Talk:Walmart/Archive 2

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Content to be added when protection ends

The June 2005 issue of Gourmet (magazine) has a feature story on Wal-Mart. There are some interesting factoids that are relevant to the wiki article... I can't get access to an online version, so I'm working from memory here:

  1. Kraft cites Wal-Mart as a driver for cutting product lines to a few 'bests in brand.' Since Wal-Mart will only stock two or three leaders in a product category, suppliers are reducing product diversity in an attempt to aggregate their market share and reach Wal-Mart's radar screen.
  2. A sales rep states that doing business with Wal-Mart is much more straight-forward and honest than with other grocers. Apparently other major grocers play all kinds of funny business (demand World Series tix, demand big kickbacks, charge high shelving fees) to geneate profit from their product selection biz. Wal-Mart doesn't do those things... instead purchasing products with no kickback-type costs.
  3. There was a stat quoted in the article... WMT lowers prices 14%. Not sure if that was exclusive to grocery items, exclusive to department store items or inclusive on both. Also not sure if that was a measured price effect in a new market or the price differential upon entering. Feco 16:55, 18 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I'll try to dig up a printed version from the local library if an online copy can't be found. There were a few other pieces that struck me as relevant to the wiki article. Feco 04:50, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)

If doing business with other grocers was such a horrible unprofitable deal, then why not just sell to Walmart? - Prince

Prince - I don't see where it says doing business with other grocers is unprofitable. Any business knows that you don't want to put all of your eggs in one basket, so they likely have to put up with the games that other grocers play.

Walmart plays plenty of games in their negotiation, like coming back later and demanding a lower price than you agreed on and threatening to remove your entire product line if you don't give it to them, thats why there was a coalition of toy makers last Christmas that totally refused to do business with Wal-Mart, and while Toys R Us has all the cool new stuff, Wal-Mart has cheap plastic dinosaurs that were painted by a child working a 90 hour week in China, without being given so much as a mask to wear . -Prince

Misc criticisms from Izanbardprince

Alice Walton paid $35 million for a painting at an auction, this amount of money could have insured 8,572 Walmart employees for a year.

The average full time sales clerk at Walmart is paid $14,000 a year before taxes, the cheapest health insurance plan Walmart offers full time employees is $60 a month ($720 a year) and has a $1,000 deductible, before the plan starts paying at 80/20, this means that if said employee's appendix ruptures, and that is the only medical cost that year, assuming the operation runs $20,000 (which is ludicrously CHEAP for the medical industry), that would leave the worker responsible for $5,720 of their bill, or more than 40% of their yearly pay, Walmart likes to pat themselves on the back for "protecting employees from financial ruin" through their health care plan, but thats still exactly what will happen to them anyway even if they are among the less than half of Walmart's employees that are even offered insurance.

Walmart deliberately violates child labor laws forcing children to work past 10 PM and operate hazardous machinery, after caught doing this with over a hundred minor employees in 2004 and paying little more than $100,000 in fines (slap on the wrist) and promised by George W. Bush's cronies at the labor department that they would be informed 24 hours ahead of time about any further investigations by the federal government, Connecticut found them violating the labor laws again, this time the company will have to deal with a "whopping" $3,300 fine—the maximum fine of $300 per incident. The 11 violations took place in Hartford, Norwalk and Putnam, and included illegally assigning youngsters to work on hazardous equipment such as compacters and vehicles, and working these children past 10 p.m. Children younger than 18 who are students are not supposed to work past 10 pm. A spokesman for Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell, said it's "worth considering toughening the fines" against employers that "willfully and repeatedly" violate child labor laws.

Walmart breaks the law by firing employees that are involved in union organizing, in several cases where found guilty they were forced by the court to re-instate the employees with full back pay, in many other cases they mask their illegal firings by citing other reasons.

Walmart says that it supports over 3 million supplier jobs in the US in an effort to belittle the figure of 1 millions manufacturing jobs they are responsible for deporting to China, many of these supplier jobs are office jobs, food vendor jobs, food manufacturing jobs, etc. that would have existed even if Walmart did not exist.

Walmart fired their number 2 executive, Tom Coughlin, in early 2005 for "$500,000 in questionable transactions", Mr. Coughlin has stated that the funds were used to stage anti-union activities, including paying bribes, in addition, Walmart also fired Rob Hey and Jared Bowen, the executives who reported Coughlin, apparantly in an attempt to silence a pair of whistle blowers.

Walmart has been found GUILTY in court of law, repeatedly for working their emoployees unpaid overtime and falsifying their time sheets to record only 40 hours worked, they are estimated by some accounts to have shorted their workers over $50 million.

Walmart refuses to carry magazines and CD's which have content "not suitable for families", in some rural areas Walmart is the only place to purchase music, worse yet, Walmart is such a huge customer that some smaller artists cannot afford to release two versions of their music, and are effectively forced to release an edited version only, this effectively forces the company's arbitrary, right wing, religiously motivated agenda onto their customers.

Worst of all is that even though we have labor laws and regulations to prevent the abuse of monopolies here in the United States, as long as George Bush is in office, they may as well not even exist. Izanbardprince 08:43, 20 Jun 2005

you are welcome to post germane, factual criticisms to the article if they are not already covered. Be prepared to include references for the source of facts you use. As an example, criticism of the Bush Administration's enforcement of regulations would better fit in George W. Bush than in Wal-Mart. I assume an admin protected the article because you were deleting content without any discussion the the talk page. Wikipedia should cover all elements of a topic, so please refrain from removing opposing viewpoints. Feco 17:15, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Actually, it was protected becauee of this 3RR violation report, followed by attempts to avoid the 3RR penalty by using open proxies. Noel (talk) 20:56, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Izan- are you still around? Either way, does anyone object to unprotecting the article? Feco 19:49, 23 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I can unprotect it tonight or tomorrow morning if there's no objections. If users are breaking the 3RR, of course report them on the appropriate subpage of WP:AN and it'll be handled appropriately. Pakaran 23:41, 23 Jun 2005 (UTC)


Alright, since there's no objections, I've unlocked the article. I'll be keeping an eye on it over the weekend. If users are vandalizing or breaking 3RR, of course report them at WP:VIP or the appropriate WP:AN subpages. Pakaran 14:53, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Employees working off the clock

I've changed this paragraph to reflect the current company policy. It's against policy to work off the clock. Its the first thing you're told when you go to Day 1 Orientation. Your first task when you show up is to fill out a time adjustment sheet, stating the time you arrived. When you are at Wal-Mart, you are paid regardless if you are training or performing work. I have known associates that were disciplined for not filling out time adjustment sheets in the quantity of FIVE MINUTES (they were leaving and a customer asked them a question, according to policy, this is working and you should be paid).--Txredcoat 6 July 2005 22:37 (UTC)

I don't think their official, stated policy was ever in question. The problem is that in many stores there have been numerous, widespread violations of this policy, resulting in a de facto policy in which there is an expectation that associates will work off-the-clock. The criticisms should be characterized as such. If anything, discplining the associates for working off-the-clock seems to reinforce the impression that the managers who sometimes pressure them into doing it are never held responsible. — mjb 7 July 2005 21:55 (UTC)
Your statement is completely rational. As far as your view that managers are not held responsible, this is quite false. The door swings both ways in this case, as Associates who work off the clock are disciplined, as well as any management that may have asked/coerced/etc. the associate to violate the policy. Believe me, management is held to a high standard when it comes to policy enforcement. Again, I do understand your statement and find it rational. The only thing I can do is to try and clarify these misconceptions. As with all jobs, there are good things and bad things. Believe me, if something comes up that is completely true, I'm not going to deny it. If anything (and if I can legally do it) I will try to bring the full situation to light. However, in this case, what had been reported was incomplete. Yes, this has happened before, but the company has taken the responsibility to correct these actions.--Txredcoat 8 July 2005 03:22 (UTC)

I'm not sure if anything has changed, but as of about 10 minutes ago, the article ran in such a way that below the external links, part of the criticism section ran again, I don't know if this part is a repeat of the criticism in the article or additional criticism, but the article seems longer due to the repeat of sections.


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The Ace!

Kettle, meet Pot. — mjb 07:55, 3 August 2005 (UTC)

Mike I think you have met plenty of Pot in your time. You should share, it must be good stuff if you don't get it! The Ace!

Applicability of comparison to countries' GDPs

GDP and market capitalisation are not comparable. GDP is a measure of value-added. Profits are the equivalent for a firm. (unsigned comment by IP

I understand the point you're making. I assume the stat was originally included to quantify the scale of Wal-Mart. For that purpose, it's somewhat informative to equate Wal-Mart's total sales to the annual output of a given coutntry. However, I think GNP is probably a better measure. Wal-Mart's sales figures are for the worldwide parent company... this is more appropriate to a GNP measure (nationality) as opposed to GDP (geography). Feco 29 June 2005 17:26 (UTC)

Removal of Officers/Directors from article

An anon user removed the table showing Wal-Mart's Board of Directors and CxOs. I belive the information is useful, especially since notable business/political figures often sit on boards these days (such individuals could be wikilinked as appropriate). In the spirit of 'wiki is not paper,' it doesn't seem like inclusion of this information does any harm. Since it's all raw facts that seem neutral to me (the act of stating who's on the board doesn't imply bias), I'd like to re-add the table. Comments? Feco 29 June 2005 20:29 (UTC)

I agree. Including the information seems useful, especially since some of the directors have wikipedia articles already, and completely NPOV. Gary D Robson 29 June 2005 23:42 (UTC)
I agree as well. At the very least, there should be a separate article for Wal-Mart's directors and officers linked from the Wal-Mart article. Having nothing there at all leaves a void. I suggest adding them back in here, and if there's enough opposition, breaking out to a related linked article (but still have the most prominent officers and their compensation here.) Unfocused 29 June 2005 23:53 (UTC)
I also agree. I am apalled at how this article seems to be actively manipulated to remove factual content. Wal-Mart should just change their policies and behaviors and salaries etc., rather than trying to censor facts about their store. Using anonymous editors too, to hide their obvious tampering. Pedant 2005 June 30 18:24 (UTC)
I disagree. An encyclopedia is a place you go to find good general background on a topic, not extremely detailed information of interest only to a tiny percentage of readers. It makes an article burdensome for a casual user. BTW, such information was not included on three companies I arbitrarily pulled up on wikipedia to compare.
I removed the table of directors (logged in BTW) because it was superfluous and unlikely to be up to date. Anyone who wants that information can easily obtain an up to date copy from the Walmat Web site, the NYSE or any of the stock report companies. With the exception of the CEO and CFO already mentioned at the start of the article none of the people links for the board of directors gave any further information. since people were complaining that the article was far too long for there to be any comment on the criticism of walmart it seemed to be the most appropriate thing to cut --Gorgonzilla 13:39, 9 August 2005 (UTC)
it appears you're going against a recently-established consensus. I'm going to put the content back in. Feco 21:10, 9 August 2005 (UTC)

Feco, that's nonsense. There is no consensus. Aside from yourself, I noted 3 against the listing and 2 for it on the bottom half of talk page. The sample size is small, but when 50% of users think an item is inappropriate, it probably has no business being there. Isn't it obvious that anything worth including would receive a large majority of support?

