Unadulterated Arrogance

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The Walmart issue.

Walmart has been accused of treading on the toes of their workforce by providing non-competitive compensation packages. Lefties worldwide are waging a war against the behemoth whose only crime is of making customer the king.

The leftist hue and cry for the 'poor mistreated workforce' is not without reason. Granted Walmart's compensation package is nothing to talk about but then again nobody is forcing people to work at Walmart and this is evident from the kilometre long queues for walk-in interviews whenever a new Walmart outlet is opened. Every human being has a price and this intrinsic value is defined by an individual himself taking into consideration his abilities and his present predicament. Nobody will work below their intrinsic price that they themselves have put on their heads. Its no secret that the workers at Walmart are no rocket scientists, they deserve the salary due to them. I am paid well, if I were to go and hump a whore and got a bill from her, my company would write it off as 'Entertainment Expenses'... Why? because I am good and I am productive.. the not so rocket scientists at Walmart deserve what they get and should stop dreaming of largesse until and unless they are educated and productive.

The middle of the 20th century witnessed a manufacturing boom and it were the manufacturers that decided the price back then but with the advent of entities like Walmart, the retailers are the ones who decide the selling price; the selling price of the retailers in turn is decided directly by the consumers. Selling price of products at Walmart is comparatively cheaper than anywhere else and this is accentuated by a no frills working atmosphere . If all the employees were given a BMW for conveyance, the same overheads would be passed onto the consumer thereby making Walmart less competitive in the retail industry and thus they would be forced to shut shop which would lead to mass unemployment, this would further be a burden on society and these same people will either resort to crime or work for even lower wages till rehabilitation. Profit motive is the only reason behind every economic activity and sooner the lefties realize it, the better it is.


  • Profit motive is not behind every economic activity actually. I don't shop at Walmart because I prefer locally owned retailers that I know and that know me. Sure it costs more, but my economic expenditures take more that my own personal profit margin into account.

    By Blogger Misc Debris, at 3/30/2005 02:18:00 PM  

  • Just because you think profit motive is behind every economic activity and that the workers at Wal-Mart should just, to sum up what you said, "get smarter" doesn't mean it's the best way to do things. I agree that Wal-Mart is the way they are (lowest prices) because they save money on what they pay their employees, but by simply not buying from them or choosing not to work for them they will have to up their standards. There are plenty of people who I'm sure would take another job somewhere else, but because of their situation (not always due to their own actions) they have to take what they can get.

    By Blogger sean, at 3/30/2005 02:38:00 PM  

  • Wal-Mart also demands annual price cuts from their suppliers. That means if Levi Strauss doesn't cut their cost to Wal-Mart, out goes Levi Strauss. So, Levi Strauss closes their factories here, moves them to China, leaving hundreds of workers unemployed. That means hundreds more workers that now be employed by Wal-Mart!

    By Blogger Jeffrey, at 3/30/2005 03:05:00 PM  

  • @Mis Debris -Profit motive is the only 'sane' reason behind every economic activity

    @ Sean - Yes, we can make walmart up their standards and in turn they will pass the extra overheads onto the consumer. They would then finally run out of business. So by upping the standards who are the winners, Walmart who will surely lose their competitive advantage or the consumers who will have to pay more for the same product.

    @Jeffrey As I mentioned earlier, its a good thing that manufacturers cannot hold us to ransom, its the end users who now decide the prices... and it is a good thing.

    By Blogger injinuity, at 3/30/2005 08:14:00 PM  

  • Wal-Mart is NOT the worst place in the world for someone to work. It has decent working conditions, the jobs are not dangerous compared to some other activities out there... salaries are not very high - and they shouldn't be. Being a cashier is a fairly standardized job requiring little skill.

    By Blogger Irina Tsukerman, at 3/31/2005 08:50:00 AM  

  • I don't understand much of economics but here's what I feel.
    " Profit motive is the only reason behind every economic activity and sooner the lefties realize it, the better it is. "
    but does this really help the economic growth of the country or the world & make room for a better standard of living for all the humans?I agree with Sean,many people take such jobs out of neccesity not neccessarily out of incability to do better jobs.Like the article says, it seems to me that wal-mart is employing "low-price" tactics for its own benefit in the mask of pleasing/providing to the consumer demand.and what about the right to be paid each one's worth for doing any job?

