Thursday, June 14, 2007

I, hereby tender my resignation from Wal-Mart

I, XXXX XXXXX, hereby tender my resignation from Wal-Mart.

Some parting thoughts:

I started working at Wal-Mart in the mid-80s because I thought it was a respectable, value-based company that would provide stable long-term employment. Over the course of eight years—and seven different stores—it became clear that the company’s focus was not, in fact, on customer service and respect for its employees.

In a capitalist, consumer-based society, any for-profit business’s main objective is to achieve a marginal financial gain each year. I believe Sam Walton was achieving this goal, as well as maintaining a high level of respect for his customers and employees. It has become increasingly clear, since Sam Walton’s death, that Wal-Mart is solely focused on high profit margins and market domination.

Many companies tend to practice this approach—both eyes on the bottom line, and neither on the very people who are making those successes happen. This practice, which inevitably oppresses employees, will ultimately result in the demise of these companies.

This lack of respect also results in the hiring and promoting of unqualified, inadequate managers.

Any associate with good values and a conscience can see that this practice has become more prevalent in recent years, obviously for the sake of company growth and profitability. This fact creates animosity within lower-level associates toward both management teams and the company as a whole.

On several occasions, I was encouraged by managers to pursue entry into the management training program. A reasonable individual would not pursue such a career for a company that has such little respect for its employees. Managers are trained to manage product, not individuals, thus creating an inadequate and ineffective business atmosphere. Because of this practice, customer service at Wal-Mart has become deplorable.

Society in general is seeing this because such a great number of people have worked and shopped at Wal-Mart. A prime example of this truth is in the number of times the company has been sued in recent years; the lawsuits haven’t piled up because of the company’s sheer size but because of its neglect of its own employees, and thus, its customers.

The benefits that a company offers should reflect the degree of success it has had. In Wal-Mart’s case, they do not and never have. It’s obvious that the company is shifting its profits toward expansion—particularly in areas where markets are already saturated by Wal-Mart stores—rather than to the development of employees and customer relations.

Appointed CEO Lee Scott has repeatedly stated that the reason for this expansion is to keep Wal-Mart’s stock price rising—to benefit its investors. I know for a fact that’s just one way to provide revenue for investors. This can be accomplished in other ways: Reinvest a greater portion of profits into improvements in training programs, equipment, and employee benefits packages. These changes would result in more satisfied employees, happier customers, and a global perception of Wal-Mart as a respectable company.

I believe that Sam Walton’s values were more geared toward the employee; since his passing, the company’s direction has shifted more toward higher profit at any cost. I believe this approach does produce great profits—though they’ll be brief—because it strays from Sam’s original business directive: to provide lower-income families with good products at a reasonable price, while providing a satisfying, rewarding work experience for his employees.

The Walton company’s current regime is building a fragile success upon this fact: Wal-Mart sells, at a low price, disposable products to a throwaway society. I believe Sam would be impressed with the company’s sheer size and growth over the years, but would be disgusted by the company’s ignorance of its own founding principles.

Wal-Mart was founded on good business values and a focus on customer service. Now success is measured by a pure profit-to-growth ratio, without valuing its customers’—or its employees’—role in the modern business environment.

Upon request, I can provide numerous examples of the negligence and ignorance of Wal-Mart management. Each year I hoped that this trend would turn around, but it only grew worse.

During my tenure at Wal-Mart, I’ve met two assistant managers—neither in this store—that were worthy of the title Assistant Manager. These two individuals had both people and product management skills which were not, I know for fact, derived from the Wal-Mart training curriculum. They possessed these skills naturally, as very few people do.

The thing that I’m most upset about is that I’ve wasted eight years working for this horrible company.

My employment with Wal-Mart gave me a negative mindset and resulted in lower self-worth, a lack of respect for individuals, and depression. That’s why I’m greatly pleased with myself for ending this horrible chapter of my life.

My prediction and hope is that, within the next decade, Wal-Mart will begin to lose stock value and investors will realize that the company is on a steady decline from its once high level of greatness and respect, much like the inevitable fall of Rome.

Although I feel this way, I’d like to offer an opportunity to Wal-Mart’s board of directors: For the price of my travel and lodging expenses, which I know they can afford, I’d deliver a few lectures at the Arkansas office—at no additional cost—on how the company can maintain its profitability while being respectful of its employees. However, I know this offer will not be accepted, because closed, greed-focused minds would never appreciate positive, progressive thoughts on modern business techniques.


Former Wal-Mart employee