Walmart Defeats Chicago, Plans To Open Up To 21 Stores

Like a big city pimp waiting to pick you up off the ground when times get tough, Walmart was able to establish its first stores in Chicago through guile, perseverance, and a few meaningless reassurances. Smaller stores! $0.50 pay raise! Union-built! These are the meager concessions that led Chicago to sell-out their local retailers.

To fit into cities, Wal-Mart is proposing to make itself more trial-size. It would shrink its stores to as small as 8,000 square feet, about 4 percent of the size of an average supercenter. It is considering formats that are primarily groceries, stores where customers can order something online and pick it up, stores where local business owners can lease space, and even formats like bodegas.

In meetings with Wal-Mart, Chicago politicians won some concessions. For example, the Chicago stores will all be union-built, and Wal-Mart agreed to donate $20 million to neighborhood charities. Most significantly for a company that has been loath to strike deals on wages, Wal-Mart had agreed to an entry-level wage of $8.75 an hour, 50 cents higher than Chicago’s minimum wage as of July 1, Mr. Daley said.

Squeezed for cash and desperate for jobs, Chicago took whatever it could get. One labor leader hailed the wage deal as a “Chicago-only concession,” saying it was the “deal-clincher.” Walmart quickly put him in his place, explaining that the raise is “nothing new,” and that the “same is offered elsewhere around the country.”

Watch out New York, you could be next.

How Wal-Mart finally broke the Chicago barrier [Chicago Sun Times]
Wal-Mart Gains in Its Wooing of Chicago [The New York Times]

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  1. mbz32190 says:

    As I said before, any job creation is good news regardless if you like Walmart or not. From my experience, Chicago has very high grocery prices overall compared to other regions, and in the city, your choices are pretty much limited to somewhat shady bodegas. Even though the pay isn’t that wonderful, people need jobs, and I’m sure they’ll be hundreds lined up waiting to apply.

    • Commenter24 says:

      Shady bodegas like Dominicks and Jewel?

    • frenchfriedpotaters says:

      Uhhhhh…LOL Whut? “Limited to somewhat shady bodegas?” Like Dominick’s, Jewel, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Treasure Island, and various other brands like Kroger and Centrella? I invite you to experience Chicago again. Sounds like you got jipped bro.

      • iblamehistory says:

        Wait… Kroger? Where is the Kroger brand in Chicago?! I am an ex-Ohioan and I absolutely loved Kroger. It’s the one thing I miss about Ohio :(

        • Peter Nincompoop says:

          There aren’t any Kroger stores in Chicago, just Food 4 Less, which is owned by Kroger.

        • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

          There are Krogers downstate, but not in the Chicago area.

    • evnmorlo says:

      Broken window fallacy is broken.

    • Fidget says:

      So, what movie did you see Chicago in? Because the two food deserts aren’t exactly “in the city,” and the rest of us are definitely not shopping at shady bodegas.

      • cozynite says:

        The majority of the “food deserts” are on the South and West sides of the city. While I don’t necessarily agree with Walmart moving into Chicago, maybe it will help alleviate the lack of grocery stores in those parts of town.

    • kcvaliant says:

      New jobs?? Only people getting work out of this are the contractors..

      What is going to happen is Walmart comes and uses their buying power to close down all competitors.. Then those working at competitors will be out of jobs, blight will set in those stores and everyone else is making .50 above minimum wage..

      • mvillafana says:

        If other stores can’t compete vis-a-vis pricing, how is that Walmart’s fault?

        • kujospam says:

          The problem comes along when eventually what happens is the employed vs unemployed becomes so imbalanced that walmart it self is force to closed due to it. Lower prices by it self is a good thing, but to get lower prices usually you have to sacrifice something else. That something else is not always a good thing.

    • El-Brucio says:

      It’s only mildly good news because of the temporary influx of money from Walmart itself for the construction boom in building the new stores, it’s proposed charity donations to local communities and possibly increased tax revenues unless a property tax break was part of the agreement for them coming into the city.

      But it’s really a crap shoot for unemployment in the city. This is because Chicago isn’t producing anything new for export and the retail market in most big cities is already saturated. Citizens don’t have any new money to spend, so with the arrival of Walmart, if their prices are better, other retailers will be forced to close, leading to those people becoming unemployed a short while later, resulting in the unemployment rates returning to the same level before they arrived.

