Minimum Wage

Higher Wages Mean Fewer Hours at Some Walmart Stores

An extremely predictable lesson in consequences

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Wonder how many pension and retirement funds are invested in Walmart?
Creative Commons

The point of Walmart (and other discount stores) in the marketplace is to get consumer goods into the hands of a primarily lower-income customer base. This obviously means that prices need to be kept down. Walmart recently announced, in response to years and years of progressive and union groups pressuring them, they'd spend $1 billion to raise the wages and provide training for new employees.

How can they make such a commitment and keep prices down? Instead, some stores are now cutting the hours of their employees in order to stabilize expenses. This means there are fewer workers at these Walmarts at any given time, meaning slower restocking and poorer customer service, which may drive shoppers to the company's competitors. Bloomberg details the frustrations:

A Wal-Mart employee at a location near Houston, who asked not to be identified because she didn't have permission to talk to the media, said her store had to cut more than 200 hours a week. To make the adjustment, the employee's store manager started asking people to go home early two weeks ago, she said. On Aug. 19, at least eight people had been sent home by late afternoon, including sales-floor associates and department managers.

The employee said she's covering an area once staffed by multiple people at one of the busiest times of the year — the back-to-school season. On a recent weekday, she had a customer who had to wait 30 minutes for an employee to unlock a product the shopper wanted to purchase, she said. In e-mails, interviews and social-media posts, employees in a range of positions across the country shared similar stories of hours being cut.

The staff at a location in Fort Worth, Texas, were told that the store needed to cut 1,500 hours, according to a worker who asked not to be named for fear of being reprimanded. After being asked to stay late to help with extra work earlier in the week, some were told to take two-hour lunch breaks to make up for the additional hours they'd clocked, the employee said.

A spokesperson for Walmart said the cuts are only taking place at stores that have "overscheduled" workers and staffed for more time than had been allotted. He said that the cuts won't affect efforts to shorten checkout lines, clean up the stores, or stock the shelves, a claim that doesn't seem to square with what some workers are saying.

As much as some folks want to insist that Walmart is the only gorilla in the pen, the marketplace continues to provide many alternatives, and the company has to worry about whether they could lose customers as well as profits. Their earnings were below analysts' predictions last quarter:

By cutting hours, Wal-Mart now risks losing some of its best employees to competitors that can provide more stable schedules, said Burt Flickinger, managing director at Strategic Resource Group LLC. The company also may alienate customers if the staffing levels result in poorer customer service and products not getting on store shelves, he said.

Wal-Mart has made strides during the past year in addressing customers' complaints of barren shelves, dirty stores and long check-out lines, Flickinger said. But some locations still aren't staffed well enough during peak times, he said.

"Wal-Mart risks a talent drain at a time when McMillon has made meaningful improvements in the company," Flickinger said. "All these competitors will take Wal-Mart workers to make themselves strong and help make a major competitor weaker."

Recently we took note of one of those competitors, Meijer, which is being ordered by the state of Wisconsin to raise its prices. The state has a law that forbids businesses from selling certain consumer goods below cost, making it harder for competitors to move in on Walmart's turf and compete against them with better deals.

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202 responses to “Higher Wages Mean Fewer Hours at Some Walmart Stores

  1. people had been sent home by late afternoon, including sales-floor associates and department managers.

    Let the “protests” begin!

    1. “Everyone deserves a living wage *and* a living yearly take-home amount!”

      1. AND free healthcare AND an electric car that’s utterly safe and costs zero dollars manufactured by union workers in AMERICA!!1111!!one!!

        1. No – they can’t have the electric car. Instead they ‘deserve’ a light rail system. They deserve it good and hard.

          1. Yes, excellent idea, comrade! FORWARD!

      2. Don’t forget the free ponies.

        1. Not emission friendly.

          1. Unicorn farts CLEAN the air.

            #UnicornsNOW

        2. I WAS PROMISED A UNICORN!!!! PONIES ARE FOR THIRD-WORLD COUNTRIES!!!

          1. Nope, third world countries get donkeys, not ponies.
            /goes back to making the orphans mass produce black velvet paintings of big eyed, illegal alien children walking their donkeys in front of in impassible security fence while they cry.

  2. No no no. Increased wages must come out of profits, not reduced hours. The law must be amended to include a provision that no hours can ever be decreased, and all future wage increases MUST come out of the greedy owner’s profits!

    1. Speaking of those greedy owners, I have it on good authority (a Bernie Sanders facebook meme) that everything they have, wealth wise, was either inherited or misappropriated from the labor of their employees.

      1. Really? Those BASTARDS!!!

        *readies pitchfork and torch*

      2. Any time they bring up the “we provide you the roads and water!” argument, I have yet to get one to explain why everybody isn’t rich then. Do the roads and public water not work in poor neighborhoods? If they do, then you’re competing on an even playing field infrastructure-wise.

        1. Since something like 2 out OF 3 new business start-ups fail, it’s clear that the failing businesses just didn’t have access to water, electricity, and ROADZ!

          1. I find your ideas intriguing and would be interested in subscribing to any newsletters you may publish.

        2. Or better yet ask those fuckers where the money for the roads and water comes from?

          1. ^^ This. I’ve never understood how it is that the people who *don’t* pay taxes are the ones supplying the roads.

          2. The money comes from the printing presses of the U.S. Treasury. We just need to print more when we need new roads! No unintended consequences or anything!

      3. Gavin Belson: [On a talk show] I counsel any young founder today to pursue your dream not for profit or valuation or material wealth, but for the good of humanity.

        Kara: Which is easy for you to say, being a billionaire.

        Gavin Belson: I don’t care for your tone, Kara. I’m getting a little tired of this bias against the leaders of our industry. I’m continually creating jobs and helping people, and I’m tired of getting slapped for it. I didn’t steal the money I have, and I resent being treated like I did. You know, there is a climate in this country that is very dangerous.

        Kara: It’s dangerous out there for billionaires?

        Gavin Belson: There’s that attitude again, Kara. Billionaires are people, too. We are leaders in technology, in industry, in finance. Look at history. Do you know who else vilified a tiny minority of financiers and progressive thinkers called the Jews?

        Kara: Wait a minute. Did you just compare the treatment of billionaires in America today to the plight of the Jews in Nazi Germany?

        Gavin Belson: Absolutely. One could argue that billionaires are actually treated worse. And we didn’t even do anything wrong. We’re an even smaller minority. There’s a lot more of them.

        1. I started watching that largely based on your enthusiasm for it.

          It’s a damn shame the actor who played Peter Gregory died. That was an awesome character.

    2. The law must be amended to include a provision that no hours can ever be decreased, and all future wage increases MUST come out of the greedy owner’s profits!

      Fantastic idea, comrade! But the greedy bourgeois pigs will raise prices and gouge the proletariat – we must also make a law that these capitalist running dogs cannot increase their prices, so that they may not recoup their obscene profits at the expense of the People!

      1. In Russia, price controls YOU!

    3. Increased wages must come out of profits,

      I note that margins for Walmart run 3 – 3.5%.

      1. So they can afford going down to 2-2.5% because who needs all those profits?

        /Progressive vagina flapper.

      2. Thats about what I figured. Overall the walmart operation makes a lot of money for the family, but any one given store makes a pretty thin profit.

  3. What is Walmart’s gambit here, anyway? Appeasing the braindead living wage crowd who will hate them regardless a) for being a gigantic international corporation and b) specifically for being Walmart? Or is the idea to save more in lost hours than it spends in higher wages?

    1. Both.

      They lose if they can’t do both.

      Of course, they’re going to lose anyway. You don’t win against prog/SJW’s by giving in to their demands. They’re never going to be satisfied. There will just be another set of demands, assuming Walmart is able to stay in business.

