Wal-Mart is Bad Business?
Wal-Mart is accused of doing several things to maintain their low prices. "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price" was presented to us as an effective, eye-opening account of the Wal-Mart legacy of exploitation, lies, deceit and snuffing out competition, all in the name of low prices for consumers. The film illustrates how Wal-Mart takes over retail in communities, exploits its workers both in the United States and abroad and gleefully watches small retailers fail when they move into town. The author of this documentary film urges us to look into the world of big business in America that will make any viewer stop and think about what, where and how they purchase the commodities they use every day.
The first of these, it is choosing to locate their stores in towns where other large retail businesses are not present in order to decrease competition. Instead, the consumers in these towns are shopping at small shops, referred to in the movie as “mom and pop stores”. When a Wal-Mart is built in these small towns, the “mom and pop stores” go out of business because the consumers begin to shop at Wal-Mart instead. By eliminating the competition in the area, Wal-Mart is able to keep low prices because all the business is going to them.
Secondary, many Wal-Mart employees in the documentary movie express their dissatisfaction with the store. They are not paid well and are often unable to afford the insurance that is offered to Wal-Mart associates. Instead, they are forced to turn to government-funded programs like Medicaid. The documentary claims that thousands of Wal-Mart workers in every state use Medicaid or other similar services. Wal-Mart associates are also strongly discouraged from working overtime, and when a worker does work overtime, the time spent is not recorded, and they are therefore not paid for it.
Also, Wal-Mart has been fined millions of dollars and some stores were not finished being built because of environmental violations....
Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price is a 2005 documentary film by directorRobert Greenwald and Brave New Films. The film presents a negative picture of Wal-Mart's business practices through interviews with former employees, small business owners, and footage of Wal-Mart executives. Greenwald also uses statistics interspersed between interview footage, to provide an objective analysis of the effects Wal-Mart has on individuals and communities.
The film features archival footage of Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott praising the corporation at a large employee convention, intercut with interviews designed to undercut Scott's statements.
The documentary argues that Wal-Mart underpays its workers, paying them an average of $17,000 per year (in 2005 dollars). According to the interviews, these wages are too low for employees to afford Wal-Mart's health insurance, so management counsels workers to apply for government programs such as Medicaid instead. Greenwald also claims that Wal-Mart hires undocumented workers for their cleanup crews, paying them well below minimum wage. Other criticisms of the retail mega-chain include Wal-Mart's anti-union practices, its negative effect on mom and pop stores and small communities, insufficient environmental protection policies, and its poor record on worker's rights in the United States and internationally. Scenes filmed abroad document factory workers in Bangladesh and China creating Wal-Mart goods for as little as 18 cents an hour. One 9-year veteran of Wal-Mart testifies that he was moved to tears when he viewed the conditions in clothing manufacturing facilities in Latin America. He reported the abuses but the company did not correct them. The documentary also argues that Wal-Mart's parking lots have unusually high crime rates, a situation that could be vastly improved if the company were willing to spend the money to place cameras outside the stores.
To avoid accusations of a partisan POV, most of Greenwald's interviews are of politically conservative, patriotic, "red state" citizens who are distressed about Wal-Mart's policies and impact.
As the film draws to a close, Greenwald documents the efforts of several communities that have successfully blocked Wal-Marts from opening in their towns, suggesting that others should do the same.
Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price has enjoyed critical acclaim and earned a 93% on the Tomatometer at Rotten Tomatoes.The Boston Globe calls it "advocacy journalism at its most unsparing, and it demands to be seen, discussed, argued with, and acted upon."  The ViewLondon reviews says, "If Greenwald’s intention was to make the audience very angry indeed then the film is a resounding success." 
The film has been endorsed and promoted by MoveOn.org; unions, through the Wake Up Wal-Mart and Wal-Mart Watch campaigns; and other groups.
Some reviewers have observed that while the documentary features stories of former employees and residents of communities that Wal-Mart has impacted, it does not sufficiently explore the customers' role in Wal-Mart's financial success, despite its business practices.
Wal-Mart has disputed the factual accuracy of the statements made in the film.Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price has been credited as one of the reasons that Wal-Mart created a public relations "war room" in late 2005 to respond to criticism.
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- ^ abcBrussat, Frederic & Mary Ann (4 December 2005). "Film Review". Spirituality and Practice.
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- ^ abcTuran, Kenneth (4 November 2005). "'Wal-Mart' seen through the eyes of the disaffected". Los Angeles Times.
- ^ abAnderson, John (3 November 2005). "Review: 'Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price'". Variety.
- ^Clark, Sarah (25 October 2005). "Robert Greenwald to Release Another Misleading Video"(PDF). Walmart.
- ^Barbaro, Michael (November 1, 2005). "A New Weapon for Wal-Mart: A War Room". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 November 2012.