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Walmart's Latest Scheme to Replace the Middle Class With An Underclass Forced to Buy Its Shoddy Goods


Business  (tags: usa, society, wal-mart, corruption, business, dishonesty, economy, news, consumers, americans )

Cal
- 485 days ago - alternet.org
Walmart's planned takeover of urban markets threatens to cut off other viable economic development options.



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Comments

Lindsey O. (19)
Friday August 23, 2013, 4:51 am
Shopping at Wal-Mart doesn't change a middle-class person into an "underclass" person. And most of the things I see at Wal-Mart (especially at the Neighborhood Markets) are also sold elsewhere, since they're branded items (which don't somehow become shoddy merely by sitting on Wal-Mart's shelves).

If someone wants to pay more for the same item, then they're free to go elsewhere. Or if someone wants to buy better-quality clothing than the low-priced items Wal-Mart sells, then they're free to buy higher-priced nicer clothes elsewhere (if they can afford it - some people need to buy less expensive clothing items and certainly paying less in that area will buy less quality, which makes sense).

Some of Wal-Mart's practices when it comes to entering into a new area's market are definitely bully tactics and some of its advertising practices are questionable - and it's reasonable to object to those. But that has nothing whatsoever to do with the issue of quality.

Some may feel it's politically-correct to insist that lower-income people should have to shop at the small businesses so beloved by the PC among us; however that's a more expensive way of shopping, which isn't feasible for many of us. On my own income I have to be careful with my shopping dollars and I definitely use Wal-Mart sometimes - I save money, which is neither a crime nor embarassing to me. And if some think that makes me part of some "underclass", fine by me. Since I don't care what the elitist marketeers think of me.
 

James Travers (49)
Friday August 23, 2013, 12:06 pm
It's like a drug dealer giving out free samples Lindsey. It will cost you dearly in the long run. I'm dirt poor and I confess I occasionally go to Walmart but I am trying to wean off of it.

One of the biggest issues about Walmart is how they treat their employees and the wage they pay not to mention that the average Walmart employee has to rely on public assistance to put food on the table because of that. I have taken your approach in debating my girl about Walmart, the products they sell are indeed found on other store shelves but she is basically correct. And Walmart's practices are actually driving up prices at other stores because of the consumer volume they are taking from the stores. When Walmart allows a union to come in or adjusts their wages to a livable amount and stops trying to avoid letting their employees have enough hours to qualify for benefits I might reconsider my position.
 

Joy McR (136)
Friday August 23, 2013, 12:26 pm
noted..
 

Jane J. (2)
Friday August 23, 2013, 12:59 pm
Being able to purchase things at Walmart has raised my standard of living. You can buy the exact same item at an upscale store for a great deal more than Walmart charges and, in addition, if there is a problem you can return it (with your receipt) without being treated like a criminal. Plus I don't have to run all over town trying to find what I want to purchase, saving me both time, money and making less pollution at the same time. My hard earned dollars go a lot further at Walmart and I will happily continue shopping there.
 

Lindsey O. (19)
Friday August 23, 2013, 2:00 pm
James, I've been buying from the big discounters like Wal-Mart and K-Mart all my adult life. And in that long-run it hasn't cost me. I understand your point of view but simply can't share it.

But in any event people who have little money don't tend to have the luxury of tailoring their shopping habits to higher-priced stores that pay higher wages to employees, etc., in order to score social brownie points (just as you yourself occasionally shop at Wal-Mart for that reason). Financial survival has to come first for all too many of us.

Besides which on the whole I like shopping at the Wal-Mart supercenters. Like Jane, I enjoy not having to go to multiple little shops to get everything I need and they are really great at handling returns. And, unlike many people, I enjoy the anonymity of stores like Wal-Mart. I don't want salesclerks hanging around me and although I certainly like well-informed employees who will help when asked too darned many of those little independent stores are overly-friendly for my taste.
 

