From How Wal-Mart is Destroying America
By Bill Quinn
[Wal-Mart not only sucks the financial life-blood from our community by nightly transferring our money to Arkansas billionaires rather than having it circulate in our community, but they also feed on the life-blood of their employees and their families. Other Big Boxes are forced to compete with Wal-Mart by adopting their draconian businesses practices, or be forced out of business. The Masonite Monster Mall will foist Big Box World on our small community changing it forever, raise the poverty level in our county, while their 700 slave-wage jobs will add immeasurable misery to our workforce. VOTE NO ON MEASURE A!-DS]
[See also I used to be proud to be a Wal-Mart employee video below...]
An interview with a former Wal-Mart manager of over 15 years…
Q: Joe, your wife tells me your hours as a manager were so long you barely knew your children?
Joe: Long hours were demanded—rarely less than seventy a week, most weeks eighty or more. Days off were rare. And I have gone as long as three years without a vacation. My wife literally raised our children by herself.
Q: Hourly workers, I’ve been told, are held to a minimum?
Joe: You won’t believed how they are treated. Managers try to keep employees’ hours under twenty-eight a week so they won’t be eligible for benefits. If business slows on any day, managers are instructed to send workers home anytime after they have four hours on the clock. Even department heads who are supposed to be regulars can be sent home, often working less than the eight hours they are entitled to…
Q: When you moved, did Wal-Mart pay your expenses?
Joe: No. Actually, the “system” was to ask store personnel to do you a favor by working off the clock to come out to your place and help you pack. You were moved to your next assignment, always, in a Wal-Mart truck. And at your new station you asked for volunteers to come out and help you unpack. Never on company time. Always off the clock.
Q: What about real estate you might leave behind?
Joe: Wal-Mart headquarters always bluntly told you they were not in the real estate business. Had never been. Would never be. And, on our next-to-last-move, we took a helluva loss on our home.
Q: Suppose you told your regional manager you were happy where you were and didn’t want to move?
Joe: That wouldn’t work either. It was always a larger store, paying a little more. But in spite of that, I told my boss one time I wanted to stay where I was. Then I got a call from the vice president of stores from my area to suggest, in the strongest terms, that I start packing. It was as simple as that. If I refused, I was out the door, fired, through with my future at Wal-Mart.
Q: Why didn’t you quit?
Joe: I’ve asked myself that a thousand times. But one gets to doing something, knows he’s good at it, and feels, ultimately, that things will get a lot better. I don’t know why I didn’t get the hell out sooner, but when you’ve got a family and lots of years invested, you just stay with the company…
Q: I’ve heard awful stories about how mean Wal-Mart can be to its vendors.
Joe: That’s one of the reasons I had to quit. I had one lady whose main job was to make claims of product damage, or claim that a full order was not received, pallet damage, whatever. The company’s policy was to make a vendor prove the full order was sent. On damage, they had to believe our claim—or lose Wal-Mart as a customer. You can’t believe the number of claims an average Wal-Mart store makes in a single year. Not one store. All stores.
Q. What about local vendors?
Joe: When we bought from a local vendor, except for utilities, of course, we were instructed to deduct 10 percent. Don’t ask me for what. If we had to call in someone to service something, same thing. Quite often the invoice would be held up if there was the slightest question. Normally, the local vendor would allow us to take the 10 percent. I was against all this—to the fullest. But those were our instructions.
Q: When you finally quit Wal-Mart, were you fully vested?
Joe: I thought so. I calculated I had $30,000 coming. But you can’t believe the deductions they added to my final check. Administrative expenses, deductions I never dreamed of. The final amount was only $5,000. I should have sued, but that would have entailed legal expense, and like all claims against Wal-Mart, it would have been in the courts forever.
Q: What was your actual reason for quitting?
Joe: My conscience was eating me up. My normal weight is around two hundred pounds, and I was down to about 145. My deepest concern was that I was selling out every moral I ever believed in.
Q: Would you say Wal-Mart is dishonest?
Joe: I don’t know how to answer that. I do know they take advantage of virtually everybody who has ever worked for them. I do know that they take every advantage of their vendors. I do know that they take advantage of every customer who walks into their store. My greatest regret in life is that I ever tied up with Wal-Mart in the first place. And I know in my heart that if you interviewed every former manager of Wal-mart, the vast majority of them would tell you an almost identical story to this one I’m telling you today.