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Mike Rowe’s Response to Facebook Comments on Walmart Commercial Voiceover

Mike-Rowe-Walmart

Here is post #1 of 3 on Facebook regarding the Facebook response to Mike’s Walmart voiceover commercial, February 9, 2014

Last night during the Olympics, a commercial started running called “I Am a Factory.” It’s part of a larger campaign sponsored by Walmart, called “Work is a Beautiful Thing.” The commercial features real people doing real work in real factories all across America. It’s not very glamorous, but it’s honest and authentic, and I was honored to narrate it.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7OQcoDQq3-o

Today, I see that some people are calling for my head. Other’s want me to run for office. And some have demanded the surgical removal of my vocal cords. What better way to spend a rainy Sunday than by responding to a few?

Let’s start with Kevin Groce.

“Mike – Walmart was the last thing I would ever think you would do anything for! Why?

Hi Kevin,

That’s easy. Walmart has committed to purchase 250 billion dollars of American made products over the next decade. In essence, that’s a purchase order made out to the USA for a quarter of a trillion dollars. That means dozens of American factories are going to reopen all over the country. Millions of dollars will pour straight into local economies, and hundreds of thousands of new manufacturing positions will need to be filled. That’s a massive undertaking packed with enormous challenges, and I want to help. I want to see them succeed. Don’t you? Honestly Kevin, who gives a crap about your feelings toward Walmart? Who gives a crap about mine? Isn’t this the kind of initiative we can all get behind?

“I’ve looked up to you for the longest time. What happened to your support of the underdogs? Sad times Mike.”

Be strong, Kevin. I’m flattered that you’ve looked up to me in the past. Hopefully, I’ll redeem myself in the future. But I’ve never supported the “underdog” simply because they’re not the favorite. Size might matter in some pursuits, (I’ve been assured it does,) but in business, there’s nothing inherently good about being small, and nothing inherently bad about being big. My foundation supports skilled labor, American manufacturing, entrepreneurial risk, a solid work ethic, and personal responsibility. We reward these qualities wherever we find them, whether they’re in David or Goliath.

Deepwater
Feb. 8, 2014 at 3:11pm
“God bless you, Mike Rowe! And now brace yourselves for the squealing from the libs who are constantly trashing Walmart.”

I am braced, Deepwater. But to be fair, I’m friendly with lots of liberals who support this initiative with great enthusiasm. And I know some conservatives who look at this campaign with great skepticism. I don’t blame them. I think anything on television, especially a commercial with a big claim delivered by a professional spokesman should always be questioned. But if the country can’t get behind a program like this, I’m afraid we are all well and truly screwed.

Romeapple
Feb. 8, 2014 at 5:00pm
It’s hypocrisy. WalMart’s products are all made in China. WalMart contributes to those empty factories. What’s so “powerful” about an ad that makes absolutely no sense?”

That’s not entirely accurate, Romeapple. There’s a lot of merchandise currently in Walmart that’s manufactured right here in the USA – (including Dirty Jobs Cleaning Products.) But let’s assume – for the purpose of conversation – that Walmart did get every single item from China. Wouldn’t you like to see that change? Watch the ad again. Walmart is promising to buy 250 billion dollars of American made stuff and put it on their shelves. Whatever else you might think of the company, can you really root against an initiative like that? Let me ask it another way. Do you really think America has any hope of reinvigorating our manufacturing base without support from the biggest retailer in the world?

Pat Duffy
“I am uneasy about trusting Walmart to do the right things to better serve this country and its people but if you think they’ll change I hope your right.”

We’ll see, Pat. But there’s a reason for optimism, which ironically, is the same reason for your uneasiness. Remember, this is Walmart making the claim. They have to make good on it, because if they’re blowing smoke, their detractors will eat them alive. I believe this thing is going to happen because they are completely out of the closet with it. Walmart is going to buy a quarter trillion dollars of American made goods in the next ten years and put those goods on their shelves. The only question is whether or not Americans will support that effort. If they do, we just might be looking at a stimulus that actually stimulates something.

Rose Marie Bayless writes -

“Dear Mike – There’s only one little problem with your new commercial for Walmart….and that is that they do NOT provide manufacturing jobs.”

Hi Rose. You’re correct – Walmart doesn’t “provide” manufacturing jobs. Mostly because they’re not a manufacturing company. They’re a retailer. They buy all sorts of things from all sorts of suppliers all over the world, which they then sell to millions of Americans. In fact, 60% of all Americans shop there. That’s why Walmart is so successful. And that’s why they can do a great deal to encourage their suppliers to manufacture goods domestically. That’s what this initiative is all about – a financial commitment to buy from American suppliers.

“Hey, I am on your side here, I want “made in America” too but make you’re sure on the side of the WORKER not the corporate greed side ok Mike? Love ya.”

Love ya back, Rose, but no thanks. You offer up a false and dangerous choice. The world is bigger than “Workers vs. Bosses,” and so is this campaign. Remember, Walmart thrives because a majority of Americans like to shop there. Like Apple, Discovery, Ford, and Facebook, Walmart does not exist for the purpose of employing people. No successful company does. Walmart’s first order of business is to serve their customer. Ultimately, the customer calls the shots. Not management. Not labor. Jobs are just a happy consequence of that success.

