I have to start out by making a concession. In my last piece on Wal-Mart it seems that I used a poor choice of words when I stated that Wal-Mart opening more stores was not a very good way to cut costs. The simple point that I was trying to make was that Wal-Mart, by openening more stores while continuing to shaft its employees on basic benefits and decent living wages, in my opinion, shows that Wal-Mart cares little for the well-being of its employees.
Here's a fact: Wal-Mart reported record second quarter sales and earnings this year. The retailer's net income for the second quarter was $2.8 billion (up 5.8%). This is the typical song and dance from these corporations...cut jobs and shaft employees while the company is raking in record profits (view the earnings statement).
So yes, I was wrong in stating that opening new stores was not a good way to cut costs as it will indeed increase store revenues. But how does that help the employees? Lee Scott has made it very clear that Wal-Mart has no intention of raising the wages of its workers.
But that's not the point of this week's rant. Today is the release of Robert Greenwald's documentary "Wal-Mart: The Hight Cost of Low Price" which takes a look at what the mega-corporation is doing to our communities and our nation and it seems like the movie has Wal-Mart a little worried. According to an article in the NYTimes today, Wal-Mart is concerned that the film could be a success on the caliber of Michael Moore's "Rober & Me" and do further harm to the company's already sullied image.
Wal-Mart's response: they hired some of the biggest names in the PR industry and have fired up a war room to try to ease the minds of reluctant shoppers. They've even gone so far as to make a film to counter Greenwald's documentary which they've so cleverly titled "Why Wal-Mart Works & Why That Makes Some People Crazy".