Are WalMarts good for Americans?

Discussion in '2008 Archive' started by saturneptune, Mar 31, 2008.

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  1. saturneptune

    saturneptune
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    This is a spin off of the other thread. Do you think WalMarts are good for the American consumer? Do they help poor and middle class families amke ends meet? Do you think they choke a local economy and destroy small businesses within the local community? What do you think local governments should do about it? Thanks for your thoughts.
     
  2. StefanM

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    I know that Wal-Mart and other discount stores help me greatly. I do the majority of my shopping at Wal-Mart and Target. I cannot afford to pay the high prices at other stores.
     
  3. Rubato 1

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    Wal mart and thier ilk have changed the American lifestyle and the nature of modern retail competition. They are great for America and Americans. They offer what the consumer is looking for.

    "Give the lady what she wants" --Marshall C.W. Fields
     
  4. donnA

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    They help us just live, we buy almost everything at wal mart. If we had to shop other places and had no wal mart we'd be in bad shape and would do without basic necessities.
     
  5. saturneptune

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    Our family shops at WalMart for the most part, mostly because of income. In that respect, no doubt, they are a good thing. What is bad is that it has caused lots of small local businesses to close shop. Does anyone honestly think it is healthy to have one store in town with no alternatives?
     
  6. webdog

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    They are good for the consumer as well as those who work there. :)
     
  7. Rubato 1

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    But we can't ban Walmart from small towns only.
    It used to be in the old days that there was one basic store. It's just a bigger world now. Those small general stores eventually were replaced with a series of competitive stores, as Walmart will be in its time. Things just go in cycles.
    The only people who I've heard complain about Walmart are those who run ar have an interest in small businesses and are under-priced. But the economy is built on supply and demand; that's how it goes and how it must go.

    IMO,
    R1
     
  8. donnA

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    To us, those small shops, are financially inaccessible. Without wal mart we still wouldn't be able to shop places like that.
     
  9. donnA

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    Just a thought, I don't know about anywhere else, but here, at wal mart they pay $9./hr just to push the buggys back in the store. Here, thats a good paying job, my husband works harder, heavier work, with no medical benefits for less money. On average, most people are glad to have jobs like this.
     
  10. Rubato 1

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    I read that in Chicago there were people protesting the change of the name of Marshall Field's store to Macy's. A reporter asked one of them how often the protester shopped there. He couldn't remember the last time.
    The point is, let's not maintain a museum of 60's and 70's-era shopping at the expense of progress. If people wanted to shop at those places, they would. Sorry to throw sentiment and nostalgia under the bus...
     
  11. donnA

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    I agree.....
     
  12. Hopeful

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    My hubby was in management with Wal-Mart for quite a few years (local store level, NOT corporate level). He started with them back when Sam Walton was still alive, and said it was a better place to work for at that time. He eventually grew unhappy working there and left. He said it was no better--or worse--than any large company to work for. Some points, negative AND positive, that I learned through him along the way:

    • The pay was very fair for someone without a 4-yr college degree.
      BUT, only if you based that pay on the 45-hour-maximum work week the managers were SUPPOSED to have--which never happened. Hubby never worked less than 65 hours a week, and it was usually more like 72, AND he was "on call" 24/7.
    • As with all businesses, whenever the bottom line was impacted and corporate profits fell, employees took a hit--in reduced hours, higher insurance premiums, etc.
    • It LOST it's genuine "family-business" orientation very quickly after Sam died, but there really was a closeness among the employees at every store where he worked, despite what happened at corporate-levels.
    • They DO try to give "at the local level" to charities, local causes, etc.
    • In theory, they'll work with student's schedules and the schedules of those employees who have more than one job. (In practice, it depends ENTIRELY upon the District Manager as to how that actually plays out.)
    • As to the effect of a Super Store on the local mom/pop stores.....Wal-Mart TARGETS that. They go into an area, see what the competition is, and then specifically target the products sold at these stores and undercut prices. When they drive out their competition, they can re-inflate THEIR prices to a certain degree. However, their prices are STILL lower than what mom/pop were able to offer because of their tremendous buying power. This is, for better or worse, the basis for our market economy, after all. It doesn't "seem" fair to mom/pop. But many more jobs are offered at W/M than mom/pop could provide. So, that's obviously better for the labor pool.

