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Pencil_Pusher

Walmart.com

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Stefan said:

I still don't get it.

 

Why are SO MANY small businesses are going out of business becuase of Walmart? Small business in small communities must be offering something for the community? Or maybe those small businesses are missing something?

 

The common theme I am seeing is that even small communities are voting for Walmart with their dollars. It's not just one or two, but many. And why is it that MANY small communities are voting for Walmart?

 

It appears the few people against Walmart shout louder than the majority supporting Walmart.

 

You don't vote with your dollars, you vote with your vote. Since "the market rules" (as you have pointed out elsewhere, Stefan), democracy is irrelevant when money talks louder.

 

Wal-Mart will move into a community regardless of what local small business owners think about the matter. As a huge business, Wal-Mart can afford to buy prime real estate, get the state to build them access roads (or give them tax breaks), and undercut local businesses until there are no competitors. Come on, this is the classic tale of a nationwide/multinational corporation operating a local branch at a loss until it has eliminated all local competition.

 

Of course, opening a new Wal-Mart *will* add jobs, at first. Wal-Mart's employees will coexist with small business employees for a while, but then all the small businesses will close and those jobs are lost. Since Wal-Mart is more "efficient", the retail needs of the town are satisfied, through Wal-Mart's monopoly, by fewer employees who are paid less and receive less-generous benefits (if they get any).

 

Wal-Mart may consult with the communities in which they plan on opening a store, but can a small town compete with their marketing onslaught? Can Mayberry afford to hire an economist who will warn the town fathers about how Wal-Mart will suck the town dry?

 

In short, Wal-Mart's behemoth financial and marketing machine can just swallow up small towns. Locals go to Wal-Mart and spend their money because they are given the false promise that Wal-Mart is pro-community and are led to believe the money they're saving is worth the damage inherent in those savings.

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Walmart started out small just like these other small businesses. They did something right--they offered something the community was willing to pay for. They have stuck with their business model for many years, and their business model has allowed them to grow. These other small business that are being left behind have had the exact same opportunities, but they were just not smart enough.

 

I do agree with AlpineK. Walmart will close down--someday. For example: KMart. I don't think KMart is going to be able to survive its bankruptcy comeback. No business lasts forever--except for European Breweries.

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Stefan said:

These other small business that are being left behind have had the exact same opportunities, but they were just not smart enough.

 

 

Don't you mean to say unethical enough?

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I don't even know where the nearest WalMart is..... Yet another reason not to be some country bumpkin or live in some goat blowing suburb. pitty.gif

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Can someone show me a rural town in which the primary driver of economic activity is selling groceries, clothing, and personal care products? The fact of the matter is that in most rural towns, things like farming, ranching, manufacturing, construction, mining, and logging are the things that the local economy depends upon. There are a number of other businesses/professionals that serve the needs of the folks who make their living in one of these lines of work, such as doctors, lawyers, teachers, policemen, mechanics, hairdressers, etc. The fact of the matter is that the number of people who make their living selling the same things that chains like Walmart do is relatively small. Ergo the number of people that are actually displaced when Walmart comes to town is relatively small.

 

When all of the people who do not own or work in a store that competes with Walmart - that is, the vast majority of the people in any given town and its hinterland - can buy the same quantity of goods for a lower price, the net disposable income in the town increases by the very amount that they save. The only way this could not be true is if the difference between the income lost by persons laid off at Walmart's competitors was greater than the combined savings of consumers plus the income earned by all of the employees at the new Walmart, which is unlikely unless we are speaking of fictional towns in which selling consumer staples at heavily inflated prices that supports an excessive number of employees is the primary driver of economic activity. The arrival of Walmart or any other store in which the residents can buy a given item for a lower price will always produce this result. When the amount of money the average person has to spend in excess of their daily needs increases as a result of such savings, the result is more economic activity, not less. $100 that they saved on the goods that they bought at Walmart is now available to spend on eating out, repairing their car, home improvements, landscaping - what have you. The quantity of money that would have formerly been dedicated exclusively to buying groceries can now be spent on groceries and the services of the local mechanic, carpenter, roofer or contribute the to local economy in dozens of other ways. The claim that chain-stores reduce overall economic activity in small towns just doesn't hold up when one takes basic economics into account and limits ones analysis to towns that actually exist.

