Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Wally World Redeemed...Thank God!

As most of you know I stay oblivious to news of any kind, but last week some media snuck through when Dirt informed me that Walmart was collecting money from a former (disabled) employee who was injured and received a settlement from a lawsuit related to her injury.

I generally try to see things from "the other perspective", so before rushing to conclusions about how evil Walmart is (I don't believe they're evil, I believe they are successful), I told Dirt that it was probably just part of their plan policy. I was thinking that it was written into their Short Term Disability policy - which is quite common. Many plans have clauses saying that if the employee gets a big payout, they should repay the (insurance) company for the disability payments they received. I don't love that clause, but insurance companies are slick. Personally, I say the company paid for the employee to have that insurance, the employee should be able to keep the darn disabilty payments. Of course there are implications to this perspective: the cost of the insurance would go up and then the employees would complain at open enrollment time about the rising cost of benefits - you can't have it both ways. So in order to keep costs down, companies accept plan policies with funky clauses that will only impact about 1% of the employee population.

Even though I kept my cool on the outside, I was a little nervous on the inside about this recent Walmart media-flare up. Plan documents or not, this case seemed extreme - the article said that Walmart was suing this disabled woman for all of her money! I have been on the other side of the Walmart hate wagon for years. (I don't TRY to go with the unpopular opinion, it just happens that way... a lot). My brother and my mother-in-law are ardent Walmart-haters. My MIL literally refuses to step foot inside the bargain wonderland.

Walmart is a store. A very successful store. Sam Walton's story is your classic rags to riches story - it's the American dream. He was an Eagle Scout, he served our country, and he opened a bunch of stores, hired seniors and handicapped people to greet customers, AND passed on discounts to millions of people each year. During my graduate program I studied their business model and found it to be concrete (with high employee satisfaction levels)...of course this was based on the information in my text book (not on the headlines or Michael Moore's slant). I don't know - Americans love to hate - if its not one thing it's another. It's so "in" and so "cool" to take a stand against things, and big companies are a great target.

For those who don't know, Walmart isn't a social services organization, they're a business. The only thing they owe their employees is a paycheck that is in accordance with FLSA. Everything else is gravy - if you don't like it, don't work there. If you don't like their products or customer service, then don't shop there. Find something more meaningful to hate, like Affirmative Action (lol).

Anyway, I digress.

Dirt sent me this link today; apparently Walmart decided that they were wrong, apologized, and decided not to collect this poor woman's lawsuit settlement (which is more than we can say for her lawyers, who took their cut out of it). As it turns out, it was part of their health insurance plan policy. I am relieved by this news for many reasons, some which include my brother and my MIL, but mostly because I don't want to see Michael Moore make another documentary about the evils or Walmart, or anything else really.

29 comments:

K-Sea said...

Wal Mart sucks-Please take a moment to investigate their evils. Of all the causes you could take up you choose Wal Mart?

I am against ANYTHING becoming powerful to the point where it can impose it's Will on society to the detriment of people who don't have the means to fight back. This includes Government, Dominionism, Private Entities and the New York Yankees.

K-Sea said...

This one really has me going. Maybe you would change your mind if they put a GINORMOUS mega store in the open space just beyond your backyard. Imagine they pay off everyone in town to put the store in...you start a neighborhood group to fight back...you spend the next two years having bake sales to start a legal team to stop them from moving in....then one day a Cadillac with the license plate WALLY2 rolls into Eliot and parks at the town hall....2 days later the bulldozers show up..........I'll stop here cause this could never happen......right?

T5M said...

...it would save me some mileage when I shop there...

K-Sea said...

How dare you steer clear of fruitful debate!

MOM said...

Wow! I believe you struck a nerve with your brother. I believe that is called, "pinged"

Audra said...

I dislike Walmart as well - but I dislike them for the same reason I dislike Target, Hannaford, CVS, etc. The perpetuate the idea in America that you need STUFF - that STUFF makes you happy - that you need new sheets every season, and plastic crap from China for your kids and if you just buy them one treat you will be the best Mom EVER!!!!!! Shop local people and put Walmart and all those other big businesses that are killing the enviroment under!

