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savafan
03-26-2008, 12:34 PM
http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/03/25/walmart.insurance.battle/index.html?iref=mpstoryview

The 52-year-old mother of three attended her son's funeral, but she continues to ask how he's doing. When her family reminds her that he's dead, she weeps as if hearing the news for the first time.

Shank suffered severe brain damage after a traffic accident nearly eight years ago that robbed her of much of her short-term memory and left her in a wheelchair and living in a nursing home.

It was the beginning of a series of battles -- both personal and legal -- that loomed for Shank and her family. One of their biggest was with Wal-Mart's health plan.

Eight years ago, Shank was stocking shelves for the retail giant and signed up for Wal-Mart's health and benefits plan.

Two years after the accident, Shank and her husband, Jim, were awarded about $1 million in a lawsuit against the trucking company involved in the crash. After legal fees were paid, $417,000 was placed in a trust to pay for Debbie Shank's long-term care.

Wal-Mart had paid out about $470,000 for Shank's medical expenses and later sued for the same amount. However, the court ruled it can only recoup what is left in the family's trust.

The Shanks didn't notice in the fine print of Wal-Mart's health plan policy that the company has the right to recoup medical expenses if an employee collects damages in a lawsuit.

The family's attorney, Maurice Graham, said he informed Wal-Mart about the settlement and believed the Shanks would be allowed to keep the money.

"We assumed after three years, they [Wal-Mart] had made a decision to let Debbie Shank use this money for what it was intended to," Graham said.

The Shanks lost their suit to Wal-Mart. Last summer, the couple appealed the ruling -- but also lost it. One week later, their son was killed in Iraq.

"They are quite within their rights. But I just wonder if they need it that bad," Jim Shank said.

In 2007, the retail giant reported net sales in the third quarter of $90 billion.

Legal or not, CNN asked Wal-Mart why the company pursued the money.

Wal-Mart spokesman John Simley, who called Debbie Shank's case "unbelievably sad," replied in a statement: "Wal-Mart's plan is bound by very specific rules. ... We wish it could be more flexible in Mrs. Shank's case since her circumstances are clearly extraordinary, but this is done out of fairness to all associates who contribute to, and benefit from, the plan."

Jim Shank said he believes Wal-Mart should make an exception.

"My idea of a win-win is -- you keep the paperwork that says you won and let us keep the money so I can take care of my wife," he said.

The family's situation is so dire that last year Jim Shank divorced Debbie, so she could receive more money from Medicaid.

Jim Shank, 54, is recovering from prostate cancer, works two jobs and struggles to pay the bills. He's afraid he won't be able to send their youngest son to college and pay for his and Debbie's care.

"Who needs the money more? A disabled lady in a wheelchair with no future, whatsoever, or does Wal-Mart need $90 billion, plus $200,000?" he asked.

The family's attorney agrees.

"The recovery that Debbie Shank made was recovery for future lost earnings, for her pain and suffering," Graham said.

"She'll never be able to work again. Never have a relationship with her husband or children again. The damage she recovered was for much more than just medical expenses."

Graham said he believes Wal-Mart should be entitled to only about $100,000. Right now, about $277,000 remains in the trust -- far short of the $470,000 Wal-Mart wants back.

Refusing to give up the fight, the Shanks appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. But just last week, the high court said it would not hear the case.

Graham said the Shanks have exhausted all their resources and there's nothing more they can do but go on with their lives.
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Jim Shank said he's disappointed with the Supreme Court's decision not to hear the case -- not for the sake of his family -- but for those who might face similar circumstances.

For now, he said the family will figure out a way to get by and "do the best we can for Debbie."

"Luckily, she's oblivious to everything," he said. "We don't tell her
what's going on because it will just upset her."

GoReds33
03-26-2008, 12:40 PM
That's terribly sad. I feel for her, and her family.

Highlifeman21
03-26-2008, 12:45 PM
Wal-Mart is still licking its wounds from the lawsuit they lost having to pay employees for break periods.

Looks like this is step one of their plan to recoup their losses.

Joseph
03-26-2008, 12:50 PM
I was working at Wal-mart in college, and my dad died over the Christmas break one year, so I went home. They wanted to fire me because I took the whole month off to stay home with my mom and little brother. Eventually they relented and let me work when I came back, but yeah, they are some words I can't use on RZ.

pedro
03-26-2008, 12:51 PM
What a great company.

RedsManRick
03-26-2008, 12:55 PM
It seems to me that if Wal-Mart is truly interested in representing the interests of the other employees who contribute to the plan, that they could put it up to a vote of plan contributors on whether or not the company should pursue its compensation...

Even honest statements of inflexibility are often just indications of a lack of creativity. Though clearly it can also just be an excuse for greed.

Playing devil's advocate, imagine if Wal-Mart chose not to pursue compensation. They'd be setting a precedent that could have serious implications down the road, as well leaving themselves open to counter-suits from plan contributors of legal malpractice. I don't defend their position as I think there is a win-win opportunity here, but let's not be so naive as to think Wal-Mart is just a big, evil greedy corporation looking to put the screws to a mentally disabled past employee.

M2
03-26-2008, 01:06 PM
Got to love a company that has it listed in the fine print of its policy that recovering its health care expenses comes before your long-term health.

dabvu2498
03-26-2008, 01:15 PM
What a great company.

I hate Wally World as much as anyone, but I've got to throw something in here.

Quoting from the article:


The Shanks didn't notice in the fine print of Wal-Mart's health plan policy that the company has the right to recoup medical expenses if an employee collects damages in a lawsuit.


Her attorney should have known this and should have settled the case as such. If her attorney had complete medical payment records, which any good attorney would have had, he would have seen that her insurance company was paying a good percentage of her medical bills. Andf thus, would have known that they were going to want reimbursement upon settlement. Poor.

Wal-Mart's insurance provider is not at all the only provider for whom this is common practice. Medicare/Medicaid come to mind as well as Blue Cross/Blue Shield. And that's just in my recent experience.

What happened to this woman is tragic. Beyond tragic. Could the 470k have been "written off?" Yeah, likely.

But from where I sit, this is bad lawyering. Wonder if he volunteered to give them back any of his fee...

TeamSelig
03-26-2008, 01:22 PM
She should have read her policy.

pedro
03-26-2008, 01:27 PM
I hate Wally World as much as anyone, but I've got to throw something in here.

Quoting from the article:



Her attorney should have known this and should have settled the case as such. If her attorney had complete medical payment records, which any good attorney would have had, he would have seen that her insurance company was paying a good percentage of her medical bills. Andf thus, would have known that they were going to want reimbursement upon settlement. Poor.

Wal-Mart's insurance provider is not at all the only provider for whom this is common practice. Medicare/Medicaid come to mind as well as Blue Cross/Blue Shield. And that's just in my recent experience.

What happened to this woman is tragic. Beyond tragic. Could the 470k have been "written off?" Yeah, likely.

But from where I sit, this is bad lawyering. Wonder if he volunteered to give them back any of his fee...

I hear what you are saying, especially since they apparently paid upwards of half a million dollars in legal fees but what would have been their option? To seek more from the trucking company?

pedro
03-26-2008, 01:31 PM
She should have read her policy.

ummm, yeah, when this was being adjudicated she was um...BRAIN DAMAGED.

TeamSelig
03-26-2008, 01:32 PM
Not while working at Wal Mart. The accident put her in a nursing home.

dabvu2498
03-26-2008, 01:33 PM
I hear what you are saying, especially since they apparently paid upwards of half a million dollars in legal fees but what would have been their option? To seek more from the trucking company?

Absolutely.

If she had $470k+ in medicals, a million dollar settlement sounds pretty low, to be honest. General rule of thumb around here is total medical costs times 3.

That varies from state to state, area to area, court to court, of course.

But as a lawyer, before you settle, you've got to know a lot of people are going to want part of that settlement. And you've got to know who they are and how much they want.

Otherwise, you get this mess.

TeamSelig
03-26-2008, 01:34 PM
Is that not correct? She was working at Wal Mart then got into the accident.

pedro
03-26-2008, 01:36 PM
Not while working at Wal Mart. The accident put her in a nursing home.

But how would having read her policy prior to her accident have helped her seek a higher amount as she WAS BRAIN DAMAGED by the accident and likely wasn't able to aid in her case. That's just an incredibly weak argument that makes no sense.

dabvu2498's argument for bad lawyering OTOH....

dabvu2498
03-26-2008, 01:38 PM
Also, note this quote from the lawyer:


"We assumed after three years, they [Wal-Mart] had made a decision to let Debbie Shank use this money for what it was intended to," Graham said.

Assumed? Assumed? It sounds like he at least had a notion Wal-Mart would come after their cut.

Besides, you're dealing with people's lives... don't "assume" anything. That's sad.

Falls City Beer
03-26-2008, 01:43 PM
It has finally gotten to the point where for a good many Americans it's much, much, much smarter to pocket their insurance contributions and pay for treatment out of pocket. Most insurance plans have reached the "useless" threshold.

