Social Question

cockswain's avatar

Do you shop at Wal-Mart?

Asked by cockswain (15249points) March 3rd, 2010

I don’t want to load the question too much, but since seeing a couple documentaries about Wal-Mart a few years ago, I haven’t set foot in one since. Do you shop there? Why or why not?

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101 Answers

Vunessuh's avatar

I use to only go there to buy movies and games and music, but I buy all that stuff online now.
I haven’t been to a Wal-Mart in a while.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

Nope, none in NYC Didn’t when they were convenient when I lived in Illinois either… people used to make jokes if I went in there with them that I would burst into flames.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

I don’t want to appear on Peopleofwalmart.com
Also, I prefer not to support evil whenever possible.

ChaosCross's avatar

Yup, if it has what I want, I buy it.

Sarcasm's avatar

I don’t.
Not because I have some opposition to it, just because there are no Walmarts nearby.

MacBean's avatar

Yup. It’s all there is here, unless I want to take a forty-minute drive.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

awaits the grumy “I don’t know why you people are so down on Wal-Mart – GD unAmerican sissies!” response.

JLeslie's avatar

Previously, I probably stepped in a Walmart once a year. Now, here in the Memphis area, it is one of the few places I can find several of my grocery items, so I am in there once a month for food. Every so often I buy a non-supermarket item, but very rare. Many time quality is too low, and I prefer to not buy made in China.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@JLeslie Remember when they were touting how all their stuff was made in the USA? That lasted like 6 months…

Bluefreedom's avatar

I’ve shopped there before and probably will again. I know exactly which documentaries you’re talking about and both of them are very good – Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price and Frontline: Is Wal-Mart Good for America. It was a real eye opener learning the real in’s & out’s of Wal-Mart and I honestly have to admit that I was put off shopping at Wal-Mart, for a little while, after seeing these programs.

cockswain's avatar

@Bluefreedom Those are the films. Knowing that, it doesn’t hurt your conscience to support?

KatawaGrey's avatar

I try to avoid Wal-Mart whenever possible. I don’t agree with their business practices and there are a number of alternatives close by.

What kind of bothers me is my friends who claim to not like Wal-Mart for the same reason but shop there because things are cheaper. In truth, there are cheap alternatives around that are much more ethical but my friends are just lazy.

Likeradar's avatar

I’d like to say never, but very rarely they have something I want for a great price.
I also wish I knew more about their business practices, but I haven’t done the research yet.

I only rarely shop there because it depresses me. The employees, the shoppers, the products, the lighting… ugh. It’s soul sucking.

jaytkay's avatar

No. The few times I’ve gone in the stores were a wreck. Merchandise on the floor, dirty shelves. Ewwwww.

If I need cheap China commie crap I drive to Target.

Bluefreedom's avatar

@cockswain. My wife gets on me a lot about trying harder not to shop there. I try to follow through now and again by going to a Target or other department store. Sometimes I’m just lazy though because Wal-Mart is closest and easiest to get to. And that’s not a good excuse, I know. I need to do better.

cockswain's avatar

@Bluefreedom I respect your honesty. Many people just get angry and defensive when asked.

Aethelwine's avatar

At least twice a week. I’m poor and their food is affordable. I don’t buy any clothing items from them though.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@Likeradar: I don’t know the details but from what I’ve heard, their managers tend to be white men and anyone who isn’t a white man gets paid less for the same amount of work.

kyanblue's avatar

I don’t have a moral objection to shopping there, and I’m still trying to decide if I should. The sad truth is that money is currency and morals are not, and I am more broke than I am idealistic.

I have not watched either of the documentaries @Bluefreedom mentioned, though. Seeing as how I banned myself from McDonald’s following Super Size Me, I might change my Wal-Mart view in the future.

Blackberry's avatar

Wal mart isn’t going to single-handedly bring america down, you stop shopping at wal mart, stop buying hondas and toyotas etc, but it doesn’t mean everyone else will. If it’s cheap, then people that aren’t rich will flock to it, even rich people do, that’s how they keep more of their money.

shadling21's avatar

I shop at Wal-Mart, yes. It is cheap. I went through an anti-Wal-Mart phase for a while, insisting that it would help the smaller businesses out. But I can’t afford it anymore! So back to Wal-Mart I go.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@Blackberry That doesn’t mean I need to support them too. And more Toyotas are built in the US than Chevys…

knitfroggy's avatar

Yes, I do. I can’t afford to shop anywhere else. And honestly, if money were no object in my grocery buying, I would still shop at Walmart. When I can buy groceries at Walmart for way less than the local Kroger, why wouldn’t I? Plus, I can get whatever I want at Walmart. Socks, underwear, pot roast and a garden hose, if I need. The store in my town is clean, well kept and the people that work there are very nice. I have nothing against Walmart.

