As one of the largest corporations in America, Walmart has a huge influence on the lifestyle and economics of many Americans. It caters to consumers looking to save money, and those effected by the recent economic decline. It is also the largest private sector employer in the nation. (Peled) Yet, behind those yellow smiles, is the face of corporate greed.
In an effort to be more fiscally responsible, middle class shoppers, and especially the poor are compelled to shop at Walmart. Over the last decade, as the economy has worsened, and more people are looking to make ends meet and spend less, Walmart has enjoyed record profits. In fact, in 2013 they made a 17 billion dollar profit. (Gandel) However, its employees, many of whom earn a minimum wage are forced to apply for government funded public assistance.
In April of 2014, the Americans for Tax Fairness, a coalition of 400 progressive ...view middle of the document...
They might look like saviors, but they are only lowering the living standards of those workers.
The effects of low wages are not only financial. Such employees have to deal with the stigma associated with receiving benefits. In example, sometimes they are called lazy or a free-loader despite, their hard work. Additionally, workers that are not paid a survivable wage have a lower morale than those of similar retailers, like Costco or Trader Joe’s. (Ton) Sure, as Sebastian Malloby points out, they provide a great resource for the poor, but at what cost? By eliminating the competition, not only can Walmart afford to pay their employees less, but they can then haggle with their suppliers over pennies, who are then forced to outsource jobs to China, its effects are far-reaching. In fact, according to a Frontline PBS Documentary, “Is Walmart good for America?,” what happened to Rubbermaid is a primary example. Rubbermaid, who’s manufacturing plant was based in the U.S., had been selling to Walmart for years. When resin prices increased, they asked Walmart, Target , and K-Mart to help absorb the cost. While Target and K-Mart did, Walmart instead took away Rubbermaid’s preferred shelf space. As a result, Rubbermaid’s profit collapsed and they were forced to sell their company to Newell, a major competitor. Newell closed the manufacturing plant in Ohio, and imported their goods from China instead. Thus, effecting thousands of Rubbermaid employees with no direct link to Walmart.
Walmart's practices are perfectly legal, of course. They have created a monster by feeding to the consumers demand for lower prices. As long as taxpayers foot the bill for Walmart, because they are blinded by lesser prices for inferior quality they will continue to get away with it.
Gandel, Stephen. "Why Wal-Mart Can Afford to Give Its Workers a 50% raise." Fortune.com 12 Nov. 2013. Web. 25 Mar. 2015
STORE WARS: WHEN WAL-MART COMES TO TOWN. Dir. Micha X. Peled. Bullfrog Films, 1994. Film
Ton, Zeynep. "Why “Good Jobs” Are Good for Retailers." Harvard Business Review, 01 Jan. 2012. Web. 25 Mar. 2015