At the very least, "insurance" companies should be forced to change the name of what they're offering to clients: it's not "insurance" any longer; "insurance" contains within its definition "coverage *in case of* accident." What this insurance company has offered is 100% contingent and variable guesswork (though I'm guessing Congress is not interested in forcing insurance companies to change the names of their policies to "100% contingent and variable policies.")

Roy Tucker
03-26-2008, 01:43 PM
Yeah, when I read that story I thought "bad lawyering".

Having said that, I would hope the proverbial win-win solution could be arrived at so that this lady is well taken care of and Wal-Mart keeps its legal precedent. Otherwise, the lady is left destitute and Wal-Mart takes a big PR black-eye.

TeamSelig
03-26-2008, 01:45 PM
But how would having read her policy prior to her accident have helped her seek a higher amount as she WAS BRAIN DAMAGED by the accident and likely wasn't able to aid in her case. That's just an incredibly weak argument that makes no sense.

dabvu2498's argument for bad lawyering OTOH....


I'm saying if she read the policy, she would have expected it. Their defense is basically:

NOBODY told me!
I didn't know!
How can they STEAL money from a handicapped person?

Why is it wrong that Wal Mart is claiming their own money? They had a right to their money, it said so in the policy that she agreed to.

So they're just supposed to let her keep THEIR money because she can't remember anything?

pedro
03-26-2008, 01:49 PM
I'm saying if she read the policy, she would have expected it. Their defense is basically:

NOBODY told me!
I didn't know!
How can they STEAL money from a handicapped person?

Why is it wrong that Wal Mart is claiming their own money? They had a right to their money, it said so in the policy that she agreed to.

So they're just supposed to let her keep THEIR money because she can't remember anything?

How you can blame this on the woman who was brain damaged and couldn't assist in her own defense is beyond me. Now her lawyer, or even her husband, yes, but claiming that a woman who who was brain damaged should have been able to remember the specifics of her health care plan in order to aid in her defense is pretty silly if you ask me.

pedro
03-26-2008, 01:51 PM
Yeah, when I read that story I thought "bad lawyering".

Having said that, I would hope the proverbial win-win solution could be arrived at so that this lady is well taken care of and Wal-Mart keeps its legal precedent. Otherwise, the lady is left destitute and Wal-Mart takes a big PR black-eye.

I don't think walmart is too worried about bad PR.

It's already been proven that all america cares about is lower prices.

dabvu2498
03-26-2008, 01:52 PM
It has finally gotten to the point where for a good many Americans it's much, much, much smarter to pocket their insurance contributions and pay for treatment out of pocket. Most insurance plans have reached the "useless" threshold.

At the very least, "insurance" companies should be forced to change the name of what they're offering to clients: it's not "insurance" any longer; "insurance" contains within its definition "coverage *in case of* accident." What this insurance company has offered is 100% contingent and variable guesswork (though I'm guessing Congress is not interested in forcing insurance companies to change the names of their policies to "100% contingent and variable policies.")

This is different, though.

If she had caused the accident, the company would have provided her with "insurance" vis-a-vis your definition.

When this case settled, the trucking company assumed liability for the accident and agreed to pay costs, including her medical care. Thus taking Wal-Mart off the hook, if you will.

Falls City Beer
03-26-2008, 01:56 PM
This is different, though.

If she had caused the accident, the company would have provided her with "insurance" vis-a-vis your definition.

When this case settled, the trucking company assumed liability for the accident and agreed to pay costs, including her medical care. Thus taking Wal-Mart off the hook, if you will.

Then there should be a provision for "do-overs" like this to protect the patient. If Wal-Mart has already paid-out, then well, possession....

In essence, patients have no protection because of stuff like this. I hope a judge does the ethical and moral thing (something he's supposed to do) and throws out Wal-Mart's suit.

(Still, if we're getting technical, I did say "contingent," which apparently this coverage is--they can pay out, then retract said payment. That, by definition, makes it contingent coverage.)

And my larger point still stands: it's much smarter to keep your pay and not pay into useless plans like Wal-Mart offers.

dabvu2498
03-26-2008, 02:06 PM
Then there should be a provision for "do-overs" like this to protect the patient. If Wal-Mart has already paid-out, then well, possession....

In essence, patients have no protection because of stuff like this. I hope a judge does the ethical and moral thing (something he's supposed to do) and throws out Wal-Mart's suit.

It was in the contract, fee agreement, policy, whatever, that she signed when she got the insurance. A contract is a contract is a contract, even if it is with the devil.

If the lawyer had known what he was doing, proper language would have been in the settlement agreement also.

durl
03-26-2008, 02:37 PM
Many may want to call Wal-Mart "greedy" and "evil" for going after $470K that they issued to pay health expenses. However, the family's lawyers took almost $600K for their fees. The lawyers grabbed more than Wal-Mart wants to reclaim, taking more money home than the woman with brain damage.

Wal-Mart did exactly what they said they would do. They paid the expenses. The family (sadly) put themselves in the situation by going after money from second source. Now, it seems to me that a GOOD lawyer would have examined Wal-Mart's plan on behalf of their client to determine the impact of the lawsuit, but I'm guessing that it was more important to win the $600K share of the settlement and not worry about what would happen to the client afterwards.

Wal-Mart greedy? Not in this case.

Boston Red
03-26-2008, 02:52 PM
Why does anyone have a problem with Wal-Mart here?!? Wal-Mart paid the medical expenses. The trucking company was judged to be liable, and they were ordered to pay the medical expenses that Wal-Mart had already paid. Clearly, that money belongs to Wal-Mart. It's obviously a tragic story, but why should the woman keep the money that was clearly targeted to pay certain medical expenses that a third-party had already paid on her behalf?

TeamSelig
03-26-2008, 02:54 PM
Because she is BRAIN DAMAGED and it is such a sad story that she should have a right to money that isn't hers.

Caveat Emperor
03-26-2008, 03:11 PM
I think the blame is very much on bad lawyering here. Her lawyer failed miserably to advise and counsel her properly, which is very sad and reflects poorly on the profession.

But, I'm not going to let Wal Mart off the hook on this. They're under no legal duty to collect this money. They suffer no adverse effects in future litigation with similarly situated clients if they choose not to collect this money (or collect only some). They could choose to be good corporate citizens here, but instead they're grabbing for money with both hands.

There ought to be more to a corporation's existence than simple maximization of proft. I know that isn't the case (and, legally, is exactly the opposite of what is the case), but it's the root cause of a good number of problems in this country.

Boston Red
03-26-2008, 03:14 PM
But why would Wal-Mart do that? It's not like they let the medical bills go unpaid. I know it's a sad story, but it doesn't entitle her to a $400k bonus from Wal-Mart. It wasn't a Wal-Mart truck that hit her and left her brain damaged.

dabvu2498
03-26-2008, 03:25 PM
But why would Wal-Mart do that? It's not like they let the medical bills go unpaid. I know it's a sad story, but it doesn't entitle her to a $400k bonus from Wal-Mart. It wasn't a Wal-Mart truck that hit her and left her brain damaged.

Insurance companies will sometimes write situations like this off as "losses." Not what I would call common, but it does happen. Especially if a settlement is extremely protracted.

The plaintiff's lawyers in this case would have been best served to negotiate a settlement within a settlement with W-M's insurance carrier.

Not sure about state law in this case, but once a settlement is made in Ohio, the plaintiff is legally obligated to pay subrogation claims in the full amount.

Boston Red
03-26-2008, 03:29 PM
Not sure about state law in this case, but once a settlement is made in Ohio, the plaintiff is legally obligated to pay subrogation claims in the full amount.

Which only makes sense. Plaintiffs shouldn't get an unintended double-dip. That's what pain and suffering and/or punitive damages are for.

WMR
03-26-2008, 03:36 PM
Maybe she can sue her lawyer. At least recoup the fees that he took without earning.

Reds Freak
03-26-2008, 03:41 PM
This case aside, does anyone else see an inevitable crash and burn for Wal-Mart sometime in the near future? Recently, I had a professor in college with years of experience in retail detail a very convincing scenario in which that happens. No offense to loyal shoppers, but if it happens I won't be shedding any tears.

Falls City Beer
03-26-2008, 03:43 PM
Why was so much money paid-out by Wal-Mart up front? That seems odd to me. I would think it would be that Wal-Mart paid until the truck company was forced to pay back Wal-Mart and then for this woman's future treatment.

durl
03-26-2008, 03:46 PM
Honestly, I believe I'd rather see a "crash-and-burn" for lawyers that thrive on other people's suffering. And I'm not saying all lawyers are bad. Just the ones that, say, claim $583K out of $1 million from a woman with brain damage when it will leave her poorer than when she started.

M2
03-26-2008, 04:13 PM
Bad lawyering is clearly at fault and it wouldn't shock me if this family went with an ambulance chaser.

Yet I'm surprised Wal-Mart didn't offer to push or join the suit against the trucking company. I suppose the policy might be to make someone else pay the legal fees, but there was a juncture where the family and employer had joint interests. Then again, does Wal-Mart recognize "joint interest" with the pieces of meat that it hires?

dabvu2498
03-26-2008, 04:19 PM
Why was so much money paid-out by Wal-Mart up front? That seems odd to me.

