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Review:Movie:Wal-Mart:The High Cost of Low Prices

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Wal-Mart:The High Cost of Low Prices

NR documentary, 1 hr, 2005.

: "Producer, director and activist Robert Greenwald takes aim at the corporate giant that's come to symbolize big business in America: Wal-Mart. Blasing the box-store Goliath for allegedly paying substandard wages, skimping on employee health benefits and eviscerating communities, this hard-hitting, emotional documentary profiles the struggle of everyday folks from around the country who've committed themselves to fighting the maga-retailer." -- Netflix

Official Website


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Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price (Paperback) (


Glad I Stopped Shopping at Wal-Mart Several Months Ago

On Dec. 13, 2006, NEC member, Congress:Founder:Sterling D. Allan wrote:

I knew Wal-Mart was substandard, but I had no idea how bad they were until watching this film.

They do not pay their employees enough to make a living, and actually give them instructions on how to file for government assistance to make ends meet. Very often Wal-Mart installations are subsidized by the government, a perk not given to the prior merchants whose businesses are jeopardized by the Wal-Mart prices, often driving them out of business. Wal-Mart rigorously and oppressively opposes formation of a union, intimidating workers who begin considering such a step. Wal-Mart parking lots are notorious for crime due to lack of monitoring, a problem that could easily be remedied. Wal-Mart also has a horrendous record when it comes to environmental regulation compliance. The documentary shows the sweat shop conditions of the Wal-Mart supplier factories in China and elsewhere, where the employees work long hours, with no days off, for miniscule pay, and are told how to lie when asked by outsiders about their conditions. Meanwhile, the top-level administration and heirs of Wal-Mart are raking in outlandish windfall from the profits, giving very little to charity.

More and more communities are saying "no" to Wal-Mart. We have one moving into a neighboring town of Saratoga Springs. I will be opposing that move, to see that it is not accomplished. As long as Wal-Mart abides by these oppressive tactics in order to secure their low prices, they should not be supported. Theirs is a non-sustainable and deeply corrupt model that must be vigorously opposed.

Not a Huge Fan Myself But To Be Fair

On Dec. 14, 2006, Sam K wrote:

I am not a huge fan of Wal-Mart by any means but to be fair I've seen the video and it is completely one sided. They show a hometown hardware store where people make what was it, $12.00 an hour plus benefits? I'm sorry but there is an Ace hardware store in my little hometown and no one is paid over $8.00 an hour, not even adults. Without Wal-Mart in our area there would be a noticeably higher unemployment rating. Surprisingly Wal-Mart has the highest wages and best benefit plan of any entry level job opportunity in the three counties closest to me. No company likes a union because unions if not handled extremely carefully by those in them, will cause more harm to a company and could result in the loss of jobs. We had a factory locally that the union went on strike and caused such a disruption in the production line that the factory had to be closed, for good. Wal-Marts environmental record has not been a shining example I will definitely agree there, but a new initiative by Wal-Mart is starting to change that, beginning with pushing the new super efficient light bulbs over traditional ones. Which doesn't seem like much until you look at what is spent in energy and materials with traditional bulbs. Wal-Mart suppliers are no different in China than any other supplier, china is not a fun place to work no matter who you work for. Yes the administration and heirs are reaping massive profits and it would be an improvement to see them donate more but when you earn money it is yours to do as you wish.

Agreed, currently and in the past Wal-Mart has made many poor choices, but to complain about it and boycott them does nothing seeing as how no matter what is said they continue to grow. Only constructive criticism and advice will have an impact. Instead of punishing them for doing wrong why not praise and show support when they do the right thing?

Related Coverage

Image:Sam Walton 95x95.jpg

It's Getting Harder to Hate Wal-Mart - TreeHugger did several stories last year about Wal-Mart, including coverage of Green Roofs, Bullfrog Power, Corn based plastics, sustainable fish, buying forests, and most recently, 100 Million Compact Fluorescent Bulbs. They are replacing their trucking fleet to double its fuel efficiency. What's going on? Is this for real or greenwashing? (TreeHugger May 17, 2006)

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