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 Amazon.com 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.
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.