Because the doctors wanted to get paid. The woman had insurance, insurance paid the doctors.


I would think it would be that Wal-Mart paid until the truck company was forced to pay back Wal-Mart and then for this woman's future treatment.

Isn't that what happened? Except that the lawyers really screwed up the future treatment part and forgot to account for the fact that Wal-Mart was going to want their money back.

CrackerJack
03-26-2008, 04:22 PM
The Shanks didn't notice in the fine print of Wal-Mart's health plan policy that the company has the right to recoup medical expenses if an employee collects damages in a lawsuit.


Bottom-line is, this is not "insurance." Where is her monthly premiums going? Shouldn't Wal-Mart have to pay her back those monthly premiums at least, as a result? Otherwise why does she have to pay them, if the pay-out for medical expenses is technically coming from a lawsuit and not the insurance company she is paying her monthly premiums out to?

Either way the worker gets screwed big time.

Sad the sicko lawyer charges half a million also.

I understand the fine print - but what a crock.

Either way I haven't shopped at Wal Mart in years and bad mouth that company every chance I get, they represent everything that is currently wrong with corporate America currently.

Meanwhile the Waltons are each worth somewhere around $19 BILLION each - as if anyone needs that much money, ever.

Whatever.

George Anderson
03-26-2008, 04:35 PM
We wired two of the first Walmart stores in the Indianapolis area and found them to be great people to work for. Alot of the hatred for Walmart comes from the union and liberal types who can't stand the fact that Walmart workers refuse to let a union represent them.

http://www.walmartstores.com/FactsNews/

Boston Red
03-26-2008, 04:36 PM
Bottom-line is, this is not "insurance." Where is her monthly premiums going?

Of course it is. Her premiums are going into the pool to pay plan participant medical expenses. If the woman had just fallen ill, or if the trucking company had been found not liable, Wal-Mart would not have recovered the payments it made for medical bills. However, since the trucking company was judged liable for the medical bills, Wal-Mart gets reimbursed (no need for two parties to pay the same bill).

Plenty of reasons to dislike Wal-Mart. This case is not even close to one of them IMO.

redsfanmia
03-26-2008, 04:51 PM
Are clauses like that common in insurance policies? I am wondering if that is a Walmart only thing or business as usual?

dabvu2498
03-26-2008, 04:54 PM
Are clauses like that common in insurance policies? I am wondering if that is a Walmart only thing or business as usual?

Absolutely common. Almost 100% I'd guess.

durl
03-26-2008, 04:56 PM
Meanwhile the Waltons are each worth somewhere around $19 BILLION each - as if anyone needs that much money, ever.

Whatever.

The individual liberty we all enjoy applies to those who make tons of cash by providing a service that millions of people utilize. I would rather have the current system than one in which "others" decide how much money is appropriate for another to have. Greed may not be a virtue, but neither is jealousy.

And the money they make ends up back in the economy. Whether it's when they buy houses or boats, clothes, whatever...even low or unskilled laborers can profit from the Walton's spending.

This shouldn't turn into a who COULD pay matter, but rather who SHOULD pay. In this case, the lawyers decided it to go after the trucking company.

Unassisted
03-26-2008, 05:02 PM
Are clauses like that common in insurance policies? I am wondering if that is a Walmart only thing or business as usual?The Federal government does this, too when there's a lawsuit settlement after benefits have been paid out. It shouldn't have been news to this family's lawyer.

Falls City Beer
03-26-2008, 05:06 PM
Because the doctors wanted to get paid. The woman had insurance, insurance paid the doctors.



Isn't that what happened? Except that the lawyers really screwed up the future treatment part and forgot to account for the fact that Wal-Mart was going to want their money back.

I guess so. It just seems odd that an insurance company forked over a half a million so that it could be stowed away in some fund of the woman's. I feel like some piece of this story is missing.

Edit: Never mind. I misread the story--thus the confusion. Duh. For some reason I thought some payout was made to the woman that was not immediately used for payment for treatment. Too much reading in one day.

Chip R
03-26-2008, 05:06 PM
But, I'm not going to let Wal Mart off the hook on this. They're under no legal duty to collect this money.


I agree. Does Wal Mart need that money?

dabvu2498
03-26-2008, 05:09 PM
I guess so. It just seems odd that an insurance company forked over a half a million so that it could be stowed away in some fund of the woman's. I feel like some piece of this story is missing.

Actually, the insurance comapny paid the bills in a timely manner, which avoided additional costs to their customer (late fees, interest, etc. Common practice, good business practice, and a benefit to their customer.

BTW, they didn't know it was going to be stored in said woman's fund. They thought they were getting it back, pronto, which they should have.

KoryMac5
03-26-2008, 05:09 PM
It would have been a great opportunity for Walmart to get some good PR for a change. Unfortunately they continue to beef up the image they have of not treating their employees well.

dabvu2498
03-26-2008, 05:12 PM
It would have been a great opportunity for Walmart to get some good PR for a change. Unfortunately they continue to beef up the image they have of not treating their employees well.

Can you fathom what the blood-sucking lawyers would do if they knew, for a fact, that a large insurance company was backing off subrogation claims??? :eek:

Handofdeath
03-26-2008, 05:23 PM
A lot of the hatred for Walmart comes from the union and liberal types who can't stand the fact that Walmart workers refuse to let a union represent them.

http://www.walmartstores.com/FactsNews/

Of course Wal Mart workers are "refusing" to let a union represent them. Wal Mart has made it very clear on many occasions that ANYONE who tries to join a union will be fired.

Of all of the things I have read on this board, your post is the weakest.

pedro
03-26-2008, 06:00 PM
We wired two of the first Walmart stores in the Indianapolis area and found them to be great people to work for. Alot of the hatred for Walmart comes from the union and liberal types who can't stand the fact that Walmart workers refuse to let a union represent them.

http://www.walmartstores.com/FactsNews/

next you're going to direct us to your mom's blog as proof as to how handsome you are.

pahster
03-26-2008, 07:18 PM
next you're going to direct us to your mom's blog as proof as to how handsome you are.

http://andrewscrew.blogspot.com/2007/10/my-handsome-son.html

;)

George Anderson
03-26-2008, 08:06 PM
Of course Wal Mart workers are "refusing" to let a union represent them. Wal Mart has made it very clear on many occasions that ANYONE who tries to join a union will be fired.

Of all of the things I have read on this board, your post is the weakest.

If you were familiar with labor laws you will know that IF Walmart was doing such a thing they would be breaking the law.

Just because the Big Labor Bosses are spewing this nonsense doesn't make it so!!!

George Anderson
03-26-2008, 08:15 PM
next you're going to direct us to your mom's blog as proof as to how handsome you are.

http://www.childrensmiraclenetwork.ca/sponsors.php?view=1

Falls City Beer
03-26-2008, 08:18 PM
Voting system = FAIL!

GAC
03-26-2008, 08:40 PM
Truly a sad and tragic story.

But before we start to pile on WalMart - what about all the other national retail chains that bring in record profits, and who are in competition with WalMarts? Are their health plans comparable (or even better than)? Stores like KMart, Cosco, Target, Sears, Penneys, etc.

The reason I ask is because the retail industry is a very competitive (and cut throat) industry. Why go after one, and not the others?

I live in a mid-sized town where we have a Super WalMarts. I know several people who work there. If it wasn't for WalMarts - regardless that people say they don't pay them enough or should provide them with better healthcare benefits because they are such a huge, profitable company - Prior, these people either couldn't find work, or were working at low-level jobs that didn't even come close in pay/benefits that they are making now at WalMarts due to the region we live in and job availability. They were working at FF chains like McDonalds and Taco Bell, or local owned grocery stores and businesses that didn't even provide them with any healthcare plans at all.

Yachtzee
03-26-2008, 09:00 PM
Other than being a very unsympathetic story, I don't see why this is a big deal. When injury or illness is caused by the negligence of another, insurers always seek reimbursement from any jury award or settlement. I was in a car accident and suffered whiplash. My health coverage through my employer paid for treatment and physical therapy. My lawyer told me up front that my insurance carrier would expect reimbursement from any settlement for expenses they incur, which he would take into account when negotiating a settlement. I find the lawyer in this case to be highly dubious and would hope that the administrator of Debbie Shank's trust would sue her attorney for malpractice in the amount the Walmart judgment, plus any legal costs.

WMR
03-26-2008, 09:01 PM
Other than being a very unsympathetic story, I don't see why this is a big deal. When injury or illness is caused by the negligence of another, insurers always seek reimbursement from any jury award or settlement. I was in a car accident and suffered whiplash. My health coverage through my employer paid for treatment and physical therapy. My lawyer told me up front that my insurance carrier would expect reimbursement from any settlement for expenses they incur, which he would take into account when negotiating a settlement. I find the lawyer in this case to be highly dubious and would hope that the administrator of Debbie Shank's trust would sue her attorney for malpractice in the amount the Walmart judgment, plus any legal costs.

