Mike Rowe: Dirty Jobs Star Defends Walmart

    February 17, 2014
    Kimberly Ripley
    Comments are off for this post.

Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs fame is defending Walmart’s recent decision to spend more money in order to sell more products that are made in America in their stores. Rowe narrates a new ad for Walmart called “I Am Factory,” that premiered during the Sochi Olympics Opening Ceremony. The ad was met with much skepticism, and this past weekend the former Dirty Jobs host responded on his Facebook page to the naysayers.

“It’s a hell of a thing when someone you really don’t like suddenly does something that you actually agree with,” Rowe wrote. “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.”

“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,” he added.

Mike Rowe’s all around best means of addressing the backlash he has received over this ad was done in true Dirty Jobs style.

Rowe believes that what Walmart is doing will benefit the country as a whole.

“Dozens of American factories are going to reopen all over the country,” he wrote in his and Walmart’s defense. “Millions of dollars will pour straight into local economies, and hundreds of thousands of new manufacturing positions will need to be filled. … Isn’t this an initiative we can all get behind?”

Walmart has confirmed that Mike Rowe’s defense of the company is of his own doing.

Do you think Rowe’s defense of Walmart is based on actions the company will actually take? What will those naysayers have to complain about then?

Image via Wikimedia Commons

  • boston strong dot day 617

    if mike says so , i believe him, and if i believe many others will believ…lets go america lets get back into production

    • Ed Smith

      Would you believe me if I said I was a millionaire? Yeah, you believe Mike Rowe the ACTOR but you don’t believe me? Get your head out of your …


        Ed, you word has no boundary with anyone outside of those inside your circle. That’s the difference. Mike Rowe has a standing audience. If you don’t know much about him outside of TV, your argument has zero traction, and you won’t understand the message I’m telling you here. I’ll wait for your snide remark. I’ll probably get a chuckle out of it, so make it good. :-).

  • WeAreNotAmused

    If you believe the selfish Walton clan really wants to empower American workers, then you must also believe in the tooth fairy. Let me guess, will Walmart or its leaders/owners own these new factories? Then, you can bet the working conditions and pay will be awful. I don’t trust that family to do anything altruistic. With them, it’s all about me, me, and in case you forgot, me.

    • David

      you must a union guy. Look what you did to Detroit. invade, consume, move on, leave an empty shell behind.

      • Ed Smith

        Dave- How many towns has Walmart “INVADED”? How many small businesses has WalMart “CONSUMED”? And according to your thinking, how long until they MOVE ON and LEAVE AN EMPTY SHELL BEHIND?

        • Hannah Hayes

          The difference is Walmarts only go where they can MAKE money. Unions only go where they can TAKE money.

        • Kye

          So Ed did you get fired from Walmart? Just trying to understand your motives here.

        • Heffe

          Ed, you are correct. No more nickel and dime stores. No more local nurseries, tire shops, local hardware store, and even gas stations. They ARE killing America.

        • David

          Ed, none that I know of — do you?
          Hannah is absolutely right.
          Unions killed detroit. name a city (or just a town) that Walmart destroyed….

    • jh

      Wal Mart and Fast Food joints provide entry level no experience needed type jobs. The same can’t be said for Costco which is also a totally different business model than either Wal Mart or Fast Food industry. You want $15.00 an hour jobs then say good bye to students needing flex hours and or looking for first time employment.

  • Nunyur_Biznezz

    I can’t believe the dumb broad that says Walmart is not responsible for their employees. Ok so TAXPAYERS like ME are responsible to make sure Walmart employees have enough money to make ends meet? Sorry unlike the Waltons I’m not a billionaire so no I can not afford to keep feeding Walmart employees. Time for Walmart to step up.

    • fexl77

      time for people to be responsible for themselves.

      • frank witting

        That’s an over-simplification of things, to the point where you downplay the serious issues in the OP’s post.
        Wal-Mart employees ARE being responsible for themselves. They have a job. They’re working. They’re paying taxes.
        But there is a social contract that comes into play with business. The employees work to make the business profitable and run efficiently. In return, the business takes care of the employees. When Wal-Mart forces it’s employees onto state-run insurance programs, so they don’t have to cover the cost – that’s B.S.. When employees have to have holiday food drives to collect food for other employees that can’t make ends meet – that’s B.S..

        • David

          frank that was a big part of the argument against obamacare. that it will encourage businesses to drop their insurance and force employees to get state-run free social medicine insurance.
          Health insurance is a “benefit” to attract and hold employees. Not an obligation like a salary – no matter how emotional you feel about it.

          • frank witting

            You’re missing the point, no matter how emotional you feel about it.
            Wal-Mart, with it’s Billions in free capitol, is failing to provide for it’s employees. And despite that you feel otherwise, it IS a business’ responsibility to care for it’s employees. When you hire an employees, you form a partnership with that employee. They work for you, they make you money, and in return, you provide for them. A business doesn’t have to lavish riches on it’s employees, but a full-time employee should be able to make ends meet.
            If you or Wal-Mart doesn’t like that arrangement, perhaps you can team up and open a cotton plantation.

