I have a confession to make—I once worked for Walmart Stores, Inc. Not in a Walmart store, but a Sam’s Club—which is owned by Walmart.
Now I’m sure many people have read many stories about the evils of Walmart, but you don’t see many about what it’s like to actually work for the company. Let me tell you, the company is nothing but the definition of what it is to be disgustingly greedy.
First, let’s look at the heirs to Walmart and their worth, about $90 billion—between 6 individuals. To put that money into a context, these 6 people could:
- Give every citizen of Texas (25 million people) $3,600
- Give every American (Over 314 million) just about $300
- Make 90,000 people millionaires
- Give $100,000 to 900,000 people
- Buy 360,000 homes worth $250,000 each
- Build all 32 NFL teams brand new $1 billion dollar stadiums—and still have $58 billion leftover
- Give every human being on the planet $10—and still have $20 billion leftover
They’re also worth more than the combined net worth of 42% of the American population, or roughly 132 million people.
Yet the average Walmart employee makes $8.81 per hour. It would take the typical full-time Walmart employee 818,553 years to make as much as one heir to Walmart is worth ($15 billion on average).
So keep all of that in mind as I tell you about what it’s like working for these greedy bastards.
When you first get hired you’re given an orientation, like at most jobs. In this orientation you’re shown several videos, one of which is called “The Benefits of Working for Walmart.” But it’s really a 30 minute video bashing unions. No, I’m not kidding. It’s literally a video about 30 minutes long of people telling you how terrible unions are to work for.
After that, depending on your job, the training is fairly typical. But the true nature of the greed of this company is found in how they run their business.
See, everything is controlled in Arkansas. From the air conditioning and heat, inventory to the scheduling system. Everything is controlled at their home office in Arkansas.
I will say that they do raise a lot of money for charity, but the way they do this is disgusting. Basically what they do is give every store a goal they must reach. I say must because they’re contracted with certain charities to raise a certain amount (otherwise they lose certain perks, tax breaks and must pay these companies back for the fundraising supplies given to them), and once they hit these goals—that’s it. The end. You won’t see them raise another dollar until the next fiscal year starts when they repeat the same cycle. This is not money raised out of the goodness of their heart, it’s done completely for PR and the way it’s done internally treats it like any other task they’re forced to do and wouldn’t bother with if they didn’t benefit from it in some way.
“Full-time” at Walmart is just a term, it definitely doesn’t mean 40 hours per week. It’s common for “full-time” Walmart employees to get 32-34 hours a week. For part-time, sometimes you’re lucky if you get 20 hours. And don’t even think about overtime, they’ll write you up if you go over 40 hours in a week without permission.
If you work over 6 hours you’re required to take a lunch. I’m sure this stems from previous lawsuits against them for not giving employees the legally required break and lunch times. In fact, to ensure those working 6 hours or more take a lunch they lock them out of any system until
they clock out for at least 30 minutes. And be careful, they schedule a ton of 5 1/2 hour shifts so you’re only required to be given one 15 minute break, and if you happen to stay a little later and go even 1 minute over 6 hours—you’re required to take a lunch. If you don’t, you get written up as well. Not because they care about ensuring you’re given the breaks/lunches you deserve, but because they don’t want to get sued for not giving them to you.
When you work at Sam’s Club you’re required to sell memberships—and credits, and early renewals and warranties. Honestly, checking out at Sam’s Club borders on harassment. They’re strict on these numbers and ride the employees relentlessly about hitting “goals.” Are there perks to reaching these goals? Well, sure—you get to keep your job. That’s basically it. Mind you, they put this kind of pressure on employees making less than $10 per hour. They treat them more like high-level sales employees than what they are; low-level hourly cashiers.
Towards the end of my time at Sam’s the regional manager, which is the person overseeing all the clubs in a certain area, told every Store Manager that they were required to hit their numbers and cut 110 wage hours—per day, every day. He actually told them, “You’re asking yourselves right now if I really said hit your numbers and cut 110 hours daily, and yes I did. I don’t care how you do it, just get it done. Oh, and make sure we don’t have long lines, our ‘member service’ stays top-notch and our employees have positive attitudes.”
110 hours of wages per day. Just think about how much that is. It’s basically cutting the equivalent of 14 full-time employees per club, every single day, while still hitting your numbers. Numbers that were difficult to reach even when fully staffed, let alone staffed at about 30% of what you need to run a giant warehouse. And if you didn’t cut those hours and hit your numbers, he’d visit those clubs to threaten and berate all of the managers and supervisors.
They were ruthlessly gutting these clubs of their employees. There were times where we literally couldn’t figure out how to give breaks to certain areas that had to be manned because we had no one available to cover them. Floor supervisors were cashiering, managers were doing what the supervisors were supposed to be doing and there were many times that we couldn’t meet the demands of what our customers needed, even on slow days, because we simply didn’t have the people there to do so. As the complaints poured in, the same regional manager made it a point to berate and threaten all supervisors and managers even more because of “poor member service.” And “not having enough employees to get the job done” wasn’t an acceptable excuse.
By the time I left, it was only getting worse. They were demanding more, giving less and putting more pressure on low-level hourly employees—while gutting their hours. When I left, some part-time employees were getting 8-12 hours per week. And no, you couldn’t pick up more hours.
So, when I say that all of the horror stories you hear about Walmart are true, I’m not lying. This company defines what it is to be a greedy son of a bitch of a corporation. It treats its employees like disposable cogs in a wheel, operates completely based on how to squeeze the most out of people while giving them as little as possible in return, and trust me…
If Walmart could legally get away with treating its employees even worse—it would in a heartbeat. And they wouldn’t give a damn.