Sunday, November 20, 2005

I detest Walmart

I've disliked wal-mart for a while now and have made a point not to shop there, whenever possible, for about the past year. I knew that it it was horrible, but I didn't know ALL of the terrible things it does. I just knew that it pays its associates crap, doesn't make it a practice to promote women, and is outsourcing a lot of the jobs. These were good enough reasons for me to believe that it was the devil and that I should no longer make purchases there and support it.

Friday night a group of us had a screening for Walmart: The High Cost of Low Prices at a friend's house. It is made by moveon.org, I believe, and is a documentary highlighting all the reasons why walmart is, in fact, the devil. It was horrible. Not the movie itself, but all the things walmart does. How they make it a practice to move into a town and shut family owned business down. If I had emotions and working tear ducts, I probably would have cried when they were showing these businesses that families had worked in for 40+ years shut down after walmart came to town. To see all that hard work demolished in a few short months.

Then there is the fact that walmart doesn't pay its employees enough and they can't afford the health insurance for their families and what is walmart's response? Well, there are government funded programs to help you with that! WTF?? WALMART is TELLING its employees that should they not only get medicaid for their children, but also foodstamps because they qualify for them!! People who are working fulltime for them! That's completely ridiculous. AND all this while the Waltons are worth billions and billions of dollars! Completely ridiculous.

What I liked about the movie was that they had a number of managers from walmart telling their side of the story. These people were in the higher up parts of the corporations and saw some pretty horrible stuff going on and talked about it. They were told to never pay overtime and were taught how to go into the computer system and move hours to the next week in order to not have to pay the associates overtime. They also never made it a practice to promote women. If they saw two associates talking and then move away from each other quickly when they came up that was grounds to believe they were trying to unionize, which is NOT something walmart likes/allows. It was incredible how much money walmart will spend trying to keep the workers from forming a union, yet they will not pay them higher wages.

Oh, and then there was the whole issue of security in the parking lots. The security cameras in the parking lots aren't necessarily for security reasons, but so that the managers can see if the workers are meeting in the parking lots, trying to unionize. They had this big long list of places around the country where attacks have happened in a walmart parking lot and Houghton, MI was on it!! Houghton!! I think it said it was a knife assault. It happened sometime this year. Eric, do you know anything about this??

The movie ended on a good note, at least. They showed these towns coming together in order to keep walmart from coming into their city. And a lot of them were successful. It was touching.

7 comments:

Cecilia said...

Was Inglewood, CA (outside of L.A.) one of the towns? Because it kept wal-mart from coming to town. I worked with one of the preists who helped do it last summer. She was so cool. But yeah, wal-mart is stupid. The other day on 20/20, they had a show on greed and talked about wal-mart, but kind of made it sound like wal-mart was pretty okay and people against it were just being mean. That didn't make me happy, and I normally love 20/20.

Golda said...

Yeah, they did talk about Inglewood, CA!! And they intervied the priest!! That's so cool!

Cecilia said...

Was the priest a Hispanic woman with a raspy voice, perhaps named Rev. Altagracia Perez? She's one of my heros. She's bilingual, and even with her own church now, she still does all this stuff with labor unions in L.A. and stuff, because Spanish speakers trust her and she does an awesome job of speaking for them when they can't. And she's just cool. She spoke at a conference I was in 1999 or 2002 (I can't remember) and talked about helping a woman through a hunger strike she was doing for labor union stuff. The woman had to be hospitalized and such. Really intense stuff. Plus, she's bisexual (married to a man and has children with him), but her struggles and identification with the whole issue is amazing. She's really cool. And, if you're interested, she runs with her church an intern program called the Episcopal Urban Internship Program (euip.org). It's a cool program. I almost got in, but I'm happy I didn't for lots of reasons. They all do full-time social work type jobs around the L.A. area. Pretty cool. And, as I just learned, they get the AmeriCorps educational benefit.

Golda said...

That was her! I remember the name. She seemed really cool from the brief part they did about her and her campaign against walmart in the movie.

Cecilia said...

She is so cool... I want to be like her. What type of social worker do I become to do that? And can that be my whole personal statement: "I want to get a MSW to be like Altagracia Perez"?

Golda said...

You become a kickbutt social worker to be like her. Look into community organizing maybe? I like community organizing a lot. And yes, that SHOULD be your personal statement, and just that. But, if you actually want to get into grad school, maybe you should elaborate some...

seth said...

Ach! I really want to see this! Thanks for the update...I need to get my own butt in gear too. I think I saw on the Daily Show that there's also a pro-WalMart documentary out and about now trying to compete with this one. The truth will prevail...I'm really interested in learning more...see you Saturday!