Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price

Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price

2005, Economics  -   192 Comments
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Ratings: 7.68/10 from 103 users.

Wal-Mart - The High Cost of Low Price (2005)Wal-Mart has become one of America's most successful retail chains by offering everyday goods at low prices for working families.

But just how is Wal-Mart able to charge less than many of their rivals, and what has their success done for their employees?

Documentary filmmaker Robert Greenwald takes a look inside the discount retailer's empire in Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price, and discovers a company short on scruples and long on shabby treatment of the people who work for them.

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Fred
Fred
1 year ago

Walmart has cheated me out of return battery for car that was still in good condition. 90 days receipt policy was not expiry. Extend warranty was overlooked.

Kazu
Kazu
2 years ago

How are Wal mart employees discouraged from joining a union by Wal mart management?

peruda hudson
peruda hudson
3 years ago

i saw a doc a yr or so back, might have been a shaun attwood vid, where it was claimed that wal mart was a cover for child trafficking and they used mersk containers

kathy rorhrock
kathy rorhrock
5 years ago

WALMART ruined our once thriving small town in Blytheville, Arkansas. Before WM, our Main Street have 50-60 small, family owned businesses that served our town, one was my grandfather's pharmacy, ROTHROCK DRUG CO. However, as Walmart moved into Blytheville, our Main Street dried up. There MAY be 10 businesses left on Main. My dad had the foresight to move from Main Street to our current location, on North 6th Street, in 1970.
We are still in business as the smallest pharmacy in town, established in 1945. However, thanks to Walmart, MOST small businesses have not survived the corporate giant. We have only remained successful due to our PERSONALIZED, QUALITY SERVICE, and our customers.
We can't even begin to compete with their $4.00 prescriptions.
We are very lucky to have the most LOYAL CUSTOMERS! I have been the pharmacist for the last 30 years, and therefore have served, known, and loved as many as 3 generations of families!
However, even though MANY OF OUR PRICES ARE LOWER THAN WALMART'S, people still believe if it says "Discount" that they get a better deal there. I know for a fact that we have been HUNDREDS of dollars cheaper on certain prescriptions!!!
Between Walmart, sky-rocketing drug prices, generics going up by hundreds of dollars, insurance companies screwing us- PBMs paying us UNDER THE COST OF THE DRUG (yet they pay CVS pharmacists 5000% for the very same prescription than Independent pharmacists), not allowed to be a "preferred pharmacy", and mandatory mail order, we are barely able to keep our doors open!
I KNOW FOR A FACT THAT WHEN WE ARE FINALLY FORCED OUT OF BUSINESS, THAT HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE WILL BE LOST WITHOUT US. WE CARE ABOUT OUR CUSTOMERS. WE KNOW OUR CUSTOMERS' NAMES, WE WILL GO OUT AFTER HOURS FOR OUR CUSTOMERS, WALMART, CVS, WALGREENS, etc. DON'T GIVE A DAMN IF THEIR CUSTOMERS NEED THEM AFTER HOURS- ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS!!!!! I despise the dispicable, secretive practices of Walmart.

steve
steve
6 years ago

u.s. paper money is worthless this giant ponzi scheme is going to crash look how skinny the poor bastards in the far east making all the goods you consume are every person in this doc is over wait and ignorant of the real cause of the problems......over consumption no production and whats worst of all the every man for his self attitude

steve
steve
6 years ago

dont go there stop complaining stop getting fat and stupid eating junk and feeding this system it only exists cause each day millions shop there....wake up

Lisa
Lisa
7 years ago

Who does not benefit from Walmart?

afafaf
afafaf
8 years ago

Mrs. Clinton’s six-year tenure as a director of Wal-Mart

Leslie
Leslie
8 years ago

Maybe the public & Wal-Mart employees should boycott every Wal-Mart store out there!!!!!! Not only is Wal-Mart, treating its employees like crap, that has now carried over to its employees treating the public like crap!!!!!! And to make a documentary like this, just makes me NOT WANT GO INTO ANY WAL-MART EVER AGAIN!!!!!!!

Marsha Lamar
Marsha Lamar
9 years ago

Wlamart has gone up not just a few cents but $1.00 on many items. The underwear I buy my husband and sons has gone from $7.99 a pack to $11.47 a pack. That's a lot. Their ground turkey is high as is their ground beef. Just check it out. Cheese is higher and I could go on and on. Check it out and shop elsewhere when you see what I see. Smiths has much better prices if you have one in your area.

31jetjet
31jetjet
9 years ago

Walmart could be in the hero if they started purchasing from America and started paying their employees a livable wage. They could help us overcome this current financial depression very easily.