Sean Murray says,

“I thought you were good person. But I just saw your AD that WAL-MART paid for. Your a corporate suck, Rowe.”

Well hi there, Sean. From “good person” to corporate suck in 60 seconds! That’s gotta be a record! Let me explain something. Better sit down, as the truth may shock you. Ready? I make my living on commercial television. Not television. COMMERCIAL television.

That means I appear in television shows with commercials, paid for by corporations. I also produce television shows with commercials, paid for by corporations. I sometimes narrate television shows with commercials, paid for by corporations. And occasionally, I appear in the television commercials themselves, also paid for by corporations. No matter what your job is Sean, if you work in commercial television, the money all flows from the same place. And no – it’s not the advertisers or the corporations that pay the bills. It’s you, Sean. The viewer. Just like the customer in a Walmart, the viewer on the sofa programs the airwaves by deciding what to watch and what to buy. In other words, you’re the boss.

Don’t get me wrong – I would never imply that your decision to watch a Corporate Spectacle like the International Olympic Games on a Global Network owned by one of the largest Conglomerates on Planet Earth makes you a “corporate suck.” But I might wonder – given the purity of your own position – why you ever liked me in the first place.

(To be fair, I got my start on a home shopping channel, selling crap in the middle of the night to a narcoleptic crowd of nocturnal lonely-hearts, so I’ve had 25 years to get comfortable with the parasitical nature of my professional identity. Perhaps you’re just getting started?)

onceaprouddemocrat
Feb. 8, 2014 at 7:04pm
Work is a beautiful thing, for those people in this country that still have any pride in the themselves. It seems that pride has become something that no one is allowed to show any more. Accomplishment also has disappeared from view.

I think you’re right, onceproud. Most portrayals of work gravitate to one extreme or the other. Dream Jobs and Dangerous Jobs make better TV that Normal Jobs. With Dirty Jobs, I got lucky. We featured regular, hardworking people, covered with crap, but happy in their work. There was no talk about jobs being “good or bad.” The people on Dirty Jobs saw work as an opportunity, and they took pride in what they did. I loved that. This spot reminded me of the people I met on my show. I was struck by how familiar they looked. I guess that’s what happens when you cast real people…

ComingUnglued
Feb. 8, 2014 at 4:41pm
“Walmart can be a hero here. Just do it! I’ll shop there when they do! We want everything clean and nice. No dirty manufacturing for us, no stinky farms. Wake up America, where are your dirty manufacturing jobs now, overseas that’s where. Where are all the farms? Where is your food coming from? Overseas, check the labels in the grocery stores.”

You’re right, Unglued. Walmart can change the game. But the business of filling a few hundred thousand new factory jobs is not a slam dunk. Because in spite of high unemployment, hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs currently exist that no one seems to want. That little piece of the narrative doesn’t get a lot of press, but it should. Because the skills gap is real, and it’s a mistake to assume that people will line up to take jobs that so many people love to disparage.

One of the real disconnects around this issue for me has been the steady drumbeat of unemployment in the headlines. I know that the labor participation rate is at historic lows. I know that millions are out of work. But I also know that I’ve seen Help Wanted signs in all 50 states. Even at the height of the recession, the employers I met on Dirty Jobs were all hiring. They still are. And they all told me the same thing – the biggest challenge of running a business was finding people who were willing to learn a new skill and work hard.

I like this campaign because at it’s heart, it portrays hard work as something dignified and decent. Lot’s of people will criticize these spots as nothing but PR. But PR matters. A lot. Because right now, people are disconnected from the part of our workforce that still makes things. We can’t reinvigorate the trades until we agree and understand the importance of buying American. Again – who can be against that?

truthseekerusa
Feb. 8, 2014 at 11:54pm
“Mike is a man of integrity so if he appears in an ad like this something good will follow. Instead of griping send a few dollars to the scholarship fund that Mike sponsors that sends young Americans to trade schools so they can earn a living instead of living off the government.”

Thanks Truthseeker. Nice of you to say. At the risk of a Shameless Plug, allow me to second your suggestion.

The mikeroweWORKS Foundation is in the business of training people for jobs that currently exist, while challenging the whole notion that “bad jobs” are the cause of our country’s troubles. We’re currently awarding Work Ethic Scholarships in conjunction with a number of Trade Schools all over the country, and I’d like to use my Foundation as a way to help workforce development in the towns where these factories are going to be reopened. For Walmart to get more American made goods on it’s shelves, a lot of people are going to need a lot of training in all kinds of manufacturing positions. I’d love to be a part of that.

To be clear, I am not the official voice of this campaign. But I would be. In a heartbeat. That’s why I agreed to narrate the first spot. Not as a spokesman for Walmart. But as a fan of what they’re trying to do.

navycorpsman1
Feb. 8, 2014 at 7:36pm
“Mike Rowe will soon get a visit by the FBI, ATF, get audited by the IRS, get issued fines of a $1,000,000 by OSHA, and be deemed a terrorist by the TSA.”