My problem with the article is that there is no linked information on any of the officers listed. It appears to me to be nothing more than a way to pad out the article and provide a 'justification' for eliminating the criticism section. I can see the point in listing directors if there is an article linked to each director's name but as it stands there is no more than a stub behind any of them. --Gorgonzilla 22:51, 9 August 2005 (UTC)

Renewable energy experiments

An item I inserted was removed by an anon, without discussion, as "green PR spin."

In fact, the text I inserted was careful to say nothing at all about whether the McKinney store should be regarded as a praiseworthy "green" effort, a cynical PR stunt, or simply Wal-Mart cost-cutting as usual. Whatever you think about it, It is a newsworthy fact about Wal-Mart. And it's somewhat unusual. Do you know of any Sears or Target that has wind turbine on top of it and a huge strip of photovoltaic cells plastered across its façade? If so, I will gladly stand corrected.

I personally happen to dislike Wal-Mart intensely. But my dislike doesn't go so far as to assume that they prefer to cut costs by squeezing employees, busting unions, and encouraging suppliers to move production oversees. I think they are just as happy to save a dime on heating costs as they are to squeeze it out of someone's benefits.

If it actually saves them money, you can bet that they'll do more of it—and their competitors will follow suit. That would be a good thing, IMHO. Dpbsmith (talk) 23:47, 5 August 2005 (UTC)

Hmmm, I did read the above note before I just removed that piece (also not realizing it had been deleted and replaced). I might have hesitated to do so otherwise, but I'll let it stand for others to decide. As I said, I don't believe the qualities of one store among several thousand can be considered of general interest for an encyclopedia. Is this page going to catalog every exceptionally good or bad thing an individual store does? JR

It's not a question of good or bad. It's a question of something interesting about Wal*Mart. I repeat: what other store do you know of that has a wind turbine on top of it and a huge strip of photovoltaic cells on its facade? It's a) something notable, and b) something about Wal*Mart. If there were a Wal*Mart with a forty-foot-high talking, animated statue of Sam Walton on top of it, that would be about equally worthy of mention. Dpbsmith (talk) 22:29, 6 August 2005 (UTC)
It would be more appropriate if this was in an article on 'energy efficiency' rather than the main Walmart article. When corporate PR goons have apparently deleted every last piece of criticism from the main article this particular comment was really unacceptable. The lawsuits and union-busting allegations are far more representative of what the company is about than one token energy efficient store.
I have never suggested that the store was "representative of what the company is about," nor does the material in the article imply any such thing. In any case, others have added material pointing out that this is one store in three thousand, and quoting criticism that says that it does not offset Wal-Mart's "extremely polluting" business model. I don't think the original comment was "green PR spin" but in any case it seems to me that there is now adequate reverse English to remove any perceived spin. Which is fine. Dpbsmith (talk) 00:58, 9 August 2005 (UTC)

DPB, some people may also find it interesting if George Bush once volunteered at a soup kitchen in college; that doesn't mean it belongs in an enclopedia article. Now if he did it every week for four years, it might be newsworthy, just like it will be newsworthy if 500 U.S. Wal-marts (15% of existing stores) were "green." The more neutral wording now there is innocuous, but it's still needless. At least noone is trying to re-clutter the article with a list of corporate officers. JR

JR, I strongly believe that the only reason the corporate officers list was there in the first place was to pad the article out and push the criticism section further and further down the page. Ideally the criticism section would go at the end but then the suspiciously zealous defenders of Wal-Mart would keep padding out the article again. I think that the benefits section also needs some context, the only reason it is there is because Wal-Mart is widely criticized as being a low wage employer. --Gorgonzilla 18:40, 9 August 2005 (UTC)

the benefits section

See also the previous discussion on this topic.

The only reason that the benefits section is relevant is to rebut the frequent allegations that Wal-Mart is a poor employer. The section needs serious editing to bring it up to NPOV. And no, links to an external article are not a substitute.

This piece should probably be integrated into the general 'criticism' section because it is essentially a rebuttal of the claims of being a poor employer. Or it should be removed to the separate criticisms article. --Gorgonzilla 18:40, 9 August 2005 (UTC)

In my opinion, there should certainly be a section devoted to WMT's employee benefits. Their benefits (or lack thereof) are a major point of contention for anti-WMT activists. Wikipedia would be an excellent home on the internet for the exact details of their benefit plan, since I don't think the information is readily available (can be googled in <5 min). Corporate benefits are also objective facts: here's the benefit plan, here's who qualifies. For balance, the article should include comparable companies' benfits plans (I'm thinking Costco and Target). I don't think the benfits section should become a blanket section for pseudo-facts like "if an employee gets in a car accident, WMT only covers X" or "Wal-Mart doesn't offer elective surgery coverage". I think the strict comparison of Wal-Mart to its two closest peers will suffice. If all three are lacking a benfit item, the criticism belongs in a more general topic, not in WMT's article. If WMT lacks a benefit that the others provide, it can certainly be highlighted. The same goes if WMT has a benefit the others do not. Feco 21:08, 9 August 2005 (UTC)
I agree that this would be the prefered way forward. I strongly suspect that the origins of the benefits section was as a rebuttal to complaints about poor treatment of workers and that the partisan pro-Wal-Mart editors then cut out the criticism. Incidentaly comparison with Costco is likely to be very unfavorable to WalMart since Costco is currently facing lawsuits from 'shareholders' complaining that they pay their employees too much and that their benefits are too generous! I would suggest comparison both to Costco and to industry averages. The real criticism of Walmart here is that their pay is so low that many of their 'benefits' which require an employee co-pay are utterly meaningless. A cashier making $14K a year does not have much money to put into a 401Km, the 50% match on 4% of income is only worth $260 a year in any case. Similarly health care benefits that cost $720 a year with a $1000 dollar deductable and only pay out 80% of costs above that fall well short of a comprehensive plan. As is the section is simply corporate PR spin with no context or balance.--Gorgonzilla 21:41, 9 August 2005 (UTC)

