I Don’t Care What The Law Says

Wal-mart sucks (via Obsidian Wings):

A collision with a semi-trailer truck seven years ago left 52-year-old Deborah Shank permanently brain-damaged and in a wheelchair. Her husband, Jim, and three sons found a small source of solace: a $700,000 accident settlement from the trucking company involved. After legal fees and other expenses, the remaining $417,000 was put in a special trust. It was to be used for Mrs. Shank’s care.

Instead, all of it is now slated to go to Mrs. Shank’s former employer, Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Two years ago, the retail giant’s health plan sued the Shanks for the $470,000 it had spent on her medical care. A federal judge ruled last year in Wal-Mart’s favor, backed by an appeals-court decision in August. Now, her family has to rely on Medicaid and Mrs. Shank’s social-security payments to keep up her round-the-clock care.

The tragedy gets worse when you read how Mrs. Shanks lost her son in Iraq days after losing the case to Wal-Mart, leaving her penniless, brain-damaged, unemployed, and with a dead son. The fact that she can not remember her son is dead and re-lives the agony of losing a son every time she is told is just the cherry on top. Did I mention her husband is divorcing her so she can get more public assistance?

Olberman is right, and I am gonna harp about this issue every singled damned day and hope other blogs do as well. I am actually on some e-mail list, probably a remnant from the Red State days, where some Wal-Mart flack sends me spam telling me all the good Wal-Mart does. They probably wouldn’t need to spend so much time and money on PR if they would stop being such total assholes in cases like this. But then again, money is involved. And if there is a choice between making a buck and doing the right thing, we know where Wal-Mart is gonna end up on that side of the equation.

Despicable.






96 replies
  1. 1
    D0n Camillo says:

    This is the kind of publicity that money just can’t buy. Walmart is going to get their $417,000 with interest in the form of Walmart hatred. Their marketing department must just weep when news like this comes out.

  2. 2

    The tragedy gets worse when you read how Mrs. Shanks lost her son in Iraq days after losing the case to Wal-Mart, leaving her penniless, brain-damaged, unemployed, and with a dead son.

    Mrs. Shanks is a metaphor for America.
    .

  3. 3
    Rick Taylor says:

    Rather than demonizing Walmart which is just maximizing it’s profits as good capitalists are supposed to do, I agree with Obsidian Wings this should make us seriously consider single payer health care (aka socialized medicine). Some things are just not best left up to the magic of the free market. A pity that that option is so far to the left that no one running for office can even propose it as a solution if they want to be taken seriously.

  4. 4
    John Cole says:

    Rather than demonizing Walmart which is just maximizing it’s profits as good capitalists are supposed to do, I agree with Obsidian Wings this should make us seriously consider single payer health care (aka socialized medicine).

    I am gonna go with both for 1000, Alex.

    Wal-Mart needs to be demonized, and something needs to be done about the health care situation. It is simply untenable.

  5. 5

    I am gonna go with both for 1000, Alex.

    Indeed. Wal-Mart will be useful against the enemies of single payer.
    .

  6. 6
    4tehlulz says:

    I bet she has nice countertops, though.

  7. 7
    pharniel says:

    wal mart needs to be savaged by the henati’d ghost of teddy roosevelt.

    then again most corporations do to. instead of the execs takeing a 10% paycut that would save more money than fireing every single other employee we regularly see huge layoffs on the people actually producing for the corporation.

  8. 8
    Jen says:

    Priceless letters to the editor, too. I like how they pointed out that the “winner” was the lawyer. Sure, represent people in a complicated case for the better part of 7 years appealing it all the way to the USSC, I can think of easier ways to make a buck. Anyway, you knew there’d be a place to take your righteous anger, didn’t you?

    I wish I didn’t already boycott Wal-mart, so I could boycott them now.

  9. 9
    Dreggas says:

    My ex-wife is permanently disabled, when she went in to see the Social Security people about getting an increase to her benefits, since we would no longer be together, they told her that she was already getting too much (900 fucking dollars in California a month) and gave her a list of homeless shelters she could stay at and still get her check.

    (and no I didn’t break up with her because of her disability).

  10. 10
    Duros Hussein 62 says:

    I agree with Obsidian Wings this should make us seriously consider single payer health care

    But we do have single payer heatlth care in this country; the patient.

  11. 11

    wal mart needs to be savaged by the henati’d ghost of teddy roosevelt.

    I read that as “savaged by the hentai ghost of teddy roosevelt.”

    I was trying to imagine the skirt of Teddy Roosevelt’s schoolgirl uniform blowing up to reveal white cotton panties.

    Then I stopped.
    .

  12. 12
    The Other Steve says:

    I wish I didn’t already boycott Wal-mart, so I could boycott them now.

    I rarely if ever go to Wal-Mart. I hate the place.

    This doesn’t make me hate them any less, though.