Oy. So much for “non-identified voiceover.

Teresa Ann Isaacs
“I just saw your Walmart ad. I love it. I don’t understand other people’s criticisms. I think it’s a broad step that this country desperately needs.”

Hi Teresa – The criticism I think has something to do with cognitive dissonance. People get confused when they here something they agree with from someone they dislike.

Likewise, people are often blind to bad ideas when they come from someone they admire. For some people, Walmart is the devil. It’s a company that embodies everything that’s wrong with our country. They simply can’t get their head around the fact that they are suddenly in agreement with them.

Sean Murray’s not done with me. He writes again,

“Misguided. Mike Rowe should have never done this ad due to the fact it came from WalMart. I like the message, but Walmart is one of the reasons a lot of manufacturing was lost in the United States. The vast majority of merchandise Walmart sells in the U.S. is manufactured abroad. The company searches the world for the cheapest goods possible, and this means buying from low-wage factories overseas. Walmart boasts of direct relationships with nearly 20,000 Chinese suppliers, and purchased $27 billion worth of Chinese-made goods in 2006. According to the Economic Policy Institute, Walmart’s trade with China alone eliminated 133,000 U.S. manufacturing jobs between 2001 and 2006 and accounted for 11.2 percent of the nation’s total job loss due to trade. With $419 billion in annual net sales, Walmart’s market power is so immense that blah, blah, blah…”

Forgive me Sean, but I’ve replaced the rest of your rant with “blah blah blah” because it appears to have been cut and pasted word for word from a political site dedicated to destroying Walmart. And also because reactions like yours are the reason our country is paralyzed. You’re like the diehard conservatives who freaked out because I sat too close to Bill Maher, and the diehard liberals that got all bent when I got too close to Glenn Beck. You’re stuck in your own narrative.

Step back for a minute. Look at what’s happening here. Walmart has just promised to do something you claim to want them to do. How do you react? Do you encourage them? Do you support them? No. You hold fast to the the party line. You lash out. Our country is falling apart around us, and you criticize me. For what? For doing a voiceover on a commercial that celebrates the dignity of hard work? I realize you’d prefer it if Costco was pushing this campaign forward, but guess what – they’re not.

But, maybe they will? Maybe they’ll all get on board? Target, Best Buy, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Dollar General, Home Depot, Lowe’s…maybe they’ll all make similar commitments to American manufacturing? And maybe Americans will finally make it easy by demanding and buying more American made products. So far – that hasn’t happened. Maybe Walmart will break the logjam. Someone has to at least try, don’t you think?

Seriously Sean, do you and all the other detractors really want to see this campaign fail because it’s coming from a retailer whose policies you don’t approve of? Do us all a favor – try to get over it. Try to get over your disappointment with me. Try to get over your disappointment with Walmart. Try to get past your issues with the messenger, and take another look at the message…

A quarter trillion dollar commitment to American made products. 250,000 new jobs.

Really – what’s not to like?

Happy Sunday to you all…

Mike

 

Here is post #2 of 3 on Facebook regarding the Facebook response to Mike’s Walmart voiceover commercial, February 12, 2014

Mike-Outdoor-toilet

Clean-up In Aisle Four!

This whole Walmart thing. Wow. Just…wow.
If you’re just tuning in, here’s a brief timeline.

- Last week, I did the voiceover for a commercial that announced Walmart’s commitment to purchase 250 billion dollars of American made goods and put them onto their shelves.

- This Saturday, the commercial ran during The Olympics, and people started talking. Some of the talk wasn’t very pretty.

- Sunday evening, I opened a bottle of Whistle Pig, and responded to a few of my detractors. I attempted to clarify a few things. By midnight, the Whistle Pig was badly depleted and I was very sleepy. So I hit “post,” and went to bed.

- Several hours later, I woke up to use the bathroom. (Sad, that I had to. Glad, that I woke up first.) On the way back to bed, I saw that my laptop was still open. I glanced at this page, and saw that over a million people had read your questions and my answers. Holy Crap.

The next morning, I awakened to the kind of chaos that simply wasn’t possible before social media. No less than a dozen requests from various news outlets asking me to appear as soon as possible. Urgent messages to return calls from people I didn’t know. Angry messages from certain acquaintances. Lots of encouragement from unexpected sources.

I was tied up all day, and unable to respond to the media requests. But the press waits for no one. Articles about our little Q&A began to pop up everywhere. There was this.
http://www.thenewamerican.com/economy/commentary/item/17606-mike-rowe-touches-the-third-rail-of-retailing-walmart

And this. http://www.babble.com/entertainment/mike-rowe-and-walmart/

And this. http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/02/10/who-gives-a-crap-about-your-feelings-towards-walmart-mike-rowes-fiery-2648-word-response-to-his-recent-haters/#

CNN even did a story about me…without me.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acuZQuVM7Z0

That brings us to the present. 4,000 comments and counting. I’ve read them all. Thanks. And since you’re still reading, allow me to free-associate a bit further. Because if the press is still interested in this topic next week, I’ll fly to NY and make the rounds. Consider this a rehearsal of my talking points. As always, your suggestions are welcomed.

