Buying from Wal-Mart not worth it

Melissa Mills

With the high cost of living, especially in Southern California, a possible recession and unemployment at an all time high, we are all looking for bargains. When thinking about saving money, one retailer stands out more then the rest, Wal-Mart. Who can resist when their commercials show us the cute, little, yellow smiley face reducing prices further, making us feel all warm and fuzzy. Not to mention that everything in their stores is priced lower then their competitors, and with an abundance of choices from clothing to food, why not shop there?

You must ask yourself, how is it that this chain of stores can offer such sweet deals? The answer, sadly enough, is through shady tactics and unfair treatment of others in this country and far beyond.

Wal-Mart has continually been at the forefront of major class action suits, litigations and fines.

One concern has to do with their problems regarding discrimination. The Web site,, reported the company has had to pay $6 million to settle 13 lawsuits for discrimination violations. These included a case of an employee with cerebral palsy who was demoted after one day of working, hiring discriminations of African American truckers and racial profiling of customers. Women have also been subjected to discrimination. A District Court Judge has granted a $1.6 million lawsuit to current and formal female employees due to women earning less money and holding fewer managerial positions than men.

In 2000, 2002 and 2005, the corporation lost lawsuits filed against them totaling $222 million for off-the-clock work issues. Employees were forced to work off the clock, were not allowed lunch breaks or work breaks. Another $11 million had to be paid due to hiring undocumented workers to clean the store off of the clock as well.

Even more disheartening is the use of sweatshops to provide the company with clothing, yarn and fabric. TOS, a company based in the Dominican Republic is a major textile supplier for Wal-Mart. TOS employees have been forced to work 12-hour shifts, 6 days a week with an average pay of 2,000 pesos or roughly $61.00 a week. This weekly pay is not enough for a single household, let alone a household of more than one. Any staff member that suffers from non-related or work-related illnesses are very rarely allowed to leave work or given sick pay. Their workloads are twice as much as one person can complete and they are routinely told that they will be fired if they cannot keep up.

In light of this information, we the buyers of these products need to ask ourselves if the discount we receive is worth the suffering of others. Most of us worry about driving the best car or wearing designer clothes, while other’s worry about paying their medical bills or putting food on the table. There is a need for a public outcry in order for any type of change to occur.

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