Economics 101: Wal-Mart Hikes Minimum Wages, Prepares To Fire 1000

Tyler Durden's picture

"Please remember, these people are our neighbors and friends. You have a skill that will be very much in need when this goes down. You are experts in the job market and you know what it takes to get hired. This is a time for us to step up and do what we can to help."

The quote above is from an internal memo sent to employees of Northwest Arkansas recruiting firm Cameron Smith & Associates and references an expected wave of layoffs at WalMart’s home office in Bentonville.

The memo was obtained by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, who spoke with Cameron Smith himself via e-mail.

"The last time Walmart had a large layoff (800 plus), we were unprepared and overwhelmed with phone calls, emails, resumes and walk-ins," Smith told the paper, referring to a series of cuts at WalMart in 2009. The next round of layoffs are just around the corner and could affect as many as 1,000 employees Smith contends, citing conversations with company insiders. 

As those who follow the retailer closely are no doubt aware, context is key here. 

Back in April, we asked why WalMart was mysteriously shuttering geographically distinct stores nationwide for "plumbing problems." The company, citing the need to repair persistent "clogs and leaks", closed five stores across the country almost simultaneously. The 2,500 affected employees were in some instances given almost no notice whatsoever.

After a few enterprising reporters determined that no plumbing permits had been filed in any of the locales where the shuttered stores were located, conspiracy theories sprung up, the most outlandish of which posited a link between the store closings and the Jade Helm 15 military drills which began earlier this month in Texas and six other states. 

For our part, we argued that the store closures were more likely the result of two things: i) the need to cut costs, and ii) the desire to close a "problem" store in California that had for years served as a hotbed for union activism. For now, we won’t dive into the union issue, but for those interested, see here, here, and her

As for cost cutting, consider the following, excerpted from "Why Is WalMart Mysteriously Shuttering Stores Nationwide For Plumbing Issues?":

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, 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 supply chain is 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 first such sacrifice (apparently) were the 2,500 or so employees at the five locations with intractable plumbing problems, but clearly that was not enough which is why now, the company is moving to cut 1,000 higher paying jobs in Bentonville.

Of course WalMart can’t come out and say that a lackluster economy and nonexistent wage growth for 83% of the nation’s workforce has ironically served to make the company’s own minimum wage hikes untenable and therefore some heads in middle management have to roll, so instead the cuts will be blamed on bureaucratic inefficiencies. Here’s the Democrat-Gazette again:

Cutting through red tape and trimming bureaucracy has been among the goals of McMillon, who took over as CEO in February 2014. Wal-Mart employs more than 2 million worldwide and has more than 1.4 million employees in the U.S.


McMillon mentioned the size of the company's headquarters as a possible detriment to quicker action at the store level and told retail analysts during a June question-and-answer session that employees should remember "there are no cash registers in the office." During a store visit last year, McMillon said he encountered an electronics department manager who spent five hours on the phone with the home office to get assistance with a problem.


"We want people to make decisions and move with speed and not have the organization run in a way that causes it to slow down," McMillon said.


He again referred to the "dangers of a big company" during a June 11 retail conference in Springdale.


"As we've grown and time has gone on, we've created pockets of our business, situations where people don't want to share bad news. Lots of PowerPoints get built, lots of pre-meetings are held to socialize things so people aren't surprised during a meeting," McMillon said. "That is bureaucracy. That slows us down."

Got it. Too many people are working on PowerPoints and when someone making $10 an hour calls the home office, the hold time is too long. These are clear signs of an elephantine, Washington-esque bureaucracy, which must be done away with.

Or something.

Just don’t dare suggest that the cuts are the indirect or even direct result of the wage hikes that will cost the retailer around $1 billion this year, because that would mean that critics of the push to hike the pay floor are correct to assert that forcing employers to pay more will immediately result in equal and offsetting layoffs.

Only here they aren't necessarily "equal" at all.

That's in no way a commentary on the "worth" (in a philosophical sense of the word) of an hourly worker versus a salaried employee, but if layoffs in Arkansas do materialize as Cameron Smith predicts, it seems entirely fair to suggest that the pittance given to hundreds of thousands of low paid workers will ultimately come at the cost of 1,000 or so breadwinner positions. We'll leave it to readers to determine whether that is a net win for the economy. 

On the bright side for anyone affected by the coming round of job cuts, at least you know that this time around, the staff at Cameron Smith & Associates is "much more prepared" to handle the sudden influx of 1,000 distraught former WalMart employees.

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Headbanger's picture

What?   Too many plumbing problems??