    "Local or state government can provide to those requesting and qualifying for it a special offset sales tax exemption identification card. Low income individuals or families would present some type of evidence of their status. By using the tax exemption cards at checkout they would still take advantage of the low prices, while others would not. To determine the tax, government authorities could estimate from current databases what fraction of customers would likely qualify, including those receiving Medicaid, food stamps, welfare, unemployment insurance, or supplemental social security benefits. A great many Wal-Mart employees would qualify. "
    This to me is a very nice suggestion.

    By Blogger wookie, at 3/31/2005 09:44:00 AM  

  • I don't think profit motive is the only sane reason behind economic activity. I spend my dollar as if it were a vote. For me, I would rather spend my dollar at the local video store that has an annual neighborhood block party and allows artists to display their paintings inside of their garage. To reduce my life down to the accumulation of money would rob me of the vibrant community that I have come to enjoy. To me, the extra pennies or dimes goes towards keeping my local economy economically diverse. I believe that it is an investment in my community's future at a minimal cost to myself.

    By Blogger Misc Debris, at 3/31/2005 01:32:00 PM  

  • But think about it on a wider scale. The more money you make - and save - the more of it you can use for whatever purpose you want, including helping your community.

    By Blogger Irina Tsukerman, at 3/31/2005 04:58:00 PM  

  • Yallah where was I ??? Here it is from an economics teacher - ME - "Man is a 'Social Animal' who has needs and unlimited wants, but the resources available to satisfy these unlimited wants are limited and have 'alternative uses' " - definition of Economics.

    Now, there is somethign called the 'Multiplier Effect' - when a business man opens up a business - he provides jobs - because people have these jobs they are able to buy the goods he sells, because people buy the goods the busines man sells, the business man is able to pay the salary for his employees, because they get the salary they are able to buy ... you understand the cycle ...

    Where does profit come into all this ...??? WHY would a person open up a business ??? For charity? Well it would be called charity - wouldn't it?

    When an activity is 'economic' in nature - its PRIME Motive IS PROFIT - because FINANCE is the LIFE BLOOD of any business activity.

    Well, if the employees of Wal Mart are not satisfied - they could very well get themselves employed in Marks & Spencers or somewhere else ... But to ask Wal Mart to hike its prices is a slow death to a certain economic activity which will cripple a certain segment of the market and economy - Wal Mart caters to a certain segment of the market - the people who want good quality yet cheap goods ... NOW, if there is some hanky panky ... if the employees could prove that Wal Mart COULD actually afford to pay them more but is not - THEN we have a case ... else its stupidity and those who want higher pay could very well try to find better places ...

    Nice discussion arrogant one - For what its worth - I dont find this post arrogant, actually you're correct. From an economist point of view as an economics teacher - I think the Wal Mart employees need to re think. And in all probabilities I suppose there's a political motive behind the whole thing ... somebody's trying to make a mountain of a mole hole !!!

    WHY cant people think rationally? Why cant they understand that eventually they will be the ones who will suffer? How difficult is it to use ones faculty and not be blinded by emotions? Think about it calmly ... for te sake of a few thousands of employees a whole market segment of millions will be affected ... maybe some body else will cater to that segment - but wouldn't that be another Wal Mart another retail outlet employing cheap labor? Huh ....??? Think about it - the employees - you not only lose a good job but will actually settle for even less - how brilliant is that?

    By Blogger Loveena, at 4/01/2005 06:56:00 AM  

  • ah Trouv the economics teacher- I understand where you guys are coming from(jinu & yourself)
    I thought that the issue was that of wal-mart not paying its employees well thou' it could afford to.

    By Blogger wookie, at 4/01/2005 09:53:00 AM  

  • @Misc Debris, well you can choose to keep your local economy vibrant but by doing so your hard earned cash is being spent and if you continue to do so, who will make your life vibrant in the long run if god forbid but you run out of money?.. you local 'vibrant' community.. I presume not sire.

