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Wal-Mart was founded by Sam Walton in Bentonville, Arkansas in the late 1940's as a pretty standard five and dime-type place. It expanded first across the Ozarks into Missouri and Oklahoma, then The South, then across the U.S.. Now there are Wal-Marts in Mexico, Canada, and even Europe as a result of various corporate acquisitions.

There are two common types of Wal-Marts in the U.S., standard WMs with the usual cheap-department store product assortment just like your local K-Mart and Target, and Supercenters with a grocery store tacked onto the side and a random selection of other businesses too. I've seen everything from banks to hair salons, fast food restaurants and music stores thrown into a Supercenter, and that's only in Virginia.

A large corporation distributed throughout the US (and possibly other countries) which sells just about anything any small store would sell, from guns to cds to clothes to plants to camping supplies, etc, etc, etc. Some contain banks, restaraunts, cleaners, casinos (in Nevada) and all manner of other things. The idea might not sound so bad but Wal-Mart happens to be evil.

Wal-Mart has been accused of a great deal of evils, such as selling unscrupulous items made by Indonesian slaves, censoring CDs that berate the store but selling guns abundantly, building happily on indian burial grounds, wetlands, and historical parts of old towns, reporting patrons' purchases of some items to the government, and driving all other businesses out of a town via price gouging. Apparently, Wal-Mart will offer very low prices in a town until every small business is gone. Then they will either jack up the prices or close the store. If they close the store, people are often forced to drive many miles to the nearest wal-mart, which conveniently will have jacked up prices. Many people will say this is a myth but i have actually seen a huge K-mart destroyed by Wal-Mart in a town which seemed to have no other stores (Woodland, CA). The mall in that town is also empty, the storefronts are abandoned, etc, all in the wake of the Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart, therefore is Evil. I can not attribute Wal-Mart to Satan, because frankly, Satan isnt as bad.

Also, wal-mart backwards spells 'tram law'. I was informed recently that 'TRAM' in some circles means 'The Rest Are Mine'... That associated with 'law' probably means that Wal-Mart is using pseudo-legal means to take over the world and hoard money at the expense of others. Duh.

Incidentally, some towns, such as Davis, won't even allow Wal-Mart to move in. I hope to god it stays that way although Gap is already here.

One night, I was frantically battling against a deadline for a coding project. I ran out of caffeine at the last minute. And when I say ran out, I mean.. nothing... no coffee, no anything. It being 3 AM in Pittsburgh, there was nothing in the general vicinity open besides a Wal-Mart about 20 minutes away. So I set out, hoping to lay in a goodly supply of caffeinated materials.

Arriving, I expected to see the store virtually deserted. Instead, I notice that the store is more crowded than it was during my only previous visit, at around 8 PM. It was filled with whole families doing what seemed like their weekly shopping, filling cart after cart after cart, chattering in their Appalacian patois.

Feeling rather out of place, I clutched my Mountain Dew and made for the checkout.

So this is how it feels when doves cry.

I'm on just about every liberal mailing list in existence... including the National Organization for Women (NOW) mailing list. A few weeks ago I got an interesting mailing from them.

It seems that Wal-Mart is refusing to carry the RU-486 abortion drug. This probably wouldn't happen in any other large chain store of this type, but Wal-Mart is owned privately by a family of right-wing republican conservatives who absolutely oppose the right to choose. This is very unfortunate, since in many small towns Wal-Mart may be the only place women can go for uncommon perscription drugs. For this reason, combined with their music censorship policy, I refuse to shop there.

I found out exactly how big Wal-mart is the other day.

Wal-mart employs 940,000 people. Wow. That's a heck of a lot of people. As a point of reference, that's more people than in Delaware (740K), Montana (880K), Vermont (590K), North Dakota (630K), or South Dakota (738K). It's about as many people that live in Rhode Island.

Imagine having that kind of workforce. Imagine the wealth. In his time, Sam Walton wasn't doing so bad (he was the richest man in the world). His kids aren't doing so bad either:
Keep in mind they are all in the top 12 richest people in the world. That's downright amazing. In his first job as a retail clerk in J.C. Penney's, his manager said to Sam Walton that he was not cut out for retail (and the only reason why he was kept was because he sold so much). That was perhaps one of the most wrong things ever said. Sam Walton made a name for himself by undercutting the competition; selling more at a lower price to turn a bigger profit. He was famous for it.

