Here is the customary preface in order to proactively expose any potential conflict of interest.
Many if not most of you know that I work for Walmart. In fact, I’ve worked for the company over 12.5 years as I graduated high school in June 1996 and got hired by WallyWorld in July of the same year. I started off as a “stockman” (you know, the guy who gets all the shopping carts, loads things into your car, etc) and then became a People Greeter (yes, at the tender age of approximately 20) and now I am the Community Relations Director of my particular store.
My particular store has given approximately $71,000, if not much more, to the community in 2008. I’m most proud of our participation in the Children’s Miracle Network as, my store alone, raised over $48,000 last year for Children’s Hospital Boston (CHB). My 8-store market raised over $250,000 and I believe CHB was given something like $1.2 million this year from all the Walmarts in the area. A Dartmouth child was recently hit by a bus less than 100 feet from the entrance to my neighborhood. In fact, my neighbor’s son was the driver who struck the child. I note this since in 2007 there were over 7,000 SouthCoast encounters – inpatient, outpatient, & ER – with CHB. In early 2009, we’ve already had a local kid spend a week in CHB’ ICU. Every penny donated by the tremendous generosity of our customers helps save children’s lives at Children’s Hospital Boston.
Additionally, I administer several charitable grant programs, primarily through the Walmart Foundation, that last year included $3,000 in Local Community Contributions, $16,000 in Community Grants, and a couple thousand in Volunteerism Always Pays (VAP) grants that give an associate’s qualifying charitable organizations $250 per semester for $500 per year for volunteer work already being done by the associate. Any particular associate can volunteer for up to 2 groups per year. Directly from my store’s budget is $3,300 in Monthly Donations with several thousand being donated in materials such as clothing, plush toys, and plants that were once destined for the dumpster but were instead donated to groups serving the poor, hospitals, public parks & gardens, etc. Just this past Friday our associates participated in the American Heart Association’s “Go Red for Women’s Health” fundraiser.
Not even included in my above estimate are things like how Walmart will also pay for associates to obtain their GED. The company donates used computers to charities, participates in an enhanced recycling program as a part of our Personal Sustainability Project (PSP), is a major contributor to America’s First Harvest (a national food pantry) as well as Acres for America (a national environmental restoration group).
While any business has a few kinks to work out in the machine, and I’ve seen plenty of ups & downs over nearly 13 years, Walmart has been a good place to be employed – especially in this job environment. Heck, I may still be qualifying for a quarterly bonus (we did receive one last quarter & the quarter before that). My store has it’s annual inventory check tomorrow and we will beginning a massive full-scale remodel next week – although store planning was swarming over us yesterday in preparation.
You don’t even want to know, and of course I’m not about to share the info, how little I pay for health & dental insurance. My 401k isn’t even doing all that badly all things considered. Contrary to stereotypes, our benefits package is pretty darn good.
Okay, before I go off on a major tangent (as it does irk me when Walmart often gets unjustly derided in the media, especially considering how much good work we do in our local communities, all across the country) well, in the spirit of helping people save money so that they can live better, here are a few excerpts from a story in today’s Boston Globe.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the nation’s largest grocer, is making an aggressive push across Massachusetts to double its supermarket business over the next year
The effort to woo more bargain-conscious Bay Staters includes the construction of a new supercenter in Worcester and the addition of markets to stores in Halifax, Hudson, Oxford, Salem, Springfield, and Swansea. A grocery addition already under construction at Wal-Mart’s North Attleborough location is expected to be completed this fall.
At a time of massive layoffs and store closings across the Commonwealth, cities, towns, and residents once dedicated to derailing anything Wal-Mart are rolling out the red carpet for the discounter. Wal-Mart says its efforts will create 700 jobs at Massachusetts stores, and it is actively seeking additional store opportunities in New England, one of the last frontiers for the Bentonville, Ark., company to conquer.
“Some of the towns have joked that we’re providing the economic stimulus they need,” said Christopher N. Buchanan, a Wal-Mart senior manager of public affairs and government relations. “There’s still a great deal of growth opportunities here.”
I’ve met Chris Buchanan a couple of times. He, along with our former MassGOP Chairman Peter Torkildsen – btw, played golf at our annual market wide tournament fundraiser to benefit Children’s Hospital Boston.
My particular store has hired 40 temporary remodel associates who may be able to parlay their employment for these other remodels across the area. We’ve also recently rented out vacant warehouse space in the Greater New Bedford area.
Walmart is good for the economy. Our low prices hold down inflation! 🙂 I only wish my store was slated to become a supercenter sometime soon! Who needs Obama’s stimulus package – we have Walmart! LOL