Facade's avatar

Yes
Because it’s cheap.

If I was rich, I wouldn’t.

DominicX's avatar

I’m more of a Target person myself.

Blackberry's avatar

@Jeanpaul Really? That’s uhm…a lot of irony, why’s that? About the toyotas…

wundayatta's avatar

Not any more. Haven’t been there in years. I don’t like the long lines, the weird smells, and the fact that all the merchandise is spread all over the floors.

Aethelwine's avatar

@knitfroggy The store I shop at is also clean and the cashiers are very friendly. Many of them have watched my daughter grow up and they always take the time to greet her. The employees I know that work there are happy to have a job.

Bluefreedom's avatar

Just in case anyone is interested, coincidentally, here is an article from MSN, just today, about Wal-Mart having problems with its own customer base. Interesting.

jealoustome's avatar

When people say that they shop at Walmart because it is cheap, it upsets me. We don’t have a lot of money at our house, but we are able to eat well and live comfortably on a budget. I buy things secondhand, I buy in bulk, I shop sales. It’s not hard and I don’t have to feel bad about supporting something I don’t agree with. It’s not logical to support an organization that has played a distinct part in slowly destroying the “American Dream” through unethical economic practices all so we can say we are able to afford items that we don’t need anyway. This rampant consumerism is just another corruption of the dream.

lilikoi's avatar

Haven’t been in one in years, and don’t intend to go. Never mind the fact that they take advantage of employees, sell crap, and consume large swaths of land and communities—- their parking lot is so congested I don’t have the energy to claw my way in.

lilikoi's avatar

@DominicX Ugh. Target is crap. No better than Walmart…

Aethelwine's avatar

@jealoustome I don’t have to feel bad about supporting something I don’t agree with.

No one is judging you. The shoppers are the ones being judged. I hate being told that I’m a bad person and lazy because I shop there. btw, I don’t buy items that I don’t need. I don’t have the money for that. I only buy necessities.

suncatnin's avatar

I’ve spent less than $30 there in the past 4 years. $5 was because I was on a roadtrip and the dog was sick in the car and there was literally no where else to go, and the other $25 was because I could not find what I was looking for anywhere else (planters with reservoirs at the bottom).

I actually do hover around the poverty line. However, I can find better deals elsewhere (I’m a huge fan of Costco for their prices, the quality, their customer service, and the way they treat their employees), and I have a hard time limiting impulse buys in places like Walmart.

jealoustome's avatar

@jonsblond I only think it’s “bad” and “lazy” if you have information that leads you to believe that Walmart is an unethical corporation and you have other viable shopping alternatives. Both of these are true for me and that is why I stopped shopping at Walmart. I used to preach the evils of Walmart to my friends and family, until I saw the really hurt look on my friend’s face while I was on my soapbox one day. She was on foodstamps, going to school full-time, and a single parent with three kids. She didn’t have the time to do what I do. That made me realize that we are all coming from different places. Here, on the fluther forum, I’m making an assumption that most of us have heard about the unethical practices of Walmart.

Facade's avatar

@jealoustome You’d be hard pressed to find a corporation or business which is not unethical. Most major brands have done some type of dirty dealing. But good for you for not supporting them.

JLeslie's avatar

@JeanPaulSartre No, I dont remember. I never knew that. Interesting. The first time I stepped in a Walmart was about 1994–95, I had not even seen one before I don’t think?? Well, the one I went to had opened maybe a year or two before, so I guess I had driven buy it several times before I actually went in. Still back then I might have gone in that store 3 times in 5 years. I had read about Walmart, the concept, and of course that Sam Walton was rich, it was more of a business idea. Which by the way, I thought was just a knock of of Meijer in MI. I think Meijer’s was established years before Walmart, although I don’t know when they went to the mega store format, I think they first started as a supermarket. I’d have to google it. Meijer’s was the first store I had ever been in that was like that back when I was in college in the late 80’s. Before that I had been in a Kmart once, but of course that did not have a supermarket.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@Facade: It’s different with Wal-Mart. As a black female, not only would you be passed over for promotion, but you would also make less than a white person or a man who had been working the same amount of time and did the same job as you.

jealoustome's avatar

@Facade I completely agree with you. I thought about that as I was writing my response. But, I think it has to do with levels of immorality. My research on Walmart leads me to believe that they are a greedy, unethical, immoral corporation to the ultimate degree (I know they have started some new initiatives to try to improve. When they truly improve, I might shop with them.) Sure, lots of other are corrupt, too. But, like @suncatnin brought up Costco does a much better job in the humane treatment of employees department. No corporation is perfect, but at least I can try to go with those who do better. And, truthfully, I try to shop local as much as I can to avoid the whole situation.

john65pennington's avatar

WalMart is a one-stop shop for just about anything made in China. some stores even have firecrackers.

