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America's Debate > Archive > Assorted Issues Archive > [A] Economy and Business
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crashfourit
QUOTE
Wal-Mart's response to Katrina -- an unrivaled $20 million in cash donations, 1,500 truckloads of free merchandise, food for 100,000 meals and the promise of a job for every one of its displaced workers -- has turned the chain into an unexpected lifeline for much of the Southeast and earned it near-universal praise at a time when the company is struggling to burnish its image
 
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The Bentonville, Ark., company is rushing to set up mini-Wal-Marts in storm-ravaged areas, handing out clothing, diapers, baby wipes, toothbrushes and food. With police escorts, it delivered two truckloads of ice and water into New Orleans. It is shipping 150 Internet-ready computers to shelters caring for evacuees. 
 
<snip> 
 
Scott said: "We have never claimed to be flawless. But on the other hand, we have always demanded that we as a company do care. If anything, this week has shown we do care."
(source, *)
 
 


Walmart has been one of the leading corporations in bringing aid to the Katrina victims.

Topics:
Is Walmart doing the right thing?
Will this help repair their pulbic image?
Will this help Walmart raise their over all profits?
Will this "raise the ante for every company in the country"?
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Julian
Is Walmart doing the right thing?
Yes

Will this help repair their pulbic image?
Yes, it probably will.

Will this help Walmart raise their over all profits?
Yes. Indeed, I'd be shocked if Walmart hadn't considered this at a high level before choosing to adopt this policy. People whose lives have been saved by a business are pretty likely to remain loyal customers for the rest of their saved lives.
If that logic sounds like it comes from a reptilian cynic... well, unfortunately, Anglo-Saxon capitalism does pretty much insist on reptilian cynical self-interest being at the heart of every single corporate decision.
Occasionally the outcomes of those decisions coincide with doing what ordinary human beings consider to be the right or noble thing, as here. Mostly they are morally neutral, and just as occasionally they are reprehensible. since businesses are encouraged to be completely amoral, such random coincidences with morality are only to be expected.

Will this "raise the ante for every company in the country"?
I hope so. But I won't be holding my breath.
skeeterses
Is Walmart doing the right thing?
Yes.

Will this help repair their public image?
It will help but giving disaster aid alone will not repair Walmart's image. Most people are skeptical enough to see if a company is being charitable mainly to look good on TV. What Walmart could do to be really charitable would be to invest in education and job training for the New Orleans poor population so that those people don't have to work at poverty wages. Nonetheless, it's great that Walmart is helping out with the disaster relief.

Will this help Walmart raise their over all profits?
If that was the purpose of charity, then it wouldn't be charity. Charity has to be done for a higher purpose than buying loyalty from the customers.

As far as upping the ante is concerned, we must remember that the nature of the competition in the Corporate World is trying to acquire the most profit and power for the CEOs and Boards of Directors, not be the most benevolent. We must look in our own hearts and minds for solutions to poverty and be willing to lend our hands to help the extremely poor people, whether its through giving them a productive job or teaching them valuable skills so that they can get better jobs later on. After all, if the more poor people in New Orleans had marketable job skills, they wouldn't need Charity from a company known for low wages.
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