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(The Daily Beast)   So why are Walmart sales stagnant? Analysts tell the company to look at its own workers for a clue   (thedailybeast.com) divider line 127
    More: Obvious, Wal-Mart, Daniel Gross, total sales, domestic worker, working poor  
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5571 clicks; posted to Business » on 17 May 2013 at 12:56 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-05-17 11:52:22 AM
I have been saying this for years, Walmart along with the rest of Corporate America needs to invest in its workforce.

It has been proven that the "trickle down" economy just doesn't work. A "bottom up" economy would infuse millions of dollars into the hands of those that would instantly become more empowered consumers.

The problem is that everyone in Business is conditioned to think about "next quarters numbers" instead of a gradually improving bottom line over longer periods.
 
2013-05-17 11:58:31 AM
I rarely go into Walmart.  Honestly the only time I am ever there is to buy ammo.  That being said...I know that I live in NoVa and that we are quite ethnically diverse...but it is very rare to see a white person working at Walmart.  A lot of the staff that I've interacted with, while pleasant enough, are hard as fark to understand.

This probably means nothing, but it is an interesting observation that I've made.

Now if I drive 40 miles west and go to the Winchester Walmart, everyone there is pasty white.

Overall, I personally do not enjoy the shopping experience there, I much prefer Target.  I am not sure what it is about Walmart that I am not a fan of...if pressed, I would have to say that their products overall just seem more cheaply made, but I am sure that there are other reasons...
 
2013-05-17 12:03:18 PM

Beerguy: I have been saying this for years, Walmart along with the rest of Corporate America needs to invest in its workforce.

It has been proven that the "trickle down" economy just doesn't work. A "bottom up" economy would infuse millions of dollars into the hands of those that would instantly become more empowered consumers.

The problem is that everyone in Business is conditioned to think about "next quarters numbers" instead of a gradually improving bottom line over longer periods.


I think the way we (Wall Street) interprets the value of a company is wonky:

Company earns $1B extra, and pays off $1B in debt, and their stock price goes down.
Company anticipates a 4% gain in earnings, makes 3.5% and their stock goes down, because Wall Street sees it as a .5% loss, not a 3.5% gain from the previous quarter.

I honestly do not understand it.

Also, tying a CEOs bonus to how well a company performed on a quarterly basis is short sighted.  Temporary gains mean nothing in the long term.
 
2013-05-17 12:58:00 PM
Because Amazon

i.imgur.com
 
2013-05-17 12:59:36 PM
Seriously, if Walmart paid its employees more, their employees would spend more at Walmart?  That is the author's logic to improve Walmart?  Brilliant logic.
 
2013-05-17 01:00:43 PM
Our local, and most visited Wally World in Asheville seems to have 23 registers, and only 5 open at any given time.   I truly hate going there.

Looks like store management are either a bunch of morons, or not well funded enough to have a full staff at any given time.
 
2013-05-17 01:01:26 PM

MugzyBrown: Seriously, if Walmart paid its employees more, their employees would spend more at Walmart?  That is the author's logic to improve Walmart?  Brilliant logic.


Why not? It works for Costco and Target.
 
2013-05-17 01:04:13 PM

MugzyBrown: Seriously, if Walmart paid its employees more, their employees would spend more at Walmart?  That is the author's logic to improve Walmart?  Brilliant logic.


It's actually sound logic considering most of their employees are making $9 an hour.  If they even paid them $10 they would still buy their stuff at Walmart after their shift is over, why stop some where else on the way home when you are already at a store.
 
2013-05-17 01:06:47 PM
Though well known to be misattributed, the Marie Antoinette quote "Let Them Eat Cake" is poignant as ever.
 
2013-05-17 01:08:55 PM

metallion: Our local, and most visited Wally World in Asheville seems to have 23 registers, and only 5 open at any given time.   I truly hate going there.

Looks like store management are either a bunch of morons, or not well funded enough to have a full staff at any given time.


