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Pre-2008 Posts

More Reasons to Hate Wal-Mart

flipflopsa.jpeg

Do not buy these flip-flops at Wal-Mart, even though they only cost $2.44 per pair.  If you buy them, your feet might end up looking like this:

myfeet.jpeg

Or much worse.

You can read the saga here.  In brief, a young woman who had been employed by Wal-Mart at one time bought these flip-flops with the resulting reactions where the flip-flop straps met the skin of her feet.  When the blistering and pain became worse and worse no matter what she did, she went to the store from which she bought the flip-flops and spoke with the manager, who behaved like a jackass and wouldn’t even look at her feet, let alone remove the stock of flip-flops from the shelves.  She says:

He told me “well, nothing will come of this because you bought them in April and you are just now reporting this?” When I tried to explain the timeline to him he didn’t want to listen and turned his back on me so I just quit talking.

I never used to think so but now I really feel like Walmart is a horrible company. You would have to been there but it was almost as if since I was a former employee, it is my opinion he was going out of his way to try and be mean to me. I have heard this is a common Walmart practice, but I didn’t really believe it til now. Now it is my opinion that is correct.

After he filled out the incident report I had to ask for a copy as he didn’t seem to want to give me one. I then took on the stance that I wasn’t leaving until I got a copy so he made me a copy.

I limped out of the store and went home, a bit shocked and a lot disgusted.  All I wanted to do was let them know that there might be a problem with some Chinese made shoes since I am not allergic to latex or rubber.

I have always worn rubber flip flops like this and never had any type of problem. I am not a sue happy type person but automatically he was defensive and basically acted like a complete jerk to me.

So now I have decided to let every single person who will listen know exactly what happened.

Utilizing the power of the internet, she posted pictures of the flip-flops and her feet and described the way Wal-Mart had responded.   Immediately,  others began e-mailing  her to tell her of their similar difficulties with these flip-flops.  Each  person thought she must just be having some kind of allergic reaction. 

Meanwhile the young woman who bought the flip flops has continued to suffer with what feels and acts like a burn.  She has spent a lot of money on treatments and on doctors.  Wal-Mart sent her a letter to tell  her the statute of limitations had run out on her claim, but that they had asked the factory — in China — to conact her.  Nice. 

yangchaowaorkers2.jpeg

This is the factory in China where the shoes are made.  I wonder what might be happening to the workers’ hands?

The good news is that as of a couple of weeks ago, the young woman’s site had received 19 million hits!  Nevertheless, as of August 31, the shoes were still on Wal-Mart shelves.

More on China-made products, and thanks to Lolita Kali for the link!

Heart

Discussion

12 thoughts on “More Reasons to Hate Wal-Mart

  1. Heart,

    Thanks so much for this.

    What a heroine this young woman is! It is so telling that walmart now refuses to sell the shoes when they show up at the checkout.

    Talk about activism from the ground up. 🙂

    I’m sad to see all this stuff about the toxic products that have been shipped here from China – but I must say, it comes as no surprise.

    I no longer buy anything from China that will come into contact with my body or my food. It doesn’t leave much else, eh?

    Mary

    Posted by Mary Sunshine | September 8, 2007, 6:16 pm
  2. I’m amazed that people can wear flip-flops, no back support. Nevertheless, I don’t shop at Wal-mart.

    Posted by E. K. "Kitty" Glendower | September 8, 2007, 6:26 pm
  3. E.K.,

    They’re incredibly popular in Australia – I just hope folks don’t buy those ones. Another thing: what about the many more numerous Chinese folks who are most certainly wearing them?

    I hate anything between my toes, *especially* anything that exerts a regular force, as flip-flops do.

    Also, you have no footing, no stability.

    Mary

    Posted by Mary Sunshine | September 8, 2007, 7:20 pm
  4. I am awash in flip flops at my house. My kids wear just about nothing else, including in the rain, freezing cold, you name it. I wear them too, although not the ultra cheap ones which give you blisters between your toes. This last summer I got flip flops in the men’s dept., much better quality and they lasted throughout Michfest and resulted in only one blister. That’s a record low for me for Michfest blisters.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | September 8, 2007, 9:21 pm
  5. Ugh. ..something like that coming from Walmart I’m not at all surprised. .
    I can’t stand to wear flip-flops myself; I come from a family of back problems and bad feet so I wear some great Mephisto sandals with good arch support. Love those shoes.

