Social Question

erichw1504's avatar

How different would your life be if there were no mega-stores like Walmart?

Asked by erichw1504 (26453points) November 18th, 2009

Stores like Walmart, Target, Sam’s Club.

What if you had to shop for, say, groceries and electronics at different stores? How would this affect how you shop? Or do you not go to these type of stores? How would the world be different without them? Are they good or bad for us?

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63 Answers

Lacroix's avatar

There would definitely be more time spent on the road looking for better deals, which means we’d consume more gas. Most people like me, though, don’t have the patience for that, so we’d just get all our things at the store closest to us, even thought it would likely be way over priced.

Probably I’d have less luxury items, like DVDs and CDs, since that money would have to be spent covering food and whatnot.

flameboi's avatar

boring! haven’t you seen

trailsillustrated's avatar

my life would be the same. there aren’t any round here

Haleth's avatar

I live in the city and use public transit, so it wouldn’t really change anything. I do a lot to save money without shopping at megastores, like buying clothes secondhand, getting furniture from freecycle, and inheriting stuff from friends and family- that’s how I got my TV. My furniture is kind of a mishmash, but it’s great to know that I’m re-using stuff that would be thrown away. I go out to Wal-Mart maybe once a year or so when someone drives out there, and I’m just amazed at how cheap everything is. It’s unbelievable. Once I went to the beach and on the way we stopped to get a portable grill and some charcoal at wal-mart. The grill was $10! I kept walking around and saying stuff like, “Woah! Look at all this cheap stuff! This is insane!” And there were locals buying entire cartfuls of back-to-school stuff and groceries for their children. I didn’t realize how boorish that was until I was leaving, and then damn I felt bad.

erichw1504's avatar

@flameboi That is so true.

avvooooooo's avatar

There would be nowhere to buy many things without traveling a great distance. Wal-Mart, as much as people object, is a boon to rural areas where many of the things they carry aren’t available anywhere else.

jonsblond's avatar

I would have to spend more time and gas traveling to different stores and I would use more paper since I use checks. It would also have been a pain in the butt to get my daughter in and out of her car seat and carry her around to more stores when she was younger. I save a lot of money by shopping at these stores, so it would make a difference in my life if they weren’t around.

sigh…so tired of the judgment of people that shop at Wal-Mart. Those people can be seen anywhere, and are not the typical shopper that I witness when shopping there.

CMaz's avatar

So much easier and I bet there would be more money in my pocket. It all being in one place puts you in the, “why not buy it now, I am here” mentality.
I go to Walmart to buy eggs and milk. I come out with eggs, milk, paint, that crap that is 50% off, a fishing pole (also on sale) a couple of DVD’s and a bag of fruit. Then I find out when I get home that I already have plenty of fruit. And, the can of paint will just sit next to the other can of paint a got last time I was there.

When I was growing up. We had a corner grocery store. It provided 75% of what we needed. The local department store carried the rest.

Due to the population we currently have and will exponentially will have it is a necessary evil.

casheroo's avatar

Target is so not the same as WalMart. I personally don’t think Target has that great of prices. It used to.

I never shop at WalMart, but I do go to Kmart sometimes… Nothing would change for me. I’d be pretty happy actually.
I think it’d be wonderful if Walmart fell off the face of the planet. BJ’s, Costco, and other bulk stores are different, a lot of people who have large families, or doing parties, or to save money shop at bulk stock stores..I see nothing wrong with them.

wundayatta's avatar

I don’t go to these kinds of stores. My wife does, though.

I think Walmart is good for some things and bad for others. In some places, it’s the only place where people can get the stuff they need. In other places, it kills Main Street businesses. They also treat their employees like shit.

They make us all richer by lowering the cost of the stuff we want. But people do suffer in the process. However, with more education, those who suffer from Walmart could do better.

ragingloli's avatar

Not much different.
remember that walmart bailed out of germany, due to too strong competition

avvooooooo's avatar

I think that people who think Wal-Mart should disappear should come down to my area and try to find anything anywhere else.

JLeslie's avatar

Most of my life I did not have a Target or Walmart near me, so that is pretty normal in my book. It really matters where you live.

I am kind of annoyed that clothing and other products are now either made very cheaply with substandard quality, or you have to spend a fortune on a designer product. The mid-level products seem to be few and far between. It seems more and more middle class people are shopping and buying poor quality. We seem to want to shop shop shop, accumulating more and more junk, instead of buying 1 or 2 quality items.

