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Published:March 19th, 2009 18:28 EST
Look Forward to Another Smiley Face From Your Check, Wal-Mart Employees

Look Forward to Another Smiley Face From Your Check, Wal-Mart Employees

By Christopher HIllenbrand

Kudos to Wal-Mart. In a world marketplace where all forms of enterprise are moribund and continuing to falter, the commercial cornerstone has announced that the chain actually gained market share in the current windfall conditions. The adversary to Mom N` Pop stores and Democrats alike posted a fiscal year-end total sales mark of $401.24 billion, a 7.2 percent jump from January 2008. That figure reflects the store`s worldwide gross receipts, while the sales in their U.S. stores, open for at least a year, spiked 3.3 percent over last year`s gain.

Clearly, anyone visiting the antiseptic confines of a local neighborhood Wal-Mart can see how congested the aisles and check-out lanes are. In a desperate penny-pinching environment, one must seek after the cheapest deals wherever possible and leave their principles by the wayside. It`s no coincidence that Wal-Mart advertisements and flyers have been bombarding the airwaves and our already sated mail boxes to take advantage of consumers who are now compelled to shop at the soulless corporate machine.

But Wal-Mart`s CEO Mike Duke has good news to report to his employees as much strapped for cash as many of the customers they encounter. Wal-Mart is preparing to reward its hourly employees in the U.S. to the tune of $2 billion. This sum will include $933.6 million in bonuses, $788.8 million in profit sharing options and 401K funds, with the remainder given back through employee discounts on Wal-Mart merchandise (yippee: how low can they go?) and the employees` stock purchase plan.

In the memorandum addressed to Reuters, Duke stated: "While economic challenges forced others to step back, we moved forward. The chief executive continued describing his dubiously good deed as an directive for the company to "accelerate and broaden all of our efforts."

Though the company claimed to have given nearly $1.2 billion back to its U.S. hourly workers in similar fashion last year, that amount is subject for debate considering what Wal-Mart calls "giving back".

This news couldn`t have come at a more opportune time. With the financial sector embroiled in bailout bonus scandal, one of the few successful enterprises in this dire climate just decides to be charitable with its net profits.

Wal-Mart has known about their 7.2 percent market share increase since January 1: the end of the 2008 fiscal year. To assume they`re not being hospitable with their "lowest on the totem pole" employees, would be callous, but look at the company of which I`m speaking. This is the same company who capitalized off their elderly`s life insurance policies in recent memory and still use stereotypical marketing schemes toward certain demographics in locations.

I wouldn`t be surprised in the slightest to hear countless Wal-Mart employees speak on how they were conveniently overlooked for a bonus, stock option, or 401K benefit.