Sunday, November 13, 2005

Why pick on Wal-Mart?

Free and voluntary transactions work best.
Why are so many people against this very efficiently run company that has done more for poor people than any other institution in the world? By providing low prices to its customers it helps make life easier for those on the lowest rungs of the economic ladder. No government program will ever achieve what Wal-Mart accomplishes every single day through its ability to deliver goods and services at rock-bottom prices to a wide variety of customers.

Wal-Mart makes my life easier because I spend less on items I previously paid more for prior to the opening of their Cedar City outlet. Their stores are well lit and have helpful cheerful employees. I enjoy saying hello to the store greeter and will occasionally partake of a double-cheeseburger and coffee at the in-store McDonalds while leisurely reading the paper. Does this sound like the spawn of Satan?

Wal-Mart would go out of business tomorrow if their customers stopped coming in the door to buy things. Their success is only as current as their ability to satisfy the next customer. I don't buy everything at Wal-Mart but I do purchase a lot of the things that I need to sustain my everyday existence. I like the selection, prices and location and will remain a loyal customer as long as they provide the same level of excellence that I have known for the past 18 years of personal acquaintance with this corporation.

I shop at my 24-hour Wal-Mart Supercenter all the time and buy everything you could possibly imagine from celery and space heaters to shoes, mouthwash and birthday cards. Not to mention lighter fluid, potting soil, garden plants, my summer kiddy pool and prescription reading glasses from the optometry center. I also love shopping at Wal-Mart when I travel around the country because they are all laid out the same way and generally have the lowest prices on the stuff I need to get----all in one location.

I welcome the usual shibboleths that are hurled at this company, like the decline and death of poor old Main Street (I say good riddance to the smelly old hardware store and the dingy outdated pharmacy), the low wages paid to its employees and the exploitation of foreign workers in the so called Third World. Why is Wal-Mart so easily portrayed as evil and exploitive when it clearly derives its wealth from people who voluntarily purchase products at its outlets and from others who willingly sell goods to them at an agreed upon price? How is any of this bad? Is there a flaw in my logic? What am I not getting that is evil about this arrangement?

On the other hand I am often deemed extreme by others for calling the U.S. government evil because they confiscate their wealth illegally and un-Constitutionally and then proceed to use this stolen booty to kill and maim thousands of innocent people around the world. Is there a better use for the word evil than the current edition of the U.S. federal government? Nothing quite so abhorrent or aggressive since Nazi Germany has appeared on the world stage, and yet Wal-Mart is a devil in disguise for satisfying their customers. Huh?

How is that nobody screams about K-Mart, Target or Costco? It seems to me that the intellectual elite have a much easier time putting down a place where the under-class shops. How come these same crusaders aren't screaming about those evil giants Toyota, Fed Ex or Starbucks? What gives? Ain't our store good 'nuff for ya'll? Why it's just us niggers, spics & white trash saving some money on chitlins, Pringles and Wonder Bread.

Shucks ain't nuthin' wrong wiff dat!

"Attention Wal-Mart Associates: keep up the good work!",

From a satisfied customer.


beamis said...

All cleaned up. Thanks for the critique on my grammer and I'll never use "it's" as a possessive again.

pop said...

interesting alternative view.
good writing, btw.

Devastatin' Dave said...

One of the basic tenets of the Austrian School of Economics is that the CONSUMER, by their purchasing or abstention from purchasing, determine who succeeds and who fails in the market place. Like it or not, the consumer is demonstrating their preference by shoppping at Wal-Mart. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Sam Walton, etc. are wealthy because consumers buy their stuff.

Anonymous said...

Well just call me old fashioned but I really do like the smelly old store and the mom and pop diner. Businesses like Wal-mart and Home Depot put my mother out of business. This encourages people to choose to sacrifice quality to save a buck or two. Hey but that's their business and their boring, lack-luster home interior choice. I feel as though Wal-mart and other businesses as such make zombie-eyed-what-was-I-here-for-consumers. This just fills me with the rage to shove fat people in spandex. You know the ones that stand at the kiosk in the middle of the already overcrowded aisleway awed by the newest, useless, piece of junk, dust collector - on sale! Yeah so wal-mart may be good for the quick get some stuff stop, but for crying out loud, DIVERSITY!!!

beamis said...