- I’m not a spokesman for Walmart. I narrated a very specific commercial because I’m a fan of what Walmart is trying to accomplish with this particular initiative. In the interest of full disclosure though, I really do shop there. In fact, for nearly ten years, Walmart was my first stop whenever Dirty Jobs came to town. (I typically don’t pack a bag, so Walmart was the best place for affordable clothing that would most likely be badly abused and left in behind in a smelly bathtub with a note of apology and $20 for the maid.)

- The mikeroweWORKS Foundation is in the business of partnering with any company that want’s to see American manufacturing revitalized. If Walmart asks me to do more commercials like this, I will. Likewise Ford. Or Chevy. Or Lowe’s. Or Home Depot. Or George Soros. Or The Koch Brothers. Or The Sultan of Brunei. I really don’t really about where the investment is coming from, as long as it’s getting the US back to the business of making things. Because there is simply nothing more important to the future of the country.

- It’s a hell of a thing when someone you really don’t like suddenly does something that you actually agree with. At base, I think that’s what’s happening here. A lot of people who have fallen in love with hating Walmart are now wrestling with what the shrinks call “cognitive dissonance.” Regarding a 250 billion dollar investment in American manufacturing, the choices are simple – a) continue to condemn them for whatever you like to condemn them for, b) offer support and encouragement, or, c) shoot the messenger.

- This whole dust-up is a small but instructive example of what’s happening in our country today. Those who dislike the President struggle to give him credit when he does something they personally agree with. And those who support him, hesitate to oppose him when they personally disagree. So it goes with Walmart. Watch the guy on CNN (Marc Lamont) in the above link. He simply can’t address the importance of revitalizing our manufacturing base without reframing the whole conversation into a polemic against the thing he’s been trained to despise. It’s simply too hard for him to say, “Good for Walmart. I hope they succeed in this endeavor. Period.” While he gives me “the benefit of the doubt,” he still believes I’m fundamentally “wrong” for supporting their initiative. Why? Because Marc doesn’t see workers and employers as two sides of the same coin. He sees sees them as enemies.

- People are asking how the “champion of the working man,” (their words, not mine,) can support a big company like Walmart? This goes straight to the heart of the problem. Because it’s a question designed to insight a fight. We’ve become adept at putting people into boxes and assigning labels that reduce individuals to a single dimension. Thus, Democrats must behave like Democrats. Republicans like Republicans. It’s expected. If you wander too far afield, you’re labelled a “sell-out.” A “Rino.” A “Scab.” And so forth. Consequently, if the “champion of the working man” fails to burst into a chorus of “Look For the Union Label,” the country is suddenly confused. They shouldn’t be. Because the truth is, I’m a big fan of the American Worker. I’m just a bigger fan of America.

- Today, our expectations inform the narrative, and the narrative confirms the stereotype. That’s gotta stop, because the world’s a hell of a lot more complicated than a sound bite from a sycophant with an axe to grind, or a question from a host who’s looking for a fight. Remember, people will usually find what they look for. On Dirty Jobs, it’s easy for a union member to see a program that celebrates skilled labor and hard work. But it was just as easy for a business owner to see a tribute to risk and entrepreneurship. In truth, Dirty Jobs was an equal measure of both. Unfortunately, such complexity is far too nuanced for the debate we’ve been trained to expect.

- Am I a “sell-out?” You’d better believe it. That’s the whole point. Every time I buy something or eat something that’s made or grown elsewhere, I’m rewarding behavior I’d prefer to discourage. But – like millions of other Americans – what can I do? This is the cost of the global economy. We brought it on ourselves by voting with our dollars. We narrowed our options, and now the choices are very, very skinny. But again, when big companies start reversing the trend by investing in American suppliers, we have a choice. We can congratulate them. Or we can crucify them. Personally, I’m going to support the behavior I want to encourage.

etc, etc.
More later -
Mike

 

Here is post #3 of 3 on Facebook regarding the Facebook response to Mike’s Walmart voiceover commercial, February 24, 2014

 Mike Rowe Walmart Facebook Post 3

I’m back. Three days of press, five hours of sleep, four bottles of wine, a speech, a job offer, 5,000 form letters, and a couple of good-natured death threats. All because of a commercial that I narrated about American manufacturing paid for by Walmart. Press tours are fun!

Oscar Wilde said, “the only thing worse than people talking about you is people not talking about you.” I don’t know that I agree with Oscar, but one thing’s for sure – there’s no such thing as “free press.” I just googled myself and the results are too rich to ignore. Let’s start with this journalistic masterpiece from Matt Hardigree.http://jalopnik.com/ford-drops-shill-for-the-oppressors-mike-rowe-from-truc-1526805143

“Shill for the Oppressors!” Is that not fantastic? I should make new business cards. I’m sure Matt’s a swell guy, but unfortunately, he’s so eager to report on a story that doesn’t exist he’s resorted to a career in fiction. Matt believes that my recent work with Walmart drove The Ford Motor Company to fire me after seven years of service. He sees some sort of conspiracy at work in a recent Ad Age article, where according to him, every one played just “a little too nice.”

