“Sam’s Dream”: Walmart’s New Ad

Walmart knows you don’t like them, and they’re making ads in response. From ABC News: “Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will run national television ads starting Monday praising its record as an employer and corporate citizen, taking its arguments straight to the public in an ongoing battle over its reputation with unions and other critics.”

“It all began with a big dream in a small town, Sam Walton’s dream,” a narrator says as one ad starts with a black-and-white photo of Sam Walton and a grainy shot of Walton’s first five-and-dime store in what is now the chain’s headquarters town of Bentonville, Ark.

“Sam’s dream. Your neighborhood Wal-Mart,” the ad ends.”

A tear, really. —MEGHANN MARCO

Wal-Mart Will Defend Reputation in Ads [ABC News]

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. scoobydoo says:

    Poor Sam would turn in his grave if he saw what they did to his empire. There is little of the spirit of Sam Walton left in Walmart.

  2. bluegus32 says:

    I’ve never quite understood the backlash against Wal-Mart. They offer quality products at prices far cheaper than anyone else. It seems that many people argue that because they are so good, then they are bad. But that doesn’t seem to quite make sense either.

    I think about it this way — Wal-Mart could have chosen to go the Microsoft route — obtain a controlling market share through scary and sneaky business practices and then deliver a crappy product becuase you quite literally do not have to provide anything better.

    But Wal-Mart doesn’t do that. As a consumer, how can I not appreciate quality products at super-low prices?

  3. Solo says:

    Nice try, Mr Bluegus32. I suggest you actually visit one of those wonders of quality and see how cheap plastic crap made in China is such quality.

    Not only that but Walmart is decried for agressive business strategy (pushing competitors out, choking them)

    And poor labor practices, mistreating their employees and using strong arm ways with them.

    The very fact they need to go on a PR campaigh to defend themselves is proof the claims are true.

  4. dohtem says:

    bluegus32: You can say that probably because you are not one of those families that they put out of business with their unfair pricing tactics.

    Go watch Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price and see if you still feel the same way.

  5. d0x says:

    “I’ve never quite understood the backlash against Wal-Mart. They offer quality products at prices far cheaper than anyone else”

    If by quality you mean crap that breaks which causes you to buy it twice then your right…of course you could always buy the slightly more expensive version of the same product that would last 10x as long at a better store thus saving yourself money in the long run and helping the enviroment by generating less trash but hey…why?

    “I think about it this way — Wal-Mart could have chosen to go the Microsoft route — obtain a controlling market share through scary and sneaky business practices and then deliver a crappy product becuase you quite literally do not have to provide anything better.”

    Didnt they do that already by using their power as a huge retailer to put other companies out of buisness and forcing suppliers to drop prices which in turn lowers quality of the product?

    But Wal-Mart doesn’t do that. As a consumer, how can I not appreciate quality products at super-low prices?

    Its obvious you are insane on levels that go beyond reason.

  6. timmus says:

    Didnt they do that already by using their power as a huge retailer to put other companies out of buisness and forcing suppliers to drop prices which in turn lowers quality of the product?

    I agree, they did do that. Frankly though I do wonder though if some other multinational corporation would have done the same thing anyway. The root problem I think is the lack of tariffs and the big globalization push, all part of the race to the bottom… but unfortunately it’s not very popular to criticize capitalism and American business success.

    In light of all that, my big beef with Wal-Mart is that they are in a position to pay a good wage and benefits, but they’d rather squander money away on PR and glossy campaigns. In that respect, they’re basically a bunch of bastards.

  7. kerry says:

    bluegus32 must be some form of corporate shill, so I should ignore him, but I can’t not take offense to the inanity of his comments. Wal-Mart lowers prices to the point where manufacturers have to cut their costs by reducing quality and moving production overseas to keep their stuff on Wal-Mart’s shelves (see: Levi’s, now made in Mexico). Family-owned business disappear when Wal-Mart moves in. Employees are treated like slave labor, without sufficient pay or benefits. Wal-Mart may be convenient and even necessary to some people, but that doesn’t make it some angelic entity of consumer perfection.