The last time I was there, we wanted to buy a black area rug.  There was only one, and it had no price bar code on it.  It took three people (i swear, clown music was playing in the background) to get the same rug in red, and then decide they could not ring up the black rug as a red rug, because the black rug was black and the screen said red.  As such, they would not sell us the black rug.  It was one of the more uniquely stupid situations I've ever encountered. While all of this was going on, because it was at one of the few registers open (a running problem at all Wal-Marts, I think), the line behind us was something like 10 people long.  

I chalk it up to you don't get the best and brightest when you pay garbage and give them awful hours.  I really think most stores would have figured out a way to sell the black rug.
 
2013-05-17 01:10:51 PM

metallion: Our local, and most visited Wally World in Asheville seems to have 23 registers, and only 5 open at any given time.   I truly hate going there.

Looks like store management are either a bunch of morons, or not well funded enough to have a full staff at any given time.


It's both. More so the latter, because payroll is your most controllable expense, generally. If it works like most places, you are budgeted so many hours per week for payroll, and they seem to like skimping on the registers. After all, it's not like you're gonna go somewhere else, right?

However, several times recently I've (unfortunately) had to go there for something we needed at work, and I've seen rednecky people get pissed at the line and leave without buying anything. Keep it up, Wally World, those people are your bread and butter.
 
CDP [TotalFark]
2013-05-17 01:10:55 PM
Walmart makes teh baby jebus cry
 
2013-05-17 01:12:00 PM

Beerguy: I have been saying this for years, Walmart along with the rest of Corporate America needs to invest in its workforce.

It has been proven that the "trickle down" economy just doesn't work. A "bottom up" economy would infuse millions of dollars into the hands of those that would instantly become more empowered consumers.

The problem is that everyone in Business is conditioned to think about "next quarters numbers" instead of a gradually improving bottom line over longer periods.



This needs to be repeated over and over. Then screamed in the faces of the glorious 1%.
 
2013-05-17 01:14:18 PM
One experiment I have always wanted to see is as follows:

1.  Determine the group in America that is sufficiently "poor".  Something like, annual income less than $35,000 and net worth less than $50,000.

2.  Take those people, and have the government just give them $10,000 per year.  Pay it out of general revenues.

This does several things.

First, there is less complaining from the poor, as they are getting a very large handout.

Second, and more important, this would give the economy a big jump, because we all know the recipients of this handout would spend it completely every year.  There would be no danger of them just saving it, hence why they have no net worth.

Third, if the rich people thought about it, they should be fine with the handout, because again, they'd get the money back within a year anyway as the poor just blow it on crap they don't need.
 
2013-05-17 01:14:51 PM

sure haven't: Beerguy: I have been saying this for years, Walmart along with the rest of Corporate America needs to invest in its workforce.

It has been proven that the "trickle down" economy just doesn't work. A "bottom up" economy would infuse millions of dollars into the hands of those that would instantly become more empowered consumers.

The problem is that everyone in Business is conditioned to think about "next quarters numbers" instead of a gradually improving bottom line over longer periods.

This needs to be repeated over and over. Then screamed in the faces of the glorious 1%.


Preach it, Brother sure haven't. The short-term gain is like crack to Wall Street. They are not going to rehab anytime soon. Good thing is, eventually crackheads eventually die.
 
2013-05-17 01:16:04 PM
Endive Wombat:
I think the way we (Wall Street) interprets the value of a company is wonky:

Company earns $1B extra, and pays off $1B in debt, and their stock price goes down.
Company anticipates a 4% gain in earnings, makes 3.5% and their stock goes down, because Wall Street sees it as a .5% loss, not a 3.5% gain from the previous quarter.

I honestly do not understand it.


Prior to the earnings report the major traders already have the anticipated the 4% gain factored into their stock valuations, so when the company releases final numbers showing the actual gain was 3.5% the stock price falls because the big players had overestimated its value.
 
