While on the road, we needed groceries and couldn't find a grocery store. So we broke our own guidelines and yes, we shopped at Wal-Mart, the store that has a history of mistreating its employees and providing shoddy benefits. I was shocked at the prices. A box of my favorite cereal cost $2.50, well under the $4.59 at traditional grocery stores. A typical weekly shopping that cost us $60-$80 at a conventional grocery store came in under $40. I thought at the time that Wal-Mart would do very well in the coming months as the recession worsened. Some people have no choice; they have families to feed.
But then I heard about Debbie Shank on Keith Olbermann last night. Here's a woman who stocked shelves at Wal-Mart in a small town in Mississippi. She was severely injured when she was hit by a truck and won a lawsuit against the trucking company. The money was put into a trust fund for her long-term care. Using a provision in the Wal-Mart health benefits, Wal-Mart sued her for $470,000 and won. The complete story is at this link. The week following Wal-Mart's victory in the U.S. Court of Appeals, this brain-damaged woman (who can barely understand what happened) lost her son in Iraq.
It's time for Wal-Mart to say we won a victory in court but decided not to take the money. Otherwise, I agree with Keith Olbermann. Shame on you, Wal-Mart. For now, I absolutely refuse to shop at Wal-Mart. I've sent a letter to Kit Bond, the U.S. Senator from Mississippi, and hope you will follow some of these links to take action.
Additional links: You can sign a petition at http://action.walmartwatch.com/page/s/debbieshank, or read the original article in the Wall Street Journal that tells Debbie Shank's story and summarizes trends in the insurance industry at http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB119551952474798582.html