Facade's avatar

@KatawaGrey Which is why I would never try to work there or any other place similar.

Aethelwine's avatar

@jealoustome My options are Kroger, Aldi and County Market. I do not have a Costco nearby. I buy my food, toiletries and other necesseties at Walmart because they have the cheapest prices out of the three. My clothes are bought at Goodwill or 80% off season at Kohls. I have heard the horror stories about Walmart, but I don’t have any other options nearby within my budget. I do the best that I can do for my family, and as I mentioned before, the people that work at the Walmart that I shop at are happy they even have a job.

MrGV's avatar

I love Walmart! It makes me happy =)

DominicX's avatar

@lilikoi

Well, I like Target. I knew people from school who worked there, I got a bunch of my college dorm room stuff there, so many of my scavenger hunts ended up there, and it was there that I did the gayest thing I’ve ever done: hung out with two girls while they bought and tried on bras.

:)

Discount stores are convenient. I buy food at Safeway and clothes and electronics elsewhere (for the most part), but anything else I might need could probably be found at a discount store. We can’t all shop at small boutiques for everything…

@jonsblond

Costco’s not always the best option unless you want 5–10 of everything you go in to get.

Aethelwine's avatar

@DominicX Yeah. I’m not into bulk shopping. Something usually gets wasted that way in our house. I just like to buy what we need for the week.

suncatnin's avatar

@jonsblond I do support Kroger because they do allow their workers to unionize, unlike Walmart. By shopping sales ads and store brands, I end up saving a fairly good amount of money.

I also end up feeling that the Walmart products are inferior and expensive for what they are (I spent less on a very nice FarberwarePro forged steel knife set at Ross on clearance than I did for a cheapo knife set from Walmart where the blades separated from the handles if I looked at them funny), the Walmarts I’ve been in are usually dirty, and they’re crowded, which means that you end up waiting forever in the lines.

Shecky_Johnson's avatar

I don’t wanna, but I live in a kinda small town in SC and it’s the only one that’s 24 hours. Because of my fear of large crowds of stupid people, I only go late at night.

JLeslie's avatar

@suncatnin Can you stop employees from unionizing? Isn’t it done by a vote? Kroger started way before Walmart if I remember correctly, in Ohio. MI and Ohio were heavily unionized, along with NY and some other states, while the south traditionally isn’t. I think location of the stores had a lot to do with it. Just my take.

thriftymaid's avatar

Absolutely never. I do shop at Sams Club occasionally.

suncatnin's avatar

@JLeslie It may not technically be legal, but in most states, work is done ‘at-will’, which means that an employer can fire you at any time and without letting you know why. They have a history of firing workers suspected of trying to unionize a store, which, while technically in violation of the law, the fired workers would have to prove that they were fired for that activity since Walmart does not have to provide justification for its actions. The National Labor Relations Board has multiple instances of Walmart attempting to block unionizing efforts; here are the search results indicating Walmart’s involvement in various NLRB cases.

aprilsimnel's avatar

8 years ago I went to a Connecticut Wal-Mart with a work friend and bought a can of paint. I haven’t been there since.

Nullo's avatar

Heck, I work at Wal-Mart (well, Sam’s Club, but it’s the same company).

@suncatnin Locally, at least, the Wal-Marts seem to have looked at what the unions provide and offer something comparable. My previous job (same level) was union, and I had the same rate of pay, similar benefits that I could use within the same timeframe (the union had better dental, but Wal-Mart was more generous in coverage), had the same number of breaks in a workday, and so on. They know that they can’t afford to be sloppy.
Unions aren’t themselves terribly great things, either. I lost my previous job because I wasn’t a full union member when the company had to close one of its six locations; the rules were that full union workers must be wormed in somewhere, even if that meant kicking out the new guy.

suncatnin's avatar

@Nullo You may be the first person I have ever heard refer to Walmart’s coverage as “generous.” The share of premiums that most employees would have to shell out to get coverage prices it out of many individuals’ reaches (as with most other low-wage jobs, so this criticism is not specific to Walmart). If you don’t mind my asking, what type of work do you do at Sam’s Club? Sam’s often seems to escape the harshest criticisms of Walmart, which makes me wonder if some of their employment practices are different.

I realize that unions are not perfect, but they do have the ability to protect their members more than an individual worker would be able to protect him/herself in many cases. Unions can become corrupt just like any other entity, but collective bargaining does have a place, just like larger businesses have the ability to offer lower prices because they have numbers on their side to negotiate with suppliers.

YARNLADY's avatar

I don’t choose where to shop based on whether it is PC or not. I shop where I can get the best value.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

It’s not about being PC.
If people knew how Wal Mart was able to offer stock at such low prices, they’d have to reconsider patronizing them. It’s called being a responsible consumer.

Nullo's avatar

@suncatnin I am a cart guy/factotum.
Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club use the same training materials, so I doubt that the practices are much different. I think that the difference is that Wal-Mart is older and has more malcontents gunning for it.
Part-time union and Wal-Mart health benefits both take a year to kick in. Wal-Mart offers money in the interim to cover medical expenses; the union does not. This is what I was referring to with my “generous” comment.

@Captain_Fantasy And how is that, exactly?

YARNLADY's avatar

@Captain_Fantasy If we knew the supply tactics of most major stores we wouldn’t ever buy anything. The only reason the news has been stuck on WalMart is because their competitors, chiefly Safeway, have launched a very determined smear campaign. There is only one store in the country that would come out with a clean report in most of the same areas, and that is Patagonia.

loser's avatar

No. Never have, never will.

CaptainHarley's avatar

WalMart has a wide selection, good prices, and is easy to navigate. What’s not to like? My impulse is to see those who despise WalMart as elitist and condescending.

ladytmerie's avatar

I shop at Wal-Mart and do not feel guilty for doing it. I am a single mother of three teenage daughters who need things. I can afford Wal-Mart more than any other store most of the time. I also feel that although it may not be the greatest place to work it does provide a lot of jobs to people who I’m sure are complety grateful and happy to work there. By shopping there I am also helping to support their jobs so they can provide.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I prefer to shop at locally-owned businesses. The money stays in the community instead of fattening Sam Waltons heirs. If I can’t find something locally (most local businesses will order damn near anything for you), I use mail-order. It’s not just Wal Mart, I don’t care for any of the big chain stores. The only exception I make is Shop & Save because the small local groceries lack so many of the exotic food items I like.

tedibear's avatar

I try to not shop at WalMart unless they are the only place that has something that I need. The only other time I’ll go to WalMart is when we had to the cabin (not as pretentious as it sounds! Promise!) and it’s the only option for certain things like tools, softener salt, etc. Otherwise we head to the grocery store that’s there.

CMaz's avatar

Do we have a choice?

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@Blackberry It’s weird isn’t it? I think it’s a space and quality control thing. There are very few “Japanese” cars that are built in Japan because space for a factory of that kind is limited.

@JLeslie I think even Sam Walton is spinning in his grave over what’s become of Walmart – but I guess he dies with more money than he knew what to do with, so maybe he wouldn’t really care. Totally like Meijer’s… but marketed nationally (Almost.) I haven’t seen a Meijer’s outside of the Midwest.

jealoustome's avatar

@CaptainHarley I don’t understand why it is “elitist” or “condescending” to be pro-American-made and pro-small-American business: these are the main two reasons I “despise” their practices. They have usurped much of the American retail economy, but the money is not circulated back into the economy at an equitable rate (I’m not talking about socialism here. I’m talking about basic economics.) If you were to check into the lifestyle and incomes of the Walton heirs you might see something truly elitist and condescending.

JLeslie's avatar

@suncatnin I see what you are saying. A company I once worked for became a little afraid that the union was trying to come in. This was in a an at will state. I would think most states are at will, but I don’t know that for sure. The company was based in NY, and every branch, in all of the states it functioned in basically had the benefits, rules for firing, and regs regarding breaks and lunches as the union rules. Although pay scale was different, but part if that was because the market in the local areas provided those pay scales, same as even if it were union. My perspective was the union would have created an adversarial environment between management and staff, and to me management is staff anyway, they aren’t owners, unless they are the owners, and there are enough laws with OSHA and Labor Laws to protect the worker. The union would have been an added expense to the employees.

I think there was a time in our history when unions were necessary, but in the year 2010 I think it is less and less necessary, and sometimes a negative. Employees can still organize and walk out if they are being treated unfairly, the don’t need to pay a union to do it.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@JLeslie

Though management must bear the brunt of the blame, the union has to share the responsibility for rendering the auto industry in this Country uncompetitive. Unions in the “post-industrial” world are a necessary evil. If they ceased to exist this afternoon, sweatshops would spring up everywhere.

JLeslie's avatar

@CaptainHarley I disagree. There is much greater awareness in our country about sweatshops and treating people equally. The sweatshops of old many times had immigrant workers, and I think people easily turned a blind eye, or were unaware of what was really going on inside. Our laws are much better now to protect the worker.

The auto industry was ridiculous, but I would argue management and the owners were greedy and horrible also and to begin with. We talk about having to compete with countries that pay lower wages, but the truth is the executive and upper management pay is probably much too high in many industries. The auto industry in the 70’s was making billions, and the unions fought hard to be able to partake in the financial bonanza. I don’t blame them, the saw management making huge sumes of money, and wanted a fair share of the profits they were working to help the company make. The thing is, there was an option to build better cars, with better parts, and also to pay th ehigher levels less, which would have still been a ton, and pass someof it back to the consumer. They would have been more competitive, built better cars, and have been more competitive over the long haul, because they would not have lost the consumers confidence or loyalty. They were stupid and cocky in so many ways.

I went to school in MI in the late 80’s, and I could not believe how unaware the people there seemed to be regarding how we in other states, especially along the coasts, had no loyalty to American cars, because we had experienced owning Japanese cars and the reliability was far superior.

Also, these heavily union states are simply that heavily unionized. The places that had been basically abusive to workers back during the industrial revolution like NYC and Detroit, not only started a trend of unionization in those industries, but also the schools, retail, medical care, many many industries.

MI teachers get some of the best pay and benefits in the nation compared to other teachers. That they complain is ridiculous, the pay is decent even compared to other industries if you annualize it. They only work 9, although some try to convince me it is 10 months a year, but it’s not because they get off three weeks in the winter, many monday holidays, and a week for Spring Break. They get excellent benefits. http://www.teacher-world.com/teacher-salary/michigan.html Keep in mind there salaries were going up every year of service whether they sucked or not, and once tenured cannot be fired. But, teachers unions is a whole other topic that I should save for another question.

Nullo's avatar

I realized something today: One of the varieties of Wal-Mart carpers has actually made the environment there more hostile as the company tried to be accommodating.
The rules forbid any associate from doing anything related to their jobs while off the clock. This was put into place to assuage fears that the stores were making people work overtime without pay or similar malarky, and it’s generally a good idea. But it also means that I run the risk of wrath if I want to be a nice guy and bring in one of the electric carts for some old lady on my way out.
I don’t blame Sam’s Club; they’re just trying to stay out of trouble. I blame the lobbyists.

JLeslie's avatar

@Nullo So that can’t just be considered good citizenship? I think they are trying to prevent managers from asking or requiring you from doing work off of the clock. The spirit, or intent of the rule is not being adhered to I think. The wording is being taken too literally. That is managements fault in my opinion. That you might get in trouble for simply being neighbourly. Although, as I think about it, I would guess it really has to do with workman’s comp that management has that rule.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@JLeslie

I largely agree, but sweatshops still exist today despite all the laws and regulations. WIthout the simple THREAT of unionization, there would be many more of them.

Nullo's avatar

@JLeslie I thought I’d said that, about being prevented from being made to work off the clock. O_o
My point is that the carpers have managed to make Wal-Mart a bit nervous, and it’s not producing especially healthy results.
I don’t think that I’d get fired, necessarily, for wheeling in the electric cart (They’re more like guidelines than actual rules, and they can be bent a bit) I get along well with managers and the like), but there’s always the danger.

cockswain's avatar

Flying in the face of the argument Wal-mart helps the economy by providing jobs, consider they have paid employees so poorly as to prevent them from affording the company health insurance plan. In fact, they provide employees with information on how to apply for WIC and Medicaid. So guess who subsidizes the health care program of the nation’s (world’s?) largest employer? Taxpayers. Further, they keep employee hours just below full-time to reduce benefits. In China, they treat workers like slaves. The workers are provided a dormitory to live in, and the fee is removed from their check regardless of if they live there or not. Living quarters are minimal, hot, and crowded, and work hours are long. How is this not slavery? If they would do it to Chinese, they’d do it to Americans given the chance. And to an extent they do. Further, consider the cash flow of Walmart goods. They are produced in China, not by workers here. The money flows from us to Wal-Mart to China as our national debt rises. Not that they exactly cause the debt, but they stimulate the cycle, as the US continues to need to borrow from China.

Some have argued they have no choice but to shop there because it is the only store available in a rural area. Consider it is only that way now because they drove all the shoe stores, grocers, sporting goods, and drug stores away years ago. They will frequently build inside town limits on the condition they are given tax breaks for several years by the town. The small town, eager to get such a big business there, happily complies, knowing the dollars will be there one day. Before that time period expires, maybe 5 years, Wal-Mart moves just outside of town, leaving a blight of an empty building and parking lot in the town. At that point, the local economy has been devastated and the locals will now drive just outside town for their needs.

The argument for not caring about “the PC issues” is pure apathy and lack of compassion.

meagan's avatar

Yeah. I live in a small town which actually doesn’t have a lot of mom and pop stores. The closest farmers market is about 30 minutes away. So yeah.. I give into the walmart monster. One stop shop!

cockswain's avatar

One final point. Is the argument that other corporations also do terrible Wal-Mart-like things and we shop there too, is that really what we’re going to teach our children? If you aren’t really close to the source of the human rights violations and greed it isn’t so bad to support it?

CaptainHarley's avatar

@cockswain

No one makes anyone work at WalMart.

cockswain's avatar

@CaptainHarley You’ve done an excellent job appropriately addressing all the points I’ve made.

Nullo's avatar

@cockswain Since when is it wrong for a company to try to reduce costs?
—In China, most workers are treated like slaves. In Japan, company dorms are really, really common. And I’d bet that the Chinese operation is run locally.
Assuming that this is verifiable and true.

Where do you get the unaffordable-healthcare-plan argument? I’ve gone through the benefits package, and it’s not bad; something like $300/yr, if I remember properly (not the cheapest, perhaps, but it’s not that expensive either; I spend more per annum on soda). I’ve never heard anybody complain in the break room, and they seem preeetty open about their gripes. And I’ve never head my grandfather, a long-time Wal-Mart employee, complain about ‘em either.

“The money flows from us to Wal-Mart to China as our national debt rises. Not that they exactly cause the debt, but they stimulate the cycle, as the US continues to need to borrow from China.”
Elaborate, please, because AFAIK the two are entirely separate issues. I’ll admit that it’s late and I’m tired.

“They will frequently build inside town limits on the condition they are given tax breaks for several years by the town. The small town, eager to get such a big business there, happily complies, knowing the dollars will be there one day. Before that time period expires, maybe 5 years, Wal-Mart moves just outside of town, leaving a blight of an empty building and parking lot in the town. At that point, the local economy has been devastated and the locals will now drive just outside town for their needs.”
Not the most neighborly behavior, but this is a business. Not a charity, not a stimulus project.
Assuming, of course, that you can back it up with some unbiased sources.

YARNLADY's avatar

@cockswain Every one of the so-called arguments that you are spouting come directly from the websites that are maintained by the competitors. They are countered in the website that is maintained by the WalMart Corporation. You can look there for your counter arguments. I have no interest in commenting further.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@cockswain

Thank you. I thought so too. It really wasn’t that difficult. : )

JLeslie's avatar

@Nullo you basically did say that. I did not think we were disagreeing. I was picking up on your thought. I think it was Walmart who had a lawsuit because they denied coverage for an employee who got hurt or sick, or something, and technically Walmart was correct that they did not have to cover the person, but the public was outraged, so there might be some sort of policy overcompensating for these types of suits. If you don’t know the case I am talking about I can try to find it…but I am actually in a hurry right now and about to log off.

Anyway, if you are an employee helping a customer, and get hurt while off the clock, the store does not have to cover you with workman’s comp, but publically there would be an outcry that that Walmart is not doing the right thing. So it leaves them in a catch 22 sort of.

Nullo's avatar

@JLeslie Ah, sorry. :D

Nullo's avatar

Wish the government would try to reduce costs once in a while.

cockswain's avatar

@Nullo

The majority of the information I’m passing on I obtained from the documentaries Blue Freedom links around the 10th comment or so. Watching just one, you could argue it was biased. But two with similar messages, one of which is a Frontline doc? If you want a better view of why I’m making these assertions, please watch at least one.

Regarding the question about how the Wal-Mart effect on the economy, here’s a link to a respectable article from the Economic Policy Institute: http://www.epi.org/publications/entry/ib235/

You are correct, I didn’t explain myself very clearly. But just consider how thoroughly Wal-mart contributes to manufacturing jobs leaving the US. These lost jobs hurt US income tax revenue and our economy in general. But read the article and watch a documentary for a better analysis.

Your statement about the Wal-Mart health insurance is perplexing to me. I’ve been led to believe what I stated before. Are you certain that medical coverage for a year is $300? Not only would that fully contradict both documentaries, but it would mean Wal-Mart has one of the nation’s cheapest health insurance programs. For comparison, I have good benefits, and pay about $4000 out of pocket for health coverage for my family. My company picks up like $10,000 additional. Either they’ve done a 180 or something isn’t right.

The rest of your statements I’m simply opposed to. Twice you mention “if my sources are credible.” View for yourself. I would very much love it if there was an ethical place that I could pay Walmart prices for stuff, and I wouldn’t boycott the place unless I felt justified in doing so. I does not help me financially to not shop there. The argument that many employees in China aren’t treated well doesn’t change my mind that it is right. But again, watch the interviews yourself. I won’t ever buy a diamond unless I could verify no child’s arm was chopped off in the process. I’ll never knowingly purchase a Monsanto product (but this is extremely difficult to avoid).

Your final point about them not being a charity but a business is reasonable for most businesses. My problem is in Walmart’s case. The levels of unethical behavior fueled by tremendous greed are appalling. In addition to all the points I previously made (which must not have bothered you enough, and you doubt their validity to begin with), consider how they treat their suppliers. Some small business gets excited about selling Walmart supplies and ramps up, then suddenly they are told to reduce their selling price by 20% or more or Walmart is done buying from them. Walmart knows damn well this will put a serious squeeze on them and their only option now is to basically enslave themselves to Walmart or go out of business. Walmart is so wealthy they do not need to do this, but they choose to. You can argue this is “reducing costs” I call it another example of unethical behavior.

