Last week, we brought you some true stories from Wal-Mart workers— stories that alarmed Wal-Mart so much that they (unsuccessfully) begged their employees to send us positive stories to balance them out. Since then, we've received many more, both good and bad. Here are some.
Note: Wal-Mart specifically solicited its employees to send us positive stories (and furthermore, one employee tells us, "Walmart does have an official policy on employees posting on social media and yes we *can* be fired for posting content the company doesn't like"). Despite this, we've received a far greater number of negative than positive stories. Today, however, we're posting an equal number of positive and negative stories. Take them as you will. They're all revealing in their own way.
Unhappy Wal-Mart Stories
When hell freezes over
"I have worked at 2 separate Wal-Mart locations. My experiences in both stores are very similar. I believe management is trained to not care about the associates, but to give a big line of Bull Shit about everything. I have always been in the automotive department, except for a 6 month stint in the frozen dept, which puts a whole new meaning to 'when hell freezes over.'
I hear many people make comments such as 'if walmart is so bad, then don't work there", or " get an education and a better job, or move up into management.' Well, let me tell you, I have a Bachelors Degree in Business Management and I am a freaking Grease Monkey in the shop. To top things off, I get a lot of disrespect for being a girl working on cars, not only from customers, but also from management and associates. Yeah there are a few that know me well enough to know that I do know what I am doing, but mostly, I am doubted and questioned, and everything I do is double checked. When people tell me that if I don't like it so much, then find another job, I ask them who is hiring, but get no answers because most of the smaller business have closed their doors permanently because they can't compete with the corporate giant.
Every story I read about low wages, uncaring management, and disrespect reminds me of situations I have been part of or witnessed. When I voiced my opinions about sexual discrimination, the ethics committee, had a female manager tell me "I'm not going to tell you how to feel, but you shouldn't feel the way you do" What the hell is that supposed to mean. She was just covering the corporate ass.
The following is a short list of issues I personally have had to deal with...
1) I work EVERY holiday... I am the only girl in the shop and had to work on Mother's day.
2) I got a point for not coming into work the night of my college graduation, even though I had requested it a month in advance.
3) I got a point for not coming to work the day of my wedding.
4) Verbal warning for covering the automotive counter and not being at my assigned Service Writer Greeter stand in the parking lot
5) Next day I got a write up for refusing to leave said greeter stand to cover the counter.
6) I am "part-time" (no benefits), but work 38 hours a week."
Paycheck to paycheck
"I've worked for that company for almost 5 years. Management plays favorites. No matter what the management never has a backbone.They turn a blind eye to conflict. They don't like you if you can't do favors or their job for them. Management is so lazy. Always passing the buck. Our store manager will yell and scream at us (even for crying) and then go about like nothing ever happened. My husband and I are living paycheck to paycheck. Can't save for anything. We can't even qualify for government assistance because they think we make too much. I had to quit college for us to make ends meat. Can't hardly pay rent. That place sucks the soul right out of you. Working in retail is the hardest job I've ever had to do. There's no room to move up in the store. They keep cutting hours and hiring new temporary people (work for 180 days then terminated). There's never help on the floor because of the hours. If you talk about unions, they'll either threaten to fire you or go through with it.If you get hurt on the job, they'd throw a fit. It'd knock our "accident free" days down and take a chunk out of our bonus. Everyone treats you like crap. If you walk in there, no one really smiles. We have to act happy to please the customer, otherwise they'd call and complain. We have to work every holiday except Christmas. They'd coach us if we asked for Black Friday off."
"During college, I worked for Wal-Mart during the summer to help save up extra cash for when I went back to school. But the majority of the employees I worked with were doing the opposite - they were trying to actually live a decent life on barely-above-minimum wage.
One employee who I worked with in my department had worked there for almost 20 years. Let's call her Mary.
Mary had a husband who couldn't work, maybe four older kids, and a few grand-babies. I wasn't too familiar with her living situation, but I eventually understood that some of her children and grand kid's were living with her. Mary had assumed the role of bread winner for her household.
Although Wal-Mart offers managerial positions to all of it's employees looking to "move up" in the corporation, not all people are cut out for a manager position. A lot have started at Wal-Mart for a quick fix to pay the bills - unfortunately getting sucked into life and not being able to get out and find another, much better, job. This was Mary's position.
