The Walmart iPhone: A Deal with the Devil?


Agreed. Avoid Walmart. I've heard vague rumors that they treat their employees and suppliers terribly, and are remaking the entire countries' distribution methods to conform with anti-worker and anti-supplier methods.

The only ethical patronizing of Walmart is during a riot. Otherwise it is just wrong. Period. Again.
In three letters, no: AT&T.

Game on.

If you want an iphone you have obviously already overcome your qualms about Walmart, cheap Chinese labor and any of the ethical concerns that may go with it.
waiting to see what the deal will be on the 4G. My contract is up, and I may just crack my 3G to go to t-mobile, since ATT is the worst goddamn wireless provider on the fucking planet.
The iPhone HD will NOT be 4G-ready. Instead, check out the HTC EVO from Sprint which is being released on June 4th and will be using their 4G WiMax network (the same thing as CLEAR offers for home/mobile broadband.)
You are still stuck with AT&T and its service/coverage. Sorry, but the iPhone is last year.
Fuck WalMart and Fuck AT&T. Until the new iPhone is available on a carrier that doesn't comply with warrentless wiretapping I'll be staying away. Also, Android phones kick ass.

Go see WalMart - The High Cost of Low Price. It's available on NetFlix.

Those "rumors" aren't vague.

When my former employer entered into a vendor agreement with WalMart, we sent a sales team to Bentonville to meet with them.

According to our Director of Retail Sales, they were escorted into a bare conference room containing only a half dozen folding plastic patio chairs, the kind with the nylon strips that leave your butt looking like a waffle if you sit in them for more than about ten minutes. When the WalMart rep finally showed up about 40 minutes late, our team was basically told, "We'll take you on as a supplier and guarantee a set unit-volume per year, but you're going to give us the product at X per-unit cost", which turned out to be about $0.03 per unit less than our manufacturing cost. When this was pointed out, they replied, "well, you'll make it back on volume. That's the deal; take it or leave it."

We ended up taking their shitty deal only because the sheer volume of product ensured we'd be able to run one of our plants at 100% throughput capacity, which meant that, even though we actually lost money on every unit we sold to them, we were getting maximum usage of our equipment, which translated into a slightly lower per-unit manufacturing cost, although still not enough to make up the shortfall on the product we sold them.

What it boiled down to was that our other customers essentially subsidized WalMart, because, even though it was now costing us slightly less to make THEIR product, we couldn't pass along the difference, because we needed it to make up the shortfall from our loss on all the product we were selling to WalMart.

So, not only do they screw over their employees and their suppliers, but they also screw over anyone else who does business with those same suppliers; in other words, anyone who might even remotely compete against them.
Of course, I never go anywhere other than Seattle, Portland and Council Bluffs, and I hate to talk on the phone, so I never have problems with AT&T's coverage.

But I would never set foot in a Wal-Mart. They're both vulgar AND corny.
No way I'm getting an iPhone but I have no problem with shopping at a place with low prices. Neither do Penn and/or Teller.…
Real Americans can handle WalMart.
Pretensious hipsters can't.
That difference in adaptability is a big reason no hipsters will survive the Looming Troubles.
Count me out. If there's any kind of rumor anywhere on the internet that says anyone has ever heard there might be something wrong with Wal-Mart or AT&T or iPhones, that's good enough for me.
Network problems with AT&T, oddly enough, seem to be less prevalent in rural areas. I'm in northwestern Arizona (official state motto: "Ihre Papieren, bitte") and have really bloody good 3G coverage pretty much everywhere I go, within about a 50 mile radius of home. (Farther out than that is REALLY the middle of nowhere.) It's only when I'm in Vegas that my phone drops to Edge coverage.

I jailbroke my iPhone within a few weeks of getting it, and now have it tethered, so my unlimited data plan is actually getting some use. I get data rates averaging 150 K/sec, and I've seen bursts over 200. This is not consistent with the claims of poor coverage, but then, three are surely fewer iPhone customers here than in, say, San Francisco.

Yes, Wal-Mart practices unethically. There is no disputing that. So spend your money with Apple directly, then. If you're fortunate enough to live near an Apple store, go there; or buy online. Or realize that a $100 discount is substantial and decide whether it's ethics or snotty elitism that keep you out of Wal-Mart. (In general my own snotty elitism doesn't let me go into Wal-Mart more often than once every two months or so.)

Of course if you don't like how Apple does business either, get another phone. Odds are pretty good that some of its components, like Apple's, come from the same manufacturing facility in Shenzhen where there's been nearly a dozen suicides already this year, so whatever.

Those who really want to be ethical and maximally green, use tin cans and string. Or learn semaphore. Perhaps you can wave the flags from atop your soapbox.

Wal-Mart doesn't sell crappy units - or at least, not any crappier than you'll get elsewhere. It's not Sam Walton's company that dictates the quality of iPhones sold at Wal-Mart; it's Apple.

I got my 3GS there in October (works fine), and while it might have made some sense to wait, I've long ago got used to the way Apple does things. In about 3 years my 3GS will look hopelessly out of date. Probably sooner than that, it will be no longer officially supported with software updates (3G and prior will not be able to load OS4.0.) So it goes.

You don't buy equipment from Apple. You lease it. Some of us find this Mephistophelean compromise acceptable.
Warren, you're quite right about AT&T's coverage issues, and even they will admit that the bigger the city, the worse their coverage is. Too bad most iPhone owners live in cities.
Oh #12, I realize that most of you trolls have a limited vocabulary, but I for one am most certainly *not* a "pretentious hipster". In person, I'm probably the most mundane person you will ever meet. It shames me to write this, but to look at me you would probably think I'm just like you.

As for being not a "real American", I will gladly cop to that: I have no idea of what constitutes a "real" American in your unique little mind, but if it's anything like the people I have observed in my two visits to a Wal-Mart (one in Renton and one in Council Bluffs, Iowa) I want nothing to do with them.

Seriously, I'm glad to pay extra for a nice store with somewhat normal patrons and unobtrusive help who know a little something about what they are selling - even if it is the same shoddy merchandise you can get for a few cents less at a Wal-Mart.

I'll take civilized over low prices any day. I have no interest in joining the race to the bottom.

hi cat.
i could have guessed you were a classy gal.
not in a pretensious way.
walmart is where you see the warts, missing teeth, the poor, the dumb. (oh yeah, and the really really fat...)
Real America.
at least real red state america.
it ain't pretty but it has a gritty poetry of its own.
i imagine Steinbeck would have found walmart a rich mine.
personally i find visits there keep me grounded.
Looks like Credo Mobile is finally coming out with a decent smartphone (HTC/Android).
I just want the Hillbilly iPhone.
I use Wal-Mart like they use their suppliers: get the best deals, then walk away.