I am a Walmart associate. I have been hearing and reading some negative things about Walmart and I would like to let you know how I feel about it.
I worked at Walmart 20 years ago. The Walmart we have today is is very much changed from the one I used to know. Some changes I consider good ones and others, not so good. Twenty years ago, I started at minimum wage but was earning twice as much 2 years later. I was able to do this by working hard and earning merit raises. Merit raises do not exist today. You can get a raise once a year based on a performance evaluation. It works the same way for everyone, no chance of preferential treatment. There are pay grades, just like union stores. It is fair but, I like merit raises. Twenty years ago only full-time associates were able to get insurance. Today part-timers that stay a year are eligible. This also seems fair to me. I could be wrong but, I don't think there is any retail establishment that doesn't require a minimum amount of hours to be worked to qualify for health insurance. At Walmart 34 hours a week is considered full-time. Eighty percent of our associates are full-time. Walmart hires a lot of people that would be considered unemployable by most other retail establishments. They hire people with absolutely no experience. They look for potential. Some of these people excel when given a chance. The starting wage at our Kenai Walmart is better than any retailer I know of on the peninsula. A new associate with no experience starts at around $10. I think this is fair.
Now, about other stores going out of business because of Walmart. I just don't see this happening. Most of the good. successful local businesses that exist today existed when K-Mart and Fred Meyer moved in. They survived because they provide a needed product and really good customer service. Sweeney's, Beemun's, Trustworthy Hardware, Country Foods and any other retail stores that are doing a good job will not lose their customers. Sure people will shop Walmart just like they have Freddies for years but they will not forget the local businesses that have always been there for them. I know I won't.
As for contributing to local charities, Walmart has always done a good job of this. Before it even opened it's doors our Walmart gave $15,000 to local charities. They are giving to the Food Bank. I don't know all of the organizations they are giving to right now but, I know there are several. If you have questions about any of this, go in and ask for store manager Ferdinand or one of the assistant managers, I know they will be happy to give you answers.
To sum up. Walmart is a good place to work but, it is a workplace. You will have some unhappy workers and others that love their jobs. When you hear negative rumblings don't just take them to be true, look a little deeper. Walmart is a good neighbor and not looking to put other businesses out of business. All of you local businesses, keep doing the excellent jobs you have been doing and you will have nothing to fear. But if you have been succeeding only because you were the only game in town you will have to shape up or you will not make it. I think this is fair.
I am a People Greeter at Walmart and I look forward to seeing you there.
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