Boycotting Wal-Mart - VeggieBoards

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#1 Old 10-08-2003, 12:40 PM
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Okay, I am going to sound like and idiot but I really want help with this. I hate Wal-Mart and everything they stand for. I feel stressed when I shop there and unhappy when I leave. And yet, I shop there far too often. I admit it is almost purely the convenience factor. The low prices are not as much of a draw for me. When I shop, I almost always have one, often two children with me. I am so drawn in by the idea of one stop shopping. After reading more about Wal-Mart's practices (than you Mikie!) I have decided that I would like to stop shopping there.

My brother has not set foot in a Wal-Mart in seven years! I think this is wonderful. I don't know if I could be as good about it as he is but I want to try.

I live in a small town (less than 10,000 people) in rural southern Virginia. My brother and sister in law live in a small town in Maine but they have a wonderful co-op near them where they do their shopping. We have nothing like that here. We do not have a farmer's market. We do not have a health food store. We have a Super Wal-Mart, a small department store, three grocery stores (I usually go to Kroger,) and a handful of other small stores (including two small pharmacies.) We go to a larger city about an hour away when we need to do any major shopping. The problem I run into is what to do on a day to day basis. Where to buy baby products, pet products, food, health and beauty supplies, medicine, etc. ? Can anyone give me any words of advice or ideas?

I try to do the best I can to support local businesses. I only buy gas at a small locally owned gas station. The owners are great, hardworking people and I really want to support them. I shop at Goodwill a lot to try to reduce how much new stuff we buy.

I just see Wal-Mart as this sad, artificial place that sells cheap crap. I need to stop rambling now...does anyone have any ideas, inspiration, or insight for me?
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#2 Old 10-08-2003, 02:27 PM
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I can really sympathize...after a trip to Wal*Mart, I just want to sit down and start crying like a two year old in the check-out line. Unfortunately, in our town we have a Wal*Mart and a K-Mart. And the K-mart *really* sucks. And that's all! And they're building a super wal mart soon! I wish we had a Target or a Meijer in our town, because those places aren't hellholes.
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#3 Old 10-08-2003, 03:38 PM
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i understand.. it's pretty hard when you're on a budget not wanting to support these big corporations.. wal-mart can sell products for cheaper than small businesses can buy them for. one alternative is to join a local co-op.. if you don't have those, you could either look for big discount stores that are local (for ex., in toronto we have honest ed's), or find small stores that sell cheap items. that's going to take some shopping around, but it is possible to find some little specialty stores that can sell cheaper than wal-mart. there isn't too much you can do about the one-stop shopping though, but it's really no big deal once you get used to it
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#4 Old 10-08-2003, 03:56 PM
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If this smiley was Walmart.. (or any other large chain conglomerate)... then this smiley would be my response!
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#5 Old 10-08-2003, 03:57 PM
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We have a local co-op and I buy three quarters of our food there, but I do buy the other quarter at Wal-Mart. The co-op just doesn't sell some things that I need and some things are just too expensive at the co-op. Sometimes I shop at Albertson's instead of Wal-Mart. Is that any better?
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#6 Old 10-08-2003, 04:53 PM
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I have never set foot inside a Wal-Mart..... because we don't have them here Down Under.

I must say though that with all I hear, I really need to enter one some day, just for the experience. If only they would open in this country so I could boycott them.
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#7 Old 10-13-2003, 04:09 AM
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maybe...maybe you could set up a "consumer union" ?

Some people here do it when they can't get (organic)food near them.

If you have a couple of people that want the same, you could order at a wholesale company yourself.
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#8 Old 10-13-2003, 07:55 AM
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I'm curious about Wal-Mart. I've heard a lot of people against things like Wal-Mart and Sarbucks and this and that but I've not really found out why.

I assumed some of it is because Walmart in the US sells foods and a lot are animal products (though I've heard it's a good place to find vegan things too?) but here in Canada they sell snack foods and that's it.

Now I'm reading about cheap clothes etc so is that why? Or are their clothes-making practices evil? Or what?