 

The claim that chain stores like Walmart reduce employment in stores owned by their competitors is true. If, as will always be the case in any real small town, the majority of the people do not make their living selling consumer staples, and the members of this majority of decide that saving money is beneficial to them, and buying goods for a lower price provides them the means to do so - you cannot oppose Walmart on "The People's" - e.g. the majority's - behalf. You can oppose Walmart because you have ideological objections to the existence of large companies, but that's it. To do otherwise is to defend the narrow interests of the small minority (the people who sell a limited range of consumer goods and those who work for them) against the interests of the majority - those who make their living in other ways, upon whom the economic well-being of the town actually depends. Defending the economic interests of the few against the many hardly seems like a "progessive" stance to me.

 

Forcing the residents of small towns to make economic sacrifices for the sake of a small group of people who are probably better off than they are is not only unfair, it is asking them to abide by a standard that the grocers, pharmacists, etc do not abide by themselves. Does the grocer who wants to force everyone to pay higher prices for the same goods apply the same standard to his own business? When he is looking for a wholesaler does intentionally pay more than he has to for the goods he is going to sell? When he is looking for a loan does he pay more interest than he has to help the bank out? Hardly.

 

And as far as the jobs at Walmart are concerned, here too the criticism is flawed. The bottom line is that anyone who works at Walmart has made a choice to do so. That means they looked at the pay, looked at the other options available to them, and decided this was the best deal that they could get at the time. If the store just opened, that means that they were either unemployed or working someplace that offered less pay, poorer working conditions, less opportunity for advancement, or a combination of all three. Moreover, anyone who believes that less than ideal working conditions only exist at Walmart must have a very limited aquaintance with the realities of the job market. The fact of the matter is that small businesses can exploit and mistreat their employees just as well as any large corporation can, especially when they know that their employees have few other options, which is often the case in small towns.

 

So oppose Walmart on ideoligical grounds if you wish, just don't claim that you are doing so on behalf of "The People," especially the people in small towns.

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marylou said:

Stefan said:

These other small business that are being left behind have had the exact same opportunities, but they were just not smart enough.

 

 

Don't you mean to say unethical enough?

 

Nope. What's unethical about Walmart? Your ethics are different than other people's ethics.

 

Here's a little microcosm of a story you are all very familiar with. Remember "The Swallow's Nest"? It used to be a nice little store in Seattle, until the bohemoth (REI) created the megastore just off of I-5. Well, guess what? Swallow's Nest went out of business shortly after the bohemoth REI (aka Walmart of the outdoor industry) opened. Why did Swallow's Nest go out of business? Becuase people found the location of REI more convenient, offered more choices, and probably better prices. A little fact many of you don't know. Swallow's Nest also bet on some gear that didn't sell, and so was their downfall--they did not make smart purchases of product. Many of you went shopping to the REI bohemoth instead of Swallow's Nest.

 

But there is a nice little story in all of this. Feathered Friends. What did they do? They moved with REI. They are doing fine. They are probably equal with where they were on the Capitol Hill store.

 

Here's the moral of the story. If you don't find a niche and be smart in the retail industry you will get swallowed up and you will be kicked out. The smart survive. The small stores being kicked out in their own backyards are not fullfilling the niche that Walmart is doing.

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there is a strong RV subculture forming in Walmart parking lots across the nation.

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Word. I saw about 100 in 100 in the lot at the store in Madras or Redmond on my way home. Looks like a match made in heaven to me, with the ideal client base living on site....

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I encourage all of you Wal-mart lovers to read In Sam We Trust and then tell me if you still thing Wal-mart's business practices are ethical.

 

REI's recently documented business practices veritably pale in comparison.

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Why did Swallow's Nest go out of business?

For only one reason. The owner was incompetent. He would've failed regardless.

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Ergo the number of people that are actually displaced when Walmart comes to town is relatively small.

 

grocery stores, auto supply, home furnishing, gardening, drug stores, clothing stores etc... not so small a number eh?

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marylou said:

I encourage all of you Wal-mart lovers to read In Sam We Trust and then tell me if you still thing Wal-mart's business practices are ethical.

 

REI's recently documented business practices veritably pale in comparison.

 

Give me the book baby. You know where I live! Hell, you could give it to R and I could pick it up from him on my way home. I am looking for a new book to read.....just finished a Kurt Vonegut book--it was weird. Looking forward to Harry Potter #5!

 

P.S. I don't love Walmart. I love Fred Meyer! I just think Walmart fills a niche and they are very efficient.

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ctuller said:

Why did Swallow's Nest go out of business?

For only one reason. The owner was incompetent. He would've failed regardless.

 

I found the timing interesting with the failure of Swallow's Nest. Even if the owner was incompetent, why did the store continue for so long until REI built the bohemoth?