The documentaries also allege any whiff of union activity will initiate some goons from corporate to fly out overnight on a private jet to quash it. Sounds unbelievable, but watch the interview with a few that have tried. Walmart will instantly spend several hundred thousand dollars to keep union talk silenced because it would cost them billions otherwise. Despite their massive billions, as of the time of the documentary they were accused of giving nearly nothing to charity. Since then, I’ve seen they’ve done so in the news. They are also trying to go green now with more of their products, something they only care about in response to what consumers want, not their ethics or concern for the environment. I doubt they try to go green in other nations. As a point of comparison, McDonald’s still sells Big Macs in the old styrofoam container in other countries.

The Waltons have apparently built a massive walled in secure compound to live. They are intelligent enough to see the writing on the wall of the direction our society is going.

I recognize so much of this sounds conspiratorial and extreme, but it’s simply what the sources I’ve seen have revealed. I’m very careful about believing sources, as I’ve been fooled by Fox News in the past. I have nothing to gain by falsely condemning them, but I believe what I’ve seen so far.

And @yarnlady, sending me to Walmart’s website for the “truth” is about as smart as sending a staunch conservative to the White House website for facts. Might as well refer me to al Jazeera for some facts.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@cockswain

Re the Waltons’ “secure compound?” If and when the balloon does go up, it’s not those in the “secure compounds” who will survive; It’s those who re-learn the lesson our ancestors learned thousands of years ago: the larger cohesive groups survive, individuals and tiny groups do not.

cockswain's avatar

Is that really the main point here?

escapedone7's avatar

My issue is with cases like this where a family had a year long legal battle after developing an innocent bath time photo, the kind that once were thought normal before society got so scared to death of such things. I have nude bath photos of myself at age 3. I wonder if I can be arrested for child porn for having my own baby pic.

Similar issues has to do with unsuspecting shoppers drug to the back of the store and terrorized over false allegations of shoplifting and such, only when no evidence is found the person is let go… only too terrorized to want to return to the store.

Stories like THIS ONE is why I will not shop at walmart.

They treat you as someone that cannot be trusted, as an enemy,. from the moment you walk past their elderly greeter with the fake smile. They are not looking out for the best interest of the customers, or their employees, nor “truth justice and the American way.”

CaptainHarley's avatar

@escapedone7

I’ve not found that to be the case at the WalMarts where I shop. They’re always very helpful and friendly. It’s a rare checkout clerk who doesn’t hold a nice converstation with me while she’s checking out my groceries.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@cockswain

Of course not, merely a side issue that I wanted to address. Why?

jca's avatar

@cockswain : you say that Walmart will have a store at a certain location, and then pick up and leave that town, leaving a blight of an empty building and parking lot? all of the Walmart stores that i know of (i live in NYS) have been at that same location for about10 years at least (Danbury Connecticut, Fishkill NY are two that I can think of, there’s one i go to in New Milford CT that i don’t know that much about).

that said, around the holidays i was in Walmart and two of the employees were chatting very briefly and quietly. i overheard one of them say something like she had to go before she was accused of stealing time. when the other one went to ring me up, i asked her what that meant. she said that the latest thing that Walmart is doing to its employees is accusing them of stealing time. she said that two long time employees were about 2 to 5 minutes late and they were just told out of the blue “you’re fired, you were stealing time. she said she was worried because she was two months away from retirement. i wonder if she made it.

i am very well aware of the unethical practices Walmart uses, for example the one above, and i have seen the shows on Walmart and how bad they are. i am a single mom and i need to buy things at the cheapest price i can get them. i do shop Costco and Sam’s Club (yes i am a member of both) but for things like cat litter, makeup, stationery, if i were to buy those things locally i would find myself going to 3 or 4 stores, and paying more then i would pay at Walmart. i am not poor but i am far from able to afford to pay extra to a local store when Walmart usually has the bottom line or close to the bottom line price.

Aethelwine's avatar

I agree with @CaptainHarley. The workers I come across are very friendly to everyone, and I also agree with @jca, all the Walmarts in our area have been around since they were opened many many years ago.

btw- I just saved $1.50 on a loaf of bread by shopping at Walmart. The same loaf of bread costs $3.00 at Kroger, at Walmart it costs $1.50. It may not sound like much, but when you live paycheck to paycheck and have two children that are about to enter college, it adds up. Walmart isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. I need to provide for my family now.

It is interesting. I’ve shopped at the same Kroger for 18 years, and I hear their employees complain about the work environment and management more than I do the Walmart employess. Shall I boycott Kroger too? Where will I shop then?

cockswain's avatar

Sheesh.

