Hero of the day! June 29, 2008

Discussion in 'Hero and Jerk of the Day' started by lamebums, Jun 29, 2008.

  1. lamebums

    lamebums Member

    After having spent about a week so far working at Wally World, I'm surprised how far they actually go to help reduce emissions and consumption of energy. A few of the things I've seen so far:

    - They recently installed about three hundred day lights and shut off the normal lights when it's bright outside.
    - All of the vending machines have their lights turned off. The coke machine even says "My lights are off to save energy but it's still cold in here."
    - The lights in the frozen sections have motion sensors and only light up when somebody's nearby.
    - Whatever can be recycled, is recycled--there's bins for aluminum cans, plastic, and paper. All of that shrink wrap, thrown away at other stores I'd worked at, is crushed and recycled as well.
    - This:

    For all the crap people give Wal-Mart about low wages and bad working conditions, hell, I'm getting paid more now than I ever have, and this is the fourth job I've had in four years.
  2. I guess after years of wasting energy and destroying our waterways with their plastic bags Walmart is starting to see the light or they are under intense legal pressure.

    Good job though Walmart. I still refuse to shop there though :) (some of my friends families were ran out of the grocery store business by them)
  3. ILAveo

    ILAveo Well-Known Member

    My experience of Wal-mart's environmental practices is that their stores and warehouses are better than most of the similar stores and warehouses where I have done projects. My concerns center on the practices of their overseas suppliers, but I still shop there.

    My impression of working conditions at Walmart is that in low wage areas they are considered a good employer and in high wage areas a bad employer for the retail sector--but most retail jobs aren't very good in any case. I doubt that it will really make you miserable, but I hope it is just a brief stop for you on your way to better things.:)
  4. lamebums

    lamebums Member

    I have another picture of one of the crates of pineapples, or something that said "Packed by Zhejiang Xinchang Best Foods co. Ltd." or something to that effect. From what I've heard, they had a plan to pull all the toys from the shelves if China didn't get their **** together and get the lead out of the paint even if it meant a 75% toy sales loss.

    As far as retail jobs go it pays better than just about anything else although it isn't saying much.

    I made $5.90 an hour as a bag boy at Kroger's (raised to $6.05 eventually). Union (UFCW Local 1099) tried to take a $250 bite out of my paycheck so I quit before they had a chance.
    I made $7 an hour as a server at a retirement house (fired after three months).
    And $5.50 an hour at another local grocer, this time non-union so no loss to them, but I burned that much in gas getting there.

    And now $8.45 doing stock? Hell, I'll take it anyday. There aren't any other summer jobs available, and the few that do are paying 6-something, the minimum wage ($6.55 if I recall correctly this year?).

    But yeah it's just a part time job so I can actually pay for gas. Hypermiling, even to the tune to 300 MPG isn't going to make an empty gas tank go anywhere.
  5. Shiba3420

    Shiba3420 Well-Known Member

    Sorry, I have to contest Wal-marts hero-of-day status. While the business practicies you mention are nice, they also effect their bottom line. Saving energy saves them money, so they don't have to be any sort of hero to do these nice things, expecially telling the walmart truck drivers not to idle since they are burning walmarts gas. I have seen few things they do which don't either save them money or increase their revenues.

    When they do things which are energy/gas efficient, but actually cost them some time or money, then they can be called hero's, but, in my mind, they won't be until then, but then again they can't give away anything and continue to deliver the cheapest prices around. I'd rather spend a little more eleswhere where the store has a true sense of comunity.
  6. lamebums

    lamebums Member

    Well, of the list I mentioned many of those do cost time and/or money. The day lights were added some time after the store was completed requiring a lot of very noisy and expensive construction. The several hundred motion sensors in the store cost quite a lot of money, I am sure. Plus, their no-idle policy applies to all trucks, not just Wal-Mart trucks pulling into the backroom. Working in the back we have all sorts of semi trucks back there and they're all told to not idle there, so that's not just Wal-Mart's gas?

    Plus it takes the workers (that's people like me) time to sort out what goes where, especially when pulling a large skid full of garbage, which would also hurt their bottom line.

    I know people still hold serious vendettas against them but I'm thinking it's more jealousy than anything else? Some people are run out of business but still others around here are thriving even with the low-cost competition.

