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Why does Wal-Mart/Sam's Club pay so low?
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35 / M
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Posted 7/9/14

illminister wrote:

I come from a STEM background, so I admit I'm biased but I'm surrounded by people who've attained their pay through their skillsets attained via education.

I'm an analyst/trader and I believe that the going rate = market value, so again I'm biased in my perspective there as well. Market value doesn't imply that you're getting quality, just that it's the value that an entity is willing to pay for an individual to conduct that particular job. The market value can increase if the entity is looking specifically for higher value applicants - but it's obvious that they're not. Walmart pretty much is saying "We want the scrubs of society and pay them scrub wages." Hence Walmart would argue that they're wages are more than appropriate. People will generally take the job with the highest market value available to them, no one is working at a Walmart by choice.

I work with some of these Fortune 500 analysts who come up with these numbers. You'd be surprised how many life changing decisions are made from SQL queries.


This! If people are willing to work for a set wage on a particular enterprise then that is what you will get.

I also have a STEM background as well, but I work as an adjunct and the pay is not great ... that's because adjuncts don't demand better pay. I like the work but I hate the pay. About five months ago now, we had a bit of a protest for more wages and it made my employer consider giving us more money.

The market value for minimum wage jobs right now is about 7 bucks ... more or less depending on what state you live in.

One state has their minimum wage set at 15 bucks an hour, meaning it is illegal for walmart to pay their employees less then 15 bucks an hour in that particular state.

State government is more important to you then just federal government.

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26 / M / NJ
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Posted 7/9/14 , edited 7/9/14

illminister wrote:

it's the nature to pay market value no more no less.

Sure it's back breaking labor, but the skillsets required for the job give it that hourly value.

tl;dr

stay in school. gain skillsets with high value.


I would have loved to have gone to college, but after I graduated High school it was basically work full time or be homeless. It's easy to say "If you want to make more, you should have gone to college" but the reality is many people simply aren't lucky enough to be in a position to go.
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Posted 7/9/14 , edited 7/9/14
Unfortunately, the 'Go to College' argument is flawed. Intrinsically. Good on paper, fails in practice, sort of spiel.

Without blue collar, 'uneducated' work, the infrastructure to this country would collapse. Where would all the hard labor, sewage workers, and the like come from? These jobs toe the line between demand and willingness. Should they pay more as an incentive to attract workers? They don't have to.

The problem with that theory is there are people desperate for work. Willing to do anything as long as they get paid, so companies don't need to raise wages as an incentive to attract employees to do less than desirable labor. Employers are in a seller's market, able to pick and choose the conditions of how they hire, while maintaining optimal conditions for themselves because there will always be buyers.

Who can rightfully decide that 40 hours of work a week isn't enough to provide for yourself, let alone a family?

Not to mention a disturbing number of people who go to college are just saddled with debt and STILL unable to find employment.
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Posted 7/9/14
Well im sure you work there for a reason. If not quit, someone else will be willing to get hired in your place
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36 / M / Denver
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Posted 7/9/14
Here's the glorious thing about the FACT that most jobs pay terribly: they won't make any real difference, certainly not a life in any respectable sense of the word. College does not even remotely guarantee an escape from this.

Why is that glorious? Because it gives you a chance to stop being a sheeple. Go learn something you want to learn, acquire skills you want to acquire, and don't be duped into thinking you have to pay forty grand to be allowed to do most of them. Make yourself into the person you want to be.

The days of mindlessly believing that a corporation or a degree will take care of everything are over. That, to me, is wonderful news.
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Posted 7/9/14
To reduce cost, maintain revenue, make more profit. Walmart has a really bad reputation when is comes to paying it's employees
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22 / M / New York
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Posted 7/9/14

Hayagriva wrote:

Here's the glorious thing about the FACT that most jobs pay terribly: they won't make any real difference, certainly not a life in any respectable sense of the word. College does not even remotely guarantee an escape from this.

Why is that glorious? Because it gives you a chance to stop being a sheeple. Go learn something you want to learn, acquire skills you want to acquire, and don't be duped into thinking you have to pay forty grand to be allowed to do most of them. Make yourself into the person you want to be.

The days of mindlessly believing that a corporation or a degree will take care of everything are over. That, to me, is wonderful news.


I do want to possibly want to become a counselor. But, that's what college is for currently.
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30 / M / Center-of-US
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Posted 7/9/14

Hayagriva wrote:

The days of mindlessly believing that a corporation or a degree will take care of everything are over. That, to me, is wonderful news.


I'll second that.

Also, in response to some comments above, one risks being naiive by starting the analysis at "market value", which is more of an end result. Employees are an expense (and a liability when they screw up), so like all expenses, they should be minimized. If our system could support it, Walmart would pay you $0 per hour (and if not Walmart, a competitor probably would). That seems impossible (for now), so the settlement seems to be $7-8 or so per hour.

