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Walmart manager’s inside view

Gawker has an article or an email really from a Walmart manager who seems to have empathy for the little people who work for Walmart. The inside story of much of the corporate culture of so many massive corporations reads much the same — the end game for the corporate elite is the quarterly bottom line. Walmart is probably one of the worst in how their disrespect the lowest paid workers — and the rest of the staff that keeps these big box stores running.

Decades of Greed: Behind the Scenes withe An Angry Walmart Manager.” For the worker — short hours, must be on call for work at any time — making it impossible to work at another job. In the past three years I’ve been living the Snowbird lifestyle — escaping the cold winters for the relatively warmer and sunnier Southwest. That means staying at RV parks and not everyone living at the RV camps are Snowbirds — many are Walmart employees — trying to live on a less than living wage. Bless their hearts, the workers do their best to get customers to the Walmart stores by alerting the Snowbirds about the sales and “special deals” at the local Walmart stores. The manager tell us:

[B]ut basically Walmart has been hacking on its benefit and pay structure for years to save on cost. Their over all view point is that there is little difference in performance and return on investment from a ten year associate and a new hire.

So to keep the prices lowest of the low — the employees are subsidizing Walmart’s low prices. In the process Walmart has put thousands and thousands of small business out of business. The under staffing of Walmart stores has become very noticeable — perhaps because I visit Walmart stores so infrequently the sharp drop off of employees and empty shelves is more apparent than the slow planned decline of employees.

This company is being managed by the quarter. We have executives who have no vested interest in Walmart. All they care about is their salary and bonus. So when they make poor decisions, for example this Christmas when they had a One Hour Guarantee for multiple items. This was a complete [financial] disaster but yet the executive praise what a big success it was. […] You know what direction us managers were given to do in January? Remember Walmart’s fiscal year ends January 31st. You guess it, cut hours. For the poor decision made by executives at Walmart who could care less where the company is at in 10 or 20 years, we had to cut hours. Not only that we had to cut all expenses. Home office put a hold on all our ordering of supplies and try explaining to customers you don’t have toilet paper for the rest rooms. We had to cut all our part-time associates from 32 hours to 25.5 hours. All our full-time associates had their hours cut too. In addition we had to call all the people we had scheduled for orientation and tell them we couldn’t hire them. Imagine you were told to start Walmart on Thursday but then get a call on Wednesday saying nope can’t hire you.

Walmart has much to answer for — especially in the massive destruction of downtown America. I’ve been across country several times in the past 15 years and have driven through many small towns along the major East/West Interstates. In all cases a large Walmart is found on the outskirts of town, with a few smaller strip malls — the downtown is largely boarded up. In the early part of the last decade the Walmart stores seemed to be well stocked. I tried to find other stores in small towns and the hotel clerks would tell me that the only other shopping alternatives were near the major cities — like Denver. On my cross country trips I made it a habit to drive through the ghost town/downtown and then past the Walmart — to see the difference. In some towns the other big box stores are the ones like Dollar General and the Dollar Store. So in some small towns even Walmart was too expensive.

In the last couple of years I’ve watched the slow decline of Walmart — poorly stocked stores and long waits at the only cashier on duty. The only positive thing I can say about some Walmart stores is that RV overnight parking is allowed — it is common courtesy for RVers to shop at that welcoming Walmart. Thus my reason for have some knowledge of what the inside of a Walmart store looks like.

Read the full email from the Walmart manager to Gawker — and the comment are worth checking out as well. There is one photo of the backlog of stuff waiting to be shelved at an unnamed Walmart store. I’ve noticed the empty shelves and lack of merchandise compared to other stores. Is Target any better? Target stores always seem to be better stocked than any Walmart store. Of course for my money — Costco is where I like to shop. Many small towns have great used book stores — so this is how we manage to shop local even in small towns with Walmarts.

One bit of trivia — in a suburb of Phoenix called Mesa the Walmart store is so dense that there is one on nearly every long block. Talk about a deliberate effort to kill off small businesses — that would be Mesa Arizona. There is also a high population of the dollar type stores — generally two different brands of the dollar stores in each strip mall.


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