  8. homerjay says:

    Bluegus has been around here for a long time and usually supplies some really good commentary, but I have to agree with the others. You HAD to have been drunk when you wrote that.
    :)

  9. latemodel says:

    Ol Sam got his pilots license so he could fly to China and start the procurement of imported products, despite the made in America advertising crap they did for a number of years. After being personally involved with them as a supplier in the mid-nineties, I have not been in a store since then, about 12 years.

  10. Rick Rockwell says:

    As Ash said of the Alien, I admire it’s purity. It’s extraordinarily good at what it does, societal considerations notwithstanding. Plus it never seems to lack for customers or workers. Our voices may curse it but our dollars somehow find their way to Bentonville anyway.

  11. kerry says:

    Rick Rockwell -
    Speak for yourself. I haven’t spent a dime in Wal-Mart in 10 years.

  12. Sudonum says:

    I agree with HomerJay on Bluegus. I’ve only been here a couple of months, but past posts by Bluegus has usually been right on. I wonder if he perhaps had his toungue in his cheek when writing that post.

  13. velocipenguin says:

    “Wal-Mart could have chosen to go the Microsoft route — obtain a controlling market share through scary and sneaky business practices and then deliver a crappy product becuase you quite literally do not have to provide anything better.”

    It’s funny you should mention that, because that’s exactly what Wal-Mart does.

  14. Trai_Dep says:

    Oh my gawd lookit that SKY: Belzebub is coming back, and BOY is he pissed!

    Oh, it’s Wal-mart. Never mind (six of one…)

  15. JT says:

    I think the South Park Wal*Mart episode pretty much sums up my feelings about that place.

    Episode 809 if you are interested.

  16. Trai_Dep says:

    Rick Rockwell:
    As Ash said of the Alien, I admire it’s purity. It’s extraordinarily good at what it does, societal considerations notwithstanding.

    Whoa, inspired reference out of the far outfield. Perfect, though.

  17. JeffreyK says:

    I agree with Bluegus32. What’s the big deal? You like them or you don’t like them.

    No one is forcing people to be employees of Wal-Mart… they’re welcome to quit and find a better job if so inclined.

    As for quality — yeah, it’s cheap. But it’s not all cheap. And it seems everyone here knows that, so we’re all informed buyers before we walk in. Let economics reign: if you don’t like them, don’t shop there. If enough people don’t like them or shop there, they’ll have to change something.

    Ok… their size has forced some smaller retailers to close. And so? What industry has NOT done that? The big get bigger, the smaller die away. Wal-Mart started as a five-and-dime on the edge of a town square in basically nowhere… just like all the other local little retailers. We could be shopping at a Gus-Mart or Billy-Jo’s Sundries. But for some reason, we’re not. Hmmm.

    I’ve yet to have a negative experience with Wal-Mart. If you don’t want to shop there for philosophical or philanthropic reasons, that’s your perogative.

    And no, I don’t work for Wal-Mart or anyone or anything associated with it.

  18. Stepehn Colbert says:

    Walmart’s new dream greatly differs from the original proprietor’s, I’m sure, unless Sam Walton was a former Nazi, criminal of war, which is possible, due to their choice of clothing and advertising(Please see http://consumerist.com/consumer/3rd-ss-division-totenkopf/… and various Walmart Nazi shirt posts). Feeling bad for Walmart because of people speaking out on their faulty service and products is fruitless. Understand, the Walmart “family combined” makes Bill Gates look like he has nothing. Sympathizing with billionaires is an inherent contradiction.

  19. “It all began with a big dream in a small town in Austria. Elois Schicklgruber’s little boy just knew that one day, he’d change the world. Don’t you want to change the world, too?”

    “Wal-Mart. Sieg Heil.”

  20. Stepehn Colbert says:

    Daniel Rutter

    I know, sounds like a 3rd person POV passage from Mein Kampf doesn’t it?

  21. raindog says:

    I shop at Wal-Mart because I frequently go shopping…. well…. now. And they’re the only place that’s open that sells stuff besides groceries.

