English 3A.01 College Comp.
November 30, 2015
Wal-Mart: The High Cost of a Low Price
In 1962, Samuel Walton founded the company, Wal-Mart, which is now Americas largest discount retailer. Many Americans believe that Wal-Mart helps create jobs and generate economic growth in communities but that is not the case. In the film, Wal-Mart: The High Cost of a Low Price, Robert Greenwald showcases the truths behind this corporation. He reveals the adverse effects the behemoth inflicts on communities and individuals. Wal-Mart employees are taken advantage of and treated unfairly in numerous ways. Not only does this corporation affect Americans, but foreign workers working in other countries as well.
As the discount retailing sector grows, opposition from other retailers, especially from small firms begin to mount. When wanting to settle into a new town, Wal-Mart sweet talks the community by promising more jobs. But once they have installed themselves, the opposite occurs. Wal-Mart has caused thousands of small, local stores to go out of business. Greenwald interviews the Hunter Family whom owned their family business, H&H Hardware, in Middlefield, Ohio for almost 45 years. Wal-Mart descended on Middlefield and caused their store to close down. Wal-Mart began dropping sales, which the Hunter family could not compete with. Tom Glassburger, a former H&H Hardware employer, shares during an interview with Greenwald, “I think the government should have more control, talk about monopolies. If Wal-Mart’s not a monopoly, I don’t know what it is” (Wal-Mart: The High Cost of a Low Price). After 43 years, H&H Hardware closed down. Jon and Don Hunter, and the rest of their family rapidly watched the way Wal-Mart caused their mom and pop operation to go out of business. The Hunter family is not the only business affected by Wal-Mart stores. In 2006, the big-box retailer promised jobs to the cash-strapped communities of Chicago. Instead of growing Chicago's retail economy, Wal-Mart simply overtook it. It absorbed sales from other city stores and shuttered dozens of them in the process. The New York Daily News discloses, “Within two years of Walmart's opening its doors, 82 local stores went out of business” (Barrison). Not only does Wal-Mart affect communities, it affects the life of its inhabitants.
Many people feel proud about working at Wal-Mart stores because of all the opportunities and benefits ensured by the business, but they come to realize that there is nothing to be proud of. Wal-Mart workers are offered health care plans, but they are so expensive they could not afford it. A former Wal-Mart employee, Diane DeVoy, shares with Greenwald that she had her kids on the Wal-Mart insurance but says, “It got to the point where it was too much to handle, I couldn’t afford it. I had to pay my premiums at work and then when I took them to the doctor, I still had to pay” (Wal-Mart: The High Cost of a Low Price). In April 2005, the Mob...