Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price
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Index 68 reviews in total 

6 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Hypocritical left-wing propaganda

Author: Branden from Northern California
6 December 2005

Not only does this movie claim to be a documentary yet expend absolutely no effort to remain neutral, but it employs so many of the same fallacies that violently right-wing films do, that this movie mostly ends up annoying me by besmirching what I feel is a good cause.

The film features interviews with many of the people hurt by Wal-Mart, be they small shop owners forced out of business by the retail giant's aggressive pricing, or hapless Wal-Mart workers whose dreams of a steady paycheck and a bright career come crashing down in the face of managers being forced to cut costs by understaffing and similar anti-worker practices. These are all true stories, and are worth telling, but they lose all validity when the other side of the story remains untold. The sole contributions from the Wal-Mart corporation to this film are clips of investor meetings and commercials used in juxtaposition with tales of Wal-Mart's deeds to create a hypocritical view of Wal-Mart.

Yes, what Wal-Mart does is harmful. But this movie paints a ludicrous caricature of the corporation, portraying it to be such the paramount of all evil that those unfamiliar with the situation likely will be put-off by the film, dismissing it (rightly so) as ridiculously inflammatory.

I hate being on the same side of an argument as a vocal idiot.

This movie is a failure. I agree with it's viewpoint and I still deem it thus.

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11 out of 24 people found the following review useful:


Author: Pulpitis from Ireland
6 August 2006

I have my doubts as to whether this can truly be called a documentary; perhaps rant, tirade or propaganda would be a better description. Frankly Greenwald would make Goebbels appear even handed and unbiased; even Michael Moore makes a half hearted attempt to allow his targets the opportunity to answer the criticisms. This film makes no attempt to consider any point of view other than its own, and so entirely devalues the message. Which is something of a shame, because some of the points raised are important to us all, and certainly worth considering.

At times the message seems rambling, appearing to look everywhere for the smallest criticism, and running it long past the point of tedium. Wal Mart has (apparantly) 1.2 million employees; surely Greenwald could have found abuse more meaty than the unsubstantiated complaints of individual vague accusations of discrimination. Disgruntled employees are hardly surprising in a company of Wal-Mart's size, and airing their grievances in itself adds no weight to the argument. Much is made of the apparent preferential promotion of ethnic groups by offering us anecdotal evidence, but without offering any proof to back this up.

A considerable proportion of the movie is devoted to the environmental crime of one outlet storing its fertilizers uncovered in the car park, but this was never demonstrated to have been directly responsible for any environmental impact. So we are left wondering why this is cited as the worst offense of one of the world's largest corporations.

However some sections are handled far better than others. The statistics relating to children of workers on Medicaid speak for themselves, and the section about working conditions in China and Bangladesh is pretty shocking, and certainly would make me think twice about what I buy and where.

Ultimately though, reasoned debate this is not, demonisation it is. There is a deliberate failure to give Wal Mart the chance to put across their response. And all right thinking film goers should ask themselves "WHY?"

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1 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Like putting a Band-Aid on a sucking chest wound.

Author: Lola Blue from Pepperland
24 August 2008

I don't like Wal Mart. In fact, I hate Wal Mart. And I an not a liberal, I am a radical.I am proud to be an American radical, in the tradition of our Founding Fathers, who wrote the most radical document of its time, the US Constitution. I love my country. I really do. I'm about to take an oath to devote by life to upholding its laws. But I hate Wal Mart.

And yunno what I hate more than I hate Wal-Mart? This holier than thou, ivory tower, I joined the Young Socialist Workers Party because my daddy bought me a BMW instead of a Mercedes movie.

Back to Wal Mart. Let's not kid ourselves, it's a miserable place. As shopping day approaches, I dread going there. I used to work there while I was in law school, so I know how they treat their employees. Everything from the manky bathrooms to the inefficient checkout lines to the hopeless looks on the faces of my fellow patrons and the workers makes me dread Wal Mart.

But, get this, you rich, guilty sons of privilege. I don't have the luxury of choosing not to shop at Wal Mart. If I don't shop at Wal Mart, I don't eat. Do you know how much four years of college and three years of graduate school costs? Of course you don't. You were born with a silver spoon full of WASP upper class guilt in your mouth.

