Why Is WalMart Mysteriously Shuttering Stores Nationwide For "Plumbing Issues"?

Tyler Durden's picture

Earlier this year, WalMart became one of several corporate heavyweights to lift wages for its meagerly compensated workers, around 500,000 of which are now set to receive at least $9/hour and $10/hour by Q1 2016 (that of course assumes they make it on $9 an hour for another 12 months and don’t seek out other employment by sheer necessity). 

Meanwhile, as we noted earlier this month, the move by the country’s largest retailer to pay a few extra pennies to its (basically) minimum wage employees comes at a cost to the company’s suppliers because when you operate on the thinnest of margins in order to be the “low price leader,” someone has to pay for those wage hikes and you can’t pass along the costs to customers because many of your low-income patrons are operating from the same tax bracket as your low-paid employees. As such, the poor companies along the supply chain are forced to lower their prices and of course they’re going to comply because well, you’re WalMart meaning you’re your vendors’ biggest account pretty much by default. The outcome is that “while WMT (or MCD or GAP or Target) boosts the living standards of its employees by the smallest of fractions, it cripples the cost and wage structure of the entire ecosystem of vendors that feed into it, and what takes place is a veritable avalanche effect where a few cent increase for the lowest paid megacorp employees results in a tidal wave of layoffs for said megacorp's vendors.”

If that doesn’t turn out to be enough in the face of an economy which isn’t really recovering and in which low-income shoppers are constrained by lackluster (and by that we mean nonexistent) wage growth, some sacrifices may have to be made. The problem is that laying people off and shuttering stores two months after a celebrated wage hike initiative doesn’t inspire much confidence and could turn into a PR issue, but one thing you could do is get creative, and while we’re not plumbers, we do find it curious that five geographically distinct WalMart stores have been closed in the past week for “ongoing plumbing issues that will require extensive repairs.”

 Here’s more from a local CBS affiliate:

10 News called the county. Officials say they have no record of any code or permit violation at the Brandon location.


And when 10 News was at the Walmart Tuesday, there were no marked septic trucks or plumbing vehicles in the lot.


"Where is everybody if they're supposed to be working on everything where are all the trucks?" asked shopper Melissa Dupuis.


10 News asked a Walmart spokesperson whether the five stores were built from the same design, whether they had the same contractor, anything to understand why all of them closed on the same day for "plumbing issues."


The only thing they have in common, the spokesperson said are the highest number of plumbing incidents.


Leaving some customers to wonder "how many things have they not said. That's scary," said shopper Norma Espinosa.

And here’s more from a local ABC report in Florida:

BRANDON, Fla. - Employees of a Walmart in Brandon that abruptly closed Monday were among more than 2,000 employees nationwide who learned almost simultaneously they were being laid off.


In a nearly identical manner at every store, Walmart corporate officials visited the five locations, called an impromptu meeting in the back of the store and told employees that the stores would be closing that evening.


Besides Brandon, the affected locations were in Pico Rivera, Calif., Livingston, Texas, Midland, Texas, Tulsa, Okla.


“The issues mostly relate to clogs and water leaks in the plumbing - we’ve had persistent issues over the last several years,“ said a Walmart spokesperson said.


“These incidents impact the availability of water and create drainage issues for critical areas of the store which impacts our ability to serve customers,” she said.


“Normally, we do our best to avoid disrupting a store’s operations. However, given this particular store had one of the highest incidences of plumbing issues in the entire fleet and in order to reduce the costs associated with these incidents, we felt it was in the store’s best interest to invest in making the necessary improvements to resolve these issues,” the spokesperson said.


The I-Team has learned that none of the five affected stores have sought any plumbing permits for future repairs.


“We’re in a holding pattern. We’re anxious to learn exactly what they’re planning,” said Pico Rivera City Manager James Enriquez, when we contacted him about the store’s closing Tuesday.


Enriquez says when Walmart notified the city Monday that it was closing the store, he offered his full support in trying to get it back open.


“My building official walked out there and didn’t see any work being done,” he said.

So there you have it, “clogs and water leaks” but no plumbing permits and 2,000 affected employees, many of whom were presumably just given the news that they would be getting a raise only to discover that they will get 60 days of pay before they’ll need to find a job at another WalMart location (hopefully one with no plumbing issues) or find other employment. We’ll leave it to readers to discern if these “clogs and leaks” are real or whether the company is just quietly shutting down stores across the country.

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Looney's picture

Plumbing my ass! They're iInstalling Vagina-cams in the restrooms. ;-)


knukles's picture

Unprofitable shit's clogging up the system's financials

As Nazi Pelousy once said: "We need to pass it so we know what's in it".  She was describing a stool sample.

alphamentalist's picture

remember when they shot their America region CEO for daring to speak the truth about the wreckovery? they are dedicated to maintaining the lies, so why not pose all unpopular newsflow in such ways?

Doña K's picture

Wait! Plumbing is a metaphor for slow velocity of liquids (liquidity?)

