Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Prices - Forum
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Forum » Additional Suggested Movies » Unit 6 » Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Prices
Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Prices
LunowDate: Monday, 2012-12-24, 1:15 PM | Message # 1
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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. Through interviews with labor experts and former Wal-Mart employees, Greenwald documents the firm's anti-union tactics, their history of paying wages often below the poverty line, the high price they charge for health benefits (employees are often encouraged to apply for government subsidized health care programs instead), their methods for driving away locally owned businesses, their practice of hiring illegal aliens for cleanup crews at a fraction of minimum wage, the abysmal working conditions and pay in the Third World plants where much of Wal-Mart's goods are manufactured, and more. Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price is one in a series of muckraking documentaries from director Greenwald which includes the films Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism, Uncovered: The War in Iraq, and Unconstitutional: The War on Our Civil Liberties. from moviefone.com

This movie was made in 2005, and so is starting to get older. Wal-Mart is still incredibly controversial. The 21st century has seen a rapid shift in American culture. One of the biggest changes has come about in ways we live and work. We are living through the death of the American "Mom and Pop" stores and their replacement with the huge "Box Stores" (like Wal-Mart). The cheap prices that stores like Wal-Mart offer do come at a price. This eye-opening documentary investigates the relationship between consumers desires for low prices and the costs of this to the larger society.

In recent years Wal-Mart has tried very hard to rehabilitate their image in the eyes of many Americans. However, they still leave a lot to be desired in terms of providing essential benefits (like health care) to their workers, and their continued rejection of the rights of workers to form unions. Watch this movie.
 
TheAmazingJasonDate: Monday, 2015-04-06, 5:54 PM | Message # 2
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Jason Nguyen-Period 6

Before watching this film, I really appreciated Wal-Mart for keeping prices low and making shopping convenient. But now, I feel shocked to see all the harm that Wal-Mart brings along with its dazzling prices. It reveals how small businesses are forced to go out of business and how they can't compete with the Godzilla, Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart's dealing is based on lies. In China, people are forced to work 7 days a week and paid very little. When inspected, Chinese workers must lie in order to keep their undesirable jobs. Adding on to that, Wal-Mart employees are paid little and are forced to turn to the government for help. This has deeply impacted tax-payers, who may want their taxes to be used in things like the fire or police department. This film is great and really opened my eyes to the cruel reality behind the happy world of low prices and better living.
 
rosalynnphanDate: Thursday, 2015-04-09, 4:38 PM | Message # 3
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Rosalynn Phan
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Wal-Mart is the definition of a deceitful, narcissistic, and power-hungry liar. It may seem like a customer-friendly environment for shoppers in search of incredibly low prices, but this billion dollar corporation is teeming with unfair regulations at the expense of taxpayers, employees, and really everyone remotely near a local Wal-Mart store. Regardless of the countless witnesses that have seen and experienced Wal-Mart's schemes, the massive enterprise is barely fazed by their complaints, lawsuits, and allegations.

Lee Scott - president and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (2000-2009) - stated that the company "had record sales...record earnings", and "record investment" that supplied its growth. He also proudly said that "Wal-Mart...generated fear, if not envy", in the pool of all retail businesses. Though his claims are true, Scott fails to acknowledge how Wal-Mart has achieved all of its success. It is through the exploitation of the employees who are encouraged (or rather forced) to work overtime without being paid for fear of getting fired. It is through cheating the system and relying on the heavy use of government assistance for health coverage due to Wal-Mart's ridiculously expensive health insurance packages for its workers. It is even through the threats to "deliver false information" during factory inspections in China, where factory managers hold meetings with their employees to teach them to lie about their work days and hours. The documentary only highlights some of the many behind-the-scenes footage of Wal-Mart's injustice.

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. shows no mercy for the smaller, more humble businesses that are "crucified and forced out". For a large corporation, it is not a surprise to see its disregard for its employees, but a line, or rather a force field, must be drawn if people have to question, 'Health care or feed my family'. Knowing that there are at least 31 different states battling against Wal-Mart in the court room should already be a yellow flag for the head officials to change the way they run their corporation. It is a shame to see the lack of effort to improve these devastating conditions, especially when this large company has amounted billions of dollars capable of reviving the polluted environment and economy.
 
17jbachDate: Monday, 2016-04-11, 12:52 PM | Message # 4
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Judy Bach Period 2 

In this film, Wal-Mart is presented in a negative perspective through the interviews with its employees, small business owners, and executives. The documentary talks about how Wal-Mart underplays its workers and how the wages are too low for employees to afford proper health insurance or provide a sufficient supply of food for their families. Employees are also arguing that they are forced to work off the books, which means no pay for overtime. They are basically being overworked and not getting the pay they deserve. Because Wal-Mart is seen as a powerful, large corporation where millions of people worldwide shop daily, the negative aspects are ignored. This film relates to human geography because it shows how larger corporations like Wal-Mart take advantage of their employees and don't care about them or even small businesses.
 
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