James Travers (49)
Friday August 23, 2013, 2:37 pm
Lindsey girl, the long run isn't over yet. and please... social brownie points?? That's kind of a cheap shot. I am as far on the fringe of society as anyone you have ever met. You speak of little money.... I guarantee you have more of the coin of the realm than I. And buying from Walmart HAS cost you girl. It has cost the world. I looked at your profile, and I am sooo on board with logic. Moreover there isn't a cause I think more highly of than that of dogs.

But I digress. All of the advantages you list about Walmart I share. In fact eerily so. But that is what they do. It's a trap girl.

Here's another example. Tar sands from Canada and fracking might lower your electric bill a little but will destroy the environment of the planet. Logic dictates that is not an acceptable alternative.

 

Lindsey O. (19)
Friday August 23, 2013, 3:08 pm
But you see, James, I'm libertarian. I believe Wel-Mart has a right to offer the wages/benefits it chooses. And that it has a right to offer lower prices and more efficient shopping, thereby gaining a larger market share and winning out over its competitors. I accept that efficiencies of scale will cause lost jobs in competitors who can't compete. And that doesn't mean I personally like to see smaller businesses go bust or enjoy knowing that people work for less money than I'd like to see them paid, or am happy with people losing their jobs. I simply realistically accept what is the natural result of this aspect of free enterprise.

And you're right. Although I didn't mean to target you personally when I used the phrase "social brownie points" it definitely looked that way from my comment. My apologies.
 

Yvonne White (233)
Friday August 23, 2013, 3:18 pm
The problem with Wal-Mart is that almost every other store in an area will shut down. Especially that first year Wal-Mart purposely under prices (yes, even the same brand stuff others sell) to force them out. It's very noticeable in a smaller "city" that the down town area is suddenly vacant, all the mom & pop establishments are gone. Then Wal-Mart starts raising prices by nickles & dimes, doesn't carry a brand you rely on for months (or drops it for good)..just little irritating crap like no Nestea but 10 kinds of Lipton, etc. There used to be 10 different places you could get fresh meat, now there's two. Farmer's market has just recently been re-opened on Thursdays...Wal-Mart has become a necessary evil in rural areas.
 

James Travers (49)
Friday August 23, 2013, 4:57 pm
Ahhh Libertarian, Lindsey.. Let the chips fall where they may, let the buyer beware, the weak shall perish. That doesn't sound Libertarian, that sounds like hard Right Capitalist Republican. I see I was barking up the wrong tree. Dogs deserve to starve because it is free enterprise taking it's course. If people die of cancer or starvation it is a simple fact of doing business and as long as some make a huge profit, que sera sera. And when one corporation has wiped out all the others, gained a monopoly and can do whatever it wishes, that's just business. Just free enterprise. Survival of the fittest.

It is I who should apologize. I completely misread your profile. I believe you need to reexamine your "logic". The needs of the strongest outweigh the needs of the many does not sound very logical. And if you look at your position logically it is clear what the final outcome will be.
 

elegantgypsy rose (35)
Friday August 23, 2013, 6:02 pm
ms libretarian lindsey.

i do hope your water isnt coming from the public water source, and that you dont expect the fire department to come if you call. i know you libretarians dont need socially supported services, because you can do it all yourselves. go buy a new copy of atlas shrugged.

however....here in the real world, we know that what has a front, has a back. everything has a consequence. the consequence of allowing walmart in your town is an increase in public subsidies for low income workers, as many qualify for food stamps, subsidized child care programs, free school lunch programs, reduced energy bills paid for by federal and local grants. the other cost is to diversity in what you can buy, as walmart drives out competitors, local businesses and your neighbors. but who cares....you want cheap, convenient shit right? and your right to have that trumps anyone else's desire to a decent standard of living...is that it. and your right to cheap shit also supersedes the right of people in bangladesh to a living wage in a safe work site. or you are so far up wal-marts tail pipe, sniffing fumes that you dont give a crap if minor children in foreign countries work 15 hour days 6 days a week making cheap shit for you? and if they happen to be locked in their factory when it catches on fire and they die..oh well. just the cost of doing business i guess. and if their building falls on them and they die? well....that's sad, but i need some more cheap shit, so guess i will run to wal-mart.
i suppose you wonder why the rest of the world doesnt love americans.
 

