Walmart Hides Behind their Yellow Sunshine

When most of us think about Walmart, we think of a great place to buy anything we want at a lower price. With their sunshine imagery, grandparent-like persons greeting us at the door, and of course the ever-so-desirable low prices, they market themselves as this positive, happy place. The truth is, however, it could be argued that it is through these "feel-good" associations that allow them to get away with some of the biggest ethical crimes. They may appear to have low prices, but what is the "true cost"?

Ethical is a word that keeps coming up as of late, in conversations and social reform. Ethical simply means "avoiding activities or organizations that do harm to people. In that context, a business considered ethical must be protecting the people who work for them. This protection could be both financial, physical and possibly emotional, but most definitely refers to companies being responsible for the overall protection from harm to those who are employed.

Walmart made $559 billion last year, with a net worth of $405 billion. After decades of creating poverty-inducing working conditions, they finally raised their wages in the Unites States. This took decades! Despite this wage increase, however, the majority of their employees continue to miss out on company bonuses and other company perks. Furthermore, despite their increase in profits and net worth, the revenues received do not get passed down to their employees. On top of which, although they have made minimal efforts towards increasing wages within the United Staes, they continue to exploit garment workers overseas.

For a company as large as Walmart, its fascinating how they continue to exploit those who work for them. Not only do they not pay livable wages to their garment workers, but they also continue to fight against countries who desire to increase the workers' minimum wages. Which, in Bangladesh (a hub for the majority of Walmart's garment workers), amounts to be approximately $43/month.

According to Remake, Walmart continues to refuse to pay for work already completed for them, during the pandemic. They also failed to sign the International Accord Act, which would ethically protect those workers. All of this continues to happen, despite the fact that they were a major company producing product during the Rana Plaza act of 2013, which killed over 1100 people.

Walmart is one of the leading producers of fashion and congruently one of the leading causes of unsustainable and unfair trade within the fashion industry. They, alone, could change the face of what is now unethical, fast fashion. However, they continue to focus on their stock holders and CEOs getting richer, while the marginalized workers are daily fighting for both their livelihood and their lives.

Walmart may appear to be a happy place with low prices, but at what true cost? Every $3 top represents an underpaid person, working within an unsafe workplace. Walmart is not an ethical business. They aren't even trying to be. So what does that mean for us?

As consumers, we can make the biggest difference by weighing out the true cost of a garment by measuring its economic price against the value of a person. When considering this, we have a conscious application to our buying decisions. We can consciously make the decision to apply this education through the practicing of not consuming - at least not with Walmart. This is the largest, most measurable way to 'force their hand'. Walmart may desire us to see them as a wonderful, positive shopping experience, but now we know the truth.

For more on Walmart and other controversial companies participating in unlivable and unfair trade, within fashion, check out:



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