Whats the deal with Wal-Mart?

People in today’s consumer culture are surrounded by many stores to buy products from supermarkets to other stores. Out of all the stores none are as powerful and as big as Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart was founded in 1962 by Samuel Walton. By 1990 it was one of the biggest stores in the United States and in the world with sales of 256.3 billion. This growth however has created a lot of controversy, since among many of the labor related actions against Wal-Mart is a racial discrimination lawsuit. Even as recently as Black Friday at Wal-Mart stores across the country there were many planned rallies and protests to Wal-Mart’s labor practices. Wal-Mart with its 1.3 million workers is a non unionized company. When looking at Wal-Mart when a new Wal-Mart opens up in a town most of the people flock to the store because of its low prices causing the “Wal-Mart effect”, which is the closure of many small businesses around Wal-Mart.

Those however are the negatives to Wal-Mart and it would be unfair when discussing Wal-Mart to just focus on the negatives. As mentioned before Wal-Mart has around 1.3 million workers in the United States. The store has been one of the pioneers logistics and public relations. Wal-Mart is a company that came from practically the middle of nowhere in Northwest Arkansas.

When thinking of a company like Wal-Mart I always think of a rather heated yet important debate going on today in the country which is gun control. When looking at a gun like Wal-Mart they are just objects creations of people. If you never went into Wal-Mart or never picked up a gun they would just sit there and do nothing. I feel when looking at Wal-Mart like guns it is important to recognize that it is the consumer (or in guns case wielder) who is supposed to be in control and not the object itself.

Questions:

1.            When looking at a company like Wal-Mart is it possible to overlook the negatives of Wal-Mart for example the “Wal-Mart effect” and pay more focus to the positives for example its cheaper prices and how it is the most employing business in the country?

2.            When it comes to the Wal-Mart effect as mentioned before with gun control analogy do you agree that it is consumers responsibility?

3.            have you ever refused to shop at Wal-Mart because of the issues surrounding its policies?

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3 comments

  1. Wal-Mart is a very desirable type of store because of its low prices and this desire to pay less is something that pretty much all consumers have. Why pay more at another store when you can save money and get the exact same thing from Wal-Mart? This is the question consumers ask themselves before deciding on one or the other. Most of the time Wal-Mart is the store that wins out because saving money is important to consumers so that they can continue to consume more things. Wal-Mart ability to continue to provide products to consumers at the lowest costs is going to continue to draw in more and more consumers meaning less business for small business owners and less money getting circulated in towns. It is clearly the consumers who are allowing Wal-Mart to continue to thrive off of their own desire to spend less money and, unfortunately for small business owners, I can’t see that changing anytime in the near future. The way Wal-Mart is able to supply so many items at the lowest cost is immoral in my own personal opinion. I am not a fan of the store and don’t agree with the way they supply their business. I would much rather purchase my items from other stores, especially since a lot of other major businesses now have price match which still allows me to save money. I don’t blame people for shopping at Wal-Mart or see them as immoral though. Wanting to save money is not a bad thing. Although they are supporting the bad things Wal-Mart is doing, it is an inadvertent effect that is certainly not the reason behind them wanting to shop there. Wal-Mart is simply a well run and clever business that is going to continue to thrive until working conditions and laws oversees change.

  2. jiep90

    I think the Walmart effect is a really interesting concept. One would think that a store that claims the highest hiring percentage and job creation wouldn’t have such devastating effects on the surrounding area. local businesses being drove into the ground and out of business can only be fueled by the consumers of the towns changing their buying habits so drastically that local business suffers. The size of the Walmart corporation allows for the introduction of products at the lowest prices available and membership rewards ect. its a very appealing concept to consumers and most probably blinds them to the realities being faced by the small businesses and supermarkets in their areas. the facet of products that Walmart has now become able to provide in one location, drives virtually all sales oriented business into the ground. walmart is a super store that carries electronics to groceries with everything in between, why go anywhere else?

  3. nstocco

    Low prices will always attract consumers. Walmart has succeeded in its mission to bring consumers every possible good at a cheap price. The convenience of having every imaginable good in one place will continue to bring shoppers back time after time. It makes economic sense for a middle class family to shop at Walmart, and disregard other local establishments. Not only can they save money, but they can save time by turning a four stop trip for tools, electronics, food and clothing into a one car ride trip to walmart. With the price of almost everything rising, a majority of consumers will disregard the ethical standards and focus on how their wallets will be effected. Walmart has given convenience to the average shopper and has made their lives simpler and more affordable. While this may not be good for local markets, ethical standards or the workforce, this is and will continue to be the first outlet for shopping for many Americans.

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