Thursday, October 27, 2005

Welcome To Walmart. Can You Spare A Buck? I Got Kids At Home

Ok, Harriet has gone back to Ozzie and that means no one is watching the Beaver so it's a perfect time to visit our Walmart friends again (Motto: You'll save 7 cents on your toothpaste, even if we have to starve all of our employees to do it). Let's see what the boys of Mordor are up to.

On Monday, Chief Executive H. Lee Scott Jr. pledged to bring inadequate health insurance almost within reach of his 1.3 million U.S. employees. On Wednesday, a leaked company memo revealed "bold steps" to reign in Wal-Mart's minimal employee benefit costs.

The Ironicus appears to be Maximus. Can you explain Mr. Mart?

Sarah Clark, a company spokesperson said that the memo was not a final list of recommendations "We've still got cuts we can to study," she said.

"How do you continue to provide crappy benefits to employees and remain competitive?" Clark said. "Well, the answer is you don't, but since the law won't let us stop paying wages, we're going after benefits again. Look, we do this in Thailand all the time."

Securities analyst Mark Husson said, "It's like a religious cult — it has a low-cost gospel to bring to the country and sees it as a divine duty to do that and nothing is going to get in its way."

Later, in a news conference CEO Scott said, "And verily I say unto you brothers and sisters, that THE LORD has come to me and he has said '$1.79 for laundry detergent. I am well pleased my son.'"

Vice President of Benefits Susan Chambers wrote a 27-page benefit memo in which she referred to the company's lousy public reputation. "Well, it only took one page to talk about the benefits," she told reporters. "The rest was taken up with finding ways to explain why children of our employees go hungry when the rent is due. We're going with blame the victim."

Chambers recommended "reframing" the Medicaid issue as everyone's problem. "Look there are a ton of poor people in this country and they're all sick. Is that our fault?" She also posits that the company would have "political cover" for requiring employees buy into health savings shell games if other retailers would do the same. "Somebody needs to tell those idiots at Costco to wake up and smell the coffee. And we're not talking about that fair trade slop either."

The memo concludes that if all the recommendations are adopted, the company's healthcare enrollment will drop because of the shift to more illegal workers and that a "significant number" of employees and their children will die off before becoming eligible for health care. "We're also thinking about offering to take over Medicaid," Scott said. "We'd call it Marticaid, and no one would get any benefits. That way our employees wouldn't stand out so much."

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