  13. 13
    4tehlulz says:

    Priceless letters to the editor, too. I like how they pointed out that the “winner” was the lawyer.

    This is what people say when they want to beat up on the victim, but it’s too obvious that this is a righteous tort.

  14. 14
    David Hunt says:

    Beyond the PR cost of pursuing this case that I know of no way to quantify, I wonder just how much in the way of legal expenses and court costs Wal-mart had to pay to see this through. Or did they find some way to stick Mrs. Shank with the bill on that, too? Of course, since she’s been rendered penniless by this travesty, that would end up being paid by Uncle Sam, who will then pass the bill on to us…after letting 20 years’ interest accrued on it.

    Or am I being too paranoid?

  15. 15
    BH Buck says:

    From what I understand of the story, seems her lawyers were remiss in not knowing all the facts. If they had taken the time to learn about this clause, maybe the outcome would have been a little better for Mrs. Shanks.

    Notice how her lawyers did pretty well for themselves?

    Regardless, Wal-Mart could do a hell of a lot better by their employees.

    Mrs. Shanks is a metaphor for America. -Grand Moff Texan

    Absolutely!

    “…this should make us seriously consider single payer health care…” -Rick Taylor

    Absolutely!

  16. 16
    jake says:

    Hey, Wal*Mart really needed that 400K.

    I hope to any deity that is listening that this bullshit triggers a massive stock dump.

  17. 17
    Justin says:

    Walmart is the store with a location in Florida that had a written policy against interracial dating among employees. Not dating per se, just interracial dating. They fired the black and white couple who violated the policy, and refused to give them their jobs back.

    That’s write: They had a written policy against miscegenation.

  18. 18

    I hope to any deity that is listening that this bullshit triggers a massive stock dump.

    I’ll settle for a few suspicious accidental electrocutions accompanied by atonal choral music in grainy 35mm.
    .

  19. 19
    4tehlulz says:

    I read that as “savaged by the hentai ghost of teddy roosevelt.”

    Me too. I had the image of Teddy riding in and giving Walmart executives the tentacle treatment.

    DAMN YOU JAPAN!

  20. 20
    DFD says:

    Another reason for me to drive across town to Target. People tease me because I refuse to shop at WalMart but shit like this makes me feel that my hate for that company is vindicated.

  21. 21
    Evinfuilt says:

    Indeed. Wal-Mart will be useful against the enemies of single payer.

    Walmart, all the Auto-companies.

    Heck, every Industry but Health Care Insurance would be up for fighting FOR single-payer. It helps all of their bottom line.

  22. 22
    Jen says:

    If they had taken the time to learn about this clause

    They did know about the clause. They notified Wal-mart about the pending settlement and did not get a response. They should have negotiated a pro rata share for Wal-mart (assuming they’d never get a waiver) in writing before settling, definitely, but I don’t think it’s reasonable at all for Wal-mart to have actual knowledge of the settlement and then wait until the statute of limitations is about to expire before claiming the full extent of their lien and refusing to negotiate.

  23. 23
    D0n Camillo says:

    A brain damaged wheelchair bound woman whose son had just died in Iraq. What, Walmart couldn’t find a cute puppy to toss over a cliff instead? They had been working hard to rehabilitate their image with their green initiative and then they do this?

  24. 24
    BH Buck says:

    Jen, thanks. My “source” was obviously in error.

  25. 25
    Jen says:

    People tease me because I refuse to shop at WalMart

    Well, print copies of this to keep on hand for the next time they do that. Ta da!

  26. 26
    4tehlulz says:

    their green initiative

    Didn’t they basically go “lol just kidding” with their green program a few months ago?

  27. 27
    Wilfred says:

    First lines of the Enchiridion:

    Some things are in our control and others not. Things in our control are opinion, pursuit, desire, aversion, and, in a word, whatever are our own actions. Things not in our control are body, property, reputation, command, and, in one word, whatever are not our own actions.

    Resolved – never to spend another penny in any Walmart anywhere.

  28. 28
    Dennis - SGMM says:

    Resolved – never to spend another penny in any Walmart anywhere.

    I haven’t set foot in a Walmart in ten years. There are people for whom Walmart is the only alternative though.

  29. 29
    DFD says:

    Thanks Jen. That will come in handy.

  30. 30
    Zifnab says:

    I read that as “savaged by the hentai ghost of teddy roosevelt.”

    I was trying to imagine the skirt of Teddy Roosevelt’s schoolgirl uniform blowing up to reveal white cotton panties.

    Ditto. Sadly my imagination doesn’t come with breaks. I’m scarred for life and you’ll be hearing from my lawyer.

    They should have negotiated a pro rata share for Wal-mart (assuming they’d never get a waiver) in writing before settling, definitely, but I don’t think it’s reasonable at all for Wal-mart to have actual knowledge of the settlement and then wait until the statute of limitations is about to expire before claiming the full extent of their lien and refusing to negotiate.

