Sunday, August 5, 2007

The devil may wear Prada, but he also shops at Wal-Mart

I am proud to say that I have spent a total of $30 at Wal-Mart. Some of you think that's $30 too much, while others are probably wondering why this is an issue to begin with. As a Googler, whose company's motto is "Don't Be Evil", I have qualms with the way Wal-Mart is run. The problems I have with this retail monster stem from it's irresponsibility to the American people and economy. Interestingly, Wal-Mart began as a company of strict American nationalism; it also began as a “Red” corporation to the extreme, whose political contributions in 2000 and 2004 went exclusively to George W. Bush and his party. Now, I am not pointing any fingers due to this -- many of you know why -- but rather due to their hypocrisy. The very company that claims nationalism and patriotism is the same one whose imports from China led to the loss of nearly 200,000 U.S. jobs from 2001-2006. The U.S. trade deficit with China reached a whopping $233 billion last year, and imports for Wal-Mart alone accounted for $27 billion - 11 percent of that total (source here). Make up your mind, Wal-Mart. You sound like the Bush Administration; you are as American as can be...until someone buys you out.

There are entire books and websites on how evil Wal-Mart is so I won't ramble off too many more facts. I wanted to include this paragraph though: According to www.pbs.org, the average take-home pay of an American Wal-Mart employee is under $250 a week; the minimum wage pay scale places employees with families below the poverty line. The company is staunchly anti-union, and Wal-Mart employees make 25% less than their unionized counterparts after two years on the job. 85% of the stores' merchandise is made overseas, often in Third World sweatshops.

As many of you know, I am a supporter of capitalism. I understand that while some of the things that Wal-Mart are not illegal, there is a responsibility that they are not fulfilling. Driving small shops out of business is an effect of capitalism. However, once you drive their owners and employees out of business and force them to sweep your floors, then you better give them full time employment opportunities and benefits. Wal-Mart provides one of the nation's lowest full time opportunity rates in the country, yet employs 1.2 MILLION Americans. That's a lot of Americans who aren't working full time simply because Wal-Mart won't let them.

I am proud to say that I drive a couple blocks past Wal-Mart to shop at Target for my daily essentials. I, personally, don't mind paying a few extra dollars per checkout for a better experience and moral conscience.

3 comments:

Jonathan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shaza said...

there's a funny (of course) episode of south park about wal-mart, about the shoppers knowing how evil it is but not being able to get away from its low prices. hilarious.

Ramzi said...

I like Best Buy. :)