French Canadian journalist Hugo Meunier specializes in “immersion reporting.” He spent three months working at a Walmart store and offers an insider’s account of the plight of low-paid worker bees who stock the shelves and endure abuse from bargain-hunting shoppers.
In this WhoWhatWhy podcast interview, Meunier explains the training and indoctrination he received, as well as the company’s attempts to motivate workers with daily reports on store sales and repeated dangling of a $2,000 annual performance bonus. Employees are required to watch training videos and attend morning meetings that include a ritual Walmart cheer.
Meunier offers some amusing stories from his Walmart experience, and details the sinister side of the world’s biggest retailer. For instance, during the peak sales month of December, he and his fellow “associates” saw their hours cut in an effort to improve the corporate bottom line. The workers’ loss of income was especially painful during the holidays.
Hugo Meunier’s book, Walmart: Diary of an Associate (Fernwood Publishing), has just been released in English.
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