Lindsey O. (19)
Friday August 23, 2013, 6:27 pm
Like many, both of you appear to assume that a libertarian viewpoint is necessarily an extremist one in all respects. Which isn't the case, of course. Like everyone else, a libertarian is an individual and no two individuals ever share exactly the same worldview.

Gypsy, libertarianism doesn't mean that we must have no public services available. Many are essential to living in a modern society. The goal is to have the smallest possible government consistent with maintaining that modern society. And, of course, taxes have to be paid by citizens to pay for those services.

Just as, like other libertarians, I believe we need certain health and safety regulations. And a variety of other things that are required to keep society going. I personally think it's necessary to use tax money to provide for, say, the welfare of children and domestic animals - two parts of society who are intrinsically incapable of providing for their own needs.

And, by the way, I loathe Ayn Rand, who was a cult leader. And since I'm libertarian, I'm not a Republican - the views of most libertarians on issues like physician aid-in-dying, legal abortion, gay marriage, legalization of drugs, and many other things tend to make most Republicans shudder.

And libertarianism isn't about the needs of the "strongest" outweighing the needs of everyone else. On the contrary, it's about equal rights under the law for everyone. It's about having the right to make your own choices in life so long as you don't forcibly violate the rights of others.

It's always helpful to actually read something about libertarianism before deciding that it means this or it means that.
 

Sheila D. (26)
Friday August 23, 2013, 6:30 pm
I don't shop at WalMart, but my husband loves the place. That includes Sam's Club. Yes, the items at WalMart are less expensive, for the most part, and quite a lot of it is cheaper in price and quality. It may be the cheapest place to shop, but it's also going to cost more in the long run; in health, in quality, in the environment. Maybe one day I'll convince my husband of this, also, but it's an uphill battle.
 

Lindsey O. (19)
Friday August 23, 2013, 6:46 pm
And, by the way, James - you didn't "misread" my profile - what's there is quite truthful. My profile contains statements of things I consider important (physician aid-in-dying, vegetarianism, child welfare, animal welfare, the right to bear arms, and other things). And it certainly doesn't hide the fact that I believe in libertarianism - that is listed at the very top under the causes I support. And Gypsy, civility is also important to me as I subscribe to the Hannibal Lecter school of philosophy when it comes to eating the rude..the one logical exception to unnecessary meat eating I just might support in a more perfect world.
 

Nyack Clancy (452)
Friday August 23, 2013, 6:51 pm
" I subscribe to the Hannibal Lecter school of philosophy when it comes to eating the rude."

Good to know- I'm getting on the phone and ordering my drones now, and 4 bazookas.
 

Lindsey O. (19)
Friday August 23, 2013, 6:58 pm
Nyack, you just made me hungry (haven't eaten dinner yet tonight). Order me a flame-thrower with cheese, green olives, and jalapenos, if you would be so kind!
 

elegantgypsy rose (35)
Friday August 23, 2013, 8:35 pm
ha ha lindsey... aint skeered of you, or your buddy hannibal. and i got no patience with your brand of stupid. so if you find me uncivil and ya think ya want to try to eat me...just try it. see how that works out for ya. you aint got the market cornered on flame throwers.
 

elegantgypsy rose (35)
Friday August 23, 2013, 9:37 pm
and..btw...since my MA is in political science...it isnt like i fell on to this rock yesterday in terms of my political understanding. i know what libertarians are, and what they arent. and i note that while you level criticism at my style, ya got nothing for my content. which is the usual smokescreen of the uninformed.
lets see...i dont use caps, nor apostrophes....and frequently no period either....so likely i just havent got a clue about wal-marts agenda, right?
well...likely, ya got another think coming...but, i wont be holding my breath for it.
 

Mary Donnelly (47)
Friday August 23, 2013, 10:29 pm
Interesting post thanks.
 