After almost 20 years of dedication and hard work for the company, Mary was making only $14.50 an hour. And this (at the time) was the pay cap.
[FYI- Wal-Mart has a pay cap for all employees, unless they decide to go into management]
Every 2 weeks, after we would get our paycheck, I would watch Mary (and tons more!) go grocery shopping in the food department. Buying what they could with the coupons and sales, and saving just a couple of bucks with a measly 10% employee discount. Mary would pay for her food using food stamps, and the rest of her toiletries that weren't covered by welfare was paid using her check. Yes- her Wal-Mart check.
I always found it ironic that these employees with families would shop at the very store that screws them.
The very store that was supposed to be a temporary job,
that has sucked them into the savings of a few pennies with rollback prices,
that has imprisoned them into the idea of this 'American Dream'
they advertise in the papers and on television."
A Bay Area employee
"Hi, I'm an employee of walmart and i'm sick of the low wages and stress they place on their employees. I'm only making 9.40 an hour working the overnight shift in the SF bay area working 32 hours a week with not even a minute of overtime allowed.
The largest raise i can get after a year working there is $0.40 an hour.
Rent for a room, not a one bedroom apartment, is 650 a month.
their low pay makes it impossible to survive in the bay area.
I'm 25 with a college degree and still depend on my parents to help me out with food and gas money... A co-worker of mine has worked for walmart for 4 years and finally got promoted, his raise brought his hourly rate to only 11.50 an hour as a supervisor , with tons of added stress and physical work involved and pressure to work off the clock because everything in his department has to be done, but its always more than anyone could do in 8 hours.
Thanks for your article and speaking up for the working poor of america."
Positive Wal-Mart Stories
A senior for hire
You probably won't pay any attention to my email because it is not a negative one about Walmart. I am a 77 year old woman and have been working for Walmart for 2 1/2 years. I was previously a property manager for 33 years and decided it was time to retire as the work was 24/7. However, I found my life to be very boring and was not used to sitting at home. I went on line to Seniors 4 Hire and Walmart called me. I was hired as an associate for the Deli at $9.00 per hour, more than the minimum wage for a part time employer. I now make $10.30 per hour and I love my job, it is busy work and I like working with customers. Walmart is a wonderful employer and very pro employee. For example, when I was sick once they said I was free to take a leave of absence and my job would be waiting for me. Their objective is to make the associate happy thereby we will make the customer happy. Walmart offers part time employee health care, 401 K and they will match and if we have a productive quarter we will get a bonus. My last bonus was $300. I have worked in retail before as a second job and have never been treated like Walmart treats their employees. And no I am not a manager, but am eligible if I would choose, however I am not into a full time position at my age. And no I am not a greeter, I make sandwiches, salads and cook.
I do not understand why everyone picks on Walmart, they obviously do not know the company. Also, I believe unions are behind a lot of this. Walmart does not have unions and you are apprised of this prior to you acceptance of the position.
No one is forced to take the position.
A Navy veteran
"I'm sure because this is a "positive" work experience at Walmart, that you most likely won't publish it, but I'd like to say my piece anyway.