I'd really like to know because with all the stuff I don't know about companies that aren't animal-related - ones that affect humans, and environment, etc - I feel like only half of me is clear and the rest is fuzzy and undeveloped.

If it's just the quality of stuff I have to say that I get a lot of my clothes at walmart because they're cheap, and most of my clothes last a fairly long time..

Anyway could someone point me in the right direction and let me know what's up?
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#9 Old 10-13-2003, 10:02 AM
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[QUOTE=Lacykitten]I'm curious about Wal-Mart. I've heard a lot of people against things like Wal-Mart and Sarbucks and this and that but I've not really found out why.


I boycott the Devil Store ("DS"), err Wal-Mart. I live in Edmonton (pop. ~1,000,000), so avoiding DS isn't hard.

I boycott them for what they really stand for - knocking out all other local competition, building massive, 1 story buildings that are eyesores, ripping down countless trees for their flat parking lots (when they could build 3 story buildings, with stacking packing lots and save on space). It dictates the books and music to small towns. (Small towns lose their other tiny stores, DS then will only sell certain styles of books and music, typically based on conservative sterotypes about the local populace).

And, it topped my boycott when I visited the US and went to see one of these super wal-marts. When I saw the gun section right next to the toy section, I left and never returned.
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#10 Old 10-13-2003, 01:31 PM
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Yeah the gun section is fairly close to the toy section. I avoid Walmart at almost all costs. It takes a real emergency to get me there..My town is only 15000 people so there aren't many options for people to find things. There are just no stores here at all. I think most of them probably went out of business at least in some part due to Walmart. But, there wasnt really that much here to begin with. I hate what they do with the music and books, it makes me sick and I gladly shop our smaller local bookstore and music place. If they don't have what I want they are generally more than willing to order it. I will pay more for that type of service.
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#11 Old 10-13-2003, 02:08 PM
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It is just so hard here! We have no small bookstores, no small music stores. I needed something for our dog...we have no pet store. There was a small bakery downtown, I noticed this weekend that it is out of business. Wal-mart is the only game in town and I'm sure they are the reason we have so few small, locally owned stores. I'm sure they ran them out of business. I can't drive an hour every time we need something. Arrgh! What am I supposed to do?

In my view of things, Wal-Mart hires people with little education and pays them crap, and doesn't give them benefits. They are able to provide things for low prices because they buy in such mass quantities and I'm sure they don't care if the people who make their products are treated poorly.

The area I live in is very poor. There are many people here without highschool educations. It seems like working at Wal-Mart would be a good job for a young high school/college aged person to make some spending money. But here, most of the Wal-Mart employees are older, trying to support a family on their pay. It really is sad.
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#12 Old 10-13-2003, 02:10 PM
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Well I'd like to jump in here. When I was living in Toronto in a really cool community, we had some really good talks about stuff like this. One person said we need to look at the big picture. We may do well to boycott Walmart, but what does the owner of the small store have in mind. Most people want to "get ahead". Most small store owners would jump at the chance to become bigger and bigger and finally beat out walmart. So what's the difference? And most small stores still sell stuff made in China and other sweat shop countries.

co-ops are usually the best but even there we run into problems. Like at our local organic food co-op they sell organic meat. Boy that makes me puke. "We treat our animals well and they're really happy and they eat good food and then we slaughter them". Ya, really nice.

So just keep doing your best with the amount of spare energy you have. You can't break the system by yourself but you can stay aware of the situation, intend to do better, and do better when the opportunity presents itself. Maybe find a good humanitarian program that you can donate to, so that as you save money on the backs of the poor you are also giving back.
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#13 Old 10-13-2003, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Lacykitten View Post

I'm curious about Wal-Mart. I've heard a lot of people against things like Wal-Mart and Sarbucks and this and that but I've not really found out why.

I assumed some of it is because Walmart in the US sells foods and a lot are animal products (though I've heard it's a good place to find vegan things too?) but here in Canada they sell snack foods and that's it.

Now I'm reading about cheap clothes etc so is that why? Or are their clothes-making practices evil? Or what?

I'd really like to know because with all the stuff I don't know about companies that aren't animal-related - ones that affect humans, and environment, etc - I feel like only half of me is clear and the rest is fuzzy and undeveloped.

If it's just the quality of stuff I have to say that I get a lot of my clothes at walmart because they're cheap, and most of my clothes last a fairly long time..

Anyway could someone point me in the right direction and let me know what's up?

Let me tell you what happened in my area. Mena, AR is a town of a little over 5000 people, with a bunch of smaller towns with a few hundred people each in them around it. There used to be a couple of grocery stores, a number of department stores, and other small businesses there. When Wal-Mart came in with their huge buying power, underselling the smaller stores on purpose, they went under. They closed up and everyone lost their jobs. Family businesses that had been there for years were gone. Just dried up. Many towns have had this happen.

There are only a few places left and we support them all we can. But, many of them just don't have the stuff we want or it is so much more expensive that we can't afford it.

Anyway, that is what is wrong with Wal-mart. Yet I shop there every week because there is really nowhere else to go to get what I need.
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#14 Old 10-13-2003, 02:26 PM
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My family in Missouri lives real close to a Super Wal-Mart, and they do most of their shopping there or at factory outlet stores. Last Christmas, I had the misfortune of joining them for some shopping. Those places are DEPRESSING. I think the main objection is that it is the bad corporation, personified (not that all corporations are bad). Wal-Mart spreads like weeds, spreads monoculture worse than a small little coffee store like Starbucks, treats employees like crap (anti-union, and pay for the average employee rarely exceeds $11,000/year), bullies manufacturers, and pulls in more revenues than even ExxonMobil, with profits totalling about $7 billion, making five of the ten richest people in the WORLD Waltons.

Home page for those keeping an eye on Wal-Mart:

Generally interesting site has commentary on Wal-Mart:

Saw a reference to music earlier in this thread. Get a load of this:

Nice, long, DETAILED and widest-ranging article on Wal-Mart:

Employee/Customer abuse:

This one is LONG, but detailed and smart:

Recent San Francisco Chronicle Article (Wal-Mart acknowledges their PR problems and does something about it):
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#15 Old 10-13-2003, 03:16 PM
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but if i don't shop at wal*mart, what will i have to complain about??

(long lines, grumpy (for good reasons, i'm sure) employees, lighting that makes me wanna puke, etc.)

thanx for the links epski....
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#16 Old 10-13-2003, 03:50 PM
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My mom thought of a really great idea.

1. Figure out what percentage you save by shopping at Wal-Mart.

2. Make a poster saying, "Today you saved 10% (for example) on the backs of the poor by shopping at Wal-Mart. Give back by donating the difference to [choose an awesome charity]."

3. Include a visual, eg. of a child in an exploited country making rugs.

4. Stand outside Wal-Mart with your display.

5. Take the money and buy yourself a really great dinner. (Kidding.)

6. Report back to this list with the amazing results.
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#17 Old 10-13-2003, 05:59 PM
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As a side note, Wal Mart does treat their employees fairly well where I live (Canada). They offer benefits and, I believe, $8 to start. Frankly, you would be hard pressed to find benefits and $8/hr without a high school ed here.

(benefits in Canada are different then benefits in the US. As we have universal health care, benefits here cover things such as dental, eyewear, prescription drugs, etc. Most of the time, employees do not have to pay for the benefits; though they are sometimes considered taxable income).
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#18 Old 10-23-2003, 04:22 PM
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WAL-MART DOESN'T take no for an answer. When Contra Costa County passed a ban on "big box" super-centers, which combine general merchandise and full-service grocery departments, the largest corporation in the world parachuted in paid workers to gather enough signatures to place a referendum on the ban on the March ballot.

Now, Wal-Mart faces another foe -- the city of Oakland, which passed an ordinance Tuesday night that bans the building of super-centers that include full-service supermarkets and exceed 2.5 acres in size. Smaller big-box stores (including Wal-Mart) and supermarkets would not be affected.

Not everyone agrees with the city council's decision. Wal-Mart officials, for their part, view their intention to build 40 new super-centers in California as providing "consumer choice."