Gorgonzilla moved the benefits overview to the criticisms section because it was a response to criticism (although this context still wasn't very clear, in the way it was presented). Today, Pedant moved it back to the employees section, in contradiction to the points made above. Discuss. — mjb 18:27, 16 August 2005 (UTC)

There seems to be much misunderstanding to why I added the Benefits section, yes it was me, it has NOTHING to do with Rebuttal, I am A walmart asociate, I work in Div 24 Deli/meats, I am an hourly assocate, in store 3233 The fifth highest selling Walmart store in the entire walmart store fleet. The reason that I added the section is to add merit to this entry, plain and simple we see to much of the he said she said going on in other parts of the entry, we need some cold hard facts, and as a walmart assocate I have access to the inside facts, not propaganda from either side of the Walmart fight, but cold hard facts used by walmarts finacal officers. So my objective here is to bring forward facts, not positive not negitive, but true, if the facts look good that fine, if they look bad that fine too, but this is suppose to be a factual entry, if walmart is good or bad will be revialed only in the true facts. Ok? The Ace!

spelling of Teotihacan

Shouldn't Teotihacan be spelled Teotihuacan? Google says so. And one has a wiki article, the other doesn't.

I'm not making the change myself because I know nothing about either word. I just noticed google trying to correct the spelling.

Actually, it's TeotiWalmartcan, they bought the town, remember? Izanbardprince 14:48, 27 September 2005 (UTC)

Slotting fees

Someone keeps removing the paragraph about Wal-Mart's policy of not charging "slotting" fees to suppliers. As far as I can tell, this paragraph is true. It cites its source, an article in Gourmet magazine. One should not remove factual information from articles without a proper reason. If we decide it's irrelevant to the article that's fine, but since it cites a source you cannot remove it on the grounds that it's somehow POV. Let's discuss this paragraph - I'm curious to find out why people are removing it. Rhobite 15:56, 22 September 2005 (UTC)

The graf was removed by the same user who removed the info on prices & real incomes. No comments as to why he has removed it. Feco 20:19, 22 September 2005 (UTC)
User:Izanbardprince says "slotting fees was a blanket criticism of all Walmart competitors, why not list the ones that DO charge the fees?)". That is no reason to remove the whole paragraph, but here are some random Google links: [1], [2]. I haven't read these fully, they may be POV nonsense but they do verify that the practice is widespread. There is no basis for insisting that individual retailers be listed. Rhobite 14:48, 23 September 2005 (UTC)
I was not so much against the inclusion of this information, as to the arrogant and inflammatory tone of the paragraph, which read out as if to suggest that all of Wal-Mart's competition are unethical bastards that play gimmicks with their customers and suppliers, I have edited the paragraph to include what I believe to be the factual information contained, and I removed the redundant line that repeats the statement of how Wal-Mart is one of the grocers that doesn't charge slotting fees to it's suppliers, I believe the paragraph you added was extremely POV, and it should be fairly NPOV in it's current state. Izanbardprince 06:44, 26 September 2005 (UTC)
Your latest revision to the paragraph is pure spin, and it appears to have been made up on the spot. The words you added "some grocers", "a slotting fee might be charged" are not based in reality. According to an article in the Washington Post, "These so-called slotting fees have become standard in the industry. A two-year study by the Federal Trade Commission, concluded in November, found widespread use of slotting fees and the sense among manufacturers that such fees are 'part of the cost of doing business,' said FTC staff attorney Patricia Schultheiss, who worked on the study." (Shelf Game; When Stores Force Makers to Pay Them Fees, You Lose; Margaret Webb Pressler. The Washington Post. Washington, D.C.: Jan 18, 2004. pg. F.05) I'll e-mail you the full text of the article if you like. Please do not make things up simply because you have a hunch that slotting fees are not widespread. Rhobite 14:22, 26 September 2005 (UTC)
I prefer the expanded version. Since we don't have an article on Slotting fees and it's not a practice I'm personally familiar with, the additional explanation is helpful.
I've read the expanded and weaseled versions of the paragraph several times. Since for the life of me I simply cannot tell whether the paragraph is supposed to be pro-Wal*Mart or anti-Wal*Mart, I really don't believe there's any POV issue here—only a clarity-of-communication issue.
I think people are going overboard trying to read POV into everything. Dpbsmith (talk) 16:20, 26 September 2005 (UTC)
Perhaps you should create an article "Criticism of the Grocery Industry", this is the "Criticism of WAL-MART" section, do I have a point there? Why don't you go find articles littered all over the internet about how they're generous and fair to their employees, everyone loves working for them, their turnover is way low, they're sensitive to local culture and where they place their stores, and in fact, they're so nice to work for, nobody wants a union and they've never had an organizing attempt in the history of the company, and their suppliers are paid so well, they can easily afford to keep jobs in the country, then you can write an article about why Wal-Mart is great and everyone loves them.
They're not only scumbags that ship jobs out of the country by the millions, they don't even pay the foreign workers a living wage for their own countries. (20 cents an hour, in China on average, where the living wage would be 80 cents).
My edits are not anti Wal-Mart, they're simply the facts, if they were a good company, they'd have an article praising them.
Izanbardprince 12:53, 27 September 2005 (UTC)
It is a discussion of supply practices in the grocery industry, and Wal-Mart is a huge part of the industry. I think it's relevant to mention that most grocers charge these fees and Wal-Mart doesn't. It is not appropriate to add text which rationalizes the use of slotting fees, nor is it appropriate to add text which demonizes them. I don't think that anything I've written presents the fees in a negative light; all I have said is that according to the FTC they're widespread. However you are clearly adding text which attempts to rationalize the use of fees - you even went so far as to write that the FTC is justified in not banning the fees. This is a POV statement of opinion.
Also, while it's clear that you're against Wal-Mart, please stay on the topic of the article. It isn't appropriate for you to use this talk page to discuss your opinion of the company. There are other message boards for that. Let's stay on the topic of improving the article: Drop the "scumbags" talk, please. Rhobite 16:24, 27 September 2005 (UTC)
The way you presented the paragraph put it in such a way, where at least when I read it, I got the mental image of a bunch of "grocery gangsters", and "up to $150,000 per store for a single item", I'm sure that to stock a brand of bread, they're going to charge $150,000 a store, suppliers themselves have no real idea of what people want, I'll grant you that Wal-Mart does a lot of research on buying trends, then tells the supplier what they're going to send them, thats an example of "pull" marketing, and probably one reason Wal-Mart doesn't charge these fees.
Other retailers are not as HUGE as Wal-Mart, and they don't have the resources to track buying trends, thus some chains charge these fees to manufacturors to make them do the work of deciding what to send them, thats a "push" system, and without some kind of system in place to keep bad items in check, you could end up drowning in them, a third approach to this is a Loyalty Card, which is what Kroger uses, it's a two-part tariff, where people who don't have a card or don't want "Big Brother" in their cart pay exorbitantly high fees to fund the purchase tracking system, thats also why I don't buy my groceries there, there was an incident in Ohio a while back where a man's house caught fire, it was deemed arson, and they arrested him as a suspect because his Kroger card recorded him purchasing a few fire logs for the fireplace in his living room, say you bought some fertilizer, and then a bomb goes off somewhere in town, guess who's getting their door kicked down by the ATF?
I'd say of all the systems, Wal-Mart's is probably the most efficient for the types of items they are used to carrying, but leaving it to the manufacturors, and charging stocking fees would probably encourage more innovation, the cost probably leads to more profit in the end, without being passed to the consumer. Izanbardprince 16:54, 27 September 2005 (UTC)

