26 July 2014


LAST UPDATED: 09/04/2015

This preface addresses recent news of Walmart deciding to raise salaries for about 500,000 of its 2.2 billion global employees... after the jump.

Walmart is congratulating itself in television ads. I believe they're getting a bit carried away in the back patting. Here's a little perspective:

Walmart's profits in 2014....................$114,000,000,000*
Annual cost of recent pay raise..........$1,000,000,000**

The fact that this raise does not immediately benefit all "associates" is upsetting. Further, the raise translates to under 1% share of profits to a stakeholder group that is, arguably, most vital to those profits. Not to mention, the raise only benefits 23% of their workforce. Imagine the potential heights for those profits, were Walmart to issue a raise that reflects the true value of their employees.

It was a clever public relations move on their part. But it doesn't go nearly as far as needed. Still no reason to shop at Walmart.

* SOURCE: Walmart Annual Report, 2014 
**SOURCE: Washington Post

"The Walmart sandwich, though it melted a bit, remained the most solid in appearance, and still looked like a sandwich,"
(While a pint of Haagen Dasz and a Klondike melted and dripped into their plates.)

The headline has a genius amount of gross to it: "Walmart Ice Cream Sandwiches Don't Melt in the Sun." But the realization is what is truly grossing me out. I'm left to wonder how many times that ice cream gets frozen, unfrozen, and refrozen on its journey to the local Walmart. One could never know, could one?

I don't shop at Walmart, so I won't be seeing for myself whether the "non-melting" claim is accurate. But, because the article has two examples of independent verification, let's assume that Walmart is indeed selling ice cream (branded "Great Value") that does not melt, at least not as ice cream is known to melt.

The video is pretty clear. The day-old ice cream looks chalky. Dairy powder, maybe. I don't know. And you'll never see a segment on Walmart "Great Value" ice cream sandwiches on "Unwrapped." Bet on it.

Clearly, not willing to risk a lawsuit from Walmart, the news anchor on the video ends his segment reminding the audience, "Again, folks, there is nothing unhealthy about those Walmart sandwiches."

Sure, they're edible. And, frozen, they probably even go down like the average ice cream sandwich.

But, if there ever was an argument for paying a tiny bit more for quality, here it is. Pay just a tad bit more and you get ice cream that melts.

Walmart boasts about pinching every step of the supply chain in order to extend additional savings to its customers. Is this really the type of pinching you had in mind? Do you really want them to go so cheap that their version of ice cream no longer behaves like ice cream?

All the grossness reminds me of this article from a few years back, which contains a bit from a McDonald's employee who claims he once left a bag of frozen Chicken McNuggets out and, when he discovered them hours later, they had all melted. They were apparently unrecognizable as having been nuggets.


Sure, this claim could be bogus. Plus, I found no one online enterprising enough to pocket a few frozen McNuggets to test the theory. Once they've been deep fried, the material obviously would behave differently, even though this experiment yielded equally disgusting results.

Of course, McDonald's isn't lovin' the latest news out of Asia this week either. Video was released in Chinese media of Husi, a manufacturing plant doing some nasty things to meat. The plant counts among its clients: McDonald's, KFC, and Pizza Hut throughout Asia.

One interesting problem here is, the plant is US-based, and has been a long-time partner to Mickey D's.

With two groups - and eventually, perhaps, two countries - blaming each other for the violations, this is an unfolding story. Who knew? Who made cash? Who really is to blame? All that is ahead. Much more gross coming.

Whatever the outcome, this meat-mishandling scandal, the melting McNugget, and the room temperature ice cream sandwich... all shedding some more light on the kinds of food shortcuts companies are often willing to take to go cheap, in a big way.


PHOTO: Niloo/Shutterstock