Wow, it’s amazing what a scan of you everyday reads will inspire. I too happened upon a Walmart recently, oddly enough, and have a few thoughts about it. Like The Hand, I dislike Walmart to my core. I don’t give a crap about snotty kids or people who “need to learn another language,” or anything like that. I care about the poor people who bust their asses every day stocking the shelves of that hell for minimum wage while the company post wildly disgusting profits and becomes the model for American business. That’s what my problem is. I watch people when I go places. I like to try to figure out what their deal is. Maybe I can thank Ethan the Psychologist for that, but I interpret whenever possible. My most recent Walmart trip gave me a little insight.
See, as I said above, Walmart is making a lot of money. But they do it by forcing their suppliers to cut their prices for te goods they provide. Walmart is big enough to make or break a supplier, and they know that. So they force the suppkier to sell it at a rate that benefits Walmart, drives down salaries for the supplier’s employees (they could just raise the prices to other buyers, but that wouldn’t last long. It’s that whole “if it costs too much we won’t buy it” thing), and keeps prices artificially low at Walmart. Then Walmart can pay their employees crap (they’re luck to have jobs, you know), put better community businesses out of business, and keep people coming in for great deals. So overall, the quality of life goes down where the supplier operates because of either layoffs or lower wages, the quality of life is down where the Walmarts operate because of the horribly low wages, but us consumers can continue to buy really cheap crap, and more of it.
Then, to make matters worse for Walmart employees, a third variable is introduced: the dickhead customer. The dickhead customer is the guy who complains to the employee about something that is completely beyond their control. I ran into this guy a lot in my job at the bank. He is your customer, but constantly bitches about how nobody there knows what the hell is going on because you’re just a big faceless company where decisions are made in board rooms instead of on the floor. He then proceeds to bitch about the cost of whatever product he chooses that day to be “too damn expensive.” See, this guy doesn’t seem to get it. You’re cheap, which makes him shop there, because you’re big, but he complains that you’re big, then proceeds to complain because of a slight price hike. The irony is killing me. I saw this guy, in the form of a woman, ahead of me in line. She was pissed that her lettuce was more than over at Safeway. I really wanted to have that whole illegal alen discussion with her but refrained. But the only thing the bitching accomplished was to make the checkout person’s day suck a little more.
My bottom line is this: try to think about where you are and the reason you go there. If you don’t like something about it, go elsewhere. hell, I’d love to see less people going to Walmart for any reason. Then we might be able to have a little competition all over the board, and eitheer prices everywhere would drop, or prices at Walmart would have to go up because they suddenly wouldn’t have the power they now weild. Either way, it would be a benefit to overall quality of life. But just because someone is a Walmart checker doesn’t make them someone you can treat like shit, so back off.