I do like shopping to be convenient, I don’t want to have to drive all over town, but I also don’t want to have to park in a huge crowded parking lot just to pick up some bread and few groceries.

casheroo's avatar

@avvooooooo Soo, before walmart came you had nothing? Not even small business that sold the things you needed, but just not all in one place?

galileogirl's avatar

I don’t think people outside of San Francisco realize how hard it for big box chain stores to get in here. Imagine a City with over 1 million day time population with no Sears, Kohl’s.K-mart, Walmart or Target. There are a a few discount stores like a BB&B, a Marshall’s and a Costco in a comm/ind area. A large % of us shop at small neighborhood stures partly because we have so few cars and partly because there is so little parking. Even the few chain stores like Walgreens are smaller. I just heard Target is going to try to open in the Metron Center but that is an area where it is mostly commuters, tourists and kids who want to go “downtown” on the weekend,

I haven’t been a big box store in many years. The one and only time I was in a Walmart (spawn of the devil) was in the Northern Neck area of VA in 2002. There were blocks of empty stores in several small towns where locally owned shops had been run out of business by the giant. PTAAH on big box stores.

JLeslie's avatar

If I remember correctly orginally Walmart went into rural areas where you had to drive forever to buy things. Several years into his retailing endeavour he decided to focus on lower margins and high volume (discounting) hoping for higher profits ultimately, whcih seems to have worked. Later it went to more suburban areas and really started hurting small business owners.

kruger_d's avatar

There would be more of local shops, which I prefer anyway, and therefore, a broader selection of merchandise. More specialy shops could be viable in smaller communities.

galileogirl's avatar

Actually the game plan changed after Sam Walton died. He was bringing “department stores” to small towns when Penney’s Sears etc started closing their smaller stores and focussing on hub stores for big shopping centers. After Sam died, the corporate mentality came up with a “War of the Worlds” plan. They triangulated new superstores putting 3 about 15 miles apart, Any locally owned stores could not match the prices and went out of business. Then Walmart would close 1 or 2 of the stores leaving the local economy devastated.

JLeslie's avatar

@galileogirl I see. Great strategy I guess for Walmart. I wonder what Sam would think?

proXXi's avatar

Wal Mart types would have to find somewhere else to go.

JLeslie's avatar

I do go to walmart here in Memphis, because they have some products I cannot find in the grocery stores here (Kroger and Schnucks). That has never happened to me before; it’s annoying.

erichw1504's avatar

@proXXi What would they be called then?

proXXi's avatar

(White) Trash?

bunnygrl's avatar

I wouldn’t have a job, since I work for them on checkout, That having been said, in our area if you don’t have a car its asda or sainsburys (and they’re more expensive) and @proXXi what are “walmart types” honestly we do sell good quality food at really good prices and I live in an area where, well none of us are rolling in money so this is important. That doesn’t make me or our customers a “type”. I’m sorry but that actually hurt me, EDIT: just seen your later posting, I like to think that my skin colour is inrelevant, but I’m certainly NOT trash, and neither are our customers.
hugs all xx

jonsblond's avatar

@proXXi wow. guess I’m white trash

casheroo's avatar

@jonsblond Whoa. I don’t shop at walmart, but I don’t consider people who do to be white trash.

jonsblond's avatar

@casheroo I know you don’t. :) @proXXi‘s comment is really fucked up though.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Well I wouldn’t be able to look at “People of Walmart” when I needed cheering up.

rangerr's avatar

@casheroo @jonsblond I come from a family of pretty wealthy government workers.. but I shop at Walmart too.. I never thought of myself as white trash before. I learn something new everyday ~

galileogirl's avatar

There are several reasons that I feel Walmart is a very bad corporate citizen besides their destruction of competition tactics. Their use and abuse of employees. For most companies, the workforce is an asset, for Walmart it is disposable. I don’t know if the have made any changes but Walmart kept to the minimum wage line rarely raising pay for employees over time so that a 5 year employee may be making minimum wage + 6% while cost of living increased 15%. A full time employee works 28–32 hrs a week so that when things get busy they can be scheduled for 40 hours but no overtime. You might call that a smart business choice for Walmart but for the employee with a family it means a second job just to survive. Or as George Bush said to a woman who told him in a town meeting she had a handicapped son and 2 jobs “Good for you, that’s the American way!”

Also with Walmart we are taught to accept crap. They do not sell quality goods for the most part. Some people say that the manufacturers don’t make quality any more but if retailers, especially Walmart that buys whole factories’ production demanded quality, they would get it. So while people talk about going green, they buy cheap, disposable crap, using resources to build land fill.

Walmart is the most powerful retailer in the world but an irresponsible corporate citizen. Remember when you shop there what you are supporting.

proXXi's avatar

‘Walmart Types’ is not my invention:

JLeslie's avatar

@galileogirl unfortunately most of retail is similar with the overtime stuff. Sales people at most department stores are scheduled approx 37 hours. Not quite as extreme, but same idea. Many stores also typically give increases of 2% to 3% more or less. Most people if they want a large increase wind up getting a job at another store, which I realize in rural areas is not so easy. I agree they and other companies can give up some profit to treat employees better, in fact that is my biggest complaint of late. I am fine with companies making money, but they too often cross a line that lacks integrity and breaks the golden rule. Seems sometimes, eventually, it comes back to bite them.

I shop in Walmart only to buy the items that are not avalable at other stores in my area. I tried to get them in the grocery store I typically shop, I would pay more even. I sent a list of 20 items to Schnucks, because they asked for it when I said I was having trouble finding some products, and they could not or did not get one of them items. In my area they also cater to the Latin American market better ( @proXXi so I guess we have white trash and hispanics in my walmart, meanwhile I am a white upper-middle class Jew) and the other grocery stores completely ignore this segment of the of population.

jonsblond's avatar

@proXXi (White) trash were your words. That site is just a stupid site to make fun of people. You can find people dressed like that anywhere, not just at Wal-Mart. I would like to add that I very rarely see anyone dressed like that at the Wal-Mart that I shop at. I see mostly teachers, lawyers, doctors, moms and dads, nurses, business professionals, etc., that are trying to save money and do most of their shopping in one place because it is convenient.

casheroo's avatar

@jonsblond whoops, I meant to direct that comment to @proXXi

avvooooooo's avatar

@casheroo I have to drive half an hour to get to a Wal-Mart. There are not small businesses that sell things that I need anywhere in my county. You can get groceries, you can get auto parts. Occasionally the major dollar stores in town will have a thing or two from the list, but not often.

No. There is nowhere. We don’t even have a Wal-Mart in my county (you have to got to the next one, hence the half an hour) and there is nowhere. If you have options, more power to you. But some people, like me, do not. Some people, like me, shop at Wal-Mart because they don’t have the option to shop elsewhere.

galileogirl's avatar

@jonsblond the only socioeconomic divide I see is those who demand quality and those who demand cheap crap. The cheap crap trap has made us into a society of wasters, overconsumers and clutterers.

How many people do you know that have giant walk in closets paked with clothes and shoes that spill into secondary closets? The reason is we buy things that after a little wear no longer look the same as knew or that are so trndy we won’t wear them 6 months later. Cheap trash.

The holidays are coming soon. How many gifts are we going to give that end up in a closet. How many toys does a child get before he feels entitled to anything he wants? What kind of guilt or lack of self esteem causes a parent to put $100 into Chinese plastic instad of a college savings account?

Why do we let ourselves to be manipulated into thinking the more we have, the better we are? Those who shop at Walmart.

BTW, the argument that people only go to Walmart because no other store in the area carries a particular item, doesn’t hold water. There is probably no option because of Walmart.

jonsblond's avatar

@galileogirl I don’t buy clothes at Wal-Mart. Maybe socks and underwear, but that’s it. I get most of my clothes at Goodwill. I also don’t buy a lot of “crap” because I’m poor. My local Kroger doesn’t sell shoes, furnace filters and thread to mend my clothes. I shop at Wal-Mart for necessities. The bread, canned goods, milk, shoes and everything else that I need is available for much less at Wal-Mart. I wish I had the money to buy a bunch of crap, but I barely have enough to feed my family.

rangerr's avatar

@galileogirl Your last statement doesn’t hold water when Wal-Mart isn’t in the area, either.

avvooooooo's avatar

@galileogirl I don’t have a Wal-Mart unless I drive 30 minutes. There isn’t anything that Wal-Mart did to drive away non-existent businesses.

galileogirl's avatar

@rangerr Follow the thread. I was responding to a posting about why she did shop at Walmart so there must be a Walmart in the area.

San Fracisco is one of the most expensive cities in the country and we manage without Walmart and still maintain our families. The little you save now will cost in the long run when they put regular markets out of business and you are forced to buy a 6 pack of chops instead of just 1.

rangerr's avatar

@galileogirl I’m following the thread. You said @avvooooooo‘s statement held no water. I told you yours was the one that didn’t. Not everyone lives in San Francisco, either.

galileogirl's avatar

@rangerr Actually it was @jonsblond statement I was responding to. I accept your apology.

rangerr's avatar

She didn’t say anything about Wal-Mart being in the area.

galileogirl's avatar

” I shop at Wal-Mart for necessities” and stop muttering.

rangerr's avatar

Your statement: “BTW, the argument that people only go to Walmart because no other store in the area carries a particular item, doesn’t hold water. There is probably no option because of Walmart.”
My statement: “Your last statement doesn’t hold water when Wal-Mart isn’t in the area, either.”
@avvoo’s past statement: “I don’t have a Wal-Mart unless I drive 30 minutes. There isn’t anything that Wal-Mart did to drive away non-existent businesses.”