James Travers (49)
Friday August 23, 2013, 11:34 pm
This is getting out of hand.
Really, Lindsey? You are enamored with Hannibal Lecter?? I saw that on your profile but paid no attention to it until you made it an issue. I suppose you are also thrilled with Alfred Packer. You don't have a deep freezer do you?
You're right. I didn't misread your profile. You lied in it and you are a phony. Maybe you think cannibalism is funny. How can someone who lists Lecter as a role model truly be an advocate for dogs?

I am ashamed to admit you did managed to disrupt my entire day. You should be proud because no Conservative (and that's what you are, no matter how you spell it) has done that in a long time. You even managed to make me break a promise to myself. That I would not come back here to respond to you again.

You Conservatives have set something in motion that cannot be undone. I hope you don't have grandchildren to reap what you have sewed.
 

James Travers (49)
Friday August 23, 2013, 11:46 pm
P.S. Perhaps YOU should look again into Libertarian philosophies because what you listed is not what they espouse and I know many of them. Uhmm and none of them are cannibals.
 

James Travers (49)
Saturday August 24, 2013, 12:11 am
Holy cra%...
Look, I apologize to the membership and to you Lindsey. In my defense i can only say that the news of this day has set me on edge and I am sooo pi$$ed off at the Corporate world right now that anyone who writes anything resembling agreeing with the "free market" makes me irate. As I mentioned, I have close friends who consider themselves Libertarian and in fact have been told I am a Libertarian because I share many, but not all of the same values. I also have friends and family who are Conservative and i disagree with Liberal values often as well.
The bottom line is we have to get along and find common ground or this is going to be a very bumpy ride
 

elegantgypsy rose (35)
Saturday August 24, 2013, 2:15 am
its ok James, none of the ones i know are cannibals either. and i do believe you are correct. a conservative is what a conservative does....
 

Gene Jacobson (255)
Saturday August 24, 2013, 2:36 am
"For starters, $50 billion over a decade may sound huge at first, but measured against Walmart's galactic size, it's not. An additional $5 billion a year amounts to only 1.5 percent of what Walmart currently spends on inventory."

I understand why the poorest of us shop at Walmart. I understand why they take jobs there. It is not they I have issue with. This is one of the most despicable companies ever to come into being and they get better at being bad every year, making Sam's kids ever more money. But they are a drain on EVERY community in which they locate. They don't hire full time so they don't have to pay benefits, they fire anyone who dares complain, they began in smaller tows with their big box stores completely destroying the small businesses on Main Street America, those same small businesses the gop likes to tout as the real job creators but whose doors shutter soon after a Walmart opens. They've launched in more recent years full scale wars against companies that do pay living wages, opening stores near them and undercutting them in pricing because of the sheer volume of their buying. They give nothing back, they leave a desolate, barren, scorched earth in their wake. This country would be better off if every Walmart in it went broke and disappeared. It wouldn't hurt government, they already evade most taxes and their employees are mostly already having their "wages" supplemented by welfare benefits in the form of SNAP (which the gop is also trying to kill), medicare or medicaid. They are a parasite leeching the life's blood out of the communities they infest. If our politicians had a backbone they would end the subsidies and evasions of this virtually criminal enterprise and ensure they at least paid for their evil with taxes and NO subsidies for expansion. As ubiquitous as it is, if it disappeared overnight, this country would be a much better place - and the small businesses that replace it would actually create living wage jobs. We are SO shortsighted and the gop so blinded by the green of campaign contributions that we sell our soul to companies like this one and those that infect our monetary businesses as well. When dollars come before people, a society is dying. And so we are, spiritually first, physically next.
 

Lindsey O. (19)
Saturday August 24, 2013, 4:44 am
You're right, James. Some of my beliefs (vegetarianism, animal rights especially) aren't part of libertarian beliefs. They're my personal beliefs (as I mentioned before no one is exactly like anyone else when it comes to beliefs). I don't personally toe any official party line in its entirety (since I would consider that foolish if any given position doesn't mirror my own).

And since a large number of my beliefs are opposite to that of what "conservatives" espouse, I'm not a "conservative" (or a "liberal", either). How odd to consider anyone who supports legal abortion, legal physician aid-in-dying, legalization of drugs, gay marriage, strict separation of church and state, and a host of other such things a "conservative".