So why $7-8 per hour? Because there are a lot of people who need to work and will take something rather than nothing. Because there aren't riots. Because why should Walmart spend more on labor costs? It's way cheaper to assume you'll get a few liabilities from crappy employees, and plan for that, than to raise wages and make sure that all employees are great. And it's more lucrative to return dividends to the investors, especially high net worth ones, so they will continue to invest.

Come to think about it, if there's an economy with 4/5 of the people holding 7% of the wealth, why even bother with that part of the economy? Things should be fine as long as they think they'll get ahead and can point to a few people who do make it.
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32 / M / New York. NY
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Posted 7/10/14
It's a common phenomenon in this modern day and age, particularly with the widening wealth disparity in the US, to have to work straight out of high school.

I'm going to give you advice based on what I've observed through my roughly 8 years of working in the corporate world.

It's true, the vast majority of my colleagues come from a privileged background where their parents paid for college. That certainly makes their path much easier. However, I also do have several colleagues that were raised in single parent homes. A junior analyst directly under my supervision had to get his GED at 16 and worked at Dunkin Donuts until he was 22. He now makes 125K a year plus benefits. How? He went to night school at community college, transferred to a 4 yr institution and graduated with a STEM degree. But his greatest asset was and still is his strong drive.

I also know several people who've hired employees that have graduated from online colleges. Not all of them are a joke like U of Phoenix, I recommend checking out Western Governor's University if you're serious about getting a degree. I know for a fact that Google has hired graduates from that university.

The bottom line is this: without a degree, or a phenomenal skill in a highly in demand skillset, its next to impossible to get your foot in the door in a multitude of industries. Go to craigslist, indeed, linkedin and look at all the entry level positions... they all require a bachelors.

And they all pay better than Walmart.
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47 / M / Hatboro, PA
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Posted 7/10/14
I've worked on both sides, both on the floor and in management. And when working on the floor, it often seems to the "grunt" employees that the management employees are often lazing around, not doing anything. And managers feel that the floor employees are always slacking off, trying to find ways to avoid doing their jobs, etc. It's really a vicious thing. Most managers, assistant managers, etc, have various levels of responsibility and accountability. And if their teams are not performing up to par, it not only looks bad on the individual employee, but the team, the manager, and their manager.

As for the pay rates, I do agree that minimum wage is insufficient to provide a comfortable living environment for an individual, much less a family. But I disagree with Popoff91, if the minimum wage gets raised to $15, the store will STILL need employees, people will STILL change jobs. And it won't be a huge well of unemployment.
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26 / M / NJ
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Posted 7/10/14

Hayagriva wrote:

Here's the glorious thing about the FACT that most jobs pay terribly: they won't make any real difference, certainly not a life in any respectable sense of the word. College does not even remotely guarantee an escape from this.

Why is that glorious? Because it gives you a chance to stop being a sheeple. Go learn something you want to learn, acquire skills you want to acquire, and don't be duped into thinking you have to pay forty grand to be allowed to do most of them. Make yourself into the person you want to be.

The days of mindlessly believing that a corporation or a degree will take care of everything are over. That, to me, is wonderful news.


Yes, because I'm sure an employer will take my word for it when I tell them I can successfully be their IT guy because I self studied about computer hardware and software to learn everything I would have in school.

Fact is unless you have that piece of paper, you aren't getting hired, I don't care how much you know about doing said job.
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Posted 7/10/14
That is how the system works. You have owners wanting to pay as little as possible to employees so that their profits are greater. Just look at how much money the owners and CEOs of major corps are making compared to the starting employee at the bottom. When I started work years ago I was earning $3.50 an hour washing dishes at Denny's for two nights a week graveyard. After a summer of that I moved on and found another job. Then I found another and as you move on you gain experience (and taking classes) so that you can then apply and be accepted for better paying jobs.

However, the real way to do well is to find ways to pay out as little as possible. I heard stories of folks making 100,000 plus and being underwater to the point of bankruptcy. Don't buy brand new if you can help it, live in a smaller home. Don't try to compete with the neighbors with who has the biggest yard, pool, dogs, cars and own what you buy. I bought my truck for $600 dollars and after putting some money into it to fix it up, I own it, no bank payments, lower insurance. Imagine folks who end up leasing their cars forever? They buy, make payments for 5 years and trade it in for another after some number of years. Don't get into this cycle because you only end up with less and make some other person richer.

A while back I cut my cell phone plan from $60 a month to about $20 or less a month. I got rid of the payment plan of theirs, and went to paying as I went. I wasn't using my cell much so why pay for minutes I was not using? What about cable television? I found there was not much I really wanted to watch on there. You know that you pay to be advertized to? How much time an hour is used for commercials? 25% of an hour? What is your bill? When you pay for cable you are paying for commercials.

Here is another way to look at it also. Lets say you are hurt and need to hire a guy to mow your lawn while you recover. Will you hire a guy who wants $100 or $25? That is how the market works. As others stated above, find a skill that you are good at and that few others can or want to do and you will be much better paid. I worked in my field for 14 years before the company laid me off. I can ask for more at future employers because I have experience. IF you want more, go back to school or learn how to do something that fewer are able to do. Maybe take the shifts that no one else wants to do. You will be in more demand by an employer.