Conclusion- I am following the thread. You are not.
….maaaake me.

ragingloli's avatar

there is always ebay and similar.

jonsblond's avatar

@galileogirl The little I save now will keep a roof over our head. I need to worry about my family now.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

I don’t shop big box retail at all with any regularity now, but tend to support local businesses.

Blondesjon's avatar

You all can spend your $100 wherever you want. Everything is cheap, plastic crap now.

If you can’t compete in the business endeavor you chose I would say you chose wrong. Mom and Pop stores went out with Sock Hops and poodle skirts. And before any of you cry about how Wal-Mart is killing small business take a look at the medium you are using right now and do a little research into how it affect’s Mr. Hooper’s bottom line.

Shit changes people. Get over it.

referring to folks as white trash is just as ignorant as using the n-word. turn off Springer and go outside for awhile. you need a break.

proXXi's avatar

Odd. I never watch springer…

bea2345's avatar

I was utterly fascinated by Wal-Mart during my last visit to the US. This vast warehouse of a place, the shelves crammed with things without number. It took a whole morning to select a couple of bras, there were so many. I spent hours just browsing, not buying anything. On the other hand their selection of books and films was lamentable, and, except for the Polish sausages, the cafeteria was not memorable.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Not much of a difference. Target came into NYC only about 4 years ago, and I don’t do much shopping there.

JLeslie's avatar

@aprilsimnel There is a Target in NYC? Where? I only know the Kmart down on 8th.

aprilsimnel's avatar

There’s four Targets in NYC:

Atlantic Mall, Brooklyn (2 or 3 train to Atlantic Avenue)
Elmhurst, Queens (G train to Grand Avenue/Newtown or R train to Woodhaven Blvd.)
Marine Park, Brooklyn (2 or 5 train to Flatbush Avenue)
Kings Mall, Brooklyn (Far Rockaway-bound A train to Euclid Avenue, then Q8 bus)

And one in Jersey City:
PATH to Pavonia/Newport station and walk a few blocks north or drive to Jersey City and it’s a few blocks north of the Holland Tunnel

(Bold is the easiest to get to, IMO)

YARNLADY's avatar

It’s not really any different than when I was a child, except that all the different stores are under one roof. Where we shopped, we had go outside one store and into the one next to it to get our purchases. We usually started at the shoe shop at the end of the strip, then walked next door to spend our allowance on toys, then walked down a few more doors to go into the grocery store.

I miss getting stamps with our purchases and fighting with my sister and brother over who got the most stamps to paste into the books. When we saved up enough to get the stuff we marked in the catalog, it was like somebody’s birthday.

JLeslie's avatar

@aprilsimnel I had no idea. I stay in Manhattan with my sister usually, I wonder if she is aware? She must be. It is unlikely she would bother to travel that far (not that it is that far) to shop though. Although, we have trekked out to Ikea in the past.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Wal-Mart is trying to get a store in the city, but no one really wants it. We’re fine with our Targét, Macy’s and our resale shops.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

Walmart offers almost everything I need in a one stop shopping trip. I would be pulling my hair out if there weren’t anymore walmarts!

mattbrowne's avatar

I would have to walk more and require more time for shopping.

bea2345's avatar

We have a Target in Charlotte Street, Port of Spain (Charlotte Street is to Port of Spain as 14th Street is to Manhattan). It is small, crowded and dark. Somehow I do not think that it is a branch of Target Corporation.

Tenpinmaster's avatar

We would be forced to use the wonderful mom and pop stores that were there before the mega stores took them out. Although, it would be a lot harder to find speciality items that are common in the big stores. Although selection is nice at the mega stores, I really miss the feeling of actually getting to know the sales people and the managers of the small shops. Now it just feels like everything in your life is a number like items on an assembly line. There is very little warm interaction and a lot of cold commercialism

Val123's avatar

Well, there was no Walmart when I was growing up. There were grocery stores, where you were on a first name basis with the owners. There were locally owned shoe and clothing stores. Locally owned lumberyards. I can’t think of a thing that we get at Walmart that we couldn’t get then.

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