Law School Discussion

wal-mart and unions

EarlCat

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Re: wal-mart and unions
« Reply #40 on: August 06, 2008, 12:03:59 PM »
Why do you think it is that people who can "barely make ends meet" shop at Wal Mart?  Maybe because they work there?

Yes, because there are no poor people who don't work at Wal-Mart.  They can be completely self-sustaining by selling things to their employees.  ...oh wait

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Perhaps because in parts of the country where there is little alternative to Wal Mart, in towns where most people work there or at other lower paying jobs, there is no choice but to pump wages earned right back into Wal Mart?

So the alternative to Wal-Mart is lower paying jobs?  Interesting.

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Wal Mart is not some benevolent force bringing products to the poor masses who didn't get any book learnin'.  They know exactly what they're doing, and what they're doing is taking advantage of people with limited options, because they can.  WHEN THEY DON'T NEED TO in order to stay ridiculously profitable, as has already been pointed out.

Who gets to define when profit becomes ridiculous?  Can I decide when you make too much?

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It's disgusting when people say that it's fine for 14-year-olds in the third world to work for 10 cents an hour, because what would they do otherwise?

Work for 5 cents and hour?

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Also, Wal Mart doesn't make all of it's money off the poor who would have to, apparently, live on the streets were it not for the kind hand of the Walton family.  There is one Wal Mart where I live, in RichWhiteVille, USA.  I can assure you that none of the Cadillacs or Lincolns or BMWs in the parking lot are driven by people who can't afford to pay five cents more down the road at KMart.  Or ten cents more at Target.

What is KMart paying these days?

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They're driven by people who so selfishly want to save five and ten cents on toilet paper they don't care what their patronage means for people in America and around the world who are abused by the Wal Mart system.  That's not affluence, it's not class, it's not sophistication.  It's straight up nouveau riche trash, and it's f-ing pathetic.

Hmmm.  Toilet paper for $3.50 or $3.60.  I'll pay $3.60 so I can feel better about the helping poor.   

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Further, unions haven't destroyed the auto industry.  That's absolute crap spouted by people with little understanding beyond what they learned in freshman economics.  The American auto industry is in a pickle right now because they gave away the keys to the future while they were making bank in the 90s and early 00s with minivans, trucks and SUVs.  Their moronic WHITE COLLAR leadership pumped endless resources into areas that don't help a company survive an abysmal economy and $5 a gallon gas.  They didn't listen to anyone or anything not concerned with the immediate bottom line, they didn't really concern themselves with what consumers actually wanted, and they let foreign companies lure people away with cheap *&^% that'll run for 140,000 miles and get 30 miles to the gallon in the process.

This would be a good argument if the auto industry's problems were a recent phenomenon.
 
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Has anyone bashing unions ever actually worked in an auto plant?  Clearly not, or you'd have a much better understanding and respect for the role unions have played in American industry.  I'm so tired of hearing a bunch of pansy-ass, paper-pushing, future dime-a-dozen lawyers, who would crap their pants if they had to actually WORK for a living, female dog about organizations that have given protection and security to the people who've kept America running for 200 years.

So I assume you're going to forego law school to work in an auto plant?

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Hrmm.  This post was a little harsh.  Oh well.  Last day of work and I'm bored.


So you complain about people who don't actually WORK for a living, then complain about being bored at work.   Nice.

Saxby Clemens II

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Re: wal-mart and unions
« Reply #41 on: August 06, 2008, 12:27:28 PM »
Dear God.   

I gave my thoughts on the ridiculous arguments you and other Wal Mart "fans" have already given in this thread already.  I don't need to rehash them so you can again reply with the same tired commentary.  If you see nothing wrong with Wal Mart's strategy, good luck when karma rolls around, my friend.   

As for the auto industry, their problems have always been the same.  Launching the wrong product at the wrong time to the wrong audience.  Chrysler was putting out enormous tanks throughout the 70s that were not only dated but impossible to maintain due to quality issues and the high price of fuel.  They almost drove themselves bankrupt.  How did they bounce back?  By releasing the Aries and the Reliant.  Two decent cars that looked good, were easy to maintain, fuel efficient and practical for potential buyers.  They then cemented their comeback with the minivan, an enormous success for the same reason.  Same with Ford.  They were putting out poorly executed, dated vehicles no one was interested in.  They were at the brink of extinction until the modern, efficient and reliable Escort, Tempo and Thunderbird pulled them far enough from the fire until the Taurus could prove to be a complete stay of execution. 