Publicus's picture

I don't see any problem with this.

silverer's picture

Neither does Walmart.  Politically, a win for the Democrats.  After all, the only votes they will lose are the 1000 jobs lost and maybe a couple hundred sympathizers.  Everyone else in the country who supported a minimum wage hike still thinks the idea is great.  Just ask any democrat.

Creepy A. Cracker's picture

AWESOME!!!!  The markets work!

White Mountains's picture

Yep.  An employer can only pay what a person is worth.  Want a higher wage?  Then increase your value!  Many of these types of jobs should only be considered starter jobs - on the job training so that you can go on to become a more productive member of society.

Of course, the Marxists think they can legislate (at the point of a gun) the market.  LOL.  Good luck with that!

PrayingMantis's picture



... "Of course WalMart can’t come out and say that a lackluster economy ... "

... Walmart's problem is "Made in China" ... renminbi (yuan) is heading up, profit margin is declining, they face wage protests so fire a thousand and increase wages for the remaining workers ... and of course, increase management's salaries and bonuses for solving the problem ...

El Oregonian's picture

With so many stores being "Converted" for .gov use, the need to keep sales associates on the payroll is absolutely non-essential.

More security guards, yes.

More merchandise stockers, not so much.


I MISS KUDLOW's picture

How about keep the 1000 and ceo makes 90 million instead of 120 million with all the games they are playing in wiping the monopoly board clean,,,,I would do a fine job as ceo with a one million salary

Creepy A. Cracker's picture

How about if people don't like it don't ever shop there, enabling the CEO to earn a salary that they disapprove of.  Start your own company that sells cheap junk from China and be a leader by becoming the CEO who earns $15/hour. 

lordylord2's picture
lordylord2 (not verified) Creepy A. Cracker Jul 31, 2015 12:02 PM

"How about if people don't like it don't ever shop there,"

Because that takes sustained conviction.  Liberals/socialists don't have any. 

Amish FinEng's picture

You English are slaves to your Wall St masters. They have about squeezed every last drop of your blood and now they will toss your remains out of their speeding airplane as they debark for Tel aviv.


lordylord2's picture
lordylord2 (not verified) Amish FinEng Jul 31, 2015 12:08 PM

<----1000 new conservative voters

<----1000 new democrat welfare recipients

The9thDoctor's picture

"We want people to make decisions and move with speed and not have the organization run in a way that causes it to slow down," McMillon said.

I don't know about Wal-Mart exactly but the retail I worked at over a decade ago you had a Senior Manager who tells the Assistant Manager who tells a supervisor who tells you how to stock a shelf.  If you ever played the game Telephone as a kid, you could imagine how that original order from the top worked out.  Instead of the Senior Manager telling you directly how they wanted the shelf presented, they were busy in their office having personal conversations on the telephone.  They felt employee issues were beneath them despite the company's open door policy stating otherwise.

Then when you get promoted to supervisor to make an extra $1 an hour or whatever the chickenshit raise was (remember it's just for the experience you wish you wouldn't have anyways), you don't do any actual physical productive work to get the task done.  Instead, you played as an intermediary between lazy salaried managers who spend 50 to 60 hours a week physically in the building but performed 10 hours of of actual work a week, and between the entry level workers who actually where the rubber meets the road and made a few cents above minimum wage.  The management has these unrealistic demands and you have to convey their expectations to minimum wage employees who couldn't give two hoots because you're not paying them anything.

Retail management is an oxymoron.

If a retailer wants to be successful they should trim all of this fat.  They should invest in giving entry level workers better training, and as a result of their higher value... a higher wage.  Instead of a useless chain of command, just have the entry level workers deal with the management directly.  Then again I digress, because automation should replace all of these workers very soon anyways, so this is simply rearranging chairs on the Titanic.  Many retailers who used the over managed model are out of business anyway.

Big Box is so 1990s and early 2000s anyways.  It's all about eCommerce on mobile apps nowadays.

Moral of the story to any younger readers out there, get out of retail as quickly as possible.  It's a cute little stepping stone to be exposed to the working world, but it doesn't go any further than that.  Get into finance or real estate as those are the only "industries" that pay anything anymore.

FreedomGuy's picture

Unlike government however, free market enterprises have to meet a bottom line. You can afford only so much stupidity and waste. Bad operations actually go down and out of business. However, government will claim it needs more resources, infrastructure, modernization money and a hundred other things. It will never have any impulse to get rid of six, six-figure administrators for every teacher. Even the "grief counselors" will stay on payroll and retire at full pay in Florida.



