WalMart Lied: Must Remove “Made In USA” Logos From Products Made In China, Thailand

When it comes to amusing (albeit predictable) twists of fate, Wal-Mart (WMT) has been the gift that keeps on giving this year. 

In the wake of the giant retailer’s move to hike wages for its lowest-paid employees, the entire world has received a lesson in undergrad economics as $1.5 billion in extra labor costs has led directly to i) pressure on the supply chain, ii) reduced shifts and hours, and iii) layoffs in Bentonville. 

Put simply, when you can’t pass higher labor costs on to customers because your corporate religion revolves around the idea of “everyday low prices”, someone has to make up the difference in order to keep margins from crumbling and that simple fact is costing managers their jobs and vendors their livelihoods. 

When WalMart wasn’t in the news for “plumbing” and/or strongarming the supply chain over the summer it was making headlines for its stance on confederate flag merchandise in the wake of the tragic shooting at a church in downtown Charleston that left 9 African American worshippers dead. In the wake of the racially-motivated massacre, WalMart moved to remove all confederate flag merchandise from the shelves, on the way to insisting that the company “never wants to offend anyone with the products [it] offers.” 

That controversial decision riled some observers who view the flag not as a symbol of hate, but rather as a symbol of America’s southern heritage. 

On Wednesday we learn that WalMart is once again at the center of controversy surrounding the “American heritage” of its products.

Here’s FT:

Walmart has withdrawn claims that some products it was selling were made in America after being pushed into an embarrassing climbdown by a US regulator.

The Federal Trade Commission said on Tuesday that Walmart had taken voluntary steps “to prevent consumer deception” related to “Made in USA” logos that appeared on its products and website.

In the face of persistent criticism over its business practices, Walmart has made a commitment to buy an extra $50bn of US-made products over 10 years a central part of efforts to improve its reputation.

It even enlisted the support of the Obama administration and won praise from Penny Pritzker, the US commerce secretary, for its commitment to US-made products.

However, the FTC began investigating Walmart’s product labelling after it was alerted in June to problematic descriptions of approximately 200 items by a consumer watchdog called Truth in Advertising.

The watchdog said some labelling was false because it did not correctly describe the products’ origins or contained caveats that were “not prominent, clear, and understandable”.

As examples of products that were not made entirely in the US — contrary to their billing — it highlighted a sandwich bag that was produced in Thailand and a toy car that was assembled in the US with some imported parts, including a Chinese steering wheel.

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Author: Travis Esquivel

Travis Esquivel is an engineer, passionate soccer player and full-time dad. He enjoys writing about innovation and technology from time to time.

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