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Walmart: The High Cost of Low Prices

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Taylor Wallace

on 16 December 2015

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Transcript of Walmart: The High Cost of Low Prices

Director: Robert Greenwald
Greenwald is an award-winning filmmaker who has directed over 50 productions. He was born in New York City, New York, on August 28, 1943. He has founded the organization Brave New Films, which is a new media company that produces feature-length documentaries and investigative videos. His desire to make films was influenced by voter rights abuses in the 2000 presidential election. He was interested in appealing to audiences who care about investigations of social issues. He has presented his media through very creative means, such as house parties, and social media. Greenwald has received many awards including the Maggie Award from the Planned Parenthood Federation, the Peacemaker Award from the Physicians for Social Responsibility, and more.
Walmart; The High Cost of Low Price
Introduction: Info on Director

The authors purpose is to portray a somewhat evil persona of corruption to majority of Wal-mart's shoppers and to bring awareness concerning Wal-marts true values. Greenwald does this because he deeply believes in Wal-mart's large want for money and little need for quality, whether that be in the actual production of the goods or the treatment of its employees. Greenwald's point is well justified and has many examples of evidence to back it up in his film. I think that the film producer achieves his desired purpose for the audience.
The widely known Walmart retail store is presented face to face against the crticism of Robert Greenwald in this very informational and persuasive documentary. The film expresses the numerous negative effects and economic impact the Walmart monster has on communities by showing interviews with employees of stores that Walmart has caused to close down. Greenwald also conducted interviews with many former and current Walmart employees in order to get the inside scoop on the labor conditions and exploitative labor practices of the huge company.
Brief Overview
This film was released on November 4th, 2005, with a $1.5 million dollar budget. It explores the world of Walmart from the inside and outside of its workforce Featuring interviews of workers of the company explaining their experiences as well as interviews with small buisness owners who have closed their shops because of Walmart. The documentary also includes clips from Walmart executives, and statistics about the profits and wages of walmart and it's employees.
Greenwald's Purpose
The argument presented in this documentary addresses the morals of Wal-mart, and the overpowering ability they have over the competition of the market compared to other smaller, long time run businesses. Greenwald attacks Wal-mart by using strong factual evidence and emotional interviews to poison the well on Wal-mart's moral standards. The filmmaker argues that Wal-mart is a monopoly, that should be controlled by the government more, and should give the people more rights in their money hungry business. Greenwald also claims that Wal-mart is taking advantage taxpayers and causing havoc in manufacturing places like China.
Argument/ Assertions and Claims
In this documentary, many kinds of rhetorical devices are used to prove the filmmakers point. Repetition is used in many of the employees I interviews to emphasize an idea they have about working at Wal-mart. A big theme of the constant battle between the good of the people and the "evil" of Wal-mart gives us an inside about life in general as well. Symbolism is used in the form of The Wal-mart logo (the yellow smiley face) as a symbol of corruption and business fraud. Irony is also conveyed in the after analysis of Wal-mart commercials, to provoke a great sense of insecurity in this business name, and to make Wal-mart seem hypocritical.
Rhetorical Strageties
Although a small part of the documentary is slightly fabricated, for the most part, this documentary is valid because of the facts given to us through credible sources and much of the employees and workers experiences that can be proven through video cameras and other recording devices. The filmmakers attitude in this whole film is extremely disapproving of Wal-mart, and in total support of the peoples/employees rights to slow down or even stop this immense program. The tone of the filmmaker is bantering, disdainful, and hateful, which is portrayed through his choice of words, and connects his audience to the passion of his cause.
Validity? / Attitude and Tone
Cinematic techniques are utilized in this documentary to strengthen the documentaries claims, and to provoke a certain emotion in the audience. During interviews in this film, the camera is zoomed and focused to give to the person talking a better connection to the audience. Editing is used a lot in this documentary to insert needed facts and various pictures to present information. A voiceover is used to explain the images we are viewing without seeing someone talk to us therefore leading our brains process more information. Black-and-white pictures are flashed in this film to represent the past, before Wal-mart took over some small town businesses and communities. These techniques over all, contribute to a greater emotional viewing experience, and a more informal documentary to the audience.
Cinematic Techniques
The High Cost
of Low Price

Film Background
Info on the film
Wal-mart is a multinational company that brings low cost goods to rural communities, however this often times ends small town lifestyles and buisnesses. In these small towns there is little competition for Wal-mart, as small family owned companies aren't able to compete with the low prices Wal-mart can manufacture overseas. This can turn a thriving and robust community into a ghost town. Walmart not only hurts the city economically but also enviromentally. Large construction pollutes the city and once the city has become vacant and void of business they often leave large unusable spaces that towns are forced to find a use for. In result Walmart brings an end to the slow paced relaxing small town life.
Structure of Film
Film Appeals
The documentary develops it's persuasion powers through the use of ethos, pathos, and logos.
Ethos- Ethos is developed in this documentary through the use of Wal-mart employees that have been working for over 10 years and very familiar with how the company works and operates. These people are therefore known as credible sources and are trusted.
Pathos- Pathos is developed through the heartbreaking stories and vivid words that employees and workers in China can tell us. Pathos is also portrayed through many working moms to illustrate their struggle to feed and take care of their children. This technique makes us feel compassionate to those peoples struggles, especially if we can relate to them.
Logos- Logos is developed by showing us many stats and statistics about Wal-mart as a company. For example, the fact that Wal-mart drives down retail wages 3 billion per year affects how we see this business. By showing these negative statistics, we can compare our findings to other companies that we like, we grow to distrust Wal-mart even more, therefore accomplishing the filmmakers purpose.
By: Rylie Edwards, Taylor Wallace, and Fayha Zia

Greenwald uses the structure of the film to present a specific type of organization and to coordinate the film through its main points. The order of the film gives us claims made by the producer, followed by emotional interviews, and then presents us various facts to back up his claims, while adding credibility with the viewers. The film maker also adds contradicting statements from Lee Scott (The CEO of Wal-mart) along with various ads proclaiming the good life that you have when you work at Wal-mart to create an aura of inconsistentness for Wal-mart.
Clip Analysis
This clip explores the real life trgidies associated with opening a Walmart. H&H Hardware was a family owned buissness that hd been open for 43 years and was a focal point in a small community. The director plays on the Pathos of the audience by potraying how large buisness in able to destroy the american dream. This is especially seen through how the american flag is shown in the clip along with the Amish shopping at the store. Music also plays a huge roll in this clip. By using loud and suspending music when Walmart costruction is shown, the clip further depicts a negative tone torwards walmart. Then soft and sad music played once H&H hardware closes enhances the pathos for the clip. This all creates immense emotions by showing how walmart can destroy a family and a town's simple lifestyle which encourages the idea that Walmart is not a blessing of lower cost, but rather a curse that will destroy people's living. This result then is able to enhance a N.I.M.B.Y attitude torwards the opening of new Walmart stores in desiring towns.
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