Shocker's picture

You move up Min wage, Jobs get lost... pretty simple

Layoff / Closing List:




Semi-employed White Guy's picture

That's about how I remember retail when I worked it in college.  Lazy ass assistant managers, managed by even lazier store managers, managed by completely worthless and do nothing regional managers.  But they always "put in lots of hours".  Another thing I remember is that they paid the full-time/day shift workers more per hour than us part-time/night-weekend workers.  This made no sense to me since the part-timers, who were mostly college students,  were smarter, more productive, and had a better work ethic.  We spent nights cleaning up what the lazy career retail workers neglected to do during the day. Oh and we were a hell of a lot less likely to steal than the day shift too.  On that last point I'll let you figure out the racial make up of the day shift vs the night shift.

NoPension's picture

Fucking Swedes, right? What do I win?

Totentänzerlied's picture

Minimum wage laws cause eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeevil capitalists to contract their workforce to offset the increased cost per unit of labor with no corresponding increase in the value of said labor or earnings of the capitalist?

*Presses the Easy Button*

Minimum employment quotas!

[Paid for by Friends of Bernie Sanders PAC]

FreedomGuy's picture

For the stupid friends of Bernie Sanders, you cannot control the results or consequences of rigging the market with artificial rules. If you could the USSR would be the economic powerhouse of all history.

The reason for the economically illiterate is that on the other side of this equation are products whose prices cannot necessarily change. The fact you pay the guy who says, "You want fries with that?" $8/hr with a $6 Happy Meal going out the door does not mean you can now pay the guy who still says "You want fries with that?" $15/hr and double the price of the Happy Meal. In fact, there is a thing called a Price-Demand curve. The more you charge for something the less of it people buy. This is the most ignored rule in all of socialist economics.

If the local hamburger place could in fact charge $12/Happy Meal they would be doing it already. The cannot so the do not. The government cannot control that side of the equation unless they do like Obamacare and order everyone in the country to buy Happy Meals at $12.

The leftist is a supremely arrogant and ignorant little cuss. He/she has no appreciation or understanding of the infinite complexity of an economy. A free economy is every bit as beautiful, amazing and intricate as a rain forest, which is the best analogy. It is adapting every single second of every single day to billions of inputs...always, never off, and done freely.

Leftist fall to Hayek's "fatal conceit" thinking they can actually improve on it. They cannot. What they can do is poison one part of the forest to benefit another.

In a fair world, all the people who are out there protesting for the new minimum wage would be the exact people laid off. It is good to connect the consequences of stupid decisions to the people who make them.

NoPension's picture

Your wasting your breath trying to explain supply and demand, or anything that requires logic to a liberal.
They are Galacticly illogical and everything is about their feelings.
But they are better than you and I, because they care.

I could see this at age 15 or 16. We were not raised with politics. All I ever heard was my longshoremen grandfather saying " vote Dem, no matter what " . You could run Daffy Fucking Duck, and he'd vote for him. I just knew one day, I was conservative, and could not understand how you could be opposed, unless you where stupid, mentally retarded or lazy.

I was right.

A_MacLaren's picture

"... you cannot control the results or consequences of rigging the market with artificial rules."

And on the flip side, Goldman, JP Morgan, Citibank, Bank Americal Merril Lynch, Deutche Bank, UBS, HSBC, et al, all seem to ignore the artificial rules, laws & regulations with a wink and nod from the SEC, CFTC, DOJ, FedRes, FCA, PRA, BoE, BaFin, ECB, etc., to achieve their rigging of the markets, to their benefit and everyone else's detriment.

With rules and regulations, the banksters and 0.01% win and everyone else loses, and without rules and regulations, the results are the same. Please tell me more about your "free market".


FreedomGuy's picture

None of those agencies can rig the markets without the participation of the government.

If you want to assert there are no free markets, I will categorically agree. However, the problem is not freedom, it is control.

You have no history to say that freedom is the problem and bad things are only prevented by government rules. Fraud has always been against the law as a matter of property rights versus theft. Ponzi's are against the law and they still exist.

When the relationship is voluntary then you have to freely convince people to place their investments with you, including businesses and professional investors. Government enables the fraud with bailouts and also "stimulus". The Fed and all central banks exist to manipulate markets and the SEC exists to control them. This is fraudulent in and of itself as we lose the ability to even guess what prices and value truly are in the market. Fraud is institutionalized in government, not prevented. You can also buy favors from government much the same as the Mafia.

Theosebes Goodfellow's picture

~"Walmart's problem is "Made in China""~

And conversely, China's problem is in Walmart. America shipped its manufacturing to China, essentially killing the backbone of America's economic might. China wasn't the first stop, as Japan and South Korea were the predecessors. But China was the "Last Big Stop" on that job-exporting train.