Scrapbook Dream Makers said...

I thought I'd comment on this one I boycott WalMart. Why? Because of what they do to small businesses, they ‘eat em’ up, small businesses cant compete with their prices, and therefore "that mom and pop hardware store" (you know the one they used to be in every city, town.... has been in forced to close its doors.... :( Small business is the heart of our communities…

Also, a walmart comes into a suburban town, promise to be a big contributor to the community it serves and for the first few years (or year) supports local charities, youth baseball leagues, etc... and then pulls the rug right out...

Additionally, they pay their associations minimum wage while Mr. Walton is getting rich….I recently read of walmart executive telling their employees to take advantage of state/federal benefits (like welfare) because thats what they are for...what???

Lastly, I don’t agree with having inefficient people working registers, who cant even speak English and are trying to cash someone’s check (when did WalMart become a bank by the way????).

I recommend the Big Box Swindle http://www.bigboxswindle.com/

I’ll step off the soap box now. :)

Jermaine said...

I generally don't like any large store (unless it has something to do with fishing). Oh how I love Bass Pro Shops and Cabelas.

Walmart is not my favorite store, but if I want something and I feel Walmart has it, I will go and get it. My question is why is Walmart the only store singled out for this type of contempt? The same people who despise Walmart are the same people you see in Home Depot, Target, buy their fruit at Shaws, wear Nike sneakers, etc. All of these stores/products have replaced a mom and pop shop somewhere along the line. Ironically, most companies started as a mom and pop shop. I am willing to bet that all the mom and pop shops that were closed because of these stores would do the same thing if they had the opportunity. They are all in business to make as much money as possible. One is no different from the other. They have have dirt and have taken advantage of someone or something to get over. Walmart just happens to be the flavor of the day. Nike had it's turn when it was revealed that the children making their shoes live and work in horrible conditions and are paid 10 cents per day. K-mart had it's day in the sun when similar accusations were made about the working conditions of the people making their clothes (Kathy Lee Gifford). Do we really care?

I agree with Audra. The problem is not Walmart. It is that we are a nation of consumers and we need to feed "the beast" to maintain this illusion we call our standard of living and the pursuit of the American Dream.

Audra said...

Oh lord Jermaine agrees with me - now I am in trouble!
Jermaine there is a Cabelas going in almost around the corner from my house!! I assume I will see you quite frequently in the future.

Audra said...

BTW Alison (from my blog) wanted me to let you know that she is the Scrapbookers Dream Makers poster in your comments section

K-Sea said...

Dirt taking a shot at his B.I.L. I couldn't disagree more. Walmart has a long history of underhanded dealings, Forgive me if I haven't researched Home Depot, Shaws etc...to be honest I never researched Walmart either, their misgivings are glaring and well reported. Also I have a choice to buy Nikes or others, there are 5 places to buy groceries with 10 miles, I can buy tools at places other than Home Depot. We live where we can have a choice. Wal Mart preys on small communities who don't have the choices we do. THAT is my problem. In the Midwest Wal Mart is the bank, the grocery store, the mortgage broker, the insurance agent, the barber.....no choice. Go to a ball field and show me a little league team with a Wal Mart sponsorship..you can't.. but you certainly will find Joes Insurance sponsoring your children's teams.

K-Sea said...

"but you certainly will find Joes Insurance sponsoring your children's teams" If they are still around.

K-Sea said...

DIRT "Walmart just happens to be the flavor of the day"

My contempt for Walmart began in 1985 when an expose was done on their "Made In America" campaign. Turned out nothing they sold was made in America, they blatantly lied It's a flavor of the day that has lasted 20+ years.

Jermaine said...

