This morning I was inspired by an article in the WSJ titled "The Right Stuff at Southwest Airlines." It is a commentary on the pilot of the plane in which one passenger was killed yet the rest of the passengers were saved.
Tammie Jo Shults, the pilot on the flight, is a person who fought her way into the Navy and was the first woman to take the stick on an F/A-18 fighter and is now a Captain for Southwest. She is dubbed the "Sully of Southwest." Inspirational in that she fought her way through the bias she faced and via her own personal efforts attained the skills, talents and capabilities to be a pilot admired for her performance in the face of adversity. It is not because she is a woman that she inspires me, it is because she is a person that we can all aspire to be.
Sooner or later the economics of shipping low-value items individually must be recognized. Amazon has and is moving to fix the economics. Amazon is moving to marginalize the $4 toothpaste and other low-priced items by raising their fees and limiting access to certain programs. Their effort is to promote bundling (four tubes or more) to secure sufficient fees to cover their costs. Walmart has many other options and the one they've chosen is transparent and a smart use of the competitive advantage of a terribly efficient warehouse-to-store supply chain with brick-and-mortar locations near virtually every consumer.
Couldn't find any Bloomberg article or for that matter any article that quotes $153 billion. I did find a Forbes 2014 article quoting a study done by Americans for Tax Fairness, a coalition of 400 national and state level progressive groups, estimating that Walmart workers cost taxpayers $6.2 billion in welfare and other social benefits.
One thing for sure, there was no estimate of the cost of those same workers if they were not employed. Surely more than the $6.2 billion quoted in the estimate.
Also left out is the share of city revenue contributed by Walmart and as others have suggested, the share of city crime committed in or near Walmart.
My thought is straightforward. Let's look at all of the facts before we condemn or praise.
The one thing I am sure of is that Walmart's in-stock performance and overall customer service suggest that better trained, more experienced and better performing employees are needed.
But then, what of the opportunity for those without the experience or skills. Where do they get an opportunity to learn and grow?