Round 17: Wal-Mart vs TJMaxx

This is Round 17 in our Worst Company in America contest, Wal-Mart vs TJMaxx.

Everyone has their own special reason for hating Wal-Mart. Forcing manufacturers to make shoddier versions of their products is pretty bad. Selling sandals that gave patrons feet chemical burns was pretty bad too. What’s yours?

TJMaxx’s lax wireless security lead to the theft millions upon millions of customer’s debit and credit card numbers being stolen, the greatest bank robbery in the history of the freakin’ world.

This is a post in our Worst Company In America 2008 series. The companies nominated for this honor were chosen by you, the readers. Keep track of all the goings on at

STILL OPEN FOR VOTING: Mattel vs ATT, Capital One vs Video Professor, eBay/Paypal vs COX, Apple vs SallieMae, Diebold Vs Pfizer, MTV vs TransUnion
CompUSA vs DirecTV
Target vs Best Buy
Allstate vs Verizon,
DeBeers vs 1800 flowers, Starbucks vs United Airlines,
Exxon vs Crocs, Google Vs Sony, Ticketmaster vs Wachovia, Facebook vs The American Arbitration Association, Comcast vs Menu Foods


Edit Your Comment

  1. Bladefist says:

    easy one. walmart. Pay your employees more. Open more check out lanes :)

  2. BStu says:

    Oh, come on. We’re giving TJ Maxx a pass here. Couldn’t they have been paired up with Target. There is no reason TJ Maxx shouldn’t get out of the first round except going up against the all-encompassing evil of Walmart.

  3. novelgirl says:

    You get a pass TJMaxx. I haven’t forgotten/ forgiven the whole data breach thing, but in a battle of evil, it’s always Wal-Mart. Always.

  4. ARP says:

    @BStu: Agreed, I know its sometimes the luck of the slot you’re in, but TJX should at least make it to the quarterfinals.

  5. ptkdude says:

    I have a feeling TJ Maxx is going to get slaughtered.

  6. Trai_Dep says:

    Annoyed that TJ Maxx got a pass, but then again I guess having to see TJ Maxx customers every day is punishment in and of itself.
    Wal-Mart’s biggest crime? They stole the smiley face.
    Give us back Mr. Smiley Face!

  7. Shadowfire says:

    The whole “contest” has been rigged… in almost every one, there’s been a clear winner from the start. Booooo.

  8. dorianh49 says:

    Walmart, but my heart wasn’t really in it. I see one good headline (didn’t even read the story) about how they helped in Katrina and, all of a sudden, they’re not on my radar anymore. I doubt they’ll make the playoffs throughout this process, even as a wildcard.

  9. rmz says:

    @Shadowfire: Take a look at the first company listed in each of the four divisions and then take a wild guess as to who the final four will be.

    (Hint: Comcast, Best Buy, Wal-Mart, BofA)

  10. A.W.E.S.O.M.-O says:

    @Shadowfire: Are you familiar with the concept of “seeding”?

  11. Verdigris says:

    @Shadowfire: They do that so two big evils aren’t up against each other right away, therefore allowing some lesser evils throught he first round that shouldn’t have gotten that far. Works the same way with sports. Put good teams against bad teams right away to weed them out. If they get upset, then thats just how it goes.

  12. Bladefist says:

    we should do quadruple elimination. keep this going forever, woohoo

  13. mduser says:

    I vote for Wal-Mart simply because my ex works for them.

  14. unravel says:

    Wal-Mart, definitely Wal-Mart.

    I knew they pushed manufacturers to lesser quality items for their stores, but I was not expecting this to trickle down to frozen pizza. I know they have committed greater evils, but man, screwing with a DiGiorno should be punishable by death.

  15. legwork says:

    I like the picture, but wouldn’t a bumbling Peter Lorre be more accurate to represent TJ Maxx? Their security gaffes are more about being IT stooges than demonic beasts.

  16. DeafChick says:

    Now we have pictures?

    Walmart it is.

  17. josho2001 says:

    I love how these are the two companies of the day and if you look at the morning deals they’re both listed this morning. Oh yeah, and Wal-Mart truly is the devil.

