The Walmart Cult

The Cult

Becoming a part of the Cult, consists of being recruited a member of the cult, as a person that can be relied on to assume responsibilities and accomplish all or almost all things requested.

Depending upon the position you hold and the person that you are attached to the most, any position can be engaging and can be so different from any other experience that you have had prior to Walmart in almost any retail sector that you feel you are being chosen for great things.

Along with morning meetings and consistently being told how much you mean as an individual to the company, by your recruiter, management and the general population you feel an inclusiveness that is hard to describe. Before the end of each meeting the feeling, gets closer to being accepted into a religious organization or sorority, and when you are accepted, in some way you sincerely begin to believe what you are being told is that you belong to a new family. "The Walmart Family" You begin to believe that "The Walmart Way" is the better way, the only way.

I did not see it happening and I begin to correlate past experiences with this new and empowered way of working. I am sure I felt something then that most typical retail employees seldom if ever feel. A sense of power. As the brainwashing continued, I found myself accepting any number of practices that are not truly acceptable according to written company policy but are known to the members as unwritten rules that are to be followed by all without question or concern.

I found myself accepting the unacceptable. Policies and procedures that were just plain common sense meant nothing soon. Even when I complained about something that was going on or went to the office seeking information, or asked why, eventually I you would accept that it was the way it should be in the end and continued to feel that someday I would get the recognition and the position that I truly did deserve.

Depending on your view of what a job is you may find yourself accepting and or doing things in order to please the management that has been so good to you.

I found that seldom if ever did I say anything that would offend anyone. Situations that would normally be questionable to me, even according to Walmart company policy or my own moral beliefs became acceptable. Things such as Gender discrimination or favoritism becomes acceptable and some how I knew inside bringing it up as unfair would label me as a problem.

This in turn would cause the person or manager who was so good to me, to be hurt and unhappy I would think or even suggest it is what it is.

I found it was not hard to accept and believe all of it was for my own good. I started to believe the company would never want to mistreat or discriminate against anyone even when it looked that way. I believed the reasons or concerns I had, what ever they were, were being handled in a justifiable way and it is was all for the good of the family.

Once I became a bona fide member, the procedure continued and changed occasionally to fit the position that I held within the cult.

The inclusiveness, the confidentiality of different situations became paramount to my standing within the cult.

If at any time, I became a maverick or bucked my immediate supervisor I found that I would immediately pulled aside and put on notice about my conduct and how I should go about repairing any damage I inflicted upon the cult. All of it was done in a very nurturing way and during this type of situation I was informed how I would be now and always expected to conduct myself in the future.

It is when the situation becomes personal and changes the actual way that a person views life, that it simulates brainwashing.

It is when one person recruits another and has no reason for doing it other than their standing within the cult that it is not normal. When the only reward is the person's standing within the cult will be higher because the person knows what they are doing what is right according to Walmart. Once you have entered the status of truly being brain washed all situations that are accepted by the cult as justifiable are accepted personally as well.

My personal experience has resulted with the inner conflict that occurs with mentally trying to accept "The Walmart Way" over biological family members and numerous coworkers that have had situations requiring one to take sides.

All issues due to any number of internal or external situations that present themselves seem to trigger an automatic defense system. To do anything other than this would cause one to be shunned by the cult and would cause members to inflict mental strain and stress on the person not conforming to what is considered to be a part of your responsibility to the company as an associate.

There is a psychological aspect to being a Walmart associate that truly finds no special job code.

Julie Pierce has worked in the retail sector for more than thirty years. She has been a union member of the UCFW Union and the afl-cio more than once and has worked for more than one large retailer during the course of her career. She attended Gulf Coast Community College, Panama City Beach, Florida, in the nineties in the pursuit of a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications.

Some of her work has been published during the eighties and nineties in various editorial pages of newspapers in the state of New Jersey and Florida. She also did some work as a community reporter for a weekly newspaper in Panama City Florida. Other work includes an article in the Gulls Cry, the Gulf Coast Community College newspaper.

She is the wife of TSgt William F. Pierce Jr. (retired) USAF and the mother of three children and one grandchild.

Her experience with Walmart has taken her into three different regions and six districts within the company. In over a six-year period has worked in ten Walmart stores for twelve Walmart Store Managers.

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