First off, I’d like to say how impressed I am with just how empty the stores seem to be when Wally World has commercials featuring real, actual customers. Do they have VIP Shopping Days, when you don’t have to fight the crowds?
That aside, I am here to attest that to the fact that I, too, am a Walmart Success Story, and feel just as empowered as the cheery folk on their new commercials - though perhaps for very different reasons.
This is the part where there are those who get to pronounce, “I never shop at Walmart . . .” and then often cast aspersions upon those who do, especially their fellow liberals/progressives. Well, I ain’t naming names, but you’d be amazed at just who darkens the door at your local Walmart.
‘Nuff said, as the famous American philosopher, Stan Lee, used to pronounce.
My own personal Walmart success story begins with the mass of humanity (from all walks of life) who decide to visit the store at the same time as Tracy and I do. Working your way through the teeming hordes of folks who suddenly park and block an aisle while they have a conversation with someone from home, totally unrelated to anything on their grocery list, can add a little time to your odyssey.
After you make your way out of the vittles department, you look over their book department, and see what might be new, noticing with some despair how Romance novels seem to be dominating the shelves. While I can find Rolling Stone at Walmart, that is pretty much the only magazine I’ll be able to find with any political writing.
I bump into fellow liberals, who admonish me, “Don’t tell anyone you saw me here.” No commercials in their future plans.
The electronics section is always a hoot, because while you may find folks who know what DVD players look like, and what cell phones they carry . . . well, that is pretty much the extent of their knowledge, much of the time. One helpful fellow did help me buy my camera, but he was an oasis in a sea of panicked ignorance.
This is not their fault, but the fault of whoever is supposed to be training them.
I have successfully given up trying to get anything as simple as a watch battery changed in any of the Walmart’s I have been to; one jeweler told me it was fortunate for the watch that the latest Walmart employee (I refuse to call any worker, anywhere in the world, an “associate”) finally gave up.
Finally, it is time to successfully leave the store. As the long lines will attest, not all of the registers are manned. When you do get to the register (operated by someone who obviously can’t afford to buy the attractive shirt Wally World employees wear on all of their TV commercials) you engage in small talk. Watching them turn, twist and lift the bags into the shopping cart, you wonder about the effects on the human body.
The doors! The parking lot!
Once again, we are Successful Walmart Shoppers!
I gotta sign up for that VIP Shopping Day . . .
Whimsy aside, none of Walmart’s commercials can not hide some of the bitter reality
At the end of May, a report issued by Congressional Democrats revealed that the pull on public services such as food stamps and similar services to help meet the basic needs of life could cost taxpayers around $900,00 at just one - just one! - Walmart in Wisconsin alone.
The report reveals that Walmart had more employees signed up for the state’s public health care program in the last quarter than any other employer. 3,216 Walmart employees were able to take advantage of the services the state offers, just in order to survive.
Add in the numbers of dependents, and the number swells to 9,207.
The response from Walmart?
"Unfortunately there are some people who base their opinions on misconceptions rather than the facts, and that is why we recently launched a campaign to show people the unlimited opportunities that exist at Walmart," Walmart spokesperson Brooke Buchanan said, noting that 75 percent of Walmart managers started as hourly employees. "Every month more than 60 percent of Americans shop at Walmart and we are proud to help them save money on what they want and need to build better lives for themselves and their families. We provide a range of jobs — from people starting out stocking shelves to Ph.D.’s in engineering and finance. We provide education assistance and skill training and, most of all, a chance to move up in the ranks."
And how many Walmart employees don’t become managers? What percentage?
That’s kind of an unfair question, I know, but I’m not the only one who can play silly math games.
A Reuters report indicates that Walmart seems to be falling into the trap - well, for workers - of hiring temporary workers to man some of their stores. The temporary worker business, so popular with employers, is hell on earth for workers, who often don’t receive benefits, or at the very least, must wait longer to get them . . . if they are still even working for the company at all.
Quote of the Day
It's like, duh. Just when you thought there wasn't a dime's worth of difference between the two parties, the Republicans go and prove you're wrong. - Molly Ivins