  18. BStu says:

    @A.W.E.S.O.M.-O: Yeah, but the seeding has been inconsistant. This isn’t a #1 going up against a #16 (like Target). This is more like a #1 going up against a #4 or #5 seed who otherwise could have hung in for a few more rounds. We need to have a selection committee next time or something. Lets bring in the NCAA. They seem to be doing well. Their seeding is actually beating many a March Madness prediction.

  19. forgottenpassword says:

    I am voting for walmart because of their low wages, the dead eyes in many of its employees (I know….. I used to be one long ago),and their tendancy to drive their manufacturers out of business/into bankruptcy by demanding lower & lower costs.

    Note: one thing I have found is that walmart just cant compete against local grocery store chains (I find things just as cheap in local grocery store chains as in walmart, but walmart often has less of a selection).

    But I DO enjoy the decent prices, convenient locations & selection for most non-grocery products. Yes, I am horrible, horrible human being for needing the cheapest price on goods in order to survive…. sorry. *shrug*

    TJmax is just incompetant when it comes to their financial security.

    Walmart is pure evil. It was one thing when they had american goods, but those days are long gone…. cheap china made crap is mostly what they have now.

  20. Wal-Mart is the winner of the whole thing for me, considering that Monsanto is not in the contest for God knows why.

    To me Wal-Mart is the epitome of everything that is bad in our country right now. Outsourcing of jobs to China. Low quality dangerous goods. Putting mom and pop stores out of business and making the entire country look like a homogenized genericana wasteland.

  21. Drowner says:

    But.. Wal-Mart negotiates a lower price with the company. The company chooses to make a crappy product instead of researching how to make the same product at a lower cost (or eating the profit loss of the single item in an effort to sell more product). It’s the manufacturer’s choice: sell your product at Wal-Mart’s price or don’t sell it.

    I’m just sayin’.

  22. tme2nsb says:

    I hate walmart as a former employee, the poor treatment and the poor pay, but Walmart is easier to find and they usually have everything I need…except computer parts. They get my vote still

  23. forgottenpassword says:


    you dont realize that walmart knowingly uses its size against its manuafacterers. When walmart says they will sell a manufacturer’s product the manufacturer first gets a decent deal from walmart, but has to retool & buy more manufacturing facilities in order to meet walmart’s demand. THEN once the manufacturer is in debt & dependant upon walmart…. walmart puts the squeeze on…. demanding lower costs. And this happens every time the contract is negotiated and eventually the manufacturer goes under.

  24. AceKicker says:

    I just want to say, I’m voting Walmart because,.. well they’re Walmart, but I fully understand and respect those that vote TJMzxx for the stupidity they’ve pulled.

  25. Alex Chasick says:

    This is the best picture that has ever been on Consumerist ever.

  26. attackgypsy says:

    I have to give Wal-Mart a pass on this one. For what they did during Katrina.

    For that, they get a pass.

  27. AceKicker says:

    @attackgypsy: That took me aside too, almost made me give them a pass. I reasoned it thusly: The Katrina relief (local event) was result of good people, while the crap they pull as an organization is bad company.

  28. B says:

    I’m voting for the Dragon over the Giant Squid.

  29. plustax says:

    In a past life I was doing tax for a rather large nationwide clothing retailer and was a member of a tax organization which included Wal-Mart. Their rep was a very round and stout man with a partially bald head. He had a classic Arkansas accent that could be heard for miles and he always talked like a Baptist preacher. He was quite a character and was exactly what you would think of when you thought of a Wal-Mart executive, I found it quite amusing in my head.

    But the one thing I admire about Wal-Mart though is what this man is doing to help reform complex state and local tax laws on a national level not only to help his company but for every other company that operates across state lines. Of course that’s not enough for me to still think the company as a whole is a symbol of what’s wrong with the direction our economy and society is going so I voted for “W”.

  30. Trai_Dep says:

    Kudos on the graphics choices, Ben!

  31. badhatharry says:

    Come on, it could be WalMart Vs. Pinochet, and I would still vote for WalMart.

  32. sgodun says:

    Once again, I’m amazed at the shortsightedness of the voting that’s happening here.

    Wal-Mart sells cheap stuff and strong arms manufacturers to make them cheaper. Okay, that qualifies for a slot in this contest. But y’know what? If you don’t like the way Wal-Mart does business, don’t shop there.

    OTOH, TJMaxx allowed millions upon millions of instances of identity theft and fraud.