    If they’d had a savy legal team of twenty top dollar Wal-mart lawyers, they just might have. I’ve heard this is the norm, however. Walmart crows about its generous medical coverage, then savages any patient who manages to collect a settlement. It’s the insurance equivalent of stop-loss. Dicking over people the moment they’ve got a dime to spare. I’m sure Walmart is more than willing to sing the saddest of swan songs about how expensive covering so many employees can be.

    The fact that laws on the books allow this sort of treatment, however, is an entirely different issue from universal medical coverage. All the universal coverage in the world won’t keep a bunch of thuggish lawyers from muscling employees. For a problem like that you need a union’s support – and that’s kryptonite to the Walmart machine.

  31. 31
    Zifnab says:

    I haven’t set foot in a Walmart in ten years. There are people for whom Walmart is the only alternative though.

    HEB was closed on Easter. That was the first time I went to Walmart in at least 8 or 9 months. I can’t say I totally boycott it, but I’ll avoid the store at every opportunity.

  32. 32
    Dungheap says:

    Priceless letters to the editor, too. I like how they pointed out that the “winner” was the lawyer. Sure, represent people in a complicated case for the better part of 7 years appealing it all the way to the USSC, I can think of easier ways to make a buck.

    Did you happen to catch the author of that letter to the editor?

    Randel Johnson
    Vice President, Labor, Immigration & Employee Benefits, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

    Stay classy, Chamber of Commerce. Noxious fucks.

  33. 33
    Halteclere says:

    I lived in Wal-Mart land – NW. Arkansas for a time, and saw much of Wal-Mart’s SOP.

    1) In 1990 Wal-Mart put in a Supercenter in Springdale, but a corner of the spacious parking lot was thwarted by an elderly couple who would not sell their mom-and-pop grocery and gas store. After the owners refused to budge gas prices in the city mysteriously dropped to $0.10 cheaper than any surrounding city and community for two weeks. As soon as the elderly couple were forced to sell gas prices quickly rose back up to match the area prices.

    2) I know a guy who grew up doing odd jobs for Sam Walton in the early ’80’s, such as mowing his yard, washing his cars, etc. When this guy finished high school him and a buddy both went to work for Wal-Mart. After a time his buddy got promoted to a management position in their department. This guy and his buddy had always spent Sunday afternoons at each other’s house grilling, but due to Wal-Mart’s management socialization rules he was no longer allowed to go to his buddy’s house for a social event.

    Wal-Mart – there is a price to be paid for prices so low.

  34. 34
    JF says:

    has Michelle Malkin yet confirmed she is in fact brain damaged? Because I am not going to make a judgement call until I hear from her.

    No, but seriously, yes we need universal health care in this country in part because of shit like this, and yes, Wal-Mart deserves all the animosity they get from this. Suing a brain damaged women for $400,000 when they took in what, 350 million last year? Worst of the worst.

  35. 35
    tBone says:

    I was trying to imagine the skirt of Teddy Roosevelt’s schoolgirl uniform blowing up to reveal white cotton panties.

    Then I stopped.

    Not soon enough, you bastard.

    I can’t say I totally boycott it, but I’ll avoid the store at every opportunity.

    This is my approach to Walmart, Best Buy, Gamestop, and several other nexuses of pure evil.

  36. 36

    […] 28, 2008 Why I Don’t Shop At Wal-Mart Posted by John O under Political | Tags: bad money management when one considers PR, bad PR,Balloon Juice, dead son, divorce for federal assistance, John Cole, the Shank family, Wal-Mart |   This abomination of power and wealth deserves as much viewing as I can get. […]

  37. 37
    Martin says:

    I’ve never stepped foot in a WalMart.

    If there is a Rapture, it’ll come when WalMart can claim every American as a customer. I’m keeping y’all from global religious armageddon.

  38. 38
    ntr Fausto Carmona says:

    This is my approach to Walmart, Best Buy, Gamestop, and several other nexuses of pure evil.

    OK, Wal-Mart I can understand. But Best Buy over Circuit City? And what did Gamestop ever do to you?

  39. 39
    4tehlulz says:

    But Best Buy over Circuit City?

    Both suck ass; they have horrendous customer service (though CC is worse) and bad selection for electronics. (BB’s DVD selection and pricing is top notch, though…)

    eWiz > Newegg > Your local dump > Best Buy > Circuit City

  40. 40
    DougJ says:

    Don’t worry, John. Once she’s officially brain dead, the Christian right will spend millions of dollars to keep her alive.

  41. 41
    4tehlulz says:

    Don’t worry, John. Once she’s officially brain dead, the Christian right will spend millions of taxpayer dollars to keep her alive.

    Fixed that for you.

  42. 42
    Krista says:

    Man, I wish we had a Target around here. Besides not being evil, they just seem to have much cooler stuff.