Again let the marketplace decide. I remember studying in college (in the early 80's) about the devastating effect that the Sears catalog had on dry goods stores in rural America during the late 19th and early 20th century. It literally put them out of business overnight. Well guess what, the people who were forced to shop in the dry goods store, with its rat infested barrels and high prices were overjoyed to have an alternative vendor who offered low prices and a much wider set of choices. Death of diversity? I don't think so.

The internet now has the same effect on many brick and mortar entities, by offering a greater amount of product diversity at your fingertips 24-hours a day.

I also detect in your comments the same class based prejudice I mentioned in the blog post. "This just fills me with the rage to shove fat people in spandex. You know the ones that stand at the kiosk in the middle of the already overcrowded aisleway awed by the newest, useless, piece of junk, dust collector - on sale!"

Why not the same invective for Southwest Airlines or Toyota who are putting their competitors out of business on a regular basis with superior products and service? There is now far less "diversity" in air travel and automobiles because of these two giant companies but I don't hear none ya'll wailing about it. What about Google taking over the search engine business?

I still maintain that Wal-Mart is an easy target because they cater to the lower echelons of society. Like me. Snobbery of the elite pure and simple. You are free to spend more money elsewhere. that is your right.

Thanks for joining in with your comments.

Devastatin' Dave said...


Can you be sure that your Mom didn't put someone else out of business? In any event, no one is guaranteed a place in the market. It is an ongoing effort to provide what the customer wants. Nothing was stopping your Mom from re-tooling her business to offer these diverse products you speak of. In additon, I don't buy the "quality arguement." The stuff sold at Home Depot is the same stuff you'd get at a Mom and Pop hardware store. They can just do it on a larger scale and pass the savings to their customers. Places like Restoration Hardware have been able to find a niche.

Audie said...

I don't shop at Walmart myself, but I don't consider them any more evil than any other business.

I don't shop there because they are masters of the cheap, and because they censor their music and video offerings. The shoes and furniture I bought back when I was a grad student in Lubbock fell apart within days, and so I did not, in fact, save any money after all. I have found that better quality can be found for the same price or less, at thrift stores. And if I'm looking for a certain CD or movie, I don't even want to have to wonder whether it's been "cleaned up" for my benefit.

It's all just a cycle. Right now, it's Walmart's (rather long) day in the sun. But they will some day go the way of the dinosaurs and the Soviet Union and Sears and Mom & Pop hardware stores and pharmacies.

beamis said...

Yes I agree, this too will pass.

Uncle Jelly said...

DevDave, as for the Austrian thinking on consumers voting with their feet: remember that people ate (or will eat) soylent green (I realize SG is fiction, but it makes the point).

Who gives a rat's ass that these incredibly inexpensive Sam's Brand Fried Rat Turds are made from deep fried chinese-baby intestines. They're so effin' yummy.

You're wrong on this one, Beamis. It's not often I think you're off base, but this time you're way off. - Don't take this to mean I disagree with your idea of learning to speak Chinese, either; I like szchehuan as much as the next person.

Devastatin' Dave said...

"Soylent Green is people. SOYLENT GREEN IS PEOPLE!!!"

NoTrumpKing said...

The thrust of the original essay here (to which we all are replying) takes a jaundiced, one-sided view of WalMart, isolating what little positive role it has & emphasizing that role out-of-context. In Economics (not college-level finance), if there is a positive affect there is a corresponding negative effect. To ignore or refute this is to short-change the intellect & integrity of the other party in the conversation --- which by default means the other party of the one way conversation is dissed. Without respect for the co-locutor there is no conversation, only preaching. If WalMart is the only retailer around, there is no other place to shop; there is no validity to most of the preaching.
A philosophical aside for 'publicans, "Bush-babys", Neo-cons and their fellow travellers to ponder:
No choice --- no Democracy
AND that applies universally, uniformly, absotively & posilutely.

beamis said...

There are lots of other choices out there and I encourage you to patronize them. I am not familar with the economic idea that something positive in the marketplace has an equal side that is negative. Could you give me the name of that theory?