Wal-Mart: The Happiest Place on Earth


Science fiction writer and former Wired man Charles Platt goes grittily undercover at an Arizona Wal-Mart and finds that, as crappy jobs go, it's pretty darn great. He wrote of his experience at length in the New York Post. (The piece is from a few months back, but only came to my attention today. Its relevance in the modern job market has only increased in the intervening time.)

Platt "came to regard it as one of the all-time enlightened American employers, right up there with IBM in the 1960s. Wal-Mart is not the enemy. It's the best friend we could ask for," for everything from the level of autonomy (and yes, wages) available to its workers to the service it provides its customers. (He blames angry unions for its bad reputation.) His account isn't likely to make you want to quit your current job and rush to Sam's arms. But it might make you think it's not at all a bad option if you happen not to have a job.

For Reason magazine on the various wars on Wal-Mart, see Julian Sanchez from March 2006, Michael Moynihan from January 2008, and Nick Gillespie's alas still relevant May 1995 classic.

[Hat tip: Wirkman Virkkala]