Monday, December 19, 2005

Changing Walmart

One thing for sure about Walmart, they illicit a strong reaction from the public. One is either part of the population which relies on Wal-Mart and its cheap goods- or believes that such a business should not be criticized or protested (capitalism and all its extremes are acceptable, because it is black and white; either we are with Walmart or against Walmart) or one is among the millions that shops at Target (ahh, a few cents more for clean stores, happy employees and friendlier shoppers) or just thinks Walmart is tantamount to the Great Satan that should be destroyed by any means necessary, including government intrusion, lies told for the greater truth or Fight Club-esque tactics.

While I am squarely in the Target/ Anti-Walmart crowd, I do not consider Walmart a greater evil than any other greedy corporation gone amuck, caring little for its employees (oh c'mon, we pay you almost nothing, treat you like dirt, give you no benefits and cause you to rely on the government for health care- BUT, we sell you everything you need for your home- as long as you are not evicted- at really cheap prices) or the greater community (i.e. stewardship, responsibility, etc.), I do not think they should be destroyed, lied about, or even made to leave communities in which they already exist. I even think, if possible, the government should stay out of it. I just think they should act better.

It is the American way for companies to act this way when they see themselves as beholden to nothing but a bottom line and large profit margin (I have been told countless times that companies are responsible to the stockholder, noone else). These companies need the people that shop there to hold them to a higher standard, one which sees responsibility to employees, profits/ stockholders, the neighborhood, the environment, their view of god, and the greater good as complimentary not competing.

Unlike some, I do think Walmart should change. I also believe Walmart can change. I even believe that Walmart can change and still make a huge profit, lining the pockets of its stockholders and bosses with much cash, while treating its employees better. They can still sell crap for less than other people do, really.

Fast Company also thinks Walmart can and should change. Here is a list detailing 10 things Walmart can do to become a better citizen. 1-5 here, 6-10 here.

thanks to Jordon for the link

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