Do you mean sympathetic story? :eek:

M2
03-26-2008, 09:03 PM
If you were familiar with labor laws you will know that IF Walmart was doing such a thing they would be breaking the law.

Just because the Big Labor Bosses are spewing this nonsense doesn't make it so!!!

My ex was getting into HR back when we split up. This was down in Virginia and one of the things she was being told in her internship was to keep an ear open if any of the employees were talking about forming a union so that person could be pink slipped post haste.

I worked for a newspaper chain, run by a major investment firm, which had a habit of downsizing folks who rattled the union saber.

I also worked on a loading dock in Virginia where the floor managers let it be known on your first day that the higher ups asked them regularly about whether anyone was grousing for a union, so don't do it and then they don't have to fire you (the company was set up so that anyone could be laid off at during a supposed "slow" period).

Honestly, if you don't think American business breaks that law with alarming frequency, you just aren't paying attention. It's not evenly broken with subtlety.

Mind you, I'm white collar and I take the view that if the people who are getting screwed by this stuff don't care, then I'm not going to care for them. Cheaper stuff for me.

As for Wal-Mart, they're having a big problem here in liberal Massachusetts (particulary in the Boston area) because they pay so poorly and have such lousy benefits. They can't attract a decent workforce, and it gets particularly bad around Christmas. Wal-Mart's widely considered one of the worst places to get an after school job in a lot of the local high schools. The stores are dirty and disorganized. The cashiers seem constantly overwhelmed.

And it's not like big box retail suffers around here. Target, Costco and Home Depot all do banner business and only one of them is unionized. Got to be honest with you, most liberals don't know squat about unions and care even less. Wal-Mart's not popular here because it's not attuned to what it takes to succeed in this market (largely because it doesn't do what it takes to attract better employees).

Falls City Beer
03-26-2008, 09:15 PM
My ex was getting into HR back when we split up. This was down in Virginia and one of the things she was being told in her internship was to keep an ear open if any of the employees were talking about forming a union so that person could be pink slipped post haste.

I worked for a newspaper chain, run by a major investment firm, which had a habit of downsizing folks who rattled the union saber.

I also worked on a loading dock in Virginia where the floor managers let it be known on your first day that the higher ups asked them regularly about whether anyone was grousing for a union, so don't do it and then they don't have to fire you (the company was set up so that anyone could be laid off at during a supposed "slow" period).

Honestly, if you don't think American business breaks that law with alarming frequency, you just aren't paying attention. It's not evenly broken with subtlety.

Mind you, I'm white collar and I take the view that if the people who are getting screwed by this stuff don't care, then I'm not going to care for them. Cheaper stuff for me.

As for Wal-Mart, they're having a big problem here in liberal Massachusetts (particulary in the Boston area) because they pay so poorly and have such lousy benefits. They can't attract a decent workforce, and it gets particularly bad around Christmas. Wal-Mart's widely considered one of the worst places to get an after school job in a lot of the local high schools. The stores are dirty and disorganized. The cashiers seem constantly overwhelmed.

And it's not like bix box retail suffers around here. Target, Costco and Home Depot all do banner business and only one of them is unionized. Got to be honest with you, most liberals don't know squat about unions and care even less. Wal-Mart's not popular here because it's not attuned to what it takes to succeed in this market (largely because it doesn't do what it takes to attract better employees).

There was a time, not long ago, when liberals knew a lot about unions. And cared about them.

It's hard to say where the economy's going or where labor's headed from here, but bad jobs are really the only growing sector of the job market right now. The good jobs are just flat-out gone in this economy.

M2
03-26-2008, 09:36 PM
There was a time, not long ago, when liberals knew a lot about unions. And cared about them.

I remember it myself (we're the same age), but let's be honest, that died in the 1980's. I'm not saying it's a good thing, just that it happened. I'd hazard a guess that it's only a tiny percentage the small slivver of the population that considers itself liberal that pays any attention to union issues. Certainly it's not something that drives votes or consumer decisions.

savafan
03-26-2008, 09:38 PM
I once worked for a computer manufacturer who also threatened to fire anyone who spoke with, or even breathed the word "union".

Handofdeath
03-26-2008, 09:49 PM
If you were familiar with labor laws you will know that IF Walmart was doing such a thing they would be breaking the law.

Just because the Big Labor Bosses are spewing this nonsense doesn't make it so!!!

So which Wal-Mart do you work at?

TeamSelig
03-26-2008, 09:56 PM
So Wal Mart should deny money that belongs to them because they are successful with lots of cash already and give it to a lady who will forget she has it as soon as you give it to her. Basically sending the money to someone in her family.

savafan
03-26-2008, 10:00 PM
So Wal Mart should deny money that belongs to them because they are successful with lots of cash already and give it to a lady who will forget she has it as soon as you give it to her. Basically sending the money to someone in her family.

To cover her medical bills, which will be there for as long as she lives.

TeamSelig
03-26-2008, 10:02 PM
Ah, didn't realize Wal-Mart was obligated to take care of someone for their whole life.

durl
03-26-2008, 10:07 PM
As for Wal-Mart, they're having a big problem here in liberal Massachusetts (particulary in the Boston area) because they pay so poorly and have such lousy benefits.

I've followed how Massachusetts has been rattling the cages, stirring up resentment against Wal-Mart as a greedy corporation. I find it ironic that the government, the epitome of mismanagement, inefficiency, and poor performance are acting like they want to control how a corporation does business. Those types of government systems aren't known for thriving economies.

The market should speak here. If people despise Wal-Mart's practices, they should stop shopping there. And Wal-Mart stores are not going to hire a lot of people with Master's Degrees to work the registers. They're hiring (for the most part) low or semi-skilled labor to perform less technical jobs that are not going to pay huge sums and people shouldn't depend on them to pay management-level salaries for low-level jobs.

WMR
03-26-2008, 10:15 PM
I've followed how Massachusetts has been rattling the cages, stirring up resentment against Wal-Mart as a greedy corporation. I find it ironic that the government, the epitome of mismanagement, inefficiency, and poor performance are acting like they want to control how a corporation does business. Those types of government systems aren't known for thriving economies.

The market should speak here. If people despise Wal-Mart's practices, they should stop shopping there. And Wal-Mart stores are not going to hire a lot of people with Master's Degrees to work the registers. They're hiring (for the most part) low or semi-skilled labor to perform less technical jobs that are not going to pay huge sums and people shouldn't depend on them to pay management-level salaries for low-level jobs.

Welcome to the United States in the year 2008.

M2
03-26-2008, 10:19 PM
Ah, didn't realize Wal-Mart was obligated to take care of someone for their whole life.

They're not, but they just eliminated her family's ability to take care of her for the rest of her life.

Sure, she's screwed thanks to a perfect storm of doctors, lawyers and corporate policy makers doing what's perfectly legal in the pursuit of money. Wal-Mart's hardly the sole, or even primary, villain here, but doing what's perfectly legal and within your contractual rights doesn't mean you're not a scumbag.

VR
03-26-2008, 10:38 PM
I'm indifferent to Walmart. But my goodness, recouping medical expenses that you paid out, that were ruled by a court of law to be paid by the defendent?
I agree with many...the lawyers are the problem here. A sham.

*BaseClogger*
03-26-2008, 10:42 PM
If you don't like Walmart don't shop there and it will go away...

http://images.southparkstudios.com/media/images/809/809_img_07.jpg

WMR
03-26-2008, 10:45 PM
Everyone dumps on lawyers until they need one.

TeamSelig
03-26-2008, 10:46 PM
I guess I just disagree with most here. It's easy to hate on Wal Mart though, so I'm not surprised.

As far as lousy wages go, they pay pretty well for running cashier or stocking shelves. Talk about cake work. I make just a bit over 6 an hour doing more than anyone that works there and I know of some who make over 8 after just being there 3 months. That is good money for very easy work.

TeamSelig
03-26-2008, 10:47 PM
Everyone dumps on lawyers until they need one.

Because they are the scum of the earth.







;)

Chip R
03-26-2008, 10:54 PM
I understand why people are defending Wal Mart in this instance. She and/or her lawyer should have read the fine print. But even if she had read that when she was filling out all the forms at Wal Mart when she was hired, does anyone really think she was going to turn down company provided insurance because something like this might happen? A lot of people work jobs like that so they can have the health insurance. Otherwise they wouldn't have any insurance at all because if you're unemployed or working in a fast food gig, health insurance is not something you are going to purchase. Not only is it expensive but even if it wasn't your money that you earn at that job is barely going to cover the necessities.

Here's a question for the attorneys on the board: Can this lawyer be sued for malpractice? After all she did get a settlement from the company. It may have not have been big enough to pay back Wal Mart but is that the lawyer's fault? I would think it would be a tough case to prove.

George Anderson
03-26-2008, 10:57 PM
My ex was getting into HR back when we split up. This was down in Virginia and one of the things she was being told in her internship was to keep an ear open if any of the employees were talking about forming a union so that person could be pink slipped post haste.

I worked for a newspaper chain, run by a major investment firm, which had a habit of downsizing folks who rattled the union saber.

