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is wal mart good for the economy?

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i love shopping at wal-mart and save a lot of money shopping there but i hear hate for it in some circles.how is it bad for the economy?  how is it good for the economy?

Entry #1,136

Comments

1.
Comment by pacattack05 - May 19, 2007, 9:41 am
All they did was wipe out the mom and pop stores. So much for the American dream...

Also, their scrupulous methods of dealing with vendors is atrocious.
2.
Rick GComment by Rick G - May 19, 2007, 10:30 am
I'm one of those in the circle of hate for Wal-Mart. The "warehouse" stores have knocked out a lot of the smaller competition and the only thing they have to offer is cheaper prices. I hate Home Depot even more because they forced a few good hardware stores out of business in my area.

The warehouse stores can offer cheaper prices because they cut back on what I consider the most important aspect of a store...service. The only real value they offer to their customers is exercise. Walking is good exercise and you get plenty of it wandering around these labyrinths looking for a product or an employee to help you find it. After 20 minutes in the store wandering around you find what you need and get more exercise standing in line at the one open cashier...it's exercise for the neck as you crane it looking for one of the other 11 cash registers to open up.
3.
emilygComment by emilyg - May 19, 2007, 1:15 pm
Wal-Mart is good for MY economy. I despise Home Depot. Shop Lowe's.
4.
justxploringComment by justxploring - May 19, 2007, 1:31 pm
I don't like WalMart, but sometimes I go there for something like an air conditioning filter. I really don't think their prices are that much better than Marshall's or TJ Maxx that sell much better quality clothing. Those polyester suits are nasty! Some people might turn their noses up at thrift shops, but rich people often wear something once and donate it. I bought a $500 DKNY suit for $30, had it dry cleaned, and the money goes to a shelter for abused children. WalMart towels & sheets feel like sandpaper. I bought 2 designer bath sheets in the clearance section of Marshall's for $2 each. I can't comment about other areas, but the ones here have no service whatsoever.

I grew up in an area without any WalMart or KMart stores. New England states (especially Vermont) have always fought against the huge warehouses because they destroy the old fashioned Mom & Pop hardware & grocery stores. Even the most loyal customers need to watch their budgets. The good news is that they create jobs for a lot of people, although the wages are very low.

