Another Reason To Say The Hell with Wal-Mart

I don’t shop at Wal-Mart.

For one thing, they chisel their employees. But here’s another reason.

A friend and former client of mine had a product he wanted Wal-Mart to carry in some of their stores. He was summoned to Wal-Mart headquarters in Arkansas and told he would have 10 minutes to make his case. After a lengthy wait, he was ushered into a very plain room and offered a seat on a folding chair. In front of him, sitting behind a Formica-topped table, were three Wal-Mart buyers. A large clock was conspicuously placed on the table.

My client sailed into his pitch and after a few minutes one of the Wal-Mart guys raised his hand and said, “OK, we like it. What’s the unit price to us?”

“A dollar eighty-seven cents,” said my friend.

“A buck sixty or no deal,” said the Wal-Mart guy.

My friend swallowed hard, but agreed. Then he said that because this was such a break for his little company, he would be willing to do some modest promotion in some of the larger markets where his product would be carried.

The Wal-Mart guy glared at him. “If you can afford to advertise,” he snapped, “you can give us a better price. A buck forty or no deal.”

Why would you want to do business with people like that? More to the point, why would you want to shop in one of their stores?

By the way, if you want a good look at what it’s like to work for Wal-Mart, read Nickle and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich.