WAL-MART: The High Cost Of Low Price

Wal-Mart is the world’s largest supermarket chain. Wal-Mart is shopping – the American way. A vast car park, huge shopping trolleys, uniformed staff, quiet music and plenty of special offers. Wal-Mart is the McDonald’s of supermarkets – with exactly the same working conditions. In his documentary, director Robert Greenwald takes us on a journey deep into the jungle of cost-cutting retail management, where terms such as social security, health insurance, co-determination, union representation or shop stewards belong to a long-lost era of civilisation. The realm of bargain basements is ruled by one law: survival of the fittest. A global concern, Wal-Mart is not beyond making its own rules, if necessary. This is a company whose first commandment is shareholder value. In his film, Greenwald talks to the retail giant’s former competitors as well as to long-serving employees of the firm from all levels – from an Afro-American sales assistant, who was discriminated against on account of the colour of her skin, to a top manager who is no longer willing to go along with the company’s inhumane policy. Current Wal-Mart employees didn’t dare talk on camera – for their employer has a long arm and a tight grip on all their staff. Wal-Mart – a classic example of Manchester capitalism in a global age.
by Robert Greenwald USA 2005 100’

World sales

Lightning Entertainment

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