Last week I drove to a WalMart that is about 5 miles down route 41. I won't take up your time writing my whole experience, but they didn't have the air conditioning filter I bought last month, and I just wanted to find out if they stored any in the back. I hunted around for help and couldn't find anyone. I went to the customer service desk and the man looked at me as if I were from Mars. Basically, what you see is what you get..don't ask.   Last month I stopped on a Sunday at a Super Walmart to get my tires balanced. He was very nice and didn't charge me, since he admitted he couldn't balance my tires properly, but I wish he never started. Boy, did he screw up my wheel balance! I already had a slight vibration, which is why I went there, but my steering wheel never shook. On the way home, I hit 70mph and thought we were having an earthquake. So I paid a dealer $39.95 to balance the tires. (eventually replaced them - long story) When I had my Hyundai I broke down at night, so I had no choice since WalMart was the only store open. The tow truck took me there. They sold me a battery that didn't fit my car and it shifted. I broke down the next day. (How would I know?) So you need to know exactly what you need before you walk in, since they sell products, but don't know much about them. Guess you get what you pay for. I won't ever go there for automobile service again. Too risky.
5.
justxploringComment by justxploring - May 19, 2007, 1:35 pm
I'm sorry, Mike. I type quickly and didn't realize how much I wrote. Hope I didn't sound like a snob. Believe me -- I can't even afford to shop anywhere now. I was only commenting on how, if you look around, you can do much better regarding service and quality. If you like WalMart, especially with a family, then there is nothing wrong with shopping there. I never do well at a Walmart, Target or kmart store, although I bought some 2 Martha Stewart pots at KMart recently which are fine. (I have to eat!)   We all have different experiences. I know people who LOVE WalMart. Naples is a very wealthy town and the new Super WalMart is always mobbed.
6.
Comment by jim695 - May 19, 2007, 4:53 pm
I took my 67-year-old mother to Wal-Mart's "vision center" a few years ago. After her examination, she stood up and fell on her face when she tripped over some wires which were entangled around the legs of the stool she sat on. Her dentures nearly came through her top lip, and her nose was bleeding (she required eight stitches to close the gash in her lip). She also bruised both knees.
     An employee helped me get her to a chair near the exit, but before she even sat down, a woman appeared with a release form, asking Mom to sign it. I snatched the clipboard out of her hand and read it. The release stated that she had fallen when she became dizzy from standing up too quickly, and that she agreed not to sue Wal-Mart. I have no idea how they produced such a document with such incredible speed, but there it was. I handed the clipboard back to the woman and told her that Mom wasn't signing anything until she had seen her doctor. The woman told me to "go ahead and have the doctor bill Wal-Mart directly," which we did. A few weeks later, Mom received notice in the mail that Medicare had denied her claim, and that she was responsible for the $587.00 bill.
     Needless to say, I was pretty hot. I called Wal-Mart headquarters in Arkansas, and the guy I spoke with told me that Wal-Mart has some kind of contract (I think he called it an "insurance lien") with Medicare to pay their claims. I've never heard of the federal government making such deals with open-market corporations, so I told him I'd give this information to my attorney and they could sort it out. I paid the bill (Mom's Social Security is her only income), and gave all my documentation to my attorney. They soon made an offer of $1,000, but I told them it wasn't enough. They suggested that, if we weren't willing to settle for a reasonable amount, then maybe we'd like to take it to court.
     Well, I thought that was a fine idea. I had taken pictures of Mom's face and knees, and of the wires that were wrapped around the legs of the stool (ironically, I bought the disposable camera while we were still in the store). I instructed my attorney to make it happen. TWO DAYS later, Mom received a $2500 check in the mail, along with a release form which stated that nothing that had happened to Mom was Wal-Mart's fault, and that she agreed never to sue them for anything ever again for the rest of her life. I gave it to my lawyer, and told him that Mom would settle for that amount, plus the medical bill and attorney fees. After making a copy, I tore the release into small pieces and told my lawyer to send it back.
     They paid the entire amount about ten days later, without a release. However, they stopped accepting checks from either of us. If we go to Wal-Mart, we have to pay cash now.
     I don't hate Wal-Mart, but I do question their unethical business practices. Some things are more important than low prices on mediocre merchandise, so you can blame me if they raise prices a penny or two in order to make up the money they lost on Mom's claim.
7.
thousandairComment by thousandair - May 19, 2007, 7:50 pm
Hey mike this is from the working man's standpoint, besides walmart giving you good prices , they are a bunch of blood sucking%%%%+animals they drain the economy and we pay for for it in our health care benifits, #1- they dont pay any of their workers medical bennefits, and in turn their workers turn to the gov. for help this is where we come in we pay higher taxs, if you want the whole scoop about walmart go to local 1262( ufcw. org) im New Yorker and very sick of paying the high medical copayments .
8.
TenajComment by Tenaj - May 19, 2007, 8:36 pm
Visit this website - you have to sign up but you will get the scoop on Walmart - no lies - just facts.   Walmart is the last thing we needed in America. Walmart set the stage for outsourcing, no good insurance on the job, low wages, bad labor practices and is extremely right wing. The Waltons funded many Republician campaigns with Bush being the biggest. If you like Bush, you like Walmart.

They are many many other websites about Walmart and it's labor practices. Just search Walmart Bush

http://wakeupwalmart.com/
9.
ToddComment by Todd - May 19, 2007, 8:44 pm
Wal-Mart and other big-box stores are a true dilemma. How did they come about? Because everyone likes low prices. But to get those low prices, their business practices MUST be used. You cannot run a hardware the size of Home Depot, and have a mini-army of sales reps as friendly and knowledgeable as the local hardware store, while cutting prices in half. It just can't happen, so something has to give, and that's where the business practices come in.

In my career, probably the bulk of my experience is dealing with cargo transportation, so I have seen these business practice first-hand. The transportation business really changed once Wal-Mart and Home Depot came around, because they are so big that they can dictate incredible sweetheart deals. The same goes with every other aspect of their business.

For example, with the vision department that Jim talked about in his story, I am sure they build that department after the analyzed that industry from all perspectives, and squeezed every ounce of profit out of every part. From deals on the equipment (bought in bulk), to the chemicals, the tests, product placement, analysis of foot traffic into the main store after a visit, to the eye doctor him/herself. After everything is figured and analyzed, they decide to open that business, and the byproducts are (a) lower prices; (b) people going there because of the low prices and convenience; and (c) traditional eye care business losing business and maybe going out of business.

Think of that same model for every aspect of their business. But they are not *bad* people, and they are not an *evil* corporation. That's just what has to happen in order to build stores like that -- and they would not exist unless *tons* of people shopped there every day.

And I'm sure as far as Jim's story about the quickly-produced release form is concerned, the analysis of the business probably showed them how many millions per year they could save by having a computer in the store ready to produce a custom release form ready instantaneously.

Jim, I'm very sorry to hear about your mom, I hope she did not suffer any lasting effects from the incident.
10.
ToddComment by Todd - May 19, 2007, 8:47 pm
By the way, I hope my comments are not construed as being pro-Wal-Mart (or even anti-Wal-Mart). They are dispassionate, factual remarks, just to add to the discussion.
11.
Comment by jim695 - May 20, 2007, 4:08 pm
I agree with Todd. As I said, I don't hate Wal-Mart; their marketing practices are no less ruthless than those of Microsoft, and I'm a big fan of Bill Gates (I probably made an enemy or two with that comment). However, the difference lies in that Wal-Mart views young, uneducated people as an expendable commodity to be exploited for profit. I worked there part-time as a bicycle assembler while I was working on my second engineering degree. I witnessed many disturbing events, but was powerless to do anything. For example, I saw the night manager pour about 70 quarts of motor oil and starting fluid down the drain in the mop closet because the containers had been damaged. I asked if it couldn't be sent back for credit, but I was told that Wal-Mart no longer did business with that company.
     I was present several times when people were told to clock out and THEN finish setting up their mods. More often than not, those people would donate a couple of hours of their time two or three times a week, because they were terrified of losing their jobs if they refused. Many lawsuits spawned from this practice, but my manager told me that Wal-Mart didn't worrry about such actions. He said that corporate practice was to simply tie the matter up in court until the plaintiff ran out of money or died (his words, not mine).
     I was screwed out of 29 hours of overtime because the personnel manager kept "forgetting" to submit it. I never did collect that money. I started at $9.00/hr, but another guy who hired in shortly after I did was paid $7.50/hr for doing the same job. This is common in that company.
     Space won't allow me to list every infraction I witnessed during my tenure in the bike cage, but you can rest assured that Wal-Mart considers the law to be a minor obstacle which is easily overcome by throwing money at the problem. I was successful in my suit against them because the amount didn't qualify for federal court. My attorney told me that the first thing Wal-Mart does is to file a motion to move the case, ANY case, to the federal level if the potential damages could exceed $5,000. If you've ever been involved in a federal lawsuit, you know that it can be prohibitively expensive, regardless of whether you're the plaintiff or the defendant. I think that's why they settled with Mom so quickly. When I wasn't intimidated by their threats of "taking the matter to court," they knew they might lose much more. The final settlement was fair, in my opinion, as Mom was compensated adequately for the pain she suffered.
     About a month after this incident, we went to Wal-Mart to buy a vacuum cleaner for my newlywed niece. I wrote the check, and the cashier told me that they couldn't accept it. When I asked why, she said that the system wouldn't process it, so I can't write a check at any Wal-Mart anywhere in the world. We were told the same thing when Mom tried to write a check there a week or so later, so we've both been "black-listed." A petty response, to be sure; neither of us has ever bounced a check there, so there can be no doubt that this was meant to convey the message, "We no longer want your business."
     Todd is absolutely dead-on in his assessment - there is a cost attached to those low prices, but the lure is irresistable; I still shop at Wal-Mart occasionally. How can I avoid it?
     Is Wal-Mart good for the economy? Well, I guess the answer to that question depends on whether you're a fan of a global economy. Wal-Mart has certainly opened a few doors for some nations, such as Malaysia, to enter and compete in U. S. markets. But this is directly countered with the relatively recent practice of corporate outsourcing. "Made In America" was nothing more than an advertising slogan; Wal-Mart has NEVER limited their inventory to American-made products, but many people believe that was the case. Now, they don't like Wal-Mart because they've "added foreign products" to their shelves. Such an attitude is counter-productive and naive; a company the size of Wal-Mart could not survive if not for their high margin on products made overseas. That's just the way things are.
     I neglected to mention that my mother recovered from her injuries, and she was doing well until that kid rear-ended us a year ago. Now, she suffers from chronic back pain. A few months after the crash, they discovered that she had a broken L-1 vertabra, which may or may not have been a result of the collision. They couldn't rule it out, though, because her injuries were "consistent with a rear-impact trauma." It could also have happened simply due to her age. Her vertabra is now healed, but she still has pain. She's currently being treated by a pain specialist in Columbia City, and he seems very confident that he can correct it without surgery. I appreciate everyone's concern, and I'll keep you apprised of her progress.
     Excellent topic, LOTTOMIKE!

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