    PS: Heart, is your email address the same as it was? It hasn’t gotten hacked into or anything? I just need to send you an email and I wanted to be sure. Thanks.🙂

    Posted by Chloe | September 8, 2007, 9:43 pm
  6. Oooo, Mephisto sandals! I have some heirloom Birks, the kind with the strap around the ankle, over 20 years old now, but they need some repairs. 🙂

    Yeah, my e-mail address is the same, no worries. 🙂

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | September 8, 2007, 10:37 pm
  7. Nothing from that store (or corporations in general) could possibly shock me. Unfortunately, most of the damage they do is invisible.

    Peace,

    ~Chani
    http://thailandgal.blogspot.com

    Posted by thailandchani | September 8, 2007, 11:39 pm
  8. I was in a WalMart for the first time in my life a couple days ago. Was being driven somewhere “I just have to stop here to pick up X, wanna come in with me?” So I did. I have never seen such a collection of cheap crap junk in my life. The goods at the Salvation Army store are a step up. And people buying all that garbage like it was going out of style. Unbelievable.

    Birks yeah I have two pair not quite as old as yours Heart. Getting there. I have had them repaired bits and pieces. Amazing craftsmanship. Mephistos are a bit out of my league; here they are around $300 minumum.

    I hope this woman will make a complaint to her elected official, beginning with “Why are we trading goods with a country that enslaves it’s citizens?” The latest I heard is that nine-month pregnant women are being dragged off by the gov there and given forced abortions because they already have one child. They are actually hunting them down, people are turning them in, and at nine months, aborted. I refuse to buy anything from China that I can identify as being from China.

    Posted by Sis | September 9, 2007, 1:06 am
  9. I have had the same rash problem from black flip flops purchased at Rite-Aid in Grass Valley California. I’m in contact with their home office and the shoe company, and their insurance company.
    I want to know exactly what toxin is. There maybe more serious health problems in the future like liver and/or kidney damage which can only be understood when we know which toxins are in these products.
    There maybe a class action suit here.

    Posted by ginny | December 20, 2007, 6:53 pm
  10. You can always buy a good pair of army surpluss shoes. They last almost forever, and I have never had any medical problems from them at all.

    Stick to good quality. Anything that is $2.99 will be $2.99.

    I don’t know why people keep going to Wal Mart anyway.

    We need to radically change the notions of what intelligent shopping is all about. People often don’t know that they are buying more expensive items than they need to.

    But the thing is, if you are a young mother, with maybe 2-3 young children, you don’t have extra help or support, and so you go for the easy way out.

    Good work on this post and getting the word out. Interesting that all this was happening way before poison in China became a big story — if I remember correctly.

    Posted by Satsuma | December 21, 2007, 7:47 pm
  11. China is simply exporting that which its own people suffered under dor decades. It was a pretty awful place back in 1985, and it shows few signs of reforming anytime soon. They will get away with as much as they can for as long as they can.

    Posted by Satsuma | December 22, 2007, 8:34 am
  12. Stick to good quality. Anything that is $2.99 will be $2.99.

    I don’t know why people keep going to Wal Mart anyway.

    Well, generally, because all they have is 2.99 and they can buy “shoes” there for 2.99!
    :/

    Years ago, decades, really, probably early 80s, I met Graham Kerr, who was the “Galloping Gourmet” on TV way back when. He had had a religious conversion and was involved with an international evangelistic/missionary organization. I was at some kind of dinner and sat at the same table with him. He was very much into “Live simply so that others may simply live,” and I was, too, and we got to talking. He was telling me about some of the workshops he put on about living out his philosophy. One thing he emphasized was buying quality. You may not want to spend $200 for some item of clothing or shoes, but if they last you for the rest of your life, basically, that may work out to your having spent pennies per year for that item, whereas, if you bought the same thing for cheap, you would have to buy and rebuy and rebuy, spending more than $200, for example, in ONE YEAR for a series of cheap items that wore out and could not be repaired because they were so cheap.

