Sunday, November 19, 2006

Why I love Wal-Mart

The Wal-Mart that I regularly frequent (located in Panama City Beach, FL) has been under renovation and remodeling for about the past month. So it was with relative calm that I noticed that their excellent postcard carousel was not in its regular place near the front door, because just about everything has been moved around during this hectic period of construction and relocations.

After making an inquiry at the service desk, as to where they had been relocated, it was determined, after some phone calls to the stock room, that postcards had been removed from the sales floor permanently. I was shocked, no more postcards for sale at Wal-Mart???!!!

The very courteous lady working at the service desk agreed with me that it didn't make much business sense to remove postcards from the merchandise mix of a store located in the heart of a beach town. Not only that but Wal-Mart had the largest selection and best prices on postcards anywhere in this area and I USE POSTCARDS!

After inquiring as to who I could contact about this matter, I was given a toll-free number to call that put me in touch with their corporate headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas. Within three minutes I had a live service representative on the line who took down all of the pertinent information and said she would forward it to the appropriate persons in charge of such matters. She thanked me for calling and asked if she could help me with anything else. I said no and politely hung up.

It was not with a little surprise that I received a voice message on our phone this morning from the manager of the Panama City Beach store thanking me for calling Wal-Mart headquarters and alerting them to this particular situation. He agreed that it was a mistake to remove these items and said that they would be reinstated just as soon as there was a final clearance from the corporate office. He thanked me again and said that they would be back on the sales floor in the very near future.

I had placed my call to Bentonville on Thursday and the problem was resolved with a personal response on Sunday via the corporate headquarters of the largest retailer on the planet! Now try getting that kind of response from any branch of the government. Take your pick and good luck!

Why do so many people choose to label Wal-Mart as "evil" and "predatory" when it has in fact gained all of its wealth and market share through voluntary transactions with its customers, who are free to shop wherever they want?

Why are these very same people just as reluctant to label their own government with the same type of terminology? It is the government, after all, which obtains its wealth by theft and coercion and is currently responsible for the bloody deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent, mostly impoverished, people. It always bewilders and amazes me to hear otherwise intelligent and apparently sane people utter such nonsensical clap-trap.

Pretty soon I'll be sending out more Florida postcards. I'm just waiting for my friendly neighborhood Wal-Mart to put them back in their store where they belong.


Anonymous said...

Time you watched "The High Cost of Low Cost" and perhaps you might understand why Walmart is the kiss of death to the true workers of America - the Blue Collar brigade who have little option but to use this store when everything else is forced to close down when they open their doors.

Now you are living the "rich life" of a Floridian retiree (well almost) I am think you should be ashamed of yourself for your support such a business model as Walmart. I understand the SS were pretty responsive too to tips in the 2nd world war when told of the location for hidden jews...much the same as when Walmart sees a missed sales opportunity.

Have a nice day and Welcom to Walmart World

beamis said...

That's funny Steve. It really is. Comparing Heinrich Himmler and Sam Walton in the same paragraph, now that's rich. Really rich. And I said y'all seemed sane and lucid on the surface.

As for the poor stores who had to close down, well I sure don't miss 'em. Not one bit.

I don't miss 'em any more than I'm gonna regret the demise of Ford and GM when Toyota, Honda and Subaru (which you drive) send those decrepit Rust Belt losers straight into the scrap heap of yet another failed unionized American enterprise.

Those Asian companies pay way less to their workers than their unionized American counterparts, so how can you in good conscience drive a Subaru?

Pretty soon everyone will be forced to drive efficient and reliable cars, instead of the mediocre and more expensive to construct models put out by Detroit.

What about those poor $45 dollar-an-hour welders suddenly being forced to find a job as a greeter at Wal-Mart? Don't you have a heart Steve? Why don't you drive a Ford? Or a Buick? Or a Mercury?

Bollocks to you too!

Anonymous said...

Talking about what I drive' is irrelevant to the topic in hand and smacks of "Playground Tactics" to divert attention away from your original gross error of judgment. I remain astounded in your apparent unswerving worship of an organization that almost single handily is destroying what little remains of the American domestic consumer industrial capability - to be honest I would have thought that you would have taken a diametrically opposed view point; that you haven't seems to further support my theory that you have gone soft now you live the easy life.