And now Americans no longer have the income to support Walmart. America is broke and broken, and Walmart has to share its fate. The question to ask yourself is "Who in 2016 can turn this around?"

That's a great question, because asking yourself the question, "Can this be turned around?" is too dark, too gloomy and too pessimistic, even for ZH.

roddy6667's picture

America is just too expensive. An assembly line worker at a Chinese auto manufacturer (BYD, DongFeng, GM Snanghai, Toyota, Honda, Hyundai) makes about $4.75 US dollars an hour. This is a good job with good working conditions, job security, health insurance, pension, etc. The pay allows the worker to have an equivalent of an American upper blue collar lifestyle. He owns a home, has all the consumer goods and toys you would expect, and has money left over for substantial savings. He is not spending his $4.75 in America.

What does it take to buy this lifestyle in America? Over $30 and hour?

All those wars of aggression and deficit spending for decades have come home to roost. It's over for manufacturing in America. 

Semi-employed White Guy's picture

But they aren't wars of aggression to the averager Murican.  They are just aggressive spreading of American exceptionalism.

NoPension's picture

That's about the biggest load of bullshit anyone ever posted.

Use your fucking brain. How, in any country, can those things be provided. At $4.75 an hour.

If it's true, China is Shang- ri-la, and we should go study them and see how they work so deft a miracle.

theprofromdover's picture

$4.75/hr China vs $10.75/hr USA:

Why does your house think it is worth $300k, why do your property taxes require some ridiculous figure a month? And Medicare, and taxes? and no savings or pension to back you up?

Your $10.75/hr has to support a whole lot more government and a whole lot more military and a whole lot more debt.

$4.75/hr is probably a whole lot happier place to be than here.

Deres's picture

This is not true. The price comparison is made at the company level, not at the individual employee level.

In fact, wage level is also a battle inside a company between the different level of employees.

In big companies, there usually is a lot of bureaucratic work done at high level that is in fact uncecessary, nevertheless, people and consultants doing those jobs are well paid.

A company can get rotten by its wage structure at high level also.


But i agree, that a minimum wage is a way to get over the market law, and thus is dangerous for the conomy.

Deres's picture

This is not true. The price comparison is made at the company level, not at the individual employee level.

In fact, wage level is also a battle inside a company between the different level of employees.

In big companies, there usually is a lot of bureaucratic work done at high level that is in fact uncecessary, nevertheless, people and consultants doing those jobs are well paid.

A company can get rotten by its wage structure at high level also.


But i agree, that a minimum wage is a way to get over the market law, and thus is dangerous for the conomy.

onewayticket2's picture

...and the 1000 that lost their jobs are now the property of the USGovernment.


so the democrats didnt lose a single thing.....and built dependence in the process.


chinoslims's picture

Yep, I think they had the same problem during Roman times.


Miffed Microbiologist's picture

The sad thing is, higher paying jobs are threatened as well. My job has gone from manual DNA/ RNA extraction and analysis to primarily mechanized. These instruments run around 250-500k to purchase which replaces 5 microbiologists. Fortunately though the throughput has dramatically increased, they breakdown quite often. You'd think that would require greater skill levels from us to work on them but the companies have decided it's more lucrative to sell expensive service contracts so only a company field engineer can touch them.

Most of us have faced the fact we must eventually either manage lower skilled people to load the instruments, work for the vendors or retire. The only comfort is I will no longer be paying 50% of my wage in state and Federal income taxes when I no longer have a job.


Montani Semper Liberi's picture

So true Miffed. Just look at the automated Sedasys system that threatens the careers of anesthesiologists everywhere. The average annual salary for these technicians is around $300k.

 Does anyone think these advances in automation will trickle down to the health care consumer in the form of lower prices?

Skateboarder's picture

Yep, even with the highest level of automation (costs passed on to customer) and reduction of human labor ("savings" passed on to management), there will only ever be inflation in an exponential currency base in the centralized paradigm.

I hope you get to retire before seeing the day where you are replaced by a machine, Miffed.

FreedomGuy's picture

Medicine is a different economic animal than consumer markets. First, the government controls or actually owns most of the economic inputs.

Second, you have to go to an "expert" who will tell you that you need some therapies you do not understand. Not doing those things can have severe consequences. So, you cannot make a normal consumer price-value choice.

Third, most everything is third party payers. So, the person both ordering the therapies and the person getting the therapies are not directly tied to the cost of it.

If we could get the actual economic costs of healthcare connected to individuals more directly we would have more rational pricing. That flows to what everyone gets paid on one side of the equation and what everyone spends on the other.

One last point is that government is absolutely positively the worst entity to make these choices. They are not connected to the consequences of the choices. They cannot make value judgments. This is why both the VA medical system and government schools generally suck. It is also why government pays below costs for some things and then has a billion dollar fighter jet when it is the only market.


Miffed Microbiologist's picture

You are correct. I find it ironic that HMOs trying to save costs have imposed diagnostic trees to eliminate errors, streamline care, reduce costs and increase objectivity in the medical field. I have seen many cases where the opposite occured. The complexity of the human body and diseases states cannot be compared to rebuilding a car engine.

As a consumer, when you are told the next step in your care is the removal of your spleen, few question the need for it though it may be the next step in a diagnostic tree. I remember 10 years ago mr miffed returned home with a prescription for Lipitor because his cholesterol was too high. I said fuck no, let's explore why it is high and not resort to a patch. His cholesterol is now normal and he has not taken a drug for ten years unnecessarily. Unfortunately few challenge authority in the medical field and resources for alternative therapies must be explored by the individual and are not sanctioned by the medical field.

My whole field is FUBAR.


FreedomGuy's picture

I just kept my gallbladder (and spleen!) after three recommendations to remove it. The symptoms were really nonspecific and no stones showed on ultrasound and I happen to know a bit about gallbladder function including alternatives to surgery.

I finally had to pay over 50% of a gallbladder funtion test (Called a HIDA scan) which showed my gallbladder actually functioned at the 99th percentile. I can still now eat a steak and do quite nicely and I take zero meds not to mention avodiing the always underplayed risks of surgical complications. In the end I am pretty sure I payed as much to keep my gallbladder as take it out.

I do respect the templates and I understand where they originate and their usefulness. However, any doctor worth his/her pay knows that they are not treating a population. They are treating Miffed or FreedomGuy and being right or wrong is generally either a zero or 100% proposition.

I actually know cardiovascular medicines quite well. You actually did the exact right thing. Most doctors shortcut the process because most people will not do the nonmedical stuff required to get cholesterol down. It is usually difficult and requires long term discipline but it pays off if you can do it. It is the same with diabetes, blood pressure and a host of other things.

The one thing to remember about insurers/HMO's and those who pay the costs is that the ultimate goal and model is to take in an insurance premium and actually not pay for any care. No one else in the system has that dynamic.

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Wow, I guess my example was close to home! I had a friend who was struggling with her platelet levels. All kinds of therapies were done to no effect. When her platelet reached 10 per microliter ( anything under 50 could cause you to bleed into your brain) they said the next step was to remove her spleen. She took her own money and went to a naturopath. He discovered she has a severe gluten sensitivity. When she gave up wheat her platelets returned to normal levels. The hematologist that originally wanted to her to have the splenectomy was thankful she did what she did. A spleen is a vital organ. I've had several patients die from septicemia with out one.

One must be diligent with ones own health. It does pay off. Hats off to you and your decision. It heartens me to hear of so many here who don't blindly bow to medical advice and seek alternative therapies. Many in my own field don't do this.


FreedomGuy's picture

I like the hematologist in your story. Humility is a virtue on many levels, especially medical and scientific. In the end it is about people getting better and not ego.

The human body is amazing if not infinitely complex. I have gone to some immunology research lectures and I never fail to be amazed at the evolving biochemistry that is being sort of deciphered. 

I believe alternate therapies have a place. I would like to see many of them researched statistically rather than just testimonials or assertions but they can and do work sometimes so dramatically as in the case of your friend that you have to say there is some validity. 

Until we go total leftist-statist we still have a say in our own healthcare. Sometimes the physicians and their templates are wrong but I never think they are purposely wrong. Sometimes, we, the patients are wrong, as well...but sometimes we are not.

BrightBlueSkies's picture


(I apologize for the long comment)

I am a long time lurker and recent member; I simply have very little to write about yet I enjoy the funny and many times the intelligent comments made on this website.

After your last comment I wanted to write about my experience with the current medical profession.  

About 20 years ago or more, I started having what I termed 'blue afternoons' where I would go into a near stupor state between 2pm-4pm everyday. It was all I could do to stay awake and coffee became my fifth food group. Where were other symptoms; restless, sleepless nights, constant bad breath (not just from coffee), dry skin, pain in my gall bladder region, and snowstorms of dandruff. You get the picture there was a host of warning signs including the loss of clear thinking as the first casualty of my well-being.