      1. Cake. I hear they want cake.

        1. They all do, don’t they?

    2. They’ve been on a “re-branding” strategy for around a decade. They want to cut into a “higher margin” market. It is foolish and will likely bite them in the ass in the long run, but it seems to be a trend among a number of companies. Everybody wants to make “Apple money” even when they are already making money and even though that kind of margin is very circumstantial. I wouldn’t be surprised if they back down on their ardent anti-union stance soon, too. They think they can pad their pockets by appealing to the tastes of fickle people with more cash than sense.

      1. Auto companies have gone from “grocery store” margins of 1-2% a few years ago to global margins of 9%+ in the past 5-10 years.

        It’s possible in other industries, I’m sure, but it ain’t easy, and it ain’t pretty getting there.

        I bet WalMart can’t do it. Their whole thing is “lowest prices and the most-brilliant logistics on the planet”. I think they’d be better off sticking with the one that brung ’em, cause it still works, and I don’t see a downside….there will always be poor people, but the rich don’t always have lots of disposable wealth.

        We’ll see…

        1. Auto companies have gone from “grocery store” margins of 1-2% a few years ago to global margins of 9%+ in the past 5-10 years.

          Buoyed, no doubt, by easy credit. I wonder how they will be faring in another 5-10 years.

          1. We’ll see, won’t we? Easy credit’s been around a looooooong time for autos.

          2. I don’t know what you classify as a “long time”. 30 years ago, you couldn’t finance a car without a job, and you couldn’t finance a car for 84 months. Now you can do either, and sometimes both.

            That easy credit is available as over the years, banks and finance companies got the laws changed regarding what recourse they had to go after defaulted loans. It used to be the car was the ONLY security in the loan. Now loans are practically unsecured, and the purchaser is going to be on the hook for making the bank whole on the loan for the car regardless what happens.

            Therefore, auto finance companies have no reason not to loan money to anyone…there’s very little risk anymore.

      2. Their bread and butter is specifically the sort of person who doesn’t go in for social justice pandering: lower- and middle-class people without a ton of disposable income or a great deal of sympathy for the perennially microaggressed, or the rural middle- to upper-crust who deliberately oppose the eternally aggrieved. I’m not sure whether progressives made Walmart a political nexus or simply picked up on the fact that Walmart shoppers are not socially conscious proggy types, but pretending it doesn’t serve a political capacity seems really dense of them.

      3. That sounds like suicide to me. They are trying to fix something that isn’t broken.

        They are dead for sure if they let the unions in. Dead ducks.

    3. Aldi has a staffing strategy of paying more than other retailers and so they can recruit better employees. They provide cross-training and have better retention to keep productivity levels very high. If Wal-Mart is trying to emulate Aldi’s staffing strategy in addition to satisfying their critics, I think they will fail. They have too many employees to effectively “cream” the labor pool of retail workers They are also world-renowned for their tough, brutal management culture which will not change over night and will keep better front-line employees away.

      1. Another problem with the strategy is that it won’t fit with a sizeable number, perhaps even most, of their stores. How many are they willing to see wither and die because they won’t be serving the demands of the local market?

        Anecdote: there was a Food Lion in town that had been open for decades and served the local community (poorer) and not-so-local communities (wealthier) well. It was “upgraded” to a Bloom and the prices all went up to match. Certainly a marketing exec or manager somewhere at corporate noticed the wealthier demographic in the general area and thought to capitalize on it. This was after a permit had already been granted for a Wegmans down the road. The end result was that neither the local community shopped there (too expensive) nor the wealthier communities a little further away (why go to Food Lion when there’s a Wegmans?). The location is now a Good Will store.

        1. I recognize Good Will. The rest of it sounds like phony sitcom brands.

          1. I still have my hat from when Mark Martin ran the xFinity (nee’ BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSH) series and was sponsored by Winn Dixie. Most movie-sounding name for a store EVAR! Love it.

            1. How could it be more movie-sounding than Piggly Wiggly?

          2. Wegman’s is like shopping of the gods, at least compared to all the shitty supermarkets in NYC. Based in my hometown (Rochester).

          3. I live in Maryland. The most popular grocery chain here is called Giant. We do have “normal” brands like Safeway, too.

          4. Food Lion

            I recall them in Rabun County, GA, but that was the 1990s.

        2. So Food Lion didn’t tow the lion – that’ll learn ’em

          1. I thought Food Lion died long ago. I remember 25 or so years ago they were forcing employees to work off of the clock and got their balls sued off for it. I thought it killed them.

            1. Nope. About ten years ago they did a thing where they rebranded all their stores in nice areas to Bloom (which stocked a lot more exotic/organic yuppie shit and had commensurately high prices) and all their stores in rough parts of town to Bottom Dollar (which had basics for cheap and didn’t even offer bags at checkout); stores in midrange neighborhoods stayed Food Lion. A couple of years later they very quietly re-renamed all the Blooms and Bottom Dollars to Food Lion again.

              1. That has to be one of the stupidest marketing moves I have ever seen. Let’s take some of our stores and name them in a way that nobody would ever want to shop there (bottom dollar… food?!) and then let’s take some of the rest and price out our regular customers. Brilliant!

  4. . . . some were told to take two-hour lunch breaks to make up for the additional hours. . .

    Any manager who does this is a straight up arsehole.

    Start late? Leave early? Sure, no problem. But I am certainly *not* willing to twiddle my thumbs *unpaid* for an hour or more during the middle of the day so you can make the books balance.

    1. Once had a manager at Domino’s who would tell us drivers to clock out whenever it got slow. But then she continued to order us around like we were still on the clock. For some reason I was the only one there who had a problem with that. Sheeple…

    2. I quit taking lunches at an old job. Worked through eight hours with a light lunch at my desk and left early. I’m certain it was illegal, but I never heard anything from management or HR.

  5. Speaking of wages, there is a Bernie Sanders meme going around Facebook that reads

    “Either agree to a living wage or stop complaining about people being on welfare because you can’t have both”.

    Behold the iron clad logic of Progressives. Remember, they are the smart adults and us knuckle dragging Libertarians and Tea baggers are the stupid and immature ones.

    1. Wow. *That* false dichotomy is worthy of President Obama!

    2. Yeah, these people are idiots.

      I have a job where I make $20-40 an hour. And I’m lucky to get twenty-four hours a month out of it.

    3. because you can’t have both.

      That’s OK because I oppose both…

    4. “Either agree to a living wage or stop complaining about people being on welfare because you can’t have both”.

      Apparently unemployment and price inflation do not exist in Bernie Sanders’ universe.

      He has the economic understanding of a chimpanzee.

      1. “The Bernie Sanders School of Economics: where your education is free, and yet, overpriced”

      2. I imagine chimpanzees understand basic scarcity economics very well. If they didn’t, they’d die.

      3. I still laugh at his college plan. “We’ll tax Wall Street and then give free college to everyone!” It’s like a 3 year-old wrote it.

    5. The money tree just needs a more vigorous shaking, apparently.

    6. It seems that progressives complain just as loudly as conservative about people being on welfare.

      “We’re being forced to subsidize Wal-Mart’s business model because some of their employees use welfare!”

      1. We’re being forced to subsidize Wal-Mart’s business model because some of their employees use welfare!

        Which is the stupidest line of argumentation one could possibly make. Would it be better if the erstwhile “subsidized” Walmart employee just sat at home all day doing nothing, all while still collecting welfare?

        1. I’ve seen Walmart workers and I have no doubt this would be the case for the vast majority of them if not under Walmart’s employ.

          1. It’s a mixed bag, but regardless I thought it was generally better that people be employed than not.

            There are some honest leftists who openly say it is better for people to be on welfare than stuck in a “bad” job, their definition of bad being anything they wouldn’t deign to do themselves.

