Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Oh, This is Precious. WalMart Versus Costco.

There's a nifty and fun calculator over at Mother Jones that shows how many hours a week you would need to work to earn a living wage from either Costco or Walmart.

It's an American thing but still worth a test run or two.  Pick a state, one nearest your province, and then a city that sort of matches a city near you.  Then you plug in your family situation - one adult, two adults, one kid, five kids, whatever.  Then you hit the "calculate" button.

I chose Bellingham, Washington, one adult, one child.  It turns out I would have to work 41-hours per week at Costco to earn a secure but modest income sufficient to meet the needs of myself and my child.   WalMart, you ask?  Wait for it.  How about 99-hours to make that same secure but modest income.  99-hours, just a shade less than five, twenty hour days, or a somewhat more relaxed seven, fourteen hour days every week, month in, month out.

The simple fact is that we can make WalMart (and all the other corporate welfare queens like it) pay a living wage if we only just didn't shop there.  I try to do my bit.  In fact I haven't been to a shopping mall in months.  I boycott the fast foodies too.  They only get away with it because we condone it.  Enough.


gingercat said...

I was at Walmart last week by an unfortunate circumstance. My elderly auntie's car wouldn't start(polar vortex) and she needed to get some food. She didn't want me to go out of my way and Walmart was the closest. It disgusted me to no end on how even beets were sold in plastic bags. I'm surprised they didn't find a way to package bananas. The absolute waste created from buying anything there was scary. My auntie asked me why I wasn't buying anything and I told her I have a moral objection to shopping there. A clerk looked up at me stunned by what I had said, but offered no response and continued his job.
It was an experience that I don't want to do again. At least now I can add excessive use of packaging to my list of reasons I don't shop at Walmart.

The Mound of Sound said...

It's pathetic how WalMart has turned into an utter poverty trap where people with "everyday low wages" feel they have to go to chase everyday low prices. The place is utterly predatory.

Lorne said...

Although we are rather modest shoppers, Mound, last year we decided to join Costco based on the desire to support a business that pays a living wage. That doesn't make me noble by any means, but it is a way, as your post says, to try to influence business decisions.

For far too long, we have been lulled into the belief that we have no power; to accept that is to give governments and their corporate backers power they do not deserve.

Joe the Lion said...

I input Vermont, Two Adults no children. No option for a city when you have no children.

"Where you live, a Costco worker needs to work 25 hours each week to make a secure yet modest living to support a family as big as yours (as a sole breadwinner). A WalMart worker would need to work 60 hours a week to achieve the same."

I have never and will never shop at WalMart.