    As another poster pointed out--there is a cycle to all of this, though. Wal-Mart has become SO big, that NOW new mom/pop (or Great-Uncle Fred) stores are popping back up in communities. These stores are SMALL and have a specific product base. Many places (like where I live now), the consumers are so TIRED of Wal-Mart and its "hugeness" and lack of employees who have a clue what's going on (or care), and just the HASSLE of dealing with constant crowds--these issues are driving them to the smaller venues for their purchases.

    Bottom line, to me at least, is that Wal-Mart--as most businesses tend to be--is neither all negative or all positive. It paid the bills for my family for many years, and for that I am grateful.
     
  13. KenH

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    As has been said, things run in cycles and Wal-Mart has pluses and minuses. Eventually the Wal-Mart retail model will be overwhelmed by another retail model.
     
  14. Magnetic Poles

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    This is correct. They drive suppliers to ship jobs overseas, thus eliminating jobs; as well as drive out small business. However, they also are a barrier to inflation. Good and bad.
     
  15. StefanM

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    Agreed. We can't even afford to shop at the major grocery chains. The prices are 25-50% higher than at Wal-Mart or Target.
     
  16. billwald

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    Wal-Mart falls maybe half way between the traditional retail stores and COSTCO. COSTCO has better prices, higher quality, AND pays union wages.

    I've shopped at Wal-Mart in all parts of this country. There is a big difference in service between them. The worst was my local store in Marysville, WA.
     
  17. I Am Blessed 24

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    Do you think WalMarts are good for the American consumer?
    Not always.

    Do they help poor and middle class families make ends meet?
    Yes, because they have run off the competition and there is no place else to shop.

    Do you think they choke a local economy and destroy small businesses within the local community?
    Not only the small businesses, but K-Mart, Krogers, Montgomery Wards, Sears and Roebuck, Sherwin Williams, True Value, just to name a few. There have always been discount stores and that is where I shopped. I LIKED having a choice.

    What do you think local governments should do about it?
    I really don't know. I think it's too late to even try to do anything about it now.

    I know one thing, it is never good to have one store (or any other kind of business) with no competition, and no, I do not run a small business. I have just seen what Wal-Mart has done to my community.

    You asked for thoughts and I gave you mine, even though it looks like I am in the minority.
     
  18. carpro

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    It is odd that liberals who pretend to bleed for the poor are out to destroy a store that provides affordable goods for the poor.
     
  19. queenbee

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    Well - second me I Am Blessed. I couldn't agree more with your statements. It's never good to have just 1 or 2 choices - the owner/conglomerate can control pricing, staffing levels, customer service, product, delivery, etc. and you the consumer are left with nothing but choice #2 which turns out to be not much better. I am a proponent of supporting local, small business - far better for the economy and when we value diversity and uniqueness, it makes for a more vibrant community.

    In my neck of the woods, there's a vocal citizenry who aren't afraid to speak up and ban WM from even setting up shop in the first place because they do choke the economy and destroy and run off small businesses within the local community.

    The tide may be turning in some areas though. Some of those small businesses & owners are getting savvy and taking a leaf from WallieWorld's book and fighting back.

    Just as an aside - has anyone here read the book "Bully of Bentonville?" There's an interesting article on the book on Tim Challies blog if you care to read......

    http://www.challies.com/archives/book-reviews/the-bully-of-be.php
     
  20. rbell

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    I agree...Walmart running off competition and the "dying" of town centers is not good.

    However, the government intervening and regulating competition in the free market? That's less good than my first premise.
     
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