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Overall Rating
3.11

Awesome: 15.79%
Worth A Look42.11%
Just Average: 5.26%
Pretty Crappy: 10.53%
Sucks: 26.32%

1 review, 13 user ratings


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Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by Elaine Perrone

"Ripping the Lid off the Big-Box Exposes Mall-Wrats!"
4 stars

Several years ago I made a conscious resolution – a simple life-long vow to myself, if you will – to never set foot in a Wal-Mart store. Having originally established the boycott out of fury over Wal-Mart’s practice of selling “sanitized” music, I’ve kept that promise to myself to this day, secure that I made the right choice as more and more compelling evidence about the behemoth retailer’s heinous treatment of its employees and the irreparable damage to the communities it has encroached upon have come to light. Before screening Robert Greenwald’s meticulously researched Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price, little did I realize that my decision to never step into a Wal-Mart parking lot might, quite literally, have saved my life.

Still, as horrified as I was, and am, to learn of the number of crimes, from purse-snatchings to abductions and murders, perpetrated in Wal-Mart’s parking lots as the result of security cameras being purposely left unmonitored, I am incensed to find out that even as a non-shopper, I, along with every other U.S. taxpayer, am being raped by Wal-Mart because of the huge economic subsidies extended to them by state and local governments, and because of the enormous amount of federal tax dollars on which Wal-Mart employees and their families must rely in order to simply subsist below the national poverty level.

The offer of subsidies as incentives to potential new business operators is, of course, not an unusual way for any municipality to bolster its economy. However, using a mix of some alarming – and highly credible – statistics and interviews with former and current Wal-Mart employees ("associates”), and with long-time small-business owners forced to close their doors with the arrival of the world’s largest retailer in their towns, Greenwald mounts a convincing argument that the effect of Wal-Mart on competitive enterprise, and on the financial health of individuals in the communities they invade, is quite the opposite.

The evidence is infuriating – and just as often heartbreaking. One former manager speaks about a Wal-Mart management team arriving in a new town, sizing up the small businesses along Main Street and making a game of predicting how many weeks or months it would take for each to close up shop. Employees with an average annual income of about $13,000 tell of being offered health care plans on which they couldn’t afford to pay the staggering premiums – and being encouraged by their supervisors to sign up for Medicaid or other government-assisted programs instead. Tales of racism and sex discrimination abound, from a woman forced to clean the bathrooms every day to a black man subjected to racial epithets and a mock lynching. When told that “people like her” weren’t considered suitable for management, a women asked if “like her” meant black or female. The response: “Two out of two ain’t bad.”

Factory workers in China, Bangladesh, and Latin America – and the good people who attempt to intercede for them – suffer their own brands of horrors. Workers in China toil eleven hours a day, seven days a week, for a wage of about $3.00 per day. They are offered dormitory housing for which they pay rent and utilities. If they choose to live elsewhere, they don’t pay for the utilities but are still charged for the rent, which is deducted from their salaries. The men and women who sew the garments in sweatshops in Bangladesh that retail overseas for $14.96 each, are paid $0.18 per hour for their fourteen hour days, also slaving seven days a week. Jim Bill Lynn, a former global services manager who was once so loyal, he quips, that he “bled Wal-Mart blue,” recalls weeping when he saw the abysmal working conditions in Honduras – and weeping again when his expectations that the company would correct the abuses were shattered.

Even the municipalities that commit to subsidizing Wal-Mart enterprises aren’t exempt from the diabolical machinations of the greedy big-box empire: In Cathedral City, California, when the time came for them to reap their share of the financial benefits of the partnership, Wal-Mart made the decision to build just outside of town.

While not as in-your-face as Michael Moore, Greenwald (who never appears in the documentary) is an equally ferocious – and polemic – reporter who is no stranger to controversy, having previously taken on George Bush (Uncovered: The Whole Truth about the Iraq War) and Rupert Murdoch and Fox News (Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism). This time, it didn’t take the Walton clan any time at all to mount a counter-offensive, establishing a “war room” staffed by political experts and public relations spin-doctors, and promoting a company-friendly documentary entitled Why Wal-Mart Works: And Why That Drives Some People Crazy.

Greenwald ends with an upbeat look at several communities that have fought back hard, managing to win their battles to keep Wal-Mart out of their towns. For the most part, though, this is a sobering – and absorbing – study of so many of the little people who didn’t have the resources to do battle with the corporate Goliath, people left less angry than saddened and disillusioned by their treatment at the hands of the entity many once thought would be the best thing to come into their lives.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=13503&reviewer=376
originally posted: 11/14/05 20:08:57
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User Comments

12/06/08 Human Mike If any of the below comments aren't written by Wal-Mart reps, I fear even more for humanity 4 stars
10/10/07 Charles Tatum I used to work there, and I saw through this docu's agenda 2 stars
2/13/07 jon staples excellent and hard to believe the comments from some about left wing drivel anti capitalist 4 stars
9/14/06 Michael Moore Wal-Mart has done more for the poor than government ever will. 1 stars
9/14/06 Spankaccount More leftist, anti-business propaganda from hollyweird nut-jobs. 1 stars
9/04/06 David Cohen What happens when unions can't suck dues from workers? They bannkroll dubious propoganda 1 stars
1/02/06 Suzz film should be must viewing for anyone stupid enough to shop there 5 stars
12/22/05 nomi batu too stupid to be left wing... Plays on anti Chinese feelings 2 stars
11/29/05 L Sch outstanding documentary would never shop at Walmart again 5 stars
11/29/05 Robert Quinn we all know this stuff, but will it stop us from buying from them? 3 stars
11/19/05 b0b poorly paced, makes up results to fit his ideas 1 stars
11/18/05 M.F. left-wing ignorant anti-capitalist drivel 1 stars
11/16/05 Booyah Boy I'll never walk into a Wal-Mart store. Haven't for years. But I dug this film. 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  04-Nov-2005
  DVD: 15-Nov-2005

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Directed by
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