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Why I won't spend money at Wal-Mart


I've been accused of having too many crazy rules about where I'll spend money. I don't like to give money to corporations I can't respect, who's business practices I don't support, who are evil. This is hard to do, since most corporations have some evil in them, but I continue tilting at windmills (Buyblue.org has made this easier by doing much of the leg work on these issues)

However, I have for many years refused to shop at Wal-Mart and I will continue to do so. It's not their anti-competitive practices (although that's one issue). It's not their anti-woman practices (although that's certainly a factor). It's not the way they treat their employees, paying sub-human wages, charging enormous premiums for health care, even locking employees who don't want to work overtime in the store. It's not their union busting. It's not that they demand public subsidies (corporate welfare) even though they have huge profits. It's not that they are already abusing eminent domain, having property from local business and families seized so they can build more Wal-Marts. It's not that they lie about "buying American" when they are the largest importer in the United States. It's not that they force artists to "sanitize" their music or Wal-Mart won't allow their albums to be sold in their stores.

It's that their costs don't offset their "savings"

It's very, very short-sighted to shop at Wal-Mart because they are "cheap." Tax payers pay a fortune subsidizing Wal-Mart. We pay for the medical bills of most of their employees (in Georgia, Wal-Mart employees are six times more likely to rely on state-provided health care for their children than are employees of any other large company._ In all states, a large portion of Wal-Mart's employees live below the poverty line and rely on state programs to survive. Is saving a few cents on their products worth the tax hike? I've always been willing to spend a little more and keep my self-respect, but you don't even have to spend more to avoid supporting pure evil!

I initially got a Costco membership because of how strongly I respected the way they treat their employees. They've proved you don't have to rape your employees to be profitable! They have great prices AND they treat their people WELL! They might not have every single item a place like Wal-Mart has, but I can get everything I need between them and Trader Joe's, and I know my money isn't going to support Satan's minions. Shopping there is a joy, they have a great selection, clean, bright stores, and happy employees.

More Wal-Mart Facts*:

-This company holds the record for the most suits filed against it by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

-The National Labor Relations Board has issued over 40 formal complaints against the corporation in 25 different states in just the past five years. The NLRB's top lawyer believed that their labor violations, such as Illegal spying on employees, fraudulent record keeping, falsifying time cards to avoid paying overtime, threats, illegal firings for union organizing etc., were so widespread that he was looking into filing a very rare national complaint against the company. (The company contributed $2,159,330.00 to GW Bush and the GOP in 2000 and 2002. The NLRB attorney was replaced when President Bush took office.)

-Nearly 1 MILLION women are involved in the largest class-action suit every filed against a corporation. Although women make up over 65% of this corporations work force only 10% of them are managers. The women who have become store managers make $16,400 a year LESS then the men.

-The corporation took out nearly 350,000 life insurance policies on their employees. They did not tell the employees and then named the corporation as the beneficiary. They are now being sued by numerous employees, and although the corporation has stopped this practice of purchasing what is known as "Dead Peasant Policy's", a company spokesperson stated, "The company feels it acted properly and legally in doing this." (this means wal-mart doesn't have to provide safe working conditions for their workers - if they are killed, wal-mart STILL makes money off them)

-They force employees to work after ordering them to punch out. In Texas alone this practice of "wage theft" is estimated to have cost employees $30 million per year.

*from Jim Hightower's book, Thieves in High places