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Wal-Mart This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     Success is earned by effort, perseverance and sacrifice. Wal-Mart is no different; its massive success started the same way. Today, however, it thrives on the sacrifices of its workers and suppliers. Even consumers suffer because of Wal-Mart, which is the world’s biggest company and growing fast. We need to do something to get fair treatment for its workers and to find a way to keep this retailer from harming other companies. Wal-Mart does not necessarily need to be stopped, but it does need to end its harmful operations.

Wal-Mart causes many problems for the economy. A recent USA Today article reported that 70% of its merchandise is imported from China. Consequently, fewer sales of U.S. goods hurts our economy. Much of Wal-Mart’s infamy comes from the way it stamps out competitors. According to one Michigan news source, when K-Mart filed for bankruptcy in 2002 and closed over 600 stores nationwide, the major cause was pressure from nearby stores, mainly Wal-Mart. Studies have shown that when Wal-Mart moves into a town, the life expectancy of local businesses decreases.

You would think that Wal-Mart would take care of its suppliers, but it doesn’t. They often pressure suppliers to lower prices, which causes suppliers to lose money. If a company refuses to lower the price, Wal-Mart will buy elsewhere. According to Fast Company magazine, Vlasic, who supplies Wal-Mart with pickles, was forced to lower the price of their 12-pound pickle jar to $2.97. Sales soared, but because of the low price, Vlasic lost millions.

Steve Young, Vlasic executive, recalled asking Wal-Mart for help. “They said, ‘No way,’” Young remembers. “We said we’d increase the price and they said, ‘If you do that, all the other products of yours we buy, we’ll stop buying.’”

Wal-Mart also makes bad decisions when paying employees. Jon Lehman, a former Wal-Mart store manager, suggests people “look behind that yellow smiley face and see what’s really happening to workers.” A Wal-Mart employee typically earns $8.23 an hour, while the average supermarket worker makes $10.35, according to a report by a California congressman. These low wages often force workers to turn to welfare including government housing and medical care, as well as free school lunches for their children.

Wal-Mart officials often permit employees to commit unfair or even illegal acts. Over the last few years, well over 100 unfair labor practice charges have been lodged against Wal-Mart around the country, with 43 charges filed in 2002 alone, according to a report for the World Trade Organization. Business Week reports that Wal-Mart pays women less than men. The New York Times found that often Wal-Mart does not promote women equitably. Each year, Wal-Mart is sued 4,700 times, an average of 13 times each day, according to the Cleveland Scene. Most of the problems could be cleared up if Wal-Mart stopped worrying about who is the cheapest to pay and decided to hire people for honest wages.

Wal-Mart is one of the worst places you can spend your money. You may find low prices when you shop there, but you are ultimately paying a higher cost for the terrible things you are funding. Wal-Mart is the largest company in the world, and it will take something big to make them change. Avoid shopping at Wal-Mart. Combined, consumers like you and I can make the big change happen.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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This article has 14 comments. Post your own!

Todd said...
Jul. 20 at 11:10 pm:
I was a Refrigeration Technician working on WalMart's Refrigeration and Air Conditioning some years ago and I had the task as the assistant to the Service manager where I worked. Walmart told us what to charge them on service calls and installing equipment in their stores. I told Walmart that isn't how we worked that we charge market prices for the areas in which the service call was placed. That was the free enterprise system and we are not working for $14 less per hour on your equipmen... (more »)
 
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Lola_Sveroski said...
Apr. 2, 2010 at 10:06 pm:
I thought it was an absolutely brilliant display of a persuasive article. I certainly don't want to go to Wal * Mart. Not that I wanted to anyways... I mean, why's everyone like, "I'm bored... Let's go to Wal * Mart!"?
 
Sarbear This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Apr. 3, 2010 at 12:10 pm :
i agree... this is a really great opinion essay and i like how you presented the issue. i hate how ppl just randomly go to walmart like its some kind of amusement park though! we know someone who does that, don't we lola??
 
Lola_Sveroski replied...
Apr. 3, 2010 at 6:17 pm :
Ahh yes... WalMart does just kinda SUCK.
 
Sarbear This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Apr. 3, 2010 at 7:16 pm :
lol yeah...
 
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Lizabeth This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 22, 2009 at 10:00 pm:
Obviously the above comment was directed at 'Alex C.'
I loved this article, very true, very good.
Awesome writing, good job!
 
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morgie7<3 said...
Sept. 21, 2009 at 8:05 pm:
Wow i can tell u really know a lot about what your writing about and i appreciate seeing that!!! :) My family shops at Walmart all the time because it has everything for great prices...but this article gives me something to keep in mind. Great work (:
 
SilverAngel replied...
Oct. 10, 2009 at 5:37 pm :
Of course! Go to K-Mart!
 
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Amber1994 said...
Jul. 11, 2009 at 11:57 pm:
WOW great job! this is why our family shops at meijer.
 
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Alex C. said...
Jul. 11, 2009 at 12:05 am:
This is an excellent article, however I feel that I need to repudiate many of these claims:
Purchase of foreign goods: Capitalism in its most basic form, a higher quality good that can be purchased at a lower price will obviously be the best option for a company.
Pressuring surrounding stores: An example of survival of the fittest: other companies have to adapt and evolve to survive, they have been coddled by anti-monopoly laws, and now by bailouts too much. If a company can't m... (more »)
 
Annabelle7614 replied...
Sept. 13, 2009 at 2:05 pm :
I would like to read your comment, but I don't understand it. Could you please explain it in different words so that I can know what you are saying?
Thanks!
 
Lizabeth This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Nov. 22, 2009 at 9:58 pm :
Purchase of foreign goods= higher local costs= lower possibility of a company/business affording it= Economic degradation. (LOCAL as in THIS country as in that's-the-reason-for-the-recession) Best option in the short-term when your consumers are ignorant? Yes. In the long-term survival of your business? Maybe, most likely not. Survival of the fittest? NO. Not when you play dirty. NOT when your business model is only to make money for yourself. It's not because of too many regulations ... (more »)
 
Lizabeth This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Nov. 22, 2009 at 10:26 pm :
Oops. I meant when Jeneen, refers to local business closing. Sorry!
 
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sara J. said...
Jul. 9, 2009 at 7:26 pm:
great work Jeneen
 
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