Thursday, June 14, 2007


From the AP via the Houston Chronicle:

Shoplifting, employee theft wallop Wal-Mart

Shoppers at Wal-Mart stores across America are loading carts with merchandise — maybe a flat-screen TV, a few DVDs and a six pack of beer — and strolling out without paying. Employees also are helping themselves to goods they haven't paid for.

The world's largest retailer is saying little about these kinds of thefts, but its recent public disclosures that it is experiencing an increase in so-called shrinkage at its U.S. stores suggests that inventory losses due to shoplifting, employee theft, paperwork errors and supplier fraud could be worsening.

And has linked rising theft to its claims that the company offers skimpy pay and benefits. Wal-Mart also faces a class-action lawsuit alleging female workers were passed over for men in pay and promotions.

"I am not the type to steal, but because we are so mistreated, when I saw things I just didn't do anything," said Gina Tuley, a former Wal-Mart bakery worker, who quit her job at the Seagoville, Texas, store in March. A big complaint was that her hours had been cut, reducing her take-home pay.

Click here for the rest.

Wal-Mart is probably the most anti-union corporation in existence. Indeed, any store where there is even a hint of pro-union sentiment among employees merits a big visit from Wal-Mart's special anti-union truth squad, complete with propaganda videos shown at "informational" meetings for which attendance is required. Union organizers are fired immediately when caught on the low cost giant's security monitors, which exist not for shopper safety, but for union busting. That's why it's almost impossible for Wal-Mart workers to get a fair shake. Clearly, this rise in employee theft, as well as lax employee attitudes about apprehending shoplifters, is the inevitable result.

And boy, is this music to my ears.

Stealing and shitty performance are tried and true methods of resistance that date back to slavery, at least. I mean, what can you do when your options are extremely limited? Easy, do a bad job. The sad thing is that a lot of these workers might actually feel a bit guilty about ripping off their boss, about doing nothing while on the clock. They shouldn't. Wal-Mart treats their employees like shit and this is what they deserve.

Or look at it from a capitalist perspective: you get what you pay for. I guarantee you that if the Arkansas based retail mega store paid their workers better and offered decent benefits, "shrinkage" would go waaaay down. It's simple business.