Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Screw Wal-Mart Before They Screw You

Just when you thought you couldn’t hate corporations any more.

The whole story has been all over the news, so here’s the sweet recap in a sad little story.

Happy Wal-Mart Employee gets T-boned at an intersection and sustains severe brain and bodily injuries. Being one of Wal-Mart’s few fully-covered full-time employees, they pay for all her medical bills, running close to half a millions dollars.

Later, brain-damaged and disabled ex-employee wins a settlement with the person who hit her around the same amount.

Wal-Mart, armed with a contractual clause stating any medical bills paid for injuries that result in a settlement from another party must be repaid, turns around and sues disabled ex-employee for all medical costs plus interest and lawyers fees.

The courts, siding with the letter of contractual law over common decency, rules in favor of Wal-Mart for a sum total equaling more than the disabled ex-employee won in the previous settlement.

The cherry on the top of this story is that the disabled ex-employee’s son was killed in Iraq a few days after Wal-Mart successfully sued her into debt. Then, just to rub salt in the wound, the short-term memory problems resulting from her head injuries now ensure that the traumatic news of her son’s death in Iraq is now delivered for the first time at least twice a week.

Every time some far-right “if its free-market capitalism it can’t be bad” nut asks why people should hate or fear large companies that only benefit the working class, I usually answer with two words: Silkwood and Enron. I’m adding Wal-Mart to the list.

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