No lies here. Colorful language

y3maxx's picture

After 2016, Obama wants to rebuild them into mini, Janitor in Chief Libraries

nope-1004's picture

Stores are closing because the sewer is backing up, filling the stores with toxic waste.  Based on the economist PhD's, the rational thing to do would be to raise the ceiling, not close the store.

Then write a book about it.



BurningFuld's picture

They are showing their slaves just how easy it is them to be out of a job if they fuck around in any way shape or form.

nuubee's picture

Yeah, but the hilarious thing is, the slaves believe them, and probably are all going to go on high-fiber diets to avoid future plumbing problems at their next part-time, no-benefits shit-job.

Herd Redirection Committee's picture

Why does Walmart close stores?  Why do ZH comments (and the occasional poster) disappear?

NoDebt's picture

Leaks.... plumbers....

I've heard this one before somewhere.

SumTing Wong's picture

"My plumber has a great beard, but he doesn't break the stuff he is hired to fix."

Man did I love those animated bears.

SilverIsKing's picture

By plumbing, they must mean their supply line.  Mostly everything sold in WM is made in China.  Maybe there's fewwer goods coming in from China for some reason?

Rather than use their resources to build shitty stuff to sell in WM, they might be using them to build warheads.

Pladizow's picture

So Walmart is literally full of shit!

0b1knob's picture

By claiming some sort of emergency the can close the stores instantly without going through the WARN act provisions?

Walmart has been canibalizing its own market by building stores too close together.   Time to thin them out a little.

Headbanger's picture

Good catch!  You're right:


"(A) An employer may order a plant closing or mass layoff before the conclusion of the 60-day period if the closing or mass layoff is caused by business circumstances that were not reasonably foreseeable as of the time that notice would have been required."

boogerbently's picture

And the only thing these stores had in common was they were the ones with the most plumbing incidents???

Sounds reasonable to me.

Why does this set off the ZH conspiracy theory alarms ?



ZerOhead's picture



2 Mos?





RU-GAY2's picture

We've noticed more and more Bitcoins showing up on the shelves at our Walmart?  Especially where the ammunition used to be?


philipat's picture

Just as big a story is the very fact that a "Plumbing Permit" would be needed to fix plumbing. Another example of Government Regulations out of control.

Supernova Born's picture

McDonalds inside Walmart.

The event horizon of the Idiocracy singularity.

Majestic12's picture

Interesting Map....looks like another map...


Operation Jade Helm?



BringOnTheAsteroid's picture

How long does it take to wire these buidings with explosives? 

Has Walmart sold these premises to Larry Silverstein recently? 

Buggered if I'd set foot inside these stores when they re-opened.

Sad that the world has come to this, even if I am being sarcastic. 

old naughty's picture

Sheeples will never believe: All laws are written in ways so the elites may found loopholes to work in their selfish favors...

All CEO and CInvestO are hired to work these or they'd be "rendered obsolete", no?

dreadnaught's picture

it has been noted that a group of Israeli investors have been seen nosing around these closing stores......

BLOTTO's picture

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vie's picture

Seems like ZH is having some "plumbing issues" as well.  And I don't mean this guy.  All the (good) comments are disappearing down the memory hole.

cnmcdee's picture

It's called "Dark Stores" and Wal-Mart has been doing it for a looong time.

 A. Come in, undercut all the mom and pop stores in the community - using profitable Walmarts to subsidize a 'loss-leader' Wal-Mart

 B. Mom and Pop's fold up, prices jacked up.

 C. Community sucked dry - Wal-Mart store is closed but building is not leased out to prevent a competitor anchor tenant  from coming in.



The solution to this BS is to make Income Tax Rate = Market Share.  Walmart controls 60% of the retail market in the United States and their taxes should hence be 60%. Don't like it? DON'T GET SO BIG.


Offthebeach's picture

I always give State overseers of thier tax income producing slave quarters( the house you rent from the state ) a hard time.  That is when I call them, which is never.  I ask them and they say for 'safety'.  I ask them if their wife, kids have cars and do they drive them.  They say yes.  So did the town/city/state 'inspector' inspect and sign off on the last set of pads put on their brakes?  Which is more 'dangerious'?  Your wife's brakes or calling you, waiting five days or a week to have you sign off on a sheetrock inspection?  God forbid plywood nails aren't every three inches. Or a 2 ton shear stregth hanger nail, one of ten, for a total of 20 tons of shear, is missing.  Yes'm.  Oh, and how about at the local Obamacare death camp, ie, the hospital,  you dolts signing off on the butchers and poinsoners and skimming rent seekers that off people each and every day?  Or the local rent a fake defense lawyer that are the grease in the organized crime machine known as the courts?  Yeah, didn't think so.

I get the double blink and the "I'm just a good National Socialist train clerk " pushing the papers along.

sun tzu's picture

Some are closing 6 mos to a year for plumbing problems. You can build a brand new WalMart in less time. What kind of plumbing problems could take up to a year to fix unless they didn't want those stores open?

