Monday, February 09, 2009

The Myth of Walmart

Most of the supposed elites and a large part of the political left views the Walmart chain of discount super-stores as something almost as evil as George Lucas' Empire. However, in an attempt to find out the truth about Walmart, Charles Platt, a former senior writer for the magazine Wired (itself not known for its sympathies to Walmart or to anything that Middle American finds attractive) went undercover as an employee at a Walmart in his locale.

Mr. Platt wrote about his experience in the New York Post recently. He was surprised at both how well-treated the Walmart employees he worked with were and at how much autonomy they actually have. And he marvelled, "Here was the unseen, unreported side of the corporate behemoth. Big as it was, it was smart enough to give employees a feeling of autonomy."

Platt then proceeds to take on a few of the standard canards and debunks them thoroughly, saying that the company informs all employees how to report anyone who orders them to do unpaid overtime and that the illegal alien story actually referred to the company Walmart employed as janitors- it was the vendor, not Walmart, who actually employed the illegal aliens.

He also emerged with a new impression of just why Walmart is so reviled among the self-elected elites in thsi country. As Mr. Platt tells it,
You have to wonder, then, why the store has such a terrible reputation, and I have to tell you that so far as I can determine, trade unions have done most of the mudslinging. Web sites that serve as a source for negative stories are often affiliated with unions., for instance, is partnered with the Service Employees International Union; is entirely owned by United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. For years, now, they've campaigned against Wal-Mart, for reasons that may have more to do with money than compassion for the working poor. If more than one million Wal-Mart employees in the United States could be induced to join a union, by my calculation they'd be compelled to pay more than half-billion dollars each year in dues.

Anti-growth activists are the other primary source of anti-Wal-Mart sentiment. In the town where I worked, I was told that activists even opposed a new Barnes & Noble because it was "too big." If they're offended by a large bookstore, you can imagine how they feel about a discount retailer.

And of course, most of those unions are major contributors to the Democratic Party, as most of the mainstream media sources are in need of union money to peddle their propaganda. Since those 'news' organizations and their elected representatives are financially beholden to organizations who desperately want the revenue that the non-unionized Walmart employees could bring to their organizations, it is unlikely that they would actually tell the truth about Walmart.

Mr. Platt, however, has a different view after actually working for Walmart. As he concludes,
Based on my experience (admittedly, only at one location) I reached a conclusion which is utterly opposed to almost everything ever written about Wal-Mart. I came to regard it as one of the all-time enlightened American employers, right up there with IBM in the 1960s. Wal-Mart is not the enemy. It's the best friend we could ask for.

Now if only our media and the Democratic PArty would listen...

No comments: