Thursday, December 20, 2007

Corporate Greed--Is There a Limit?

This question keeps coming to mind in recent years, and each time I think I've seen the upper limit, I run into a blogger's post like Daizie's here. She first shows the way to a post at the Daily Kos, and since they say it just fine I'll wait til you've read it.

Really, I'll wait.

Looking at my watch...

Ah, you're done? Good. Time to rant.

I've never been a fan of this company, but hearing this story simply takes the cake, one that I will never buy at Wal*Mart again. When their employee was defenseless, they robbed her. When she was fairly awarded support for the rest of her life by the courts, her employer stole it from her, whining that she'd used a benefit that she paid for out of her small salary. Now she and her family rely on Welfare and Social Security Disability in order to pay for her round-the-clock care and still feed them all and keep a roof over their heads.

I was so shocked and angry that such a huge company has so little compassion that I went to the headquarters website and told them so. I specifically told them that since they took all that money from that poor employee, I don't see where they need my money or that of my friends, neighbors, Internet bitches or anyone else I can get to hold still long enough for me to repeat this story.

Wal*Mart's behavior was heinous and there's NO excuse that could possibly explain why it took Deborah Shank's remaining life savings from her in order to scratch its greedy itch. I told them that too.

If you wish, you can add your voice to that of others by going to the corporate website, .

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Anonymous Kat said...

I agree. WalMart's behavior is deplorable. Just when they had the opportunity to take the high road. As I understand they've been trying to reverse their horrible reputation as being that of a money-hungry, greedy over polluting corporation. They could have done the right thing and milked it. So much for their publicity and HR department.


11:28 PM  
Blogger Alexandria said...

Wow. I hadn't heard about that at all. Though, I'm in Canada so I'm not surprised I haven't heard about it.

I agree that what Wal*mart did was disgusting and far from right.

6:48 PM  
Blogger Pand0ra Wilde said...

Someone asked me what I thought Sam Walton would have done. I really do think he'd not have missed the PR boat and matched that lawsuit's funds to help the poor woman out.

Maybe it wouldn't have been all motivated by compassion, but even so it would have been the right thing to do.

3:13 PM  
Anonymous PrivatePigg said...

Uh...if you think what Wal-Mart did was somehow deplorable, and you've decided not to shop at Wal-Mart ever again, then I'd recommend you not shop at any corporation. Ever.

As an attorney, I've rarely, if ever, seen an employer - whether the size of Wal-Mart or a local joint with 25 employees - who doesn't have a clause that states they can "recoup" actual expenses paid out on behalf of an employee. It makes perfect sense!

What company could survive if it simply paid out millions of dollars to cover its employees health care costs and wasn't allowed to recover that amount when the victim recovered from a third party? What the Kos diarist conveniently leaves out, but is implicit in the decision, is that Wal-Mart initially paid for the woman's health care - all of the nearly $500,000! The woman didn't pay a dime for it! Then, when she recovered from the driver of the truck for her damages, she double recovered (we call that unjust enrichment). How? She didn't have to pay for her health care (Wal-Mart did) and then she got awarded her health care and pain and suffering damages in the civil suit - again, even though she had never paid for that health care!

So she doesn't have to pay for $500,000 worth of health care because Wal-Mart paid for it, then she wins a civil suit and gets an extra $700,000 for her injuries. She's now been paid $1.2 million dollars even though she's actually only suffered the $470,000 in medical bills or whatever it was. Of course Wal-Mart should get paid back for fronting the bill, and of course every other company would do the same thing.

And guess what, if you have insurance, and they cover your medical bills for you, and then you recover in a civil suit against the tortfeaser, the insurance company will subrogate their interest to get paid back, too. When someone covers your medical bills for you, it's not your money. It's theirs. The whole point of the legal system is to make people whole again as much as possible. When the insurance company, or your employer, pays your medical bills, and then you recover your medical bills in a civil suit, you've been paid twice and the insurance company has paid out once. That's not equitable. Just saying "oh, wal-mart is rich so they should let it go" shows an absurd lack of business sense.

9:12 AM  
Blogger Pand0ra Wilde said...

I should have answered PrivatePigg, but this is the first chance I've really had to do much around here. My apologies to my sister bloggers here.

Now, on to PrivatePigg--

Insurance, when you remove all the big words and regulations and frippery, is essentially a form of gambling. The companies are betting they won't have to pay their customers; their customers are betting they'll need to collect from the company due to winning the "bet".

Customers make regular bets, giving the company a most substantial pool of wagers to work with. A third party doesn't hold the bets--the insurance company does that so they have the money on hand when they lose a bet. Not only that, they're able to invest those bets until they're needed for payout, meaning the company makes even more money with no obligation to share their investment winnings.

That's a pretty sweet deal, isn't it?

In the case of Deborah Shank, WalMart's insurance company lost a bet, requiring them to make good on it. They had an obligation to cover her medical expenses in the event that she fell ill or sustained injury, something she paid for with each premium she paid. They did pay off, as required.

If a casino had to pay a $470,000 pot to a slot machine winner, who'd feel sorry for them losing such a huge bet? No one. Everyone knows for each person who lucks out and wins anything at a casino, there are 1-2 others who have lost.

Gambling always favors the house, and just because WalMart's the house and someone put a different name on the game, why should it be different for them?

Deborah Shank's lawsuit brought her family the means to cover her future care and other needs. WalMart's suit to collect on what amounts to a drop in the bucket is greedy. They have more than enough money to pay off on this bet and no one feels sorry for them.

If anyone sees this, I'm writing an update to the story right now.

12:04 PM  
Blogger Billychic said...

Pandora - You are awesome. I love your discussing this - and coming back to it with a vengeance.

I can't wait to read your update.


3:04 PM  

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