The Machine Behind the Smiley Face of Wal-Mart

The New Yorker: Selling Wal-Mart does a really thorough job of breaking down where Wal-Mart has come from and what it is doing now. Mostly its image concerns and how much effort is put into trying to spin bad news (really just exposes of long held business practices usually).

There is this nice bit about Edelman, the public relations Wal-Mart with its own image problems, who work hard for their ten mil per year contract.
Edelman specializes in helping industries with image problems; another important client is the American Petroleum Institute, a Washington lobbying group that seeks to convince Americans that oil companies care about the environment and that their profits are reasonable.
Edelman is pure evil too. They would take on the devil himself if he could pay the retainer. And they have not the first problem about what the article accurately refers to as malleable ethics.

Sure, they make a ton of money but they do so at the expense of their own souls.

God, the thing reads like a bizarre horror story. Tightly scripted execu-bots with political backgrounds, contacts that are unable to be contacted, they hire tobacco lobbyists, soulless rationalists who have figured out a way to trick themselves into peddling poison and defending retail super-bullies.

Did you know that Lee Scott, Wal-Mart's CEO made about 2000 times what the average Wal-Mart employee made last year?

Did you know that Wal-Mart says it pays full-time employees an average wage of $10.51 an hour? Do you know what that the same average wage for a full-time employee at CostCo is? $17.46 an hour. And CostCo is profitable and a better place to shop.

The choice is yours. Shop at Wal-Mart and you are supporting a retail behemoth that spends its money trying to spin bad news publicly while bullying suppliers and exploiting workings behind closed doors. It wouldn't even be too far to go to say that shopping at Wal-Mart is un-American. The money you spend there goes into two places, China and the Walton family bank accounts, neither of which gives a damn about you.

Oh yeah, as a public relations professional, it made me sick to my stomach to read about what some of the "top" people in my field are like and get up to. If selling out every shred of humanity and personal dignity and respect is a requirement of getting to the top of the heap then I think I'll be quite content to stay right where I am. So quit calling, Richard. I'm not going to work for you, ever. Found via the Grist Mill.
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