            They then say they are “happy” to pay for this system, meanwhile they get their taxes done professionally to minimize the amount they have to pay and never give a gift to the Treasury (or any real charity, for that matter–$20 to Amnesty International or Oxfam doesn’t put food on anyone’s table).

        2. Stupid, yes, in the extreme. But that argument resonates very well with a large, economically illiterate segment of the population.

          1. “Economically illiterate” translation: publicly educated.

      2. forced to subsidize Wal-Mart’s business model

        All the more reason to abolish all forms of government welfare.

        1. Why embrace logical reforms when you can double down or double up?

    7. there is a Bernie Sanders meme going around Facebook

      One if my old high school teachers keeps posting all of these, and ones from all the other proggy groups. He is also constantly complaining about not being able to land a job.

      1. That’s delicious. Thanks for sharing.

      2. What kind of sick fuck goes to a previous teacher’s derpbook page?

    8. Er, I’m pretty sure that artificially jacking up wages will lead to more people on welfare, if anything.

    9. I just don’t get why people expose themselves to the facebook/twitter derp. I get enough of it from every day life.
      What’s the appeal of these things?

      1. Vanity
        Narcissism
        Social Signalling

        Take your pick. Mix and match at will.

      2. Well, when you buy the derp, I’m sure it seems great.

        This is exactly why I avoid Facebook.

    10. Ok i will agree to the 15 living wage (whatever a living wage is i don’t know)….only if they agree to remove all welfare from the budget. Since apparently that is what it takes to get everyone off of welfare.

      1. There is no “compromise” that they could possibly offer that I could ever lend my support to a minimum wage hike. It is literally outlawing honest work. Of the things that are politically palatable in this country, it is one of the more insidious and evil laws on the books. Let us consign millions to largely perpetual poverty and/or dependence, in order to assuage the guilty feelings of the well off.

        Not even abolishing welfare is worth forcing more people out of work.

      2. Yep, that would be an awful trade.

  6. In other central planning news, China blames the economic downturn on one financial journalist and forces him to confess to the crime of causing chaos and panic.

    They might not literally be Communists anymore, but what would a Communist party be without periodic show trials?

    1. Does anyone believe this? Who are they fooling?

    2. They kept all the authoritarian aspects and just dropped the economics. They’re in a better state, as far as it goes, but no one should forget that the PRC is still a tyrannical monster of a government.

      1. Except you can smoke in a restaurant and drink a beer while walking down the street in China.

        1. Give it time.

    3. Oh, bless their commie hearts. Goin’ old skool in the 21st century. How charming!

    4. That’s the best.

      Stay classy China.

      Obama, I’m sure, is drooling and wishing he could do the same.

      1. I distinctly remember him giving at least one speech where he blamed our economic depression on ‘bad luck’. No fucking shit, he really said that and I am certain he has no clue what it means. The man is a walking talking parody of leftists.

    5. Sooooo…their economy is so feeble that one guy with a keyboard can crash it?

      Good to know.

    6. Shit, if it was a business person some claim could be made that he was complicit and doesn’t really deserve pity (crony capitalism ftw), but some random journalist. Fuck, that guy doesn’t deserve what they are going to do to him.

      Also, why do they even use real people for scapegoats anymore? The world has gotten so big and an online presence is so easy to fake, that you think they’d just invent a perfect villain from whole cloth.

      1. You’d pass up an opportunity to destroy a person?

        Somebody is missing the whole point.

  7. I wish the proggies would just take off the mask and admit what they really want; nationalize all businesses and industries. Hell, at least Tony had the balls to admit it at least once. If we did that at least everything would run more efficiently and everyone could receive a living wage.

    1. Take a visit to HuffPost now and then. More of them are admitting it.

  8. “Wal-Mart risks a talent drain…”

    I despise WalMart. Not the idea, just shopping there.

    So, perhaps I should say, “I despise shopping at WalMart”, and only do so under duress or when they have something someplace else doesn’t.

    My rather more-limited (now) exposure suggests that the LAST thing WM can take is a loss of “talent”, because most of the their “associates” are borderline Tony-level retards already. Add MORE understaffing on top of what is CLEARLY already an understaffing model, with even dumber people?

    Well, too bad for them there’s a Meijer across the street with much better quality and generally-comparable prices.

    Fuck ’em. Nothing lasts forever.

    Now let’s go see what’s in the Sears catalog for Christmas! Oh, wait…

    1. I don’t know why you would.

      I mean, its pretty no frills compared to, say, Target or a higher end grocery store. But if you just want basic stuff for cheap and aren’t concerned about the *decor*, then its a great store. High end stuff you can get online. And, personally, there are very few things I shop for where I want the whole ‘treatment’ routine.

      Though some or most of that may be influenced by the local demographics. Where I live most people still put on *pants* before going shopping.

      1. Where I live most people still put on *pants* before going shopping.

        Yeah, the People of Wal Mart don’t bother me so much. Living in Michigan, the weather generally dictates “at least pants” most days 🙂

        I just hate the dirt and empty shelves and shitty quality and retarded fucking checkout people who are slower than the speed of smell….and I can get commodities across the street for basically the same money and ALL THE FUCKING CHECKOUT LINES ARE MANNED WITH A CASHIER, AND 1/2 the SELF CHECKOUTS ARE NOT CLOSED LIKE AT WALMART.

        1. Well, the three stores out here (2 in Yuma, 1 in San Luis) are clean and well-stocked. A lot of that probably is because these *buildings* are under 10 years old – most everything in the poorer sections of the southwest is newer and less run down than in the equivalent areas of the the rest of the county – especially midwest/northeast.

          1. I am glad for you. The one down the street when I lived in Cleveland was my mainstay – and it was smaller, clean, decent. So that one I did use constantly.

            Again, pretty much the only choice, but it was OK. Definitely much better than the one in our town (which is a “new” store, BTW – they’ve been through two locations already – just keep wearing them out!).

            BUT – no vegetables. None. Thank goodness there was a farmers market around the corner!

        2. The understaffing can really suck sometimes. Why do you have 30 fucking lanes and 2 of them are open?

          I once quit going to Walmart for about 3 years. Self checkout wasn’t there yet or was broken or something and there were 2 lanes open with about 30 people in each line. I just abandoned my cart of groceries and walked out.

          1. I just abandoned my cart of groceries and walked out.

            This is why there’s nothing on the shelves. Ya jerk.

        3. I just hate the dirt and empty shelves and shitty quality and retarded fucking checkout people who are slower than the speed of smell….

          That sounds like the Target that opened not so long ago in downtown Brooklyn. Hard to believe it actually gets worse that that.

      2. My main problem with Walmart is you just can’t trust buying name brand products there, because they force their suppliers to cut costs by cutting corners.

      3. Speaking of pants. I’ve noticed that it is nearly impossible to find pants at Walmart that fit on a “normal” BMI male. The range seems to be from a 32 inch waist up to somewhere in the 50’s. So much for thin privilege…

        1. Uh, what do you consider a ‘normal BMI male’?

          I was (a looooooong time ago) 6 foot tall, 133 pounds, and had a 32 in waist.

          1. Normal BMI is 19-25. I’m a 22 with a 31″ waist, 70″ tall. You were skinny way back when.

            Still, my point holds. “Healthy” waists are 35″ or less, according to the NIH, and most of what Walmart sells are bigger than that. If you’re down in the middle of “normal”, you’re almost out of luck.

            \rant

            1. You just scratch off the 32 and put in 31.

            2. Yeah, according to the NIH – which uses BMI.

              A measure that has been continuously proven to be bullshit along with the conclusions they drew from it. Such as those in the ‘healthy’ quartile living longer when it turns out that those in the ‘overweight’ (between healthy and obese) have the longest life expectancies.