    During normal-people hours, I go to Target. I’m sure they’re not much better, but I don’t feel like I’m in some kind of retail third world when I’m there.

  22. Musician78 says:

    When I first read bluegus’ post, I thought it was a joke. It has to be the most misinformed posts in the history of this site. Everything he said was inaccurate, which is why I thought he was joking, but whatever.

    And I can say that I don’t spend a dime in that store. I can’t think of an establishment I would rather frequent less than Wal-Mart.

  23. No one is forcing people to be employees of Wal-Mart… they’re welcome to quit and find a better job if so inclined.

    So it’s ok to treat employees like slave labor because they could always just quit? Don’t you contradict that by saying:

    Ok… their size has forced some smaller retailers to close. And so?

    And so there’s little to no alternative in some areas. Look, Wal-mart isn’t hiring alot of people with PhDs. It’s not like they could walk into any business and walk out with a job.

  24. Yep says:

    Though it’s now a few years old, my favorite example why Wal-Mart’s low prices are not always in the best interest of consumers or the economy is the Pickle Story

  25. CaptainRoin says:

    Ok, seriously? “Ok… their size has forced some smaller retailers to close. And so?”

    And. “…quit and find a better job if so inclined.” Sometimes there isn’t another job bcause, well, see previous statement.

    Walmart moves in, takes over, and moves on. I don’t want to plug this movie too much but its really good. And you start recognize some of the stuff (I’ll admit, I’ve been in a Walmart). Capitalism is one thing but blatant disregard of morals and ethics is completely another.

    And this whole “everything is cheaper at WalMart” BS! The fact that you have to buy everything twice aside, I guarantee that not everything at WallyWorld is cheaper than a competing retailer. They have a few cheap items to get you in the door, then stuff you with crap you don’t need. 10lbs of Cheetos, only $2 ZOMG!

    Just scroll through the facts, and I’ll try to stop plugging the movie, promise.

  26. CaptainRoin says:

    Whoa I just read the story Yep posted, crazy:

    Wal-Mart is not just the world’s largest retailer. It’s the world’s largest company–bigger than ExxonMobil, General Motors, and General Electric. The scale can be hard to absorb. Wal-Mart sold $244.5 billion worth of goods last year. It sells in three months what number-two retailer Home Depot sells in a year.

    ok, I’m done.

  27. matt7718 says:

    If Wal-Mart was a good company, they wouldn’t have to make commercials telling us how good they are.

  28. RapperMC says:

    Speaking of the pickle story, another really great read, and a look into the cheapness of the products (in case you don’t believe the 20 comments about that said it, is the Snapper Lawn Mower story (http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/102/open_snapper.html)

    I don’t know html. Sorry.

    But WalMart is an effing drain to our job front here. I can’t believe anyone is defending them. Tire manufacturers shut down because they couldn’t meet WalMart low cost production demands, so the tire cmanufacturer moved his business to China to get it done, paying them nothing over there, actually making this a worldwide problem. Between the Pickle Story and the Snapper story, that’s everything I needed to know I hated WalMart.

    And no, none of my dollars reach Bentonville. I’ve not shopped there in 8 years. Believe it or not, it’s possible.

  29. RapperMC says:

    You know, I shouldn’t say that my dollars aren’t making it to Arkansas, because I forgot that all of our tax dollars are paying the health care that WalMart refuses to offer their fulltime employees. So I am making their dream possible, helping them make their billions so that the Waltons can buy The Gross Clinic from Philadelphia.

    (http://www.boston.com/news/globe/ideas/articles/2007/01/07/art_for_the_ozarks/)

    if anyone wants to teach me how to use html, I’m all for it. i can remember it’s like…

  30. http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/102/open_snapper.html

    http://www.boston.com/news/globe/ideas/articles/2007/01/07

    RapperMC, this system is nice enough to turn urls into links for you. Just don’t put the address in parenthesis.

  31. bluegus32 says:

    First of all, let me say that yes I was serious. Secondly, let me clue all of you in on a very important skill in arguing — attack the argument not the arguer. We can have an intellectual discussion without the need to resort to name-calling. The fact that a number of you chose to slam me personally shows me that this is a visceral and emotional response rather than an intelligent, reasoned response.

    That having been said — as to the quality of their products, Wal-Mart provides quality products. They just do. They carry name brand manufacturers and sell their items far cheaper than anyone else.

    As for their agressive business strategy — the strategy seems to be to offer items at costs much lower than anyone else can possibly afford to offer. Firstly, that’s called competition and should be applauded. Secondly, every state has in place laws which control unfair business practices. I promise you, if WalMart does anything that rises to the level of unfair business practices, they will get slammed with lawsuits, both by individuals and by the attorneys general of every state.

    As for their labor practices — I do not condone any of them. However, I guarantee that every large company suffers from this ailment from time to time. Again, their are labor laws in place to deal with this. The local labor board is much more accesable to the average person than your average courtroom. You don’t need a lawyer. You can make a labor complaint all by yourself. If Wal-Mart is doing something wrong, then the solution is to go after their labor practices and get those repaired — not shut them out of business.

    And keep in mind that no matter how ill-informed my post may have been (I do not claim to be an expert on this matter, maybe I’m dead wrong), it appears that the vast majority of America disagrees with everyone here who calls me an idiot. A company that sells in excess of $250 billion in products every year is obviously an extraordinarily popular one. So are 99.999999% of Wal-Mart shoppers morons or the select few of you here super-geniuses?

    Please, I am genuinely curious to have someone not call me an idiot and cite to specific examples of a systemic problem with Wal-Mart. Not isolated incidents of abuse. Those are inevitable. And please also don’t give me anecdotal evidence wherein you “know a guy” that got abused at Wal-Mart somehow.

  32. bluegus32 says:

    Musician78 said: When I first read bluegus’ post, I thought it was a joke. It has to be the most misinformed posts in the history of this site. Everything he said was inaccurate, which is why I thought he was joking, but whatever.

    This is what I mean — so my post was misinformed. How? Other than your abject distaste for Wal-Mart, what makes me misinformed and you properly informed. Seriously, inform me. As a responsbile consumer, I desire to be educated on this. (no sarcasm intended. I’m serious.) Isn’t that what this site is about?

  33. bluegus32 says:

    Let me also add this — I’m an attorney. My view of the world is very skewed. I get a lot more respect and lot more personal attention than most because of the skills I have had to hone in my profession.

    Point being, I really don’t know what it’s like when a Wal-Mart comes into a small town and “takes over.” I also have no point of reference to know what it’s like to be stuck in a job that you feel you cannot get away from.

    So, quite sincerely, someone educate me.

  34. I promise you, if WalMart does anything that rises to the level of unfair business practices, they will get slammed with lawsuits…

    This has already occured.

    If Wal-Mart is doing something wrong, then the solution is to go after their labor practices and get those repaired — not shut them out of business.

    What’s wrong with shutting them out of business?

    So are 99.999999% of Wal-Mart shoppers morons…

    Some are uninformed, some are broke, some live in an area where there are no other stores to shop in, and some are informed, have money, and have choices but just don’t care.

  35. bluegus32 says:

    Rectilinear Progagation: Every major company in the United States has been sued. Some wrongfully. Some not. The fact that Wal-Mart has been sued, from this lawyer’s perspective, means nothing.

    Shutting them out of business is (1) not even feasible and (2) unAmerican. If we can’t shut them down, then let’s focus on making them better. As for the unAmerican part, America is about competition. We are also the only country in the world where, as a people, we seem to hate it when a business gets TOO successful. It doesn’t quite make sense. We want you to provide a good product at a good price — but not at a great price because that drives out the little man. Huh?

    Also, will someone please tell me why it is that I need to care about the little guy? Shouldn’t my focus as a consumer be entirely ego-centric? I give my money to the person who charges me the least while still maintaining a quality that I find acceptable. If the little guy gets squeezed out because he/she can’t keep up — why do I care? If I do care, that means I’m being charitable. And shouldn’t my charity be limited to those in need, not to those who own their own business (i.e. homeless people)?

