Many people will say that Wal-Mart has given people in small communities, particularly, a low-cost way to shop. That may be true. But at what cost? What are they buying? Is the quality of those low-cost goods adequate for the people buying them?
First, at what cost is Wal-mart to local communities? Has it been worth it, or not, to bring Wal-mart into small communities for low-income shoppers. Some would say Wal-mart appeals primarily to down and out shoppers. In the small town where i live, everyone shops at Wal-mart, from the down and out to the working person to the happy couple and to the teenager. Do you know why? There is no other place to shop.
It’s an interesting phenomenon. My town is not that small. It is a university town. When I was growing up here, there was a thriving business district on Main Street. There are a few viable storefronts left on Main Street but very few. When Wal-mart came to town, the small business person could not compete with Wal-Mart’s lower prices. Many of our businesses went out of business. It seemed that the bright sunshine shined only on Wal-mart. The cost of Wal-mart was the loss of the small business in my town as it is in so many small towns. They were also offered incentives to locate here, tantamount to giving them the proverbial ice cream with a cherry and sugar on top.
Wal-Mart has no twin in the business world. Many call them the worst company in America, primarily for some of their labor practices. Even though they have a problematic relationship with their employees, they refuse to even consider allowing labor unions to get involved. As one of America’s top companies, they set a bad example by not only using a lot of foreign labor but also child labor overseas. Look at where Wal-Mart’s products are made sometime. I think you will find almost all are made overseas.
In an effort to be fair, Wal-Mart does offer valuable goods and services that some people could not afford otherwise. But their quality is suspect. They have a large electronics section which is valuable in a small community, but no significant computer repair. They offer gardening implements and outdoor plants, in season. They offer indoor plants year round, such as the Christmas cactus.They offer everything from clothes to groceries to soft goods for the home.
But, in this writer’s opinion, none of that makes up for what they take away from a community. I will write more about this company and its problematic business model in a blog post in the future. #amwriting #amblogging #writing #Wal-Mart