      The only way this is going to change is if Chicago starts producing something for export that brings in new money from outside the city, be it goods or services.

    • Dondegroovily says:

      mbz, wrong, job creation isn’t good if the wages are low. New jobs lead to new people, and if the new jobs have low wages, it simply reduces the average income. New Orleans has lots of tourism jobs, but they’re all low wage, and the people are drowning in poverty.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        What if the new Wal Mart jobs are given to those who currently live entirely on the dole?

  2. Echomatrix says:

    they want jobs? maybe they should deunionize..

    • Duke_Newcombe-Making children and adults as fat as pigs says:

      And once they get those jobs, and get gypped for overtime, forced to work through breaks, and held short of fulltime to avoid having to pay them promised benefits, your solutions is, what exactly?

      By the way, your weekends and your eight-hour workdays: the unions brought them to you. You’re welcome.

      • Commenter24 says:

        You do realize that there are laws regarding overtime and breaks, right?

        • The Marionette says:

          lol some people just like spewing out partial facts. my job here in indiana (by state law) give you a minimum of 35 mins for a break if you’re working 5 or more hours (of course multiple breaks if you ‘re getting getting 10+ hrs for some reason).

          • fnord23 says:

            hmmm. my husband gets no breaks at his job cooking at the airport in Indianapolis…

            and I work 12 hour shifts and only get one break at my job.

          • MMD says:

            Since Walmart routinely breaks all kinds of laws regarding employment, this means exactly nothing.

        • oloranya says:

          Those laws exist because of labor unions in the past pushing for them.

          • Commenter24 says:

            The fact labor unions did some good in the past doesn’t mean they still serve a useful purpose; they have turned into leaches.

            • frank64 says:

              They got to much power, anytime any groups gets power they overuse it. There are at least as much about greed as the corporations they fight against.

        • psanf says:

          Wow. Laws! That’ll keep my employer from screwing me over.
          Just because there are laws does not mean they are obeyed.

          • zifnab0 says:

            If you expect your employer to break the law, why do you expect them to follow a union contract?

            • nygenxer says:

              Because if they don’t follow the contract, the union employees walk off the job, you moron!

        • MMD says:

          Where do you suppose those laws came from?

      • Big Mama Pain says:

        Thank you unions for tax payer funded car manufacturer bail outs!! Thank you so MUCH!! Gee, what would those workers do without a union?

      • DoktorGoku says:

        I work 80 hour (minimum) weeks and don’t get weekends off. In all seriousness, what did “unions” do for me?

        (Trauma Surgeon)

        • DoktorGoku says:

          …and yes, I know full well that laws regulating days off, breaks, etc. came about because of union activity.

          My point is that unions have lost the great majority of their reason to exist, and, in many cases, are either irrelevant or corrupt. In my field, they’re utterly useless, and I refuse to suport them.

      • TheUncleBob says:

        Yeah, thanks for those 40 hour work weeks. That means my employer will only work me 40 hours – why pay me 55 hours to work 50?

        If I’m willing to work more than 40 hours for my regular rate of pay and my employer is willing to let me work, then it should be up to us. Instead, only 40 hours for me.

        Thanks.

  3. KyleOrton says:

    Are they getting the same tax breaks to build as in other areas or foregoing those?

    • antifox says:

      Walmart does not build anywhere where concessions are not given. varies but falls in the building,
      parking lot/road, energy and possibly propert tax help and that is on Chicago tax payers. In a few years those unemployed people working there most will still be on food stamps/ect again on the tax payers.

  4. Eat The Rich -They are fat and succulent says:

    Oh, yeah…forgot about those charming *cough* local retailers.

    Despite whatever Norman Rockwellesque mental images might be dredged up by mom and pop stores, the reality of those types of stores is quite a different story.

    My experience with local retailers? High prices, very limited selection, weird hours, inconvenient locations, surly or non-existent service. A daughter of a friend worked at one for a few months but was paid below minimum wage, under the table. No benefits, odd and long hours and having to deal with some bizarre eccentricities from the owners. She quit and went to work at Wal-Mart where she gets health care, decent wages and regular hours. She also has a competent manager who has promoted her twice. Something the mom and pop could never do.

