Wal-mart is a store that consumers love to hate. They are in the news once again regarding payment of bribes in Mexico to grease the wheels for preferential treatment. It appears that management was aware of this situation. Am I surprised? No. Are you? I doubt it.
Wal-mart has a history of being the store that Americans love to hate. It is not just that they make an attractive target but that they pretty much deserve to be a target. They have a history of poor treatment of their employees and suppliers. I know because I worked for a supplier.
Wal-mart has been in the news over the years regarding health benefits, proper payment of overtime as well as treatment of some employees. I am sure it must be hard to run a business as large as Wal-mart. They are one of the largest employers in the country. Even so, we expect them to be above board in the way they do business. I imagine that even though there are laws against bribery in Mexico and elsewhere, it is widely accepted. Money can grease the wheels of commerce.
So, how do you feel about Wal-mart? Do you shop there? I do and I have a bit of a love/hate thing going there. I do like the low prices. I feel kind of depressed when I leave a Wal-mart. I am not sure if it is because I left a large chunk of money there or how they do business and treat employees. I am sure there are wonderful stories of people who have risen in the ranks and are very happy with the opportunities Wal-mart has given them. We usually only hear the bad stuff. If newspapers only printed happy, cheerful stories, no one would read it. We love to look at a headline and turn away.
I certainly have mixed feelings myself. I would prefer for their employees to have better hours, to get paid for their efforts and for them to to be on a level playing field when it comes to opportunities.
How did Wal-mart get to be such a force in our country? Sam Walton was a tough businessman and Wal-mart grew to be an empire under his guidance. They got fairly large and everyone wanted their products in their stores. Unfortunately, getting your product in Wal-mart can be a money losing venture for many. The problem is that you, as a business, want your product in a national company. Part of their success was that they owned the company that moved their product. It was a way to control costs and they have been brutally successful.
It is my belief, that, Wal-mart has hurt this country more than it has helped. Yes, we want low prices but at what cost? Wal-mart has created jobs in one area by hiring at the lower end of the scale while high paying manufacturing jobs are shipped overseas.
At one time, Wal-mart was beating the drum of "buy American". Consumers demanded lower prices and, unfortunately, Wal-mart could no longer make huge profits and keep prices low using many American products. We, basically, did it to ourselves and we blame Wal-mart. Now, just about everything, in our homes, are made in China. I think I have some safety matches that say "Made in USA".
Now Wal-mart has been caught cheating, bribing people. Seems as though their management knew about it. Does this make any difference in whether you shop at Wal-mart? If not, just chant as you walk down the aisles, "In spandex we trust."