    I just got a crate of chicken soup, 8 cans of beans, and some candy for $20. That same load of stuff would easily be $30 at another large chain or $40 at a local grocer. Not a hard choice especially with gas prices hitting the roof. :(
  7. TRun10

    TRun10 Active Member

    I have no problem if they're just doing it to save money, as long as they're doing it. It's wonderful that 99% of conservation efforts save both the world and your money. That's why it boggles my mind that some folks are so resistant to them.
  8. lamebums

    lamebums Member

    I don't get it either. Maybe it's unpatriotic? I remember going to the auto show and hitting it off with some girl who was going on and on about "I want to get a big truck"...pointing towards one of the new F-150's...

    Aggressive drivers are people too. They're just really angry because they have really teeny...well, you get the idea, lest I explain and be sent on the fast lane to banland. :p
  9. TRun10

    TRun10 Active Member

    You hit on something there with the unpatriotic comment. Somehow, somewhere, some way anything that is considered conservationist or environmental-friendly lost all common sense status and became a "leftist" political issue. Thus, the closed minded Rush Limbaughs of the world automatically take the pro-waste, pro-pollution side of the argument even though it makes very little sense.

    And before "ditto-heads" jump on me, I'm actually a registered Republican. But I recognize how stupid the party has been on this issue (among others.)
  10. A024523

    A024523 Currently in Training

    That sign is a nice find Auston. I suspect that this is purely fiscally motivated. One of the keys to WalMart's success is that they constantly try to maximize efficiency and cut waste to keep their overhead low. Maybe, if the cost of diesel goes much higher, they just might mandate changes for their truck drivers to utilize more hypermiling techniques. :D
  11. dirtyball

    dirtyball New Member

    I don't get the conjoining of conservationists and liberals that is advertised as an inseparable truth. Isn't the core ideal of the GOP to "do more with less"? Less taxes, less waste, less spending on unnecessary stuff = more profit / benefit to society? Correct me if I am wrong, but this is no different than what environmentalists want. We argue with each other because we are told we should, not because we have any significant difference of opinion. A true fiscal conservative would be constantly vigilant of ways to save money and increase efficiency (Frederick Winslow Taylor for example).

    Yeah, I get that WalMart is evil and all. Not paying your employees for time they have worked certainly chalks one up in that category. But if you boil it down, they are just a bunch of people trying to figure out how to squeeze out a profit from buying and selling stuff, which is what most of us do for a living. And being the largest employer in the free world, they are in a position to have a profound impact on the rest of us in either a positive or negative way, depending on what the head honchos decide is best for business. So shouldn't we be congratulating them when the make a good decision, just as we condemn them for making a bad one? But then again what do I know.
  12. Shiba3420

    Shiba3420 Well-Known Member

    Let me be blunt. I don't like walmart. They aren't trying to do more with less. They are trying to maximize profits for a few at the expense of the many. Certainly anytime you push profits to the limit, corners start getting cut somewhere, and usually people suffer for it. Certainly walmart can be accused of a lot of suffering, but they do put necessary products out there at the lowest price they can be...or so we think. If you didn't make a profit at the top end, how much cheaper could things be?

    As far as the comment that they are spending big money putting these features in...if the payback exceeds the investment then ultimately that didn't spend money on the upgrade, they saved it. And that is good forward thinking that I wish a lot more companies would exercise. As dirtyball said, they are just a company doing what a company does. That hardly makes them heroic.

    Actually my main beef with them is the shoppers and the size of isles. Too many people who don't understand that leaving their cart in the middle of the isle is rude; I get enough rude drivers on the road; Strange out when they first started up and were the underdog to Kmart, they had such nice wide stores, but how they seem to be narrower and narrower. I keep hoping a new chain will open up and eventually replace walmart. All dominate companies are eventually chalanged and replaced, and walmart too will one day fall. But will the new company be any better.

