Thursday, November 30, 2006

Wal-Mart Good? Wal-Mart Bad?

I am starting to see quite a bit more anti-Wal-Mart sentiment lately.

As I was getting ready for work, I heard a commercial on TV ripping Wal-Mart for its poor treatment of workers.

John Stossel did a report last night "Cheap in America" on charitable contributions. Apparently the Wal-Mart clan did not fare very well.

Also this week, San Diego has decided to ban Wal-Mart's superstores.

There seems to be a building resentment. And interestingly, I have noticed reports that say sales are starting to drop.

What do you think of Wal-Mart?

I am still weighing the facts... I plan on renting the Wal-Mart documentary over Christmas break.

9 comments:

Wrecking Machine said...

I don't like Wal-Mart because:

1) They are always busy.
2) The store is never clean.
3) The staff generally doesn't care.
4) The people who shop there are always an 80:20 moron:tolerable human begin ratio.
5) It isn't that much cheaper than other stores.

As far as business practices; I don't care. Abusing your workers? Don't work there. Killing competition with shady business practices? Don't deal with them. Markets tend to fix problems, as is evidenced by Wal-Mart's currently falling sales.

Teresa Heinz-Basler said...

Unless Wal-Mart is breaking laws, the government should stay out of it. If people don't like how Wal-Mart operates, they should stop buying from them or working for them.

The Wal-Mart owners may not do much in the way of charity, but charity is not legally required, and it's worth noting that they pay vast amounts of taxes.

Wrecking Machine said...

*Misspelling in the moron statement makes me look like I know what I'm talking about. Should be 'human being'.

Dolf said...

Basler, you don't care because you are not likely to be affected.

Wal-Mart will probably never get into the vegan products business! There are probably hundreds of small businesses (like yours) that have gone under thanks to Wal-Mart.

Is it better to get cheaper products and no customer service at a Wal-Mart, or superior service with higher prices from the mom & pop? That's the $20 question...

Dolf said...

I was wondering what the hell a "human *begin* ratio" was...

Wrecking Machine said...

Competition always leads to a winner and a loser. In the case of capitalism, the loser generally goes out of business.

Boo-fucking-hoo, mom and pop. Your business could not compete. Step it up a bit and you can compete. How big was Wal-Mart when it started? How about Meijer? Target?

As has been stated by myself and by Basler, if you don't like something, you don't have to buy it - the very basis of (gasp!) competition.

MattyP said...

The best article I've read on Wal-Mart is here:

www.fastcompany.com/magazine/77/walmart.html

Essentially, in certain markets, Wal-Mart is a monopsony - the opposiite of a monopoly - instead of being the only supplier of a market, they are the only buyer.

Say you are a producer of some good, and half of your sales come from Wal-Mart. Wal-mart can pretty much dictate the price they pay for your good - and if you can't meet that price, they'll find another supplier for your good. That's bad (and anti-capitalist).

As far as their labor practices, I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt that they are not that different from any other major retailer, but just have more scrutiny focused on them.

Dolf said...

Machine & Basler... I don't think things are as black and white as you make them out to be... "Let the market decide! It's just capitalism!"

I believe there are some complexities and behind-the-scenes issues that need to be examined.

Dolf Analysis Method:
1. Look at the extreme and opposing sides of an issue.
2. Apply common sense.
3. Form an educated and reasonably unbiased opinion.

Dolf said...

Thanks for the article MP... I'll check it out.