Today Walmart is holding its annual shareholder meeting, and, wow, tough week to have to answer to your shareholders.
On Wednesday, Consumer Reports released a pretty scathing report that shows customers by and large are dissatisfied with Walmart. Out of the 11 chain stores customers were surveyed about, Walmart came in 10th overall and received negative ratings in all 13 categories. Customers didn't even feel they were getting a good value at Walmart. So much for the "save money" and "live better" parts of "Save money. Live better." Consumer Reports even went so far to suggest that customers would be happier shopping somewhere other than Walmart. Ouch.
Then, yesterday, the New York Times presented evidence that Walmart has known since 1995 that the company is liable - to the tune of billions of dollars - for its discriminatory employment practices. You may remember that six years later, the biggest sex discrimination lawsuit in history was filed against Walmart. So, to be clear, Walmart leadership was aware of the financial risk facing the company for six years before women took legal action against policies that systematically paid female workers less than their male counterparts and prevented women from winning promotions. Shareholders can't be too happy with Bentonville for exposing them to that kind of financial risk.
Meanwhile, as Walmart tried to salvage what was no doubt a tense shareholder meeting with celebrity appearances and empty talking points, activists were talking directly to Walmart shoppers, letting them know about Walmart's discriminatory practices. Here are some photos of actions that took place around the country today: