Skip to content

corporate responsibility

WalMart: Hey Jessica, Won’t it Hurt When You Fall Off That High Horse?

Ooh, WalMart, I went to college and bought all my trash bins and cleaning supplies for about fifty cents. I appreciated that you offered such deep discounts at the time, but I didn’t realize that it was accomplished on the backs of your workers.

Sam Walton was an amazing man who hustled like crazy to create American jobs, American millionaires and The American Dream. Sam Walton was an idealist and a hustler and a man willing to admit to his mistakes. Sam Walton allowed bake sales on his properties and provided scholarships to high school seniors within the stores’ communities. Sam Walton was trying to provide for his family, and in the process created a wave of millionaires by offering his employees a piece of the pie.

Are you having a hard time reconciling WalMart with Sam Walton? Me too. Frontline may clear some of that up for you.

After Friday’s stampede in New York that left 34 year old Jdimytai Damour dead, the WalMart store stayed closed for a few short hours and reopened in the afternoon. No, I’m not joking. I’m wondering if the Nassau County Police Department required the store to be shut down as it was a crime scene or if the store manager thought it would take them a few hours to mop up any messes.

From the New York Times:

Detective Lt. Michael Fleming, who is in charge of the investigation for the Nassau police, said the store lacked adequate security. He called the scene “utter chaos” and said the “crowd was out of control.” As for those who had run over the victim, criminal charges were possible, the lieutenant said. “I’ve heard other people call this an accident, but it is not,” he said. “Certainly it was a foreseeable act.”

I’m not against Corporate America. I believe that large corporations do need to exist. I also know that, like individuals, they need to exist in a responsible manner. WalMart hasn’t been responsible for a very long time. WalMart has ceased to be a good neighbor and should be scorned as such.

The carbon footprint of Walmart is needlessly large, entire cities in China exist only to support WalMart. Wouldn’t that be great if the items were then sold in China? Well, they aren’t, the shoes that give your children blisters are here, via China via Walmart. As of this writing typing Walmart recall into Google will give you 1,810,000 hits. I’m not a supply chain expert, but I am a consumer and my expectation is that items are inspected before they hit the shelves.

I find it remarkable that eleven women are willing to write for free for a store that will offer them $3 shampoos. Let me get really clear here, I will blog free and be an evangelist for any of the stores I shop at. Seriously, BMW, Ford, Barneys, Saks Fifth Ave, Gelsons, Whole Foods Market, Joe’s Jeans, 77 Kids, Genetech, Intuition… these are all places that get my money anyhow and treat me well. With a catch though, in order to treat me well they also have to treat us all well, the environment, their employees, their communities and their customers. I know my value, and it’s not in discount shampoo or in clothing sewn together by children younger than my own. I’d rather own one pair of shoes well made than ten for $8 each.

I know that the poor rely on Walmart and stores like it to keep their budget in check, but the rest of us? It’s tempting to buy cheap. I do think that most financial analysts would agree with me when I tell you this. We can’t afford WalMart.

There were reports of a 28 year old woman suffering a miscarriage, but she was apparently taken to the hospital and remains pregnant. Eight months to be exact.

If you’re thinking about the way you shop and that every dollar spent equals personal responsibility; here are some good places to begin:

It would take days for me to list the websites chronicling Walmart’s systematic abuse of workers (particularly women and minorities) so I’d urge you all to leave additional (vetted) links in the comments and I promise to look at them all.

The death of Jdimytai Damour should be our collective national shame.


Update: the “Jessica” in the title refers to me and only to me. I know y’all are possibly sick of my antics, but I assure you that this high horse will hold me firm. I don’t/can’t/won’t pick every battle this is a no brainer.