Walmart Wants to Take Exploitation to the Next Level and Have Customers Deliver Orders

No form of worker exploitation would exactly surprise me coming from Walmart, a company so dedicated to low-wage labor that many of its workers have to depend on food stamps and Medicaid. But doesn't it seem like there are just a few things that could go wrong with this idea?

Wal-Mart Stores Inc is considering a radical plan to have store customers deliver packages to online buyers, a new twist on speedier delivery services that the company hopes will enable it to better compete with Inc. [...]

Wal-Mart has millions of customers visiting its stores each week. Some of these shoppers could tell the retailer where they live and sign up to drop off packages for online customers who live on their route back home, Anderson explained.

Wal-Mart would offer a discount on the customers' shopping bill, effectively covering the cost of their gas in return for the delivery of packages, he added.

Paying for the delivery people's gas but not time—a novelist couldn't write a better next move for Walmart. There will be significant regulatory and legal challenges to the idea if Walmart moves forward with it, of course. Because even setting aside the free labor issue, the plan would entail handing people consumer goods and a stranger's address. What do you think is more likely?

A) Delivery people paid in gas discounts at Walmart deciding to just go home with the things they're supposed to deliver.

B) A gun owner forgetting he had a delivery coming and deciding to stand his ground and defend his castle when a stranger comes knocking.

C) An actual thief doing deliveries as a way to case potential houses to rob.

D) Rape.

E) All of the above and then some.

The government needs to put a stop to this before it starts. But the crazy thing is, it's not at all hard to imagine a room full of Walmart executives just trying to decide whether they'll save enough by not paying delivery people to have all the theft be worth it.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card


Thanks for your support!

Did you enjoy AlterNet this year? Join us! We're offering AlterNet ad-free for 15% off - just $2 per week. From now until March 15th.