What are the Pros and Cons of Walmart?

Pros and Cons of Walmart

Walmart is a franchised chain of hypermarkets (also referred to as “supercentres”) that is a one-stop-shop for every grocery and departmental store need. It operates as a multinational retail corporation, primarily as an American company whose base of operations is at Bentonville, Arkansas. It exists in 24 countries while operating under 48 different types of names. What are the Pros and Cons of Walmart?

All the pros of Walmart are in direct correspondence with the ideals of a capitalistic consumer; the corporation being beneficial to the national economy, cheap and affordable prices, massive employment, etc. Consequentially, the cons are that it negatively affects the environment, low wages for the employees, anti-employee policies, and every other con that can arise from a capitalist multinational corporation. This shall be further elaborated on in the following lines.

The idea of Walmart can be considered as one of the best definitions of modern capitalism and the pros and the cons of Walmart that are going to be enlisted is going to be very similar to the pros and cons of capitalism in general. While most pros are concerning the consumer, most cons are related to the employees of Walmart.

Pros of Walmart

  • Cheap and Affordable Prices– most products at Walmart are often sold at prices much lower than that of other retail stores. One trip to a Walmart will save anyone a substantial amount of money in comparison to what they would spend at other retail outlets. The prices happen to be so cheap and affordable that other stores are unable to compete with them. This is highly advantageous to the cause of people who are a part of lower-income groups. Products that were otherwise not affordable by lower-income groups are now quite affordable due to the presence of a Walmart in the vicinity of their residence. The company’s low prices are its most widely known feature across the world, thus attracting more and more customers to the brand that Walmart has become. 
  • The “Walmart Economy”– the direct implication that Walmart has on the nation’s economy is enormous. The economy of the American people is largely boosted due to the low prices that products are sold at in Walmart. Low-income families especially benefit from this as their standard of living is raised. Their increased standard of living is owed to the fact that they can afford products that they ordinarily would not be able to. Some of the healthcare expenses of the employees of Walmart are paid by the American taxpayers. The company’s price reductions have benefitted millions of Americans who are not employed in the retail industry. An estimated 2/3rd of the poverty level that existed in 1990 has been eradicated as of today, owing to the employment that is provided by Walmart. 
  • Variety of Products at a Single Destination– there is nothing that one will not be able to find at Walmart. From clothes to electronics to groceries to food to even getting your car serviced or repaired; Walmart has it all and functions as a one-stop shop. A family’s weekly or even monthly needs can all be fulfilled with just one visit to a Walmart outlet. The sheer convenience of a hypermart such as Walmart is what is being emphasized, considering the various number of sections and aisles that are present in a single store.
  • Massive employment opportunities– in conjunction with the advantage of progressing the nation’s economy, it also is an employer for a vast number of not just skilled labor but also unskilled. Walmart happens to be America’s largest private employer, employing around 1.5 million people in the United States of America alone. Apart from providing an employment opportunity, it also provides the employee sufficient job security considering the foothold the company has in the economy of the nation.
  • An attraction for Other Businesses in the Area– Walmart has evolved to be so significant that it can be compared to a location of tourist attraction. Customers from around the area where it is established travel a considerable distance just to shop at the Walmart outlet and end up spending the whole day in that area. This results in people spending money at local areas such as restaurants, parks, movie theatres, and other such areas. It thus not just boosts its profits but also influences the local area around which it is established, attracting more and more small businesses to open around the store. 
  • Diversity of Business Model– Walmart has transcended the national border and is now present in various other countries with different business models for each country. Barring the issues of language, tax issues, and other rules and regulations, a Walmart in another country ultimately benefits the consumer which is what attracts investors to invest in the multinational corporation’s establishment in other countries. This in turn exposes investors to the nature of other currencies and the type of growth that exists in other countries. 
  • A Source of Entertainment– on a lighter note, Walmart also serves the purpose of entertainment as it has a great number of sections to visit and in general, a great deal to do. Products that would otherwise be unavailable under one roof are now all under the same one which is a source of excitement and almost resembles a tourist attraction spot at times.

Cons of Walmart

  • Inadequate Healthcare Coverage– Walmart is regarded to have one of the worst health care policies in the entirety of the corporate world. Instead of providing adequate health care coverage, employees of the company are pushed to acquire government-funded healthcare programs such as Medicaid. A corporate entity of Walmart’s stature should ideally be doing a lot more to secure an adequate healthcare policy for its employees. The policy provided by the company is too high a price for workers who earn the minimum wage. 
  • Anti-Employee Policies– it is of common knowledge across the whole of America that Walmart shows barely any respect to its employees. They are subjected to severe mistreatment and there is a general sense that the company only looks out for itself. Walmart has been involved in several hundreds of thousands of class action lawsuits across different American states involving past and present employees. Most of their claims were that there was regular tampering done with employees’ work hours as well as their wages. There were several claims of abuse too. 
  • Employment of Illegal Citizens and Racism– Walmart made the headlines in 2003 for being responsible for hiring illegal citizens to conduct menial jobs such as cleaning the floors. This was being done after the hours that the store was open. This exposition was spearheaded by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the lawsuit lasted for a little over 4 years. It resulted in a large number of undocumented employees of Walmart being arrested but the company ended up avoiding criminal sanctions as they ended up paying millions of dollars as damages. However, they refuted the claims of racial and gender discrimination even though there has been sufficient proof of racism by Walmart that came to light during the case.
  • Walmart’s Operations Being Harmful to the Environment– Walmart has a history of violating several environmental laws and ended up paying the price for it. A consent order was signed with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection in 1999, which included an agreement to construct their outlets by the environmental rules. This agreement was a result of Walmart breaking the quality of water rules and regulations at one of their construction sites. A similar violation happened in 2001 which resulted in a heavy fine of one million dollars. 

The issue became one of national concern when the United States Environmental Protection Agency had to step in and force an agreement with the corporation to rectify the problems of water violations at construction sites across 5 different states. This happened to be the first time that there was federal enforcement against a corporation for violation in multiple states. Consequentially, Walmart was forced to make an environment management plan costing millions of dollars to comply with the various water rules at each construction site.

Conclusion and the Path Forward

Walmart has, without a doubt, had a vast influence over America. It has become a household name whose reach is extremely wide. One must although ask the question of whether a corporation can get a free pass to commit various violations merely because they are one of the biggest competitors the retail market has ever seen. The scales shall always be tipped towards Walmart because of the purpose it serves for the people of America. Unethical practices such as environmental violations and employee mistreatment are conveniently either overlooked or are simply paid off. There is a lack of a sense of accountability when it comes to big corporations such as Walmart. It is up to the laws of the country, the law enforcement as well as the people to stand in unison against unfair and unethical practices of a corporation of Walmart’s stature. Joint accountability of the customers, as well as the corporate entity, is the need of the hour.

What are the Pros and Cons of Walmart?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to top