I also worked on a loading dock in Virginia where the floor managers let it be known on your first day that the higher ups asked them regularly about whether anyone was grousing for a union, so don't do it and then they don't have to fire you (the company was set up so that anyone could be laid off at during a supposed "slow" period).

Honestly, if you don't think American business breaks that law with alarming frequency, you just aren't paying attention. It's not evenly broken with subtlety.

Mind you, I'm white collar and I take the view that if the people who are getting screwed by this stuff don't care, then I'm not going to care for them. Cheaper stuff for me.

As for Wal-Mart, they're having a big problem here in liberal Massachusetts (particulary in the Boston area) because they pay so poorly and have such lousy benefits. They can't attract a decent workforce, and it gets particularly bad around Christmas. Wal-Mart's widely considered one of the worst places to get an after school job in a lot of the local high schools. The stores are dirty and disorganized. The cashiers seem constantly overwhelmed.

And it's not like bix box retail suffers around here. Target, Costco and Home Depot all do banner business and only one of them is unionized. Got to be honest with you, most liberals don't know squat about unions and care even less. Wal-Mart's not popular here because it's not attuned to what it takes to succeed in this market (largely because it doesn't do what it takes to attract better employees).


I am sure in the past their have been companies that threaten to fire people for discussing bringing a union in, but if the companies do this then they are setting themselves up for alot of trouble because it is illegal to do so. I just can't see a company like Walmart being so stupid as to threaten such a thing. Walmart is run by top notch people who wouldn't be so stupid by doing something illegal by spreading word amongst their hundreds of thousands of employees not to vote for a union or risk getting fired if they do so. The reality is IF Walmart did this then I guarantee that the unions could find several employees amongst the hundreds of thousands Wal Mart allegedly threatened to file charges with the NLRB against Walmart. The reality is they haven't found anyone, so the accusation made on this board against Walmart has zero merit and is just more propaganda that the Union types like to pass on to the masses.

TeamSelig
03-26-2008, 11:01 PM
I don't really see anything wrong with taking the money, but whining about it when Wal-Mart claims it is just a little ridiculous IMO

WMR
03-26-2008, 11:04 PM
I think she would have a decent case against her attorney. The steps that Dabvu laid out earlier in this thread are what any competent attorney would do in a case such as this.

M2
03-26-2008, 11:09 PM
I've followed how Massachusetts has been rattling the cages, stirring up resentment against Wal-Mart as a greedy corporation. I find it ironic that the government, the epitome of mismanagement, inefficiency, and poor performance are acting like they want to control how a corporation does business. Those types of government systems aren't known for thriving economies.

The market should speak here. If people despise Wal-Mart's practices, they should stop shopping there. And Wal-Mart stores are not going to hire a lot of people with Master's Degrees to work the registers. They're hiring (for the most part) low or semi-skilled labor to perform less technical jobs that are not going to pay huge sums and people shouldn't depend on them to pay management-level salaries for low-level jobs.

Clearly you haven't been following Wal-Mart in Massachusetts. It's citizen's groups that protested some of their proposed stores, not elected officials (though sometimes a John Kerry will swoop in for some cheap and easy pandering). Wal-Mart also ran into some trouble because we have this thing called zoning up here and you can't just build whatever wherever.

Back in the '90s, I covered two Massachusetts communities that turned away Stop & Shop supermarkets. It wasn't because anyone hated Royal Dutch Ahold (the parent corporation). We're filthy with Stop & Shops in this state, the Modern Lovers even sung about it back in the '70s. The problem was they wanted to build something bigger than they were allowed and the locals said no.

As for thriving economies, we can afford to be smug.

Yet there's still 30+ Wal-Mart's in the state. The problem is they haven't successfully grabbed the middle class niche they serve in other states. Again, if you actually were paying attention, you'd know the market is speaking. Wal-Mart's either unable or unwilling to pay what other area retailers are giving their employees and it's meant that they aren't able to mint money in a wealthy market anywhere near as much as they'd like.

There's still money here, and they're drawing it from the working class, but their personnel policies mean they they're drawing from the absolute bottom of the employment barrel. There's a lot of competition around here in the retail business. This is a very good place to be an unskilled worker. If you're bright and hard working, there willl be employer competition for your services, moving well beyond the $8/hr state minimum wage.

Wal-Mart's problem in Massachusetts has nothing to do with politics. It's being out-competed and middle class shopping dollars are going elsewhere.

M2
03-26-2008, 11:26 PM
I am sure in the past their have been companies that threaten to fire people for discussing bringing a union in, but if the companies do this then they are setting themselves up for alot of trouble because it is illegal to do so.

This happens constantly. It's a law that gets openly flouted and never gets enforced, kind of like the old bedroom blue laws. I'm not sure what a company would actually have to do to get in trouble for violating this particular law. The NLRB is a joke, a vestigial organ of the federal government.


I just can't see a company like Walmart being so stupid as to threaten such a thing. Walmart is run by top notch people who wouldn't be so stupid by doing something illegal by spreading word amongst their hundreds of thousands of employees not to vote for a union or risk getting fired if they do so. The reality is IF Walmart did this then I guarantee that the unions could find several employees amongst the hundreds of thousands Wal Mart allegedly threatened to file charges with the NLRB against Walmart. The reality is they haven't found anyone, so the accusation made on this board against Walmart has zero merit and is just more propaganda that the Union types like to pass on to the masses.

You're the only one who's been talking about Wal-Mart being anti-union (and suggesting that's some sort of liberal catnip). All I did was note that your standard liberal (college educated, white collar), doesn't think about or care about labor issues. Well, maybe they care in a nominal sense, but it plays no role in their lives.

Wal-Mart's no different than most every other big box retailer in that it's not unionized. Liberals still go shopping (quite a bit in fact).

Yachtzee
03-27-2008, 12:05 AM
I understand why people are defending Wal Mart in this instance. She and/or her lawyer should have read the fine print. But even if she had read that when she was filling out all the forms at Wal Mart when she was hired, does anyone really think she was going to turn down company provided insurance because something like this might happen? A lot of people work jobs like that so they can have the health insurance. Otherwise they wouldn't have any insurance at all because if you're unemployed or working in a fast food gig, health insurance is not something you are going to purchase. Not only is it expensive but even if it wasn't your money that you earn at that job is barely going to cover the necessities.

Here's a question for the attorneys on the board: Can this lawyer be sued for malpractice? After all she did get a settlement from the company. It may have not have been big enough to pay back Wal Mart but is that the lawyer's fault? I would think it would be a tough case to prove.

Just like doctors, lawyers can be sued for malpractice. Walmart isn't doing anything different from what other insurance companies do. It's a basic concept of law that, when a defendant is found liable or agrees to pay a personal injury settlement covering medical costs, the party that originally paid those medical costs should be reimbursed. The problem here is that the attorney didn't factor in medical costs already paid into the settlement amount. I don't think it's that tough a case to prove. The plaintiff would probably have an expert witness, any personal injury lawyer worth a darn would suffice, who would testify that this lawyer's failure to include those medical costs in the settlement constitutes a failure to exercise the same standard of care that a reasonably competent lawyer in this situation would be expected to exercise.

If it were any other insurer, this is a non-story except with regard to a potential malpractice suit. It's just in this case, because it's Walmart, it's another sign of a big evil company supposedly kicking someone when they are down.

Of course the kicker would be that the attorney does not carry malpractice insurance and would therefore be "judgment-proof."

Ltlabner
03-27-2008, 06:28 AM
I do find it humorus that so many people love to crap all over Wal-Mart. Yet they continue to do billions of dollars in business.

Somewhere, someone who is all high and mighty going on about the evils of big, bad corporate Wal-Mart is stepping past the 80 year old greater when their enlightened friends aren't looking.

Falls City Beer
03-27-2008, 08:06 AM
I do find it humorus that so many people love to crap all over Wal-Mart. Yet they continue to do billions of dollars in business.

Somewhere, someone who is all high and mighty going on about the evils of big, bad corporate Wal-Mart is stepping past the 80 year old greater when their enlightened friends aren't looking.

Some folks are principled. I know it's hard to believe.

919191
03-27-2008, 08:32 AM
This happens constantly. It's a law that gets openly flouted and never gets enforced, kind of like the old bedroom blue laws. I'm not sure what a company would actually have to do to get in trouble for violating this particular law. The NLRB is a joke, a vestigial organ of the federal government.






Yes it does. Little off subject, but somewhat related. Several months ago, my employer changed the attendance policy. They didn't even offer negotiations. This is in violation of the National Labor Relations Act of (I think) 1935. Union fought it, and threatened a lawsuit. Filed a class action grievance, and then charges with the NLRB. They accepted them, and there where hearings. The NLRB said the company was dishonest in the hearings and forced them to open up a negotiation.

A few years earlier, at the time of a contract vote, the company posted on a letterhead letter how many jobs would be lost if the proposal did not pass. It was broken down as to how many in each classification would be let go. Another violation. Unfortunately, union leadership was weak and it was not pursued.

These things happen.