Bruce Hyde
Bruce Hyde
10 years ago

'Why Factories Shutdown' is a documentary in process discussing the effects of globalization and the boardroom discussions about shutdown. Perhaps gaining more knowledge is the key to...

wasssup
wasssup
10 years ago

i like walmart it has everything, the jobs you say that people have lost doesn't make sense as those locations that these sites are located create local jobs in that community

ChefBryn
ChefBryn
10 years ago

You dont get to be the biggest Company in the world without being evil. They made over $3Billion in one quarter in 2013. Why would anyone need that much money? Surely the employee's should receive huge bonus' and pay increases.

Todd Schmidt
Todd Schmidt
10 years ago

Im in mpls when is it on tv again

Elirush
Elirush
10 years ago

I am from Cobb County, GA, and I have no idea what they are talking about when they say we 'defeated' WalMart...there are several of them in the county, and one massive Super WM right on the main strip on Hwy 41. Where did they Stop WalMart?

Jedrick Parejo
Jedrick Parejo
11 years ago

What song was that when they were talking about karaoke? It sounded korean. I want to listen to the whole song.

Romaniuk Jaroslaw
Romaniuk Jaroslaw
11 years ago

something is wrong in the system. the philosophy should be to work for the benefit of people and local communities, not for the benefit of business itself.

Good As Gold
Good As Gold
11 years ago

I love Wal-Mart and hope they continue to offer low prices and good service. I think whatever they are doing they are doing it right. If you do no like it do not shop or work there.

bluewcollar
bluewcollar
11 years ago

Buying American creates the demand for American goods which creates American Jobs. If we stop giving our jobs to foreigners, create the demand for american produced goods thus creating american jobs instead of giving these jobs to china, taiwan, mexico etc to save 10-15% then the american average payrate goes up, small businesses strive, the american dream is resurrected, the economy is stimulated, americans make more money, there is more money to spend and the 10-15% savings from walmart is rendered non existant. Good God, what are we willing to trade for a 50 cent savings? Talk about ignorance. I'm broke, I have more children than I can afford in this economy, yes I chose to have them and I love having them, yes I have to shop conservatively, but I still have enough sense to know that demand = jobs = more money = the lack of need for imported cheap goods to make the waltons richer. C'mon people, its not rocket science. If we get rid of the need of companies like walmart we create higher paid american jobs so we all have more money to spend so the economy starts working properly and we more than make up for the savings at walmart. We wouldnt need them anymore! Small businesses that pay fair wages with proper benefits would have their place again and we would be that much closer to a healthy economy. Wheres the their savings then? AS if they save us anything anyway when you look at the big picture. Stop being walmarts chumps.

templar2019
templar2019
11 years ago

Read my other posts regarding how I don't think its a bad thing that WalMart sells commodity products and food staples cheaper than every one else. It makes our paychecks go farther. And I don't think its bad or evil to run the higher priced small business people out of business for selling the same things as WalMart for more money.

I want to express some sympathy for the small business person. I agree with the films position of being onthe small business person's side. I am a small business person. Most people in America work for small businesses of 50 employees or less. Small business is the heart and soul of America. Small business is the path out of this recession. Small businesses exist because they do something better or faster than the competition. The hardware store in the film should change its product offerings to supply the many things that WalMart does not. They will make more money than ever. For example supply expertise in how to use the tools and how to select different parts in the hardware store.

WalMart's niche is a limited selection of products one purchases primarily by price. WalMart leaves the rest of the market to those little niche companies that do a few things better than most. Leave the low margin commodity selling to WalMart. Small business takes the larger, more lucrative, and more fun market of knowledge, relationship, and consultative selling.

Nolen TwoHundred
Nolen TwoHundred
11 years ago

I'm sure many people posting negative comments on here are Walmart employees. I would like to point out the fact that most of you are uneducated, unskilled and have an abundance of children. You complain that Walmart supports you so little, that you have to rely on government for medical assistance for you and your children. If you were any other species on the planet, with so little to contribute to your species, Darwin would have destroyed you already. Get an education, learn a skill and stop having offspring that you expect someone else to afford. I'm sorry you don't make a million dollars an hour to sigh when I come through your line and to swipe an item across a glowing red light. If you think food is too high, grow your own, furniture cost too much, make your own. Can't afford the new droid smart phone, stop wanting the government to compensate, get off the damn phone and get started on becoming a valuable member of society. You're all but useless and insist on populating the world with useless offspring that will insist on MORE government subsidies. Everyone wants to scream "All people are created equal" and even if that's true, some of us work very hard to learn skills to make us a valuable member of the company, neighborhood and society we belong to. Some of us scan groceries, pop out babies and complain about how they don't have the same as those who contribute. If your skills can be replaced by a "self check" register, you're lucky that the government insists that you make 7.25 an hour.