              To hit a BMI of 25 I would have to weigh 189 lbs. Which would mean either less than 3% body fat or no muscle.

              Unfortunately you are in an in-between zone age-wise. To old to wear the stuff in boys, to young for your metabolism to slow, kids, job, and stress to pack on those pounds.

              Enjoy it. Work hard to keep it, ‘cuz once its gone you ain’t getting it back.

          2. I’m still like that. I don’t think my weight has changed more than 5 lbs one way or the other since I was 18.
            I got some 30″ waist pants from Walmart recently.

            1. I must just be unlucky… 32’s are hard to find. 30’s are a white elephant. Maybe it’s just “my” Walmart…

              1. I’ll corroborate your anecdote. Finding underwear in Small is also a challenge.

                I’m not sure why the only time I think to buy sweatpants and undies is when I’m at walmart though, I’m sure I could get them off amazon for the same price.

    2. They rigorously drug test. Can you imagine the kind of person that can work at Walmart and not go home and get high?

      1. OMG, that’s so true. Sometimes I play that game. Worked an auto assembly line for two days as part of “lean” training – my immediate reaction was, “Now I know why we have so many alcoholics/drug addicts in our plants.” Mind-numbing doesn’t begin to describe it. It was wretched.

        WalMart would be nearly as bad, and definitely require drugs. I’d think Oxy, fo shizzle.

        1. I once took a temp job at a plastics factory. My job was to put 25 plastic cups into a plastic sleeve, heat seal it and then throw it on the conveyor to be packed.

          I literally was so mind numbed that I would constantly fall behind and the old lady across from me would come over and help me catch up every so often. She would pat me on the shoulder and tell me not to worry about not being able to keep up with her because she had been doing it for 20 years.

          I went home and told the temp agency that if they ever sent me on a gig like that again, I would walk out.

          Yeah, I have no idea how some people can do the same thing over and over every day. As a consultant, though, I run across them all the time. They are perfectly happy to follow the process over and over.

          1. I lasted about a month at a factory job. Told the management I couldn’t do it and was going to leave. They asked what else I could do and I ended up with a nice gig in the maintenance shop, fixing shit.

            I’m with you, though. It was amazing how many people were perfectly content spending their entire careers doing the same exact thing.

          2. Spent three years on an assembly line, drank every night, and seriously considered suicide. Finally went to a shrink who gave me only one good piece of advice: get a better job. I did, and my life improved dramatically. Some people just aren’t cut out for that type of monotonous, brain-dead work.

        2. I drank myself to sleep for the first months of that horrible shoe store job. That place was bad enough hungover, but sleep-deprived I would have had a breakdown.

      2. They rigorously drug test.

        There’s always booze. And harder drugs like meth and heroine only stay in your system a few days–unlike far-less-dangerous weed.

        Just another reason for me to despise Wal-Mart.

    3. I think it really depends on the store. The one in my suburb is really pretty nice. It is at least as clean and well lit as the nearby Target.

      However, the next one over in a slightly sketchier neighborhood has the usual suspects clogging the aisles and acting like ass hats.

      I have a softspot for Walmart, though, because they moved into my small hometown and screwed the old time department stores there. It is nice to be able to buy stuff relatively cheaply when I go back to visit now. When I was growing up, you had to pay a premium to shop at one of the few department stores in town because you had no other options.

    4. Nothing lasts forever. Walmart relies on selling cheap crap to people who want cheap crap but they gotta get the customers in the store and get them to buy lots of cheap crap. However ubiquitous Walmart seems and however many varieties of cheap crap they may carry, Walmart can’t compete with the internet for ubiquity and inventory space. Walmart’s only function then lies in getting cheap crap from the producer to the consumer as efficiently as possible. Walmart’s biggest competitor ain’t Target, it’s Amazon and UPS.

      1. Well the people who want cheap crap are generally not the types that order online.

  9. Whoa! Hang on – I think we buried the lede:

    Higher Wages Mean Fewer Hours at Some Walmart Stores

    You mean, increasing the price of something….might have some effect….on it?

    I must ponder this. I’ll bet RC Dean has an Iron Law about it, too.

  10. Instead, some stores are now cutting the hours of their employees in order to stabilize expenses. This means there are fewer workers at these Walmarts at any given time, meaning slower restocking and poorer customer service

    Not necessarily. Higher paid workers can and should be more productive than lower paid workers. I have no idea if this will actually be the case for Walmart where most of the jobs are rock-bottom on the skill level, but maybe Walmart thinks they can make it work in the long run.

    If it doesn’t work out for Walmart, I expect them to reduce the rate at which they give raises to unwind some of this wage increase. Still, if anyone can afford to experiment with this, it’s Walmart.

    1. In this kind of retail environment, many jobs can’t be “productive” if the person doing them isn’t on the floor, where customers are. If they’re cutting the hours of the guy who unlocks the cases so you can actually buy electronics, there’s no way for him to be more efficient when he is on the clock by helping people who are shopping when he’s not.

      1. True, but better motivated works can stock shelves quicker and provide better customer service when they are on the floor. Better trained workers might actually be about to solve customer service problems quicker too, because they won’t be constantly calling over the manager. I’m not saying this will work for Walmart, I’m just saying it’s in the realm of possibility and we shouldn’t write the plan off yet. I mean, Costco makes it work somehow, though they don’t serve quite the diversity of neighborhoods that Walmart does…

        1. Why would you expect guaranteed wage-increases to increase motivation?

          By your logic, the most senior union members would clearly be the most “productive”…. because they’re paid 3X as much per-hour as the younger bods. Why, they MUST be drilling and riveting at least 3X faster than those hungry little new-workers…

          You have completely reversed the concept of wage-incentive.

          1. Walmart’s turnover rate in 2011 was 37.4%. New employees coming in are getting new training. The only way this move makes sense is if Walmart is trying to make its employees more productive. Obviously they can’t afford to cut into their profit margin over the long term.

            Do you seriously believe that Walmart instituted this wage increased full knowing that they would ruin their business model and trash their company with it? Or do you think that maybe they had a plan to make an investment now and drive towards additional profits in the future? I’m not saying it will work. Just that it could work, if properly executed. But what would I know? What would Walmart’s executives know? Clearly they should hire you on as CEO.

            1. “Do you seriously believe that Walmart instituted this wage increased full knowing that they would ruin their business model and trash their company with it? ‘

              You seem to under the impression that the only possible alternative to your own fantasy-economics POV is Corporate Suicide.

              I explained below how the company can simply use the COGS / SG&A levers to adapt to higher base wages.

              The training expense is simply to make up for high employee churn, as you point out – not turn shitty hourly workers into magical-high-performing wunderlabor.

              What you fail to grasp is that there is no justification for across-the-board wage increase unless there’s a compelling market-interest in it.

              You seem to be trying to invent some post-facto justification to rationalize what is basically just a PR move…. and one which has not made a positive impression on people who pay attention to corporate strategy and how it translates to long term earnings growth.

              1. You seem to be trying to invent some post-facto justification to rationalize what is basically just a PR move

                Because all PR moves are made without considering the effect on the bottom line? I don’t see why a PR move has to be made without considering all of its effects and how to possibly mitigate the bad effects.

                What you fail to grasp is that there is no justification for across-the-board wage increase unless there’s a compelling market-interest in it.

                So, I should just assume that Walmart’s executives are just a bunch of idiots who do things without considering the market implications?

                and one which has not made a positive impression on people who pay attention to corporate strategy and how it translates to long term earnings growth.

                I never said the strategy would work out. In fact, I specifically said I didn’t know if the strategy would work out for Walmart. Are you even reading what I’m writing or are you jumping to conclusions out of some assumption that I’m a progressive championing higher minimum wages? (Hint: I’m against all minimum wages, everywhere.)

