Walmart Pays $400K in Black Friday Case

I've blogged before about how Wal-Mart was responsible for the trampling of a worker on Black Friday last year. They didn't provide ample security and they stoked a frenzy with their "doorbuster deals." It was crass capitalism at its worst, something that has become Wal-Mart's M.O.

Well, now we hear news that Wal-Mart has trying to make the story go away by paying $400K to a victim's fund. Perhaps they saw the writing on the wall. But what's troubling about this case is that they refused to apologize.  It's a classic case of throw money on the problem and hope it goes away.  It's a rich guy dropping a "Benjamin" on the bloodied body he just pummeled with his Rolls.

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The Ultimate Greenwashers

Wal-Mart likes to say that it's green these days.  They've even gotten Slick Willie to endorse them.  And sure, the company is making some steps, but it's like Dick Cheney saying he's going to be somewhat less of a dick.  

Wal-Mart's latest scam is an Earth Day initiative in which the Bentonville behemoth will give out payments to schools that have gone green.  Good gesture, but pure greenwashing.  

If Wal-Mart really wanted to become environmentally friendly, I have few suggestions for them that they could easily enact and would make a huge difference.  

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Who Killed the Little Man?

I was just listening to Alan Jackson's song, "Little Man" about how corporate behemoths like Wal-Mart have drown out small town America, and thought I'd share some lyrics with all of you. It really hit home for me.  My home town has had a ton of big chain stores take over and drown out our downtown in the last couple of decades and it's sad to see the decline.  It's prompted me to start doing some work with Wake Up Wal-Mart to try to restore the balance of workers' rights.

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How Walmart Contributes to the Recession

The Wal-Mart apologists like to point to the retailer's prices as an example of saving Americans money, but in reality, Wal-Mart is an emblem of the debt economy in the early 2000's.  The company bought cheap Chinese crap and sold it to Americans on credit.  It's a disgusting and unfortunate evolution of the American economy.

To make matters worse, Wal-Mart is now laying off 1,000's of employees, most recently in Columbus.  Now I know that no retailer is immune from the recession, but the way in which Wal-Mart treats American workers is particularly disturbing.  They streamroll local economies, force mom-and-pop out of business, bust unions and then fire workers at their whim.

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Small Business Owner? Here are 3 Tips on How to Handle Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart is a scourge on small towns and small business across America.  If you haven't seen this frightening map yet, Wal-Mart has been invading communities nationwide for decades like a virus.  But a new study out of Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business has some advice about how small businesses can cope.

The Independent Street blog at the Wall Street Journal (which is usually an apologist for Wal-Mart's reckless and ugly business practices) reports:

"The study found that after a new Wal-Mart store opened, local supermarkets in seven regions of the U.S. suffered sales declines of 17%, while mass merchandisers saw sales fall 40% and drug stores saw a 6% decline in sales."

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Wal-Mart Sells $1 Billion in Goods a Day (and Other Scary Numbers)

Want to see some crazy numbers?

In 2008, Wal-Mart sold:

$1,095,890,410 worth of goods a day
$45,662,100 worth of goods an hour
$761,035 worth of goods a minute and
$12,683 worth of goods a second.

In Q4 alone, they NETTED $3.8 billion in PROFITS!

(Numbers courtesy of Wake Up Wal-Mart, with whom I work)

If Wal-Mart has overflowing coffers, is it really too much to ask to give employees decent health care?

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Victory? Wal-Mart Workers Unionize in Canada

I have some potentially great news.

Per Bloomberg:

Workers at a Wal-Mart Stores Inc. outlet in Canada will be represented by a union after more than four years of legal challenges by the retailer, the United Food and Commercial Workers said.

The Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board granted union status yesterday to workers at a store in Weyburn, Saskatchewan, the group said in a statement today.

If this standing holds, this is very good news.  We've got momentum and are chipping away at Wal-Mart union-busting policies one store at time.

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How Wal-Mart Could Have Prevented the Death

I'm outraged about the death of a Wal-Mart employee on Black Friday.  And I've fumed about it -- offline -- to my friends at Wake Up Walmart.  But for the sake of this diary and out of respect for the deceased, 34 year-old Jdimytai Damour, I'm just going to offer some constructive ideas for how this tragic death could have been prevented.

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Walmart CEO: "We are not green"

I do some work with Wake Up Walmart and blog about their greening initiative because, honestly, I think it's a good idea but is being enacting half-heartedly.

Well, the fine folks at Treehugger agree with me and have a great post up detailing how their environmental campaign is actually a big oxymoron.  You see, the gist of the campaign is that products should last longer.

Alex Pasternack at Treehugger quotes Walmart CEO Lee Scott saying:

"By making better products, people will be able to pay a fair value for 10, 15 years. People who buy a better TV will live better because less money going out of their pockets."

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Translating the Walmart PR Spin

Walmart's hometown newspaper, the Northwest Arkansas Morning News, has an interesting article up today about Walmart executives meeting with 200 of their cronies at a conference and outlining their plans for 2009.  It could be a watershed year for progressives, but the Bentonville behemoth has some plans of its own and they ain't pretty.

So I thought I'd go through each one of Walmart's plans and translate some of their PR spin - or wipe the lipstick off the pig, if you will.  All stats and figures are compliments of, with whom I do some work.

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