For someone who would surely agree that Wal Mart is successful simply because they put out products customers want, how interesting that you choose to blame the auto industry's problems on unions rather than on their failure to simply give customers what they wanted.

I also never claimed I wasn't a dime-a-dozen pencil pusher myself.  I just have enough respect for those who went before me and did the jobs that needed to be done to make this the sort of country where snot-nosed kids like you could make $150,000 a year doing, again in the grand scheme of things, nothing of particular importance, and only demanding a completely reasonable share of the pie in return.   

Gengiswump

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Re: wal-mart and unions
« Reply #42 on: August 06, 2008, 01:28:09 PM »
Sax, that was hot.  If I were your type, I'd do ya.

EarlCat

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Re: wal-mart and unions
« Reply #43 on: August 06, 2008, 03:09:03 PM »
I gave my thoughts on the ridiculous arguments you and other Wal Mart "fans" have already given in this thread already.

Author presumes without providing justification that I and other posters are "fans" of WalMart, rather than simply people who oppose forced unionization.  -1 for ad hominum.

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I don't need to rehash them so you can again reply with the same tired commentary.  If you see nothing wrong with Wal Mart's strategy, good luck when karma rolls around, my friend.

How about answering direct questions (such as how much does KMart pay?) rather than (incorrectly) ASSuming my positions and condemning me to bad karma.  You don't know *&^% about me, where I shop, or how I treat others.

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As for the auto industry, their problems have always been the same.  Launching the wrong product at the wrong time to the wrong audience.  Chrysler was putting out enormous tanks throughout the 70s that were not only dated but impossible to maintain due to quality issues and the high price of fuel.  They almost drove themselves bankrupt.  How did they bounce back?

Government bailout.

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I also never claimed I wasn't a dime-a-dozen pencil pusher myself.  I just have enough respect for those who went before me and did the jobs that needed to be done to make this the sort of country where snot-nosed kids like you

-2 for ad hominum

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could make $150,000 a year doing, again in the grand scheme of things, nothing of particular importance, and only demanding a completely reasonable share of the pie in return.

I don't make $150,000 a year (please feel free to write your congressman about how I'm exploited), and again, who exactly gets to determine what is "reasonable" (or "important" for that matter)?

mugatu

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Re: wal-mart and unions
« Reply #44 on: August 06, 2008, 05:26:12 PM »
The split isn't between more and less expensive goods.  The split is between more and less goods.  Chances are, less is better.

Saxby Clemens II

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Re: wal-mart and unions
« Reply #45 on: August 06, 2008, 06:16:50 PM »

Saxby, I generally like you but you're living in the world of 'good' and 'bad'.  You feel Wal-Mart is bad for being profitable selling cheap items.  Eh.  Thus, anyone who defends Wal-Mart must feel that company is "good".  Wal-Mart's far from benevolent or altruistic.  It is neither Ben nor Jerry.  However, Wal-Mart is a necessary entity for those who do not enjoy a middle class standard of living and middle class guilt. Without Wal-Mart, goods and services will be more expensive.  NOBODY is forced to shop at Wal-Mart.  Wal-Mart does not require folks to spend their pay checks at their registers.  I live in a little town with a Wal-Mart in competition with a few other smaller shops.  People shop at Wal-Mart to save money.  Since when does buying cheaper toilet paper equal exploitation?

You mention rich people frequent Wal-Mart too.  Yeah, well.  How is that relevant?   

Take someone on a limited income and ask what's better for them - cheap goods or more expensive goods?  Thus, I am completely unconcerned with whether Wal-Mart's profits are "unreasonable" or "bad" and I'm not in the business of deeming them "good" either.  They are what they are and many Wal-Mart costumers are much better off with the company's existence than without.

I generally like you, too, but a few things:

I don't think that Wal Mart is bad because they profit from selling cheap items.  There's nothing at all wrong with that.  I didn't mean to suggest, nor do I think I did, that everyone should shop at Neiman Marcus or live in a town filled with only independent retailers. 

