Wal-Mart employee’s experience contradicts movie’s portrayal

by Kate paulman

Senior Aaron Bland has worked at the Indianola Wal-Mart for a little over a year.

“It’s not too bad,” he said. “I get to work with people, which is nice. The people I work with, I enjoy working with them. And the customers, most of the time they’re pretty nice to you.”

In his experience, most of the claims made in “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price” are wrong.

Bland said he’s never been asked to work off the clock, as several former employees said they’d been asked to do in the movie.

“Nope,” he said. “As far as I know – we’ve had some people working overtime lately because we’re kind of short-handed – everyone gets paid for it, just like they should.”

Bland works as a cashier at the Indianola Wal-Mart. He started out earning $7.50 an hour, but now earns $8.30 per hour – above the average of $8.23 per hour the movie says is standard.

Also, he said managers have an open-door policy for all employees – and the employees aren’t under a communication lock-down, as Robert Greenwald shows in his Brave New Films production.

“You can go and voice your opinion to a manager about anything, and you’re not supposed to be discriminated against because of it,” Bland said. “I haven’t actually had to use that for anything – I haven’t had any problems.”

Bland said any employee should be able to communicate with any level of the company’s hierarchy.

“If you don’t get through at one level, you can go to the next level, and you’re supposed to be able to go all the way up without any problems,” he said.

Bland also contradicted the movie’s allegation that minorities and women were discriminated against within Wal-Mart – at least at the Indianola store.

“Here in Indianola, there’s everybody: people of different races, males and females both working there,” he said. “I don’t see any [discrimination]. Males and females hold all positions across the board.”

But, Bland said, his experience at one store doesn’t necessarily mean things are the same throughout the company.

“Here’s one store, it could be very different even if you go to a Des Moines store,” he said. “It could be a very different situation at any other store.”