Any reason (besides paranoia) why the original dollar figure for slotting fees should be left out? The scope of the fees makes a difference; without a figure, readers have no way to tell whether this is a major practice or not. Feco 21:00, 28 September 2005 (UTC)

Why not state a typical range rather than just the most extreme figure, and if you simply quote "$150,000", why not give an example of a type of item subjected to a fee that harsh? The way the original paragraph looked, the reader is left with (1) ALL grocery stores EXCEPT Wal-Mart are guilty of extortion against their suppliers. (2) It's always an exorbitant fee charged. (3) For no reason. (4) The supermarket makes a killing while the supplier loses their butt. And (5) The customer practically gets handed the bill in the end.Izanbardprince 11:37, 30 September 2005 (UTC)

14% price decline & real income

Here is the graf in question:

Wal-Mart's entry into local grocery markets lowers prices by an average of 14%. This is equivalent to an increase in consumers' real incomes in the local economy. Local competitors are forced to lower prices, so consumers benefit from declining prices whether or not they shop at Wal-Mart. Those who do shop there experience an additional increase in real income; Wal-Mart's prices on groceries are 15-30% lower than rivals.

Parsing it by sentance:

  1. Wal-Mart's entry into local grocery markets lowers prices by an average of 14%. - Statistic cited in magazine article... has also been cited as part of a UBS Warburg study. Factually true.
  2. This is equivalent to an increase in consumers' real incomes in the local economy. If #1 holds, this one holds by definition. Real income is chg in nominal income over change in nominal prices. Falling nominal prices = rising real income.
  3. Local competitors are forced to lower prices, so consumers benefit from declining prices whether or not they shop at Wal-Mart. This is the mechanism that explains why real income gains are spread across the entire local grocery market, rather than just for Wal-Mart shoppers.
  4. Those who do shop there experience an additional increase in real income; Wal-Mart's prices on groceries are 15-30% lower than rivals. This is a clarification that those who do shop at Wal-Mart experience an additional gain. Again, their real income gain is true by definition. The statistic again comes from a reputable, citable source.

I fail to see why it is being removed. The "Wal-Mart claims" qualifier doesn't belong here... they are not the ones claiming the data. (Conde Naste publications is the one 'claiming it') Feco 20:19, 22 September 2005 (UTC)