          • David

            “Wal-Mart….is failing to provide for it’s employees..”
            it’s not WM’s job to “provide for” anyone but their shareholders – the owners of the company, which includes many union pension portfolios. on the other hand, employees are not indentured servants – they are absolutely free to find a better deal elsewhere.
            what you describe is what’s done in France.

    • EJ

      I don’t wish low-wage folks any harm, but ending programs like food stamps would expose the real cost of “minimum wage” instead of hiding it in our national debt. Short-term struggles might shine a light on the reality of how we get everything $.10 cheaper at Walmart, and who’s helping to foot the bill.

  • Fantasy Maker

    When Sam Walton was alive, Walmart hardly had ANY products made in China. NOW, I would bet that over 65% of their products are made in China. This was done ALL in the name of making more money for the Walton family and the shareholders but it has screwed over Middle America manufacturing jobs. Most people ONLY look at price when they shop but when you9r POS product from India or China falls apart after using it a few times, MAYBE just MAYBE you will spend a little more and buy quality.
    This is NOTHING more than a cheap PR stunt to try and appease a few unions, NOTHING will come from it. They sell over a $1 billion a DAY in goods

    • frank witting

      And I would guess EASILY over 65% of their goods are made in China.

      • David

        frank, are you saying that you won’t be shopping at Walmart? ok.

        • frank witting

          As little as possible, and when I do, I buy American when possible.

  • vince

    will the people getting the jobs be under paid like their counter parts at wallmart

  • tc

    So after taking the lead in driving 10s of thousands of good-paying, middle-class manufacturing jobs off shore for decades, they’re going to take a big tax write-off to create a few minimum-wage (read: below the poverty level) jobs producing product for their minimum-wage store workers to sell to other minimum wage workers?

    Let them commit to undoing ALL the damage they’ve done to the American worker while becoming the wealthiest people in America, then we can talk of doing good.

  • Hubert

    Mike is an R and as such is against working people.He’s kept this very quiet but it needs to be exposed.

    • Darrin

      You seriously need to do some research before making a comment. Mike Rowe is all about working people.

      And an “R” is not against working people, they are against people NOT working when they are able, and taking advantage of the government teat.

      Sound familiar?

  • Jonnyboy

    People claim to want to keep jobs here, yet want to save a dime by buying cheap crap being made overseas. You can’t have it both ways. The Chinese are more than willing to sell their stuff here but want to buy American made stuff because they know they’re getting good quality stuff that way.

  • Big J

    LOL Walmart is soo evil, why now do they care that everything they sell is made in China. Why is this women defending Walmart doesn’t she know how evil Walmart is? CNN’s news should be made in China that women defending Walmart should work there.

  • Darrin

    It just goes to show you that people who expend this much energy to hate something only do it for the sake of hate.

    The reasons are irrelevant.

    They want the subject of their hate to change, and do something good, but when they do they still hate them.

    They have a sad existence.

  • Get off your bandwagon

    I would be far more impressed with his POV and the fact he did the voiceover for free if he wasn’t selling products with his name on them in Walmart. Altruism – I don’t think so. This is someone who does believe in the working man’s cause, but by partnering with Walmart he’s also promoting his own interests. Is it a good thing that Walmart is sourcing more labor from inside the US? Of course! Is it a crime the way they have damaged employee morale and undercut small businesses in the name of making a profit for the ultra-rich executives? Absolutely! What Mike Rowe doesn’t understand is that we CAN be compliment someone’s actions while still maintaining disdain for their decades of bad practices that have negatively affected employees.

  • bender

    After walmart single handedly destroyed countless communities they want people to change their opinion.Yeah maybe anti union stupid rednecks but not the majority of americans.

    • Really People?

      “single handedly destroyed countless communities…” there is not one true fact in your statement. Show me a single community (let alone countless) the Walmart was the sole cause of their demise.

      Last time I looked it is more than just rednecks shopping at Walmart… The majority of America shops at Walmart. Common business sense tells us that Walmart would not be able to grow, if Americans did not want to shop there.

      • Heffe

        They destroy the mom and pop stores. Local hardware stores, nurseries, Floral shops, grocery stores. That’s how they do it.

        • Really People?

          Once again, Walmart has never “single-handedly” destroyed a community. Have they put non-competitive businesses out of business? Yes. But, it is no different than if I opened a store in a city and decide that I can out compete the rest of the market, by selling items at a lower price.

          Small businesses must learn to adapt to a changing environment. If they refuse to change they will suffer. Small businesses must carve out a niche that Walmart doesn’t occupy in order to be successful. And, they do it all the time. It may be painful to change the way they have done business, but they do it.

          I live in the Santa Clarita area of California. We are a community of 160K (approx.) and we have three Walmarts in our community. Mom and pops thrive here. Do some go out of business? Yes. But, it isn’t because Walmart just came to town. In each location where we have a Walmart you will see dozens of smaller businesses occupying shop space. They make it work.

