Letter: Wal-Mart: Be a better citizen
Ryan Summerlin August 2, 2014
Dear Wal-Mart: I did you folks a great favor this past couple of weeks. I spent more than $1,000 on various items to outfit a new home. It was bare and we needed everything. I am grateful for the fully stocked shelves (most of the time) and huge variety of goods you carry, from can openers to television sets. I shopped your store because there was really no choice to do otherwise. Your price-cutting policies have driven most competing stores out of business in my area. In addition, you have driven many U.S. manufacturers out of business in your search for lower prices. That has caused many companies to close up shop in the U.S. and go out of the country in their search for lower prices in order to please your buyers.
Now I am asking for a favor from you. I have been very upset that you underpay your workers to the point that they have to go “on the county” all across the U.S. That forces us taxpayers to foot the bill for benefits that you should be paying for. Also, you contract for a lot of services such as cleaning, groundskeeping, including snow removal, carpentry and electrical services, so you don’t have any control over the salary or treatment of all your contract workers.
As a former part-time butcher I am very upset that you, because you don’t want to pay union scale and benefits, cut and process your meat in faraway locations, bringing up the question of freshness and freedom from preservatives. This also limits the opportunities for residents in the areas in which you wish to locate. The placement of your facilities has limited the job opportunities for many workers that have been displaced by your stores.
I believe that fair and competitive wages could be paid by you with a small percentage increase in your pricing. Most authorities that I have examined agree with me.
You owe a lot to all of us who are your customers. It would be much appreciated if you would try to be better citizens in this country that gave the Walton family so much.