I find this documentary demeaning to all working class people, and all people of other classes from working-class backgrounds because it makes us seem like a bunch of ill-mannered, uneducated slack-jawed pigs crowding into the trough because we're too lazy and stupid to realise what a lousy place it is. We're too poor and too black and too ethnic to know better, right? So you rich WASPs have to come down from the mountain and tell it like it is? Whether it comes from some right wing corporate lackey or some left-leaning do-gooder, it still feels the same to be talked down to, I assure you.

We know all about Wal Mart. We work there, we shop there, we live in the communities it serves. Don't you dare point your plastic finger at me and tell me what you think you know about being working-class in America, what you think you know about our neighborhoods and our communities and our way of life. You don't know, and you never will know. If you don't like Wal Mart, don't shop there. We don't have a choice. You don't understand that, and you never will.

Will I shop at Wal Mart when I can afford not to, anymore? You bet. But until then, as much as I hate it, I'm grateful it's there. I need Wal Mart. Wal Mart shoppers and workers need Wal Mart, as much as some of us admittedly hate them and everything they stand for.

Why don't you make a movie about that? A movie about why places like Wal Mart exist and what's been done to the working-class and the poor and the lower middle class in this country and how we're all being pummeled and squeezed back into the 1890's? Now there's movie I'd like to see. But I'm sure one of us would have to make it, not one of you. Why don't you go have a coffee at Starbucks, and if you have no solutions to contribute to our problems, just more empty suit preaching, then just leave us alone.

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2 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Good film, but may have a creditability issue

Author: frazerdavid from United States
10 May 2006

At the end of the film, the list if cities that have denied Wal-Mart the ability to build scrolls by to in an indication that the war against Wal-Mart is being won. However, one of those cities listed is Martinez, CA. Seeing as how its about 15mins from my house, I'm pretty sure there is a Wal-Mart in Martinez. Perhaps this film can be given the benefit of the doubt, seeing as how one city I noticed not being listed was Danville/San Ramon, CA (Not sure in which city exactly Wal-Mart partitioned to build). That city did indeed deny Wal-Mart the right to build, and only then did Wal-Mart head to Martinez. At the very list, this information should have been correct.

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2 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Cry me a river......

Author: jen_hifive from United States
28 November 2005

This movie was long, boring and lacked proof. They portray the entire company as racist, selfish pigs just looking to squeeze every dime out of the poor and hungry with a couple of individuals claims. Just because one women FELT she was being discriminated against doesn't mean we should set them all on fire. It claims Wal-mart mistreats their employees and one person says she felt she had to work off the clock or she feared she'd be fired if she didn't. If Wal-mart was mistreating me I wouldn't go out of my way to keep my job and then complain about it. They must be doing something right. Wal-mart starts employees at $7.90. I just talked to a lad that's been working at Hollywood Video for 2 years full time and he's up to $7.12. I worked at Burger King for a year and a half at minimum wage ($6.75). Yeah, these are jobs are for people who lack degrees or special training but Wal-mart is the highest paying "right out of high school" job. I don't like that everything is from communist China and the workers over there are mistreated and poor but really without us buying their stuff they'd just starve. Watch it if you want to be brainwashed with sad stories of a few people. It also does have a few good points of data but how can you blame Wal-mart for crime in their parking lots. What, a security officer on every aisle? A man actually says, "This company is making n amount of money and they can't pay someone $7 an hour to watch the cameras on the parking lots." Ridiculous, a small-minded person would say, "YEAH" but in reality it would cost a lot of money for nothing. What other company has a full time parking lot security or even cameras aimed at the parking lot? Not the ma and pop hardware store I assure you. There are many fallacies in their case against wal-mart but it should still be something people should be aware of as there is a minute amount of validity in the data.

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4 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Completely One Sided, Loose Facts, Poorly Done

Author: jrstl from USA
24 December 2007

I don't and never have worked for Wal-Mart, but do enjoy the 20-30% savings per year by shopping there.

If the unions of the U.S. didn't front the money for this "documentary", they should have. Show me any Company with 10% of Wal-Marts 2 million employees, I'll find you lots of disgruntled and dissatisfied ex-employees.

When Wal-mart opens in a small town, or a populated area, other retailers are definitely hurt. Not just the Ma & Pa's, but Sears, K-Mart, successful grocery store chains, etc. It's not Wal-Marts fault! They're a business that has done business better than their competitors, big and small. It's why people shop there and make them the largest retailer in the world.

When Wal-Mart stops doing it better than everyone else, their sales will drop, their stock will drop, they will lose money. When that day comes, Companies that take Wal-Marts business will grow quicker, have lot's of disgruntled employees, have many suits filed against them.