  36. thatabbygirl says:

    You’re right, RapperMC, about your dollars supporting Wal-Mart even if you don’t shop there. Because of the low wages and lack of health benefits, a significant proportion of Wal-Mart employees are eligible for and receive Federal and State benefits such as Food Stamps and Medicaid. A Berkeley study from 2004 estimates that annually, CA taxpayers pay $86 million to Wal-Mart employees to subsidize their low wages so they can afford to, like, eat and stuff.

    Study available here:
    http://www.dsausa.org/lowwage/walmart/2004/walmart%20study

    As you can imagine, there is no indication that Wal-Mart would have gone bankrupt. In fact, with profits of $2billion per quarter, it’s hard to draw any conclusion other than Wal-Mart is willing to stiff employees for the sake of even bigger profits.

    http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/104169/000010416906

    JerffryK, it is fair to characterize this as a philosophic or philanthropic concern. But it’s also fair to characterize it as bewilderment that government and taxpayers are subsidizing a giant company in absolutely no need of subsidy.

    bluegus32, this idea of hidden costs is fairly complicated to unpack – there’s no indication that when you go to Wal-Mart, you may be supporting their expansion that would later lead to higher tax rates and fewer local businesses. Also, a lot of people are so poor that even if they believed Wal-Mart to be fundamentally evil, they wouldn’t have a choice about whether to shop there. That angers me too – Wal-Mart relies on people in poverty to form their customer base, while pushing their own employees into poverty.

    Anyway, that’s why I don’t shop there and never will.

  37. thatabbygirl says:

    I should have said “there is no indication that Wal-Mart would have gone bankrupt by paying their employees a living wage and providing health benefits.” Apparently I can’t type very well while blinded by rage.

  38. AlwaysPonder says:

    Poor Sam would turn in his grave if he saw what they did to his empire. There is little of the spirit of Sam Walton left in Walmart.
    So true – He was just as concerned with happy employees as he was happy customers. He also had strong feelings about jobs going overseas. When he was running things – Walmart did a huge amount of arm twisting to US manufacturers to get reasonable quality items at low prices. That was not some sales pitch – Walton believed it. Since he left…well things just aren’t the same.

    As for the Walmart of today – the workers there are generally treated no worse than many other entry level jobs…and better than some regional chains we have here. Do they need higher wages? of course, but so do most of the working class. Do you have to work there because there are no other jobs? maybe…but maybe it is also because you choose to for other reasons. And yes I have worked a job that I hated because my choices were limited….for over 10 years while I worked on a plan to change things.

    Does Walmart moving into a small town affect the small businesses in that town – of course. But that is the fault of the consumer, not Walmart. All Walmart is offering is a choice. No one is holding a gun to your head to shop there. Don’t even start on how folks are too poor to shop elsewhere. There are a number of other options..and then there is the internet as well.

  39. Sheik says:

    BlueGus:
    One fairly notable example of Walmart treating their employees unfairly is the fact that they would lock their illegal immigrants in the store over night to clean, stock, what-have-you. Another is that thing a few years back where they got in trouble for not paying females fair wages compared to their male employees, they would also not promote the female workers as quickly as the males, if at all. And no its not across the board that this is happening with big box retailers, i.e. Costco. Costco has much fairer wages for their employees and even give decent benefits. Not to ramble on, you asked for examples, but Walmart is also cutting the hours of employees so that they don’t have to give them benefits. Also quality goods? Try and find a Rolex (sic) at a Walmart.

    “As for their agressive business strategy — the strategy seems to be to offer items at costs much lower than anyone else can possibly afford to offer. Firstly, that’s called competition and should be applauded.”

    How can it be competition if, as you said, the costs are so low that their competition can afford to stay in business?

  40. thatabbygirl says:

    Don’t even start on how folks are too poor to shop elsewhere. There are a number of other options..and then there is the internet as well.

    To find another place to shop, it takes time and resources. To figure out where else carries the items. To figure out how to get there. To go multiple places. To go before you pick up the kids or take the kids with you. In my experience (I work at a non-profit with people at 50-75% of federal poverty level), finding the time or resources for any one of those steps would be a minor miracle – and if there was that time, it would be spent figuring out how to move up on the Section 8 waiting list or locate counseling services or arguing with the principal about accommodations for the kid’s disability.

    As for the internet – if you find me one poor person in LA County with the leisure time to go down to the library to find internet sites and then actually have a place where things can be sent where they won’t be stolen out of the mailbox, then I will do my week’s grocery shopping at Wal-Mart.

  41. JegaoParaiba says:

    Admittedly, I am new here (first comment).
    I am, however, surprised to find these comments, bluegus32’s comments excepted, at a site called The Consumerist. Perhaps these commenters were looking for TheProlitariat.com or TheAssociationofMomsandPops.com and simply got lost.
    According to several sources (just Google ‘walmart profit margin 2006′) WalMart’s profit margin in 2006 was 3.6%, the same as it was in 2005.
    WalMart is not really making exorbitant profits by any definition. They sell a lot of stuff and keep a very small percentage for their trouble. Yes, they control costs to do this and labor is a cost, perhaps the largest cost in their business.
    As a resident of Washington, DC, I dream of the day when I have the choice of shopping at a WalMart, unfortunately, our politicians think it’s a bad idea to allow their citizens the chance to both work and shop at ‘big box’ stores. The primary beneficiaries of keeping WalMart out are the inneficient and nepotistic “Mom & Pop’s”.
    For now, I get to pay a lot of money for products that have sat on the local Mom & Pop store shelves for goodness knows how long, as those store owners (who have moved their residences to the suburbs) use their kids for cheap labor.
    Also, Washington, DC could use a couple-hundred extra jobs. They might not be the highest paying jobs in the world; not every job is worth $30K a year, but the Mom & Pop’s aren’t hiring either and even if they were, there wouldn’t be any room for advancement.
    WalMart provides entry-level jobs to unskilled workers who can then go as far as their talents will take them, or they can quit. But at least it’s something on the resume and an opportunity for people that might not find very many opportunities elsewhere.

  42. Every major company in the United States has been sued. Some wrongfully. Some not. The fact that Wal-Mart has been sued, from this lawyer’s perspective, means nothing.

    Means nothing except that you just said if WalMart does anything that rises to the level of unfair business practices, they will get slammed with lawsuits with the “if-then” implying that they hadn’t been sued yet. You cannot argue that a lack of lawsuits proves Wal-mart’s innocence if they have indeed been sued.

    Shutting them out of business is (1) not even feasible and (2) unAmerican.

    1) But not impossible
    2) I am not required, as an American, to shop at Wal-mart. I suppose by ‘shutting them out’ you meant closing them down through government intervention. I thought you meant by boycott.

  43. bluegus32 says:

    thatabbygirl: thank you for the information. That was persuasive.

    Sheik: thank you as well for your post. let me state that there is never a good reason to mistreat employees, even if it’s good for business. We have laws in place for that and they should be enforced to the fullest to ensure that every employee gets treated fairly and paid their relative worth.

    However, you also said, “How can it be competition if, as you said, the costs are so low that their competition can[not] afford to stay in business?”

    Isn’t this the very definition of competition? Take me for example: I’m a lawyer. In California, there are a lot of friggin’ lawyers. So what can I do to be competitive? Offer the same quality of service for half of what others with my skills charge. if I’m successful, people will choose me over another attorney. If I’m uber-successful, everyone will choose me over all other attorneys. The more attorneys I drive out of business, the more successful I am. In that scenario, the public benefits from a higher quality product at a lower cost. I benefit by virtue of the extra business. The only person who suffers is the attorney who can’t keep up and ends up going under as a result.

    How is this situation any different?

    Of course, for smalltown U.S.A., this model falls apart when Wal-Mart takes over, drives everyone out of business and becomes the only game in town. That is a monopoly (not quite the legal definition, but you get the picture.)