What I find is alot of (young) union labor actually wishes the union would not fight the company and instead try to cooperate better and then maybe we will be treated better. Sad.

durl
03-27-2008, 09:07 AM
Clearly you haven't been following Wal-Mart in Massachusetts. It's citizen's groups that protested some of their proposed stores, not elected officials (though sometimes a John Kerry will swoop in for some cheap and easy pandering). Wal-Mart also ran into some trouble because we have this thing called zoning up here and you can't just build whatever wherever.

These are the instances of government interference to which I was referring:


The Maryland lawmakers passed so-called "fair share" legislation. It's aimed at forcing large employers, and specifically Wal-Mart, to beef up their health benefits so that fewer workers are left without coverage or forced onto public health insurance rolls. - http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/health/jan-june06/debate_2-13.html

The "Fair Share Law" (from what I've read) pretty much applied only to Wal-Mart due to it's scope. But it ran into problems:


MARYLAND'S state lawmakers thought they were David fighting Goliath this year when they passed a law aimed at Wal-Mart Stores' employment policies. But a federal judge found last week that David missed his shot. The Maryland legislature's law, which required the mega-merchandiser to spend at least 8 percent of its payroll on health care for its workers, conflicted with federal statute, the court ruled. - http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/23/AR2006072300565.html

And since you mentioned Kerry :)


Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, the unsuccessful 2004 Democratic candidate for president, described Wal-Mart's treatment of its workers as "disgraceful" (though his wife owns Wal-Mart stock, according to Kerry's latest financial statement). The presidential campaigns for Kerry, Howard Dean and Ralph Nader all spent money at Wal-Mart, according to newspaper reports.

The efforts appear to be coordinated. For example, Paul Blank, former political director for Dean's presidential campaign, is now managing the anti-Wal-Mart crusade for Wake Up Wal-Mart. John Kerry's former presidential campaign manager, Jim Jordan, is a political consultant for Wal-Mart Watch. Tracy Set, former deputy director of research for the Democratic National Committee, is the group's communications director. - (2006)http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m5072/is_1_28/ai_n15999480

Though the above article isn't a government agency, per se, it's driving force definitely appears to be politicians.


It's not surprising that, as the New York Times reports, leading Democratic politicians have latched on to bashing Wal-Mart as a "new rallying cry" that "could prove powerful in the midterm elections and in 2008." America's political culture routinely demands at least one hideous corporate villain. - http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/29/AR2006082901043.html

I haven't paid much attention to the zoning matters in Massachusetts (though I did pay more to the ones in the Chicago area). Perhaps I should dig more into those.

Unassisted
03-27-2008, 09:50 AM
Wal-Mart's no different than most every other big box retailer in that it's not unionized. Liberals still go shopping (quite a bit in fact).

So do union members. My bro-in-law works for a Wal-Mart competitor that is unionized. The union he belongs to offers an affinity credit card to its members that gives the union some small percentage of every purchase made with the card. Once this program was under way, the union was able to see where the cards were being used. To the union's horror, it discovered that a high percentage of its members' spending on these cards was being done at Wal-Mart.

dabvu2498
03-27-2008, 09:55 AM
So do union members. By bro-in-law works for a Wal-Mart competitor that is unionized. The union he belongs to offers an affinity credit card to its members that gives the union some small percentage of every purchase made with the card. Once this program was under way, the union was able to see where the cards were being used. To the union's horror, it discovered that a high percentage of its members' spending on these cards was being done at Wal-Mart.

Simillar story...

My former boss and mentor rails on corporate greed (Wal-Mart in particular) to anyone who will listen and sometimes to those who could give a rat's less.

So we're in his office one day and he's just killing Wal-Mart... the usual jazz... greed, poor treatment of workers, etc.

His secretary pipes up "I love Wal-Mart. Best prices in town."

He's red... angry... doesn't have a chance to say anything cause her next sentence is "Maybe I'd shop someplace else if you paid me more than 10 bucks an hour."

End of conversation.

George Anderson
03-27-2008, 10:04 AM
Simillar story...



"Maybe I'd shop someplace else if you paid me more than 10 bucks an hour."


I like her alot!!! :D

RBA
03-27-2008, 10:13 AM
I shop at walmart only as a last resort. I don't like them. Customer service is horrible and they put broken returned merchadise back out on the self for sale. They are mostly dirty stores and there really isn't any bargains. It's more about marketing with their "rollback" and "always low prices" signs that fool people into believing they are getting a great deal.

westofyou
03-27-2008, 10:16 AM
I do find it humorus that so many people love to crap all over Wal-Mart. Yet they continue to do billions of dollars in business.



So did the Russians

westofyou
03-27-2008, 10:18 AM
I guess I just disagree with most here. It's easy to hate on Wal Mart though, so I'm not surprised.

As far as lousy wages go, they pay pretty well for running cashier or stocking shelves. Talk about cake work. I make just a bit over 6 an hour doing more than anyone that works there and I know of some who make over 8 after just being there 3 months. That is good money for very easy work.

I made 6 bucks an hour 23 years ago, 23 years ago... making hot dogs... hot dogs.... TWENTY THREE YEARS AGO.

6 Bucks is a joke.

*BaseClogger*
03-27-2008, 10:31 AM
I made 6 bucks an hour 23 years ago, 23 years ago... making hot dogs... hot dogs.... TWENTY THREE YEARS AGO.

6 Bucks is a joke.

The Reagan 80's ;)

Deepred05
03-27-2008, 10:41 AM
Simple solution to the whole problem. Wal Mart gives back $200K and the attorney gives back $200K. .....................Don't hold your breath.

Chip R
03-27-2008, 10:45 AM
I shop at walmart only as a last resort. I don't like them. Customer service is horrible and they put broken returned merchadise back out on the self for sale. They are mostly dirty stores and there really isn't any bargains. It's more about marketing with their "rollback" and "always low prices" signs that fool people into believing they are getting a great deal.


I think it's that way mainly in the larger cities. I have a Wal Mart just a few blocks away from where I live and it's in the same shopping area as the Kroger where I get groceries. It's just too busy and crowded and customer service is bad for the most part. However in the rural areas and smaller cities, it seems to be a lot better. In those areas, Wal Mart is better for people since they don't have a lot of other choices. When they first started branching out in the 80s I liked to shop there because they always had what I was looking for and I couldn't say that about a lot of other stores. Of course these were mainly Wal Marts in smaller towns that I shopped at.

Falls City Beer
03-27-2008, 11:47 AM
I get my groceries at a grocery store. I get what few electronics I need at a ma and pa electronics store. I do whatever I can humanly do to buy products at stores that treat their workers right. I am a shrinking--nearly non-existent--consumer. I understand that. The one thing people seek above all else as consumers is low prices. They turn a blind eye to the practices of the employer. No question. The economy has been moving that way since Reagan, persisted through Clinton, and has done nothing but intensify in the last 18 years.

Still, where this country has continued to produce more and more college graduates over that time, the economy has produced fewer and fewer skilled labor positions. The only part of the economy that is growing is in the unskilled sector. What's happening is that more and more college graduates are taking positions that high school graduates could be performing. This means that work that
non-college graduates are getting is even more poorly-paid and with few benefits if any--despite the fact that they *could* be doing the data entry crap and paper-shuffling and pencil-sharpening that a lot college grads instead are now doing. The fortunes of the low-paid college grads and the low-paid high school grads are strikingly similar right now, though many pretend they are very different. I'm not sure what will happen as a result of this, but one day, I'm guessing, the consequences won't be pretty.

TeamSelig
03-27-2008, 11:48 AM
I made 6 bucks an hour 23 years ago, 23 years ago... making hot dogs... hot dogs.... TWENTY THREE YEARS AGO.

6 Bucks is a joke.

Yes, I know my income is a joke, but thanks for reminding me. I'm sure you make great money in ALF

westofyou
03-27-2008, 11:51 AM
Yes, I know my income is a joke, but thanks for reminding me.
What?

You didn't read the contract?

TeamSelig
03-27-2008, 11:56 AM
I guess not. I have a cousin in war though so maybe they will give me some of their money. Who needs law when you have pity.

Falls City Beer
03-27-2008, 12:02 PM
I guess not. I have a cousin in war though so maybe they will give me some of their money. Who needs law when you have pity.

If you're happy, I'm happy.

TeamSelig
03-27-2008, 12:16 PM
If you're happy, hell has froze over ;)

OldRightHander
03-27-2008, 12:21 PM
I get my groceries at a grocery store. I get what few electronics I need at a ma and pa electronics store. I do whatever I can humanly do to buy products at stores that treat their workers right. I am a shrinking--nearly non-existent--consumer.

You're not the only one. One thing that I've noticed wandering all across this country over the last few months is that rarely is Wal Mart really the best option for shopping in a local community. Sometimes it is the most conveniently located in relation to the exit off the interstate and I can count on them to let me park in their lot and sleep for the night. That's what I use them for, sleep in the lot and use the restroom to brush my teeth. They work well for that in areas where there isn't a truck stop. Anyway, I digress. I have wandered through a few of them lately and found out that the whole low price thing is pretty much a hoax. Sure, a few items are lower, but for any item they sell you will find as good a deal at a store that specializes in that item, and better selection too.