    I guess I’ll go back to shopping at Zeller’s. I should have been doing that all along anyway — buy Canadian, and all that. I tended to prefer WalMart ’cause the Zellers always looks a bit picked over. But I’ll gladly put up with that, rather than support those bastards.

  43. 43
    pharniel says:

    *4tehlulz Says: *

    I read that as “savaged by the hentai ghost of teddy roosevelt.”

    Me too. I had the image of Teddy riding in and giving Walmart executives the tentacle treatment.

    DAMN YOU JAPAN!

    yha, it was more of the mental image of the wall mart monopoly octopus vs. teddy “the terror tenticle” roosevelt.

    though twistid kaju would also work.

    I live in michigan. When things get back you could always go work for meijer or kroger, and at least get close to rent.

    with wall mart moving in i’m afeared that the entire state will start to look like flint.

  44. 44
    Dug Jay says:

    They had a written policy against miscegenation.

    Another one of those pieces of urban legend bullshit.

  45. 45
    Andrew says:

    Not to hijack the thread, but what makes eWiz better than Newegg? I’ve never had anything but great service from them, the prices are nearly always the cheapest, they don’t hide the shipping costs, and they always get me things when they say they will.

  46. 46
    Yukoner says:

    I posted this at Ob Wings.

    A little more thought on this story leads me to the following:
    1. Walmart provides health care insurance as part of its compensation package for employees. Therefore it is clear that the employees are paying for the health care insurance (by accepting it in lieu of higher cash wages).
    2. When Walmart employee Mrs. Shank had an accident and needed extensive medical care, her health insurance kicked in and her care was paid for. All good so far.
    3. But the health insurance doesn’t cover Mrs. Shank’s need for round-the-clock care for the rest of her life. Luckily the Shanks win a lawsuit and put the money into a trust that will pay, at least in part, for Mrs. Shank’s ongoing care.
    4. Walmart sues the Shanks and takes all of the money held in trust to pay for ongoing care.
    5. The Shanks are now nearly 100% dependent on taxpayer-funded care for Mrs. Shank and even need to divorce to remain eligible for that care.

    So Mrs. Shank, and all other Walmart employees, paid insurance premiums, but in the end the insurer, Walmart, paid very little in net while she and her family are left to rely on taxpayer funded programs.

    Yet another variation on the “privatize the profits and socialize the losses” theme.

  47. 47
    4tehlulz says:

    For the stuff I look for (RAM, CPUs) they are generally cheaper, including delivery, then Newegg.

  48. 48
    Andrew says:

    I’ll have to look at eWiz next time I need stuff. I just ordered the guts of a new computer from newegg. Just checked eWiz, and they didn’t carry the CPU or RAM I wanted. They were better on the hard drive, but more expensive on the mother board.

  49. 49
    Karmakin says:

    Check your health benefits.

    I’m currently living in Canada, and in my health benefits anything they pay out, if I win a lawsuit against those responsible, I have to pay them back what they paid out. AFAIK this is standard health benefit stuff.

    That said, yes, the US needs single-payer or it’s socio-economic death. Really. America will not survive without a single payer system.

  50. 50
    ntr Fausto Carmona says:

    NewEgg I go to if I don’t mind waiting on delivery, otherwise I’ll brave the Best Buy up the street. And usually leave with a DVD or two. Circuit City I don’t touch anymore.

  51. 51
    Dork says:

    I was trying to imagine the skirt of Teddy Roosevelt’s schoolgirl uniform blowing up to reveal white cotton panties.

    Then I stopped.

    Then please make it stop for me. God damn I hate you.

  52. 52
    The Other Steve says:

    For the stuff I look for (RAM, CPUs) they are generally cheaper, including delivery, then Newegg.

    I’ve bought from both ewiz and newegg. What makes ewiz nice is that they often have older stuff. Only a year or so ago I bought an old 3.4Ghz P4 from them for $40 to upgrade a machine. Otherwise, I generally use geeks.com for that.

    newegg is much better in general though. The only thing I don’t like about newegg is that occasionally they actually don’t have what I am looking for. :-)

  53. 53
    Ninerdave says:

    For those not in the know, Clinton served on Wal-Mart’s board for six years prior to her husband’s run for the presidency. She recently received $5,000 from Wal-Mart. I’ve raised the Wal-Mart relationship repeatedly in my current race against Clinton and it causes deep unease among voters. I believe it speaks to the incumbent’s close ties to abusive corporate power: her large corporate financial contributions, her support for so-called “free trade” (which is simply trade to benefit corporations) and her unwillingness to confront corporate power that denies every American, among other things, universal health insurance.

    Link.

    – ducks and runs out of the room – :)

  54. 54
    srv says:

    Linked from Reddit. You’re more succinct than hilzoy, she tend to ramble.

  55. 55
    JK says:

    Is now a bad time to point out Hillary Clinton was on the board of Wal-Mart’s?

