When things are investigated, knowledge is extended. When knowledge is extended, the will becomes sincere. When the will is sincere, the mind is correct. When the mind is correct, the self is cultivated. -- Confucius
Politically correct ideals are garbage: true wisdom comes from decades of deep thought and neutral observation. Only a so-called sociopath could ascertain wisdom from this crazy world in a neutral way. Cool thoughts- uncorrupted by modern politics, social norms, or societal ideals- are required for wisdom. Questioning everything, and going against the grain on all universally accepted norms is the path to true intelligence. The Gods notice this.

3/24/10

Wal-Mart: more bad news

I wish I had the time to rehash the voluminous subject of how bad walmart is. I think we all know how they pay their employees a shitty wage; they do a lot of things that harm the environment; they go to great lengths to screw their workers out of overtime and health insurance; and, they sell a lot of chinese junk while deliberately exporting american jobs. Most people know these things. For details, read this website.

But is there anything that is not well known? You have to wonder. Or not- since I am an ex-employee of 3 walmart stores, and have known other employees. One of them has worked at 6 different stores in three states, and has held several positions there as high as dept. manager. Granted, that is not a very high position, but it put that person into frequent contact with the salaried managers. From all of this, I have culled a few interesting things about this chain that I never see mention of even on the anti-walmart websites....

  • If you are injured on the job at walmart, you will be forced to join the 'safety team'. This team has weekly meetings of about a half an hour. They are also responsible for extra duties like spill clean-ups. The meetings are always off the clock- which is unpaid labor/involuntary servitude by the way- and refusal to attend the meetings will get you fired. One employee tells me they no longer make you clock out for the meetings at their store, so I don't know if that includes all of them or not- but they sure used to. This is just done for small injuries. If you have a major injury, they will fire you for 'being careless'.
  • If you take a leave of absence, with permission from your boss, you must call in every single day of that absence to tell them you are on a leave of absence. If you miss calling on one day- no matter if the leave was for two days or two weeks- you can be fired when you return. This places you on the bottom of the pay scale, if they 'rehire' you.They will not tell you this until you return. It is common policy and some associates have heard of it beforehand, otherwise every leave-taker would be axed.
  • In most stores, overtime is simply not allowed. If you accidentally run over forty hours for a week, even by a few minutes, you can be fired for it.
  • If you need to call in sick, you have to call an 800 number that goes to headquarters in Arkansas, and obtain a 'call in code'. Then your call gets transferred to your store and you have to tell a manager why you called in sick. If you call in to your store first, they will tell you to call back after getting a code. If you hang up after getting the code and do not talk to a manager, nothing happens. It is on record that you called in. The lower and mid-level managers never know if someone called in until after the shift starts, when they notice them missing and ask the higher mgrs. about it. The purpose of this whole system is largely unknown.
  • If you work 34 hours a week there, you are considered full time. So the managers go to great lengths to make sure most of the employees get 34 hours or less per week. Only full time employees are eligible for health insurance, after 6 months. Part-time employees have to wait a year. And even if you are 'full time', you can have your hours cut down to 10 for a week at random times. The net total hours from these cuts makes almost everyone truly part-time.
  • They have a sort of 'don't ask/don't tell' return policy. When you return an item, if you say it is broken or defective, it is supposed to go back to the manufacturer for credit. If you say you did not like it or whatever else, it goes back on the shelf. If you say no reason at all, guess what: they assume it is okay and put it back out on the shelf. They will keep putting the same item back out after several returns, until someone notices it is the same one. Then it goes to the mark-down aisle. Discounted items are not returnable. This is why the cashier rarely asks why you are returning an item. They want to keep reselling it until it can't be returned anymore. Make sure you inspect everything you plan to buy there to see if it has already been opened- if so it is probably a return. And never buy an electronic item that is marked down with a red price sticker.
  • Their self-checkout lanes don't work right. Not news, you say? Everyone knows that, but did you know that they are so easy to rip off that many stores are simply closing them down? At a normal cash register, the coupons that are scanned are matched via computer to what you are buying. If they don't match, it does not give you the discount. Plus the cashier has to see it. At the self checkout, this computer match up does not occur, and any coupons can be used for anything else. For example, you may have a coupon for $2. off a case of Aquafina water. You self-scan a 6 pack of coke with a price of 2.49, then use the coupon, and you will pay .49 cents for the pop. For multiple items, you can keep scanning the same coupon, and insert blank pieces of paper into the machine. The only way to get caught is if the cashier watching the self checkouts is watching their screen and paying close attention. If someone wanted to do this, they could have a friend buy alcohol at the same time on another self checkout so the cashier would go card them. Note that I am NOT advocating this- just saying how flawed their equipment is...Some stores have the coupon intake holes taped over because of this; most don't.
  • They love to throw away bags of cat and dog food that has a rip in it, even 40 pounders. Instead of giving it to local shelters they just pitch it. At the same time, they won't throw away outdated bags of food on the shelves. I have personally seen out of date bags of cat and dog foods in several different stores. At one store I told the store manager about it; the other an assistant manager. Neither seemed to care, and the same outdated bags were there the next day. So always check the expiration dates on any pet food you buy there.
  • They have remodel crews traversing the country, constantly remodeling their stores. These crews have remodel managers and a small core crew, and the rest of the help is hired locally. When working on one of these crews once, I helped at a warehouse where they were storing and sorting all of the materials- new shelves, displays, etc. The waste was unbelievable. Most of the shelves in the store were simply repainted, and the brand new replacement ones were discarded. So were numerous displays such as the photo center box. There were brand new stop signs for the parking lot, racks, unopened bags of hardware, etc. etc....all thrown away! All brand new too. We filled the biggest size roll-off dumpster with this stuff at least once a day at the warehouse. The employees there came up with the phrase 'waste-mart'. When the remodel manager was asked if this was normal, he said yes- because it is 'easier'.
I would love to hear from any other former or current employees on these subjects. Please email me or comment. In the meantime, I think people are getting the idea that cheap stuff can have its drawbacks- mainly for the poor saps working there.