    Clearly there are exceptions to this and there are decent small and mid sized local business which deserve ALL of our support.

    But demonizing Wal-Mart as this force of evil which is destroying quaint Mom and Pop stores is just silly. Those stores haven’t been around in any great number since the 50’s.

    Does WM undercut and squeeze out other business? Yes. But they also bring employment and selection. Do they pay poorly and play games with EEOC stuff? Yes. But so do small businesses and they are even worse than Wal-Mart.

    I am no fan of Wal-Mart. However I am not going to delude myself by wishing for a return to a past that never was.

    • evnmorlo says:

      I agree that local retailers usually suck, but Walmart sucks about as much and squeezes every penny out of communities to send to the Waltons.

      • roanoke says:

        So if they both suck equally, why not go to the one who usually has what you’re looking for? This is capitalism at work! Those who have what I need get my business.

        • Eat The Rich -They are fat and succulent says:

          Bingo

        • Fidget says:

          If they both suck equally and are comparably priced, you go to the one that keeps the money in your community. These are going to be smaller Wal-Marts; the huge selection isn’t going to happen. And the prices will go up once they’ve squeezed out everyone else; having lived somewhere Wal-Mart dominated in the south, there are really, really no other non-giant options anymore. Been living in Chicago for a year now, Hyde Park at least (where they’ll probably plunk one of these down) really doesn’t suck for local retailers.

          • CharleStephen says:

            Pray, do tell, where in Hyde Park they’d plop one down given that the University of Chicago owns every piece of property not bolted to the earth’s crust. Do you actually live in the community? Because if you did, you would know this would NEVER happen. When the University tried to build a hotel so parents of children visiting the hospital could stay near the hospital at subsidized rates, the neighborhood up and voted the precinct dry, effectively killing the project simply because they felt that UofC wasn’t being considerate enough of their opinion. Do you really think such an active, vocal, and powerful group of people would ever let a Wal-Mart appear over night in their community?

            Not trying to attack you or anything, but the South Side is devoid of grocery stores. There is a Jewel at 79th/Stony and an Aldi at 65th/Cottage Grove but beyond that, you can drive for five miles in any direction and not run into one. Do you just expect everyone from 139th Street to travel downtown on CTA to shop at Trader Joes? It generally takes me nearly an hour to get to Michigan and Wacker not including transfer time/waiting for buses/trains and I live at Hyde Park Boulevard and Kimbark.

            There’s a much larger point that people are missing, though: for many of the citizens of the South Side—and most of them are not living in the relative luxury of Hyde Park because the South Side is predominantly poverty-stricken African-Americans, demographically speaking (And no, I’m not a racist. I’m black and my family is from the South Side and moved to Western Illinois when I was 3. And I just so happen to live in Hyde Park and study race/urban history at the University of Chicago)—the choices are either eat McDonald’s or Harold’s Chicken every day since it’s only $5 or spend 2 hours commuting to buy healthy groceries at a jacked-up price. Which would you choose?

            • Fidget says:

              I mentioned in another post that they should go into the food deserts (2 self-identified, one of which I assume is where you’re talking about on the south side), I’m just feeling a little cynical about whether that’s where they’ll actually end up. Outside of the university itself, I’m not all that familiar with the community, I just know that the stores don’t suck and that Wal-Mart is making tiny ones; comforting to know that they won’t let it happen.

      • pot_roast says:

        We have one in a nearby town, and an entire shopping center grew up around it. It’s done great for the local businesses. It really depends on where you are.

    • catnapped says:

      “Brings selection” ?

      Uh, have you been to a Walmart lately? They’ve been cutting selection in a number of categories.

      • Eat The Rich -They are fat and succulent says:

        Uh, have you ever been to a true mom and pop store or a mid size local store chain. Compare the selection and variety of items available from the local retailer vs. a wal-mart.

        Bottom line is, due to purchasing power Wal-Mart can stock more and greater variety.

  5. metsarethe... says:

    Cheers to that. If people want to shop at Walmart they should have the choice to do so.