    Any chance we could change this to a vote? "Does doing this, make walmart heroic?" I'm just curious what the concensus would be.
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2008
  13. HemiSync

    HemiSync Well-Known Member

    I have to ponder, does it matter if they were fiscally motivated to do something good? I think the majority of the members of this website are fiscally motivated to save gas and have slowed down, driven more responsibly, become more alert drivers, ect to obtain that goal but that doesn't make them bad for it.
  14. PaleMelanesian

    PaleMelanesian Beat the System Staff Member

    I don't think, on this point, it really matters what the motivations are. They're reducing energy usage. That's a good thing.
  15. A024523

    A024523 Currently in Training

    Agreed ...and as usual, you point out the silver lining. :) Personally, I don't like the way they treat their employees (among other things), but if they cut diesel usage by X percent, that is a lesser impact to demand and the environment.
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2008
  16. lamebums

    lamebums Member

    That's weird. I'm better off now than I ever was at any of the other grocery stores. They have the most lenient attendance policy I have seen (up to seven unexcused days missed in a six month period). More people are written up for not taking their breaks on time than anything else, so, yeah.
  17. A024523

    A024523 Currently in Training

    I guess I should not believe everything I hear from the media about how they are "mistreating" employees, kinda like how they say hypermiling is so dangerous. :eek:
  18. A024523

    A024523 Currently in Training

    The latest Wal-Mart new seems to affirm their stance on saving fuel http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080701/ts_nm/walmart_produce_dc

    "When we're buying local (fruit), there are less trucks on the road, less miles that that produce is traveling and therefore less fuel," said Pam Kohn, Wal-Mart's general merchandise manager for grocery.
  19. OokiiMamoru

    OokiiMamoru Active Member

    When Lee Scott started this program a few years ago, he took a lot of fire from the Board of Directors.

    Sure, Wal-Mart is saving a few million by turning off the lights in the vending machines, and switching out bulbs to CLF's at the registers. Installing secondary motors on the truck fleet to run the enviromental controls, encouraging our suppliers to use less packaging. Actively seeking out products that use less energy. Installing motion sensors on the freezer cases to turn on and off the lights. Going so far as to create markets for the recycled materials. The polyester pillow comes to mind.

    Installing light sensors which dim the store lights during the day. (Can't wait for that to hit my store.)

    While I have not seen the results yet, they put in an order for 300 mega watts of solar power generation. They are experimenting with tires for the trucks fleet also. They have put in orders for more fuel efficient trucks. I know they are experimenting with windmills at 2 TX stores.

    500 million a year to develop and install energy efficient equipment is no small amount of chunk change. I would rather see that money go into dividends and my retirement account. I'm a 10 year floor associate.

    Now if your expecting Wal-Mart to throw money down a rat hole and passing on that cost to customers and shareholders. It won't happen. Well, I think the Solar Panels built onto the stores was a bad idea myself. Rather see that money go into a high efficiency Solar Farm, but what do I know.

    They are experimenting with a floor based cooling system and helped the developer get the cost down from 8 dollars a square foot to 2 dollars a square foot. While the system has worked well for small stores... Super Box stores........... I wonder how the system will hold up over the test of time myself. I predict high maintenance cost.

    They have been playing around with capturing heat from the food cooling units to supplement the heat of the store during winter.

    Some things Wal-Mart has done has already failed in a few markets like local sustainable produce.

    Is WalMart perfect, far from it, and I have worked at a lot worse. Can't really say I've worked at better either.

    As to a store of the community. Your going to have to give a definition. I know my store donates about 2k a month and the associate raise about 30k a year for the community and associates volunteer for several local events a year. I personally volunteered at two of Atlanta's Earth Day/Week events this year under WalMarts banner and I don't even want to hazard a guess how much the market had to pay for our pavilion spot as we advertised sustainable products.
  20. OokiiMamoru

    OokiiMamoru Active Member

    Believe it or not, there was a time a Wal-Mart associate could skip lunch and leave an hour early or come in an hour late if we had something else we needed to do. I sort of resent having that option taken away due to a CA lawsuit.

    I have seen Associates written up for working off the clock and managers fired for letting it happen.

    You should be going through a GrassRoots meeting soon where you are actually doing a report card with your store team on the conditions of your store and management team. The system dose indeed work. I've seen Home Office come down like lightening when the store gets a low associate report card. Home Office will not tolerate an abusive manager.

    From what I can understand WalMart is also taking a closer look at how overseas factories treat their workers. Should be interesting to see how this goes in the future. I know there is a certification program that is followed up on.

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