairs but by a two thirds majority in the case of externalities.

  7. BaldarTFlagass

    “Last year we promoted 165,000 people from entry-level to managerial positions.”

    "Management" is what they call the greeters.

  8. EatsBabyDingos

    They are indeed inspirational, and warms my heart thinking about the man who cut his donkey's daily rations on a Monday, and when the donkey didn't die, he did the same of Tuesday, and the same on Wednesday, and the same on Thursday until finally, the donkey died on Friday when he and his IED took out the CEO. With votes. Wait. What?

  9. FNMA

    Another heartwarming story from America's labor front: Many of the lower-wage employees at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center report having to go to food banks to be able to feed their families. The hospital administration heard about it and feeling horrible, set about making it right.
    Yes, that's right. The hospital started its own food bank.
    And I'll add: Oh, for fuck's sake…

  10. BaldarTFlagass

    "The average full-time, hourly U.S. associate makes $12.57 an hour, according to Walmart."

    That'd be nice, if they would actually give anyone more than 25 hours a week. And "average?" I guess that some folks make 18 bucks an hour, and others make 6 bucks an hour.

  11. cousinitt

    Also too from the Business Insider: "China's exports to Walmart accounted for 11 percent of the growth of the total U.S. trade deficit with China between 2001 and 2006." Oh, and "The Walton family has given away about 2 percent of its net worth to charity — Bill Gates is giving away 48 percent of his net worth and Warren Buffet 78 percent of his net worth."

    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/crazy-facts-about-

  12. SoBeach

    If you ever have the misfortune to shop at WalMart it's immediately obvious that the people they hire are the people who couldn't get a job at the retailer next door that pays 28% more.

    One could argue that WalMart is giving jobs to people who don't have what it takes to work elsewhere, and that they should be praised for that. But one would be an asshole to argue that. Walmart squeezes its employess just as relentlessly as it squeezes its suppliers, and the result is second rate crap sold in stores run by disinterested people who can't wait to find a better job.

  13. Dudleydidwrong

    Those monkeys on top of the car in the previous story–are they Walmart shoppers or managers? Looks like one of 'em found a good buy on a bra. Only slightly used.

    1. Tundra Grifter

      Monkey #1: "That's a cool lookin' bra. Is it new?"

      Monkey #2: "Yeh. Thanks. I just picked it up."

  14. Beowoof

    Mr. Duke has made his customary bet with Lloyd Blankfien on who can be the more obnoxious CEO. The bet tradition is one Duke got from his uncles Randolf and Mortimer. They're famous from their commodity trading firm Duke & Duke from Philadelphia.

          1. HistoriCat

            He was sending us reports from the Zucotti Park last year on the Occupy Wall Street movement. Maybe he's just been too busy with important stuff to snark.

  15. TavariousChinaSmith

    You know who else thought work made you free, or that workers should be free, and also was an amoral twat?

  16. CrunchyKnee

    I went to Wal Mart once. It made me feel weird. I went home and showered. Then I drank some whisky.

      1. Biff

        I know! I have to drive through their parking lot to get to either the community recycling bins or the Sonic drive-thru. Hair-raising experience, every time.

    1. emmelemm

      I prefer to peruse the People of Walmart website. FROM AFAR.

      Sometimes I even have to shower after that.

  17. mbobier

    I'd like to see this guy spend a few months living on $12.57 per hour. It would be funnier than when Mario Batali went on a food stamp budget for a week.

  18. Ruhe

    It's funny to hear a Walmart CEO complaining about "margin" when "low margin retail" is the tune that Walmart has been calling for decades and everyone else has to dance or get out.

  19. Tundra Grifter

    IF we accept the $12.57 "average hourly wage" one of those workers would just have to put in 1,487,669.05 hours next year to earn as much as the CEO dragged down.

    Assuming 2,080 hours per year, the top guy earns just under $9K PER FUCKING HOUR ($8,990.38 if you are scoring at home) – only 715 times what the average hourly worker makes.

    1. Monsieur_Grumpe

      If you insist on using facts and math to prove your point nobody is going to listen to you. Try more CAPS, sprinkle some God and Jesus stuff here and there and shed a few tears.

  20. Goonemeritus

    I don’t hate them because they are pricks I hate them because they are driving the race to the bottom.

  21. fuflans

    well that's all very well but 'we the people' just passed the threshold to "Secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016."

    so that's good.

