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Trust me, I work there; they have---if you can believe it---gotten WORSE for the workers. They recently (within the last 2 months) changed our dress code---no hats (not so bad), everybody has to wear a blue clone shirt (a little bit worse), no more vests (so we have find other ways to carry the tools required for our job), and, just a couple days ago, no radios on the floor, which have been allowed ever since I started working there over 2 years ago. Also, within the last 2 months (this is the worst), they have decided we need to be to be timed on how long long it takes the stockers to work their freight. I mean, c'mon already, this is WAL_MART---not Ford Motor Company!!! If you want me to do piece work, then pay me piece work rate, not less than $10 an hour. Yup, Wal*Mart's lowering prices, alright---lowering the price they pay their employees (oops, sorry---ASSOCIATES).
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I dread grocery shopping, especially in the most dreariest of places -
Wal-Mart Supercenter. I had to be DRAGGED out by my family to accompany
them and it's pretty boring to me! Robert Greenwald's documentary,
WAL-MART: THE HIGH COST OF LOW PRICE, further fueled my animosity of
doing grocery shopping at a Wal-mart Supercenter. Here, it explains
that the largest wholesale retail chain in the US forces local
businesses to close, has an inferior health care policy (One worker
uses WIC to support the nutritious aspect of family survival.), is
being racist and sexist (One black worker recalls a situation in which
his coworker taunts, "Eeenie, meenie, miney, moe/Catch the N-word by
the toe..."), and supports overseas full-time labor. The part that
touched me the most is when the Chinese factory workers, Princess and
Little Bear, lament on their work shift in the factory. The second most
profound part pertains to the big-box-store chain's victor over small,
local businesses in economic competition. Needless to say, this film
was shot a year after the National Trust for Historic Preservation
earmarked Vermont as a whole because of Wal-Mart's urban sprawl.
This is a worthy film to view, whether you are a member of The Service Employees International Union (SEIU), a relative of slain Texas college student Megan Leann Holden, or someone who wants a Wal-Mart-free community. (You don't have to be a member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation!)
A possible monopoly, an abuse in American corporate freedom, exploiting people everywhere from employees to tax payers. It really gets you thinking. Is it possible that Walmart is a reason of an increase in crime rates? to what extent should the government allow corporations like Wal-mart to act the way it is shown in this movie. I strongly recommend and urge people to take some time to watch this film. We cannot let mega corporations bankrupt small businesses or make them exploit employees; expecting them to work 16 hours a day no overtime or being threatened to get fired. The German lady was right in this film "if you fear the place you work there is something terribly wrong"
Filmmaker Robert Greenwald has effectively made mincemeat of his
targets in a couple of recent fiery documentaries - Rupert Murdoch and
the FOX Network in "Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism", and
the Bush administration in "Uncovered: The War on Iraq". His latest is
no exception as he lays into Wal-Mart, its CEO Lee Scott and Sam
Walton's heirs in this probing 2005 critique of corporate injustice.
Instead of providing a single narrative voice, Greenwald structures his
film as a series of vignettes focusing on discrete instances of where
Wal-Mart has violated fair market practices, passed over women and
minorities for leadership positions, restricted movements toward
employee unionization, taken advantage of cheap labor in China and
India, and disregarded environmental standards.
The grievances seem endless, and the film even discloses the embarrassingly paltry amounts each Walton family member has given to charitable causes (compared to Bill Gates, of course). The most touching episodes focus on victims like Red Esry, who are experiencing the closure of their multi-generational small businesses in small towns where Wal-Mart opens and cannibalizes the competition. Much of the treatment seems ham-fisted, especially in the juxtaposition of Wal-Mart commercials and in-house training videos within the context of those being crushed by the corporation's economic clout. Moreover, the one segment about the rape of an employee in a parking lot, while horrific, seems more generic in nature than Wal-Mart's accountability in the incident. The abundance of conjecture and the lack of attributable facts tend to affect some of the film's credibility.
However, Greenwald makes his points with clarity. Especially effective is the use of archived footage of Scott asserting to a massive audience of his employees that Wal-Mart has done nothing but good for the economy, even though many of them have to go on welfare to get medical care. The film ends with a montage of people who have successfully lobbied against the construction of stores in their towns. At the same time, Greenwald has not made a monomaniacal diatribe, as the takeaway never feels like the destruction of Wal-Mart but more a call for a severe overhaul of their internal practices. The filmmaker has certainly come a long way since his 1980 feature film debut, the ludicrous "Xanadu", and he seems to be continuing his streak of confronting those corrupted by their power.