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36 / M / Denver
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Posted 7/10/14

hyjinx17 wrote:


Hayagriva wrote:

Here's the glorious thing about the FACT that most jobs pay terribly: they won't make any real difference, certainly not a life in any respectable sense of the word. College does not even remotely guarantee an escape from this.

Why is that glorious? Because it gives you a chance to stop being a sheeple. Go learn something you want to learn, acquire skills you want to acquire, and don't be duped into thinking you have to pay forty grand to be allowed to do most of them. Make yourself into the person you want to be.

The days of mindlessly believing that a corporation or a degree will take care of everything are over. That, to me, is wonderful news.


Yes, because I'm sure an employer will take my word for it when I tell them I can successfully be their IT guy because I self studied about computer hardware and software to learn everything I would have in school.

Fact is unless you have that piece of paper, you aren't getting hired, I don't care how much you know about doing said job.


Take Python programming. Their job market is EXPLODING and there's not a single piece of accreditation for it - yet. Not to mention other forms of programming that HAVE those pieces of paper you can take the tests separately, you don't need to pay a college for classes. As for an IT job, I know people who were English majors who work in it. If you're going to try a rebuttal, at least do some research for it.
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Posted 7/10/14

Hayagriva wrote:

Take Python programming. Their job market is EXPLODING and there's not a single piece of accreditation for it - yet. Not to mention other forms of programming that HAVE those pieces of paper you can take the tests separately, you don't need to pay a college for classes. As for an IT job, I know people who were English majors who work in it. If you're going to try a rebuttal, at least do some research for it.


It's true that not every position requires a degree for entry level, but there is a limit to the range of professions your argument is applicable to. In order for people to be physicians, surgeons, lawyers, professional researchers, pharmacists, nuclear engineers, or any of the other occupations which require extensive study guided by experienced professionals for many years in order to even begin to be competent at one's job university is a must.

Personally, I'm of the mind that the cost of tertiary education ought to be covered at all levels and in full by the state (by which I mean the central government) if one is able to pass an examination for entry into such a program, and that it also ought to do so partially for those who are unable to pass said examination. Furthermore, it is (in my opinion) morally untenable that entrants into the workforce which have demonstrated competence, flexibility, and a strong capacity to learn by performing well and completing tertiary education ought to be burdened with the prohibitive cost thereof. In a society which purports itself to be meritocratic there is no justification for putting a price tag on social mobility, and the data clearly indicate that total education completed and net income are correlated.
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36 / M / Denver
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Posted 7/10/14

BlueOni wrote:


Hayagriva wrote:

Take Python programming. Their job market is EXPLODING and there's not a single piece of accreditation for it - yet. Not to mention other forms of programming that HAVE those pieces of paper you can take the tests separately, you don't need to pay a college for classes. As for an IT job, I know people who were English majors who work in it. If you're going to try a rebuttal, at least do some research for it.


It's true that not every position requires a degree for entry level, but there is a limit to the range of professions your argument is applicable to. In order for people to be physicians, surgeons, lawyers, professional researchers, pharmacists, nuclear engineers, or any of the other occupations which require extensive study guided by experienced professionals for many years in order to even begin to be competent at one's job university is a must.

Personally, I'm of the mind that the cost of tertiary education ought to be covered at all levels and in full by the state (by which I mean the central government) if one is able to pass an examination for entry into such a program, and that it also ought to do so partially for those who are unable to pass said examination. Furthermore, it is (in my opinion) morally untenable that entrants into the workforce which have demonstrated competence, flexibility, and a strong capacity to learn by performing well and completing tertiary education ought to be burdened with the prohibitive cost thereof. In a society which purports itself to be meritocratic there is no justification for putting a price tag on social mobility, and the data clearly indicate that total education completed and net income are correlated.


I love how people ignore my (usually) carefully constructed posts.


Go learn something you want to learn, acquire skills you want to acquire, and don't be duped into thinking you have to pay forty grand to be allowed to do most of them.


As for the rest of your post, I totally agree with almost all of it. The thing you have to remember is most people just pick things that "seem like a good idea" rather than being internally driven, and there is absolutely no way to account for people who are simply societal puppets in your data correlation. The difference between those individuals and people who learn and get better at things because they want to is night and day. There's not even a way to distinguish between people who are driven to become doctors for which they must go to college, and people who simply become nurses because America's getting fatter. This is why studies trying to determine the quality of demographics in the workforce are usually inherently flawed. Also, my sister changed her major four times, so she has "lots" of education completed, and while she earns decent money, it's with the least of her degrees. There's been no accounting for those people either, as far as I know.

And you actually debunked part of your own argument. Since tertiary education ISN'T covered by the state or federal government, it's basically a private enterprise which unnaturally over-inflates its programs to cost the students more. That has a significant effect on the time spent "being educated", and there's probably a study somewhere for that. I doubt that most, if any of these factors were taken into consideration in the study you mentioned, it was probably just a cross-section of total income and time spent in college. What a flawed way to look at things.
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