Council member Desley Brooks, who cast a "no'' vote on the ban, told me, "We're always saying Oakland wants to court retail business and increase jobs, but then we put up these obstacles. People in Oakland will just drive to another city." Instead of paying $5 for a box of cereal at Safeway, for example, a shopper could buy the same item for $1.97 at Wal-Mart. So, say opponents, isn't the city council acting against the interests of the poor, who want low prices and desperately need low-skilled jobs?

In the short term, yes. But the city council, especially council President Ignacio de la Fuente and council member Jane Brunner, who introduced and fought for the ordinance, were looking at the larger picture.

"Superstores like Wal-Mart" Ignacio de la Fuente told me, "have a detrimental impact on the local economy. They wipe out mom-and-pop stores and discourage other supermarkets from coming into the neighborhood. They also cause greater traffic congestion and air pollution because people frequently drive across town to shop for groceries at super-centers. Most importantly, they depress the wages of workers and offer unaffordable health benefits so that taxpayers have to pay for those workers' health services."

He's right. Wal-Mart, for example, has already pushed some two dozen national supermarket chains into bankruptcy during the last 10 years by paying poverty-level wages, offering unaffordable health benefits and underselling other big box stores by importing goods made by cheap foreign labor. The average Wal-Mart grocery worker earns $8.50 an hour, which results in a below poverty-level annual income of $14,000. By contrast, a union worker at a supermarket earns $17 an hour, plus health benefits, which allows working families to share a slice of the American Dream and keeps taxpayers from picking up the tab for their health care.

Richard Benson, President of the United Food and Commercial Workers, AFL- CIO, knows what Wal-Mart super-centers do to workers, their families and neighborhoods. To the council, he argued that "The combined negative effects on the community far outweigh consumer savings that can be realized at a super- center. . . . It is important to remember that the lower prices offered by stores like Wal-Mart are in large measure a function of labor costs more than 20 percent lower than supermarkets and other competitors, which in turn result in lower community standards."

Oakland now joins a few dozen cities and counties -- from Stratham, N. H., to Bozeman, Mont. -- who have banned such super-stores by convincing their residents that if they pay less at a super store, they end up paying more taxes when workers land on the public dole. With $245 billion in revenues,

however, Wal-Mart can easily afford to fight off unions that try to organize its workers and cities that try to ban its stores.

Stay tuned: The Wal-Mart wars in California have just begun.

E-mail Ruth Rosen at

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#19 Old 10-23-2003, 04:31 PM
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I didnt get to read all these threads cuz I am sick and just hopped online for a minute, but I just wanted to add that my husband and I will not step foot in a Walmart, either. There is MANY reasons, but I also know first hand how crappy they treat their employees b/c I used to be one... I worked there while I was pregnant with my daughter, and a lot of nights I went home in tears. And just not too long ago my husband made a print out of some of the "facts", took it sams club and actually got a refund for his membership.
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#20 Old 10-24-2003, 01:20 AM
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Lacykitten, This is a letter I recently wrote to my local newspaper which explains why I don't support Walmart.

pickletatertot, I'm very happy to see I've had some sort of an effect on someone.

From what I can see, I think you have 3 options.

1. Buy as much as you possibly can from smaller businesses whenever you can. When you go, buy in bulk quantities so you don't have to go as often. Go to Walmart only for those things that you can't find anywhere else.

2. Get involved. See if there are other people in the community who feel the same way you do. Do you have town meetings where you can voice your opinion? Do they have any ordinances against stores? Can you write your representatives and senators telling them how you feel?

3. I saw a bumper sticker the other day that said "Got a Neighborhood?" and if you don't, but you want one, you can do two things - fight to get one, or move to where there is one. Moving really isn't that crazy of an idea, though I don't know anything about your personal living situation. Right now I live in an amazing neighborhood. Within a 10 minute walk I can get to locally owned tailor, vet, 2 bookstores, coffeehouse, several clothing stores (though I go to thrift stores), a bar, 2 toy stores, a local bank, movie theatre, video rental - Basically, I can purchase everything I need within walking distance from local businesses (except for food which I get from my work.)
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#21 Old 10-24-2003, 03:09 AM
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As mikie said buy in advance. You said you go to a larger city and shop try and buy what you need until the next time. I live in a town of 6000 and most everything Wal-mart has in my town I can buy through smaller privately owned stores.