            2. Increased training would increase that turnover rate, assuming the training provided has any utility.

              Increasing the pay of the staff will act to counteract that increased turnover.

              Whether the increased costs incurred in paying said salary and funding the training result in *sufficient* increased efficiency of the organization, *AND* whether said operational efficiency translates into higher sales is much much harder to predict.

              On an individual level, I’ve found that increasing someone’s salary and giving them training is a very poor indicator of that individual subsequently increasing their productivity, but then I’m not in the retail business.

              1. @Number.6

                Finally, someone who actually understands what I’m saying! The only thing I’d add is that Walmart has a high turnover rate, so a lot of the people getting this training and wage will be new and more likely to have higher productivity. Walmart can try this out because they have reserves and they have high turnover.

                1. I understand what you’re saying – but I have to concur with GILMORE here. This is a PR move; an attempt to put another low-paying, easy commercial target in the SJW’s sights.

                  To cite one of my great-aunts, this is a “Curtains-around-the-trash-cans” moment. The motivation here is to buy off their detractors, and not to change their business model, which, given its niche, is a success.

                  Walmart is like one of those 120-wagon freight trains; it has limited degrees of freedom in how much it *can* change, without derailing itself. Any change it makes will necessarily need to be well-considered, meticulously planned, and incremental.

                  1. I understand what you’re saying – but I have to concur with GILMORE here. This is a PR move; an attempt to put another low-paying, easy commercial target in the SJW’s sights.

                    So it’s completely inconceivable that Walmart might be trying to appease the SJWs and improve worker efficiency at the same time? I don’t get why it’s so hard to believe that the people running one of the most successful companies in the world might be carefully considering their business decisions rather than performing a knee-jerk reaction.

                    1. Inconceivable? Not at all. But not likely.

                      Just because it’s a PR move, doesn’t mean it hasn’t been carefully considered. Senior management at Walmart aren’t idiots, but the fact is that there’s a certain level of optimal competence that Walmart personnel need to demonstrate, and that level of competence has a price point in terms of pay+benefits+training.

                      Are you prepared to buy from a Walmart that is staffed with MBA graduates? No. The crappy service people get at many Walmart stores is the real-world result of an attempt at a Pareto Optimization.

                      Deliver the goods to as many people as you can, as cheaply as you can, with personnel who are minimally capable of doing the job.

                      A *minor* benefit to Walmart is that a slightly better trained, slightly more motivated workforce *might* be able to generate revenues that offset the higher cost of operating a Walmart store.

                    2. A *minor* benefit to Walmart is that a slightly better trained, slightly more motivated workforce *might* be able to generate revenues that offset the higher cost of operating a Walmart store.

                      That’s all I’ve ever claimed. I never said it worked for Walmart. I never said this was the right decision. I just said it was a possibility.

                    3. You also suggested WalMart has vast reserves from which to draw upon which makes them ideally suited to engage in this speculative reversal of productivity incentives.

                      “” if anyone can afford to experiment with this, it’s Walmart.””

                      I appreciate your subsequent efforts to make what you actually said seem less stupid. They seem to be convincing you.

                2. ” someone who actually understands what I’m saying! ‘

                  Before celebrating perhaps you should first check whether this person is also an idiot?

                  1. I did forget the /sarc tag, dude.

                    1. I should have realized – that shit about “Fat Cats” was pretty much a riff on “The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist” which is an epic tract of British Trades-Union Propaganda from the early 20th Century.

                      It’s like a book of MST3K-worthy Socialist Derp. And Housebuilding.

                      Thought I was back in Blighty, I did.

                    2. Gilmore, you are really trigger happy calling people idiots today. Did someone steal your stapler or something?

                    3. You know that’s funny. I had a very nice stapler at a British company i worked at.

                      (an all-steel American made motherfucking 1960s ‘Swingline‘ thing. You could kill a man if you hit him in the head with it hard enough.)

                      I was very possessive of it. Because the plastic staplers were shit.

                      None of this comment makes you less of an idiot, I’m just being sentimental for a second.

    2. Its difficult to digest just how much stupid you manage to pack into so few sentences.

      Firstly, your idea that “higher paid workers can and should be more productive…” obviates the point that these employees are not being paid more *because* they are more industrious and productive (as would be the case in a meritocratic distribution of wages)… but rather, these wages are higher *by mandate*.

      Simply raising wages – putting the egg before the chicken – doesn’t engineer productivity in *reverse*.

      You’ve completely divorced wages from performance by insisting upon higher wages for all. Yet now you’re trying to reverse argue that the mere fact of people being paid more (for doing nothing different!) means they will labor all the more productively?

      As for what WalMart can “afford”…. clearly you’re not particularly hip to their business model… which is all about micromanaging the balance between high-sales-volume and razor-thin-margins… down to the penny. You seem to be under the impression they’re running some kind of luxury boutique which has enormous wasted overhead expenses for simple glamour’s sake.

      I congratulate you on your Olympic-level Derp-skills.

      1. Wow – look at Mr. Monopoly piece here, with his orphan slaves, tophat and monocle.

        *gestures at GILMORE – rolls eyes*

        1. “Incentives are exploitation!”

          /said the progressive who considered himself ‘economically literate’

          1. Do you really think I’m a progressive? If so, why?

            1. No, but not much brighter.

              1. So, rather than respond to anything I’ve said in our various arguments, you’ve opted to just call me stupid again. There is no clearer admission of defeat. My thanks.

                1. Well, that would explain how you got so stupid to begin with – never recognizing when you’re wrong.

                  1. Since you’ve abandoned my substantive arguments in the other sub-threads I’ll summarize here:

                    The article says that Walmart is increasing wages across the board and providing additional training to new employees, largely as a response to a concerted protest campaign against its wage structure. Reuters reported that Walmart’s turnover rate in 2011 was 37.4%. I assume that rate hasn’t changed much in 4 years. My position is that Walmart is trying to increase worker productivity via training to make up for the reduced hours caused by the wage increase. I specifically said I was uncertain whether the plan would work given Walmart’s business model.

                    Please explain again why this is a stupid thing to believe. I must have missed it in your previous posts. If Walmart is not trying to increase the productivity of its new workers, then why is it spending additional money to train them?

      2. I’ve seen this misunderstanding regarding Walmart’s margins before.

        I’ve seen people say they are pulling *10%* – based on a misreading of the numbers.

        When all the expenses are taken into consideration, Walmart is having a fucking fantastic year if they can hit 3%.

        1. I’ve seen this misunderstanding regarding Walmart’s margins before

          Where did I make any assumptions regarding Walmart’s margins?

          Am I the only person here who thinks Walmart is actually trying to still make a profit?

          1. Am I the only person here who thinks Walmart is actually trying to still make a profit?

            No. The mistake you are making is thinking too narrowly. You are trying to translate their corporate decisions into factors that only arise from the day-to-day operations of their stores. When, in fact, it is more likely that they are making decisions based upon factors that are external to their organization; namely, popular opinion and government policy.

            1. I never said this decision wasn’t partially, even primarily based on people protesting their compensation structure. I just said they might be trying to improve the productivity of their employees at the same time, to offset at least some of the costs. I didn’t even say it would work out for them. I just said they were doing it. Otherwise, why would they bother spending money on additional training for their new employees? If they were just throwing a bone to the SJWs they would have stupidly put it all in wages alone.

              The mistake you, Number.6 and Gilmore are making is thinking too narrowly. You are assuming that this is just a knee-jerk reaction to some bad press and no one bothered to think about ways to reduce the impact of this decision on the bottom line.

