Here's an angle I hadn't considered concerning the reasons why Walmart decided to raise wages now. This particular hypothesis is weaker than most, but I can see this coming up during a meeting as an unexpected benefit: paying more might attract more non-felons. What made me think of this line was reading the most commented thread in Topix's Walmart Forum. What I found there was a lot of people worried that their past was about to catch up with them, like Mark:
Hi all, I was employed at Wal Mart for a little over a year as a cashier. By all accounts I did a good job and was a good employee. I put in my two weeks notice and left Wal Mart for a trade school. Well, I can't get a job in that trade so I applied to work at Wal Mart again. I was offered a job today as a cashier contingent upon passing the background check and drug screen. I answered all preliminary questions truthfully such as, "Have you ever been convicted of a crime, felony, etc." About a month ago I was smoking a joint in a college student housing area and a law enforcement officer who just happened to be in the area caught me red-handed. He charged me with possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia. The charges were enhanced due to my presence in a "drug-free zone" and because I had a prior conviction a few years back for, again, possessing some marijuana. So I'm looking at a 3rd degree felony and a class A misdemeanor. I am represented by a court-appointed attorney whom I hope will plea down these charges. So, they are PENDING CHARGES. Court is in a few weeks. When I was filling out the background check form there was a question as follows: "Do you have any charges pending?" I marked yes, listed them and checked both boxes misdemeanor and felony. The HR lady was visibly concerned upon looking it over but couldn't tell me if this would disqualify me for employment. I will pass my drug test since I quit the night of the bust, so that's not the issue here. The issue is that I have a good record as an employee, but a criminal record of a marijuana possession conviction and one pending. I am an ethical, hard-working, honest and moral person who likes to enjoy the good herb every now and then. I desperately need this job. I've been applying all over town and there is NOTHING. I'm at my wit's end, and on top of it all I'll have to deal with a hefty court fine, which I'll be unable to cover without this. To say the least, the potential of this job offer being rescinded is a heavy burden on my mind right now. If anyone could offer insight on this situation, what my chances are, have I blown it, etc., please do. Preachers, I don't want to hear it. I sincerely thank you in advance for your response.
Mark's story, from back in 2010, is just the first of a long list, mostly, based on my scanning of the posts, of people who did something stupid, got caught, and now can't even land a job at Walmart. Before the Internet, background checks were expensive and reserved for people in high-risk jobs. Now, a corporation like Walmart can afford to check each and every applicant for criminal convictions in all 50 states with just a few mouse clicks. Given the volume of checks, I'd wager that Walmart, and all of the Bentonvile Behemoth's competitors, have cut deals so that a check cost less than a dollar. There is a deeper social issue here, have citizens paid their debt to society when their sentence is over, or do they deserve what amounts to a lifetime of punishment? What do you think? Jeff Hess: Have Coffee Will Write.


  1. UncleBob says:

    Coming from someone who doesn’t drink, smoke (legal or otherwise), or partake in any illegal substances (We won’t discuss my addiction to sugary, caffeinated drinks), let me say here, the real issue is with our legal system and the punishment for drugs in general. But that’s a discussion for a different blog, eh?

  2. Jeff Hess says:


    I won’t disagree with you there.


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