I think it's POV to state that people see a real income benefit as if it is a fact. I agree with you that Wal-Mart saves families money and causes lower prices through competitive forces. However, progressives believe that Wal-Mart does this to drive competitors out of business and their poor selection of items is no substitute for local grocers. These are opinions we're working with, not blanket facts.
I think your changes can be worked in with some modifications - Cite the 14% with the phrase "according to". We cannot claim that it is equivalent to an increase in consumers' real income without citing an economic publication. Doesn't matter if you think the reasoning is valid, it's still original research. Again it is not a fact that local competitors are forced to lower prices - as I said many people believe that local markets are forced out of business instead. People also believe that it is morally wrong to shop at Wal-Mart, and that shopping at Wal-Mart causes negative externalities such as pollution and welfare for employees. Rhobite 20:45, 22 September 2005 (UTC)
Confirm that I've summarized your points correctly:
  • the use of benefit in "consumers benefit from declining prices..." reads like it's a value judgement
Consumers TEMPORARILY BENEFIT from falling prices because Wal-Mart is engaging in predatory pricing, the people who support Wal-Mart over the competition will probably pay for it later. Izanbardprince 12:01, 30 September 2005 (UTC)
  • you're not comfortable with the analysis of falling nominal prices' effect on real incomes
If people flock to a store that has Coke on sale for $1 below the normal nominal price, and then buy something sitting next to it thats $1 over a nominal price charged at a competitor, did their relative income vs. just shopping the competitor really go up? There's a lot of things that can be had for less than what Wal-Mart sells them for, this also applies to their competitors, I suppose if the case of Coke was all you bought, and given that you would have bought a case of Coke anyway, your relative income did in fact increase, but to say that your relative income goes up just cause you shop at a particular store is (probably) not a factual statement. Izanbardprince 12:01, 30 September 2005 (UTC)
  • you're not comfortable with the analysis of the mechanism that causes market-wide grocery prices to fall (competitors lowering prices to maintain market share vs. market share shifts to Wal-Mart and pulls down market-wide prices that way)
Competitors might not be able to get as low a price from the supplier as Wal-Mart can, the price might not go down any at the competitor store, you say that it "WILL" go down just because Wal-Mart invades the town and opens shop next door, and that the consumer "WILL" benefit from Wal-Mart being there, regardless. I suppose they'll benefit even more if the competitor goes under and Wal-Mart hikes their prices beyond what the competition was charging. Izanbardprince 12:01, 30 September 2005 (UTC)
  • you want some of the economic analysis here to include commentary on externalities.
That would do, why don't you go to every store that every chain has and figure the national average price on everything, then ignore the wages that their employees make (to be spent at the other business in town, maybe even funding your job), and draw up an addition to the article determining who benefits from shopping where. Let's say Company X has a store, with 500 jobs, paying $10 an hour, then Company W comes in, adds 500 jobs, paying $6 an hour, drives Company X under, now the wages that Company W pays are the ones being spent in the area, guess everyone benefits from a 40% drop in the spending from 500 people's incomes. Izanbardprince 12:01, 30 September 2005 (UTC)
Feco 21:20, 22 September 2005 (UTC)
Yeah I think consumer benefit needs to be cited. You indicated that there was a cite for this in the Gourmet article, so this should be easy. Analysis of whether consumers see an increase of real income (and the mechanisms of competition) is best left to economic researchers who can be cited, or at least Wal-Mart supporters or the store itself. I was kind of rambling about the externalities but it might be good to keep in mind how activists object to the "free market" argument for Wal-Mart. Basically I like your paragraph but it just needs some NPOV modifications. Rhobite 22:16, 22 September 2005 (UTC)
regarding rising real income, it's definitional. Falling nominal prices are equivalent to rising incomes, because the consumer can suddenly buy more stuff. If you're looking for a research paper that says "Wal-Mart causes prices to fall, therefore Wal-Mart causes real incomes to rise", you're out of luck. That statement is true by definition, so I can't see anyone spending the time to do research on a self-evident fact. The definition of real income here [3] even includes an example that's almost exactly what we're talking about. "If it costs you $2000 more to purchase the same stuff this year, then your real income has fallen by $2000" (my paraphrase). All of the academic studies I've seen haven't dealt with such a basic issue... they're more into the income effect and substition effect (see Consumer theory) of Wal-Mart. Feco 22:33, 22 September 2005 (UTC)
  • Is it factually true that prices stay lowered permanently, or only until local competition has been eliminated? This paragraph takes one fact—when Wal*Mart enters a market its grocery prices are 14% lower than the competition. That fact is a reasonable thing to have in the article if accompanied by a verifiable source citation. The paragraph then spins this out into a long thread of dubious consequences which are matters of opinion. When Wal*Mart enters a market, I believe it to be factual that local businesses suffer and frequently close. This certainly happened in Lancaster, Wisconsin. What happens to the "real income" of the employees of these businesses? Do they all find new jobs that are equally as good as the jobs that were eliminated? Dpbsmith (talk) 23:26, 22 September 2005 (UTC)

*Wal-Mart has a national "reference" price that they charge for everything, when there is no competitor selling that item. Prices can be adjusted at the store level to be less than a competitor's if necessary, when that competitor closes, the price goes back to the "reference" price, and that is usually either the same as the competitor was charging, or more often, more.
If a competitor returns, the prices go down again.
Wal-Mart offers a temporary price savings WHEN IT ENTERS THE MARKET, but over time, the prices go up. Izanbardprince 12:59, 24 September 2005 (UTC)
If you can cite a (non-activist) source that accuses Wal-Mart of that practice, you get to put it in the article. Rhobite 22:55, 24 September 2005 (UTC)

The practice described above (enter a market, lower prices to drive competition out of business, raise prices once you have a local monopoly) is the textbook definition of predatory pricing. In fact, here's what The Economist says:

Charging low PRICES now so you can charge much higher prices later. The predator charges so little that it may sustain losses over a period of time, in the hope that its rivals will be driven out of business. Clearly, this strategy makes sense only if the predatory firm is able eventually to establish a MONOPOLY.

That practice is a federal crime, and I'm 99% certain that it's also a state crime in all 50 states. In a world of aggresive prosecutors trying to make a name by 'bringing down Wal-Mart', I'm surprised that the company gets away with the practice. On the other hand, maybe it's the case that the company has not been found guilty (verdict withstood appeals process) of ever practicing predatory pricing.