              1. If increased training leading to improved productivity was the reason for the training, why are they proposing increased training only for new hires?

                A staff churn of over 33% doesn’t mean that their floor staff end up being fully replaced every three years. It’s plausible/probable that there’s a distribution curve of the ‘vintage’ of those staff. Why is it more ‘efficient’ to provide increased training to a ‘new staffer’ who might not stick around for even a year, when they could invest that training in a proven, loyal employee who has been with the firm for (for example) five years?

                I consider that to be very good evidence that while Walmart might *hope* to see higher individual productivity in their new hires,and you consider Walmart’s management to be intelligent individuals, that their reason to provide this additional training is NOT – primarily – some nebulous hope for greater productivity. Given the price point they’re paying for their personnel, they’re getting precisely the productivity they expect. If they wanted more productive staff, they’d simply recruit more selectively by offering a correspondingly higher wage which would attract more productive staff. This avoids the fixed cost of training (which is an up-front investment with uncertain benefits) with a time-weighted cost that only impacts the business as long as the recruit stays with Walmart.

                1. So, if you concede that the ‘productivity’ is not the primary objective of increasing training and pay, what is the objective? Given the way that Walmart is excoriated by a group of malcontents whose popularity is growing, I’d say that pacifying them might be a more compelling reason, but I’m receptive to other *primary* reasons.

                  But not ‘increased productivity’ – because that just doesn’t pass the sniff test in Walmart’s case. They’re masters at optimizing the balance between level of competency in their staff, and their pay structure. And their staff churn is simply a reality that they have to live with, based on that optimization.

                  1. The primary objective of the wage increase appears to be appeasement of the protesters and SJWs. I never said that wasn’t the case.

                    I think that the objective of the increased training is to increase the productivity of the people who are being hired on at that higher wage.

                    They’re masters at optimizing the balance between level of competency in their staff

                    YES! And now that they’ve decided to appease the SJWs by paying their employees more money, it makes sense to also provide those employees with more training to maintain that balance!

                    Why do you think they are providing the training rather than throwing that money into more higher wages, or just keeping it in reserve?

                    1. Why do you think they are providing the training rather than throwing that money into more higher wages, or just keeping it in reserve?

                      Here’s another angle: training is an operational expense. Thus, it is not taxed and it reduces their taxable income. Keeping the money as cash on hand is not the most tax advantaged thing to do, and returning it to investors would just piss off their critics even more. Factor in the “avoid lawsuits” angle I mentioned in another reply, and it’s a career making move for a corporate executive.

              2. You are assuming that this is just a knee-jerk reaction to some bad press and no one bothered to think about ways to reduce the impact of this decision on the bottom line.

                I never said it was “knee-jerk”. You are just arguing for the sake of arguing. “Well, sure, maybe they did it for all the reasons you say, but THEY PUT SOME THOUGHT INTO IT!” Um, okay.

                1. I never said it was “knee-jerk”. You are just arguing for the sake of arguing. “Well, sure, maybe they did it for all the reasons you say, but THEY PUT SOME THOUGHT INTO IT!” Um, okay.

                  All I ever said was that training and higher wages can, in theory, be used to increase productivity. Go look at my original reply to Nikki, if you don’t believe me. It’s you, Number.6 and GILMORE who are arguing for the sake of arguing. I’m just trying to get you people to explain why you think it is impossible for Walmart to increase productivity with training. If you actually think this is possible for Walmart to do, then you misunderstood my comments and have been arguing for the sake of arguing all this time.

                  1. I’m just trying to get you people to explain why you think it is impossible for Walmart to increase productivity with training.

                    I never said it was impossible. Again, with putting words in my mouth! I said your understanding of the situation was too narrow. Your response has largely been… to prove me right.

                    If you actually think this is possible for Walmart to do

                    Sure, it’s possible. I think there are bigger factors at play, and I also think you greatly exaggerate the power of “training” and small, across-the-board pay raises.

                    1. I never said it was impossible. Again, with putting words in my mouth! I said your understanding of the situation was too narrow. Your response has largely been… to prove me right.

                      Trace this thread back to my original statement, the one you all seem to have a problem with: “Not necessarily. Higher paid workers can and should be more productive than lower paid workers. I have no idea if this will actually be the case for Walmart where most of the jobs are rock-bottom on the skill level, but maybe Walmart thinks they can make it work in the long run.”

                      You implied that this statement was wrong, by saying that I was “thinking too narrowly”. So, which is it? Should higher paid workers be expected to produce more than lower paid workers or not. Remember we’re talking in the abstract here. I readily admit that Walmart might not be able to make it’s workers more productive.

                      Sure, it’s possible. I think there are bigger factors at play, and I also think you greatly exaggerate the power of “training” and small, across-the-board pay raises

                      I never said anything about how much benefit would result from this policy, so it’s hard to see where I exaggerated anything. (Unless, again, you think it is impossible to get a more productive workforce by offering higher wages and more training.)

        2. Is 10% gross margin and 3% net margin?

      3. but rather, these wages are higher *by mandate*.

        You mean, the mandate laid out by Walmart? That mandate? Does it count as a mandate if it’s being put out by the company on itself?

        You’ve completely divorced wages from performance

        No, I haven’t. You assume I did because you didn’t understand what I said in the context of the article. The article mentions that Walmart plans to increase wages and increase training. In other words Walmart is trying to increase productivity and (presumably) trying to increase the quality of their worker by increasing wages.

        As for what WalMart can “afford”…. clearly you’re not particularly hip to their business model

        I’m making no assumptions here. I’m just trying to explain that Walmart might not be deliberately shooting itself in the foot with its self-imposed “mandate” of higher wages. They might be trying to tweak their business model so that it works with higher wages. You’re the one apparently assuming that Walmart has given up on profit and intends to run itself into the ground.

        I congratulate you on your Olympic-level Derp-skills

        Calm down, dude and read more carefully next time. I’m not telling Walmart how to run its business, I’m just trying to explain one possible reason for its actions.

        1. “Walmart is trying to increase productivity and (presumably) trying to increase the quality of their worker by increasing wages.’

          Bullshit. They’re trying to prevent negative PR by getting ahead of the national panic about Minimum Wages.

          “You’re the one apparently assuming that Walmart has given up on profit and intends to run itself into the ground.’

          No, i’m presuming they think they can compensate for the higher base wages through pressure on their supply chain costs and reduction of staff hours. Which ultimately hurts the consumer (and employees) in subtle ways.

          No one is mis-reading you. Your core idea is idiotic. You’ve completely garbled up the relationship between “wage incentive” and “productivity”. There is no incentive to be more productive when *everyone* gets a base raise. It doesn’t matter whether it its a company mandate or a federal one. IOW, “raising the floor” does nothing for an incentive structure… at best, it possibly makes their ability to attract new hires slightly better vs other competing low-wage options.

          1. Bullshit. They’re trying to prevent negative PR by getting ahead of the national panic about Minimum Wages.

            Obviously. But maybe their trying to do both at the same time. I mean if you’re going to pay people more for some reason, you might as well try to get more out of them.

            IOW, “raising the floor” does nothing for an incentive structure… at best, it possibly makes their ability to attract new hires slightly better vs other competing low-wage options.

            Finally, we’re in agreement. Remember how Walmart has a high turnover rate (37.4% as of 2011)? That’s an important point here.

    3. Yes, as GILMORE said, just paying people more likely won’t make them more productive.

      Now if they fired all their current workers and hired new, better ones, maybe, but that would not go over well PR-wise.

      Pay me a million dollars a year and I would be super-productive. /sarc

      1. Walmart recently announced, in response to years and years of progressive and union groups pressuring them, they’d spend $1 billion to raise the wages and provide training for new employees.

