Friday, March 28, 2008

Don't be evil

The motto of Google is so simple. It covers a great range of issue and concepts. Probably when put into practice,however, they may find that "don't be evil" can easily be turned into a matter of perspective. Yet i applaud their attempt at being inventive, creative, and not an Evil Over Lord.

Its too bad the same can not be said of Walmart.

Walmart has a long history of mistreatment of their workers. From workplace discrimination to bad health cover and purposely shifting full time workers to part time by increasing the number of hours worked to qualify for full time benefits.

Their latest case of evilness has involved their health care benefits. A Walmart employee was in a car accident that left her mentally handicapped. She won a settlement that put $417, 000 into a trust fund to help pay for her healthcare for the rest of her life. Walmart then claimed $470,000 from her. As part of her healthcare benefits the fine print says that if she is awarded damages in a case that involves payment for healthcare, they can claim the money that they have spent in paying her benefits.

It is unfortunate that this company is able to continue to do business in this way. Workers need healthcare (because their government doesn't supply it) and if they get a job at Walmart, health cover comes through the company. But the company does all it can to avoid actually having to pay the costs of awarding healthcare to its employees. In the previously mentioned case, the woman probably would have come out slightly better not having been covered by health insurance. (the interest on the trust fund possibly would have out weighed the amount being asked for)

The current consumer society is changing. While the consumers still want to consume as much as possible, they are finding more respect for companies that encourage positive attributes in their business practices. This in turn is meaning more profits for these businesses. Others, like Apple and Walmart, have taken a different route. The profit that can be earned is the most important aspect of the business. As the consumers it is our money that will decide what sort of business model makes it to the future.

Will the next generation be slaves to the companies? Or will the companies be slaves to their consumers? The question is ours for the answering.

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