The DVD has several extras, the best being a twenty-minute making-of featurette and a separate 16-minute short, "The Big Meeting", on how the film came about. Greenwald also provides a commentary track, though much of what he shares can be gleaned from the featurettes. There are a couple of deleted segments that do seem redundant if they were included in the movie (one set in Quebec, the other in England), as well as a brief clip of local religious leaders condemning Wal-Mart's practices. Lastly, there are several fitfully funny Wal-Mart commercial parodies that apparently served as commercials for the documentary. Those looking for a more-in-depth analysis of Wal-Mart's business impact may want to read Charles Fishman's "The Wal-Mart Effect: How the World's Most Powerful Company Really Works - and How It's Transforming the American Economy".
Greenwald does it again! Not unlike his excellent "Outfoxed," about the corruption and absolute "B.S." of cable's Fox News Channel, he here exposes one of the worst corporations in our beloved country, and he does it with clever humor, and with poignant, real-life filmic stories of members of families of honest, good community businesses in the rural areas of America. I believe that the guy who started Wal-Mart was probably a pretty nice person, and owned an original store and a few chain stores. I don't think that that guy would have approved of the shady and downright barbaric practices utilized by his company today. I really don't. Everyone should see this film, and everyone should boycott Wal-Mart. If that doesn't happen, they will just go on profiting, and our country will be wayyy worse off for it.
This documentary was done so well and tells us like it really is! This gives me a great backbone of support to use in means of why Wal Mart is evil and is destroying our society. It is unfortunate that this business is destroying good businesses that pay good wages and provide good benefits. My dad works at Safeway and they destroy so much of its business. This film shows all the unfair practices businesses can get away with without union membership. The government needs to exercise more control over such detrimental businesses. I hope everyone will watch this film because then they can be educated on the harm that Wal Mart causes. Congress needs to make Wal Mart responsible for their actions. When they open stores, the property value of the land where they are located goes way down, due to the destruction of other businesses. This documentary shows the anarchy that is caused by such a business. It's not worth our well being as a nation to allow an international enterprise to exist that is increasing the unemployment rates in Canada, the US, and probably everywhere else in the world. When in the documentary they speculate about how the medical insurance is so expensive that most employees can't afford the high cost. This is one of many forms of evidence that no union involvement allows the underpayment and overworking of employees. They tell us that Wal Mart tells its employees to use Medicaid as their medical program. This is a huge abuse of the system, and shows how much more Wal Mart cares about its wealth and profits over the personal health and well being of their employees. I hope what I have to say will inspire more and more people to stop shopping at Wal Mart for life and spread the news to their friends. With this action, hopefully someday Wal Mart will become become bankrupt and eventually go out of business, and save our world.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This really funny attempt at a documentary attempts to portray
Americans as completely irresponsible.
The business owners who claim that Wal-Mart drove them out of business... perhaps it had more to do with the fact that they didn't provide a product and a service that the market was willing to pay for.
The employees who don't get paid enough, and don't work enough hours... perhaps they should get a second job, or (God-forbid) actually develop within themselves a marketable skill that someone else would pay them more money to do.
The people that complained that their municipalities "subsidized" Wal-Mart's opening expenses... Perhaps you shouldn't vote for people that aren't going to do things that you don't agree with.
This documentary made no attempt to present any other point of view, or suggest that everyone interviewed had a right to work somewhere else, shop somewhere else, or live somewhere else.
In one memorable scene, a mother is be-moaning Wal-Mart's evilness because they don't provide affordable health care or pay enough... and in the background, her daughter (I'm assuming it was her daughter) is lying on the couch playing a Nintendo DS. Are you kidding me? You're too poor to afford health care, but you can buy a Nintendo DS?
Another disgruntled employee bravely asserts "This isn't THEIR store. It's OUR store." I beg to differ Mr. Freaky Ear Pierced Guy. Did you raise the capital, create the business plan, or buy the land? or the building? IF that is YOUR store, then you should have no problem going out there with your friends that you were begging to vote yes to unionize and creating another store just like Wal-Mart. If you can do a better job, then do it. GO! You are free to do it! Quit groveling in your own ignorance. Nobody in the documentary asked him why he didn't just go get a better job, or learn how to do something that paid more.
This documentary does a great job at forgetting that we are free to choose what we do, where we do it, and when we do it. It portrays corporate America as soul-less and evil, and that the people in this country are too stupid to figure out that they don't have to be victims of corporate America.
Many of us who don't trust main stream media or the current political
powers-that-be are not surprised by this documentary. Personally, I
made a choice several years ago to no longer shop "big-box", knowing
that that the low cost of the products were fictitious and were
actually subsidized hugely by my tax dollars.