Even though his company is criticized for its business practices, it remains one of the largest commercial successes of the twentieth century.

Sources: US 2000 census, Forbes magazine

Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

(WMT)

Chairman: Mr. S. Robson Walton, (56)

The world's largest retailer with annual revenues of $191,329,000,000 (191 billion US dollars) and a net income of $6,295,000,000.
(2001 figures)

Employing almost 1,250,000 people, it is larger than Sears, Kmart, and J. C. Penny combined. It has almost 4200 stores around the world. Of its US operations 1,736 are its well known discount stores, while 888 are Supercenters, 475 SAM'S Clubs and 19 Neighborhood Markets.

In the UK they operate as ASDA with 241 stores, and they are the #1 retailer in both Canada and Mexico.

Contact:
702 SW Eighth St.
Bentonville, AR 72716

Phone: 501-273-4000
Fax: 501-273-1917

Web: http://www.walmartstores.com/

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Sources:
www.fortune.com
finance.yahoo.com

If you're considering working for Wal-Mart, read a book called Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich. She worked as a sales clerk at a Minneapolis, Minnesota Wal-Mart in the process of researching this book about what it's like to try to survive on poverty-level wages. She documents oppressive, dehumanizing surveillance from management and fellow co-workers who were teetering on the edge of homelessness.

Many others have criticized Wal-Mart's treatment of its employees, particularly for its low pay, substandard benefits, and abuse of employment laws.

The Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW) reports that although Wal-Mart made $191 billion in 2002 in U.S. sales alone, its employees made $2 to $3 less per hour than union employees in equivalent positions at other retailers. Furthermore, Wal-Mart's health insurance is so expensive that less than 40% of their employees participate in the plan.

A 2004 study by UC Berkeley's Labor Center revealed that the State of California paid out $86 million in welfare and other public assistance to Wal-Mart workers in 2001.

The report says:

Wal-Mart workers' reliance on public assistance due to substandard wages and benefits has become a form of indirect public subsidy to the company.

Reliance by Wal-Mart workers on public assistance programs in California comes at a cost to the taxpayers of an estimated $86 million annually; this is comprised of $32 million in health-related expenses and $54 million in other assistance.

The National Organization for Women in 2002 called the company "a Merchant of Shame", accusing them of sex discrimination in their pay scales and promotions and for violating child labor laws and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

States such as Texas and Washington have penalized the company for abuses such as underpaying and unfairly firing workers. Class-action lawsuits were recently filed in 23 states over Wal-Mart's bullying people into working overtime without pay. Other people have sued over the company refusing to pay medical bills for on-the-job injuries.


If you're considering shopping at Wal-Mart, be wary of their layaway plan. Turns out that they consider an item to have been purchased the day you make your first down payment, not the day you take your brand-new item home from the store.

Why is this a problem? Say you've had an expensive TV on layaway for six months. You take it home, and the next day the picture tube goes out. You take it back to the store, and try to exchange it. They won't take it back; according to store policy, the TV you took home the day before is 6 months old and no longer subject to their return policy.

In most cases your warranty is still intact, of course, but you're then facing a much longer turnaround time and possibly expensive shipping charges.

One of the best things about Walmart by far are their public restrooms. These are a virtual haven for bathroom tourists such as myself who like to spend time in public bathrooms in order to get the most out of life. I do believe in getting the most out of life. This is a thing.

I am part of a club that meets in a local Baltimore Walmart men's room to read magazines independently of each other and while sitting in different stalls. It is clean country living at its finest. Just like cops are New York's finest (if you were unaware, make sure a notebook and sharpened pencil are available to you at all times to write down new bits of learning you may receive on everything2 website). This is quite something to behold. Being a hobbyist of the type I am (and you are my friend so you lovingly support everything I do and say with proclivities up the wazoo), I love having these kinds of options.