2013-05-17 01:16:08 PM

Towermonkey: sure haven't: Beerguy: I have been saying this for years, Walmart along with the rest of Corporate America needs to invest in its workforce.

It has been proven that the "trickle down" economy just doesn't work. A "bottom up" economy would infuse millions of dollars into the hands of those that would instantly become more empowered consumers.

The problem is that everyone in Business is conditioned to think about "next quarters numbers" instead of a gradually improving bottom line over longer periods.

This needs to be repeated over and over. Then screamed in the faces of the glorious 1%.

Preach it, Brother sure haven't. The short-term gain is like crack to Wall Street. They are not going to rehab anytime soon. Good thing is, eventually crackheads eventually die.


Eventually crackheads eventually die? Sweet Jebus, I've smoked too much crack.
 
2013-05-17 01:17:04 PM
NO NO.  The answer is clear.  We have to keep paying our workers less so that we have more money to give to the rich and then when the rich decide to spend their money it will trickle down on the rest of us.
 
2013-05-17 01:18:32 PM
walmart used to pride itself of never having half packed out freight on the sales floor. now i see freight everywhere and display shelves and bins in the main aisles selling slow moving merchandise. what happened to the walmart company that said it knew just how many betsy wetsy dolls it needed for xmas and will always have the lowest price? there was a story going around a month or 2 ago describing individual stores with so much stockroom mechandise the understaffed workers can't go through it and get the most needed stuff on the sales floor.
 
2013-05-17 01:21:37 PM

metallion: Our local, and most visited Wally World in Asheville seems to have 23 registers, and only 5 open at any given time.   I truly hate going there.

Looks like store management are either a bunch of morons, or not well funded enough to have a full staff at any given time.


Managers have no say on their payroll. That comes straight from home office.  Some store managers are idiots, but all of them are at least educated.  Most know that if they had more hours to keep the store clean, full and the register lines growing, sales would improve.
 
2013-05-17 01:24:37 PM
If I pay my workers more, everybody's bottom line improves a little, if I pay them less my bottom line improve more.

You pay your workers more, I'm keeping my money.
 
2013-05-17 01:29:10 PM

EvilEgg: If I pay my workers more, everybody's bottom line improves a little, if I pay them less my bottom line improve more.

You pay your workers more, I'm keeping my money.


What if you make a lot more money when you pay workers a little more?
 
2013-05-17 01:29:12 PM

Babwa Wawa: Because Amazon

[i.imgur.com image 802x437]


Yeah, I don't have to get all dressed up to shop at Amazon.
 
2013-05-17 01:37:42 PM

jigger: EvilEgg: If I pay my workers more, everybody's bottom line improves a little, if I pay them less my bottom line improve more.

You pay your workers more, I'm keeping my money.

What if you make a lot more money when you pay workers a little more?


I make even more if everyone else pays the workers a little more and I am cheap.  Unless they are required to spend their money at my store.

/tragedy of the commons, sort of.
 
2013-05-17 01:39:03 PM
People are naive to imagine that, in a strict sense, it would be "good business" for Walmart to pay its employees more on the logic that they would then spend more at the store. Only some margin of what they were paid would be spent in-house, so Walmart would get some fractional return on that investment. Also, it would be the equivalent of giving them stock off the shelves for free. Walmart's only incentive to pay employees more would be to attract more committed and/or competent employees who refuse to work for what they are offering now. And they will only offer higher wages if the amount of added business profits on account of having better employees is greater than the cost of paying the higher wages.

It's really a Prisoner's Dilemma: every employer wants every other employer to pay their employees higher wages, so that they can buy more of what they are selling, but doesn't benefit from paying their own employees more.
 
2013-05-17 01:39:21 PM

MugzyBrown: Seriously, if Walmart paid its employees more, their employees would spend more at Walmart?  That is the author's logic to improve Walmart?  Brilliant logic.