  6. RyansChestHair says:

    Chicago is going to pay the price for this poor decision. I wonder how many small business owners will be forced into bankruptcy because of this.

    • roanoke says:

      God forbid! Who would have ever thought that in a capitalistic system businesses would fail. Instead of too big to fail, you’d have too small to fail.

      • ARP says:

        So, do you think that the small retailers and Wal-mart got the same tax treatment?

        • Greely says:

          If Granny Mae’s Truck Stop kicks into the bucket as much as Wal-Mart does, I’d be happy to give them a break too.

        • roanoke says:

          Depends. Are the small stores incorporated? An LLC? An S-Corp? A partnership? A sole proprietorship? Wal-Mart is bigger, so it has more chances to take advantage of the tax breaks offered to corporations. If the mom and pop corp down the street had those same expenses, they’d get the same breaks. So yes, they get the same treatment.

          I know Wal-Mart gets breaks for building the others don’t. That’s because the town officials know that a store which will employ hundreds is more beneficial, and will pay more in taxes, than a store where 5 people work.

    • scoobydoo says:

      Screw “small retailers”. The majority of them have overpriced, often out of code crap. Provide little to no service, and in some areas, they make most of their money off link cards and food stamps.

      The whole concept of the “mom and pop” store belongs firmly back in the 60’s, because that is the last time there were any real stores run by mom and pop. Nowadays, a lot of them are all franchised stores that pay their staff in cash and provide zero benefits.

    • TheUncleBob says:

      Probably less businesses than are being forced into closing because of Obama’s economic policies.

  7. retailriter says:

    I wonder what’s going to happen when more and more thinking people realize what a sorry shopping experience Wal-mart is and realize life can actually be lived without one.

    I am a low-income single mother in a small town that has a Super-Walmart. I realized after a while that I truly HATED going in that place, and resolved to avoid it like the plague.

    It’s going on two years now, haven’t stepped foot in one. I find great deals on groceries at other chains where the shopping experience is not so stressful, and bargains on everything else at different discounters. Life is to short to spend any of it at Wal-mart.

    • Jemaine says:

      Amen! I used to think Walmart was the only place to go; but now every time I need something that I can only find at Walmart, I think to myself “Self, do I really have to go on here?” I once lived in St. Louis, and they only had “regular” Walmarts and all the checkouts were open from 7am-10pm on the weekends and about six months later that was stopped, and then about a year later they converted a “regular” Walmart into a Super and then announced plans to build a new Super in the area. The people of Manchester hated it, but they already had a “regular” one and I guarantee you the ones that opposed shop there now. St. Louis, far as I know don’t have Super Targets like Huntsville, AL… it seems like having anything Super is a popular thing in the South.

  8. frank64 says:

    No bias in Carey’s writing!

    I know, no objectivity claimed or expected.

  9. Rachacha says:

    Wow, after reading the comments, I have to think I am in some alternate reality…where did all this WalMart love come from.

    I know I am in Bizarro world if Carey’s next article is someone complaining that the WalMart greeter did NOT check receipts and the OP was upset.

    • Eat The Rich -They are fat and succulent says:

      There isn’t “wal-mart love”. However hating Wal-Mart just for being “Wal-Mart” isn’t looking at the whole picture.

      I neither hate nor like Wal Mart. They are simply one more option among many. If they have what I want and need and it is at a price I am willing/able to pay, I will buy something there.

  10. Woodside Park Bob says:

    People in Chicago should have the option to patronize any store that wants to operate there. The city shouldn’t be in the business of favoring some retailers over others.

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      I’m not sure you understand how “Chicago” works.

  11. catnapped says:

    Hey, enjoy all your Great Value crap! Pretty soon that’s all they’ll be selling.

  12. shepd says:

    Wow, this post has loaded language. I completely disagree and would really appreciate OpEd being labelled as such. Walmart has the right to exist, and if enough people agree with the poster, then they will go out of business. The fact they are wildly successful proves that very few actually agree.

    • fantomesq says:

      People are quick to gripe online but the same people are also shopping there… Much like the South Park episode Something Wall Mart This Way Comes.

      They couldn’t maintain their big box locations without substantial patronage.

