The compensation levels at the smaller competitors MUST follow the lead of the biggest one. If Wal-Mart pays $8/hr, for example, then how can the smaller chains possibly afford to pay more? The leader will set the trend and in this case they drag down compensation levels across the entire retail sector. The strange thing is that of many of the employees at the smaller retailers in Canada are unionized and while their wages aren't that much better they generally have things like health benefits and provisions limiting the use of part-time staff which creates much more valuable full-time employment. Wal-Mart has busted unions all over North America, shutting down very profitable stores that have been successfully unionized by the democratic choice of their employees. On top of that they have lobbied the governments, sometimes successfully, to pass legislation that effectively outlaws unions and also to lower, freeze or eliminate minimum wages. Their greed is boundless. They have also won awards for being "Sweatshop Retailer of the Year" for purchasing the most products made in parts of the world that have no protections for workers. Sure this lowers the price of the products but at what cost? The cost is the freedom and safety of people in poor countries and the employment of people here. If you find yourself in an economic situation that requires your household to work long hours at 2 or more full time jobs just so you can afford to feed your family then is in not logical to question how it got to be this way? You won't get out of that situation by funding the very source of your misery.
Don't get me started on McDick's! LOL!
I feel a little light headed... maybe you should drive...