The stores you don’t care about or miss are missed by many – especially those unable to afford the transport to get to these White Boxes on the outskirts of towns and villages.

It is an extremely arrogant to assume a position that because YOU don’t care others doesn’t care (or it seems matter) either. A “greeter” forced to work for minimum or below minimum wages with no health care is no replacement for “village life” and real social interaction.

Have you seen any Asian work places? Have you even been to Asia – if you have I am surprised again by you worship of their abusive work models…. CHEAP perhaps but at what social; and family cost?

PS I also drive Landrover build by English workers who are the second lowest paid in the whole of Europe (Greece is worst)

beamis said...

No one who works at Wal-Mart is forced to. People can work where ever they want. The majority of Wal-Mart workers are retired persons and spouses who are employed part-time to pick up extra cash. In fact Wal-Mart has very few full-time workers on its staff.

The main point is that they supply products efficiently and offer a low price on goods that people need.

I find it surprising that your wrath is directed towards a company that mostly caters to people who are at the lowest end of the income spectrum. The prices at Wal-Mart save poorer Americans billions of dollars every year that they would otherwise have to spend in higher priced stores. Your supposed concern for the poor ends at the front door of a place that actually does more for the poor than any government program does.

It is a powerful company because it is efficient, relentlessly thrifty, highly computerized and listens carefully to its customers. You don't have to shop there, but millions of others do every day and will continue to because it offers value and selection to the buying public.

People who voluntarily give Wal-Mart their hard-earned money in exchange for goods is the basis of their success. A very simple concept that is as old as human civilization itself.

Devastatin' Dave said...

From what I understand, Wal-Mart already pays above the minimum wage. And I'm pretty sure they provide health insurance. It seems though, that as Wal-Mart has gotten more successful, they've begun to play the political game. Much like Bill Gates has had to do at Microsoft in recent years to keep the antitrust dogs at bay.

According to the article below, Wal-Mart has supported an increase in the minimum wage. Since they already pay above the minimum wage, this has the effect of harming establishments that are paying lower wages than Wal-Mart. It harms them by them not being able to absorb increased business costs. But that is what happens when politicians meddle in the economy. It causes distortions in the market that wouldn't otherwise appear. As the kids say, "don't blame the player, blame the game."

I don't have a beef with Wal-Mart one way or the other. I actually frequent Target more than Wal-Mart. No one is forced to buy from Wal-Mart or forced to work there. Those that do have shown what's called, in economics, a demonstrated preference.

Which leads to another question - when Wal-Mart has been sufficiently humbled, when will the ire be turned on other companies, such as Target? They're a big company, too. I would guess that their business practices are in line with Wal-Mart.

And why are "Mom and Pop" always paraded before us as the only people being harmed? When I was growing up, it was J.C. Penny, Sears and K-Mart. Where is the love for these dying companies and the employees they've had to lay off as they lost market share?

What it comes down to is that your market share is never guaranteed, whether you are a "Mom and Pop" or a corporate giant. In the end you must be the best and satisfying consumers' wants and needs.

Anonymous said...

As a stay-at-home Mother of three children I often wonder how I'd be able to afford staying home to raise my children if it weren't for the stores like Walmart, Sams Club, and Target. I rely heavily on these stores to buy most of my family's toiletries, food items, and general household items. Ocassionally however I'll buzz out to Safeway which is close to my house for one or two grocery items. I'm always surprised by the horrible prices, the long lines and gross lack of cashiers. It is very apparent that these grocery stores can't even provide the basics in customer service since having unionized employees.

I'm so tired of people ranting about the evilness of Walmart and similar corporations. I appreciate the fact that Walmart gave my Mother who is a very dedicated teacher a grant for her classroom this year. My sister was also a recipient of a scholarship from Walmart to assist with her college education. A woman in my church who is 74 years old and works for Walmart says that she now has a reason to get up in the morning and loves her job. Wow, Walmart is so evil!

beamis said...

Amen sister! Can I get a witness?