Worked for Henry Ford.
 
2013-05-17 01:43:00 PM

RumsfeldsReplacement: One experiment I have always wanted to see is as follows:

1.  Determine the group in America that is sufficiently "poor".  Something like, annual income less than $35,000 and net worth less than $50,000.

2.  Take those people, and have the government just give them $10,000 per year.  Pay it out of general revenues.

This does several things.

First, there is less complaining from the poor, as they are getting a very large handout.

Second, and more important, this would give the economy a big jump, because we all know the recipients of this handout would spend it completely every year.  There would be no danger of them just saving it, hence why they have no net worth.

Third, if the rich people thought about it, they should be fine with the handout, because again, they'd get the money back within a year anyway as the poor just blow it on crap they don't need.


That exactly how earned income tax credits work.

http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/EITC,-Earned-Income-Tax-Credit,-Questi o ns-and-Answers
 
2013-05-17 01:43:04 PM
When the economy improves the demand for inferior goods declines. Wal-mart sells inferior goods, so as the economic outlook improves consumers will stop buying the crappy stuff at Wal-mart just because it is cheaper.
 
2013-05-17 01:50:55 PM

EvilEgg: If I pay my workers more, everybody's bottom line improves a little, if I pay them less my bottom line improve more.

You pay your workers more, I'm keeping my money.


So let's cut all elected officials pay to $1 for the full term. We'd save a SHIATTON of money that way, right?

// OK, that was hyperbole
// let's cut their pay to $25k/term, rather than paying them 3+ times the median US salary per year
 
2013-05-17 01:58:28 PM

mcreadyblue: MugzyBrown: Seriously, if Walmart paid its employees more, their employees would spend more at Walmart?  That is the author's logic to improve Walmart?  Brilliant logic.

Worked for Henry Ford.


Yep.  His logic was that workers ought to be able to afford the cars they make, which works out for everyone.

/also a good way to hold off unions
//and revolution
///slashies - 3
 
2013-05-17 02:09:29 PM

Dr Dreidel: EvilEgg: If I pay my workers more, everybody's bottom line improves a little, if I pay them less my bottom line improve more.

You pay your workers more, I'm keeping my money.

So let's cut all elected officials pay to $1 for the full term. We'd save a SHIATTON of money that way, right?

// OK, that was hyperbole
// let's cut their pay to $25k/term, rather than paying them 3+ times the median US salary per year


If you pay politicians $25,000/term, you'll guarantee than nobody but the wealthy can afford to serve.
 
2013-05-17 02:11:01 PM
"Gee, we pay a few of our folks ridiculous and increasing sums of money, which they squirrel away offshore, and we pay most of our folks a pittance, which they can't afford to spend at our stores. Why is it that our profit expectations are falling in what's supposed to be a recovering economy?"

The need for instant gratification and short-term profit is at odds with the need for long-term growth & stability - whodathunk?
 
2013-05-17 02:11:41 PM

Babwa Wawa: Dr Dreidel: EvilEgg: If I pay my workers more, everybody's bottom line improves a little, if I pay them less my bottom line improve more.

You pay your workers more, I'm keeping my money.

So let's cut all elected officials pay to $1 for the full term. We'd save a SHIATTON of money that way, right?

// OK, that was hyperbole
// let's cut their pay to $25k/term, rather than paying them 3+ times the median US salary per year

If you pay politicians $25,000/term, you'll guarantee than nobody but the wealthy can afford to serve.


Given that it takes millions to elect politicians at the federal level, nobody but the wealthy can afford to serve as it is.
 
2013-05-17 02:15:16 PM

AliceBToklasLives: Yep.  His logic was that workers ought to be able to afford the cars they make, which works out for everyone.


I guarantee you that Shanequa makes more than enough to buy the products she sells at Walmart with enough money left over for some cigs.
 