      • maevealleine says:

        The patronage of Wal-Mart is the same sad, ambivalent, lazy, politically and socially ignorant people that will vote Republican in November. Actually, many people at Wal-Mart seem to be oblivious of the bigger picture in general.

        • Bativac says:

          Are you serious? Wal-Mart provides low cost goods that make it easier for struggling families to make ends meet. Isn’t this more reflective of the Democratic party?

    • ben says:

      Maybe you’re new here, but pretty much all posts on The Consumerist are opinion pieces.

    • Fidget says:

      Wal-Mart doesn’t just squeeze out competition by being amazing, and then stay amazing. Having lived in a Wal-Mart dominated area, it turns to shit the second they’ve become the only game in town. And once they go to shit, start cutting wages and abusing employees like they always do, what can you threaten them with? Tell them to get out and risk losing your only real store and employer? Most people are really not aware (and cannot emotionally afford to be aware) of the wider reaching effects of patronizing Wal-Mart; if they could exist as one business among many, fine, but that’s not what happens.

  13. MaytagRepairman says:

    I should ask my friend who used to live in Chicago about this. Probably has some nice conspiracy theory about politicians being paid off and the union construction companies being operated by the mafia.

  14. OnePumpChump says:

    Donate 20 million to neighborhood charities, because they will be in greater need of it now. 20 million to neighborhood charities, because they will likely lose that much in support from existing businesses and workers. 20 million which has been permanently extracted from the surrounding economy.

  15. maevealleine says:

    r.i.p. chicago small businesses.

  16. llsee says:

    The people of Chicago have the right to buy all the poorly constructed, cheap, Chinese-made crap that they want! And lord knows Walmart has more cheap Chinese-made crap than any store around!

    • Powerlurker says:

      You mean the same Chinese-made crap that every other store in the country sells, but for cheaper?

  17. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    This is such crap.

    First of all, W-M sucks because of all the reasons we all know why W-M sucks.

    Secondly, WTF is the deal with a municipality getting all unhinged about one retailer, and making them ARTIFICIALLY pay more money to their employees than the natural market would bear? Or forcing them to use union labor, which is one of the biggest banes of our society today? Actually, that bit makes sense, considering how ridiculously in-bed the unions are with politicians… And force them to donate to charities?

    WTF.

    Newsflash – if there’s any labor in the world that’s minimum-wage labor, it’s W-M labor. Unions are the biggest reason, aside from W-M itself, why American jobs are forced overseas and American towns are run into the ground. As for the charities…I really don’t know what to say other than WTF for forcing a $20m donation from someone to let them bring jobs to your area.

    I see nothing but fail in the whole damn thing.

  18. Fidget says:

    Ugh. We do not need Wal-Marts. Maybe in the two food deserts, but really, haven’t missed them since I set foot here (made the trek out to the one by Midway when I moved, to get cheap furniture. Horrible experience, haven’t been back). You can get cheap groceries, and in a much better variety than in Wal-Mart dominated areas. You can get better quality, comparably priced everything else at, say, the Wallgreens all over the place, or a non-chain store. Wal-Mart has nothing to offer here, with the exception of those couple of areas they’ll probably stay the hell out of anyway. What it will do is squeeze out other, better things. And after having done so, goodbye variety, goodbye service, goodbye low prices: they can take hits until there’s no one else to go to, then screw you royally.
    And the people on here who want Wal-Marts in Chicago? Do you live here? No? Then go suck some self-righteous Randian dick.

    • Powerlurker says:

      Perhaps the shoppers of Chicago should be allowed to decide whether or not they need WalMarts in their neighborhoods.

    • Greely says:

      If Chicago, Illinois is your “bastion of freedom”, you’re hopeless anyway.

      Also, hates Wal-Mart, Walgreens is cool though…That’s just silly. The guys that want to make money aren’t out to screw you. They just want to make money.

    • dg says:

      Food Deserts are such because of high crime, and high unemployment. The employees that they did employ stole from them or didn’t come to work on a reliable basis (for whatever reason). When you get robbed all the time, and your employee base is crap – you can’t make any money, so you close and move to where you CAN make money.

      The so-called “food desert” is a result of the schmucks that live there… They get what they asked for.

