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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Job Woes in the Nation That Made Sam Walton

November 27, 2003

"Scouring the Globe to Give Shoppers an $8.63 Polo Shirt" (Nov. 24) shows just how low the company has gone since Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton passed away. Walton used to work with American manufacturers, helping them to become more efficient in an effort to prevent them from manufacturing products overseas. Walton, in fact, was proud of the fact that he was actually increasing the number of products he carried in his stores that were made in the U.S. by American companies. Walton apparently understood the importance of having a domestic manufacturing sector, perhaps knowing that well-paid employees would actually help his own bottom line.

Wal-Mart is now directly responsible for the loss of American manufacturing jobs -- and the subsequent lessening of quality of those products -- and this is bad corporate policy. To know that Wal-Mart's current CEO, the man responsible for the moves, makes $18 million a year is vile. Walton must be spinning in his grave.

Richard Wagoner

San Pedro

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Re your article about Wal-Mart buying its goods outside of the U.S.: Do you have a vendetta against Wal-Mart? Though it is deplorable that little is manufactured in this country anymore, most other retail stores buy from countries where labor is cheap -- as does Wal-Mart. I am not defending Wal-Mart. I seldom shop there.

Paul Winslow

Downey

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Your expose of Wal-Mart does an excellent job of pointing out the ruthlessness of this organization. Initially, Walton's main mission was to eliminate the role of the middleman. He wanted to be able to buy everything directly from the manufacturer. After he successfully eliminated them, the company's only alternative was to eliminate the prosperity of the working man and woman. Walton's successors have implemented this strategy ruthlessly.

I am a conservative businessman but rail against the abuses of Wal-Mart and its management. Where is the conscience of America, that its citizenry can continue to ignore the rights of workers on a worldwide scale, continuing to buy products from this predator? The company is lauded for its success in profiting on the shoulders of its impoverished contractors. If this is what capitalism is all about, I am embarrassed to be associated with free enterprise.

Dave Servente

San Diego

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Wal-Mart chief executive H. Lee Scott Jr. is truly the modern day Mr. Scrooge. In this season of giving and caring for our fellow man/woman, he needs to be visited by the three ghosts. Mankind should be his business, not a polo shirt for $8.63.

Katie Rodgers

Valley Glen

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I presume your intent was to make Wal-Mart look bad with your Nov. 23-25 series. However, what you have really done is reveal a company that is determined to keep prices low for U.S. consumers while creating thousands of jobs in Third World countries. I'm so impressed I'm going to buy some Wal-Mart stock.

James B. Davis

Beverly Hills

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What a trashy way to do business. The Waltons are among the richest Americans, and yet they scour the globe to find the cheapest possible labor. They exploit the world's poor for their own gain, taking advantage of people who have no defense. How sick.

I hope everyone who reads these stories boycotts Wal-Mart and all the rest of the sleazy, low-rent companies that hire poverty-stricken workers in Third World countries for their own benefit. What kind of a society do we live in that we tolerate this kind of abuse?

Roger Angle

Culver City

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It's disheartening to read of Wal-Mart moving enormous numbers of its manufacturing jobs to overseas factories, thereby putting so many Americans out of work. Seems contradictory to Walton's goals of fair-priced merchandise made by American workers for other Americans.

Is there no patriotism anymore for the country that provided the opportunity for Mr. Sam's success, or is that too corny for Wal-Mart's boardroom discussions? Their methods may be great for their bottom line, but how about their souls?

Harvey Barkan

Studio City

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