2013-05-17 02:17:33 PM

Babwa Wawa: Dr Dreidel: EvilEgg: If I pay my workers more, everybody's bottom line improves a little, if I pay them less my bottom line improve more.

You pay your workers more, I'm keeping my money.

So let's cut all elected officials pay to $1 for the full term. We'd save a SHIATTON of money that way, right?

// OK, that was hyperbole
// let's cut their pay to $25k/term, rather than paying them 3+ times the median US salary per year

If you pay politicians $25,000/term, you'll guarantee than nobody but the wealthy can afford to serve.


Considering how much the average campaign already costs, i fail to see any difference.
 
2013-05-17 02:19:43 PM

AliceBToklasLives: mcreadyblue: MugzyBrown: Seriously, if Walmart paid its employees more, their employees would spend more at Walmart?  That is the author's logic to improve Walmart?  Brilliant logic.

Worked for Henry Ford.

Yep.  His logic was that workers ought to be able to afford the cars they make, which works out for everyone.

/also a good way to hold off unions
//and revolution

///slashies - 3


Well said.

That is the point I was making in my original post.

Lets say you own a large company that makes pallets. You decide to pay your workers better and add benefits. Your employees can now spend more money on goods....goods come to market on pallets. Now imagine a lot of big companies paying their employees better.....the demand for pallets gradually increases exponentially  = profit.

It isn't rocket science.
 
2013-05-17 02:21:13 PM
i470.photobucket.com
.
 
2013-05-17 02:24:53 PM

Babwa Wawa: Dr Dreidel: EvilEgg: If I pay my workers more, everybody's bottom line improves a little, if I pay them less my bottom line improve more.

You pay your workers more, I'm keeping my money.

So let's cut all elected officials pay to $1 for the full term. We'd save a SHIATTON of money that way, right?

// OK, that was hyperbole
// let's cut their pay to $25k/term, rather than paying them 3+ times the median US salary per year

If you pay politicians $25,000/term, you'll guarantee than nobody but the wealthy can afford to serve.


Hmm. You mean to tell me that paying people less can mean alterations in the quality/makeup of your workforce?

I DID NOT SEE THAT COMING. ARE YOU A WIZARD?!
 
2013-05-17 02:28:16 PM

MugzyBrown: Seriously, if Walmart paid its employees more, their employees would spend more at Walmart?  That is the author's logic to improve Walmart?  Brilliant logic.


That was Henry Ford's idea and it worked extremely well.
 
2013-05-17 02:29:20 PM
I look forward to author Daniel Gross deploying all that business acumen and starting his own retail outfit where he can put his theories into practice. I'll be particularly interested in his pitch to investors where he says that instead of profits going into dividends, they'll be handed out to employees.
 
2013-05-17 02:29:42 PM
OK, you hire a bunch of sawed off Jabba the Hutt impersonators. Female ones, with mustaches. Ones that don't like to work. Don't like to move. Don't like to do anything but go on break and smoke and eat and bad mouth the job. Then, you take this elite force of blubber, and treat it so poorly that it has no choice than to become a downward spiral of humanity. Then Order it to smile, be nice, and be efficient.
Now you have created the perfect storm of surly. Add to that the employees that work there who are about as honest as Dick Cheney, and you really are on to some kind of a business model there.
 
2013-05-17 02:30:34 PM

FormlessOne: Given that it takes millions to elect politicians at the federal level, nobody but the wealthy can afford to serve as it is.


Hunter4242: Considering how much the average campaign already costs, i fail to see any difference.


Most politicians do not use their own money for their campaigns.
 
2013-05-17 02:34:21 PM

Dr Dreidel: Hmm. You mean to tell me that paying people less can mean alterations in the quality/makeup of your workforce?

I DID NOT SEE THAT COMING. ARE YOU A WIZARD?!


But surely you see that if actually implemented, even out of spite, it wouldn't teach anybody anything.  You'd simply get a congress packed with a higher density of asshats.
 
