Good news America! Walmart, one of our biggest and most beloved American corporations had a record-breaking Black Friday, logging over ten million transactions in just a few hours! Among a lot of other “stuff”, they sold almost two million towels, 250,000 bicycles, and over 1.3 million televisions, which is especially terrific news for all those foreign manufacturers that make the stuff. That should keep those kids busy!
But as you may have read, an otherwise jubilent day for Walmart was marred by protesting employees, angered over the fact that the company pays such low wages. Since I have never shopped at Walmart, much less worked at one, I was curious how much Walmarters make.
(OK, full disclosure, I lied… I have shopped at a Walmart a couple times. Once I needed a hundred rolls of cheap paper towels, and on another occasion I was staying near the airport in Detroit and needed a belt at 2 am. There had also been some drinking, but that is a different story.)
Anyway, according to the website Careerleak.com, the starting salary for a Walmart cashier is $17,000 – but that is only the beginning. Work your way up to Customer Service Associate and the salary jumps ot $18,000! Heck, if you really get on the career track there and work in the deli you can make $19,000. So assuming you have a family of two, you are making hundreds more than the official United States poverty level of $15,130 (not so good if you are a family of four with a poverty level of $23,050 – but you could get the kids working – that’s what Walmart would do.)
Of course, some people might find it distressing that the biggest private employer in the world (Walmart has over 2 million employees), has built a company based on paying workers wages dangerously close to the poverty line, but to me it seems to be a genius business model. Here’s how I think it works…..
- Walmart drives all the competitors out of business with “everyday low prices”. They achieve these low prices by outsourcing all our domestic manufacturing jobs overseas to impoverished economies hungry for any kind of work and happy to take near-slave wages.
- All the people that used to make good wages at the companies that Walmart put out of business are now too poor to shop at good stores, so they have to buy all their stuff at Walmart, even though they hate the company.
Pure genius! Walmart drives down wages so people can only afford to shop at Walmart.
When I did shop in Walmart I noticed something else interesting about their business model. They have managed to make shopping addictive. The are kind of like the crack cocaine dealers for consumer electronics, and other stuff people probably don’t need. When I visited the Detroit Walmart at 2 am I was shocked to see hundreds of people pushing huge carts around the store, unable to pass up any of these “everyday low prices”; zombie shoppers methodically dropping crap into their carts.
Wow, the complete Barney Miller DVD Collection for only $9.99! I gotta have that.
A forty gallon tub of peanut butter for only eighteen bucks. Give me a hand loading that up!
NPR was doing a story on the Walmart protests a few days ago, and the commentator mentioned that Walmart could actually raise the salaries of all their employees to $25,000 if all their shoppers paid an average of just 15 cents more per visit. That’s right – 15 cents! He detailed how raising the wages to $25,000 would also be a huge economic boon to the country, since so many people work there.
And that got me thinking….. I’m willing to pay 15 cents to help put the American economy back on track, and I bet most people are. Since I have only shopped at Walmart twice, my cut only amounts to 30 cents, but I am thinking I might round up to a dollar. Here’s my idea. What if we all send 15 cents to Walmart with a note that says “here’s my 15 cents – now please give your employees a raise and save America.” Just drop a dime and a nickle into an envelope and send it to:
S. Robson Walton, Chairman
Walmart Corporate Headquarters
702 SW 8th Street, Bentonville, AR 72716-8611
Even though Walmart had net income last year of 15.4 billion dollars, all those dimes and nickles might just do the trick.