They are the absolute worst place in most towns for groceries. I have noticed that they like to leave out the per unit price on a lot of packaging, or they make it hard to see. Someone sees a large box of frozen burger patties and a prominently displayed price on the box and thinks that's a good deal because of the number of burgers in there or the fact that the price might have a smiley on it. Then you look at the unit price, or calculate it if they don't have it on the box, and you see that you're paying more per pound than you would for the same box at most other stores. All they do is put it in a larger package to make you think you're getting more. I don't think they really want an educated consumer shopping there. Their meat selection is not good, the produce is lousy, and it's not any cheaper than a Kroger or whatever other grocery chain you'll find in the area. Yes, Americans for the most part just care about price, but I've observed that if I were to buy everything there, not just the items that they do sell for less, that I'd probably spend more and not get the same quality. Where they get people is that most consumers are rather lazy and won't just stop in Wal Mart to get the good deal on the paper towels or whatever might be less. They will go in there and just do all their shopping there because it's all under one roof and saves making other trips to other stores. They lure you in with a few low prices and then price other things higher because they know you're not going to go anywhere else for those other things once you're in there. I've gotten to the point where I value quality over price these days. Give me something that is well made and will last and I'm willing to pay more for it, especially if it's made by or sold by a company that I can respect.

M2
03-27-2008, 12:26 PM
Who needs law when you have pity.

Don't worry, if you want to get chewed up and spit out, no one's going to try to stop you ... and no one's going to feel sorry for you when it happens.

M2
03-27-2008, 12:49 PM
Simillar story...

My former boss and mentor rails on corporate greed (Wal-Mart in particular) to anyone who will listen and sometimes to those who could give a rat's less.

So we're in his office one day and he's just killing Wal-Mart... the usual jazz... greed, poor treatment of workers, etc.

His secretary pipes up "I love Wal-Mart. Best prices in town."

He's red... angry... doesn't have a chance to say anything cause her next sentence is "Maybe I'd shop someplace else if you paid me more than 10 bucks an hour."

End of conversation.

That's a bit of phyrric victory on her part. Yeah, she got him with a good zinger, meanwhile she's in a race to the bottom of the wage scale.

If Wal-Mart paid better with decent benefits then you former boss would have to up the ante to keep a good secretary. Seems to me he's scored a bright office worker for "the best prices in town."

dabvu2498
03-27-2008, 01:01 PM
Sad to say that around here, $10 an hour isn't all that close to the bottom of the wage scale.

And, actually, in her case, I'd say she does quite a bit better than 10 bucks an hour. She just wanted to shut him up.

TeamSelig
03-27-2008, 02:26 PM
Don't worry, if you want to get chewed up and spit out, no one's going to try to stop you ... and no one's going to feel sorry for you when it happens.

What are you even talking about? Because I get paid (basically)nothing while going to school?

Ltlabner
03-27-2008, 03:21 PM
Some folks are principled. I know it's hard to believe.

Actually, no. Some aren't being principled. Otherwise for as many people who spew the Wall-Mart is evil line you wouldn't think they'd continue to be a big player in the industry and make billions. Fact is, there are people who hate Wall-Mart because it's trendy but keep right on shopping there every week. And it's not just because in Podunk Wal-Mart is the only choice. The Wal-Mart in Milford is packed and there's a Target right across the street.

And the hypocracy continues to flow from the enligtened ones as stores such as Target, Sears, Lowes, Best Buy and Home Depo flurish. You really think they are paying $80,000/yr to a checkout worker? Or that they don't get their goods from China/3rd world?



So did the Russians

I know one thing, I just wish we could rid overselves of the blight that is Wal-Mart and get back to the days of yester-year where everything was purchased at mom and pop stores. You know, places like Gold Circle, Rikes, K-Mart, Sears, SS Kresgies........

CrackerJack
03-27-2008, 03:21 PM
Watch the documentaries: "The Future Of Food" and "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price" or the PBS documentary "Is Wal-Mart Good for America?: Frontline (2004)"

They are well-done educational films that opened up my eyes to the grimy details of why all of this is happening (greed by 1 percenters and DC businessmen/politicians).

How the common American has been so brain washed to think it's "ok" to exploit workers and shift the power out of the middle and poorer classes hands is beyond my comprehension. I miss the mom and pop shops, dearly, and the family owned restaurants. Thank god there's still a couple of privately owned record shops in town left.

To think we're promoting a culture that asks a 15 year old to work from 7:30am to 10pm, 7 days a week, for nothing, and sleep in a company sponsored, dirty dorm because they can't afford a place of their own, in China or South America, frightens me dearly. It's 2008, not 1890.

There's just no way on earth I can buy something from Wal Mart any longer with a clear conscious. Now my family, friends and fiancee have no interest in ever stepping foot in there again either.

Ltlabner
03-27-2008, 03:23 PM
What are you even talking about? Because I get paid (basically)nothing while going to school?

No, in his world it makes sense to pay a stock-clerk or check-out person $80,000 a year with bennies. It's only fair you know.

WMR
03-27-2008, 03:24 PM
OBAMAAAAaaaaaaaa

CrackerJack
03-27-2008, 03:24 PM
Actually, no. Some aren't being principled. Otherwise for as many people who spew the Wall-Mart is evil line you wouldn't think they'd continue to be a big player in the industry and make billions. Fact is, there are people who hate Wall-Mart because it's trendy but keep right on shopping there every week.

And the hypocracy continues to flow from the enligtened ones as stores such as Target, Sears, Lowes and Home Depo flurish. You really think they are paying $80,000/yr to a checkout worker? Or that they don't get their goods from China?




I know one thing, I just wish we could rid overselves of the blight that is Wal-Mart and get back to the days of yester-year where everything was purchased at mom and pop stores. You know, places like Gold Circle, Rikes, K-Mart, Sears, SS Kresgies........

Yet I don't remember those "urban" chains running small town businesses out of work. High population areas some times need those busisnesses, you're confusing rural degradation for the most part, and 3rd world exploitation, by blanketing all "chain" businesses into one group. While I don't like to shop at any of them any longer, some are much worse than others. Sears was all-American for the longest time, for instance. My retro Arrow shirts were made here - not by a Chinese kid working 12 hours days for peanuts and sleeping in pools of their own urine.

Also, as for the principal thing - yes more and more of us walk the talk. I know that's hard for some people out there to ever do, they're too lazy or don't care, but I do, and so do an increasing # of people I know, and I can only hope it continues to grow and the outrage gets worse.

It's not just Wal Mart, it's our agricultural, manufacturing, health care, everything. Wal Mart is just a big, fat target to go after, they're the worst of the worst when it comes to consumer goods.

Ltlabner
03-27-2008, 03:31 PM
It's not just Wal Mart, it's our agricultural, manufacturing, health care, everything. Wal Mart is just a big, fat target to go after, they're the worst of the worst when it comes to consumer goods.

Nah. Some people are squemish about competition. They see losers and winners and don't think it's fair that some win while others don't. That's why Wall-Mart is the big target. If Cosco or Meijer was the big dog, then they'd take all the heat.

The same high & mighty that go on about "the poor and down trodden" don't seem to mind buying goods from the stores I mentioned that pay low wages and sell goods from the 3rd world. Or drive cars that were likely made by people making lower wages in worse working conditions. Or eat food grown by people making less money in 3rd world conditions. Or live in houses built buy people making lower wages and without health benefits. Or going to a doctors office that is staffed by people making lower wages. Or use goods that were delivered by truckers making lower wages and poor benefits. Or use insurance that is processed by those making lower wages. Or wear clothes made by people making lower wages, in worse conditions and without any benefits.

But Wal-Mart......no! That's unconcionable. Please.

Me, I don't see going back to having to pay $150 for a drill at Mom & Pops Hardware as "progress".

durl
03-27-2008, 03:36 PM
Watch the documentaries: "The Future Of Food" and "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price" or the PBS documentary "Is Wal-Mart Good for America?: Frontline (2004)"

They are well-done educational films that opened up my eyes to the grimy details of why all of this is happening (greed by 1 percenters and DC businessmen/politicians).

How the common American has been so brain washed to think it's "ok" to exploit workers and shift the power out of the middle and poorer classes hands is beyond my comprehension. I miss the mom and pop shops, dearly, and the family owned restaurants. Thank god there's still a couple of privately owned record shops in town left.

To think we're promoting a culture that asks a 15 year old to work from 7:30am to 10pm, 7 days a week, for nothing, and sleep in a company sponsored, dirty dorm because they can't afford a place of their own, in China or South America, frightens me dearly. It's 2008, not 1890.

There's just no way on earth I can buy something from Wal Mart any longer with a clear conscious. Now my family, friends and fiancee have no interest in ever stepping foot in there again either.

