I have been interested in learning more about Wal-Mart ever since i read the book Nickel and Dimed: On Not Getting by in America. In one of the chapters, the author got a job at Wal-Mart and discusses the working conditions and the fact that workers at Wal-Mart are not allowed to unionize.
Then i watched the documentary Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Prices. It really got me thinking about what Wal-Mart does when they come into town. Not only do they drive out local businesses, but they also drive down the wages that workers earn. And because the wages are so low and the managers are told to keep as many people as possible to part time, many of the workers have to rely on government support to make ends meet. Then i got to the part of the movie that addresses the conditions of the workers that manufacture products for Wal-Mart in other countries. These workers work up to twelve hour days and have to pay for Wal-Mart housing, even if they choose not to live in it.
It was after watching that documentary that Andrew and i made the decision to stop shopping at Wal-Mart. We decided that there are enough negatives about the company that we could choose not to support them by shopping there, especially when we have other options like Target and Meijer that donate to the communities they are in instead of tearing them down.
Well tonight was the second time i've set foot in Wal-Mart since i stopped shopping there. Even though most of my family is aware of our anti-Wal-Mart feelings, Andrew's family is not, which means we received wedding gifts from Wal-Mart, which we wanted to return. We returned one batch and bought groceries that we would have bought anyway. Tonight we went to return the rest of the gifts we didn't need to Wal-Mart, but they were not willing to accept them because the barcodes had been cut off of the tags (since whichever of Andrew's relatives gave us that wanted to make sure we didn't know the price). Instead of simply looking up the item, the Wal-Mart worker told us we had to go find the same item so they could scan that barcode and then we could return them. Except they didn't have the same item in the store so we couldn't return them. Seriously!?! You have a website. You can look it up.
To make a long story short, it reaffirmed my decision to stop shopping at Wal-Mart and made me want to avoid setting foot in the store at all costs.