Carol
Carol
11 years ago

I cannot believe the government lets them get away with this terrible treatment to their people, not paying them wages they earn by cheating them out of it. My God this is America, how can this go on. How can these people who own Wal Mart get away with this ? Do they put money under the table so they can get away with this? ALL i CAN SAY THEY CAN GET AWAY WITH IT HERE ON EARTH BUT NOT WHEN THEY GO BEFORE GOD. THEIR LIFE ON EARTH IS SHORT, BUT ETERNITY GOES ON AND ON!!!!!! I feel sorry for these people for their greed. I hope they enjoy their money here on earth , but they won't in the after life.

Lucas Dawkins
Lucas Dawkins
11 years ago

The chinese workers are slaves for Wal-Mart.

Rymewheel
Rymewheel
11 years ago

"GO GET SOMETING BETTER" : realize, there exists only so many seats ont he board.... someone has to grease the wheels... someone HAS TO! No minions, no millions....Respect that.

Truth
Truth
11 years ago

$75 bucks each check for medical is an awesome deal! I'm paying $900 a month out of my own pocket for health insurance because I'm self employed.

If these Walmart employees can't make a living working at Walmart, LEAVE! Go find a better job! Go get educated. You agreed to work for a specific wage, now do your damn job or LEAVE!!

These people think the world owes them a living. Go make a life for yourself. Till your soil, bake your break, hunt your food, chop your firewood and make a house for yourself.

Stop complaining. If you don't like it.....GO GET SOMETHING BETTER!

templar2019
templar2019
11 years ago

Wal-Mart helps society far more than it hurts society.

Wal-Mart’s mission of making inexpensive goods and services available around the world is a far greater good to the world than any of the negatives presented in this film in my opinion.

All of the Anti- Wal-Mart people in this film still benefit from Wal-Mart whether they work or shop there or not by the cheaper cost of living and greater purchasing power that their neighbors enjoy and the taxes Wal-Mart itself and their employees pay.

When most people in the community pay less for the good and services they buy the increased spending power benefits all.

The film made it seem like a negative that Wal-Mart supplies goods less expensively than local mom and pops so the local mom and pops go out of business. It’s sad for the shop owners but it's good for 98% of the rest of the community that now can get the same goods and services for less. In most cases Wal-Mart provides more jobs to the community than it takes from all the small shop keepers. This higher aggregate employment leave the small rural communities economically better off after Wal-Mart than before Wal-Mart.

This higher standard of living is also provided to the third world employees that work for Wal-Mart. The poor conditions filmed are only poor compared to the industrialized western world of today. The conditions filmed are much better than the conditions from whence those workers came and much better than the conditions they would return to if Wal-Mart left.

The early industrialized world in the west had similar conditions but the higher relative wages of the factories compared to working a farm enabled the children of US factory workers to rise up the socio-economic ladder and become the middle class. Just as the industrialization of rural America created a comfortable middle class in the west, the industrialization of the third world will create a comfortable middle class world wide for the next generation.

No one comes off the farm working 12 hours a day for crops to work 12 hours a day in factory for pay unless it’s better pay and a better deal than the one they left. The reason Wal-Mart factories are full of workers is it’s better than the alternatives they have. Wal- Mart is using the same economic empowerment model that worked in the US and exporting it around the world. The United States middle class was created by coaxing yesterday’s workers off the farm and into the factories with higher wages. The world wide middle class of tomorrow will be created in a similar fashion by coaxing the third world workers off the farm and into today’s factories. It created a middle class in two generations in America; it will create a middle class in two generations around the world as well.

Joshua Miller
Joshua Miller
11 years ago

But look at it this way, the wealthy pay ~90% of all taxes, that means the owners of Walmart are combined probably paying at least half of medicare so they have full right to take advantage of it!! IMO. They pay the taxes they get to use the tax money! They are ultimately paying for your health care, ha!

What you have to really do is cut off medicare and all other government benefits completely, _then_ Walmart will have to pay for it (like they already are inadvertently doing anyways -- through corporate and personal taxes for medicare) because no one can possibly afford to work there.

John Carson
John Carson
11 years ago

For alot of people these days, shopping at a mega mart, is a way to go.