Seeking medical help for some time, I wound up one afternoon, barely able to keep my eyes open, in an endocrinologist’s office where the good doctor informed me I had an under active thyroid. He was/is a good endocrinologist with the best of intentions. What followed was series of prescriptions of varying types and dosages. This went on for months into years with him fiddling with the different medications trying to ‘hit’ that ‘sweet’ spot. He never managed to make it quite right; all this experimentation while his future former patient was being jerked around bio-chemically with the associated moody/happy behavior.  I learned you don’t randomly mess around with your hormones.

Finally in the year 2000, having left the medical doctors behind, I chanced upon a literal life-saver. I walked into an herb shop where there was a visiting naturopath that performed live field analysis on blood samples as part of his diagnostic routine. He listened to my story and asked to take a blood sample for a ‘live look’ on his monitor attached to his microscope. I was stunned as he dialed to the magnification required for viewing yeast; my blood was a shit-storm of spiky white balls! Now did I know what I was really looking at, no I did not. The next magnification chilled me to the bone, he said ‘Let’s see if there are any other parasites’, what I saw next I knew was NOT right, snakes, snakes, and snakes. ‘These are the parasites in your blood, the yeast and parasites have broken through your intestinal cell walls into your blood stream, they have gone systemic. Their waste and carcasses are clogging up your liver, shutting down your kidneys and thyroid.’ I was in a daze not knowing what to say or believe. He continued, ‘From the looks of this sample you have had this condition for years.’

He recommended I take GSE, Grapefruit Seed Extract, and Caprylic Acid with a probiotic on the ‘opposite side’ of the day; cheap, inexpensive, and highly effective. 90 DAYS LATER I EXPERIENCED A FULL NIGHT’S SLEEP!!  After nearly 2 decades of chronic fatigue, getting sick and depressed on a regular basis I woke up that morning without that heavy headed feeling. All this time has passed and I still vividly remember that morning. Later the naturopath showed my blood again to me, I didn’t see any snowstorms nor snakes this time and my hemoglobin was fat and round not flat like pancakes and sticking together. I learned I was starving my body of oxygen at a cellular level. I didn’t need to see the ‘live look’ I was rested, alert, and happy. This man saved my life.

It has been 15 years since this doctor’s diagnosis; it was as if a light was turned on. I use the Oriental approach to my health now and have not been sick for years. I take no poisonous vaccines like ‘yearly flu shots’ nor take allopathic drugs of any kind. I use my treadmill like a man many, many years younger. I still take GSE and a probiotic as part of my health maintenance routine.

I hope this helps someone who may be in a similar situation. In my humble opinion, Oriental medicine is the true medical profession based on thousands of years of respect for human life not profit. If you have the time look up what Mr. Paul Pitchford writes in his book Healing with Whole Foods on what really causes heart attacks.

BTW, one not so trivial fact, BPA acts like estrogen in the human body signaling the body to go into ‘fat storage mode’. This is devastating for men who can become overweight and cannot seem to lose that extra poundage no matter what they do. BPA is in everything even in the receipts bare-handed to you nearly everyday.



FreedomGuy's picture

Good story, BlueSkies and several lessons. I am surprised your physicians did not catch those things in your blood. However, you cannot find what you do not look for. Did the naturopath clean his slide? It seems hard to believe you had so much junk in your blood undetected.

In any case, there is some validity to Eastern medicine. I say that as one who works in a branch of Western medicine. Before I go farther I wll say that neither one is evil while the other is "good". Both have validity and it is demonstrable.

Eastern medicine comes from a different tradition. In fact, it uses tradition and observations over time. What works or appears to work is repeated over time. Western methods use controlled studies and rigorous statistical analysis. 

Here is a good example I know a bit about. In ancient Eastern traditions bear bile was used to relieve the symptoms of gallstones. It turns out they were right but only knew part of the truth. Animals have a natural bile acid called ursodeoxycholic acid. It is their predominate bile acid. In humans we have chenodeoxycholic acid and ursodiol is a tertiary bile acid, but we do have it. They are all natural and in us they help with dissolving fats and cholestrol.

However, in humans we are prone to forming gallstones because of a rich diet and our bile acid makeup. It is virtually nonexistant in animals.

There are two types of gallstones in humans, those composed primarily of cholesterol (about 85%) and those composed of bilirubinate. Using the natural bile acid, ursodiol you can slowly dissolve cholesterol stones and even mixed stones if they have a cholestrol matrix. It is virtually the exact same process as dissolving hard candy (like a jawbreaker) in water. The cholesterol stone/s dissolves into the bile acid and is eliminate through your intestines. It takes time, though. Smaller stones or sludge dissolve more quickly (surface area to volume ratios). It is all natural, easy on your system and has a good chance of success. Symptom relief often occurs long before the stones are fully dissolved.You can eat a whole bowl of ursodiol and all that will happen is probably some diarrhea.