Sorry Matt – here are the facts. Ford didn’t “drop” me. We had serious discussions about another extension but decided not to proceed for reasons completely benign. We parted amicably long before the Walmart ad came along. A simple phone call to Ford would have confirmed that. Or, you could have done some really deep digging and called me. People do it all the time, especially when they’re interested in getting the facts.

Bottom line – We “played nice” in Ad Age because the people involved are all, well…nice. I’m just at a point in my career where I want to associate myself with messages that speak directly to the issues that are important to me. That’s why the Walmart ad was so appealing. A $250 billion investment in US manufacturing is worth talking about, and very much in keeping with the goals of my own foundation. If any other “Oppressors” are looking to make a similar investment in America, drop me a line. I’m happy to “shill” for any company that gets this country back to work.

Also in Matt’s piece, was a link to this little gem.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/how-mike-rowe-became-a-lightning-rod-for-walmart/

This piece comes from CBS News. Check out the photo. It’s a rare image of me in a suit and tie, and conveys all the sincerity of an ambitious vacuum cleaner salesman at the annual Hoover convention. Nice. Below the photo, the writer – Aimee Picchi – attributes the following question to me. “Who gives a crap about your feelings toward Walmart?” Unfortunately, Aimee leaves out the most important part, which for the record was this: “For that matter, who gives a crap about MY feelings? Isn’t the business of making things in America an initiative we can all get behind?”

Along with that omission, and the clever use of words like “hawk,” “tout,” and “spokesman,” the reader is left to believe that I’ve been empowered to speak on Walmart’s behalf in some sort of official capacity. In fact, I have not. I’m doing this because I want to encourage other companies to make similar investments in American manufacturing. That’s it.

Of course, I’m not the only one with an agenda, and Aimee knows it. Ori Korin is a spokesperson for “Jobs with Justice,” and she’s trying very hard to persuade people that Walmart is treating its workers unfairly. Aimee quotes Ori as being disappointed with my decision to work with “a company as notorious as Walmart.” Ori also believes I was “too quick to dismiss” the workers she represents.

Of course, I was already well-aware of Ori’s disappointment with me. To date, Jobs with Justice has carpet-bombed my office with 5,048 form letters, imploring me to sit down with “real Walmart employees” and listen to stories about how unfairly they have been treated. Naturally, Aimee points this out to her readers, and even provides a helpful link to the Jobs with Justice Letter Writing Campaign, so that other objective citizens might continue to overwhelm my modest staff with additional expressions of carbon-copied concern. (Thanks Aimee!)

My response to all this? According to Aimee -

“Rowe didn’t immediately return a request for comment.”

Well Aimee, please allow me to address your request with all due speed. My office has no record of a call from you or anyone at CBS. I’ve checked three times. Nothing. Of course, if you sent an email to my Foundation, it may very well be buried in the mountain of form letters currently straining the resources of mikeroweWORKS. Which brings me to Ori Korin, and Jobs for Justice. In the spirit of their chosen method of communication, I’ll respond directly and openly.

——–

Dear Ori:

You’ll be pleased to know that my office has received your letter, and 5,048 others just like it. While I’m sympathetic to your objectives and sensitive to the needs of your members, I must say that your tactics have had the same effect as a flood of telemarketing calls during my dinner, or a bag of dog crap set ablaze on my front porch. Now, instead of overseeing scholarship applications and other Foundation matters, my already beleaguered staff must sift through a sea of robo-letters in search of legitimate correspondence from hard-hitting investigative journalists like Matt & Aimee.

It’s a little ironic, don’t you think? On the one hand, Jobs with Justice is concerned that everyday people are being overwhelmed by heavy workloads. But you don’t think twice about flooding an unsuspecting non-profit foundation with an endless stream of form letters. Anyway, my answer to you is the same as it was after I got your first letter a week ago. You guys are in a labor dispute, and my foundation doesn’t take sides between employers and employees. Another 5,000 form letters won’t change my position on that – though it just might inspire the nice woman who oversees my Foundation to throw herself out the window. (Her name is Mary, by the way, and her demise is now on you.)

Let me really spell this out though, so there’s no confusion at all. I care about the people you represent. That’s precisely why I set up a foundation and some scholarship funds. I’m trying to encourage hardworking people who are unhappy in their jobs to make a meaningful change in their life. A lasting change. And I believe this change is most likely to occur when people are willing to learn a skill that’s in demand. Happily, worthwhile opportunities are everywhere. Our country has a massive skills gap, and the chance to retool and retrain has never been better.

We’re not enemies, Ori. We’re just fighting different battles. You’re trying to wring out a modest increase for people who feel unappreciated by their employer and unhappy in their work. I’m trying to get those same people excited about possibilities and opportunities that go beyond their current positions. Frankly – and I say this with all due respect – I don’t believe that your strategy is in the long-term interest of your members, or for that matter, anyone who wants to improve their lives in a meaningful way.