Frontline isn't exactly known for portraying both sides of an argument very well. I found an article written by someone who was interviewed for the "Is Wal-Mart Good for America" piece:

- http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1283682/posts

Some excerpts that he points out that Frontline didn't:

"In a 2001 report, the McKinsey Global Institute, a respected think tank, concluded that Wal-Mart's managerial innovations had increased overall productivity by more than all the investments in computers and information technology of recent years. Wal-Mart's innovations include large-scale (big box) stores, economies of scale in warehouse logistics and purchasing, electronic data interchange and wireless barcode scanning. These gave Wal-Mart a 48 percent productivity advantage over its competitors, forcing them to innovate as well, thus pushing up their productivity. The McKinsey study found that productivity improvements in wholesale and retail trade alone accounted over half of the increase in national productivity between 1995 and 1999."

"...academic research by economist Emek Basker of the University of Missouri [found] that Wal-Mart permanently raises local employment."

"If Wal-Mart didn't buy from China, its competitors would."

"'Frontline' relied heavily on biased sources, such as testimony from openly protectionist organizations like the U.S. Business and Industry Council and a union representative who admits to being a disgruntled former employee of Wal-Mart. In other cases, the report relies on hearsay evidence that no responsible newspaper would publish in order to make its case. Supporters of Wal-Mart and free trade were limited to a few short minutes of camera time (I got about 3 seconds), mostly by a totally ineffectual company spokesman."


Whether we like to admit it or not Wal-Mart meets a large need in our country: hiring of low- and semi-skilled labor, especially young workers. Few people should aspire to have a low-wage job their entire life but Wal-Mart does provide income to those who may not be able to land a job that requires a college degree. Is it the perfect company? No way. But it does meet a need.

If Frontline were around 100 years ago, they'd probably have a documentary lamenting how carriage builders and whip makers would be ruined by the automobile. We have to look at things in their complete context rather than letting a one-sided report create feelings in us that aren't based on the whole truth.

M2
03-27-2008, 03:56 PM
No, in his world it makes sense to pay a stock-clerk or check-out person $80,000 a year with bennies. It's only fair you know.

You done making things up?

I'm all for me paying less when I go shopping and higher yields on my 401K. If you're looking for someone who's got sympathy for the blue collar/working class, look elsewhere. My take is they've got what they asked for.

Ltlabner
03-27-2008, 03:59 PM
I'm all for me paying less when I go shopping and higher yields on my 401K. If you're looking for someone who's got sympathy for the blue collar/working class, look elsewhere. My take is they've got what they asked for.

Now that is interesting. The blue collar part. I'm currious what you mean (serriously)?

But how do you marry likeing to pay less with wanting the employees to get paid more?

Because mandating higher pay and bennies doesn't do much to drive prices down.

Ltlabner
03-27-2008, 04:11 PM
They lure you in with a few low prices and then price other things higher because they know you're not going to go anywhere else for those other things once you're in there. .

You really think Wal-Mart is the only one doing this ORH?

Why do you think Krogers advertises milk for $.75/gal?

But in general, I agree with the rest of your post. My wife does most (ok, all) of the household shopping and she can sniff out a deal from across 4 counties. I never see any Wal-Mart reciepts from her on household or grociery items. Ever. And she will drive to one store for some items, another store for the next few, etc etc. So if they had XYZ cheaper she'd go there.

I buy a few things their occassionally, but they tend to be odd-ball items (movies for $5, ammo, a pair of $8 jeans, etc) not daily stapels.

Falls City Beer
03-27-2008, 04:18 PM
Now that is interesting. The blue collar part. I'm currious what you mean (serriously)?

But how do you marry likeing to pay less with wanting the employees to get paid more?

Because mandating higher pay and bennies doesn't do much to drive prices down.

He's saying he doesn't give a damn that poor people get crapped on by Wal-Mart and make crap wages with joke benefits. Are you even reading his posts?

I happen to think that people not having money to spend because they're paying for health care because they're diabetics from eating crap food is bad for the overall economy.

And I'm right. But I can't tell people what to do. I can't keep their knife away from their own throats either.

Falls City Beer
03-27-2008, 04:19 PM
You really think Wal-Mart is the only one doing this ORH?

Why do you think Krogers advertises milk for $.75/gal?

But in general, I agree with the rest of your post. My wife does most (ok, all) of the household shopping and she can sniff out a deal from across 4 counties. I never see any Wal-Mart reciepts from her on household or grociery items. Ever. And she will drive to one store for some items, another store for the next few, etc etc. So if they had XYZ cheaper she'd go there.

I buy a few things their occassionally, but they tend to be odd-ball items (movies for $5, ammo, a pair of $8 jeans, etc) not daily stapels.


Kroger's unionized. But keep rollin'.

Ltlabner
03-27-2008, 04:22 PM
Kroger's unionized. But keep rollin'.

Well since my point was that all stores post "loss leaders" in their adds, Wal-Mart is not out of the ordinary for doing the same. ORH posted that as if somehow WM was bad for doing that. Had nothing to do with being union/non-union.

But please, continue to be a jackass.

Falls City Beer
03-27-2008, 04:23 PM
But please, continue to be a jackass.

Can I buy one at Wal-Mart?

I've never been. I'm one of those fruity, principled folks.

Falls City Beer
03-27-2008, 04:28 PM
Frontline isn't exactly known for portraying both sides of an argument very well. I found an article written by someone who was interviewed for the "Is Wal-Mart Good for America" piece:

- http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1283682/posts

Some excerpts that he points out that Frontline didn't:

"In a 2001 report, the McKinsey Global Institute, a respected think tank, concluded that Wal-Mart's managerial innovations had increased overall productivity by more than all the investments in computers and information technology of recent years. Wal-Mart's innovations include large-scale (big box) stores, economies of scale in warehouse logistics and purchasing, electronic data interchange and wireless barcode scanning. These gave Wal-Mart a 48 percent productivity advantage over its competitors, forcing them to innovate as well, thus pushing up their productivity. The McKinsey study found that productivity improvements in wholesale and retail trade alone accounted over half of the increase in national productivity between 1995 and 1999."

"...academic research by economist Emek Basker of the University of Missouri [found] that Wal-Mart permanently raises local employment."

"If Wal-Mart didn't buy from China, its competitors would."

"'Frontline' relied heavily on biased sources, such as testimony from openly protectionist organizations like the U.S. Business and Industry Council and a union representative who admits to being a disgruntled former employee of Wal-Mart. In other cases, the report relies on hearsay evidence that no responsible newspaper would publish in order to make its case. Supporters of Wal-Mart and free trade were limited to a few short minutes of camera time (I got about 3 seconds), mostly by a totally ineffectual company spokesman."


Whether we like to admit it or not Wal-Mart meets a large need in our country: hiring of low- and semi-skilled labor, especially young workers. Few people should aspire to have a low-wage job their entire life but Wal-Mart does provide income to those who may not be able to land a job that requires a college degree. Is it the perfect company? No way. But it does meet a need.

If Frontline were around 100 years ago, they'd probably have a documentary lamenting how carriage builders and whip makers would be ruined by the automobile. We have to look at things in their complete context rather than letting a one-sided report create feelings in us that aren't based on the whole truth.

Economic Darwinism: the cozy narrative that what is working best and most efficiently is what is right and moral. Whatever is is right. Pope would shudder at that.

OldRightHander
03-27-2008, 04:28 PM
Wal Mart isn't the only evil doer in the business world. They just happen to be one of the biggest and it's easier to aim at a bigger target. If there's one thing I hear from people is that the customer service is lacking at many of the big stores, not just Wal Mart. I think that's the key to thriving as a small business these days, a focus on service. The small person can't compete with the big stores on price alone because of the leverage the larger stores have, but the small person can provide a level of service that is unparalleled in the larger stores. I have gone through towns where there is a Wal Mart surrounded by thriving smaller businesses. With that in mind, Wal Mart might in the long term be a good thing for smaller businesses because the more people get disgruntled with the service at the larger stores the more they will eventually seek out the smaller store that offers that good service. One would hope that the larger stores would see enough of a dip in their sales that they would focus more on service, but I don't see that happening.

Another thing that bugs me more than Wal Mart is the blind following they have from some people who just assume that Wal Mart is the cheapest thing out there. I have within three miles of my house a Wal Mart, Meijer, Kroger, and Biggs. Kroger always has a good selection of meat at a competitive price. Meijer and Biggs have good produce sections. All three have grocery prices that consistently meet or beat Wal Mart. Meijer is pretty competitive on other things as well. All of those stores have Chinese goods in them, but if you do a real comparison, Wal Mart really doesn't offer a consistently lower price across the board. They just advertise that they do and a lot of people have bought into it. One item might be a little cheaper but other items are more and it tends to balance out if you're doing all your shopping there. I've stopped in there and seen orange juice .75 more than Kroger for the large jug that I normally buy. How cheap is that? Folks just need to do a little legwork and research the different stores to see where the best deals really are instead of just assuming that Wal Mart is always cheaper.

George Anderson
03-27-2008, 04:29 PM
He's saying he doesn't give a damn that poor people get crapped on by Wal-Mart and make crap wages with joke benefits.

So these poor workers are forced to work there by Walmart? They can't go get a job somewhere else?

Chip R
03-27-2008, 04:36 PM
OK, I think this is starting to get out of control and I'm going to close it before we have to start handing out suspensions.