    Given that as of this writing Wal-Mart is ‘winning’ this battle, it seems to indicate that society (or at least, Consumerist readers) is perfectly accepting of the reality of millions (billions?) of dollars in fraud that US taxpayers will have to pay for, but unwilling to accept it when a vendor strong-arms a manufacturer into making a product less expensive.

    WTF is wrong with you people.

  33. Trai_Dep says:

    @sgodun: If you’re really interested, and can handle watching something that challenges your preconceptions, rent Wal-Mart: The High Price of Low Cost.
    It’ll provoke thought and interesting conversation among your friends, always a good thing.

  34. ManiacDan says:

    Could we please start seeing the companies in the same order on the poll as they are in the article? I know I sound like an idiot, but I keep almost voting for the wrong company because the poll is “A/B” and the description is “B/A”

  35. IrisMR says:

    Let’s see. A shop vs a gigantic worldwide fraud.

    I wonder which is the most worthy of votes… I guess it’s the one that actually matters: the fraud. Unfortunately not turning that way, but TJMaxx got my vote

  36. Sachlichkeit says:

    TJMaxx is apathetically bad. They didn’t do enough to protect the credit card information of their customers. They weren’t trying to screw people over.

    Walmart is actively evil. Eviscerating middle class family stores? Evil. Workers rights violations, shoddy pay, dangerous products made for the poor, ironically made by the poor of the third world. Evil. They make a profit off of screwing people over.

  37. rainday says:

    Shouldn’t that say TJX and not just TJ Maxx (Marshalls,Homegoods etc..) Taxpayers don’t seem to have taken a hit except for the fact that law enforcement is searching for the criminals (which is what they do)and it took a criminal act in order to steal the info, not like other companies that leave secure information laying around at the local coffee shop. On the other hand, WalMart has the worst customer service of any retailer and not the best track record for human rights (sweat shops, low pay, no health insurance, etc…)
    Easy vote in my opinion. Wal-Mart is easily a top four worst company in America.

  38. jinxprotocol says:

    I’ll just never understand why a company would open a store with forty-thousand registers and only have three cashiers.

  39. lovelygirl says:

    TJMaxx is a great store to shop at. But hello— theft of information?? It boggles my mind as to why people are voting for companies based on the fact that they’re cheap and don’t take care of their employees. How do you expect these stores to bring you low prices AND benefits for workers at the same time. Something’s gotta give. And this is just showing TJMaxx that we don’t really care about their mistake, and that they can just do it again.

  40. Angryrider says:

    Sweet! A kraken vs. a wyrm! Dunno which to choose.
    Wal Mart of course. They drive smaller stores out of business so people have to drive to their instead of walking to the smaller ones.

  41. rad_matter says:

    I went to Wal-Mart to use a gift card I recieved with from my mother and I almost didn’t make it in the store because I didn’t realize this particular Wal-Mart didn’t let teenagers until a certain time. Problem was it’s been eight years since I first went to high school. I had to plead with the man who though I went to high school that I went to college before I could get in.

  42. sardonicbastard says:

    At the rate we’re going here, this whole bracket is gonna take between 9 and 11 *weeks* to finish up. I think we gotta crank up the pace here a bit.

  43. Stranger_Danger says:

    Can’t we just skip all this votin and give the award to Comcast already?

  44. Umisaurus says:

    @Bladefist-미국사람: In my area, as far as retail goes, Wal-Mart is your best bet for a decent wage. Everyone else around here starts you off at minimum wage if you work the sales floor, but if you’re a cashier (especially with any sort of work experience) you can make a good $1-2 more. It’s not awesome, but it’s not the worst.

    I will say that it’s usually the terrible store managers that ruin the experience for both the employees, and the customers end up getting the brunt of it. As a former supervisor, I’d probably still be there part-time if it weren’t for the constant belittling that my coworkers and I went through.

  45. unravel says:

    @sgodun: Not shopping there isn’t always easy. In some areas, pre-existing businesses crumble in Wal-Mart’s wake, and those who don’t may drive their prices up, or resort to selling crap as well.

    I’m not sure that Wal-Mart hasn’t “allowed” instances of identity theft and fraud. Given the number of stores they have, and the amount of business that they do, I don’t think it’s implausible. Maybe we just haven’t heard about it yet.