2013-05-17 02:40:17 PM

penthesilea: [i470.photobucket.com image 403x403]
.


I've been shopping at Costco (Formally Price Club) since I was a kid.  I have never once encountered a bitter/angry Costco employee
 
2013-05-17 02:40:26 PM
Simple reason:

 I bring in six figures and have never done better. I don't shop at Walmart, so that increase in retail spending is going somewhere else.

It turns out that if you run your company like a dick people won't want to do business there. Who knew?
 
2013-05-17 02:44:39 PM
Constant growth is an unsustainable model.
 
2013-05-17 02:45:05 PM

Endive Wombat: penthesilea: [i470.photobucket.com image 403x403]
.

I've been shopping at Costco (Formally Price Club) since I was a kid.  I have never once encountered a bitter/angry Costco employee


s3.amazonaws.com

Well, he wasn't bitter, I'll give you that.
 
2013-05-17 02:45:19 PM

Endive Wombat: I rarely go into Walmart.  Honestly the only time I am ever there is to buy ammo.  That being said...I know that I live in NoVa and that we are quite ethnically diverse...but it is very rare to see a white person working at Walmart.  A lot of the staff that I've interacted with, while pleasant enough, are hard as fark to understand.

This probably means nothing, but it is an interesting observation that I've made.

Now if I drive 40 miles west and go to the Winchester Walmart, everyone there is pasty white.

Overall, I personally do not enjoy the shopping experience there, I much prefer Target.  I am not sure what it is about Walmart that I am not a fan of...if pressed, I would have to say that their products overall just seem more cheaply made, but I am sure that there are other reasons...


Three reasons I don't enjoy Wal-Mart.
1.  Unhelpful staff.
2.  Messy aisles - it's not the mess I mind (you should see my  house), but that there is always stuff knocked off the shelves and boxes stacked in the aisles that you have to weave and wander around.  It takes longer to get what you need then it should.
3.  This may vary, but the lighting must be the cheapest lighting possible because it's terrible.  I feel like I'm constantly waiting for the lights to heat up so I can see.
 
2013-05-17 02:45:32 PM

serpent_sky: metallion: Our local, and most visited Wally World in Asheville seems to have 23 registers, and only 5 open at any given time.   I truly hate going there.

Looks like store management are either a bunch of morons, or not well funded enough to have a full staff at any given time.

The last time I was there, we wanted to buy a black area rug.  There was only one, and it had no price bar code on it.  It took three people (i swear, clown music was playing in the background) to get the same rug in red, and then decide they could not ring up the black rug as a red rug, because the black rug was black and the screen said red.  As such, they would not sell us the black rug.  It was one of the more uniquely stupid situations I've ever encountered. While all of this was going on, because it was at one of the few registers open (a running problem at all Wal-Marts, I think), the line behind us was something like 10 people long.
I chalk it up to you don't get the best and brightest when you pay garbage and give them awful hours.  I really think most stores would have figured out a way to sell the black rug.


One of the more delightful issues I have with Walmart is actually finding an employee to assist you in finding something. And on those rare occasions, they usually turn out to be useless. Nothing more fun than one employee calling up another employee because they don't know where an item is located, then the called up employee calling up someone, etc.

Last time I made the mistake of asking for help from an employee I ended up with four employees telling me four different locations to find the item. In the end it turned out that they never carried the item (ice pick) in the first place.

And don't get me started on their practice of making employees clock off and continue working so Walmart doesn't have to pay overtime. They were sued over this practice, but it still occurs.
 
2013-05-17 02:48:24 PM

jjorsett: I look forward to author Daniel Gross deploying all that business acumen and starting his own retail outfit where he can put his theories into practice. I'll be particularly interested in his pitch to investors where he says that instead of profits going into dividends, they'll be handed out to employees.


graphics8.nytimes.com
What Daniel Gross might look like.
 
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