Ask The Consumerist: Why Do You Hate Wal-Mart?

We’re off duty today, but we’ve gotten some great emails over the weekend so we thought we’d pass the goods on before it got stale.

Reader Dan F writes:

What is your problem with Wal-Mart? Do you not like saving money? Is your group so wealthy that it doesn’t matter? Or are you behind the very few business owners in small to medium towns that love the fact Wal-Mart is not there so they can make a killing by making us pay through the roof for food, clothes and other consumer goods?

Dear Dan,

We don’t hate Wal-Mart in a broad sense. We hate all companies that abuse their privilege as corporate entities, not because we’re rich, but because we don’t see the point in saving a few cents on toilet paper at the expense of, say, workers’ rights. We are doing well enough to pay a few cents more on toilet paper when we choose to, thank the lord of wallets, although we remember not that long ago when we couldn’t. If you feel like you’re getting a good deal at Wal-Mart, have at it.

Mostly, though, we really like what Wal-Mart could be. They are a ruthlessly efficient machine of consumerism. When that works in our favor, it’s very hard to resist. We’ve been known to shop there from time to time ourselves, although there are none in our immediate area, so our visits are infrequent—or online.

But we’ll continue to talk about—and critique—Wal-Mart for a single reason: They’re the biggest retailer in America. That makes them immune from neither criticism nor praise, but it does make otherwise trifling stories interesting.

Plus, they’re hillbillies from Arkansas. Since we grew up a full half-hour away from the Arkansas border of the Ozarks, it is our divine right to take pot shots at them from our rocking chair on the porch.