Practicing Cheer: The Diary of a Low-level Supervisor at a Walmart China Store

Cornell University Press
Publication Type:
Walmart in China, 2011, 1, pp. 151 - 172
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From mid-2005 to early 2007, a Walmart employee in China kept an online diary documenting his experiences working at the retail giant. Writing under the pseudonym Li Shan, the blogger spent eighteen months exploring and reflecting on life on the job at a foreign transnational corporation. Selections from his 200,000 Chinese-character blog have been translated for this chapter to show the working life of an ordinary Walmart employee in China. Since it was not possible to include such a long document in full, we had to use some discretion on what to translate. We concentrated on entries that show the everyday life of a low-level supervisor at Walmart China and offer a glimpse of the blogger's views on some of the issues discussed in other chapters of this volume. Of particular interest to us was how the Walmart culture described and discussed in earlier chapters molds or fails to mold the individual into what Li Shan calls a "Walmart person." Thus we include his detached and self-conscious observations at a company meeting; his remarks -one moment critical, the next venerating- on Walmart's management system; excerpts showing his attitude toward his superiors (as well as toward those working under him); and comments reflecting false perceptions he held of Walmart operations in the United States. We also included diary entries showing aspects of his life outside working hours to give readers less familiar with China a sense of how one Walmart employee in that country lives.
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