        That part at the end mentions that Walmart is providing more training too. Usually training is used to make people more productive. I assumed everyone actually read the article and would understand that I wasn’t assuming productivity increases based on unicorn farts and phoenix dumps.

    4. Higher paid workers can and should be more productive than lower paid workers.

      Sure. The idea that by giving someone a big raise they will automatically be more productive is deeply, deeply stupid.

      And a familiar pattern with progs, who have a difficult time with the direction of causation arrows, and the way that changing the appearance of something doesn’t change its substance. I mean, seriously, I could pay these people what I pay my connected DC lawyers ($800/hour or so), but that doesn’t mean they can deliver the goods that my connected DC lawyers can.

      1. Sure. The idea that by giving someone a big raise they will automatically be more productive is deeply, deeply stupid.

        Dear God… not you too.

        I understand you don’t have time to read through everything I’ve done trying to correct GILMORE’s assumptions about what I said, so I’ll summarize for you:

        The article says that Walmart is increasing wages across the board and providing additional training to new employees, largely as a response to a concerted protest campaign against its wage structure. Reuters reported that Walmart’s turnover rate in 2011 was 37.4%. I assume that rate hasn’t changed much in 4 years. My position is that Walmart is trying to increase worker productivity via training to make up for the reduced hours caused by the wage increase. I specifically said I was uncertain whether the plan would work given Walmart’s business model.

        I agree that giving someone a raise for no reason is deeply stupid. But, offering more money and more training to new employees should increase their productivity compared to old employees, all things being equal.

        1. But, offering more money and more training to new employees should increase their productivity compared to old employees, all things being equal.

          Why?

          My position is that Walmart is trying to increase worker productivity via training to make up for the reduced hours caused by the wage increase

          What type of “training” are they administering? Having worked at Walmart, there’s basically two kinds of training for line employees. There’s the official computer-based training (CBT) which involves everybody huddling together and collectively picking the “right” answers employees dutifully and individually learning the official corporate policy. Then there’s actual on-the-job training, which is unofficial.

          If we are talking about more of the former, then they don’t expect more productivity at all. They are engaging in a massive CYA move. I think they expect turnover to increase and will need ammunition for the courts.

          1. Why? Well, let’s see. Having additional skills means you can do more jobs, or that you can do a particular job more efficiently. Do you really expect someone to be effective at a register if they haven’t been trained to use it? Do you really expect someone to be effective at dealing with irate customers if they haven’t been trained to do it? Obviously it has to be relevant training, but do I really need to point that out?

            What type of “training” are they administering?

            Who knows? I don’t. But I’m assuming they’re doing training that they think will increase productivity. Otherwise what’s the point of doing the training? Note AGAIN that I never claimed Walmart made the right decision or that they are executing it in the best possible way. I only claimed that it is, in theory, possible to recoup productivity lost to fewer wage hours by making those wage hours more productive.

            This is all very basic business management stuff that everyone here would normally agree with. I guess people hate Walmart and are just assuming off hand that Walmart is run by a bunch of idiots hell bent on destroying the company. Why not give them the benefit of the doubt given that the company has been a roaring success for a few decades now?

            1. Do you really expect someone to be effective at … if they haven’t been trained to do it?

              I would like to call this the “modern management fallacy”. First, “training” is 99% buzzword bullshit. Second, the merit of an employee is ultimately judged by his actions. You can sit a guy in front of a computer, and he can even ace the test, but that does not meaningfully constitute “training” if he, when put to the test, fails to perform the job.

              I learned how to stock shelves, manage inventory (perishable and non), print labels, run a register, mix paint, exchange/return merchandise, cash payroll checks, serve money orders, and various and sundry other tasks by a combination of my own intuition and feedback from superiors and coworkers. The idea that if corporate had just thrown more “training” at me, I would have become a more productive employee, is laughable.

              1. To clarify what I mean by “test”:

                You can sit a guy in front of a computer, and he can even ace the test [i.e. written examination], but that does not meaningfully constitute “training” if he, when put to the test [i.e. demonstration of practical performance], fails to perform the job.

            2. Otherwise what’s the point of doing the training?

              To cover their asses. “We did our best to ‘train’ him, but he just wasn’t able to perform” appeases the MBAs and MBA wannabes much better than “he fucked up, so we got rid of him”. They expect to see at least some of their former employees in court, and they expect to see a lot of them apply for unemployment compensation, which will raise their UE insurance rates. They are likely doing this for the same reason that job “requirements” have gotten out of hand and working at McDonald’s requires a fucking resume. They don’t want to get sued, and if they get sued, they don’t want to lose a lot of money.

              Walmart’s corporate culture has been shaped by all of the court decisions they have lost. While some of those losses are IMO legitimate or at least legally defensible (e.g. having people work without pay), the avoidance of legal liability has nevertheless become a major motivator for corporate policy.

              1. To cover their asses

                That could be part of it, true.

            3. This is all very basic business management stuff that everyone here would normally agree with.

              “Very basic management stuff” is a topic that has about as many settled answers as economics. If you came around here citing Marx or Keynes, do you think everybody would agree with you?

              I guess people hate Walmart

              I don’t hate Walmart. They gave me a job once upon a time, they were honest with me, and I had opportunities for lateral and upward mobility.

              assuming off hand that Walmart is run by a bunch of idiots hell bent on destroying the company

              I think Walmart’s management has changed, whether it has literally changed hands or has simply changed mindsets. They are less interested in the low-margin, high-volume market and are more fearful of the government. It’s not they who are “hell bent on destroying the company” per se; it’s the government (local, state, and federal).

              Why not give them the benefit of the doubt given that the company has been a roaring success for a few decades now?

              Past success is a poor predictor of future performance. Nobody here is calling for them to be forcibly altered, or even to be boycotted, so there is no reason to give them “the benefit of the doubt”. We are discussing the decisions they are making and the reasoning behind them. They may be simply adapting to a changing market environment, but at the same time many of those changes are not for the better.

              1. “Very basic management stuff” is a topic that has about as many settled answers as economics. If you came around here citing Marx or Keynes, do you think everybody would agree with you?

                No. But I do expect everyone here to agree that proper training and higher wages results in more productivity for a workforce. That’s been well established over many centuries of execution. It works best in a free market society, but it still works some in our cronyist society. If you disagree with that, then you’re basically saying education is pointless and people don’t respond to incentives.

                ‘s not they who are “hell bent on destroying the company” per se; it’s the government (local, state, and federal).

                I agree wholeheartedly, so why are you assuming that I don’t agree? Have I said anything in this thread to indicate otherwise?

                Just stop making assumptions about what I’m arguing here and the disagreement goes away. I’m not some progressive SJW trumpeting Walmart’s decision to surrender. I’m just saying the smart thing for Walmart to do assuming the decision to raise wages has been made is to try to get more productivity out of those work hours that are left.

              2. “Very basic management stuff” is a topic that has about as many settled answers as economics. If you came around here citing Marx or Keynes, do you think everybody would agree with you?

                No. But I do expect everyone here to agree that proper training and higher wages results in more productivity for a workforce. That’s been well established over many centuries of execution. It works best in a free market society, but it still works some in our cronyist society. If you disagree with that, then you’re basically saying education is pointless and people don’t respond to incentives.

                ‘s not they who are “hell bent on destroying the company” per se; it’s the government (local, state, and federal).

                I agree wholeheartedly, so why are you assuming that I don’t agree? Have I said anything in this thread to indicate otherwise?

                Just stop making assumptions about what I’m arguing here and the disagreement goes away. I’m not some progressive SJW trumpeting Walmart’s decision to surrender. I’m just saying the smart thing for Walmart to do assuming the decision to raise wages has been made is to try to get more productivity out of those work hours that are left.