I have been with Walmart for 15 years. I am a 20 year retired Navy veteran that has served at home and abroad. I started with Walmart as a part time seasonal associate during my shore rotation while in the Navy. When I rotated off of shore duty and went back to sea, Walmart allowed me to work around my navy schedule and deployments. After I retired, I applied for and received a full time position at the Walmart I was working. Since then, I have transferred to 3 separate Walmart stores in different positions. While not every day was pleasant, I have had a very positive "second career". This past year, I was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, and I can tell you that my store associates, and management team have been 100% supportive and have done everything they possibly can for me. I am aware that not EVERY Walmart is perfect, but listen, we don't go door to door and ask people to come work here. When we offer a job to an applicant, we discuss wages and hours with them, and during orientation, we discuss holidays and that you WILL be working holidays. This is retail...what did you think you'd be working? If people are SO unhappy at Walmart, than why do I receive a hundred calls a day from applicants seeking employment? I am not a manager, but I am an HR in my store. I have worked my way up from overnight stocking, to truck unloader, to cashier, and on on on until I received this position. I'm tired of people "trashing" this company! There are 432 associates in MY store that are able to put food on their table today because they have a job! This is MY Walmart story. Thank goodness for this place that feeds my child and pays my rent..if not for them, YOU'D be supporting me via the welfare
Satisfied in Florida
"Hello, I have worked for Wal-Mart for two-and-a-half years now, three in April. I read most of the stories in your updated article about my company, and I wanted to share my experience from within the company with you. I started off part-time in the Dairy/Frozen department, and within six months, I was given full-time status. The job itself was a bump in pay from my previous job as a cook at a BBQ place. The BBQ place was okay, but I only received the Florida minimum wage there, with no raise, for 2 full years. So, my bump in pay being just above minimum, was already a welcome change. I also dealt with a normal amount of abuse that one gets in the restaurant business, and no one at Wal-Mart treated me the way I'd gotten used to...in fact, they made it clear in training that if there was ever a question of any kind of intolerance or abuse, that it would be dealt with immediately. I felt safe and secure, and I worked my butt off, making it clear to my immediate supervisor that I wanted to specialize in keeping the freezer straight. Keep in mind, the freezer in my store is in many respects larger than many people's houses. I was promoted to full time with an awesome schedule because my ability to keep things straight in what was a no-mans-land in many stores was recognized, by my vendors, coworkers, and managers. I was offered a shot at an interview for a Backroom Supervisor position at this stage as well, but turned it down because the hours would have conflicted with my family life. I received no blowback from management about turning down the offer, and continued to do the best job I could. I interviewed for a Department Manager position later on, after having only been there for one year and one month, and beat out the "favorite" for the position in the interview. I got it, and immediately received not only my yearly pay raise, but also a bump in pay for my promoted position. I could now afford the company insurance securely, and more on that in a moment...
As for the insurance, it isn't always the best plan I've ever had, but it does beat both not having insurance, and having Medicaid, both of which my family has been through. When we go to doctors, we don't need any money in hand to get treated. Wal-Mart gets billed, and we have an account that handles a certain amount of costs per year. If that account has any money in it at the end of the year, it rolls over to the next. If that money gets used up, there is a $5000 deductible to meet, and then the company will cover 80% of whatever costs are applied to us. So far, we thankfully haven't been in deductible territory, but I know from having worked in insurance several years ago, this is actually a good plan. I've seen worse ones. Through Wal-Mart, my family has full medical, dental, life, etc. insurances. I pay just under $80 a week to know that if anything, anything, happens, my family is covered in the immediate sense. We can deal with bills and everything else after an incident. But at the time it occurs, we have peace of mind. The only other company I ever worked for that this could be said of was Starbucks, and after six years with them, I was barely making what I make at Wal-Mart in two years. They take care of us, and in this economy, it's nice to be rewarded for my hard work in this way.
Moving on, I want to tell you what Wal-Mart has done for my community. I grew up in a rural area of North Florida, in a place known as Maxville... Because of Wal-Mart's influence, and the fact that it is an economic draw for foot and driving business, my family gets to take advantage of not having to go into a major city to get things when we need/want them. To someone who grew up having to drive 45 minutes into a city (one-way) to get nearly anything at a fair price, this is still a big deal to me. Now, I drive less than ten minutes to get things, even if I don't want to shop at Wal-Mart. It's presence is threatening enough that I don't always have to shop in my store to get the best deals on everything. The other retailers know that they have to play ball with Wal-Mart on prices, and it has led to an uptick in the quality of life here. I have watched it happen."
A speaker at the shareholders meeting
"I would be very proud to share my story. I am a store manager and my husband is a store manager . We met in high school not walmart and we had lived pay check to pay check having a hard time to pay our bills and walmart came to town and changed our lives. Not only have we been able to raise two daughters and purchase a home but we have opportunities we would have never gotten if walmart didn't come to a small town over 20 years ago in Yucca Valley California. We recently told our story at the share holders meeting and we were able to introduce Mike Duke which will be an experience we will remember for the rest of our lives. In regards to family and what walmart has done for us in our lives has now been helping the second generation of walmart family because our youngest daughter is a full time college student as she works part time at walmart. I am always speaking on how proud I am to work for walmart and I can't say enough about how walmart changed my life and my families life. Thank you walmart you made a difference in me!"