  22. bikerlaureate

    "Our associates are a great source of pride and personal inspiration for me." might have been cut from this Business Insider story – Google finds it, but I haven't located a web page where that quote is present.

    I care because I really wonder how much more inspirational those workers would be if their hours and/or their health care "benefits" weren't being cut to avoid the company's full participation in Obamacare.

  23. CrunchyKnee

    So, I wonder if Sam's kids (they built that?) give a rat's ass about the people who slave in their stores. Fuck them, too. Also.

  24. DahBoner

    Someday I want to go to HILLBILLY MOUNTAIN ARKANSAS and see how the elite management snobs live.

    I bet those snobs eat their Chick-Fil-A sandwiches with a fork with their little pinkies sticking up…

  25. Antispandex

    Look, what's more important here, paying good wages, or feeding the engine of freedom? That's right, hippies, freedom! You see, if you give ME the 18.7 million dollars, then I take that money and buy myself something nice, like say a hooker, then that hooker is able to take the money and buy something nice, like…well, I don't know what they buy, but it doesn't matter, because that's FREEDOM!

  26. BigSkullF*ckingDog

    Has anyone here ever worked at a Walmart? I know, dumb question. But I have been curious about their training practices ever since my brother worked there for a few years. Granted, my brother is not the brghtest bulb in the fixture, but it appeared to me that he had been brainwashed. Even after being fired by the company (with cause) he is often quick to defend their business practices. It is weird.

    1. FNMA

      My kid worked there while he was in school. (He is employed in his field now.)
      His experience was slightly different.
      His exit interview consisted of him telling his boss, I believe I'm quoting here, "Go fuck yourself."
      I had to tell him that it probably wasn't a good idea.

    2. GeneralLerong

      Because nobody wants to admit they were taken advantage of for being foolish?

      Not before the first dozen or so times it happens, that is. After one has recognized one's place as a hopeless technopeasant, then of course the humiliations just roll off like water from a duck's back.

      Then you die, amirite?

    3. Jennyjen798

      My sister did. She worked there this year, for about 3 months as a stocker. She's actually really intelligent but she's never had a job before (she's 26, long story but severe anxiety issues around people) so she applied. She liked it at first, but once some of the lower level managers figured out she was smart and had a degree, well it was open season on her. A threat to their awesome wages I guess, so my sister cracked and left.

      She really didn't say much about the business practices, she knew they sucked. She just wanted something to put on future job applications.

  27. OneDollarJuana

    Walmart wages are competitive because they come into a community, kill the other businesses and are left to compete only with themselves.

  28. BigSkullF*ckingDog

    "The average full-time, hourly U.S. associate makes $12.57 an hour"

    I keep hearing this shit from Walmart and I have yet to hear anyone ask the obvious follow up question of what percentage of Walmart employees are full-time? $12.57 an hour probably makes you a department manager.

    1. Beowoof

      Wow that generous salary, I bet that is the store manager. Based upon the last time I was in a Walmart, it appeared as if the manager was a top notch talent based upon the condition of the store. His efforts clearly merited that type of compensation.

  29. OneYieldRegular

    WalMart employee wages are competitive compared to those of the people who work in the foreign factories that make the crap WalMart sells.

  30. christianmuslin

    Their average wage while interesting tells me the CEO has no clue. The average wage of those engaged in landscaping in this country is about $15.00 an hour. So, those who came here illegally make more money per hour than those who were born here and work at his crappy store. Oh, I forgot, Walmart is air conditioned. Nevermind.

    1. Biff

      I'll be getting a 1.7% raise on about 51% of my monthly income next month, so I can finally aspire to being a walmart shopper, too!

  31. Slim_Pickins

    Walmart loses a nickel on every item they sell but makes it up on volume, so there. That's shrewd.

  32. barto

    Average is meaningless. What is the median wage, hmmm? Probably asymptotically close to whatever the prevailing minimum wage is for a given state, I'll wager.

  33. LibrarianX

    I wonder how many of those workers whose wages are "competitive" are also "inspired" to shoplift from their generous employer.

  34. VinnyThePooh

    And the pittance WalMart pays it's employees goes right back into the tillers. It's a microeconomy that WalMart wants to maintain forever.

  35. tamiasmin

    "Low margin" is an ancient dodge that supermarkets used to use.

    If you buy an item every morning for $1.00 and sell it in the afternoon for $1.01, at the end of the year your cost for merchandise is $365.00 and your sales are $368.65, so your margin is 1%.

    But your profit—$3.65—on investment—$1.00—is 365%.

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