    @Irina, absolutely right madam, you hit the nail on the head.

    @Trouvaille, Right on, even I could not have put it any better.

    @wookie, nice to know that you have finally seen the light.

    By Blogger injinuity, at 4/01/2005 10:03:00 AM  

  • Is the local video store going to suck me dry? I think not. Is Walmart going to take care of me if I run out of money? I don't think so either. I don't expect anyone to 'take care of me.' The extra money I spend is done so that I can continue to appreciate the friendly services the local video store down the street provides to make my community a better place for myself.

    I spend money on the things that provide a service and make me happy. My community does that. Saving a few dollars here and there while walking around an antiseptic shopping environment with employees that hardly know me is not something that I enjoy.

    Maybe thing'll change if I have children. I mean, if my kids eat cereal like my bro and I did growing up, then maybe some bulk purchasing power may be necessary, but I'll always try to instill within them the spirit of the independent business person (just like my mom, a shopkeeper herself had done for me). Such entrepreneurial people are a valuable commodity and inspiration to the people around them.

    For all it's worth and since you may not be buying what I got to sell (which is fine), the local merchants in my neighborhood may actually be raising property values because they make it a desirable place to live due to the fact that not everything has been whitewashed and there remains at least a little bit of local character and flavor.

    By Blogger Misc Debris, at 4/01/2005 11:33:00 AM  

  • Well Misc Debris, I do concede that shopping at your local store is a more 'personal' experience... but walmart not only gives you a good price but it also gives you everything under one roof, so why not walmart?

    What you are doing is subsidising your local community, they should be able to compete with walmart by offering things that walmart cannot do, can you just call up walmart and have you goods handpicked and dropped at your home?... I think not, rather than complaining the local storekeepers should come up with novel methods to compete better... in the end its the survival of the fittest.

    By Blogger injinuity, at 4/01/2005 01:30:00 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Loveena, at 4/01/2005 11:25:00 PM  

  • I must say, 'misc debris' I appreciate your fervour.

    I second 'injinuity'. Let me add one more to the last bit - In the end its not only 'survival of the fittest' - IF 'healthy competetion' is prevalent ultimately its the consumer who will benefit the most - that's you and me ... We get quality service and extra goodies ... thanks to each supplier trying to outwit the other and in the process giving his best and not dishing out what he wants to give.

    What happens when you have a community shop ...??? You are emotionally swayed and emotions blind you from seeking out the best or even encouraging your community to bring out the best - When you go around flinging mud at the other / competetor - It's not going to serve any of us - its the lawyers and the politicians who will have a hay day. The employees and the society are swindled - and why dont we see that - we are ruled by emotions and not our faculty / common sense.

    I say, make wal mart sweat it out ... instead of spending precious time digging dirt against wal mart, use the same time to shine your armour and bring out the best in you and your society - Use that patriotic / society fervour in channelising the good within you - Good Luck to you. You'll see it's harder this way - but its much better than waging a dirt war :-)

    By Blogger Loveena, at 4/01/2005 11:28:00 PM  

  • Even though yes, there are a lot of employees in the 'lower' jobs like Walmart and grocery stores, it doesn't mean they're stupid. In the States right now, the economy sucks, so there's a ton of competition for jobs. There are plenty of young people here with great potential working at these places because they can't afford an education or can't find any other job, need to feed a family, etc. (And I won't even start on the rascism and sexism in the work force!)
    While I agree about profit motive and all, I just thought you sounded like George W. at one of the debates when someone asked him what would happen to the low-paid workers in America, and he told them that they should go to college.

    By Anonymous 'ameera Hannah A., at 4/07/2005 01:17:00 PM  

  • well what can I say other than that great minds think alike ;-)

    By Blogger injinuity, at 4/07/2005 02:24:00 PM  

  • opportunity cost is an opportunity lost as my econ professor would say.

    The entire big block retailer lifestyle is void (thank god) from the more dynamic urban parts of both newer cities, and older ones. Can you imagine a Walmart in the middle of Sienna?

    Walmart is excellent in that it caters to people who enjoy the suburban lifestyle (i.e the american dream).

