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Out of Our Minds
Thursday, June 24, 2004 11:23 AM
The Toppling Point
Kevin Salwen on Culture

Wal-Mart is a company well versed in controversy. In the beginning, it was community battles against the big box retailer's threat to local vendors. Then came reports of Wal-Mart locking its employees into stores overnight during restocking, which the company justified by the need for security. That was followed by outrage over the retailer supplying no health benefits, hiring illegal immigrants and refusing to pay overtime. The latest news, of course, came this week when a judge in San Francisco agreed to class-action status by as many as 1.6 million women in a gender-pay discrimination case against Wal-Mart.

It's adding up. And it appears as if some of these hiccups are starting to hurt the company. On Wall Street, for instance, Wal-Mart shares are flat for the past 12 months, compared with a nearly 15% gain in the Dow Jones industrials. Month to month revenue growth has slowed as well. Which raises the question of course: Is there a point for consumers at which they will begin to avoid any retailer that doesn't match their values? Or is it all about low prices, always?


Ter - 6/28/2004 12:40:43 AM
I think Sam's comments suck - I don't like to see winners stumble - I like to see people succeed, but not at the cost of hurting their employees, creating an unfair marketplace, etc., etc., as Wal-Mart has done. I'm sure Sam Walton is turning in his grave. I won't shop there period - because the lowest isn't always in the best interest of the whole or for me.
sam - 6/25/2004 12:57:38 PM
The US is obsessed with seeing winners fail, wal-mart was or is a winner and we want to see them stumble. also, we Americans love to battle the big guy, the evil corporate empires. wal-mart is the ultimate example of this evil, globalizing empire and we would all love to see them come tumbling down, myself included. i love the Walton story and believe that what exists today would not be his vision, but who know really knows? either way, i avoid wal-mart at all costs just because...i have no real reason, other than the fact that all these things somehow add up in my head and i just don't like the place.
Rebecca Setliff - 6/24/2004 1:22:26 PM
I've noticed a decline in customer service at Wall Mart, evidenced primarily in associates' unhelpful attitudes and lack of concern for customer needs. This decline may reflect a corporate/company culture that ignores the importance of employee satisfaction.


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