On a related note, one of the headlines yesterday was "61 illegal immigrants working at 24 Wal-mart stores." Those figures may not be 100% accurate but its close and I can't find the original article.

Good luck!
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#22 Old 10-24-2003, 09:30 AM
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Maybe this is just heresy, but I also heard that Sam Waltons estate tithes to a super conservative baptist church. That's enough to make me NOT want to shop there, even if it is just a fart in the wind. In addition to the invading of green space, low wages, employee abuse, the women and children in 3rd world countries putting zippers on cheap sweaters, the elimination of town character and local business.

Need I say more? I HATE WAL MART!
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#23 Old 10-24-2003, 10:07 AM
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from today's new york times:

Wal-Mart Raids by U.S. Aimed at Illegal Aliens


Published: October 24, 2003

ederal agents raided 60 Wal-Mart stores across the nation yesterday and said they arrested more than 250 illegal immigrants who worked as janitors for outside contractors used by Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer.

As part of the 21-state raid, the largest immigration crackdown in years, federal agents also searched the office of an executive at Wal-Mart's headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., and removed boxes of documents, company and government officials said.

One federal official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that a grand jury was investigating the matter and that the government believed that Wal-Mart officials knew about the widespread use of illegal immigrants. The official said the government had used wiretaps in the investigation and had recordings of conversations among Wal-mart executives and contractors.

Wal-Mart officials were quick to acknowledge the raids and said that the arrested workers were employed by contractors and that Wal-Mart required those contractors to employ only legal workers.

Tom Williams, a Wal-Mart spokesman, said the raid and the allegations that illegal immigrants were used in its stores came as a surprise.

"We've seen no evidence from the Immigration Service that anyone in Wal-Mart was involved in any scheme involving illegal workers," Mr. Williams said.

He said he believed that the manager whose office was raided worked in Wal-Mart's building services division.

The workers who were arrested were finishing the night shift before dawn, said Garrison Courtney, a spokesman for the division of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Most are from Eastern Europe or Latin America.

Mr. Courtney said federal officials had originally sought to arrest 300 of the janitorial workers when the raids began around 4 a.m. yesterday, but were able to arrest slightly more than 250. The employees now face deportation.

Immigration experts said the arrests of so many illegal immigrants at Wal-Marts across the country demonstrated that these workers have come to play a significant role in the American economy. They often take the low-end, low-paying jobs shunned by not just American workers, but also legal immigrants.

Yesterday's arrests came after a five-year period that saw federal immigration authorities greatly scale back the number of company raids. Particularly since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, federal officials have focused their immigration arrests on facilities, like airports, that might be terrorist targets.

"This is the biggest raid in a few years," Mr. Courtney said. "This is the result of almost a four-year investigation. We're a law enforcement agency, and we're going to enforce the laws."

Federal law enforcement officials said the investigation grew out of earlier raids in 1998 and 2001 when about 100 illegal immigrants were arrested working at Wal-Mart stores in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Missouri. These officials said that after those arrests, 13 Wal-Mart cleaning contractors pleaded guilty to knowingly employing illegal immigrants.

Mona Williams, Wal-Mart's vice president for communications, said: "These federal officials are referring to third-party suppliers that we entrusted to hire legal workers. For them to say that it strains credibility that we're surprised about what happened today, those other actions happened years ago."

Mr. Courtney said that if federal officials found substantial evidence that the cleaning contractors or Wal-Mart officials knowingly employed illegal immigrants, they could face criminal charges, including fines up to $10,000 per illegal worker. He said he did not know the name of Wal-Mart's cleaning contractors or of the Wal-Mart executive whose office was searched.

In a statement, Immigration and Customs Enforcement said, "The investigation is ongoing," and said the arrests were part of "ongoing efforts to ensure that U.S. companies do not employ individuals who are unauthorized to work in the United States."