    But in towns such as mine which are alrger, I have plenty of choices. If I don’t want to shop at Wal-Mart there are tons of other options.

    So what’s the solution? Don’t allow Wal-Mart in small towns? Hmmmm, maybe.

  44. dandykins says:

    Not much to add except that one documentary–“Always Low”–says Wal-Mart is the most sued corporation in the country because of its labor practices, which recently have included a class-action lawsuit by women in the company for sexual harassment, Wal-Mart not paying overtime, etc. etc.

    Moreover, Wal-Mart actually hands out welfare and state health care eligibility forms to its employees, instead of paying a living wage and offering affordable healthcare. That’s not to mention the decent-paying jobs and money flowing back into the economy from local business displaced by Wal-Mart. When Wal-Mart makes money, the profits got back to Bentonville, AS, except for a couple of community donation programs for the cameras.

    Is it true that many firms have terrible labor practices? Absolutely. But Wal-Mart is the biggest offender, and the biggest of its class in the market. Convince Wal-Mart to change its labor practices and you have a signficant shift in the entire sector. That’s why Wal-Mart has been targeted (no pun intended).

    Make no mistake, your community pays for that low price for that plastic piece of crap you bought there.

  45. bluegus32 says:

    Rectilinear Propagation: You’re right. It is absolutely our rights and obligations as Americans to determine as consumers, even as large groups of consumers, to boycott a business for whatever reason. I do not believe it American to have the public petition the government to shut down a private business. But if you don’t want to shop there because they look at you funny, that is absolutely your right.

    And you’re correct that my argument suffered the same fallacy as that which I accused you. The number of lawsuits, or the dearth of lawsuits, against Wal-Mart are not a reliable indicator of their business practices.

  46. RexRhino says:

    Walmart is associated with “white trash” people, “low class” people, and “southerners”. It is déclassé. Of course, Walmart hasn’t done anything that any other chain has done (Home Depot, Ikea, Tescos, Starbucks, etc.)… However, Walmart just screams of low-income middle America – unlike being a racist or a homophobe, it is an acceptable form of bigory to look down on low-income middle America.

    Since the Bourgeois has never tired of enforcing upper class esthetics and presenting it as a “helping the public good” (and of course, keeping all those “trashy” people from driving to a Walmart in your city and lowering property values), you have the current War on Walmart. Not that Walmart has always been a good company… I personally choose not to shop at Walmart because of the stuff they do. However, there is a reason that people aren’t all caught up in anti-Ikea activism: because posturing against Ikea isn’t a way to desmonstrate class-superiority.

  47. raindog says:

    And some, as I posted above, are in a market which all of Wal-Mart’s competitors choose to ignore: late-night shoppers. I suppose I’m really in the same category as people who live in towns where Wal-Mart has killed everything else, except that Target and my local K-mart stores do exist and simply don’t consider my patronage worth their time, so they close at like 10PM.

    Of course, just as they do in rural communities by closing stores, Wal-Mart could stop catering to me at any time and I’d just have to drive 40 miles to the closest all-night K-mart instead.

    Anyway, the point is, there are reasons to shop at Wal-Mart other than needing ten pounds of Cheetos or cheap Chinese garbage or even an imagined economic incentive. I personally find Wal-Mart more expensive for many items than other stores…. in the case of food, even the little local places often do better.

  48. Wow. I’m surprised I didn’t get an Edleman press release on this. I usually do.

  49. Sheik says:

    Blue: I see your point on the competition aspect. But you agreed that the labor practices leave much to be desired. At what point to you ignore the poor ethics of Walmart in order to save a few bucks?

    I have a hard time thinking of any one product that Walmart sells that I can actually consider high quality. Everything they sell is made of either plastic or particle-board. Some examples: Their furniture. Do they sell anything made with real wood? Other than pencils. And their “14 karrat” jewelry? Its mostly 14 karrat plated. The shoes. Name one name-brand foot wear thats not made by a tire company.

    I have no intention of belittling you for chosing to go to Walmart, and hope that you dont take it that way. I simply can not follow your line of reasoning for most of your arguements.