ANY person who is willing to pay anywhere from .50 to 1.00 more for a gallon of milk just to support a small store has got it good and not worried or doesn't need to be as frugal, (good for them!)

I on the other hand need to be frugal and need to watch my budget closely, and Wal-Mart serves this purpose for me at least 90% of the time.

Maybe Wal-Mart doesn't care about it's customers, employees, country or whatever most of you video watchers are going on and ranting about, but in reality (for me) I only care about supporting my family and living the best quality of life that I can.

This should be a message to small stores, "Make your prices better for your customer, or we will go to Wal-Mart where they will match your price anyway, if you can't compete, move over" That's the American way! And all of you know this!

For ANY of you that have watched this documentary and are complaining on how Wal-Mart treats "people" I can think of numerous companies who have the same types of complaints, there are always going to be people who feel like they work to hard, or they are being asked too much from their employers, and I am sure you can too! You can't please everybody.

As for Wal-Mart only employing people who can't get jobs anywhere else..... SO! At least someone is hiring these days! Whether they are high school drop outs or ex-felons EVERYONE should work, and if any of you feel different then re-evaluate your thoughts and think about it again! This country has way too many homeless but able bodied people that would benefit from having ANY job.

It's ok to have morals and take the high road and take a stand in what you believe in, but everyone has their own realities in life that define them and their morals. In the end you have to do whats best for you and your family first!

devlinwaugh
devlinwaugh
11 years ago

America deserves wal mart and all the other crap long live junk food crap products and short life span.THE AMERICAN DREAM!!! i love it i want to dance.Bippidy bobdy at some point americans will wake up and smell the roses untill then i dance on ya graves bip bop de pop.

Siddharth Gupta
Siddharth Gupta
11 years ago

It seems good that the Indian Govt. made a bright move by blocking FDI in retail thus successfully stopping Walmart to enter India.

Andrei Tunariu
Andrei Tunariu
12 years ago

Boycott the giant corporations. If we dont give them our blood by buying and working for them, they will die of asphyxiation.

tkdpirate
tkdpirate
12 years ago

This documentary is so shocking. It amazes me how people complain about not making a livable wage and health benefits. I dare anyone to name one company or one job where someone can take a job that requires NO HIGHER EDUCATION..probably does not even require a HS diploma, but yet make a livable wage and still get health insurance benefits. Maybe working out in the sun on a construction site..but otherwise it doesn't exist

Kangkan Saikia
Kangkan Saikia
12 years ago

Hey, i am from India. Wal-mart doesn't operate till now in India. But after seeing this documentary i can realise that how wal-mart cheating people and create monopoly by using dirty tricks. I think Wal-mart willn't sustain in long term unless they change their behaviour towards people and their employee. I don't want wal-mart at all in India.

CakeDeco
CakeDeco
12 years ago

As a former cake decorator at WM, everything in here is correct, sounds fancy I know, let me tell you, that fancy it was not. Have you ever decorated 4 cakes an hour? Had to stop what you were doing to answer a customer with a smile? Cleaned up after the deli people who trailed oil through the cake deco area because their equipment was also defective? Cleaned up after your fellow employees who were not only lazy but in a hurry to clock out before they were over in their hours? For $8.20 an hour, I was thankful to have a job job, but A LOT is expected for that $8,20 per hour. I can't say how many times I heard - NO Overtime. I worked 32 hours a week, and as a part time employee I would not be receiving benefits until after 1 year of employment. Was I making it, NO! As a single female with no children, most government programs do not apply to me. I have boycotted WM of late,, this gives me even more reason to. Thanks for the info.

Darryl P
Darryl P
12 years ago

i stopped buying anything that is not made in this country. LOOK ON LABELS PEOPLE!!!!! IF ITS NOT MADE HERE DONT BUY!!!!! WE CAN DO IT LETS NOT DEPEND ON THE GOVERNMENT!! RON PAUL2012

Heather
Heather
12 years ago

Only problem I have with this is the end of the movie when they are talking about areas that defeated Wal-mart from building in their towns. Yes its true that Front Royal, Va did say no to placing the store right beside the Shenandoah River and buying up farmland, they still placed it right outside of town by the major highways that link us to Washington, DC. Even then it wasnt the townspeople who fought it. It was an outside group from Fairfax, Va who were river conservators that started the "grass roots" campiagn. Other than that great video. I learned quite a bit between this and a few airings of The Age of Walmart on MSNBC I can say that I have made my decision . I currently work for Wal-mart have for about 3 and a half years now and after really seeing what it is doing to the commuinities, associates and other countries they serve I will be seeking alternate employment. It is one thing to see it on a video and think of it as being the overinflated opinions of people who just want attention, but it is quite another thing to live it everyday. As far as the associates that say they love their jobs at Walmart, that very well may be and maybe you are one of the lucky few who found a good store that does serve its community and associates well, but for most of us we live the lies, discrimination and disrespect everyday and I for one will no longer tolerate it by working or patronizing there.