  1. The store has been found guilty of predatory pricing in initial trials. All such verdicts I could find were overturned on appeal
  2. Courts have emphatically held that selling products as loss leaders is not predatory pricing
  3. Wal-Mart has been found guilty of violating some states' "mandatory markup" laws, where a retailer must charge X% above cost.

Feco 20:52, 28 September 2005 (UTC)

Wal-Mart sends it's Department Supervisors out to competing stores to do "Comp Shopping", they take a small hand-held scanning device, and scan in barcodes, they then enter the price that the competitor is charging for that item, the weekly quota for competitor scanning is typically 200 items a week, per department supervisor, when they return to the Wal-Mart store, they interface the device with the store's main computer and it automatically lowers Wal-Mart's price on each item to be 10% lower than the competition, they then take a handheld scanning device called a "Telxon", and link it to a laser printer, there is a program on the Telxon called "Be A Merchant", where it lists all your price changes, and lets you print out new shelf strips with the new pricing information, all they have to do at that point is go down the list printing out new price strips, this is not just a few "loss leaders", it's an all out price war. There are a few stores, such as the one in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where the corporate headquarters for Meijer is located, as well as the first Meijer store, where Wal-Mart runs pretty much the entire store at a loss, just to spite the competition.Izanbardprince 12:49, 29 September 2005 (UTC)
I'm not quite sure what Feco are saying. If he's suggesting it's unlikely that Wal*Mart is engaged in predatory pricing because that would be against the law and "I'm surprised that the company gets away with the practice," I'm not impressed with the strength of that argument. The Federal government hasn't been zealous in enforcement of antitrust laws since... I'm not sure I can remember when. Wal*Mart has for years been blatantly violating Massachusetts state law which requires item prices to be affixed to individual items, not just to a shelf label. As far as I know, nobody even questions that fact that a) they do it, and b) it is a violation of the law. To say "it's impossible they could be doing this, because if they were someone would have stopped them" is pretty feeble. Dpbsmith (talk) 13:35, 29 September 2005 (UTC)

I want and history section !

Not much to add. This needs more people less figures... Ericd 16:21, 14 October 2005 (UTC)

Opinionated statements

I've been at work removing opinionated statements and correcting grammar. Here are some recent additions I'd like to discuss:

  • "wall mart could contribute more but they put profits before helping people. It can be said that the fact that it donates is only due to the fact that it creates attention and attention is profit." - speculation, POV. Most corporate social responsibility movements are a drop in the bucket - not just Wal-Mart's. All companies "put profits before helping people".
  • "If the average American citizen were to gauge their donation by the benchmark set by Wal-Mart they would donate only $1.65 to the relief effort." - POV in the same vein. The article is suggesting that it is morally correct for Wal-Mart to donate their profits to charity. Moral judgments are POV.
  • "Although some hourly employees are paid well..." - what is "paid well"? That is a value judgment.
  • "This would appear to confirm that Wal-Mart is not a good place to work for gay, lesbian, and transgendered employees." - this would appear to be a POV sentence. We do not draw conclusions based on data - see WP:NOR.
  • RU-486 (mifepristone) is an abortion pill, not a contraception pill. It is only available from doctors, never in pharmacies. Please do not accuse Wal-Mart of not carrying the pill due to moral reasons.
  • "however the fact that there is much support for the efficiency rationales suggests that the FTC is correct in it's decision to not ban slotting allowances." - this is a statement of opinion
  • "Wal-Mart differs from their competitors by charging no fees to suppliers, possibly due to the fact that it's history of playing competing suppliers against one another makes a supplier think twice before pushing a product to them that might be a dud." - as soon as you use words like "possibly", you're engaging in speculation and original research.

Please discuss my changes instead of reverting - I'm willing to discuss this. Izanbardprince, I do like the expanded stuff you added to the union relations section. Thank you for citing sources in that case. Rhobite 16:15, 27 September 2005 (UTC)

Just to let you know, the first statement isn't even from me, it's from someone posting from an IP address, they also added something to the effect of "Fruitopia has a lot of sugar and parents should watch out cause it'll rot your kids teeth out like soda pop", I removed that from the Fruitopia article. The second statement, is not mine either. Abortion is a form of birth control, and I don't even want to get into this crap about "When does life begin?", but at the stage that RU-486 is used, all it kills is a fertilized embryo, with no developed brain, heart, lungs, hands, feet, etc.Izanbardprince 12:41, 28 September 2005 (UTC)

Izanbardprince, your contributions are detrimental to this article. As long as you continue to write stuff like "critics charge that Wal-Mart could easily provide a $1 an hour wage increase per employee" without citing any source I'm going to remove it. If you keep hiding that the report on how much Wal-Mart allegedly costs taxpayers was written by the staff of liberal congressman George Miller, I'll revert you. And yes, I'll revert you until you figure out the difference between "its" and "it's". Rhobite 20:37, 4 October 2005 (UTC)

Well, I assumed that people would catch on to the fact that it was from the Democrats, since it's the Reichpublicans that want to repeal the minimum wage laws,shut down OSHA and the EPA, and have gay people and minorities sent to concentration camps to get gassed with Zyklon B. :P
Wal-Mart's average starting wages are usually way below the ceiling to qualify for food stamps, energy assistance, and taxpayer funded healthcare, one weeks pay barely covers the heating bill during a harsh winter. I've seen lots of single moms working there, getting harassed by debt collectors, having utilities turned off, having to drive some old hunk of junk thats half rust that they had to finance from one of those predatory car lots at 25% interest.
Why would you argue IN FAVOR of such a company? Izanbardprince 12:18, 7 October 2005 (UTC)
I'm not going to debate you. I believe in free markets, let's leave it at that. If you have something to add to the article please cite facts instead of appealing to people's emotions. Rhobite 12:37, 7 October 2005 (UTC)
Izan- please don't delete another user's comments from the talk page. Likewise, please don't vandalize the article by changing executives' titles from "CxO" to "Chief Union Buster." Feco 16:34, 9 October 2005 (UTC)

Clean up Oppositions to Unions section

The Wal-Mart#Opposition_to_unions section reads horribly. You don't need to start of every single sentence with "Wal-Mart". It sounds very uneducated.