  56. 56
    Zuzu says:

    I don’t think it’s reasonable at all for Wal-mart to have actual knowledge of the settlement and then wait until the statute of limitations is about to expire before claiming the full extent of their lien and refusing to negotiate.

    I confess to only giving the article a quick read, but I’m confused as to whether they were recouping against money that was identified as reimbursement for past medical expenses.

    I mean, could they actually expect subrogation of damages for emotional distress or even future rehabilitation costs?

    Yeah, I also confess that tort law is a bit of a mystery to me …

  57. 57
    SmilingPolitely says:

    I read that as “savaged by the hentai ghost of teddy roosevelt.”

    I was trying to imagine the skirt of Teddy Roosevelt’s schoolgirl uniform blowing up to reveal white cotton panties.

    That’s what I read it as, too. But instead of imagining Teddy Roosevelt wearing cotton panties, I briefly saw the image of Teddy as a snarling tentacle-rape monster.

  58. 58
    libarbarian says:

    If an employee wins the lottery, can they sue him/her to recoup the past hourly wages they’ve paid?

  59. 59
    tBone says:

    OK, Wal-Mart I can understand. But Best Buy over Circuit City? And what did Gamestop ever do to you?

    My local Circuit City stores are great – employees are helpful if you need them and unobtrusive if you don’t, and they’re relatively knowledgeable (at least compared to the chimps at BB). Best of all, they don’t try to sell me a goddamn extended service plan when all I’m buying is a $5 bargain-bin DVD and a pack of gum. And they’re not responsible for inflicting the Geek Squad on humankind.

    Gamestop? One of the worst retail chains ever to befoul the planet. No, I didn’t preorder the game. No, I don’t want to preorder any other games. No, I don’t have any trade-ins that you can give me 5 cents on the dollar for, then turn around and sell at near-new prices. I just wanted to ‘stop’ and buy a ‘game’ so shut the hell up and sell me one, you obnoxious little counter-monkey.

    I kind of don’t like Gamestop.

  60. 60
    John Cole says:

    I am with Tbone and not much of a fan of them. I buy most everything online, and if I absolutely have to have something right as it comes out, I will pre-order at Gamestop.

    Otherwise, Amazon.

  61. 61
    Zifnab says:

    eWiz > Newegg > Your local dump > Best Buy > Circuit City

    Fry’s Electronics fits in there somewhere as well. Above the local dump, certainly, but I’m not so familiar with eWiz or Newegg to make a call from there.

  62. 62
    JL says:

    A few years back LATimes won a Pulitzer Award on a series of articles about WalMart. When they move into the neighborhood, mom and pop stores can’t survive and wages and benefits actually go down. About the same time COSTCO was taking hits on Wall Street because of their higher pay scale and benefits. (Not anymore). It is interesting that when you treat employees with respect and give them a living wage, it can improve sales. In GA about the same time there was article about the cleaning crew being locked in the store with not way to escape if there were an emergency. I’m not surprised about the latest lawsuit and the Waltons response to it. That’s how they act.

  63. 63
    JL says:

    Did I mention that I really, really hate WalMart?

  64. 64
    horatius says:

    Thank you Hildawg. While Barack Hussein Osama was roaming the streets of Chicago fighting for “civil rights”, you were patriotically sitting on the Walmart Board of Directors. Great judgment there.

  65. 65
    jcricket says:

    This is what people say when they want to beat up on the victim, but it’s too obvious that this is a righteous tort.

    Kevin Drum (can’t find link right now) had a great post about this a while back. Whenever we hear about Union’s being forced to give back some of their hard-earned benefits, the reaction of “Joe Public” is usually “Lazy Union Assholes! I don’t have anything like those benefits!”

    It’s as workers are now not jealous in the good way (“Gee, I want those benefits too!”) but only in the negative sense (“I hope those bastards have to suffer like me someday. I hate them for having more benefits than me”).

    If we all were to unite and say, “We all deserve those better benefits” instead of “that brain damaged woman is lucky she had healthcare and wasn’t gang-raped by KBR in Iraq or the Crips in LA” maybe we’d realize who the true enemy is.

  66. 66
    Dug Jay says:

    While Barack Hussein Osama was roaming the streets of Chicago fighting for “civil rights”,

    LOL

  67. 67
    jake says:

    If there is a Rapture, it’ll come when WalMart can claim every American as a customer.

    In other words, God will Electrolux the knuckledragging bastards off the planet if every American buys a pack of chewing gum from a particular store.

    Right, everyone into the car. We’re all going to Wal*Mart!

  68. 68
    jcricket says:

    About the same time COSTCO was taking hits on Wall Street because of their higher pay scale and benefits. (Not anymore)

    Oh, they still get hammered by shareholder “activists” and wall street analysts for having “above market” wages and benefits. Doesn’t matter the hard facts Jim Senegal (CEO of Costco) points out (lowered shrink, lowered turnover, higher customer service levels, etc.) nor the general moral argument that you can still be very profitable but not economically rape your employees and suppliers. It’s all about squeezing that last cent of quarterly profits out of the system and returning it to the shareholder class.