Nice! Shaunie, my comments weren't directed specifically towards you, but that makes my point. We all wear Nike shoes, shope at Home Depot, and buy our fruit at Shaws. They are huge, ubiquitous stores unlike Walmart. I am cynical when it comes to large companies. I think they are all dirty. Big oil anyone? Talk about companies taking advantage of American people. We are paying record costs for gas and the oil companies are making record profits. We don't have a choice there either (unless we all ride bikes and horses). My point is that Walmart is the only one called evil among the many companies that deserve the same label.

Jermaine said...

That is "not unlike Walmart".

K-Sea said...

My point..is Home Depot looking for total shopping supremacy or just hardware supremacy? When HD comes to town they put the local hardware store out of business, thats it (bad enough). Wal Mart shoots for the grocery stores, banks, insurance...anything they get their hands on.
I agree about large companies, actually like I said originally anything large enough to impose it's will on the people is not my bag.

K-Sea said...

Dirt-wanna go half on a horse?

Audra said...

Dirt can't go half on a horse Shaun - he can't even part with a truck that he doesn't need to haul a boat he doesn't need because both are killing the enviroment.

T5M said...

Hi Alyson!
Welcome to the family feud! (minus kisses from Richard Dawson)

I personally think that Walmart gives back to the community by hiring inefficient, old, and handicapped individuals who would otherwise be sitting home depressed and on public assistance. The "greeter position" is, in and of itself "community service", as those folks are generally unemployable.

MaineMomKC5 said...

Audra - the 1880's are calling, they want you back.

You guys should just buy two asses for the price of one horse.

Let's not forget what the typical Wal-Mart shopper looks like people!! Can we say SCARY?

I love buying my produce at the Golden Harvest - it just feels fresher to me. Plus I know I'm supporting a local business. My grandfather owned a butcher shop years ago that was in my family for 50 years (Cote's Market). My grandfather didn't do it b/c he hoped to grow big and go global or for the bottom line, he did it b/c he loved owning his own business. People would come in and buy meat and get to talk with the owner - imagine that!! Unfortunately the SUPERmarket came into play and put all those small butcher shops out of business. Now independent butcher shops/meat markets are in high demand.

We also need to start buying organic so we can bring those costs down so our kids can stop eating pesticide apples.

Oh yes, and supermarkets should give discounts if you bring in those reusable grocery bags! I feel bad when I throw away 32 plastic bags every time I go to the store (you can only keep so many!).

Let see...what else.........

K-Sea said...

Erin, I don't know how to say this in a PC way but...in Derry about 15 years ago they had a greeter who had a 3 ft long head. He actually scared the customers so that had to move him out back.

T5M said...

Isn't it wonderful that Walmart employed him. Yay Walmart! ...touching story - you won't find it on the front page of any newspaper though... took that kid off of welfare!

Alison said...

This thread of comments had me laughing out loud...Looking forward to the next "hot button" topic.
Audra's Friend. (Alison)

Audra said...

The 1880s want me back - well I want to go back! I have a obsession with all things Laura Ingalls Wilder!
Erin - Alison's name is with an I not a Y..

MaineMomKC5 said...

Audra - ha ha!! I LOVED Little House on the Prairie. Nelly Olsen was the BEST! Anyway, I thought you had made the horse comment but I think it was Jermaine (hence the 1880's comment). This blog is so long I forget who said what.

The Gawel's said...

Let's not pick on Home Depot!

I can't believe the comments already. I wish I had time to read them in detail--off to study for a mid-term!

Tiana said...

Hi Erin:
I know I'm only a reader of the blog and not a commenter and please don't take this the wrong way, but are you by any chance a Republican?

Not hating just asking.

T5M said...

Hi Tia!
It's good to see you on the blog! Wow - mention Walmart and everyone comes out!

I'm actually a vegetarian. JK - labels are for jars.

So, are you coming up this summer? ..are you still tri-ing?

Mainecatwoman said...

From where I sit, just because something is a for-profit business does NOT give it carte blanche to make money by any means possible, Milton Friedman notwithstanding. The free economy and open markets are still, in the end, a result of the activity of human beings. Enterprises owe us something, whether they believe they do or not.

I'm not a fan of Wal-Mart. I try to give my business elsewhere if it's at all humanly possible.