Walmart Analysis

By, Sarah Everhart

Background

Central Issue: Walmart is an unfair and selfish company that essentially steals from individuals and doesn't accommodate to the needs of their customers.


Summary: Walmart's enterprise is worth billions of dollars and supplies consumers with exceedingly low pricing. In order to do this, they violate many humanitarian rights and financially manipulate the law.

Purpose, Audience, Thesis & Mode

The purpose of this film was to expose the unknown truths about the Wal-Mart business market. The audience of the documentary was targeted at the consumers of Wal-Mart products, exposing them to the truths of the working conditions. The mode of the documentary was the reflexive mode; the acknowledged the vast issue related to the Wal-Mart industry on a personal and grave financial scale. They continuously brought in the CEO of Wal-Mart to refute his argument.

Counterargument

The counterargument was present at the beginning of the documentary. A man (Lee Scott, CEO of Wal-Mart) was presented onstage discussing the prolific income and size of the Wal-Mart as well as establishing the incorporation as the most profitable market with the best service.

Analysis of Rhetoric/Clips

(0:23) 240 billion dollars in sales yet couldn't provide enough money for their employees healthcare & cost 1,577,000,000 dollars from taxpayers to support its employees.


(0:51) The examination of peoples lives that were completely annihilated by the progression of the Wal-Mart industry taking over small towns and businesses. It was so detrimental and heartbreaking towards the lives of the people and moved the audience to feel motivated to act upon the issue.


(1:20) The working conditions in China and Bangladesh worked excessive hours (violating workers rights and conditions) for maximum 18 cents a day. Humane director witnessed these working conditions and got fired for reporting them.


The astute aphorisms in this documentary were abundant via the primary footage. The incorporation of daily lives of those affected adversely by the Wal-Mart industry were made clear by their short and powerful statements.


Contradiction was a main rhetorical device used by the document producer. Repeated clips of Wal-Mart commercials and footage extracted from speeches spoken by Lee Scott (Wal-Mart CEO) followed immediately by factual evidence refuting the aforementioned claims drastically shaped the thinking of the audience.


Irony is used superfluously throughout the documentary. Claims created by the CEO and the Wal-Mart industry were ironically displayed in almost a satirical format; the blatant refutation of the claims created in the commercials of Wal-Mart were debunked by real-life situations and stories from employees and victims.

Logos, Ethos, Pathos

Pathos: Johnny Faenza (interviewee) appealed to pathos by expressing the people in America barely had enough money to feed their families. Thus creating protest against minimum wages applied by the Wal-Mart business. They talk about the dropping of sales in their personal stores and how dramatic of an impact it will make in their lives financially and personally. Subsequently, the film displayed raw truths about the adverse working conditions some had to face in China and overseas.


Ethos: The documentary builds its credibility by showing an abundance of short news clips making claims about Wal-Mart's safety (their hefty cost of insurance, parking lot violations, crimes committed, ready assistance, etc.). Because they used real-life newscasts, individuals are able to acknowledge the sheer strength and support behind the adverse accusations about Wal-Mart.


Logos: The entire documentary appeals to logos by continuously incorporating statistical information about Wal-Mart. The typical incorporation of evidence included monetary values and accusations of stealing from their employees. The blunt factual evidence let the audience see the validity of the argument based on facts alone.

Visual Style & Tools

Visual techniques of primary footage were used increasingly throughout the entire documentary to inculcate the CEO and managers of Wal-Mart. The depressive stories told throughout the film, elevating drastically towards the end of the film, enhance the brutality of the company and working conditions. The usage of depressive cultural music by region in America and foreign countries effects the audience by automatically forcing them to empathize.

Evidence

Personal experience was used excessively during this documentary. The individuals interviewed and analyzed had increasingly negative accusations against the business. The competing business owners in smaller towns strongly pressed against Wal-Mart moralistically. Newscasts were used to build the credibility of the argument.

By bringing in the associates and the lawsuits brought against Wal-Mart (in 31 states) it assisted in the aid of the argument.

Strength, Weaknesses & Fallacies

Fallacies

1. Slippery Slope- Walmart prevents union workers by accusing them of potentially ruining businesses and they also manipulate the employee to become afraid of speaking up about their jobs and wages.


2. Appeal to popular opinion- the townspeople of Inglewood, CA speak up about the boycotting of the building of a 215,000sq ft Wal-Mart in their town. They created Public and private meetings with city members and accumulated 4,000 signatures on their petition ultimately representing their society.


Strengths:

Strategically incorporating facts to juxtapose with CEO claims

Use of news casting

Use of Wal-Mart commercials and refuting their claims

Interviewing of individuals in their homes and personal lives


Weaknesses:

Excessive use of music creates conflicting moods

Including overlapping interviews without much context not relating to a previous claim yet providing other factual evidence

Harsh reiteration of the same problems without an equilibrium of activist acts

Conclusion

This documentary was extremely effective in persuading the audience to think upsetting thoughts against the Wal-Mart incorporation. The interviews of lives that were destroyed by the Wal-Mart industry created an excessive empathetic emotion, which is powerful enough to move the audience in a progressive way. Becoming exposed to the industry life that Wal-Mart provides makes one think differently about their employees and managers. Pertaining to foreign jobs, the Wal-Mart industry manipulates impoverished individuals and essentially enslaves them which appeals to humane and moralistic statutes. This documentary was very effective in portraying their message towards the general public.