    Luckily, Costco keeps doing what it’s doing. I know it’s too much to ask, but I wish more corporations were similar. That said, it’s too much to ask, so we need someone (ahem, government) to help protect us from the corporate rape.

    Single payer, FDA, FTC, FCC, Social Security – these are all things the “squeeze the cent” crowd hates, because it takes money from their pocket. But why the fuck should the rest of us care, when that crowd spends their time taking all the money from ours?

  69. 69
    Laertes says:

    John, how were you ever a Republican in the first place?

  70. 70
    slippy hussein toad says:

    There is a place in hell for Walmart executives and management. A nasty place where demons with sore-encrusted cocks bend you over every fifteen minutes and ejaculate burning sand into your ass and mouth. Where you get shredded into a million constituent strips and re-stitched together with acid-soaked needles fitted on jackhammer sewing machines run by shrieking harpies with bad breath. Where taking a bath means being submerged in molten lead while the scrum of the underworld is boiled off your blasted skin.

    If only I believed in hell.

  71. 71
    Dennis - SGMM says:

    It’s simple: Walmart has simply found a way to package all of the worst aspects of capitalism while offering only one of the best ones.

  72. 72
    Perry Como says:

    It’s all about squeezing that last cent of quarterly profits out of the system and returning it to the shareholder class.

    Well, yeah. If WalMart didn’t get their $400k back the stock might have dropped by $.00000000001. Companies are supposed to maximize profit. Commie.

  73. 73
    Conservatively Liberal says:

    I shop on ebay, Newegg, PC Connection and other online shops. If I go to a local store, it is Fred Meyers (Kroger). The last time I went to local WalMart was over 15 years ago.

    Really, if WalMart wants more advertising like this then they should grab a baby and flatten its head with a sledgehammer. Then immediately afterward grab a puppy and skull fuck it to death. That ought to get them the same amount of love.

    The fact that she can not remember the death of her son is tragic. She will spend the rest of her life finding out that her son is dead, and each time is like the first time she is being told about it. That is just heartbreaking.

    To companies like WalMart, employees are not people. They are expendable units of labor that you have to maximize for profit. There is no humanity in being just another unit of labor, they deprive you of that so they can justify decisions like this.

    The Big Box has no soul. It eats people and shits money.

  74. 74
    conumdrum says:

    Times like these are when I miss the right-wing dingbats like Stormy, scs and Darrell, who could always be relied upon to dismiss those with a gripe like this as enemies of capitalism, and blame the victims for failing to grab their ankles quickly enough when The Man unfastens his pants. Dug Jay, by comparison, is a fifth generation Xerox.

    Yep, the sheer wingnuttery goodness of the BJ Conservative Peanut Gallery of old… charged your mental batteries better than a pot of high-octane coffee. Sigh… I’m getting all misty-eyed.

  75. 75
    jenniebee says:

    Oh, they still get hammered by shareholder “activists” and wall street analysts for having “above market” wages and benefits. Doesn’t matter the hard facts Jim Senegal (CEO of Costco) points out (lowered shrink, lowered turnover, higher customer service levels, etc.) nor the general moral argument that you can still be very profitable but not economically rape your employees and suppliers. It’s all about squeezing that last cent of quarterly profits out of the system and returning it to the shareholder class.

    Odd that they never seem to mind if the same amount of money is spent on executive salaries.

  76. 76
    Red says:

    Where are the god damn lynch mobs when you really need them?

  77. 77
    me says:

    The initial settlement should have included the payment to Walmart (for the initial medical care) along with additional funds for the rest of the life care. The original lawyer (who got paid first), is responsible for this, for settling for too little. The problem is that the lawyers get their fees out of the settlement, and then just walk away.

  78. 78
    Jason S. says:

    The court was applying the ERISA law, which is the statute that covers pretty much all of your employer-provided benefits. Thanks to the Supreme Court, the rule on the health insurer getting all of their money back is now the law of the entire US of A. Before, other parts of the country (the 9th circuit is one) denied any subrogation to the health insurance company under ERISA.

    As an aside, ERISA is also the law that effectively keeps you from having any remedy if your health insurer wrongfully denies to pay for benefits. Awesome!

    If we cannot get single payer, then we should amend ERISA to prevent the cases like this one.

  79. 79
    Crza says:

    Luckily Fry’s Electronics moved to Indianapolis a few years back. Ever since then, I’ve ignored all other electronics and videogaming stores. It’s so much better it defies comparison.

    That is, if you know what you want when you go in. Their salespersons have this preternatural ability to somehow not notice you standing there dumbfounded hoping to get assistance when staring at the 65,536 different varieties of wireless routers (or whatever – I swear they’ve got every model of everything ever made) surrounding you. You have to practically tackle someone to get their help.