Wal Mart is not a store I patronize because I do not believe in many of their corporate practices.  Plain and simple.  I think their anti-union stance is completely ridiculous.  I really don't have the interest in reading through yet another example of Earl Cat's amazing quoting skills, but I believe he mentioned something earlier about not being able to say when someone's made enough money.  IMO, when a company could easily provide their employees with higher wages and/or important benefits and still reap enormous profit, and not only refuse to do so but actively run a decades-long campaign against any attempts to unionize, that company is not one I will support.

I usually don't think anyone or anything is all good or all bad.  I'm a big fan of nuance.  When it comes to Wal Mart, I just see very little "good" to defend.  They give poor people in small towns access to cheaper goods.  OK.  So does KMart.  So does Target.  So does Sears.  So does Costco.  Do any of those stores invade small towns, taking advantage of lucrative tax breaks and incentives, only to bail from said small town once the tax man calls, leaving hundreds unemployed and a mega-structure it's impossible to find another tenant for?  No.  Certainly not with the frequency Wal Mart does.  Do those companies have a long history of denying advancement opportunities to women and minorities?  No.  Certainly not to the extent Wal Mart does.  Do those stores, as a matter of constant practice, deny employees overtime pay by "suggesting" they work during lunch breaks and off-the-clock?  No, I don't believe they do.  I certainly don't mean to suggest that Wal Mart is the only retailer with troublesome corporate practices.  Are they the worst?  I would definitely say so.  Have I posed and answered an annoying amount of my own questions in this paragraph?  Totally.     

In closing, the rich people thing is completely relevant.  Much of this discussion has been framed around the idea that people shop at Wal Mart because it saves them much needed money.  People who have a choice of discount retailers yet continue to shop at Wal Mart are supporting a company I don't believe deserves support, for all the reasons listed above.  It's particularly obnoxious if there's no actual need to save the extra pennies one might save at Wal Mart as opposed to KMart. 

I was raised to believe that to whom much is given, much is expected.  I think people of any means keeping or enhancing their means at the expense of the less-affluent in this country and in other parts of the world is a disgusting abuse of that principle.     

Re: wal-mart and unions
« Reply #46 on: August 06, 2008, 09:18:11 PM »
A few things:

Some studies suggest that Wal-Mart reduces the total number of jobs available and depresses wages when they enter a market. I confess I haven't read them in their entirety, or thoroughly analyzed their methodology, but food for thought for the "Wal-Mart creates opportunity!!" crowd.

Regarding the argument that those who work at Wal-Mart and in Wal-Mart style jobs could have gotten an education and gotten a better job: I find this argument incredibly disingenuous. This may be true on the micro level, for at least some individuals, but on the macro level it is far from being true. The fact is, we need people to fill the low-skill sector of the economy. At some point getting an education and seeking out other opportunities, if everyone did it, simply wouldn't be enough to get some people more lucrative jobs with better treatment. Someone is always going to be at the bottom. So putting aside all of these Horatio Alger-style arguments about pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, the question remains: how do we as a society want to treat the people who take on, by choice or by necessity, low-skill, menial, dirty, or otherwise onerous jobs that need to be done by someone? Do we think it is right and good and fair that those people face abusive and/or exploitative working conditions at a wage that is insufficient to meet their basic needs, or do we think that everyone should earn a wage that allows them to provide for themselves and be treated with dignity and respect in a safe (or as safe as possible, depending on the task) work environment? Which dovetails nicely into my next point...

Regarding "who decides what's appropriate": We do. We individually and we as a society are responsible for determining if a particular practice or business model meets our standards. That is, in large part, what this discussion is about. Now sure, coming to a general societal consensus is difficult, and is the stuff debates and elections, etc., are made of. But "who decides?!" is a cop-out. Even disregarding my socialistic leanings, it's perfectly acceptable for a society to say "no, it's not okay for you to get rich by treating people like that."

And finally

Quote from: earlcat
Hmmm.  Toilet paper for $3.50 or $3.60.  I'll pay $3.60 so I can feel better about the helping poor.   

It's not about feeling better about helping the poor. It's about acknowledging that there are these things called externalities. Maybe you'll learn about them in law school. That extra savings comes at a cost somewhere along the line. The question is, is that cost worth the savings?