@CaptainHarley Why? Because we’re talking about Walmart, not the value of a fortress in some horrible future scenario. But as long as you ask, I’d imagine they have farmers, a well tapped into a large aquifer, solar panels, oil, and tons of security for a completely sustainable environment. I have little doubt they purchased the ideal site for this. The advantage this gives them appears to be similar to the advantage a castle provided in the middle ages. Why they feel the need to have this indicates they foresee our current way of life as being unsustainable. I was only mentioning they are aware of this based on the facts they have relative to the tremendous amount of financial power and influence they have.

@escapedone7 Thanks for the stories. The first one seems to more be a case of stupid local employees acting stupidly in tandem with a stupid local law enforcement. While corporate Walmart may not have quashed it like they should have, I view that as somewhat removed from the corporate policy level. Regarding the second story, I had a similar thought. Until I reached the end. Walmart sucks!

@jca While the Walmarts near you have been there 10 years, do you know if they were always in that location when they came to the area? Regardless, the documentaries I saw showed numerous examples of what I was describing. Perhaps you haven’t shown a large enough sample size to imply the practice doesn’t happen, or perhaps the docs are misleading. View and judge for yourself. Regarding the point of the advantage of Walmart being a one stop shop vs visiting several stores, we have a difference of philosophy. Without Walmart, local economies had main streets with various shops. Neighbors would see each other walking around town purchasing items, getting to know each other and the local shopowners. I view this as a greater sense of community and hence of greater value. I understand you may disagree, but I prefer that lifestyle.

@jonsblond I understand your point, and @jealoustome addressed it well when she stated she sympathizes with those who can’t afford another option. People in rural areas have less options. I live in Denver and have many choices for grocers. Without knowing your town, maybe you’ve never had main street, or maybe Walmart ruined in 20 years ago. But I sense you’re angry about this topic. Without guessing too much, are you frustrated you feel it is possible you are supporting something you may feel could be unethical but don’t like not having choices? This seems to be a recurring theme in this posting. I swear I’m not attacking, just trying to understand the mentality. Believe me, I’d prefer to save Walmart money but can’t support their practices and do have other options being in a larger city. I have little doubt about facts I’ve used to construct my arguments, and they paint an unpleasant picture. BTW, we purchased a bread machine at goodwill. For around $1 we can have organic bread for minimal labor and time.

Aethelwine's avatar

@cockswain As @Facade said way up there ^ ”You’d be hard pressed to find a corporation or business which is not unethical.” I’m sure there must be something that you buy or support that others are opposed to. We pick our battles. Walmart is not at the top of the list for me. I do my part for the community in other ways. I get upset about this topic here at Fluther because many that claim to be non judgmental love to bash Walmart shoppers by making fun of them with the People of Walmart site, by calling them stupid or calling them lazy. That is what offends me. I think that it is terrible to judge someone based on the store they shop at.

jca's avatar

@cockswain : you say “without Walmart, local economies had main streets with various shops.” it wasn’t just Walmart that killed the downtowns, it was the arrival of huge shopping malls, starting in the 1950’s, with the automobile culture. One of the first was Cross County Shopping Center in Yonkers, NY. Because of huge malls, and now, “big box retailers” such as Petsmart, Staples, Office Max, Costco, Bed Bath and Beyond, huge grocery stores that have services inside like banking and cafes, people no longer shop Main Street USA, nor is there such a vast selection in the downtown village as there is in either a big box retailer or a mall. I am willing to bet that internet shopping is further killing Main Street USA. Walmart is not solely to blame for that.

DominicX's avatar

I don’t know where you guys live, but we have downtowns around here in the Bay Area and they are doing quite well. Now, Palo Alto does not have a Wal Mart or a Target, but neighboring Mountain View has both and their downtown is still alive and well.

jca's avatar

@DominicX : good point. i am thinking of the Walmarts i know of and there are some decent downtowns near them (i still would not use those downtowns for major shopping, however, but would for a restaurant or specialty shop).

jealoustome's avatar

@jca Agreed. Big box retailers have changed the landscape of America. Sadly. But, in smaller, rural communities the population is not large enough to support the big box stores that you mentioned. The only kind of national retailer able to survive in that environment would be one that sells everything, thus is marketable to the entire population, and one that can undersell all of the local mom and pops. Generally, that one-stop-shop is Walmart.

DominicX's avatar

@jca

Consider also Amazon.com. It’s not just discount stores. I wanted a Canon G10, so I went to a local camera shop. $500 for the camera. Full retail. On Amazon, I could get it for $380. Which one do you think I’m gonna choose?

And I agree that a place like Mountain View is big enough that having Wal Mart and Target is still not enough to drive away downtown. That wouldn’t be the same for many smaller rural communities.

plethora's avatar

Anybody heard of Dollar General? They compete right in the shadow of walmart…very successfully.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I do. The prices of grocery items where I live is higher than anywhere else I’ve ever lived and Wal Mart is a lot less. I make less than ⅓ of the money I did a decade ago so I give in to corporate America and try to make my small ends meet.

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