Think about it, Ori. Many of the workers you represent have jobs that could very well become obsolete in just a few years. Automation, technology, automatic checkouts…the writing is on the wall. But the skilled trades are different. Welders, auto technicians, carpenters, masons, construction workers, healthcare…these opportunities are real, and the rewards go far beyond the minimum wage – whatever that might turn out to be. Walmart may have cornered the market on retail jobs, but the world’s a lot bigger than Walmart.

Anyway, I want to help. Please forward your members this link. http://profoundlydisconnected.com/the-mikeroweworks-foundation-scholarship-opportunities/

Surely, if you’ve got time to send five thousand identical letters to the same email address, you’ve got time to pass this on to your members. But do me a favor – just send it once. People hate form letters.

——

Finally, I found a piece that literally drips with sanity and common sense. http://ivn.us/2014/02/20/defense-mike-rowe-stop-saying-represents-wal-mart/?utm_source=ivn&utm_medium=listing&utm_campaign=opt-beta-v-1-0

This comes from a guy named Shawn Griffiths over at The Independent Voter Network, and I appreciate every single sentence. My own bias aside, Shawn’s analysis is completely correct, and if I were King of the World, this would be required reading for any journalist that wanted to discuss recent events. If you’ve come this far, please give it a look.

Carry On,
Mike Rowe

PS If you’re late to the party or just a glutton for detail, my office has set up a press page with some photos and links to some of the recent appearances.http://profoundlydisconnected.com/about-mike/press/

  • Bryan Garra

    I understand you are (were) an opera singer. Can you sing any Barry Manilow tunes like Pavarotti? I think what you are doing is fine, you get folks to think, always a good thing. Am I a fan of yours? Absolutely. No one makes fishing for king crabs, buying a truck or doing dirty jobs sound more interesting than you. I’m a small church pastor in Virginia and you are welcome to visit any time!
    Blessings,
    Rev Bryan G.

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  • Dave

    Mike, you’re doing the right thing and a good thing. There are too many critical people in this world. Walmart makes money by selling goods people want. Part of that proposition is those people want low prices too. If Walmart doesn’t serve its customers, it’s out of business.

    I think Walmart is doing a great thing. I think you’re doing a great thing to get the message out. We need more manufacturing in the US. Of course, as you rightly state, we need more people to take jobs in the trades and in manufacturing. Perhaps too, we need to change our mentality and stop demanding the absolute lowest prices.

    People can criticize Walmart all they want. They say the company treats workers badly. Yet, those hypocrites criticizing the company don’t recognize the initiative to but more American made goods raises Walmart’s costs. It also supports American workers.

    Mike, ignore the ignorant comments from those folks incapable of seeing all points of view. They just like to be critical.

  • LindaLou60

    We’re not going to solve our manufacturing problem with elitist boutique solutions. The only way to sell signficantly more American-made products is to get the big box retailers to sell them at affordable prices. Big boxes are where a very large percentage of Americans shop, and most Americans like a good price. So, I hope Walmart fulfills the commitment. However, I don’t shop at Walmart, and really dislike most of the big box places. Just icky places to be. I do the Costco thing every couple of months and wander into a Target a few times a year. Just dislike the piles of cheap mass-produced stuff and the “fill your shopping cart” mentality. I think of the Wall-E movie every time.

  • Bachewy

    Thumbs up to you, Mike! BTW – I love Dirty Jobs. It highlights that we need people to do the things some don’t want. It’s necessary and people make a living out of it.

  • Ethan Smith

    As someone who is currently working diligently on my own line of Made in the USA products this is particularly interesting. My concern with Wal-Mart’s Made in the USA campaign, and it goes back farther than this one spot, is that if you look at the ACTUAL sku’s they have committed to increasing in the next decade, only a very small percentage of the increase is anything new or outside what they currently purchase from USA suppliers. So it’s basically what they already do with a well delivered voice over from Mike! (it’s a great spot and I like the execution) However, this $250 Billion is mostly food products they they are already buying from US based suppliers and don’t make economic sense to buy from other countries. This will not substantially change their position as a purchaser of US goods. Sure, it’s good that they are saying this, but it has nothing to with the heavy industrial factories depicted in the commercial, so the ad is more than a bit disingenuous. Like everything at Wal-Mart this small increase in purchase of US goods over the next decade is basically driven by their bottom line. This commercial says Wal’Mart’s intentions are driven by something else entirely. So people are calling the BS when they see it.

  • Kim willay

    The joke used to be that every waiter in Hollywood was working on a screenplay or an out of work actor.

    Today the aspiring screenwriters and actors are too good to ever wait a table.

    They tweet like they are celebrities because they have “followers”, they posit their opinion on facebook or their blog and they wait for the day someone sees their picture on Instagram or their 5 minute video on YouTube and hands them a leading role or buys their movie.

    This instant celebrity culture has killed drive.

    Being a starving artist SUCKS. But you take that job delivering pizza or bussing tables or taking orders at a Wendy’s and the minute you get off work you go bust your butt to become what you want to be.

    Today everyone is too good for all of that work and thinks the right youtube video or funniest tweet will suddenly get them on the couch for Jimmy Kimmel.

