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?