If you have an acute blockage or your stones are the hard rocky bilirubinate type (which can indidcate other problems) then surgery is your best option. A blockage is a severe acute problem much like appendicitis and has to be resolved immediately. But if you passed a stone or do not have a blockage you at least have options. However, if you ask a surgeon about this you may get the evil eye or a negative reaction or something dismissive like, "Well, the gallstones will come back or they will get stuck in your ducts as you shrink them." Neither of these things are true statistically last I checked. Also, many might have a temporary cause like gall stones in pregnancy. 

The blending of eastern and western in this example is that we do not have to kill bears. You can get ursodiol from cattle and process, concentrate and sterilize it. Western medicine does the rigorous testing to know how many milligrams, how many times a day and for how long to do it. In the East it is trial and error and tradition. Scientific rigor mixed with tradition can offer excellent results.

I have a friend who is dead and the proximate cause was a gall bladder surgery while he was being treated for cancer. He never recovered from the surgery in his weakened chemotherapy state. He had two bad choices. Stop chemo for awhile (he had aggressive cancer) and get the surgery or continue chemo and live with the stones and possible acute blockage (although I think they never actually located stones on ultrasound). He never really got offered the bile acid situation from what I can tell even though I told him about it. He got the surgery and never really recovered according to his family. Now, one cannot know the result of the path not taken, but my guess is he would not have done any worse (barring a blockage) and he had a good chance to do better and even continue the chemo.

In the end, you own yourself and you have to make choices. Just avoid the pseudo-religious fervor of "natural" remedies (I have seen them go very wrong, too) and balance the sometimes nearly autocratic orders your doctors may give you. Modern doctors may be more participative and partner with you. You can look at the upside and downside of any recommendations. Very often the downsides to "natural" therapies are low and reversible. You can stop the grapefruit extract if it bothers you or does not work. It might be the same with a med. Surgeries are a one way, usually irreversible path.

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Great story! This one caught my eye.

Coming up with more antibiotics is an expensive losing game. Especially when money is made now in chronic conditions. We humans have come full circle and the microbes laugh at our arrogance.

I try to look at every thing with a critical eye. A touch of cynicism has kept me out of trouble. There are good therapies in eastern and western medicine. It is sad they won't come together.


Seek_Truth's picture

One of the best natural antibiotics is oil of oregano.

One of the best natural anti-inflammatories is turmeric.

Eat a tablespoon of honey each day.

And a shot of unfiltered apple cider vinegar.

And some yogurt or kefir,

Take your vitamins, minerals and trace elements daily.

Do aerobic and weight training exercise, either at work, or at "play."

Your physical body will thank you with "long life."


Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Totally agree! I make a smoothie every morning with coconut water, raw protein powder, he Shou Wu, astragalus, Camu camu, and raw local honey. I met a friend recently I hadn't seen in 7 years. My goodness H! You seem to be getting younger! I extract my own Shizandra berries and Celastrus. I've used oil of oregano and cilantro. Turmeric is wonderful for the prostate!

God has given us all we need for a happy healthy life. We just need to embrace it. This crappy food today is the creation of Man not God. But I have been labeled a Wiccan for my stance on nutrition by several Christians. Most disturbing.


Seek_Truth's picture

Make sure you differentiate between Christians and "christians."

The former follow Jesus Christ; the latter Constantine.

Western "medicine" is the best at trauma treatment, nothing more.

Natural, holistic medicine, and genetic inheritance is the most probable determinant of our healthy lifespan.

But what matters most is not this 70-100 years, but the real life that comes afterwards.

Infinty vs. 100 years.

Think about it.

FreedomGuy's picture

Interesting article. He got some minor points mixed up like MRSA and staph aureus. However, the point remains.

Resistance is an odd animal. In most countries of the world you can get antiobiotics without a prescription. Theoretically, they should show huge resistance as most people will not take them properly even with pharmacy guidance. Yet, they really do not show anything worse than the USA.

We get some nasty nosocomial infections from the hospitals. If you are a bug and can dodge, weave and overcome hospital sterilization than you are a bad-ass little bug.

