You can’t live in the U.S. and escape Walmart. Chances are really good that you actually live next to one. Around 90 percent of all people in the U.S. live within 15 minutes of a Walmart store, so just start driving and you’ll find one pretty soon. Millions of people step inside a Walmart every year, and this giant earns billions and billions in revenue. Walmart is the biggest employer in the U.S. and the biggest retailer in the entire world. But you know all that about Walmart already, or you had a pretty good idea about it. There’s a whole lot of scary stuff you don’t know about Walmart…and you’re about to discover it.
Walmart doesn’t want you — or most of their customers — to know these disturbing facts. These facts are all true and they are all shocking, so prepare yourself. The world’s biggest retailer has a whole lot of dark secrets lurking on its shelves. Here’s what you don’t know about what Walmart does with its money, how it influences politics and how much damage this company actually does to you and the communities all around you. Once you know the dark truth, will you ever go shopping at a Walmart again?
15. It’s As Rich As A Country
Walmart earns more money than a mid-sized country. Take, for example, 2012. In this fiscal year alone, Walmart basked in a shocking $444 billion in sales. That’s actually $20 billion — yes, billion — more than Australia’s yearly Gross Domestic Product. If the corporation was a country instead, it would be one of the top 30 biggest economies in the entire world. That means Walmart would be right up there on the list with countries like Turkey, Switzerland and Holland. The company is constantly raking it in. Walmart makes about $1.8 million in sales every single hour, more than many people earn in a lifetime.
14. It Makes Neighborhoods Fatter
Even statistics experts are shocked by this little-known fact about Walmart and obesity. Every time a new Walmart Supercenter is built, it increases the average BMI by 0.25 units and the obesity rate goes up by 2.4 percent per 100,000 nearby residents. In fact, Walmart’s timeline and the rise in American obesity travel along the same frightening parallel. From 1960 to 2012, obesity in America soared from 13 percent to 35 percent. The first Walmart opened in 1962, with Supercenters debuting in 1988. CDC figures show the biggest spike in obesity occurred in the 1980s. Compare all the data, and this similar timeline doesn’t look like a mere coincidence.
13. The CEO Makes More An Hour Than You Do Per Year
This fact is shockingly and terribly true. In 2010 alone, that’s one calendar year, Walmart CEO Michael Duke earned $35 million. Do that math, and that means he earns more in a single hour than a full-time Walmart employee will make in an entire year of work. This kind of gross imbalance is one of the reasons that some people are so opposed to Walmart. The average Walmart employee earns $13.38 an hour for full-time employment, and $10.58 per hour when working part-time. Many have lobbied the company to raise its wage to $15 per hour. It has not yet done so.
12. They Lied About Craft Beer
Walmart was slapped with a class-action lawsuit early in 2016 for selling craft beer that actually isn’t. The lawsuit alleged that Walmart falsely represented their craft beer selection. Walmart marketed their “craft beer” as being made by Trouble Brewing, a small brewery. If this was true, that would be in keeping with the tradition of craft beer as a small-batch offering. The trouble here is that Trouble Brewing apparently operates in the exact same location as Genesee Brewery. This brewery is a well-known mass producer of beer, not at all a maker of craft brews. The suit claimed that Walmart used misleading packaging and promotion to peddle its beer.
11. The Owners Are America’s Richest Family
Long gone are the days of the Vanderbilts and Rockefellers commanding all the country’s wealth. Today’s richest family is the Waltons. Their combined net worth is estimated at $130 billion, an obscenely large figure. Walmart was founded by Sam and James “Bud” Walton, two brothers, who together owned about half of the company’s stock when they each died in the early 1990s. Their heirs are now the wealthiest family in the country, surpassing the likes of the Gates family, the Koch brothers and every other famous family in the U.S. Members of the Walton family still serve on the board of the company. By the way, they have given away about 2 percent of their net worth to charity. Compare that to Bill Gates, who has given about 48 percent of his to charitable causes. Walmart does devote a ton of money to political contributions and lobbying, however. Walmart has a PAC that strongly favors conservative politicians. In the last 5 election cycles, this PAC spent millions to influence voters.
10. Most Of The Stuff You Buy There Is Chinese
Walmart buys a vast majority of their items for resale from China, to the tune of 80 percent. That means that almost every item you buy at Walmart actually comes from China. During a “Buy America” campaign, Walmart stores were found hanging banners with “Made in America” over products that were actually imported from countries like China. The corporation buys about $30 billion in goods from them yearly, and has been called out by consumer rights activists and market watchers more than once for falsely applying the “made in America” label. If you buy it at Walmart, it probably wasn’t.
9. They Fought A Sex Discrimination Case For 15 Years
Walmart was at the center of one of history’s biggest lawsuits, though lots of people don’t know it. The class action case against Walmart began in 2001 with 6 female employees alleging discrimination. It blossomed and became the largest workplace bias case in U.S. history, with more than 1.5 million former and current employees joining the action against the corporation. Walmart successfully fought the case in the courts until 2015. The case was eventually decertified as a class action lawsuit. According to the suit, Walmart violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which guarantees equal treatment of employees, among other tenants.