The makers of this documentary assemble the facts extremely well and interview freshly enlightened ex-WM employees. The interviews with the failed businesses in the wake of the WM invasion are devastating and the scenes of towns who have routed WM particularly heartening. The high cost of these low prices are factually presented (subsidized medical care, nutrition for children, etc.) along with the non-promotion of women and blacks, flagrant disregard for the environmental impact of their storage of hazardous material and callous inattention to consumer safety in their mega-parking lots. The staggering wealth and greed of the Walton family is despicable (nothing donated to charity or the care of their own workers). Christian, indeed.
Particularly affecting are the shots of Chinese factories. If this doc. serves to awaken people, more's the better. I for one, do read labels and work at buying conscientiously as most small businesses have closed and it requires more of an effort to buy 'outside the big-box'. But it starts with our voting - we need a wide-awake electorate, ready to question the subsidies FROM OUR TAX DOLLARS these behemoths demand from our elected officials if we are to inhabit a more equitable world. Or perhaps it is too late. 9 out of 10.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie was almost too all-encompassing. From China to the Catawba
river here in my North Carolina; from a handful of multi-billionaires
to the thousands they force into government support and health care
aid; from customers getting robbed and murdered in the parking lot to
union-busting. So much information was given that there wasn't any way
to give any of it proper attention in 100 minutes. Overall they did a
good job of giving in-depth detail about a few of the bad aspects of
the company while still keeping you aware of the bigger picture of the
ripple effect that just simply can't be adequately covered in a few
It starts off brilliant, with about a 5 minute video of a corporate Wal-Mart pep rally that really draws you in and makes you feel like Wal-Mart is great. They then systematically destroy every point made in the pep speech, counterpointed with sad hilarity by actual Wal-Mart commercials.
An interesting aspect is that the movie actually appeals to conservative-minded people. The first example of Wal-Mart putting a family owned business out of business was run by a family that were all conservative, with "Bush" stickers and stuff all over their cars, etc. Instead of the movie just spouting like a high tree-hugger about how evil corporations are, they just give good examples and stats (and show several personal stories) of workers who don't get paid enough, can't afford the overly expensive company health insurance, and are forced into welfare. Americans as a whole are affected - the shoppers and the employees. We ALL eventually pay for these "low" prices.
There are short-sighted and selfish people out there who blindly support Wal-Mart based on minimal savings on cheap generic merchandise (the "made in China" portion of the movie should be it's own full-length expose). They should see this movie, as it points out in a very simple way how people should at least know the effects of the choices they make and how a small savings might actually be adding to a bigger social problem.
The movie ends on a positive note, with examples of communities fighting and actually preventing Wal-Mart from coming to their town.
I just saw this (11/13/05) at a screening near me. Not surprisingly, most of the audience was of a certain lighter shade of skin, and the collection of cars in the parking lot would indicate a crowd that lived perfectly fine without Wal-Mart before they were around and can get by just fine without having to shop (or work) there at this time. What I mean to say is, these aren't the people that need to see this movie. Heck, I didn't even need to see this movie - four of my friends have worked for Wal-Mart at various times in the past and they had some stories that, frankly, I didn't really believe until the were corroborated almost identically in this film.
Wal-Mart has the resources to fix all their problems right now, they just aren't doing it. Until they do, people will keep making movies, complaining, fighting, and shopping somewhere else.
Sure Wal-Mart is everywhere especially it has populated small town
America from coast to coast and just about everyone has fell in love
with everyday low prices always low prices. Yet as this documentary
proves it comes at a price! As Robert Greenwald exposes and shows the
dirty side of a big corporate outfit that's dirty and they will do
anything to make a profit. Yet still Wal-Mart claims to be champions of
the community and fighters for the little people, but as you see
example by example and step by step in this film low prices come at a
Most telling is how low that Wal-Mart pays it's employees, as many can't even afford health insurance and disturbing is seeing how Wal-Mart only allows so many hours during a work week, and they will run short to finish jobs even making workers do overtime yet still the company will turn in false time to make a profit. It clearly does not live up to it's commercials Wal-Mart is not a great place to work.
The biggest problem with Sam Walton's empire is how that when his stores move into little town U.S. they put out your local mom and dad stores that have tradition. As Wal-Mart offering everything at a lower price puts out the community special stores. Also of a note is how the building of new Wal-Marts destroy valuable and precious land of historical towns. And Wal-Mart doesn't seem to be worried about security as evidenced by it's history of crime on store property as the security cameras actually watch inside on the store employees who are trying to organize unions! That's another big negative with Wal-Mart they are so anti union and seeing the shocking footage of how their toys are made in China wakes a person up and it showcases that Wal-Mart is a business of corporate greed and dirty money they will expose a worker for profit. Yet as the film closes out their is hope many bigger towns are fighting to ban Wal-Marts from coming to their towns, by voting against the building of them at the ballot box. So I guess democracy still works. Overall this is a pretty eye opening film about Wal-Mart it will make you think before shopping with them again as low prices come at a high cost for most involved.
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