But there are important things to note if you want to read magazines independently of other people in separate stalls according to the gender assigned to you at birth by Jesus and three of his disciples (the ones who went into that line of work after the cross thing):

  • Not everyone in the Walmart bathroom stalls is a person who is hip to the game. Some people may get "weirded out" (internet kiddie slang) if you begin discussing an article you are reading currently in Better Homes and Gardens while they are pushing loose a turtled turd. If someone responds aggressively, don't persist unless you are handy with your fists.
  • A lot of Walmarts have people working there who aren't too keen on people using the bathrooms there for these purposes. If one of them comes into the bathroom and begins thumping against the stall doors (metal) with a mop handle (wood), stop talking to your neighbors about exciting developments in Popular Mechanics magazine. If you hear them say, "You get shit on it, you buy it," then you know your goose is cooked.
  • The holidays are a very busy time in Walmart bathrooms as men sneak off with magazines to read them in the bathroom (or merely look at pictures - but only merely). You may need to make reservations, but every Walmart bathroom magazine reading club has different contact information. Check with your local branch office (which you will find locally).
  • Make sure you actually have to experience a bowel movement when you go to the Walmart bathrooms. Sam Walton, bless his heart, had one last wish and that was to do away with people reading magazines in his bathrooms. So, he invented with his own gumption a detector for shit in the stalls when they are flushed, and a toilet stall door locks securely until that toilet is flushed. Basically, you either shit or you get a punishment from Sam Walton (sometimes delivered personally while he was still alive via closed fist). What I do is use a broom handle at home whenever I feel I need to have a bowel movement (there is a pulsing, uncomfortable feeling you may be familiar with) to force the excrement way the fuck back up inside my body as far as it will go, at times actually sitting on the broom handle and with all my weight forcing inch after inch of the broom handle up inside me.
  • Your choice of reading material should be sensible. Don't bring girlie magazines in there with you. What can happen is that you achieve an erection while your unit and pre-assembled parts are dangling down near the water's edge. Your erecting penis may get caught between the seat and the empty area between the seat and the toilet water that serves no practical purpose. It is a painful experience. Avoid.
  • Talk in a manly voice when discussing articles with other stall residents. No one wants to be "in the hole" with someone who isn't very manly. This is a manly practice (not for the faint hearted or losers).
  • Bring the magazine back to the rack where you found it (unless you want to buy it - and you don't have to unless you get shit on it).

  

 

Furthermore, this is real. You need to know and understand the needs of people different than you, such as Walmart toilet stall magazine reading enthusiasts. We are all across America and Canada and I know a guy in Thailand.

If you need to take a "movement" in a Walmart bathroom, consider barging very aggressively into the hairdresser shop next door (the small, independentl owned one that is going under) and demand to use their private bathroom. If they buck, shit on the floor. It will serve them right. I think so.

There are other experiences you can have in a Walmart that aren't "listed on the menu." It is a place to have adventures with your friends. You can have adventures in the style of the world famous detectives The Hardy Boys and their friends Chet and good looking kid. How can you find these adventures? You have to know where to look.

  • Take two different sized bags of Cheetos to the register and pretend you have no idea they are two different sizes of the same product, or that a larger size was available in case that many were actually to be consumed in a timely fashion. As you well know, Cheetos and other potato-based products are not good after the bag has been open more than 36 hours and must be thrown out or given to the poor (although that only encourages them).
  • Fake Shoe Shine booth in the middle of one of the aisles no one goes down, like the one with the giraffe lamps.
  • Produce a urinal cake that has been well used (from the men's room) when asked to pay for Cheetos or other products at the register. They will pass you through.
  • Pretend to be Indiana Jones or an Indiana Jones-like character, such as Henry from Regarding Henry, and wander around the garden department in safari gear yelling about being trapped in a refrigerator during a nuclear blast (jerky movements are optional but I am seriously all in favor of them in every and all context).
  • I grab huge handfuls of meat from the cold meats section, perfectly good steaks, chicken, and ham bones and throw them in the back of the shelves with the off-brand potato chips on them. I go back days later to see if you can smell the putrid rot and get a chuckle out of what I've done.
  • Ask repeatedly at the check cashing window to cash a check, then act like you are waiting, and produce no check. Become frustrated and actively grab the clerk with your left hand, partially collapsing the breathing part of the human throat in the process, while repeating calmly your request to cash the check.
  • Building models in the men's room stalls. This is something I have been developing lately by taking models and glue and going to the men's room stalls and putting together models in there and then throwing them in the back of the shelves with the off-brand potato chips so they know what kind of person they are dealing with.
  • Develop your own activities based on your interests and your level of intellect.

 

 

Take your time in having an adventure at Walmart. Learn the lay of the land and you can have these kinds of adventures real soon and in real time.

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