From Someone Who Knows...

It turns out that unbeknownst to me, a friend of mine has worked at both WalMart and WholeFoods. While I detest WalMart, I appreciate the fact that WholeFoods provides one of the bigger markets for alternative earthfriendly products, so it was disheartening to see the two compared. Anyway, here's my friends response to the previous post along with the article on Alternet:

I want to address the recent article that appeared on Alternet comparing Whole Foods to Wal-Mart. The idea behind the article is that people who work for low wages at Wal-Mart can’t afford the food they sell there while those who work at Whole Foods struggle with the same thing. I’ve worked for both companies spending two years as a deli worker and then stir-fry chef at Whole Foods and a year and a half as an unloader at Wal-Mart. From an employees standpoint the two companies are night and day. Wal-Mart wastes so much stuff because they refuse to give it out to employees. In some instances they will sell food that is about to expire at a lower rate but the food is never given out. At Whole Foods I took home shopping bags full of produce and baked goods every night. What wasn’t taken by the employees was then donated to organizations such as food not bombs or soup kitchens so that they could give it out to their customers. Wal-Mart would never do this, never. About the pay I started both jobs making seven dollars an hour. Within a year at Whole Foods I was moved to eight dollars and then within four more months I was moved to nine dollars an hour. At Wal-Mart the raises have consisted of forty cents here and forty cents there. Only when I moved to a higher paying region and started working at a Supercenter did I get an hourly wage remotely similar to what I was making at Whole Foods. But and this is a big but there is no mention in the article about the bonus checks Whole Foods pays each month to their employees. The checks are based on how much profit is left over at the end of the month and would usually turn into a dollar per hour worked or an extra one hundred and sixty dollars a month for a full time employee. Over the course of a year that is an extra two thousand dollars. That on top of the free food they allowed their workers to have makes Whole Foods a far better employer than Wal-Mart. Of course that’s not all. Whole Foods also provided merit benefits and opportunities to win gift certificates by learning about the products. They took the form of quizzes and each month the person with the highest percent of questions answered correctly would receive a twenty five dollar gift certificate. The scores were kept over a period of four months and the one with the highest total during that period was given a hundred dollar gift certificate. Needless to say for eight months in a row I was the highest scorer and that translated into an extra four hundred dollars in gift certificates. Now I could keep going about the fact that while illegal immigrants worked at Whole Foods they were paid similar wages to the other workers at the store and because of that these workers made more than they would anywhere else but I’ll save you the details. Take it from me, Whole Foods may be overpriced (although most health food stores are) and it may have its faults but it should not in anyway be compared to Wal-Mart.

It sounds like there really is no comparison.

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