Walmart couldn't let a critical piece in The New York Times go unanswered. In an op-ed article, "The Corporate Daddy," Timothy Egan contrasts Walmart and Starbucks:
"As long as the Supreme Court says that corporations are citizens, they may as well act like them. Starbucks is trying to be dutiful - in its own prickly, often self-righteous, spin-heavy way - while Walmart is a net drain on taxpayers, forcing employees into public assistance with its poverty-wage structure."
The impetus for the commentary seems to be Starbucks' recent announcement of tuition reimbursement for employees. Although Egan says, "It's a sad day when we have to look to corporations for education, health care, and basic ways to boost the middle class," he sees an opportunity for large employers-and criticizes Walmart for contributing in the wrong direction.
With tongue-in-cheek humor, Walmart posted an edited version of the article. The edits point to different sources and additional considerations for the value Walmart brings.
- What's your view of Walmart's approach? Why do you think management took this approach? What alternatives would they have considered to refute the article?
- Assess evidence provided in the article and in Walmart's responses. In each case that Walmart disputes evidence, which argument do you find more believable?