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Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price

3.9 out of 5 stars 272 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Everyone has seen Wal-Mart's lavish television commercials, but have you ever wondered why Wal-Mart spends so much money trying to convince you it cares about your family, your community, and even its own employees? What is it hiding?

WAL-MART: The High Cost of Low Price takes you behind the glitz and into the real lives of workers and their families, business owners and their communities, in an extraordinary journey that will challenge the way you think, feel... and shop.

About the Actor

Robert Greenwald is the director/producer of "Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism" (2004), a documentary exposing the right-wing bias of Fox News. The film was initially distributed via internet DVD sales, but strong viewer demand led to an unusual post-DVD theatrical release in the summer of 2004. His new documentary is "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price" set for release in November 2005.

Greenwald is also the executive producer of a trilogy of "Un" documentaries: "Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election" (2002), directed by Richard Ray Perez and Joan Sekler; "Uncovered: The Iraq War (2003)", directed by Greeenwald; and "Unconstitutional" (2004), directed by Nonny de la Pena, about the post 9/11 erosion of American civil liberties.

In addition to his documentary work, Greenwald has produced and/or directed more than 50 television movies, miniseries and feature films, including: The Book of Ruth (2004), based on the best selling book by Jane Hamilton; The Crooked E: The Unshredded Truth About Enron (2003); Blonde, a miniseries based on Joyce Carol Oates' fictionalized biography of Marilyn Monroe; The Burning Bed, starring Farrah Fawcett as an abused housewife; Our Guys, based on the true story of a rape in a small town; Shattered Spirits, starring Martin Sheen, about alcoholism; Forgotten Prisoners, about the work of Amnesty International; and Hiroshima.

Greenwald also produced and directed the feature film, Steal This Movie, starring Vincent D'Onofrio as 60's radical Abbie Hoffman, as well as Breaking Up, starring Russell Crowe and Salma Hayek.

Greenwald's films have garnered 25 Emmy nominations, four cable ACE Award nominations, two Golden Globe nominations, the Peabody Award, the Robert Wood Johnson Award, and eight Awards of Excellence from the Film Advisory Board. He was awarded the 2002 Producer of the Year Award by the American Film Institute. Greenwald is the recipient of awards and honors for his political work by the ACLU Foundation of Southern California; the L.A. chapter of the National Lawyers Guild; Physicians for Social Responsibility; and the Office of the Americas. He is a co-founder (with Danny and Victor Goldberg) of RDV Books, as well as the co-founder (with Mike Farrell) of "Artists United," a group of actors and others opposed to the war in Iraq, which continues to work toward publicizing progressive causes. Greenwald also has lectured at Harvard University for the Nieman Fellows Foundation for Journalism.

Special Features

  • 20 minute version
  • Behind the Scenes documentary
  • Director's commentary
  • 8 parody commercials
  • The Spoofmakers
  • and four additional videos not in the film -- Canada, England, Our Moral Voices, and Don't Mourn...Take Action!

Product Details

  • Directors: Robert Greenwald
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Full length, Letterboxed, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Unknown)
  • Subtitles: Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Brave New Films
  • DVD Release Date: November 15, 2005
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (272 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000BTH4K4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #50,997 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Schtinky VINE VOICE on February 6, 2006
Format: DVD
'Wal Mart, The High Cost Of Low Price' is filled with first hand testimonials and some hard-fact figures that will help in validating your hatred of this greedy giant, and visually exposes those in other countries who are ruthlessly used as slaves to produce the cheap products you purchase when you patronize this monolith.

These "jobs" provided to the labor forces of India, China, Bangladesh, and Mexico are not 'good wage' jobs even for third world standards. The people are overworked, underpaid, and forced to work in sub-human conditions. These human beings make 13 to 17 cents and hour, and work 10 to 18 hour days without breaks, all so you can have that $1.49 blouse.

Exposed in this film are the squalid, rent controlled apartments in China, provided by the company, that put to shame the most rancid ghetto house in your hometown. And if the employee chooses not to live in these rat-infested housing developments, the rent is still deducted from their wages. Wal-Mart has managed to lower the work standards set for these hard-pressed, low wage, third-world countries that other companies are going to follow, sucking down the standards of working all across the world.

The manager of the Mexico factories went on a tour to make sure that working conditions were humane. He was fired when he reported that the conditions were intolerably inhumane. In his own words, he didn't think retaliation would be brought against him for doing his job.

If you think it was a good thing that America abolished slavery, then think again before you go into a Wal-Mart. Just because the US is no longer "importing" slaves, doesn't make it right to continue to use slavery in other countries to produce high profits for personal gain.
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Format: DVD
Right from the start, you get the impression of a family's impending doom. They have run a successful business for a generation and have been members of their community for several more. The juggernaut Walmart is about to move into the area. The viewer wonders, but knows what will befall the family business.

As the producer points out, this has occurred all over America where Walmart has set up shop, demanded more services from the county treasury, and ran local stores into bankruptcy, destroying main streets everywhere. If the Wallmart is not profitable, it will be shut down. It will leave a vacant building and parking lot and a shuttered main street like the parasite that has sucked the life out of its host.

Robert Greenwald also focuses on the Walmart employees who are forced to work long hours sans overtime, health care, or union protection. On this last one, in particular, Walmart fights tooth and nail with a rapid response force of lawyers that will descend on the wayward employees the same day the news reaching them. (When Walmart butchers successfully unionized in Wisconsin, the company closed down the butcher shops in those stores.)

Many employees are paid so poorly that they cannot afford the cost of health coverage the company provides. They get public assistance and must apply for food stamps. Ironically, Wallmart touts their wonderful health plan that would cost many of their employess almost half their salary.

The odd part of this documentary was seeing Walmart's CEO addressing a crowd of enthusiastic Wallmart employees extolling Walmart's exemplary employee treatment. It had more of the look of an Amway convention where individual achievement is encouraged. And that is about all that Walmart is willing to offer them.
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Format: DVD
Everyone knows the story: WalMart waltzes into a small to medium-sized town, promises jobs and better shopping opportunities for everyone, secures tons of tax concessions, opens to great fanfare among local politicians and property developers, and within a year turns the former downtown area into a wasteland of shuttered buildings and ruined family businesses. But how many people know about the following:

-- That WalMart managers keep lists of places Associates could go for public assistance. As one employee was told, "There are lots of programs out there. Use your taxpayers' dollars!" The movie estimates that it costs American taxpayers over $1.5 billion every year to support WalMart employees.

-- That five Walton family members are in the top ten of America's richest people but give less than 1% of their wealth to charity (Bill Gates has given 58%) but over $3.2 million in political contributions in 2004 alone (one guess as to which political party).

-- That the moment the first union in a WalMart Canada store was certified, the company closed the store, claiming it was not profitable.

-- That the moment the tax abatements expired for their store in Cathedral City, CA, WalMart relocated it two miles away, just beyond the city line.

-- That there were over 27 million square feet of abandoned WalMart store space around the U.S.

-- That WalMart knew as early as 1994 from internal studies that 80% of their store crime occurred in the parking lots but has done virtually nothing to make their customers safe and, in fact, tried to hide from the courts that they had even done these studies.
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