  • Bobb Holden

    Mike: For two nights now I’ve see you on CNN. I would like to make a donation to your non-profit in honor of my Mother/Father. Could you send me the proper address and info to do this?

  • Gary Olix

    We didnt all become disconnected from american manufacturing. You did and walmart did and many americans turned their backs on american manufacturing. walmart helped close american factories and small stores. Now you want to congratulate them and yourself because they will commit to buying a certain amount of american goods. Is there anything that monster cant affect first negatively and ghen for the better. Get your head outa the sand mike and recognize the role of walmart, yourself, and all who abandoned american manufacturing in creating this problem.

  • WeldMan

    Mike please check out the Missouri Welding Institute I believe they would be an awesome addition to your program! http://www.mwi.ws or 800-667-5885

  • sepulturaslayer

    Mike is doing what most of us do. Work. His forte is his voice and presence, and if WalMart asks him to voice-over their commercial, and regardless of his quiet political views he accepts, then good for him. He and everybody I know have shopped at WalMart at one time or another, and for those who absolutely refuse to step foot inside their doors, good for you. You must be so privileged to have the resources to shop at Pier One.

    There is no denying that there are controversies surrounding WalMart and the treatment of employees. However, Mike should have no attachments to these controversies, especially since I think he believes (and he stated on live television) that WalMart will back up the claim in the commercial, which many critics were oblivious to. Claims that the 250 billion will be used to retain agriculture jobs in the U.S. are unfounded. Don’t be ridiculous. Is there evidence that meat and fresh vegetables generate this kind of revenue, so that WalMart can just skirt their own claim in this widely touted commercial? Don’t you think they thought of that? Let’s give them a chance, and not hop on the I hate WalMart bandwagon every chance we get.

    Unionizing WalMart employees will only make the situation worse. As the leading retailer in the nation that moves in and destroys small businesses (this is true), imagine how much prices will increase due to doubling or tripling wages. Not thinking about China anymore when you pay more at WalMart for a box of Mac-n-Cheese than you would by going down the street to Kroger, are you? To stay in business, increasing wages means increasing prices, and understandably so. Otherwise they would not be in business for long. Look at Meijer (Michigan), who is union, and their prices are much higher than WalMart’s. Quality is better, sure, but the company is not as big. They probably cannot afford to expand as widely as WalMart has due to the increased expenses. It goes on and on.

    I think Mike looks out for the worker, and not the opposite. After all, it is widely recognized that all people are born for one reason. Work. This is undeniable. Procreation is at the top also, but you can find no other behavior that binds us as a species. When you are eligible to work, you do, until you are not allowed to work anymore. Even after this point (retirement age increases every so often, wonder why?) you still want to work. If not for the money, then for the social interaction. Those that choose not to work and take advantage of the system are certainly within their rights to do so. But their opinions do not hold much weight with me, or much of society. I say, let Mike make his own decisions, whatever the outcome

    • Linda

      I do understand the promise made by Walmart and have to say that this is the SAME COMPANY that bankrupted American businesses, with a good example being Rubbermaid. Their purchasing tactics are deplorable and cut-throat. It seems rather cynical that they post this on their site: “We are committed to American renewal. In January 2013, Walmart announced it will buy an additional $50 billion in U.S. products in 10 years in an effort to grow U.S. manufacturing and encourage the creation of U.S. jobs.” This is the renewal that they helped to create. They may be the first to come out and state this about buying American products but doesn’t it seem quite ironic that they are the main contributor to this problem in the first place? I still refuse to shop there. I will shop at other retailers if they follow suit though.
      On another note, I have always watched your show and admire what you are doing.

      • Christopher C

        Well said Linda.Sam Walton started Walmart with the promise that all goods were American made,but that didn’t last long.

  • sepulturaslayer

    Long and short, I support you Mike. You are doing the right thing, getting people talking, and increasing your brand of the working man. Congratulations. I hope to see more of you in the news soon, because this discussion has been long overdue.

  • Saint

    Mike, with all of the existing unfilled jobs that exist today, how will American manufacturers fill the newly created jobs brought on my Walmart’s commitment? P.S. Always a fan.

  • des111168

    Wal Mart… a company that revolutionized retail and made consumer products much more affordable for the middle and lower middle class… is pledging to buy American-made stuff to the tune of a quarter trillion dollars, and some people still p*** and moan about it. It’s the best of both worlds, and some people still refuse to be happy.
    To you guys longing for the day of small dominating retail, get over. It’s never coming back, because that model made things too expensive and restricted consumer choice too much. You’re trying to screw over the majority so that your fantasy land of all-mom and pop stores can come true. Well, you’re wasting your time. There’s plenty of room for small shops if they specialize. But the public is never again going to be forced into a model of one or two local hardware stores with higher prices and lower choice.

  • WildBill0283

    It wasn’t just Wal-Mart that caused those factories to fail. It was also the overpriced/under-skilled labor force. Too many people nowadays are demanding minimum wage increases, how about increasing your skills! Wal-Mart, or for that matter, any other business, does not owe you a job! They’re in the business to make money, it is up to the worker to make themselves worth hiring.