    I really enjoyed what he had to say and I agreed with him and still do.

    The thing is, he had some bucks. He HAD the $200 free and clear to spend on a suit or whatever to begin with.

    For poor people, that’s the rent budget, that’s the light bill, that’s the emergency fund for when the car breaks down, etc.

    For years I gave workshops on how I managed to feed my family of 10 on $200 per month. Yes, that is really possible, and I did it for many years. But my scheme depended on buying bulk from wholesale organic food outlets via a food co-op (I had helped to organize one in my neighborhood, the first one there, actually, ever.) I would always urge the women attending to organize food co-ops and would tell them how.

    The thing is, though, even when you organize food co-ops, etc., the bottom line is, you have to have some small chunk of cash to begin.

    I used to make ALL of my family’s bread every day. LOVED it. I’m a great breadmaker and still make bread when I get in the mood. I could (and can) make a loaf of 100 percent whole wheat bread made from freshly ground wheat, healthy oils, molasses, etc., bursting with good nutrition, for about 30 cents for a hefty, delicious loaf. But to do that I needed:

    * A grain mill (to grind the wheat)
    * A machine to knead the bread. (If you are making it every day and you have a family of 10 you are homeschooling, you do not have time to stand around hand kneading for half an hour.)

    You also need, again, to have money for supplies.

    If you go to the corner grocery for wheat berries (for grinding), you’ll pay between 50 cents and 80 cents a pound. If you buy organic whole wheat flower, you will pay a BUTTload for a couple of pounds (and usually it makes crappy bread, purchased whole wheat flour, I mean). Then there’s the olive oil or canola oil, the molasses or honey, all pricey pricey pricey.

    But if you buy through a co-op, you can get, as I did for years, organic wheat berries at 20 cents a pound, 50 pounds of organic whole wheat flour for 8 bucks, honey and molasses in large amounts which amount to a fraction in cost of what you’d pay on store shelves.

    The thing is, as a magazine publisher, I could buy the grain mill (and got it at wholesale price because one of my columnists sold them. Same with my bread kneader machine.) I also could come up with 8 dollars for a sack of wheat, 30 bucks for gallons of molasses or honey, etc. And I had a car to get to, and to pick up these large quantities and a place to store them. I had a freezer (essential to feeding my family on $200 month).

    And so on.

    Women would come to my workshops and get really excited, except how could they buy these large quantities on their meager grocery budgets? Where would they store things in their tiny apartments? How could they ever afford a food processor (central to my 200 a month plan) or a grain mill or a bread kneader? When they only had $50 a week for food, how would could they buy the large quantities in order to get started on my plan? And especially when there was absolutely no leeway.

    So often poor people have situations like, they pay their rent, lights, phone, and they have 34 dollars to last from the 10th to the 30th of the month. They’re not going to use that to buy 50 pounds of Montana spring wheat, but if they did, where would they store it? And how would they protect it from critters? They’re not going to use it to buy a gallon of cold pressed olive oil and a quart of honey. They’re going to spend a tiny bit here, a tiny bit there, because they have to get through the entire rest of the month and who knows what emergencies might befall? So they get the four for a buck macaroni. If the daughter’s flip-flops break, they go to Wal Mart and buy a pair for 2.99. And they’re always thinking there’s 30 bucks to ward off catastrophes of various kinds for the next 20 days.

    Once people HAVE wealth, it is much easier to live economically. Graham Kerr has 200 bucks to spend on a suit or whatever, and so he saves tons of money on suits. The poor person doesn’t have 200 bucks to spend on a suit. She has to make do any way she can.

    If you are poor, it is always like pushing an impossibly large boulder uphill because you do not have what you need just to get started on a program which might eventually pay off in terms of saving you a lot of money.

    I will blog about money soon.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | December 22, 2007, 5:52 pm

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