Wal-Mart officials said the company used about 100 contractors to clean about 1,000 of its American stores. They said they did not know whether one contractor or many employed the arrested workers.

Wal-Mart is not the first company to face immigration issues. A three-year-old lawsuit against several California supermarkets asserts that the supermarkets and their cleaning subcontractors violated minimum wage and overtime laws in using illegal immigrants to clean their floors.

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, which filed that lawsuit, asserted that some workers were paid less than the $5.15-an-hour minimum wage and that many were never paid overtime even after working 55-hour weeks.

The cleaning contractors involved in that case often asserted that those workers were independent contractors and not employees and thus were not covered by minimum wage or overtime laws.

Mr. Courtney said he did not know whether Wal-Mart's cleaning contractors had violated wage laws. He said the Department of Labor had not participated in the investigation.

Wal-Mart has 1.4 million employees worldwide and had $245 billion in revenues last year. Each week 138 million shoppers visit Wal-Mart's 4,750 stores.

In recent years, Wal-Mart has frequently been accused of skirting various federal employment laws.

Class-action suits have been filed in more than 30 states charging Wal-Mart supervisors with pressuring employees to work off the clock. In California, lawyers have filed a lawsuit accusing Wal-Mart of discriminating against female employees in its promotions. The lawyers have asked a federal judge in San Francisco to allow the lawsuit to proceed as a class action, potentially creating a class of 1.6 million current and former Wal-Mart employees.

Wal-Mart denies pressuring employees to work off the clock and asserts that it has an aggressive program to hire and promote women.

The raids yesterday were carried out in Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

Immigration officials said their investigation focused on forms, known as I-9's, that employers are required to use to determine the eligibility of their workers.

Ms. Williams said the company was assessing the situation.

"We first learned about the raids when store managers at affected stores began calling us," she said.
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#24 Old 10-24-2003, 12:09 PM
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We shop at wallmart for generic items from time to time. We do shop at Sam's club adn Cosco. i like those two stores adn the ability to buy in bulk, we will make quaterly tirps to stock up on items from toilet tissue adn diapers, to food stuffs.

My most hated retailer is comp usa those store are down right nasty, crowded I have not been in one for 10 years now and I am glad.
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#25 Old 10-24-2003, 09:12 PM
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Walking through Walmart gives me this sick feeling of blind overconsumption. I bought a Sma's card a while back and really regretted it. Now I use it to take all my Jamacan Neighbors over to buy food that they ship home.
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#26 Old 10-29-2003, 12:26 PM
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I hate Wal-Mart, but can't completely boycott it b/c my aunt and uncle are both career Wal-Mart employees (my aunt has worked there for 10 years and just last year was so excited that she got promoted to salaried and was going to make $17,500 a year! Of course, she now works close to 60 hours a week plus most holidays). When we go to visit, we often have to swing by the Wal-Mart to see one of them b/c they never have the same days off.

For Christmas last year, they gave everyone Wal-Mart gift cards. I used mine to buy underwear and socks for the local homeless shelter b/c I'm "trying" to boycott the evil empire.
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#27 Old 10-29-2003, 12:44 PM
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they are clearing the topsoil in a field to bring in a wallmart. i dunno, its going to drive out town business. when canadian tire came in two out of the three hardware stores in town closed.
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#28 Old 10-29-2003, 12:56 PM
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... you could move here! The closest walmart is 25 miles away. I'd never even been to a walmart til i was about 21.
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#29 Old 10-30-2003, 04:58 PM
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I have never been in a Walmart and don't plan to ever go in one. They are in the process of trying to get a Walmart built close to where I live.
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#30 Old 11-12-2003, 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Kurmudgeon View Post

I have never set foot inside a Wal-Mart..... because we don't have them here Down Under.

I must say though that with all I hear, I really need to enter one some day, just for the experience. If only they would open in this country so I could boycott them.

You should come to Blighty. One of the supermarket chains here is now owned by Wal Mart.

In reality the farmers who founded ASsociated DAiries to give themselves better returns than they got from other supermarkets sold out their principles long before they sold out to Wal Mart. ASDA is still indistinguishable from all the other supermarket chains.
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