This documentary is a slap in the face to the United States and what makes this country as great as we are. The United States is built on capitalism, we like to make money, we like to do things better than anyone else. Wal-Mart is a stock held publicly traded Company, with checks and balances, government regulation,etc. Watching this "documentary", you'd think Satin started and runs this Company.

Obviously I'm in the great minority of posters on this "documentary", but someone had to say it.

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4 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

As a Wal-mart worker I am disappointed

Author: Bradleejay from United States
18 September 2006

This movie is tailor made for bleeding hearts! Just check out the stories of a family business going under and the segment on overseas sweat shops. I am currently a Wal-mart worker and I was really excited to watch this DVD but my first thought after seeing it is "BLEEDING HEART OVERKILL".

It's clear objective is to smear Wal-mart's reputation and they beat that dead horse into a fine pulp.

The thing is that as a Wal-mart worker I was hoping that this would be a movie that could drive other workers off our couches and into the streets for employee rights and that would be quite a feat since we are always understaffed and therefore always tired.

There are some really good points made but they are lost like a needle in a haystack of unsubstantiated figures and questionable character interviews. C.E.O. Lee Scott is shown saying, "Yes, I can keep the prices low and raise the employee wages but I have an obligation to my share holders". Why don't we write to all the Wal-mart shareholders (of which I am one) and ask them if they would do something humane like convince Lee Scott that it's okay to raise the employee wages. Wal-mart can always find ways to trim other costs. It can be done and it should.

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5 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Great concept; horrible documentary

Author: emuprophet from United States
30 March 2006

This documentary has an enticing title, as we all would like to hate Wal-Mart. But like Michael Moore, it's highly biased, proposes paper solutions, and never gets to the root of the problem. If you can get passed these flaws, you will then have to plow through secondary flaws such as horrible editing and a lack of progression; just random attacks at the idea of Wal-Mart. What will drive you mad is the incredibly cliché and cheesy background music (who let the politician become the music editor?). If that isn't enough to discourage you, how about unintelligible interviewees? It has those. Blind patriotism? Check. Republican Christians? Exclusively.

I did give it three stars because it has a few good ingredients, but that doesn't mean I want to eat a turd sandwich.

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6 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Not a good film, but an important one nonetheless.

Author: ninja_superstar-1
18 November 2005

Note: I changed my rating to a 5.

I rated this film so highly due to its importance for creating an informed consumer. The actual production of the film is quite weak, riddled with weepy, manipulative anecdotes and also bad music selections and power point graphics. The film had an editor, but it really needed a good editor.

The movie did organize information well. The statistics and facts were mostly well presented with exceptions. I was most interested in how the film showed unity among conservatives and liberals. Both groups of people despise Wal-mart for different reasons, but the reasons echo of American values. Sam Walton was a good Ole American, and his vision and his stores no longer exist.

Since I rarely go to Wal-mart (maybe a dozen times a year), the film reinforced what I either already knew or always suspected. The film is a bit long (again, needs editor), but if you have the chance to see the film, do take it. I think you'll begin to realize why American small towns are dying, why even moderate cities are showing decay. Wal-mart, in cahoots with a few other monopolizing monstrosities, is at the heart.

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4 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

What a splendid buy...

Author: greatpanzer from United States
6 May 2007

I guess that documentary can be a life changing medium for both the person documenting and the one who views it and granted, there are many documentaries 'out-there' that do just that. However, there is such a thing as bias that exists in our good, clean society. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not taking anyone's case here, Wal-Mart or otherwise. What I am saying is that no one seems to think about the idea that, at the end of the day, you don't really need to buy all the trash that you consume. Yes, Wal-Mart has many questionable, if not completely terrible business practices, but that's only because of the way that the system we have in place ALLOWS for that to happen.

Free-market capitalism hasn't existed in this country for over a century. We no longer buy what we can make; we have the "benifit" of division of labor and that seems to be what is killing us.

What inevitably is going to happen would seem to be that we will just move on to another corporate glutton with more tact and feel all the better for it. YOU MUST REALIZE that we are ALL simple consumers and that we're fed advertisements promising us a lifestyle instead of something useful that we might actually need (Just walk through any isle in any supermarket. It's only toothbrushes or cheese or whatever, but you buy the brand that seems to appeal to you and dovetail with your lifestyle, don't you?). And this is where a company like Wal-Mart comes in. You have to get the sh*t YOU DON'T need somewhere, right?

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