    I dont know about where you live, but around here many smaller retailers do an excellent job of compensating in different ways for the slightly higher costs. Therefore there is no marginal utility gained in shopping at walmart.

    By Blogger Khalij-Khazar, at 4/22/2005 06:46:00 PM  

  • Treading on the toes of their workforce is different than hiring illegal immigrants under the table for half of what they should be making, just because they are illegal.

    But, Wal-Mart sucks for various other reasons above and beyond that.
    First off, I am proud to say that I live in a city where there are no Wal-marts and that is the choice of the people, mainly small business owners and pedestrians who like living in a city with vibrant, commercial neighborhoods that are diverse and offer the same things as one big mall, but without the parking lots, rednecks and dopey teenagers. Wal-Mart has been fighting this for years, they won their fight to put a Wal-Mart in an ancient Aztec pyramid but they are not going to win this one. I personally don’t mind paying an extra 25 cents for my Doritos if it means I can walk to get them and it means an entire family of Americans can own their own business instead of the Waltons getting rich and giving one more poor guy a $6 an hour job.

    The reason Wal-mart is able to set this wage standard, and the reason these people will work for this cheap is for the following reasons:

    The people who used to own, clothing boutiques, electronic stores, record stores, mini marts, bike shops, hardware stores, USED CAR LOTS!, and other businesses were either bought and bulldozed in order to create enough room for Wal-Mart or Wal-Mart undercut their prices and they went out of business, or the Wal-Mart vendor they used to work for finally went bankrupt when Wal-Mart forced them to lower their prices over and over.

    Wal-mart also has the "buy NO American products" policy and therefore results in the manufacturing closures and bankruptcies of so many vendors that it creates so many unemployed people that not all of them can find a good job to replace their position and income in the company Wal-Mart put out of business. They squeeze their vendors and turn them against each other until they all go out of business. Thus creating a lot of out of work and desperate people. Not to mention, no one would ever be able to open up a competing store in the same town where a Wal-Mart resides, thus violating anti trust laws.

    Wal-Mart is also the biggest importer of Chinese products; they account for 10% of all US imports alone. Why was America able to become the richest country in the world? Slave labor; Wal-Mart is no different.

    Wal-Mart is no crusader; they aren’t bringing affordable goods to people who could not otherwise afford them. If you have the money to buy a DVD player, you could just as easily pay $100 as opposed to paying the Wal-mart price of $50. If these people are that poor, they should be using $50 for groceries and diapers, not DVD players.

    I guess with these type of devious business practices it will be nice to have them around because their products are going to be the only products anybody will be able to afford if they keep putting everyone out of business. At that point, everybody will be a low wage Wal-Mart employee, and buy their low wage cheap Chinese shit at Wal-Mart. The Waltons will be laoughing in your face all the way to the bank.

    By Blogger Toad734, at 5/23/2005 01:51:00 PM  

  • Hello Toad 374,

    I am not saying that Walmart is a crusader and are out to solve the poor mans problems. They are ought to make money.. the bottom line is that they are doing a good job at it and by boycotting is not the solution to the walmart issue.

    Take walmart head on, don't run away from it or boycott it. A small storekeeper can give his individual attention to his customer which walmart can, so individual shopkeepers should utilize this and not just crib about walmart.

    and I am not upset about the waltons laughing all the way to the bank, I am wondering how I too can make money off the country ;-)

    By Blogger injinuity, at 5/23/2005 02:12:00 PM  

  • You are exactly right when you say that every human being has a price... "priceless" is a better way to describe the loved ones that are in your life.... and for this very reason.... I decided to give up a high-esteemed day time career in which I was "educated" and was very "productive", so that I could raise my children in a loving, nurturing atmosphere and pour my life into them for this short time that will never come around again....To supplement our family income I decided to take a part time cashier job at Walmart. It's all about values... not pride, education, or productivity as you stated...Because the true job that I have chosen to undertake has no price tag and can be considered the highest honor a human being can be given... I choose to work at Walmart on the side... a choice inspired by love for family...and not rocket science

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6/23/2005 11:06:00 PM  

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