  • Ken Hill

    THIS is what we need to have a true economic recovery! We don’t need the stock market to go through the roof, we don’t need the NASDAQ to hit record highs. We don’t all have tons of money in the stock market. A lot of us live paycheck to paycheck and what we want is a good job for us and our neighbors, we want to work and send our kids to school and live a full life. But do that, we need to make things here! We can’t have a jobless recovery and we can’t all be baristas at Starbucks! The average age of a McDonalds worker is now 29, it used to be 19. It needs to go back to being 19! I applaud Wal-Marts initiative and I hope that their initiative is successful!

    • Really People?

      Agreed. We have too many people complaining about what is wrong with Walmart.

  • Really People?

    It always amazes me to hear the hatred for Walmart. Here they are doing something to bring some manufacturing back to America, and they get skewered for it. Is it purely an altruistic move? Probably not. Then again, show me any company/philanthropist that does things on a global scale and does them for purely altruistic motives?

    The fact is they see that the consumer desires more American made products; so they are going to provide more. However, they are still going to market lower prices, because a majority of the population wants that. Does it make it harder for small businesses (also with non-union employees) to compete? absolutely. But that is part of running a business. Walmart is not what is driving the Asian manufacturing success; it’s the small entrepreneurs who find too many obstacles to manufacturing in this country.

  • Paul Little

    Walmart does not manufacture anything. They buy what is available. That being
    said, I do not like their practices and do not shop there. People complain about Walmart selling China made products. Well look at Sears, JC Penney and just about any other store chain and you will have a very difficult time finding U.S.made products.

  • Scot

    Walmart is just doing what is economically rational given the rules. Get the government to change the rules, by altering tax code that punishes smaller entities, for example, and Walmart won’t displace smaller local businesses.

    Right now, though, we have a system that favors the largest and growing producers. Consider the depreciation schedule for new construction. The government will let you write off a new building over the course of 20 years. What does that do to main street? It punishes established players, like the local mom and pop, because their building is likely more the 20 years old. Walmart can erect a new building and get an extra tax break for the next 20 years! Makes it tough to compete with them.

    There are plenty of other examples, but the point is, Walmart isn’t to blame. The morons behind the tax code are to blame.

    • Really People?

      Agreed. People want to believe in this Norman Rockwell painting of the quaint America our grandparents lived in. We want to believe working for a mom and pop store will be better than working for Walmart. Maybe it will, but when was the last time you heard of a unionized mom and pop store? Employees seem to complain about their companies no matter what size they are.

  • AndyB

    The web has given the few a loud platform.

  • John Doe

    If Walmart knew how to treat employees (I’m a former Walmart employee) people might not hate Walmart so bad.

  • frank witting

    While I applaud any and all attempt to strengthen manufacturing here in the U.S., let’s be realistic about a few things.
    1) Wal-Mart’s claim to “invest $250 Billion over 10 years” is a fairly broad statement. Are they going to be purchasing $250 Billion in American goods? Are they buying factories to manufacture their store brands? Is the $250 Billion the cost the items when it’s sold in stores, or the cost of the items direct from the factory? Those are things I’d love to see Wal-Mart clarify.
    2) Wal-Mart sells cheap crap. Let’s not lie to ourselves about that fact. With their price structure, Wal-Mart has put tremendous strain, on some businesses. (these businesses have to supply Wal-Mart with little to no profit for themselves, or Wal-Mart refuses to carry their products) If this continues, are we going to see American Manufacturing be forced to drive wages down in order to meet Wal-Mart’s price structure? Is American manufacturing going to move from the middle-class, to the working-class poor?

  • JDK1970

    I remember in the 80’s a large part of Walmart’s ad slogans were “Buy American”. They’d put stickers on things that stated “made in America”. Yo-Yo Patriotism. I don’t fault Rowe though; he’s just getting paid.

  • jack

    This guy is an actor who makes his living pretending to be a “blue collar type of guy”. I mean, think about it, is there anything LESS blue collar than an pansy actor, FFS? I have never spent one penny at that Chinese bazaar called wal-mart, and hiring some shill actor try to convince me that these people are proud Americans makes me ill.

  • http://www.akc.org/breeds/german_shepherd_dog/index.cfm Leedog

    Mike Rowe is a fraud.

  • 66pugs99

    I can see what Mike is trying to say, but when you narrate an ad for the place, you actually are “A spokesman for Walmart”.

  • MIchigander5

    ..Endorsing a company…That encourages employee’s to sign up for state aid programs…That is the company you just associated yourself with Mike…Great Job.

    • Adam

      Pretty sure he didn’t endorse anything. His narration, in fact, had absolutely nothing to do with Walmart. It purely spoke to the history and possible future of manufacturing in America.

  • Fantasy Maker

    Mike Rowe is a well known, paid spokesman. This is nothing but CHEAP PR spin and of course he is not going to bite the hand that feeds him

  • AHP1081

    I believe Wal-Mart has more employees than any other company in America. This attack on Rowe is nothing more than an attempt to silence him because the unions see Wal-Mart as a great money maker for them and their corrupt union leadership. The Progressive Demokrats see it as more donations to their corrupt Political Campaigns and agendas. History suggests if unions are involved another American company will either price themselves out of the market or go broke.
    Anyone so ignorant as to support a union take over of Wal-Mart, is definitely brainwashed.