  • Me

    Mike Rowe sounds like Ronald Reagan before entering politics when he worked for General Electric doing those speeches around the nation that formed his political positions and ultimately turned them into the Reagan Revolution.

    • John Bradley

      We could do worse than Mike Rowe for public office. In fact we have done and are still doing!

  • Me

    Show me a person that hates Walmart for buying and selling products made overseas, and I’ll show you an Apple iPhone lover… Oh yeah, that Apple product was made in China… Hipocrit.

    • Christopher C

      LEARN HOW TO SPELL WILL YOU……………………………YOU HYPOCRITE

  • Ray Lister

    I believe that lending your name and voice to Walmart is about more to you than a paycheck, but the “Buy USA” angle is not accurate. Just because a company wants to spend $250 billion on American made products doesn’t mean they are willing to actually pay what it is worth to have those products made here.

    $250 billion is a lot of money. There are probably plenty of investors willing to take a shot at getting that money. The problem is, if all Walmart is asking for is a low price on the products it sells, there is zero pressure on the companies vying for Walmart’s patronage to provide adequate training and career advancement for the workforce that helps them meet that price point.

    Your approach to getting American workers back to work is commendable in some respects, but my issue with you centers solely around your seeming lack of concern that the occupations you are touting actually provide a liveable wage. Your reasoning for people looking into apprenticeship centers around the good wages that skilled trade unions have made possible for over 100 years. If every kid graduating high school gets into apprenticeship, that could be a very good thing, unless when they finish their training they join an overcrowded workforce. The “invisible hand of the free market” quickly wraps around the throat of workers who suddenly can’t feed their family because someone else doesn’t have a family to feed and is willing to do the same job for $5 per hour cheaper.

    There is no skills gap in union building trades. We are incredibly skilled and we put more money (by a factor of 10) into developing those skills than all non-union apprenticeship programs combined. Our completion rates are much higher and the skilled worker we turn out are far more successful than non-union graduates throughout their careers. We also only bring in the number of apprentices that the industry demands, while non-union apprenticeships tend to turn out class after class without considering the impact of flooding the market with desperate and hungry workers.

    I know that you don’t think unions are necessary anymore. You are wrong. When the abuses of a juggernaut can be ignored by the modern day “landed gentry” (That isn’t you by the way, it is your boss. In the new feudalism, media conglomerates are the land barons and the talent is the share-cropper) simply because the juggernaut can offer a kings ransom for the support they demand, organizations that operate to protect the value of work are even more important than they were when there were no laws to “protect” us.

    If you really want to help the American economy, advocate for the repeal of Taft-Hartley amendment to the Wagner Act. We don’t need your charity, we just need the unfettered right to advocate for ourselves.

  • Cynthia

    Hello Mike just wanted to say that I admire you for sticking to your principles. I read your responses and I think you are right on point especially your response to the woman who represents the Wall Mart employees. I also liked your response blah blah blah, to the person who was quoting facts and figures about how Wal-Mart ruined american manufacturing Jobs. So many people complain about bad jobs and bad business but they have no real understanding of Capitalism and how it actually works. Employees are not entitled to jobs and employers are not obligated to provide them. The relationship between the two exists because it provides a mutual benefit for both parties. People have become spoiled and forgotten what it means to work an honest days labor. By the way do you have or know of any scholarship opportunities for working adults? I have a friend who is tired of her corporate gig and is looking for a change.

  • Christopher C

    Committed to buying 250 million dollars worth of American goods,while stocking their shelfs with 10′s ofbillions in goods made in China,as well as devoting an entire day of their orientation to anti union propaganda.Walmart quietly reversed their 1980′s policy for Sam Walton of EVERYTHING is made in America.I understand on the other hand you did it for money,which I would have as well,but I wouldn’t try to piss on peoples heads and tell them its raining.They made you an offer you couldn’t refuse…………………………..plenty of cash.

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  • http://tapsearch.com/tapartnews Ray Tapajna

    View our artwork – The Sacrilege- Walmart built in the grave yard of the steel industry. See Art that Talks at http://ray-tapajna.artistwebsites.com The Walmart store was built in a location where thousands of workers made a middle class living. When free trade came and Walmart became the major distributor of products made by impoverished workers, million of workers in the U.S. lost their jobs.

    Free trade remains the major cause of our economic crisis and we need to restore our local economies. Our economies based on making money on money instead of making things has burn out. President Obama had to bail out the process when he took over. He bailed out the investment communities, big money interest, Wall Street, banks and the “too big to fail” corporations. He did this while ignoring the suffering of all who lost everything due to free trade.

    The value of workers and labor has been degraded and deflated. Along with the trade deficit which has broken records since 1994, this represent trillions of dollars of value lost forever. Nothing will replace this. Just think what all this money could have accomplished not only in the U.S. but all around the world.

    Walmart is playing the Made in USA card now. It is too late. Besides Made in the USA means having an economy that adds about 5 to 7 levels of added value from the raw product stage to the end user or retail level as it once was. See http://tapsearch.com/flatworld http://tapsearch.com/tradetraps

    Search under the title of our artwork – Clinton Years American Dream Reversed Double Talk and you will find millions of resources and references.