  50. bluegus32 says:

    Sheik: don’t get me wrong, I don’t buy my furniture or jewelry there. I have a modicum of self-respect. I shop at Wal-Mart for basic home goods that you can find at any Target store. High-end stuff? I go to much better places than Wal-Mart for that.

    As for clothes — I have two little, little kids that destroy clothes faster than you can imagine. Wal-Mart has been a God-send in that regard. But for my own clothing needs? Yeah, I go elsewhere.

    As for the Labor practices — that is precisely what government is for. If Wal-Mart truly is as horrid to their employees as you say, then they should spanked silly with fines and other related punishments.

  51. bluegus32 says:

    Oh, and I’ve been working 12 hour days recently, 7 days a week on some massive deadlines. I’m not entirely certain how coherent my arguments are. For that I apologize.

  52. kerry says:

    blugus -
    You still don’t seem to get that Wal-Mart forcing down prices also forces down quality. The great brands that Wal-Mart sell no longer produce the high-quality merchandise that made them famous.
    Sorry about the long days, though. Exhaustion sucks.

    Rex -
    I’m probably not the bourgeois person you’re thinking of, but it wouldn’t surprise me if you thought I was. I live in a working class neighborhood in an urban area and rely on public transportation and my feet to get around. I don’t go to Wal-Mart because I don’t need to or want to spend the energy on 5 different buses to get there. It’s not a “you’re low class if you shop there” thing, it’s a “I don’t need it” thing. I doubt I’m alone. I’d rather patronize the stores my neighbors own and operate and put my money directly into the local economy. I don’t shop at Target even though there are a few of those nearby. I don’t like Ikea any better, though they get points from me for putting multiracial, same-sex partner families in their commercials.

  53. RapperMC says:

    BlueGus – the reason your kids are wearing those clothes are so fast is because they come from WalMart. That’s creating the problem, not solving it. If you’ll read that Snapper story, it’ll do a better job that we can explain here, but in WalMart’s efforts to sell name brand items for cheap, they convince these manufacturers to create a “WalMart” line, essentially, which is crappier stuff but with that almighty name attached to it. The basic gist of the Snapper story is that they wanted Snapper to develop a crappy line as well so they could get the cost on their high-quality mowers down, so that you can throw it away every fall (and create quite the acculumation of trash in the county dump, I suppose).

  54. CaptainRoin says:

    I think people here get caught up in so many different arguments, it’s hard to come to one conclusion. It’s not about Nazi shirts, or the class of people that shop at Walmart it’s about a company (albeit successful) using shady, unethical business practices to get what they want (a cheaper product). I understand bluegus in his rationalization that cheaper=better, but sometimes it’s not all about me. I’m willing to pay an extra 2cents on my dorritos to know that some of that money is staying in my community.

    See, that’s how the economy here works, the money stays here. Walmart is buying goods from over seas, paying wokers there pennies a day (not sure the Chinese gov’t cares too much about labor practices) and forcing their wholesalers to sell the products to Walmart for less. The only people here that are making any money are the Waltons.

    Put it this way, its cheaper for me to throw my trash out the window of my car right? 90% of the time no one would notice, but I don’t because I feel obligated (by being a US citizen) to care about our country, no matter what the issue, even if it’s bigger than I can hope to affect. (sorry bad metaphor) I just wish people would think of the big picture instead of me me me all the time.

  55. econobiker says:

    Best quote I heard about WalMart was that they are “retail strip mining” communitities. That is taking more than they are giving back…

  56. Stepehn Colbert says:

    Bluegus,

    Trusting a company that encourages you to steal from them in the vicinity of $20-$25 without legal recourse makes people neither:

    A. Want to shop somewhere that propogates criminal activity.

    B. Feel that products which are mostly accessible through theft in anyway to be of “quality products at prices far cheaper than anyone else”.

    If the proprietor’s of such a company take it upon themselves to amalgamate such heinous acts and theories into their already shady practices, why wouldn’t anyone understand “the backlash against Wal-Mart”?