                1. But I do expect everyone here to agree that proper training and higher wages results in more productivity for a workforce.

                  That premise is very much debatable. You have no reason to “expect” anyone to agree with it.

                  That’s been well established over many centuries of execution.

                  No, it has not. Correlation is not causation. Moreover, I don’t think the correlation is even that strong. Many centuries of execution have generally shown that: not everybody can do every job, not everybody learns at the same speed or with the same effectiveness, not everybody responds to incentives in the same way.

                  If you disagree with that, then you’re basically saying education is pointless and people don’t respond to incentives

                  Education for its own sake is largely pointless. More accurately, turning education into a cargo cult benefits no one except charlatans.

                  People do respond to incentives. But there isn’t much of an incentive here. How useful is “train yourself on Walmart corporate policy” going to be outside of Walmart (never mind inside)? Since everybody is getting a raise regardless of individual factors, the only incentive with regard to pay is against other companies. While that has some power as an incentive, it has to be weighed against other factors.

                  1. That premise is very much debatable.

                    Not when I add the caveat “proper”. The whole point I’ve been making is that it is possible for training to increase productivity. I’ve never said that it always works. For there to be a debate on this you must think that training never increases productivity. So I expect we are in agreement. Similar argument on the wage increase.

                    No, it has not. Correlation is not causation.

                    Then why does every single job ever start with a training session of some sort? Find me one job that does not start with even the most basic of training sessions.

                    Many centuries of execution have generally shown that: not everybody can do every job, not everybody learns at the same speed or with the same effectiveness, not everybody responds to incentives in the same way.

                    I never said training had the same effect on everyone or that everyone could do a given job. Again with the assumptions…

                    the rest

                    Education aimed at a gained a marketable skill set is not pointless. Are you sure that Walmart is only training people on corporate policy and not skills that are useful in Walmart like running registers, making photos, interacting with customers? Yes, the only incentive is against other companies, that’s where the high turnover rate comes in. Your get better new hires. I never said that this wage incentive didn’t need to be weighed against other factors.

                    1. Have you ever worked in the bottom rung of a large corporation? Do you understand the difference between official and unofficial training? Have you ever sat through a useless course that you were mandated to take? Do you understand just how ridiculously out-of-touch corporate executives are with day-to-day low-level operations?

                      You start with bold pronouncements and then weasel out of the consequences by quibbling over details. I’m trying to have a discussion with you, and you’re not listening to a fucking word I’m saying.

                    2. Not when I add the caveat “proper”.

                      Sadly, No True Scotsman can ride to your rescue.

                2. Just stop making assumptions about what I’m arguing here and the disagreement goes away. I’m not some progressive SJW trumpeting Walmart’s decision to surrender.

                  And I said that… where, exactly? Take some of that medicine you’re prescribing, I recommend a large dose.

                  I’m just saying the smart thing for Walmart to do assuming the decision to raise wages has been made is to try to get more productivity out of those work hours that are left.

                  And nobody here would argue about that premise in the abstract. That is not, however, the only factor at play, nor is it even the only possible thing the company might do under the circumstances.

                  1. Furthermore, you keep talking about substance, then… rarely respond to the substantive arguments. I’ve made several substantive points and you’ve basically ignored them.

                    1. Furthermore, you keep talking about substance, then… rarely respond to the substantive arguments. I’ve made several substantive points and you’ve basically ignored them.

                      I have responded to almost every substantive argument made here. I may have skipped some of yours because I would have been repeating myself yet again, or I may have missed a few points because this thread has gotten rather long. But to say that I “rarely” respond indicates that you think I’m skipping the majority of what you say, which clearly isn’t the case.

                    2. I have responded to almost every substantive argument made here.

                      Copying and pasting the line then saying “that could be part of it, true” is not responding to what I said, it is just acknowledging that I said it.

                  2. And nobody here would argue about that premise in the abstract.

                    Then why is everyone here arguing about that premise in the abstract? Go look at my original comment. I’ve only ever been speaking in the abstract.

                    That is not, however, the only factor at play, nor is it even the only possible thing the company might do under the circumstances.

                    Agreed. We are in agreement. We have always been in agreement on this, so stop acting like we are not.

                    1. Agreed. We are in agreement. We have always been in agreement on this, so stop acting like we are not.

                      Jesus Christ, practice some self-awareness.

                    2. Then why is everyone here arguing about that premise in the abstract?

                      You said THIS:

                      But, offering more money and more training to new employees should increase their productivity compared to old employees, all things being equal.

                      Then weaseled out of it by changing “should” to “may”, “all things being equal” to “in tandem with other factors”, and “training” to “proper training”.

                      Moreover, you are conflating the concrete and debatable idea presented above with the abstract and generally agreeable idea presented with:

                      I’m just saying the smart thing for Walmart to do assuming the decision to raise wages has been made is to try to get more productivity out of those work hours that are left

                      You then get pissed off that a bunch of people are calling you on this premise and keep obfuscating the point you made to make yourself look good.

                      And then to top it all of you try to turn every accusation around as though there is some sort of equivalence here. Either stop weaseling out of your original words or else admit that they required some qualification and thus YOU WERE WRONG.

  11. Let me put on my value-priced, Chinese-made shocked face.

    1. nice

    2. Buy American, you plick.

      1. nicer

  12. I’ve talked to several Walmart employees over the past several years. My understanding from those talks is that Walmart has been on a run of reducing hours for most of their employees. Making a large percentage of them less than full-time so they would not have to pay benefits. Not sure if this is still the case.

    If they are forced to pay higher wages you know that they will either cut more hours or reduce staff.

    From previous work at a grocery store (back-off IT) I know that margins are slim, 1% to 2% is good for Walmart. They rely on quantity to make money.

    1. I’ve talked with several Walmart employees over the past few years as well. None of them understood that they were exploited slaves to the evil corporation. They were so foolish that they actually liked having a job. Silly peasants.

  13. To the people taking about margins, you seem to forget that leftists take great pride in their willful ignorance of economics and don’t care about such things. They look at the big numbers. Numbers like wealth. Not profits or margins, but the net worth of the greedy rich people who own the company compared to the lowly workers who do the actual work. Then they scream “UNFAIR! UNFAIR!” and stomp their feet like an angry child.

    You see, the rich don’t pay their fair share, and we know this by virtue of the fact that they are rich. Only when they aren’t rich will we know that they have paid their fair share. Forget that if they’re not rich then they’re not employing people to produce goods and services. That requires actual thought. All people on the left understand is their childish notion of fairness.

    1. The only ‘acceptable’ Walmart would be one where the profit margins are micro-engineered to ensure that the Fat Cats that own Walmart make about one minimum-wage-salary a year in stock and dividend gains (before tax, of course).

      Those Fat Cats should still think themselves lucky that they got that return, because, let’s face it, they made that money by sitting around doing nothing, and not by honest labor along with the employees of Walmart.

  14. “Recently we took note of one of those competitors, Meijer, which is being ordered by the state of Wisconsin to raise its prices. The state has a law that forbids businesses from selling certain consumer goods below cost, making it harder for competitors to move in on Walmart’s turf and compete against them with better deals.”

    How is this not communistic gibberish again?

    1. Did someone say it wasn’t?

    2. Because at least one of the companies is allowed to profit? I’d call it cronyistic gibberish, personally…

    3. Because it’s protectionist gibberish?

    4. Damn it. I live on loss leaders.

  15. Unions are always demanding higher wages, but it would be unprecedented for them to demand longer hours (they claim credit after all for giving us the 40-hour work week, which on average has now dropped down to closer to 30). Ultimately it’s always been for them about getting paid more to do less?and that’s exactly what they’re getting from Wal-Mart. As for workers, I guess they just expect government handouts to make up the difference. The typical liberal thought process.

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