      FWIW, I’ve seen similar idiocy in other towns. There was an Illinois town that had a factory that made thermoses. Pretty much, the whole town was employed by this factory. If there was a defect in a product, the employees got to keep it. Wanna bet what happened there? Employees also decided to unionize – wages went up, benefits went up, productivity went down, costs went up – company closed up shop and moved production to China. Town never really recovered…. But they brought it upon themselves.

      Same deal with the Unions – friggin rip off, and bastions of protection for schmucks and fools who don’t want to work (not all of them, but a substantial percentage). When a non-unionized employee can do the same job as a unionized employee – and the only difference is that you have to pay the union employee MORE money and benefits, why the hell would you, as an employer, want to do that?

      Fact is, building the stores with union labor doesn’t mean jack shit. It’s going to be a cost of getting into business for Wal-Mart – over the long term, those costs will be a drop in the bucket compared to what they’ll extract from the local community. If they didn’t agree to it, then the union assholes would be striking all over the place, screwing up the jobs and it’d cost MORE. So they caved for this one thing. And giving 50 cents more than min? Whoopie… Most jobs in the city pay about that anyway – if they wanted the employees, they need to pay.

      Chicago’s not getting anything – except ripped off by WallyWorld…

      If Chicago wants to increase business – they need to:

      1) Reduce taxes. 10.25% sales tax is INSANE.

      2) Stop with the ineffectual gun ban. Legalize concealed carry – crime will go down, businesses will want to invest.

      3) Forget the “Prevailing wage” bullshit. Pay what the market will bear. If the Union wants more – let them provide VALUE ADD, not just the threat of a strike.

      4) Legalize marijuana. Enough with the bogus drug war. Legalize it, tax it. Move on. That alone will clean up neighborhoods all over the City.

      5) Take back the parking meters from the rip off company that has the contract now. People will actually want to come to the City to visit, and won’t be turned off by the high taxes and parking rates.

      6) Get rid of those no-talent ass clowns known as the Teachers Union. Pay for performance. When schools improve, people will move back to the city….

      7) Don’t re-elect King Daley and the Unconstitutionals. Enact term limits for EVERYONE. One term. Do your public duty, get back to your own life.

  19. momtimestwo says:

    This is great news for anyone who wants to work and have a job. May not be the best job to some, but it’s employment and we should be happy for the people who will be working again.

  20. sopmodm14 says:

    sadly, at my store, i make $ 7.75, after 3 yrs of put in time…..

  21. Blow a fuse? I can fix that... says:

    Maybe I’m being dense, but the “job creation” argument seems pretty bogus to me? I mean, unless Wal-Mart also magic new customers into existence, Wal-Mart’s market share comes from getting customers who would otherwise buy from other local retailers.

    This, in turn, means that these retailers will lose sales and have to lay off their employees. So, in essence, non-Wal-Mart jobs are traded for Wal-Mart jobs. How this would help a Chicago desperate for jobs is unclear to me.

    In fact, you could call me a cynic, or an economist, but I would assume that at least part of Wal-Mart’s competitive edge comes from being more efficient, which means they either get by with fewer employees than the competition, or that they pay their employees less, or, most likely, both.

    …and with more people unemployed, and those employed making less, I would assume that the cost of unemployment benefits (and, eventually, welfare) coupled with reduce tax income would not really help with the whole cash-situation either…

    • JeremieNX says:

      Some Wal-Mart stores encourage employees to take public assistance instead of paying a living wage!

  22. Baelzar says:

    Bwaahaaa ha haa.

    This Chicago ban on Walmart wasn’t about protecting anything. Ha!

    It was about how much money Walmart would pay to the politicians involved. That is IT. Everything else is window dressing.

    Suckers.

  23. A.Mercer says:

    I am shocked that I will be the first to say this.

    Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.

  24. Powerlurker says:

    Why is it the City of Chicago’s business whether or not WalMart chooses to hire union workers to build its stores?

  25. JeremieNX says:

    I hate all big-box stores. I currently live in a “Wal-Mart Desert” – the nearest Wal-Mart of any size is 280 blocks out of the way.