And, by the way, just ss Nyack wasn't actually planning to order bazookas and drones over the phone (despite her stated intent), I don't actually advocate the anyone eat the rude - which should have been patently obvious....
 

Lindsey O. (19)
Saturday August 24, 2013, 5:45 am
Anyone who's interested in learning about libertarianism can always check out the platform of the Libertarian Party at:

http://www.lp.org/platform

While I don't agree with that Party's position on every single issue its platform contains a great deal about libertarian belief in general (and, of course, no pure political philosophy can ever be entirely workable in practical terms, since human nature and pragmatism always intrude). And its candidates often are excellent alternative choices to the essentially two-party system we now have.

(My apologies, Cal, for going so far off-topic on your thread).
 

Katie D. (112)
Saturday August 24, 2013, 7:56 am
We believe those who say they have to shop at Walmart Need to DEMAND BETTER PRODUCTS NOT CLOTHES AND PRODUCTS THAT DO NOT LAST OR FALL APART WHEN THEY ARE WASHED,FOOD THAT IS SAFE FOR YOUR FAMILIES AND NOT MADE IN CHINA! SURE YOU DESERVE ALL OF THIS TOO BUT AS IT IS WALMART DOES NOT PROVIDE THIS FOR THERE CUSTOMERS.
DEMAND BETTER PAY AND TREATMENT FOR THE WORKER'S!
THIS IS WHAT WOULD BRING YOU UP IN THE WORLD!!
IT WAS MENTIONED ABOUT MADE IN THE USA PRODUCTS!
WONDER WY IT IS YOU GO INTO A STORE AND ASK WHERE THE THINGS ARE THAT IS MADE IN THE USA AND SECURITY IS PUT ON YOU RIGHT AWAY!!?????? YES THEY CALL SECURITY ON YOU!! TRY IT HAVE FUN!!
 

Lindsey O. (19)
Saturday August 24, 2013, 8:23 am
Bill and Katie, many of Wal-Mart's products are just name-brand products sold elsewhere at higher prices which are hardly "falling apart" instantly because they were sold by Wal-Mart - they are just able to sell them for less due to quantity sales. And if those who shop there for lower priced items that are of lower quality, then they're paying for what they get. If, say, I want a higher quality piece of clothing, I expect to pay a higher price. If I can't afford the higher priced clothing then I'll buy what I can afford - something which won't have the lasting power of a more expensive item. In some instances, "you get what you pay for" is a truism because it really is true - in those cases we buy the quality we can afford. I can't afford a Chanel original, though it's of much, much better quality than Wal-Mart offers. I can afford Wal-Mart's clothes, however (which actually don't "fall apart" when they're washed - if they did people wouldn't keep buying them).
 

Yvonne White (233)
Saturday August 24, 2013, 12:37 pm
The necessary evil COULD buy American products at affordable prices for resale. The necessary evil COULD afford to pay a living wage & "allow" unions. The necessary evil COULD afford psychiatric help for its CEO's!;)
 

Katie D. (112)
Saturday August 24, 2013, 2:04 pm
Now understand the people working there qualify for subsidies AID and the Company gets Subsidies for hiring These worker's SO THIS IS A DOUBLE SIDED THING THE TAXPAYERS ARE PAYING FOR ALLOWING THESE COMPANIES TO OPERATE! THEY STRUGGLE EVERY DAY WORKING THERE!! I have followed this company for over 20 years! I Speak the TRUTH! I HAVE TALKED OT MANY OF THESE WORKER'S THEY DIDN'T EVEN KNOW THEY HAD ANY RIGHTS!! James Traverse and Gene is right! ARE YOU HAPPY PAYING THE TAXES TO SUPPORT THIS COMPANY? WHILE THEY RUN ALL THE OTHER COMPANIES OUT OF TOWN?? THEY MAKE OVER 6 BILLION A YEAR FROM PEOPLE THAT SHOP THERE AND CAN'T PAY THEIR WORKER'S A DECENT WAGE, TREAT THEM RIGHT OR GIVE THEM ANY BENEFITS!! THEY ARE BULLIED EVERY DAY! I wish they have a Better Life as they do! DO YOU?????

s
 

Birgit W. (152)
Saturday August 24, 2013, 4:38 pm
Noted, thanks.
 

