As I sit here watching Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, I’m saddened to watch Indian children making soccer balls. I realize that the show is obviously over dramatized, but the reality is, there are children making soccer balls in India. So, how can any retail store, like Walmart, or the manufacturer, Mitre allow this to happen?
The U.S. Dept of Labor International Affairs is specifically tasked with preventing this from happening. Walmart has rules and regulations forbidding the use of child labor. I’m doubtful even Mitre fully understands how this is happening. So who’s to blame? Probably all of them, with a majority of it being Mitre, and we, the consumer, bearing the entire weight of it.
More than likely Mitre has not it’s due diligence in examining the contracted company that produces the soccer balls. Unless a manufacturer owns the entire process of/in manufacturing a product, it’s easy to not know details. After all, that’s part of what you’re paying for.
So where does Walmart’s blame figure in? I know for a fact, that Walmart examines it’s vendor’s manufacturing processes. But it’s impossible to examine all 500,000+ products’ manufacturing process. Each CPG company (Consumer Package Goods, manufacturer, vendor) is required to sign an agreement which includes restricting the use of child labor.
Essentially, as a retailer, Walmart holds no fault. However, the overall mission of Walmart, and ultimately the consumer IS to blame. Walmart constantly strives to negotiate the lowest possible price with each manufacturer. But who drives that goal? Us, the consumer and our desire to have cheap products, and more of them.
(Randy Walker, this blog writer, sells software to manufacturers who sell their products at Walmart. This post represents Randy’s opinion and is not representative of Mitre, Walmart, or the company he is employed by.)