    I hate the jam-packed parking lots and the mile-long hike to get from your car to the door. I hate the shelves and displays that tower 20 feet over my head. I hate the obnoxious parents bringing in all 12 of their children along. I hate dealing with the clerks who have no real power or authority to make a problem right.

    Big Boxes are an eyesore and are horrid for the environment. Ever seen “Idiocracy” with the city-sized CostCo?

    Big Boxes can kiss the fattest part of my ass. The shopping experience is so unbearable I refuse to deal with it.

  26. vballcrew2 says:

    Typical bullshit from Consumerist. Walmart is loath to strike deals on wages? Sure…because cities try to bully them into starting salaries MUCH higher than other stores. Nwesflash for he bitches who blindly hate Walmart…their national average starting salary is close to $1 more than the national minimum wage. Since you mentioned NY, I will say that in NY state where I live, I know of two Walmarts that start all workers off at $9…wherethe minimum wage is $7.25. And guess what Target starts at for similar positions ? That’s right…$7.25. Same with K-Mart..and same as with the mom and pop stores.

  27. CharleStephen says:

    Seriously, do any of you live in Chicago? WalMart wants to build these stores in neighborhoods that have some of the worst food deserts in the nation. In fact, the Chicago Tribune did a series on this last year about how you can go for miles on the South and West Side of the city and not find any grocery stores (or department stores, for that matter) but you will find 15 chicken shacks, 8 McDonald’s, etc.

    I live on the South Side but in a nice enough neighborhood—Hyde Park—that I don’t have to struggle to find a grocery store. However, my choices are limited to incredibly expensive organic produce store, incredibly expensive supermarket where imported French bread is a specialty, and incredibly jank all-night store where the vegetables are _literally_ rotting in their bins. Mayor Daley was sort of right—most of the people who don’t want WalMart in Chicago under any circumstances live either in the suburbs or have ready access to fairly inexpensive—or at least reasonably priced considering their income—food; not everyone has that luxury.

    • Fidget says:

      I see the problem, and I’m wondering whether the smaller Wal-Marts being planned would actually fix that, or if they’re going to be bodega-Marts, so that you get all the Wal-Mart exploitation of employees with none of the benefits of a real grocery store. Mainly, there’s not a hell of a lot of space for a Wal-Mart that includes food, unless they make a food-exclusive one. Would’ve been nice if another, less employee-exploitative (and before anyone asks, I’ve had family work at WM’s, and they’re awful on that front) retailer had gone in, but you’re right, it has the potential to be better than the current situation. Hopefully they won’t turn out like the nightmarish one out past Midway…Treasure Island prices, bodega-quality everything, and packed to the gills at all hours because they’ve run out a lot of the other options.

  28. gman863 says:

    An 8,000 square foot Wal-Mart? Not likely.

    Consider the following:

    – A typical freestanding CVS or Walgreens is about 10,000-12,000 square feet. With a store this size, Wal-Mart loses its “economies of scale” – fewer items, more restocking costs. This will never happen.

    – A Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market (or a medium size Kroger, Winn-Dixie, etc.) is usually around 40,000 square feet. WM Neighborhood Markets are grocery and pharmacy only. No clothing, no electronics, no housewares, auto or garden. Dominick’s and Jewel will take the hit on these.

    – The small-town Wal-Marts of the 1980’s were 60,000 – 80,000 square feet. As I recall, they stacked stuff floor to ceiling. Few (if any) groceries.

    – The current small-town WM Supercenters start at around 120,000 square feet (versus around 200,000 for a large one). The small town format often cuts out extras such as a deli and bakrey.

    The bottom line: This is just Wal-Mart’s stepping stone to full size Supercenters and maybe a few Neighborhood Markets.

  29. stang9946 says:

    So the unions kept them out until they needed the added dues?

    Figures, unions are an antiquated useless entity and should be ignored since all they do now is line the union execs pockets.

  30. Cycledoc says:

    Very good news for Chinese manufacturers.

  31. Tonguetied says:

    Good for Walmart! And good for the people of Chicago that will be able to pay lower prices and make their paychecks stretch a little farther…

  32. Tonguetied says:

    Good for Walmart! And good for the people of Chicago that will be able to pay lower prices and make their paychecks stretch a little farther…