    As a pathetic tech geek, I love that about Fry’s. I go in, get what I want, buy it, leave. No one’s asking me every five minutes if I need help finding something, no one’s trying to sell me hint books or CD-scratch insurance policies at the register… it’s beautiful.

    And for gaming geeks, Fry’s selection is noticably better than Gamestop, Best Buy and so forth. It has a pretty nice collection of import console games, something I haven’t found elsewhere. And whereas Gamestop now sells all their PC games (read: 200 copies of WoW and maybe a WWII shooter or two) in some bin hidden in the corner, Fry’s has a staggeringly large collection of PC titles, old and new.

    I say all that to emphasize my larger point, namely, FUCK WALMART. I mean damn, that’s some cold shit.

  80. 80
    Walker says:

    This love for Fry’s is bizarre. They have long had a reputation for being Circuit City with more variety. Stuff you buy there fails all the time.

    Microcenter, on the other hand, is fantastic. The one across from Texas Instruments in Richardson, TX has an amazing technical book section.

  81. 81
    Zuzu says:

    The initial settlement should have included the payment to Walmart (for the initial medical care) along with additional funds for the rest of the life care. The original lawyer (who got paid first), is responsible for this, for settling for too little. The problem is that the lawyers get their fees out of the settlement, and then just walk away.

    Well, I think it said the truck company’s insurance had a $1 million liability limit, and the husband got a separate award of $200K…so, I wonder if they both add up to come close to the limit.

  82. 82

    And they’re not responsible for inflicting the Geek Squad on humankind.

    Actually, the Geek Squad is responsible for inflicting the Geek Squad on humankind. They just got bought by Best Buy after they’d become a success. Back when they were just a local Minneapolis computer repair firm with goofy cars, they were pretty good.

    On the main subject of the thread, I wonder if WalMart is the place to go to get the cheapest prices on torches and pitchforks.

  83. 83
    Asti says:

    The Big Box has no soul. It eats people and shits money.

    Despite what certain businessmen want to believe, corporations are NOT living entities and they have NEVER had a soul. Corporations exist for the sole purpose of making money, and the idea of caring for humans is so far removed from the corporate reality that you’d get more empathy from a robot!

  84. 84
    Aaron says:

    As an attorney, I think the real tragedy hear is the legal malpractice that her personal injury attorney committed. You dont settle a PI lawsuit for less then the cost of her medical expenses. and the damages for pain and suffering and being a quadra in a wheelchair for the rest of her life and needing full time nursing care for life. Her medical bill is probably 2.5 million right off the top. add in pain and suffering and her attorneys contingency on top of that and settling for less then 5 million dollars seems questionable. Even if she was 80% at fault, that means they shouldnt settle for less then a million.
    Maybe her attorney had some bills due and why get into a big long drawn out fight when I can pick up a quick $300K right now?

  85. 85
    YellowJournalism says:

    I’m originally from a small town that was slowly eaten up by Wal-Mart and all the crap it brings with it. I’m all for some competition and will go to places like Wal-Mart only when they have something I can’t find somewhere else. I never understand the way people claim to buy everything so cheap at Wal-Mart, since most of their stuff is the same price as everywhere else or maybe only a dollar cheaper.

    The worst part about a Wal-Mart coming to your town is not the fact that it lowers its prices in the first year to get rid of competition, it’s the side effects of it being there. The traffic around a Wal-Mart is generally terrible due to poor planning and the droves of out-of-towners who spend 50 bucks in gas and food to save four bucks on toilet paper. The garbage is terrible, too. You have wrappers from the McDonald’s (or in the case of Canada, Tim Horton’s) strewn all over. I went to a Super Wal-Mart this weekend (only place open), and I saw not one but FOUR dirty diapers sticking out of an overflowing garbage can in front of the entrance. Wal-Mart just seems to bring out the worst in its customers, I swear.

  86. 86
    4tehlulz says:

    Microcenter, on the other hand, is fantastic.

    Yes. The one down the road from me in Cambridge is a geek dream. Little pricey, though.

  87. 87
    YellowJournalism says:

    Man, I wish we had a Target around here. Besides not being evil, they just seem to have much cooler stuff.

    I guess I’ll go back to shopping at Zeller’s. I should have been doing that all along anyway—buy Canadian, and all that. I tended to prefer WalMart ‘cause the Zellers always looks a bit picked over. But I’ll gladly put up with that, rather than support those bastards.

    I miss Target from my days in the U.S. I was pumped when my husband told me a while back that Target’s parent company was buying shares HBC, Zeller’s parent company, which means we may see some Targets up here. I already notice Target-like products and atmosphere entering my local Zeller’s stores.