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Fence_Sitter said:

Ergo the number of people that are actually displaced when Walmart comes to town is relatively small.

 

grocery stores, auto supply, home furnishing, gardening, drug stores, clothing stores etc... not so small a number eh?

 

Even if you assume that every single competitor in every one of these sectors is put out of business, which never actually happens in the real world - e.g. if you need a gear puller or timing belt to work on your car you still need an actual auto parts store, if you want brand name clothing you still need a department store, etc, etc, etc - any resulting (net) job losses would have a negligible impact on the local economy, for the simple fact that in the real world, the retail consumer goods business is a minor fraction of what actually drives the local economy.

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JayB said:

Fence_Sitter said:

if you need a gear puller or timing belt to work on your car you still need an actual auto parts store

 

but...how many auto stores can stay in business when their most commonly sold parts (the ones that wall-mart invariably stocks) are not being bought there? how many small towns have name brand label stores? not many...

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any resulting (net) job losses would have a negligible impact on the local economy, for the simple fact that in the real world, the retail consumer goods business is a minor fraction of what actually drives the local economy.

 

there are actually a great deal of job losses in a small town... how many people work in an average auto parts store? 5-6? they all lose their jobs... wall-mart MABE will avhe one person that knows something about auto parts in their store... so... you have gone from 6 to mabe one... same goes for grocery clerks... there are a couple doz. people working at an average grocery store that is skilled labor (to know all the codes, management positions, baggers, maintenance) wallmort will stock people at just above minimum wage without skills. the people at the grocery store too will lose their jobs... why would anyone given the choice shop at 4-5 stores that are more expensive rather than 1 that is cheaper... it does have a great impact on the economy. i am playing the devils advocate, but it is really fun... evils3d.gif

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WalMart is the big guy on the block these days and is affecting retail in general. Because of their size they can demand, and get, price breaks from vendors that the little guy can't get. The don't allow unions so the staff can't organize regarding pay and benefits - this is affecting the wages in retail and the grocery market, putting a lot of downward pressure on the wages.

 

They been hauled into court in 37 states, and have lost most of these, regarding unfair labor practices, forcing folks to work off the clock, and race and sex discrimination.

 

I guess you could argue that this is how the "market" works. I'd prefer a mix of small businesses that treat their employees as an asset instead of dirt.

 

Walmart also uses an interesting strategy in rural areas. They will set up three stores over a wide area in a triangle, force out the local compitition, and then abandon the three stores and build one "super-store" in the middle where they figure folks will drive to. Ingenious waste of land and resources, not to mention the local community outfall.

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Walmart also uses an interesting strategy in rural areas. They will set up three stores over a wide area in a triangle, force out the local compitition, and then abandon the three stores and build one "super-store" in the middle where they figure folks will drive to. Ingenious waste of land and resources, not to mention the local community outfall.

 

crafty lil' fuckers, but one could argue that this is a capitolist system adn that the best measure of the company is the bottom line... but there is no question that they have a severe negative impact on the economies of small towns...

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Jim said:

Walmart also uses an interesting strategy in rural areas. They will set up three stores over a wide area in a triangle, force out the local compitition, and then abandon the three stores and build one "super-store" in the middle where they figure folks will drive to. Ingenious waste of land and resources, not to mention the local community outfall.

 

It's like an alien invasion

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Stefan said:

ctuller said:

Why did Swallow's Nest go out of business?

For only one reason. The owner was incompetent. He would've failed regardless.

 

I found the timing interesting with the failure of Swallow's Nest. Even if the owner was incompetent, why did the store continue for so long until REI built the bohemoth?

 

the move downtown was probably the final nail in the coffin (i assume higher rental cost and losing proximity to north end customers)

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So oppose Walmart on ideoligical grounds if you wish, just don't claim that you are doing so on behalf of "The People," especially the people in small towns.

 

does quality of life mean anything to you?

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marylou said:

I encourage all of you Wal-mart lovers to read In Sam We Trust and then tell me if you still thing Wal-mart's business practices are ethical.

 

REI's recently documented business practices veritably pale in comparison.

 

the problem with that reasoning is that as we are in a capitolist society, most think like capitolists... therefore we will continue to look for the best deal... ethics... business... they dont belong in the same sentence anymore... is there any major company that has real ethics (and i am not talking about patagonia here cause it only pledges 1% and that raises their profits prolly something like 8% so no dice)... the days of ethical business are over... here's a drink so send her off bigdrink.gifcry.gif

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