The first and last line of resistance for anything is our own bodies. Frankly, we have an amazingly complex immune system that can potentially adapt to most anything that does not directly kill it. Certain foods or preparations might boost things. The other thing that boosts the immune system is the very thing we avoid, exposure. Pediatricians now tell parents to let their kids get dirty, get outside and in the course of getting bitten, stund, scratched and in the weeds you develop resistance and your body reacts least for most.

Like your other posts, I am going more paleo myself. Makes sense to me that basic meat and vegetables are what we are primarily programmed to eat. While I do not freak out at preservatives or even GMO (which gets misinterpreted) anything new or that the body is unused to can cause a problem.

Before you get too harsh on Monsanto or Dow or anyone else understand that for almost all of history up until modern times, food spoilage and sanitation have been huge problems. Canning, refridgerration and yes, preservatives helped to all but eliminate that problem. Now, the problem is more the opposite. We can transport food rather quickly and store it rather well at home. It is also hard to test the various chemicals used in or on our foods, too. They are not tested like medications and frankly they probably should be.

I think the internet is a good thing in that it puts a whole lot of information and competing ideas out there. With some judgment we can come up with solutions that work for us as individuals. You might be gluten sensitive, gluten intolerant, have celiac disease while I do not. Your food solutions will be different from mine.

Back to resistance, though. I do not know what the answer is but in the short run there had always better be one more antibiotic ready to go. Since you cannot sell them (due to high generic use) they will be stratospherically expensive if needed. But then penicillan when it first came out costs over a week's pay per dose, at first until Pfizer learned to mass produce it around 1944.

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

A lot of research is now focusing on enteric flora as the reason for much that ails us today. Considering we carry 9 trillion microbial passengers vs our 1 trillion cells there is merit they play a role in our health. Different populations are found in healthy vs sick, fat vs thin, even mentally ill vs well. This, as well as epigenetics are still being explored but I find it interesting that standard genetics and Kochs postulates are being questioned as definitive explanations to disease today.

Resistance is simply displayed due to selective pressures. Removing them and resistance reverts to susceptible. We have seen this happen even locally in our antibiograms. When you wipe out microbes in an environment, effectively sterilizing it, it can be recolonized by undesirables. Colonic " beneficial" bacteria have advantages by being simply placeholders. They have developed quite elaborate methods to do this. Funny thing is they have applied this to plastics. Biofilms on catheters are a massive problem now in central line infections. This is simply microbial evolution but it is causing lots of human deaths. Massive amount of antibiotics given are not effective because they cannot get though the biofilm.

I will not touch GMO because of the ability of bacteria to genetically asexually share information even with unrelated biotypes. This is a personal enteric experiment I will not participate. The research is being gathered now to an uncertain end. That we are seeing an explosion of IBS
and autism cases that are using protocols like the GAPS diet to help the condition has caught my attention. I read a scholarly paper about a study with 40 people diagnosed with fibromyalgia on a strict wheat free diet for several months. Many went into fully remission. They noted at the end of the study when the participants returned to their normal eating habits, their symptoms returned, prompting many to return to the original diet. The researchers were hoping for more studies.

I think wheat is fine for some people. But my husband has MG and notices a dramatic increase in symptoms if he partakes. Most distressing to him because he loves bread and baking. Blue bird grain farms is a good source for ancient varieties that may not have the antigenic properties found in modern wheat.

I have always enjoyed your posts. It is good to see some quality stay on ZH.


Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Thanks for your comment. I have found many people are suffering from leaky gut problems and our wheat today is poison. Then Monsanto's poison Roundup is sprayed on it. So much research has been done on this and on many estrogen mimicking chemicals found in our environment today. Even estrogen itself which is given to cattle to make them gain weight. I was in Colorado on a beef farm. I asked the farmer why there were steers kept separate by his house. " Those are mine for my friends and family. I won't give them that crap in the fields." Quite eye opening.

I pretty much stick to Paleo and eat mostly raw. We love cooking for ourselves. A few glasses of wine, hiking and yoga for stress relief. Oh, plenty of sex too! I have more energy than I had 20 years ago when I used coffee as a crutch too. Remember, the most common complaint naturopaths hear when they find gluten sensitivity is lack of energy.

Be well!


FreedomGuy's picture

The good news is that free-range, grass-fed, no steroid beef is getting more popular. It sells for more because of demand. These things will change as the market changes and also as research improves.

Feed lots are nasty places you can smell long before you see them.

Go paleo.

boattrash's picture

FreedomGuy, Spot-on! (Medicine is a different economic animal than consumer markets). 

May I add, that our wonderful congresscritters placed a For Rent sign above their asses, and the H.C. conglomerates damn sure "ponied up".

It's an industry that has bought a full pass on the Sherman Act.