    As far as Zeller’s being bare goes, I’ve been to the new Super Wal-Mart near me twice (Christmas and Easter), and I was not impressed due to the poorly stocked shelves, blocked aisles that seem to plague all Wal-Marts (Is this a marketing strategy?), and the aforementioned trash and overall dirtiness of the place. And the customers didn’t help. On my recent visit, a lady was trolling the Easter shelves, acting as if stuffed bunnies and Peeps were the equivalent of water jugs and canned foods during a natural disaster. Give me Zeller’s any day. I don’t care if I’m paying an extra buck or two for an item.

  88. 88
    BFR says:

    I’m going to jump in on this thread a little late with a point that I see has been made in some fashion or another by other posters.

    I appreciate your post John, but with all due respect if you want to know who to blame take a nice long gander in a reflecting pool. This isn’t just about voting for Bush, it’s for voting for any GOP candidates during the Grover Norquist/flush it in the bathtub era.

    Wal-Mart isn’t a person, it’s not capable of feeling empathy. The managers of the company act to improve the bottom line as they should. It’s not their fault they got stuck with this shit-sandwich of having to provide medical care to their workers – it’s because a generation of knuckleheads believed that government was a toxin meant to be destroyed and eagerly voted for Reagan and the army of snake-oil salesmen who followed in his footsteps.

    Live and learn I guess.

  89. 89
    BFR says:

    I miss Target from my days in the U.S.

    As an aside, my family does a bunch of business with Target – everything I’ve heard about them is that they are a class-act all the way around. They really do their homework (ie they don’t overpay for stuff) but they don’t try to screw everyone over by the same token.

    I don’t know what their labor practices are but from the little I know about them, I’ve heard nothing but good.

  90. 90
    Zuzu says:

    Aaron Says:

    As an attorney, I think the real tragedy hear is the legal malpractice that her personal injury attorney committed. You dont settle a PI lawsuit for less then the cost of her medical expenses. and the damages for pain and suffering and being a quadra in a wheelchair for the rest of her life and needing full time nursing care for life. Her medical bill is probably 2.5 million right off the top. add in pain and suffering and her attorneys contingency on top of that and settling for less then 5 million dollars seems questionable. Even if she was 80% at fault, that means they shouldnt settle for less then a million.
    Maybe her attorney had some bills due and why get into a big long drawn out fight when I can pick up a quick $300K right now?

    I dunno, do they say the degree to which the truck company was found culpable? What if it wasn’t 100% at fault?

  91. 91
    Xenos says:

    I dunno, do they say the degree to which the truck company was found culpable? What if it wasn’t 100% at fault?

    That depends on the jurisdiction. In some cases, if the plaintiff has 51% of the blame, no recovery is possible, In others, if the plaintiff is 90% to blame, they can recover 10% of the total damages.

    As for Walmart, I like to go there for the loss leaders. When I lived in Florida they sold baby formula for around 60% of the cost of the local grocery stores. My hope was that they were losing money every time I went there. That was back in the day when they advertised heavily that most of their goods were made in America, before the flags were replaced with ubiquitous smiley faces.

  92. 92
    Ellison, Ellensburg, Ellers, and Lambchop says:

    Unfortuantely, we do not live in FairyLand, where injury victims get paid twice for their claims, and everyone just nods, winks, and forgets about the matter of the bill.

    This unfortunate lady got screwed by her $300K lawyer (ch-ching!) who took almost half her settlement and didn’t get her enough money to continue her care. Where are the phonecalls and websites dedicated to harrassing the lawyers into giving up their fees?

    Could Wal-Mart have forgiven her the $400+K? Sure, it would’ve been very kind of them to foot more of her expenses (and I’m guessing now that for PR purposes, they’ll end up giving her a couple $100K which they do not owe her). Absence of extraordinary kindness, however, does not equal cruelty, and certainly doesn’t warrant nonsense headlines like MSN’s “Employer Grabs Accident Victims’ Cash.”

  93. 93
    TenguPhule says:

    Absence of extraordinary kindness, however, does not equal cruelty, and certainly doesn’t warrant nonsense headlines like MSN’s “Employer Grabs Accident Victims’ Cash.”

    Shorter EEEL: I possess a reality denial bubble. All truth and common sense are deflected before ever reaching my neurons.

  94. 94
    anonymous says:

    Run DEBBIE SHANKS FUND on the computer. It is set up thru the Bank of America. There are sites that have the address. Also Walmart Watch has a page where you can donate using your credit card for Debbie Shanks.
    I hear that April 01, 2008 is boycott day. Has anyone else heard this?

  95. 95
    anonymous says:

    My sincerest apologies-the name is DEBBIE SHANK FUND.

  96. 96
    geemoney says:

    I now believe the road to peace in the Middle East goes through WalMart.

    After all, isn’t every option still on the table?

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  1. […] 28, 2008 Why I Don’t Shop At Wal-Mart Posted by John O under Political | Tags: bad money management when one considers PR, bad PR,Balloon Juice, dead son, divorce for federal assistance, John Cole, the Shank family, Wal-Mart |   This abomination of power and wealth deserves as much viewing as I can get. […]

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