There is no reason to include the actual union hotline phone number, but Izanbardprince keeps adding it - probably in an attempt to get people to harass Wal-Mart. This isn't the purpose of encyclopedia articles. The scare quotes around "labor relations hotline" are also useless and POV. Rhobite 15:31, 20 October 2005 (UTC)
I agree with the reasoning above that the phone number shouldn't be included. If it keeps re-appearing, the issue can go to WP:RFC. Feco 14:07, 22 October 2005 (UTC)

Phone number and other untrue areas have been removed, they were removed due to lack of evedence. As a fact I am a Wal-Mart assocate in SuperCenter 3233 Bemidji Minnesota, I can personally Test to the Fact that Grass Roots is exactly that Grassroots, it has nothing to do with unions. Infact we didn't even bring up unions at any of the grassroots this year most focused around Equipment and What charities we were giving money to locally. There is also no anti-Union handbook I have personally spent many hours in the Ad-Office looking thur paperwork(looking for Slicer, and hotcase manuals) never have I run across any antiunion anything, plain and simple true is it has nothing to do with the company and unions, it the hourly assocates that don't want a union. What do they have to offer us. We already get every benefit possible. FYI the health benefits are great. Never once had a problem with benefits or the pay, I make plenty of money working for Wal-Mart. I don't know Why I am even writting any of this its not going to change the minds of the critics.. I just with unions would stop chasing the money and start working with the Federal Government to get coverage to employees of Small businesses which can not afford healthcare for their employees Which makes up a much larger number of people then what Walmart employs. I also belive it is a slap in the face for wikipedia when untruth is allowed. Comment left by Anonymous poster at unknown time

So Mr. Anonymous poster, care to tell us why you vandalized the page? 16:48, 1 November 2005 (UTC)
He removed some of the exhaustive lists of Wal-Mart criticism which you routinely add to the article without attribution to groups like the UFCW. This isn't the place for you to add every bit of information which you feel reflects negatively on Wal-Mart. And by the way, you are editing anonymously too, although it's obvious who you are. Rhobite 17:52, 1 November 2005 (UTC)

Let's not trash everything just yet, though. As Rhobite said, this isn't a forum to put in every negative thing one can find about Wal-Mart, but at least it looks like Izan,, or whoever is now at least making some effort to create coherency. In any case, what's lacking most, obviously, is sources. I'm adding a {{disputed}} tag for the time being until the claims are better documented. If they can be, most are valuable contributions to the article; Wal-Mart is, after all, a controversial corporation. Deadsalmon 23:04, 1 November 2005 (UTC)

Did I say a disputed tag? I meant dubious. Deadsalmon 23:10, 1 November 2005 (UTC)
  You may have spent time in the admin office, but there is a book about unions and I have seen it. You didn't think they would leave it where an associate could just pick it up, did you? You would all be very dissapointed to know what was in it, just guidlines on how to deal with situations.


Wal-Mart still sells Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas [4]. Stop adding lies to the article Izanbard. Rhobite 13:28, 3 November 2005 (UTC)

Not to mention that it's the "edited" version, in direct contradiction to the removed assertion... Deadsalmon 00:05, 5 November 2005 (UTC)
The store I work at does not have it, there is a note to customers that it has been permenantly removed from sale. 17:49, 5 November 2005 (UTC)
Can you find out if that was a decision by the local management, or if it was corporate policy? — mjb 19:23, 5 November 2005 (UTC)
Local management has no say in it, if corporate says we're carrying a certain game, all stores are carrying it. 12:44, 6 November 2005 (UTC)
OK, let's figure this out. Anonymous user at says GTA:SA is not being sold at all in 1 store, and believes no other stores would have it because local management has no say over product selection. Rhobite found that the censored version of GTA:SA is being sold through Wal-Mart online. Is that correct? We could probably say in the article, then, that after the game's hidden, explicit scene was publicized, GTA:SA was pulled from Wal-Mart stores permanently, although a censored version could still be ordered from Wal-Mart online. Sound OK? — mjb 19:42, 6 November 2005 (UTC)

Fact check- Rockstar pulled all Hot Coffee versions of GTA from the sales channel after labeling them as defective. Most major retailers had already pulled them from shelves since the M content label did not reflect the Hot Coffee mod in the games (this mod bumped the game rating up to AO- adults only). Stores faced two risks by continuing to sell Hot Coffee GTA with the incorrect label: 1) fraud/misrepresentation claims under UCC (uniform commercial code) 2)statutory claims in areas where AO games can be sold to only adults 18+. Also, most stores don't carry AO (or NC-17) products b/c reduced sales volume doesn't justify retailers' carrying costs. Bottom line: the GTA decision was not Wal-Mart specific... the current treatment in the article misses that point. Feco 20:23, 20 November 2005 (UTC)

Edited versions of music albums

I copied over text from the stand-alone Criticism page into the product controversy section of this article. The prior version of this article wasn't factually accurate. Wal-Mart cannot alter a record label's copyrighted property and then re-sell it. The record label must do so directly. Wal-Mart only carries edited albums released by record labels. Feco 20:17, 20 November 2005 (UTC)

indicate and incorporate the core marketing concept on walmart

--—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)