GGmaSheila D. (169)
Saturday August 24, 2013, 4:39 pm
Noted with thanks...not going to get into the pi**ing match above.

I'm a senior on SSA, that means I'm so far below poverty level most stats don't count me. I used to shop monthly at Walmart. Haven't been there for almost two yrs now. We have a nice Superstore, but not impressed with some of their stuff - it's gotten cheaper over the last few yrs. That said, I will have to break down now that our local KMart had to close - Just can't afford to get some things elsewhere. I am not the only senior in this boat.
 

Barbara V. (51)
Saturday August 24, 2013, 8:39 pm
You can growl at me if I'm wrong, but that's not all Walmart--that's the intent of our Repug government. By this time, old news. Why, then, would they let in illegal aliens?
 

Barbara V. (51)
Saturday August 24, 2013, 8:46 pm
GENE JACOBSON--A thousand kudos! No, MORE. So eloquently and honestly put. WOW!!!!!
 

Diane L. (110)
Saturday August 24, 2013, 9:43 pm
I AGREE wholeheartedly with Lindsey. Sorry, Cal, but this is a ridiculous "discussion" and argument. Nobody is forced to shop at Walmart, and if other companies or retailers are put out of business because customers go to Walmart to buy the same products at a cheaper price, that's called "free enterprise".

Gawd, I am sick of the constant "Walmart bashing" because it seems to be a popular target. If you don't want to shop at Walmart, then the solution is simple..........DON'T. Go down the road and pay more for the same items elsewhere. As for wages paid, Walmart pays at least the minimum wage mandated by whatever the State requires where the store is located. Most similar retailers don't pay more than that unless they are union, and then the products offered are priced higher as well.
 

Diane L. (110)
Saturday August 24, 2013, 9:52 pm
Sorry, Gene, but you're not correct about not hiring full time and not paying benefits. That may be at some locations and even all of them may have "other than" full time employees, but I know for fact that the Walmart where I shop DOES have full time employees and yes, they get benefits, including paid holidays and vacations. There is just one "Supercenter" in my area, but my next-door-neighbor's wife works at another one and she is full time, has been there less than a year and yes, she gets overtime if she works more than 40 hours a week, paid holidays and has since she was hired. She also gets healthcare. Rest breaks are mandated by state law, as are lunch breaks, so any Walmart that doesn't follow those laws will be subjected to fines by the state if not rigidly adhered to and they indeed DO follow them. I've been at a check stand where the cashier/employee says his./her line is now closed because it's time for his/her break...........same with a line at Customer Service. The former "greeter" at my store (former because she passed away last year after a long illness) had the same first name as mine and we became sort of "acquaintances". She always remembered me by name when I came in and she told me often that she loved her job, allowed her to work hours that suited HER and she didn't WANT to work full time. She had health insurance and other "benefits" as well unless she worked fewer than 20 hours a week. That's pretty standard anywhere.
 

. (0)
Sunday August 25, 2013, 6:49 am
That's terrible! Wal Mart should not be doing these sort of things.
 

Gloria picchetti (300)
Sunday August 25, 2013, 8:08 am
I hope WinCo knocks walmart off the face of the earth.
 

Rehana VN (0)
Sunday August 25, 2013, 12:22 pm
When Wal Mart moved into the SA market thought that would be healthy competition. Unfortunately they sell the same crap as everyone else but at much higher prices.
 

Ray M. (0)
Sunday August 25, 2013, 4:19 pm
Walmart sucks. Boycott.
 

Gloria H. (88)
Wednesday August 28, 2013, 7:57 pm
thrift shops/yard sales. I even picked up a man at one, returned him after one date. No refund.
 

Patricia R. (12)
Saturday August 31, 2013, 8:50 am
w-mart's a sh*thole
 
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