Saxby Clemens II

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Re: wal-mart and unions
« Reply #47 on: August 06, 2008, 09:34:31 PM »
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As for the auto industry, their problems have always been the same.  Launching the wrong product at the wrong time to the wrong audience.  Chrysler was putting out enormous tanks throughout the 70s that were not only dated but impossible to maintain due to quality issues and the high price of fuel.  They almost drove themselves bankrupt.  How did they bounce back?

Government bailout.

Which they repaid by...yes, selling a huge amount of K Cars and Caravans.  And then continued their success into the 90s by introducing the cab-forward concept with the Intrepid/Concorde and, later, the cloud cars.  The Neon, snicker if you will, was also one of the only small cars to turn any auto company any profit, as it introduced an entirely new, much appreciated styling concept, had tons more horsepower and torque than any of its competitors and seated four adults in comfort.

Thus, if automotive companies would have continued putting out cars that served peoples needs and wants, they'd be in fine shape today, unions or no unions.

But, thanks for playing.   

Re: wal-mart and unions
« Reply #48 on: August 06, 2008, 10:23:33 PM »
Why do you think it is that people who can "barely make ends meet" shop at Wal Mart?  Maybe because they work there?  Perhaps because in parts of the country where there is little alternative to Wal Mart, in towns where most people work there or at other lower paying jobs, there is no choice but to pump wages earned right back into Wal Mart? 

Now THAT was funny.
Walmart did $350 billion + in revenue.  Either they have way more employees than we thought humanly possible or other people, besides walmart employees, shop there.  My friend dave and his wife shop there and neither are employed by the company....
And the truth is, not only poor people shop there.  I know plenty of rich guys looking for tv's and other assorted crap at a good price.  The truth is most people shop there because it is reasonably close, has an excellent blend of products, and their prices are low.  That's it - the big secret to walmart's success.
The facts don't jibe with the accusations.  The average wage of an hourly walmart employee (and there is some question, valid or not, about this) is between $8.23 and $9.68.  That's not only well above the minimum wage (which eliminates the argument that they pay their workers minimum wage for maximum work), but very competitive.  I used to pay line cooks at great restaurants between $9 and $11 an hour, and they had a skill, tougher working conditions, and far more pressure to perform.  And we didn't pay for their health insurance either.  My dad's firm just hired a receptionist for $10 and hour.  If you or I walked into starbucks right now and applied for a gig, we'd get $8-$9 an hour too.
So I guess my question is - why should walmart pay more per hour and provide health insurance?  Is it because they have a lot of revenue?  Is it to punish them for being profitable?  I just don't understand it.  We aren't talking about doctors, lawyers, judges, teachers, electricians, plumbers, or any number of professions that require talent, education or training, or any real lifetime dedication.  We are talking about people who wear blue vests and jeans and unload boxes for a living.  we are talking about cashiers, stockers, greeters, cleaning crews, and other non-skilled, traditionally crappy paying jobs.  So why is walmart evil for doing exactly what everyone does?  You aren't guaranteed a living wage by the mere fact that you work.  I knew and know far too many hard working, undereducated people who work 2 jobs, 6 or 7 days a week to pay their bills to accept this notion of entitlement that seems to come with the people who complain about walmart.  Walmart is a company, not a government entity or charity.  Their business is earning money, not providing welfare or handouts.
I am sorry for the people who don't get more than a GED, never try to find a job that moves them into a better situation, never obtain skills, and/or think the world owes them cable tv, a car, and a mortgage.  In this country, you have all the opportunity in the world.  The choices you make mean something.  Don't want to work hard in high school?  There's a result to that.  Don't want to go to college?  That effects your life too.  Don't want to take any classes or get any sort of specialized training?  Guess what - that's your choice.  Not walmarts.
End of rant.

Saxby Clemens II

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Re: wal-mart and unions
« Reply #49 on: August 06, 2008, 10:31:37 PM »
Enlightening, as usual.

All of your points have been refuted, by people who make sense. 

I didn't suggest that all of Wal Mart's profits came from its own employees.  Perhaps read my statement again, paying close attention to the portion that says "in parts of the country where there is little alternative to Wal Mart."