What a coincidence. On the day after the Walmart Mexican bribery scandal broke across the globe, a story praising Walmart as an employer appeared as one of the 65 articles with photos that rotate in the box which serves as visual focus of the Yahoo! home page
The supposedly autobiographical story spun by Travis Okulski, a staff writer for a business news website called Business Insider, is a management fantasy: a guy who loved working at Walmart for $9 an hour and everyone he met on the job who didn’t like Walmart was a lousy worker or wanted something for nothing.
Okulski gushes over the level of difficulty of the job application form and interview; the extensive training in customer service that employees receive; the sense of ownership that Walmart tries to indoctrinate in employees; and the positive way that management recognizes employees with promotions and salary increase. Of course, Mr. Okulski declines to tell us what his last salary was after working two years for the retail leviathan, nor if he ever compared his paycheck with those of women doing the same job.
Of course into every workers’ paradise a little rain must fall. Okulski identifies the rainers on the Walmart parade as lazy workers:
Some fellow associates seemed content to do the bare minimum and didn’t go anywhere in the company because of it. In fact, they are still at the same level.
In my opinion, these are also the employees that you hear speaking negatively of Walmart’s employment practices. They want something for nothing from the company and they aren’t getting it.
It’s one of the shoddiest and moist transparent propaganda jobs I have seen in many a moon. Usually when business and right-wing writers make scurrilous claims about a group or class of workers, they provide little anecdotes. Okulski doesn’t even bother with this standard propaganda technique, but just gives the pro-Walmart, anti-employee message. Nor does he reference what he means by “speaking negatively of Walmart’s employment practices.” Don’t you think he’s referring to the countless lawsuits against Walmart that the behemoth has spent multi-millions of dollars to fight.
The article reminds me of an old Lenny Bruce joke in which the innovative comic says he asks the bellhop in a hotel to send up a prostitute and a writer answers the door. And judging from the comments left by about a third of those who commented below the article, many people agree with my view that the Okulski article is little more than a PR effort by Walmart or some entity close to Walmart.
But forget about the hack Okulski! What does placing this article into its premier rotation say about Yahoo! Was it an editor’s decision or the impact of a WalMart campaign to drive the article to the top of the most read lists? Either way, it does not speak well for Yahoo! that it published this claptrap.