Walmart Asks Workers for Upbeat Stories, Gets a Cart Full of Criticism

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walmart store shoppers in Paramount, Calif.
Frederic J. Brown, AFP/Getty Images
At Walmart's annual shareholder's meeting last month, the stands were packed with Walmart (WMT) associates screaming their support of the executives (and celebrity guests) on stage. But not all Walmart employees are thrilled with the company.

Gawker has spent all week hammering on Walmart, on Tuesday publishing the latest entry in a series of stories from Walmart employees complaining of low pay and cut hours. Walmart responded with a posting on its internal website urging employees to share their positive experiences, which many did. But many other employees in the comments section of that post were surprisingly candid about their gripes with the company, and Gawker got a hold of some of those comments.

"I feel as though Walmart doesn't care about its associates," said one employee commenting on the post.

"My husband has worked for Walmart for 10 years and I for 8," said another. "When our family situation changed and we found ourselves needing to move, the company would not work with us to transfer and keep full-time status, which in turn will delay our new mortgage for 6 months. Some loyalty."

Another commenter complained of insufficient staffing levels (a common complaint, lately), and said that she'd been unable to achieve full-time status even after six years of service with the company.

To be fair, these comments were scattered among numerous positive reviews -- one commenter praised the management team, and another recounted tales of helping customers. And some employees have previously gone public in support of Walmart.

But on the whole, it's yet another example of Walmart's struggle to buff its reputation in the face of years of accumulated bad publicity. The most prominent effort right now is "The Real Walmart," a PR blitz consisting facts about its corporate practices alongside cheerful videos of employees and customers. Critics responded with a site of their own, dubbed "Really, Walmart?" that blasts the retailer for its employment practices. The volume of criticism from even Walmart's own employees suggest that it has a long way to go in winning over the public.

And that struggle to improve its reputation is having real business implications for the company. Earlier this week, the Washington, D.C., city council voted to approve a "living wage" bill requiring very large retailers to pay their employees at least $12.50 an hour -- a bill that clearly targeted Walmart. In response, Walmart has abandoned plans to build three stores in the city. With the company similarly struggling to overcome opposition in the lucrative New York market, it's no wonder that it's working hard to change people's minds.

Matt Brownell is the consumer and retail reporter for DailyFinance. You can reach him at Matt.Brownell@teamaol.com, and follow him on Twitter at @Brownellorama.


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563 Comments

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tiff burton

The walmart in aberdeen is **** I have a cousin that works there and she was ganged up on by 4 managers tova jack sheron and sheron. All because some lady was being racist and of course the managers all white blamed her didnt even let her explain I had to keep her from going up to the job and hurting tova this store does not show their workers the respect they deserve.

October 10 2013 at 11:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
georgette.carrillo

Walmart sucks it has ruined Fresno Ca with cheap labor most of the workers have to rely on welfare and other state programs. You can't go anywhere around here without seeing Walmart. I HATE WALMART...they have eliminated much of the competition!!! They promised all these jobs...sucks there the lowest paying jobs. WE STILL HAVE THE HIGHEST UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IN CA. if Washington Mayor knows what best he will keep this shitty company out!!

July 15 2013 at 9:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to georgette.carrillo's comment
h.hughjardon

Yeah...but obama and the left love counting those private sector jobs walmart creates.

July 16 2013 at 10:47 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
georgette.carrillo

Walmart sucks!! I hate them they have ruined Fresno CA with the low cheap prices...this is one of poorest parts in CA and this darn company has ran out small businesses and good companies with it's horrible business model!! People here hate Walmart but feel alot of times they have to there because it is a monopoly. If DC Knows whats best they will keep Walmart out!! Cheap comes a horrible price...they have their labor most of employees get public assistance.

July 15 2013 at 9:28 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
gwhjelm

In my time on earth, which is a long time, I have never been inside a Walmart Store, anywhere. Everything that they do is cheap, and I learned to by value and not by price. This has served my family very well. Walmart makes money on every level of its business as every business should, but they also do something that I find bad for every community they reside in. They have predatory pricing at the wholesale level and at the retail level. It is one thing to negotiate the best deal that you can, and it is quite another to tell a wholesaler that their company (Walmart) will get a cheaper price, or they will put them out of business. Walmart has put lots of good fair wholesale businesses out in the cold. Sometimes they contract for all of your supply, and without warning they will bring-in a competitor ( sometimes foreign) to undercut you're pricing system. Wholesales businesses that have spurned Walmart, have learned that Walmart will find ways of taking your business, until you can't make enough money to stay in business. Walmart is very vindictive on the wholesale end. On the retail side, they make it tough for any small business to be in the same town. They shop all of these stores and once again use predatory pricing to eliminate competition. It is one thing to match prices with the small businesses, but quite another to offer prices for retail that are below what the small business can buy the product for from the wholesaler. This action by Walmart against small business is the reason that small towns and smaller cities have blocks of business that was once profitable, are now empty, and have been empty for years. The number of things that Walmart does quadruples their profits that they make in the stores. The profits in stores can be mitigated by many methods to avoid taxes, and this is common in many retail settings. These are some of the business reason's why I don't shop at Walmart, and I don't find this corporation to be particularly friendly to America.

July 14 2013 at 2:40 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to gwhjelm's comment
setanta54s_back

uuuuuuuuuuuuh HELLOOOOOOOOOOOOO dweebe-
you state you've NEVER BEEN IN ONE......YET
know all about THEM ?

what's yer take on home depOt,lowes.sears
and let's not forget
co$tcO where the morons PAY admission to SHOP THERE.

what r your thoughts ?
have any besides bs and waLLeeeworlde derangement ?

July 14 2013 at 5:33 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
JackieRay

when in the past I did not like my job I quit if you take the mans money you owe loyalty ether ride for the brand or move on don't take the money and backbite and malinger its dishonorable

July 14 2013 at 2:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to JackieRay's comment
jelun

How about if a person is doing a good job for you you own loyalty. Your method causes the demise of a business.

July 14 2013 at 3:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jelun's comment
h.hughjardon

Thdn you're just a glutton for pain.

July 14 2013 at 10:52 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down
cobaia

Some folks are ignorant..Costco and Target provide alot more in benefits, monies, and careers. Laugh all you want but some people just aren't as brilliant as you think you are..

July 14 2013 at 1:51 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to cobaia's comment
lonewulff829

As a Wal-Mart employee I find the "I won't go there until they treat their workers better" thing hilarious. That just means they cut our hours to make up for the loss. They get the same amount of profit, and you hurt the employees you are so called "helping." If you don't want to go to Wal-Mart I don't blame you, but you aren't helping us in any way, so please stop patting yourselves on the back for it. I appreciate the sentiment, but no. Besides I worked for for Target for years before Wal-Mart, and if you think that they're really any nicer, you'd be wrong. They just hide it a little better.

July 14 2013 at 2:12 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to lonewulff829's comment
setanta54s_back

and professUH ?
morons are PAYING for THAT PRIVLEDGE of wasting their time and money by rolling a shopping cart through costco---uuuuuuuh what's the GOING ENTRANCE FEE NOW ? that MEMBERSHIP sheiss ????
they're soooooooo smart,aren't they ?
PAYING A FREEEEKIN FEE TO SHOP and then PACK their crap as well !!!!!!!!!!
and buyin WHAT ?
LOL !!!!!!!!!!!!!

as for tar_jeeee ?
same low quality garbage as any other chain.
BFD.

July 14 2013 at 5:45 PM Report abuse -5 rate up rate down Reply
tgriffo418

I laugh at those who say they will not shop at walmart/ So where are they going to shop. Target, costco same difference. People get paid for skill. No skill required at either retailer. Just a fact, get real people. Not much skill flipping a burger either.

July 14 2013 at 1:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
virginia

I will NEVER go to any walmart ever again. Everytime, there are many racist incidents, in the aisles, the checkout lines, even at the exit doors, caused by the black segment of society. I am not racist, just stating what I observed. I do not feel safe there.

July 14 2013 at 1:32 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to virginia's comment
setanta54s_back

no problems ever where we are.
ALL are even DRESSED respectfully.
never see that circus side show that gets posted online.

July 14 2013 at 5:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
tgriffo418

Here are the facts that most people can't put together.
The average sales per store is 43 million world wide.
The average net profit world wide per store is 1.6 million.
The employee count per store is 203 people.
At an additional $4.25 per hour ;abor cost + 1.8 million.
So Washington DC officials want WALMART to take a loss of 200K per store.

walmart profit margin is about 3,5% on sales.

I guess people want something for nothing. Most W@almart jobs are kids. Never meant to support a household. Syocking doesn't deserve a high wage. Sorry get educated. Work hard get paid for a skill.

July 14 2013 at 1:31 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to tgriffo418's comment
setanta54s_back

well,WHAT WOULD ANYONE EXPECT from freeeeeeeekin DC and the harlots workin ???there-
what's the SALARY for their politicians ?
and truly HOW MANY DAYS WORKED ANNUALLY ?

July 14 2013 at 5:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jack

Yah get a college degree and THEN still have to work at china mart!

July 18 2013 at 7:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
wash114dry

I shop here at a walmart on US 19, SpringHill, Fl. I have to say in sapport of the employees they are all nice. They have all helped with what ever I needed. As for products some thing's I buy and others i don't. Wont buy fruit or fresh veg's from any country but our own. Same with tooth paste and such. I won't buy meat at Walmart, turn it over and a steak has 8% salt salotion, bull sh$#. It's like buy a froozen turkey. Basicly if it's on sale at another store I'll be there clutching my coupons. If it has many moveing parts I may shop else ware to avoid the "PACKAGED EXCLUSIVELY FOR WAMART" comment on the box. These days it's all forigen crap anyway. Mean while all the local stores seam o.k.
This for the Walmart in hudson/Bayonet Point, buy KMART.
I have one complaint and it's about management, upper management. Who the hell came up with the idea of selling the AMERICAN FLAG stamped on beach towels, paper plates, and napkins? The flag is not to be stuck in some dark crevase of the human body for drying. It is not to be used as napkin for blowing your nose or some thing. It is not to be worn on your head as a neckchife.
"No disrespect should be shown to the flag of the United States of America." Section 8

"The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing."

Tell that horses ass to go here; http://www.ushistory.org/betsy/flagetiq.html
and write an apoligy to the American People. Fire his dum forigen ass right now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

July 14 2013 at 1:19 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply