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Forum Post: Has anyone heard of Wal-Mart intimidation tactics against protesters or customers

Posted 1 year ago on March 22, 2013, 12:27 p.m. EST by zacherystaylor (243)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Barbara Ehrenreich once wrote about corporate plans for how to respond when activists strike in one of her books; however even though she mentioned they had these plans she didn't go into details about what they might be. She also wrote about how Wal-Mart pays their employees to attend some kind of orientation where they're told not to join unions and given pep talks. This is kind of odd since they're so tight with their hourly wages and many other expenses but they pay for time that doesn't involve work. Part of this is supposed to encourage what some have called the "cult of Sam," where they encourage sort of a worship of their company or something like that. She didn't provide many more details about that either; if anyone knows about this what is this about?

I found the following story from a year and a half ago which describes what they did during one protest. It seems to imply that they may have had some repose planned and I suspect that the commercial media might hesitate to report anything that might make Wal-Mart look to bad without strong evidence and major outrage but I suspect that they might use more tactics to suppress complaints.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blogpost/post/wal-mart-invaded-by-occupy-protesters-on-black-friday-video/2011/11/28/gIQAc7bD5N_blog.html

Wal-Mart has clearly been getting an enormous amount of complaints from their customers because they have so many problems with the quality of their merchandise. When you hear about how many corners they cut in the manufacturing factories this should be expected. They also have a large number of police complaints at their stores according to Stacy Mitchell "Big Box Rip-Off" and many of the stories about Black Friday riots. This costs tax payers an enormous amount of money but Wal-Mart often still gets tax subsidies instead of paying for their part in this.

I have heard some stories about this in the past and may have had my own experience with something like this. With all the scandals they've been involved in I suspect they're quite concerned about people using speech in their stores to inform the other customers about how many problems they have and keep them from exposing them at least in the stores. It is incredibly easy to find out about many of these scams if people look for them from reliable sources but the commercial media only reports them briefly if they report them at all.

I strongly suspect they have an enormous internet presence that includes many people creating phony reviews and defending Wal-Mart in other ways. A lot of this is incredibly easy to recognize and it is hard to imagine what else would lead to some of the positive reviews and even some with disclaimers that they might have conflicts of interests but they also claim to be independent at the same time.

I am quite certain that if the majority of Wal-Mart customers knew more about this they would lose many of them. I'll be writing more about this next week and won't be checking back until them so that if there are any other stories about it. they will be independent. For what it is worth what I suspect would almost certainly not be considered illegal; but it would be bad for their reputation and many people would be outraged by it.

Update: May 2

I was distracted from writing the story and went on longer than I expected but have finished it. I have reason to suspect that they might have consultants walking the aisles that might be watching out for activities that might be related to the protest movements. One of these consultants might be the one that was yelling at the customers during the Occupy protests in San Diego; however that is just speculation. But I have found articles from Bloomberg news indicating that they do have these consultants in the aisles for other purposes, checking to see how well stocked the aisles are, which don't seem to make sense and I may have encountered someone who's behavior doesn't make sense, unless she is one of these consultants or something like that, but once again that is speculation.

I also have some reason that at least a few police officers might be sympathetic to the Wal-Mart workers and they might not like the fact that Wal-Mart is using their services while avoiding accountability for other activities that aren't in their jurisdiction and sticking other tax payers with the tab while they often get tax breaks from politicians that take their donations.

The full somewhat rambling story is at the following Blog:

http://open.salon.com/blog/zacherydtaylor/2013/04/01/negotiating_at_wal-mart

Update May 12

I followed up on this with another somewhat rambling post but it has what I consider a good possible suggestion about how organized people can convince small grocery stores or other types of store to buy local and take advantage of the growing movement to boycott Wal-Mart which is clearly escalating partially because of Wal-Mart's growing incompetence. It involves having a group of people give written requests that the local stores buy local and minimize or boycott Koch and Monsanto's. If they continue giving Koch products prominent spaces at the end of the aisle the group can do their shopping avoiding the Koch products then ask to see the manager and request as a group that they stop giving the Koch brothers prime shelf space and inquire about anti competitive slotting fees, which they won't want to discuss. Hopefully if this is done often enough with enough supporters it could lead to some Koch free towns while Wal-Mart also shuts down their stores replacing them with smaller local stores not additional big box stores.

http://zacherydtaylor.blogspot.com/2013/04/customer-feedback-for-wal-mart-and.html

46 Comments

46 Comments


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[-] 4 points by shoozTroll (17632) 1 year ago

Perhaps they are trying to keep up with Target??

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVqOxmb34yc

Keep in mind, these are union actors, in a union produced video.

[-] 2 points by shoozTroll (17632) 1 year ago

They have a habit of not paying people. That's how they got so filthy rich.

http://www.labornotes.org/2013/02/cambodian-workers-camp-out-hunger-strike-against-walmart-and-hm

[-] 2 points by zacherystaylor (243) 1 year ago

Thirty years ago we had much more manufacturing in the US; many of them had factory direct outlets that helped keep the prices down. when they weren't factory direct they saved money by keeping the shipping and distribution costs down. Now they save money by abusing the workers but the quality is much worse and the cost to get it to the customer is much higher so with more bureaucratic expense we aren't getting a deal at all.

They steal from the workers in the sweat shops by taking advantage of limited labor laws.

They steal from the workers locally by suppressing the job market and making them compete with foreign workers without protection.

They steal from the customers by passing on a lot of expenses that have nothing to do with producing decent merchandise thanks to their market power. This includes the fact that they pass on the cost of their lobbying and campaign contributions without passing on access to the political process. So indirectly consumers pay for all these deceptive ads and campaign propaganda commercials.

Then after most people bear the cost of these expenses indirectly we don't have nearly as much protection of free speech. They use money they get from us to virtually monopolize the commercial media.

[-] 2 points by shoozTroll (17632) 1 year ago

Thank you.......:)

You have put it more eloquently than I have ever been able too.

The only thing I would add, is that it is "forced" upon us by the privilege of the corporate charter.

A charter that swears ultimate fealty only to capital.

[-] 2 points by zacherystaylor (243) 1 year ago

There is nothing eloquent about what they're doing. The corporations are monopolizing the speech available to the masses and one of the most important things to do to change this is to discredit the commercial media and let people know about the alternatives at least until the Incredibly Corrupt Mainstream Media (ICMSM) is reformed so that they provide a much more diverse point of view with the public airwaves. Then the IC will no longer apply to ICMSM; but that is a long way of unless there is a surprising amount of reform quickly.

[-] 3 points by zacherystaylor (243) 1 year ago

The entire Democratic Party is being describe\d as left wing even while it becomes increasingly right wing and support the GOP policies or does an increasingly incompetent job standing up to them. Harry Reid demonstrated this with his refusal to reform the filibuster again after it was clear that it would be abused. It is unlikely that he seriously tried to stand up to them.

Even Elizabeth Warren is selling out on many issues.she does a much better job pretending to stand up for the public and in some cases, due to the fact that the Republicans have become so extreme she actually has; but she isn't nearly as great as defender of the consumer and worker as she pretends to be.

She only provides token support so that she can be portrayed as the hero that ushered in change that is being demanded at the grass roots level.

http://open.salon.com/blog/zacherydtaylor/2012/08/13/elizabeth_warren_is_not_a_consumer_advocate

I've been pulling my hair out every time I hear about how she is the great defender of consumers because I have been watching her for a while and I have found that she has connection to defense of asbestos companies, gambling interests, written about what she calls the "over consumption myth" and even though she is supposedly the great reformer she was one of the biggest fund raisers in the senate.

[-] 2 points by shoozTroll (17632) 1 year ago

My jury's still out on Warren.

I'll wait and see what she can get done, as most of what you hear these days is the province of press releases and vested interests, for and against.

I will continue to keep my eyes on the States, where those vested interests are and have been hard at work all along..

[-] 1 points by zacherystaylor (243) 1 year ago

On the one issue of banking she is far better than most other politicians but she's getting way to much press based on what she has done even on this issue. furthermore it is so obvious that they have gone way too far and it has to be reversed at least partially that they have to have someone that "represents the people" or at least seems to. This may be her token issue and she is going to use it for all it is worth while she will almost certainly ignore many other issues and if they think they can get away with it she might not even win on her token issue; just make noise and get credit.

[-] 2 points by shoozTroll (17632) 1 year ago

She has to fight all of that, plus this.

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Portal:State_Policy_Network

And there's even more.

Like I said, it remains to be seen whether she has the power to force them to do their jobs.

[-] 1 points by zacherystaylor (243) 1 year ago

I don't expect her to do more than they think they have to. Unless the public holds her feet to the fire she will almost certainly do what she can to support the causes of her contributors like any other politician while getting her theater by attacking banks or other institutions that are so extreme they have to be reformed anyway if she is going to look out for the best interest of her contributors so she'll take the credit.

Thanks for the link; I'll take a closer look at it.

[-] 2 points by shoozTroll (17632) 1 year ago

Perhaps if she would take some lessons from Bono it would help.

Here's an extremely under reported win for the good guys.

http://www.one.org/international/blog/we-did-it-europe-takes-historic-stand-against-corruption/

[-] 2 points by zacherystaylor (243) 1 year ago

HHmmm I didn't see one report about this in the mainstream media. They did report about how the Supreme Court has ruled that bribes thinly disguised as campaign contributions are protected speech and they can now be done in secret but even that didn't have as much perspective as it should have.

[-] 0 points by shoozTroll (17632) 1 year ago

Good news, sometimes travels, not at all.....

Perhaps because in this case, no one could come up with a viable conspiracy theory. Whereas secret contributions are made for just such a thing.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (26973) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Yep we need to see something positive for the people - emerge.

A slap in the face - what will it lead to:

Sigh. Elizabeth Warren Embarrasses Some Bank Regulators To Their Faces. Again.

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 1 year ago

What remains to be seen, is whether she has the power to make them do their jobs, before it's too late. Before statutes of limitations make a case moot.

I like what she has to say, but these days we are sorely in need of solutions and results.

Rhetoric is still the cheapest thing in our system, despite the high price we pay for it.

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (26973) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Yep - the public dollar pays for it - good - bad - indifferent.

Let us hope She has the power to do the job that is needed doing and that the government does not derail her attempts.

[-] 1 points by Builder (4202) 1 year ago

Has WM edged out most of their competition?

Or is there still somewhere else to go for the same kind of product lines?

We have an emerging duopoly in Australia, the first of which is called Bunnings. Though they do pay their staff fairly well, they will soon be in a position to dictate wage structures.

[-] 2 points by zacherystaylor (243) 1 year ago

There is much less competition in my area no matter where you go than there used to be. In one direction they only have one major competitor however in that area they may have more small businesses for some of the items they sell which is a step in the right direction. The other direction is a little more competitive but that comes from mostly other big box stores.

At least one of those big box stores seems to have partially restored the quality of their products temporarily over the last few years but that could be temporary and it isn't as good as reforming the system. It is almost certainly because of the major protests not the competition from oligarchies that led to this change. As soon as people become complacent again they can and will cut quality and increase prices again unless there is institutional reform.

[-] 1 points by Builder (4202) 1 year ago

Thanks for the info.

Our food duopoly has somehow managed to get around our govt Fair Trading laws to instigate a national pricing policy, on the grounds that it is fairer for all consumers. We have some very remote places in Australia, and when I travelled around the country, I found that the prices really were the same.

The reality of that situation is that the city-dwellers (90% of all of us) are paying for the freight costs of the 10% who live remote. The other side of that coin in that all the independent groceries are disappearing from their small town status that they previously enjoyed, simply because they were small operators. They still have to pay full price for freight.

[-] 2 points by zacherystaylor (243) 1 year ago

Here we started with the Sherman anti-trust act which was first enforced against the people they were supposed to protect but after decades in the first half of the twentieth century they managed to get significant improvements by pushing at the grass roots level. Over the last thirty five years or so those improvements have been virtually eliminated and the robber barons or oligarchies are back using many of the same old tricks and more new ones. There has always been a small opposition to the erosion but in the last couple of years it has sky rocketed.

This hasn't resulted in more than a token amount of reform, most of which can be wiped out overnight if people slack off but if public awareness and participation continues to grow there is hope for real change.

Sometimes government subsidies or rules aren't always perfect but if they're done to benefit the majority it would be better than if they're designed primarily to subsidize the rich that already have more than they need. At least then we can work on the inefficiencies in a reasonable manner.

[-] 2 points by Builder (4202) 1 year ago

Keep workin on that public perception quotient.

It's pretty much the only variable we can control.

[-] 0 points by freewriterguy2 (3) 1 year ago

nope

[-] -1 points by kandy4 (-81) 1 year ago

Imagine a liberal organization like OWS is formed. They have officers, staff, and paid positions like any organization. Then imagine a group of conservatives try to join, and ask fellow OWS members to go along with their ideas. You think the OWS officers would hold "orientation with new employees, asking them not to join the conservatives?"

What the Fuck do you think Wal Mart is doing. You are the fucking antitheses to this company. YOU are the enemy.

You don't like the company? Don't fucking work there! There are millions who chose to.

[-] 2 points by zacherystaylor (243) 1 year ago

Wal-Mart is conducting political activities that affect those that don't work or shop their and they're also dominating the market so that we no longer have fair competition; so it is everyone's interest. They're going beyond normal business and threatening the democratic process. They're not the only corporations doing this but in retail they're the worst.

[Removed]

[-] -1 points by OTP (-203) from Tampa, FL 1 year ago

Nothing is more detrimental to walmart protests or union activists than the sheep that ignore them and march right in to spend their hard earned money on cheap China crap that they dont need.

[-] 2 points by zacherystaylor (243) 1 year ago

This is true but thanks to an enormous amount of protests and news from alternative outlets there is some hope that some of them might wake up.

Wal-Mart is terrified of the first amendment at the grass roots level and they're slow to respond to change so they might be in for many big problems which already seem to have begun but other oligarchies will try to take their place.

[-] -2 points by kandy4 (-81) 1 year ago

Wal Mart has saved the poor in America (see Blacks and hispanics) more money than ANY government program ever has. But,. Liberals would rather see them pay more, and get shittier service in order to unionize them.

Economically ignorant liberals can't quite grasp the concept of free enterprise, and choice.

[-] 2 points by zacherystaylor (243) 1 year ago

Wal-Mat has driven down the quality of their products so bad that the poor have to keep replacing things like jeans and sneakers over and over again so they don't actually save money at all. Also they have been leaders of outsourcing so they have done more to drive wages down than most other businesses.

If they gave the workers the money they spent on union busting then they could afford to live better; either that or they could put it into the quality of their products. Instead they spend an enormous amount of money on political purposes, advertising, shipping and consultants that don't benefit the customer.

[-] -2 points by eviltrillionaire (-146) 1 year ago

Then don't shop there. No one is forcing you into any type of work or purchase relationship with Walmart. Don't like it, go elsewhere.

[-] -2 points by kandy4 (-81) 1 year ago

So..their jeans don't last long? HA HA HA. What a fucking lame argument. What are they making them from...tissue paper? Then why do people shop there?

And they shouldn't advertise their products? Tell that to McDonalds. You fucking liberal chuckle-heads.

[-] 2 points by zacherystaylor (243) 1 year ago

I have to admit they use something better than tissue paper but after a few months wear and tear it isn't much better than tissue paper.

The cost of advertising has been sky rocketing over the past few decades while they've been cutting manufacturing expenses to the bone which is why their products are crap. If the percentage they use on advertising or other expenses that don't benefit the customer continues to rise then the amount of fraud rises also; and this is bound to backfire one way or another.

[-] -2 points by PerfectCast3 (-36) 1 year ago

People like Walmart. Walmart has a good standing with local growers in providing fresh fruits and vegetables.

Consumers want low prices. Rail against WM all you want, but its growing, not shrinking. You wont get much traction unless you provide another retail outlet that emphasizes low prices.

[-] 1 points by zacherystaylor (243) 1 year ago

Are you being sarcastic?

Wal-Mart doesn't provide fresh fruits and vegetables from local growers at all.

http://www.ufcw.org/2013/04/04/walmart-falling-flat-with-not-so-fresh-foods/

They continue shipping more jobs overseas including food even while they create propaganda about buying America; it isn't the first time they did this in the eighties they cited a local factory that used imported goods for their campaign then they slowly shifted even those jobs overseas.

I'm sure you can make a better case than that; even though I wouldn't expect it to hold up, Wal-Mart is so far gone.

[-] 0 points by PerfectCast3 (-36) 1 year ago

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/15/business/15walmart.html?_r=0

People want low prices. Period. It didnt get huge by disappointing consumers.

[-] 1 points by Smithlife (2) 1 year ago

Really good.I will concern about it.


http://www.mmobf.com/

[-] 1 points by zacherystaylor (243) 1 year ago

"In the United States, Wal-Mart plans to double the percentage of locally grown produce it sells to 9 percent. Wal-Mart defines local produce as that grown and sold in the same state."

This means that they're buying less than 5% of their produce locally now. the amount of produce that grocery stores used to provide locally and in many cases of smaller ones still do is surely much higher than that. Wal-Mart has a national distribution system that rarely ever buys local and in the case of large states like California "local" might be close to a thousand miles away.

When it comes to everything else they're even worse.

They got huge by benefiting from an enormous amount of subsidies and manipulating zoning laws and using market clout along with deceptive advertising. Many more people are learning about this and when possible abandoning them which is why their sales are slumping. As Shooz indicates in many cases they get their business because they have regional monopolies.

They often cut prices to gain market dominance then when they wipe out the competition the customer has no other options so they screw them.

Also Michell Harvey has demonstrated credibility problems and so have all their other public relation campaigns including the ones about how their employees were so happy which ended months before the protests broke out on a large scale.

If they spend that much money on deceptive propaganda and ads they have that much less available to spend on quality.

[-] 0 points by shoozTroll (17632) 1 year ago

The whole family didn't become billionaires by giving anyone an actual bargain either.

That's not how that works.

[-] -1 points by PerfectCast3 (-36) 1 year ago

If they arent getting a bargain, why do people shop there? I understand that folks are jealous of the Walton's wealth, but they never forced anyone to shop at Walmart.

[-] 0 points by shoozTroll (17632) 1 year ago

I know many people in rural areas that will tell you YEP!!

They pretty much ARE forced to shop there, as there is nothing else left in the area and they can't afford the gas to go elsewhere.

Most are apologetic, but they have no choice.

[-] 0 points by PerfectCast3 (-36) 1 year ago

They have no choice? Yes, they did. There were likely small mom and pop and small local hardware stores, grocery stores once competing with Walmart. People, 99%ers abandoned the small mom and pops and supported Walmart. WM cant force people to buy, people make decisions to buy.

[-] 0 points by shoozTroll (17632) 1 year ago

You'll need to talk to them.

I've only set foot in one once and that was long ago. The place smelled funny and was filled with junk. I never went back.

[-] 1 points by PerfectCast3 (-36) 1 year ago

I dont disagree with that. However, if folks would support their local mechandisers, WM would die.

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 1 year ago

You'll have to talk to them.

Try a rural WallyWorld. They are they only game in many towns.

[-] 0 points by PerfectCast3 (-36) 1 year ago

But then that isnt a bad thing. If there are no alternatives, it does help.

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 1 year ago

Not really. it just comes back to my original statement.