Summary: Walmart pays its managers bonuses based on how much fat they can trim from hours and payroll, and how much juice they can squeeze from employees on part-time shifts.
Conclusion: Wal-Mart is designed to be a terrible place to work, and shop. They're just betting you're too poor, or live too far away from another store, to opt for an alternative.
This manager's final advice intrigued me:
I just want to add that if you really can't afford to shop anywhere but Wal-Mart, buy as much stuff on clearance as possible when you do have to shop there. All of our clearance items are sold at a loss to the store. If you buy more clearance items, we lose profit. And it helps the associates suffer less at work, because sorting clearance items is a pain in the ass. That is all!
UPDATE (13.02.2014): You should also check out this article from a couple days ago, "Walmart's Labor Practices Backfire," about how some stock analysts are downgrading Walmart because of its understaffing, among other problems.
"Counties with more social capital -- citizens able and willing to speak up about the best interests of the community -- tend to have lower crime rates. Counties with more crime may have less social capital and, therefore, less ability to prevent Walmart from building."
By Hamilton Nolan
February 11, 2014 | Gawker