    Wal-Mart DOES cost taxpayers. As of 2004, they had received at least 650 million (and that’s a generous, low end estimate. I’ve seen figures as high as 1 billion) dollars in government subsidies — free/low-cost land, job training funds, sales tax rebates, tax credits, infrastructure assistance. This doesn’t include the Wal-Mart employees who have qualified for -and taken- food stamps (or other forms of public assistance), or those who have enrolled themselves/their kids in health programs run by the states. How much unemployment has been paid out to those who have lost jobs in their communities when Wal-Marts rolled in?

    I’m sure Wal-Mart has done some a great amount of good in some of the communities they’ve entered, but many of their actions have been/are worthy of contempt.

  46. karmaghost says:

    You know, I had never heard anybody talk about how Wal-Mart makes manufacturers create shittier products for their stores until just now. However, I’ve noticed it personally all the time. I bought a GE Skillet from them a while back and it was a piece of shit. To find out why, I checked the box and it said something like “made for Wal-Mart” and ever since then, when I do venture into Wal-Mart I always check for that label.

    Actually, come to think of it, the last thing I bought after that skillet was a small grill, otherwise I haven’t bothered with Wal-Mart for any appliances.

  47. bluewyvern says:

    I’m not a member of the “Wal-Mart is unmitigated evil” camp, but I had to pick them for their various sins and offenses because I haven’t really seen how TJ Maxx was at fault for the breach. They were the victim of an insidious new form of attack, like Hannaford, and I didn’t see anything to say that they had faulty practices or committed any wrongdoing. Isn’t everyone vulnerable to these newfangled hacks?

  48. yevarechecha says:

    I voted for Wal-Mart, but I gotta say, in addition to the data breach, I think the general dumpiness of TJ Maxx stores is being underrated here. About 70% of the stuff they sell is butt-reamingly ugly. I came across a pair of size 28 women’s shorts once whose color and pattern I can only describe as closely resembling the results when my friend ate GoGurt and pickles on a car trip and threw up all over the floor of a NJ Turnpike service plaza. Just hideous. And they have racks and racks of crap like this, with tops to (not) match. Fortunately, they seem to have preemptively rescued many customers from the horrors of their clothing because somehow, no matter what your size is, they will have everything but that. I keep going back in there in the futile hope that buried amid all the fugliness, I will find that one cheap hidden treasure, but I have yet to ever buy anything. I guess I’m just stupid.

  49. Pro-Pain says:

    Has Wal-Mart given any money to the gay and lesbian cause here lately? I hear they are running out of rainbow posters.

  50. Surprisingly, Wal-Mart has never won the Worst Company in America award. Maybe we should give them an honorary award.

  51. JustaConsumer says:

    Wal-Mart- the 21st Century robber-barons.

  52. pgh9fan says:

    Both retailers have serious issues; however, TJ Maxx gets my vote for the credit card debacle. (I was among the victims–a credit card and a debit card.)TJ Maxx wanted to cooperate with authorities which is a laudable goal, but they did so by not telling people whose card had been compromised for over a month putting us further at risk.

  53. ExposeTheSky says:

    Okay what is the deal with you people. TxMaxx is just lame and you are choosing it to be better than Wal-Mart. Remember that the next time it is 3 in the morning and you need condoms or tampons! I mean come on, they rule the world and probobly always will. Everyone needs a Wal-Mart.

  54. Aw, come on. Wal-Mart is major league evil. TJ Maxx is single-A at best. I didn’t even know they HAD millions of customers. How about a more even matchup next time.

  55. @ExposeTheSky: I’ll give Wal-Mart one thing. When I had to stop there at 11:30 PM for new jumper cables because my wife was stranded in a parking lot on the other side of town with a dead battery, Wal-Mart had me covered. Call it the Yin-Yang theory of retail.

  56. Anitra says:

    TJ Maxx is incompetent. Walmart purposefully tries to lower prices by lowering quality, and pushes competitors AND suppliers alike out of business.

  57. allstar_tbh says:

    come on people. this should have been an easy one! TJ Maxx should win this entire contest for the single fact that they had millions of YOUR credit card numbers stolen, and easily stolen i might add. i work for a financial company and believe me bad credit sticks with you for all time! i would gladly get crappy service from an idiot employee at wal-mart than get my credit card number stolen.