Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price

Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price, an acclaimed documentary film that investigates the destructive impacts of the world’s largest retailer which is soon coming to South Africa, will be shown at the Labia on Orange cinema in Cape Town on Saturday 11 December at 12:00 noon.

Walmart is infamous across the world for its attack on workers. Now it’s coming to South Africa!

Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price is a feature length documentary that uncovers the retail giant’s assault on America and the world by exploring the deeply personal stories and everyday lives of families and communities struggling to fight the goliath. A working mother is forced to turn to public assistance to provide healthcare for her two small children. A family loses its business after Wal-Mart is given over $2 million to open its doors down the road. A community in California unites, takes on the giant, and wins!

This event is hosted by the Cape Town branch of the IWW (Industrial Workers of the World), a democratic, worker-run union dedicated to organising on the job, in our industries and in our communities, both to win better conditions today and to build a world without bosses.

The screening will be followed by a facilitated audience discussion.

Tickets are R10 and can be reserved by calling The Labia at (021) 424 5927. This is a once-off screening and we strongly recommended that you reserve tickets to avoid disappointment.

This event is presented by the IWW, the Labia and While You Were Sleeping, a Cape Town-based non-profit film collective committed to bringing progressive, non-mainstream documentaries with important social, political and environmental messages to South African audiences.


The Labia:
021 424 5927



One response to “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price

  1. I worked at Wal-Mart for 15 years.
    I terminated my working relationship so that I could move to South Africa as a Missionary.

    Next to the United States Marine Corps, it was the Best company I ever worked at.

    Unions couldn’t make headway in the USA because the associates (employees) are paid competitively to same-skilled workers who worked for unions, and there is no incentive to pay for union representation. Also, Wal-Mart has the open door policy which is truly in effect – and it is a fact that they fire management who don’t properly allow for associates to use the open door. Who needs representation when you are allowed to confidentially access any level of management on your own behalf? I’ve used the Open Door on numerous occasions and feel that I was effectively received. Of course you don’t get everything you want. However, would you believe anyone who told you that they could get you whatever you asked for, if they were allowed to represent you? Really?

    Another argument, that communities suffer when Wal-Mart comes to town is difficult to prove. Studies done by agents of unions have questionable sourcing and nebulous results. Many industry studies done at universities that have no monetary incentive to prove or disprove Wal-Mart’s benefits to a community have come up with marginal improvements in communities over extended periods. What Wal-Mart is directly credited with is nearly single-handedly helping to force down inflation in the United States, in the general & grocery merchandise categories. In fact, from the consumer standpoint, it is a clear victory that the Dollar purchases more now at Wal-Mart, than it did 15 years ago. Quite an accomplishment.
    Is it difficult on the Suppliers? Sure. Is it ever simple or straightforward to create efficiencies in manufacturing processes? No. Would manufacturers do it without some form of incentive? not significantly. But Wal-Mart challenges itself harder than anyone, to create material gains in efficiency in it’s own business, and uses those expectations with it’s suppliers as well. The benefit? Suppliers produce merchandise at reduced cost with increased quality. While they complain about Wal-Mart forcing uncomfortable change, they actually benefit from internal cost reduction, more streamlined processes, better merchandise at cheaper costs, and usually more stable profits over longer terms.

    There are examples of suppliers who have failed to improve efficiencies and have failed as businesses.

    There are examples of suppliers who have taken the challenge and became the next generation of successful suppliers who are financially stable and growing well…

    All in all, I’ve worked for many places, none of them are what I would call perfect, but Wal-Mart has been a stable, reliable, partner for a long period in my life. I’ve seen store operations and Club operations for a long period of time and can say with confidence that the business is genuinely concerned that it takes care of it’s people, especially those who work in the stores and interact with the customers! The hourly associates are the back-bone of the business and are where they “make” their business successful, and the store managers are very aware of this..especially coming from a USA perspective of equality and equal rights…

    Be careful about messages coming from USA Unions w/respect to Wal-Mart. They have the incentive of increasing their employee base by approximately 1 Million US Workers if they can somehow gain the Wal-Mart associates in their unions. In a time of declining Unionization in the USA, this would be huge for the unions. In 2009 the unions allocated $10 Million USD for defamation of Wal-Mart stores inc. Wal-Mart didn’t allocate ANY money to defame unions, nevertheless, unions still don’t have a foothold in any US Wal-Mart stores.

    I look forward to the day I see Wal-Mart start making a difference in the lives of real people here in South Africa. Buying from South African companies. Participating and contributing to it’s local communities, seeking to improve the lives and welfare of the people that it serves across South Africa…making an Amazing South Africa even more amazing in it’s efficiencies in logistics and distribution that will benefit Wal-Mart AND all of it’s competitors at the same time….I’ve already experienced this in the USA, and now, God Willing, I’ll get to see it happen again, here in South Africa!!!!

    Goodbye entitlement.

    Hello capitalism and earnings based on the merits of hard work, continual improvement and Value delivered.

    God Bless,
    cam –
    I am NOT employed by Wal-Mart in any way, shape or form, nor do I represent Wal-Mart in any capacity at all, except in my own observations and opinions.

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