You would be wrong. Here in our relatively poor rural county what WalMart pays is a working wage because of a relatively low cost of living. I was there yesterday, the woman checking us out told us that employees get a 10% discount there all year, and during the holidays get another 10%. A very nice lady, happy with her job, and wished us a "blessed" day, something we can still say and appreciate here without people getting all pissy about it.
I have customers who used to have higher paying jobs, when those went away with the economy they took jobs at WalMart and for the most part are happy with them. The 200 or so members of my CERT team (in a county of 28,000) are putting together a food drive that has already disbursed once and will again after the holidays, designed to extend the help to those who need it around the holidays instead of during it like the rest. Several of our members work at WalMart and a large number of the WalMart employees are contributing. How do I know? Because I know them personally. I made it a point to meet the management before the store was even open and we helped a lot of people line up jobs before the store was even open. Guess who's auto shop gets the most referals from their oil and tire center? Mine. Did you know that WalMart will match employee charitable contributions? Yup. I've been on the organization end of many of these projects. Our local WalMart has contributed over $300,000 this year alone to local projects.
I understand it is easy to point to the giant chain and make accusations, it is probably a better tactic to treat WalMart employees as the individuals they are and look at what they do off the clock. What I find is that particularly those who used to make more at different jobs are happy to be there and among some of the most charitable people in our community. Something to keep in mind is that every step forward may not be an increase. A lot of people have figured that out in this economy. Moreover it is not always as negative as some might expect. As a good friend of mine (he is a youth pastor) says, "All progress is the result of negative circumstances. What is first seen as ruin is the first step to rebuilding". And he is right.
Man, I sure am glad I left the suburban rat race and moved here. My friends in the Chicago 'burbs all seem to be stuck in the same cycle of work, failed relationships and selfishness. I have never met people so willing to help as those who have needed help themselves. Including me.