I hear a lot about Walmart's questionable practices, but my take on it is, employees who are not happy with their benefits and/or work conditions are free to find jobs elsewhere. Walmart has to be given credit for hiring employees of various demographics that other retailers don't hire at all. When I worked as a refugee resettlement social worker (helping refugees find jobs), I placed several refugee clients there who barely spoke English and had no previous job experience. Try placing people like that at Target or another retailer. And I can't help but notice that when I go to Walmart, many elderly and disabled individuals work there - I don't see the same at Target or Kmart. So while some may say that Walmart is taking advantage of them by not giving them benefits, I say that we should focus on what they did give them - a job. The sad reality is, despite non-discrimination laws and all that, most retailers won't hire many of the individuals who find work at Walmart.
With the economy in it's present downside, it's not a simple matter of packing up and leaving for another job. Jobs often aren't available. There's nothing for them to go to.
The question is whether WalMart is acting in a benevolent way, or is it taking advantage of the less fortunate?
My personal experience with WalMart is limited - initially because of poor and unfriendly service; now because of what's been publicized about their business practices. I encountered greeters that don't greet (one was chatting away with a fellow employe; a greeter who didn't say anything at all -- she just pointed to the store aisles). I think I could have found my way. A couple refused to help because "it's not my department". Having someone page for help resulted in a near 20 minute wait, while no one showed up after the first page. Yet there were employes walking around, not even asking if I needed assistance. There were other instances where more couresy would have been appreciated. I'm sure this happens in other stores, but WalMart seemed to be conssistent at it.
Your perspective is different, of course, and in a way that makes WalMart appealing to you. From a consumer viewpoint, it's a different story.