Thursday, July 26, 2007

I've come around on Wal-Mart

I have long been at odds with labor and leftist organizations that have bashed Wal-Mart for refusing to unionize or for the amount of medical coverage it provides its employees. See, I never thought Wal-Mart was "exploiting its workers" per se; if they don't like the salary and benefits that Wal-Mart is offering, they can just go offer their services to another employer. I have also called for those who hate Wal-Mart to either find a way to beat Wal-Mart at its own game, or invent a game in which the retailer cannot compete.

Now? I have my own reasons to hate Wal-Mart.

Speaking before the National Conference of La Raza ("the race"), Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott all but admitted that he needs open borders and lots and lots of illegals to prop up his business. (Hat tip: Michelle Malkin.)

Closing his speech, Mr. Scott said that Congress needs to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill now, and he is disappointed that it hasn't happened yet.

He said that his concern about social and economic issues impacting Hispanic consumers is far from intellectual. "Having a Mexican-American granddaughter helps me to understand that this is not a cerebral exercise; that this is emotion and real people we're dealing with," Mr. Scott said.
Why? Well, Scott wants to separate more illegals from their money:
Wal-Mart recently took steps that Mr. Scott said will make it easier for Hispanic consumers who lack checking and savings accounts to shop at the retailer. In June, Wal-Mart announced plans to open 1,000 MoneyCenter in-store financial service centers by the end of 2008. The centers allow Hispanics and other customers to acquire the Wal-Mart-branded MoneyCard debit card, cash checks, transfer money and pay bills.

The card will be a big help to Hispanics because they are three times more likely than non-Hispanics to be "unbanked," Mr. Scott said.

Collectively, Mr. Scott noted, all of Wal-Mart's customers will save up to $320 million this year by using the MoneyCenter locations. Consumers will save money because the centers make it easier for them to spend more at Wal-Mart instead of other retailers, thus incurring savings, Mr. Scott said. Since Hispanics account for 14 percent of the chain's consumers, that could mean that they would reap millions in savings through the centers.
Do you think for one second that Wal-Mart is doing this just to be charitable to illegals? No. Scott and company are not doing this to lose money, not that there's anything inherently wrong with that. Still, I'd love to see what sort of finance charges are involved in some of these programs. After all,
The fast-growing Hispanic market will continue to fuel Wal-Mart's retail sales, Mr. Scott said. "From 1990 to 2011, if the trend continues, Hispanic buying power will have grown by more than 450 percent. That's compared to a growth rate of only 176 percent for non-Hispanic buying power over the same time period." He added that Hispanic buying power will reach $1.2 trillion by 2011.
And oh by the way, Wal-Mart was forced to cough up $11M for hiring illegals as janitors.

Now I believe in Wal-Mart exploitation. Hello, Target and Costco.