Ken Peck
Ken Peck
12 years ago

I work for walmart and you should have put some factual info in here instead of bitter peoples opinions. But this video does make me mad. I love working for walmart but i dont like how they plan to get rid of full time hourly employees

Jennifer Fowler
Jennifer Fowler
12 years ago

Walmart is AWFUL. A good friend of mine worked there for ten years. After 10 years, he was making around 12.50$. His managers began to put pressure on him to quit voluntarily, and began to cut his hours, trying to force him out. His mother (a Walmart employee of over 20 years) experienced the same pressure. The more his salary crept out, the worse the harassment got, and the lower his hours went.

To put it simply, loyalty means nothing to them. They'd rather bully you out and hire a new associate for 7.50$ an hour.

testicularfortitude
testicularfortitude
12 years ago

If u r lookin' to score big fat chicks with a slew of fat kids, wal mart is da place to go....

Thera RavenPup
Thera RavenPup
12 years ago

Anyone else cry during this?

LongTimeLoyalFed
LongTimeLoyalFed
12 years ago

There are plenty of other stores to purchase from in my area. I've lived in this area about a year, and all 3 times that I let someone talk me into going to Walmart I've regretted it! And, all 3 times, even though I tried to park far away and walk, ultimately with all the carts scattered in the parking lot, my car was damaged all 3 times when I got back out (less than 30 minutes inside each time). And Walmart corporate says they have reviewed the camera footage and that the amount of carts in the lot was reasonable?? -- Reasonable for them is completely outrageous and unacceptable at any other store. I've worked too hard to try to have a decent car and keep it nice, than have it ruined only to save a mere few pennies. Kiss Off Walmart!

steamknife
steamknife
12 years ago

I remember I did a group project on Walmart when I studied Business Admin in uni. One of the problem we need to assess is the Walmart-effect problem and how we (as Walmart management) can do on public relations to improve public opinions and well-being. 3 of us were distinction students and even when we achieve a distinction from that project, all 3 of us agreed that we cannot address that particular problem well. We cannot propose increase hourly rate or encouraging union because that is against the fundamental purpose of a business: Profit.

The whole Walmart story is a highly dilemma issue. People love low price merchandise so Walmart will persist no matter what kind of story been told. What comes around goes around.

Madman365
Madman365
12 years ago

Wal-mart is getting away with it because the goverment is letting them do it, remember, they don't care about us!!!

Guest
Guest
12 years ago

You can ban Wall Mart and then go to Canadian Tire or your so called pharmacy or Zellers, Costco, Ikea or any of those...stuff is stuff and in all of those stores you will find cheap stuff.
Most people want cheap because that is what they can afford simply because they want a lot of stuff!
Our society is hooked on stuff!
az

steve
steve
12 years ago

The simple answer is and was not to buy from Wal-mart.If none of the towns people had ever gone and shopped there,then Wal-mart would have gone out of business and all the Ma and Pa shops would still be in business.

Hambone Littletail
Hambone Littletail
13 years ago

I haven't set foot in a Wal-Mart in more than two years. My decision had more to do with the fact that I don't need their lowest common denominator Chinese plastic bauble crap in my life anymore, but this documentary only serves to make me feel better about my decision. But as long as the American consumer places their wallet above EVERY other consideration in making their consumer and lifestyle choices, stores like Wal-Mart are going to keep eating this country and this planet. Sad, but true.

toddy
toddy
13 years ago

Ironic that there was a google ad to buy walmart stock on this link. I've rarely shopped at walmart and might not any more considering the info given. I would prefer to go to the local business owner. One time I went to buy ice melt at a hardware store and they happened to be out and the owner asked why i didn't go to walmart, because they might be cheaper than him and I said I rather support a local business he looked rather shocked after I said that.

Chis
Chis
13 years ago

And Techguy, I don't know why there was Japanese music either. I'm Asian and I thought that kinda racist.

Chis
Chis
13 years ago

A month ago, I just applied at Walmart. On a scale of 1-10, tell me my chances of getting hired and acually getting good payments there. After watching this documentary in my English class and writing a 5-paragraph essay on it, my opinion about Walmart changed too. Should I still consider shopping there?