8. It Takes Extreme Measures To Prevent Unions
Walmart has a reputation for busting unions and finding creative ways to keep their employees from forming their own self-protective unions. According to reports from within the company itself, managers get access to a hotline so they can immediately report union activity to corporate. Walmart created the “Manager’s Toolbox to Remaining Union Free” for their employees to follow. Some even say that special teams of employees are deployed to stores where union talk may be occurring, so these experts can prevent further union activity. Walmart even hired Lockheed Martin to surveil and monitor their employees, to better keep tabs on their attitudes and opinions.
7. It’s Not So Safe To Shop There
Here’s one fact Walmart definitely doesn’t want you to know: shoppers there get violent. In 2016, more than 200 violent crimes were committed at Walmarts across the country. The crimes range from minor, like shoplifting, to more frightening, such as manslaughter and attempted kidnapping. Police departments saw a wave of crime in Walmarts in 2016. Cost-cutting measures have reduced the number of employees in Walmarts, which may contribute to the dangerous atmosphere. There are fewer cashiers, greeters and security guards in stores, and clearly that has put the customers at risk. Walmart is the most dangerous place in the U.S. to shop on Black Friday, according to statistics.
6. It Won’t Admit to How Many Guns It Sells
Walmart does not sell handguns, a policy put into practice in 1993, but they will sell all sorts of rifles and semi-automatic weapons. Many stores even carry firearms designed for children. The company deflects bad press about their decision to sell guns by pointing out that Walmart adheres to state laws across all stores, and implements extra gun control policies even above and beyond federal requirements. Gun buyers are videotaped and must await FBI clearance before leaving the store. Walmart does not publish the exact figures for their gun sales, so it’s not known exactly how much the chain makes from firearms.
5. It Killed The Family Business
Someone should write a song called “The Big Box Retailer Killed the Family Store,” only the hook isn’t quite as catchy as a similar tune. From the time Walmart first opened its doors in 1962 to 2002, the number of single-store retailers in the U.S. dropped by 55 percent. That is a shocking fact that clearly illustrates how Walmart has affected small and independent businesses. And while one might argue that Walmart isn’t the only big box retailer out there, Walmart is unquestionably the biggest of the big boxes. As the world’s largest retailer, Walmart earns more in sales revenue than Sears, Target, Costco and the Home Depot combined.
4. You Really Can’t Trust The Brand
Since Walmart started selling its own brand-name products in stores, the company has enjoyed even healthier profits. But you should be careful about what you buy with that Walmart label. In 2014, customers were appalled to discover that their Walmart-brand ice cream sandwiches wouldn’t melt. One customer found that her son’s treat didn’t lose its shape even when left outside in 80-degree temperatures. You don’t have to be a parent to know that isn’t even close to normal. Apparently, there are so many additives included in Walmart ice cream sandwiches that they don’t melt even in the summer heat. The chain’s response? “Walmart’s sandwiches contain less, so they are more affordable.” And that is truly disturbing.
3. Walmart Uses Other Names, Too
There are more than 11,530 Walmart stores in 28 countries all around the world, only you may never know it when you leave the U.S. About 90 percent of all international Walmart stores use another name. It’s called Best Price in India, Asda in the UK and a bunch of other stuff depending on where you’re at on the globe. Around the world, Walmart uses 72 different names for its stores. Walmart also operates Sam’s Club, named for founder Sam Walton. Walmart made $58 billion in net sales from Sam’s Club stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico in 2015 alone.
2. They Have Enough Parking Lots to Cover Tampa
If you take all of the parking lots from all the Walmarts all over the world and put them in one place, you won’t believe your eyes. All together, Walmart’s parking lots take up roughly the same amount of space as the entire city of Tampa, Florida. The current population of Tampa? In 2013, it was over 350,000 people. Tampa is Florida’s third-largest city next to Jacksonville and Miami. That’s a whole lot of space that Walmart is using all over the world. Walmart currently operates more than 5,000 stores in the U.S. alone. That includes 3,522 Supercenters.
1. Someone Sues Them Once Every 2 Hours
Walmart was faced with 4,851 lawsuits in 2000. That means that the corporation is sued once every 2 hours or so, which is a lot. Walmart has thousands of civil lawsuits filed against them every single year. That includes suits brought by both customers and employees. Customer suits include complaints about falsely labeled products and injuries occurring in the store. Among employees, wage discrimination and working conditions are often cited as reasons for bringing suit. Sometimes, Walmart faces lawsuits brought by citizen groups and others who oppose the corporation’s expansion. Nothing seems to stop Walmart’s advance across the world just the same.
Now that you know these disturbing facts, will you look at Walmart differently?
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