Margaret Hancock has long considered the local Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) superstore her one- stop shopping destination. No longer.
During recent visits, the retired accountant from Newark, Delaware, says she failed to find more than a dozen basic items, including certain types of face cream, cold medicine, bandages, mouthwash, hangers, lamps and fabrics.
The cosmetics section “looked like someone raided it,” said Hancock, 63.
It was raided by the heirs to the Walton family fortune. They're worth billions and they gotta have more, you know.
Wal-Mart’s loss was a gain for Kohl’s Corp. (KSS), Safeway Inc. (SWY), Target Corp. (TGT) and Walgreen Co. (WAG) -- the chains Hancock hit for the items she couldn’t find at Wal-Mart.
“If it’s not on the shelf, I can’t buy it,” she said. “You hate to see a company self-destruct, but there are other places to go.”
It’s not as though the merchandise isn’t there. It’s piling up in aisles and in the back of stores because Wal-Mart doesn’t have enough bodies to restock the shelves, according to interviews with store workers. In the past five years, the world’s largest retailer added 455 U.S. Wal-Mart stores, a 13 percent increase, according to filings and the company’s website. In the same period, its total U.S. workforce, which includes Sam’s Club employees, dropped by about 20,000, or 1.4 percent. Wal-Mart employs about 1.4 million U.S. workers.
That's right, during the Great Recession, the nation's biggest retailer and employer cut 20,000 jobs but added more than 450 stores. Why do you think the company's lobbyists are pushing to rid the country of minimum wage? If the nation's biggest single private sector employer could cut wages to $5 an hour, don't you think they would? What would hundreds of thousands of "associates" do in this economy, quit?
Wal-Mart is the biggest single employer of minimum wage workers in America. Think about that for a second.
Then refuse to shop there anymore.