Monday, April 25

Deliver us from Wal-Mart

I'd seen this article from Christianity Today linked somewhere (if it was you I'll be happy to add the link if you let me know), but didn't click through. Then my friend, Bryan, sent it to me in an email, so I thought I'd better read it.

This article is a long, involved analysis of Wal-Mart from a conservative, Biblical perspective. You may not be interested at all. My thoughts:
  • I still think Wal-Mart pays too little, especially being such a huge employer. And calling 34 hour weeks 'fulltime' is shady. But I agree with the author that, basically, if there's a fault here, it's the free market and the drive to get the lowest price. If that's what you care about most, then, by all means, shop at Wal-Mart. But there are some unpleasant consequences, low wages not least of all.
  • Is it just me, or are a lot of the people who are crying to keep jobs in the US the same people who shop at Wal-Mart? You can't have it both ways, friends.
  • It's obvious to me that Wal-Mart's pressure to keep overtime down and get the work done results in managers who underpay. They need to get that fixed.
  • Wal-Marts supply chain should be transparent and independently monitored if they really want to insure rectictude.
  • These are things that Wal-Mart can afford to fix. It might hurt their price on the Street in the short term, but it would be better for them, including public relations, in the long term.
  • Notice what I'm not saying. I'm not saying 'legislate against them'. I'm not saying 'make them pay higher wages'. The answer here is educated consumers making informed choices. If we want lowest price at any cost, that's what we'll get, and the kind of culture that goes with it.
  • The thing I found most distasteful about this article was the evasiveness of the Wal-Mart public relations people. I conclude that they do have something to hide.
By way of disclosure, as Macon once said, Wal-Mart does not enjoy 'most favored' company status here at 'interact'. I don't shop at Wal-Mart if I can help it. I've been in a Wal-Mart fewer than 5 times in the last 10 years.
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