BringOnTheAsteroid's picture

I think it takes longer than you think to plan a false flag. The buildings have to be wired, the explosives set, the ISIS actors engaged, the cover story set for they how they got hold of the explosives, another cover story for how they gained access to the buildings to plant the exposives. I mean, christ, these people are just human, give them a break.  

cnmcdee's picture

When I was 12 I made a trip to Portland, Oregan. I met a fellow kid I no longer remember his name - just the story - who had a real sadist streak. He bragged about how he would go into public washrooms and flush M-80's down the toilet - which are those big ass fireworks (1/4 sticks of dynamite)  Because they could burn underwater and took a few seconds to go off they would travel down the sewer pipe and then shatter it.  Of course now you have to jackhammer the concrete out under the building.

Being from Canada I was amazed the entire country didn't immolate itself on the 4th of July every year - or that anything was left of public services with kids like that running around..

Maybe some kid got pissed off and did that to them - who knows?

crazyroadlizard's picture

THIS reply is why I read the comment section FIRST!

harposox's picture

Can't speak to your first paragraph, but the second is indisputably a part of their business model. Many of their stores in rural communities are just miles apart, for the sole purpose of completely destroying any competition from local small business.

Divine Wind's picture



Union talk, perhaps?

TruthInSunshine's picture

Obama signed an executive order mandating Toto toilets & imported French bidets be installed in all retailer bathrooms.

Rapelomacy's picture

2,000 employees have been diagnosed with ongoing hemorrhoid problems, the curve is beginning to look exponential...

IRC162's picture

The article failed to mention that the shitty wages not only hurt the vendors, they burden the taxpayer by providing indigents to the welfare monster- launder-me-a-democrat-vote system.  I wonder what percentage of Wal-Mart employees are on some form of social welfare program.  Bet the majority of their front liners are on multiple programs, courtesy of LBJ's War On Poverty.  The antithesis of Henry Ford.

These motherfuckers are the low price leader merely because they were first to figure out how to get every one of us to subsidize their labor force, while forcing legitimate local mom and pops to close shop.  

Wal Mart = War on independent business and independence in general, as employees are fitted for plantation shackles in training/orientation.  Welcome to the GimmeDat party.

"Poverty Fascism"

cnmcdee's picture

It's all good, the US Treasury can just print bonds bought by the Federal Reserve and that money can be used to subsidize their low living standards.  Not only that they can give wonderful Willy-Walmart and his slave factories of Chinese Oomphaloompa's a big tax break like GE so they can increase their buybacks!!

... hmmm let's see if we can create a new name for these class of people 'Welfarites?' 'Poorites?' Ideas?

dreadnaught's picture

yeah but isnt Sam Mall Wart a true blue REPUBLICAN?  yep make the taxpayers pay for your employees by laying them off, forcing them onto welfare/UEC etc

Handful of Dust's picture

If Walmart closes where the heck will all the massively overweight merikans go to shop?

Offthebeach's picture

Please.  Enough with the infantalism of grown adults.  Who forced you to work in a Wall Mart?  Get a trade. ( Look at any skilled trades, in ANY Craigslist, in ANY part of the country.  Want everywhere ) Of course it is work, work.  You have to learn something for a few weeks( trucking ) to years. ( PLC, plumbers, electricians, ....).  So, A.  Don't learn.  B. Don't want to get dirty.  B.  Have some unsupervised responibility, let alone self pride.  You want to be the modern equivilent of a rice paddy picker.  Dull, repitious, low quality oxygen thief.  Fine.  What, did a judge sentance you?  Do you come form some Idia like cast system where your family has always been Wal Mart smerfs?  People sell themselves because they want to, or they don't want to, want a little, tiny bit, baby stepps, more.

Re small buisness.  I went in a Ace Hardware, which I like Ace.  Three employees in the corner gabing it up.  Looked in the plumbing for a bit, ten minutes.  Still gabbing.  Hook where the thing I needed empthy, others filled. Waited.  Still gabbing.  Walked to door, gave a good look back, blank stares back but the gabbing stopped, I walked out.  Small buisness isn't a paradise of saints either.  Boo hoo...I'm a small....boo hoo...I'm a farmer.....boo hoo.......  Anyone of these, you offer them better for less, they'll jump.  Everywhere.  World wide.  Since Hammurabi.

nailgunnin4you's picture

French bidets, welcome to obamas america.

migra's picture

It seems like they just want to save money on labor costs and/or scare their employees so they STFU about pay hikes. At the size of these buildings, it seems that you could replace the entire plumbing system in a few weeks or a month. Walmart truly is,

full of shit.

Freddie's picture

Someone here a few years ago wrote a great post on WMT and how their shelves and inventory was getting lower.

I wish I could find the post.  They said eventually WMT will get squeezed on all sides of the supply and labor chain.  My guess is chinese shit ain't so cheap anymore and that was part of this analysis. 

migra's picture

True. The Chinese won't work for peanuts anymore. 

mt paul's picture

work like hell

for chicken feet..