Is Wal*Mart Good for America

On PBS tonight! A designer must-see! Frontline website description

Speaking as a designer who spent time on the inside…NO

The hiden reason behind placing the international purcurment division in shangjen(sp?) is that this allows the WM buyers to go directly to the manufactures who are making the name brand merchandise, have them manufacture direct, sometimes “Inadvertantly” leaving the Sony, Samsong, Phillips, RCA, etc. logos and product numbers on them.

They also use it as a pawn in the game of forcing the thier suppiers to sell product for what WM demands, often with the manufacturer making little to no profit. WM also has been caught buying inside information that allows WM buyers to know exactly what it is costing the company to manufacture its product.

This is why WM spends 1/3 of its total sales on PR campaigns making them look good in the publics eye. It is all propaganda, and most os the advertisements detailing the benifits offered are complete and utter lies. I left after working in home office, and have not steped foot in one in over 3 years. You really do not save that much money shoping there, average (4 person) family $200-$500 per year.

Anyone watch this? What did people think about the show?

i watched. what’s to think? show was well-done. interesting to see interviews. but nothing i didn’t know. America is trading jobs for cheap junk. and most dont really care.

Sounds like the same takeaway from a recent South Park episode “Something Wall-Mart This Way Comes” which was pointed and funny as only they can be.

…and I’m sure that everybody is aware of this, but the detrimental effects of entire small towns being employed by one company are far reaching. Hornell, NY has two employers: Alstom transportation (Subway car builder who employs +1000) and Wal Mart. The town only has several thousand residents. I can only imagine how much of a player Wal Mart is in local policy. If Wal Mart moved, 1/2 of the town would have no job, and no place to get another.

This doesn’t even touch on the environmental effects of razing hundreds of acres of farm land to put in a parking lot big enough for such a large building… and all of the harmful fluids and emmissions coming out of the cars… I don’t even like to think about it.

I believe WalMart is good for America. I have heard all the negative arguments and think the positive far out weigh them.

WalMart:
-has enabled low income customers enjoy a higher standard of living by saving on staples such as diapers, clothing etc.
-employs 1.45 million Americans.
-has stiff competition from Best Buy, Target and JC Penny

A company exists to serve its customers not its employees.

Fire away.

is it also to service as a means by which it puts its supliers out of buiness by screwing them out of the money for the products they provide to the big W to sell?

Is it also to serve as a means by which to ship high paying jobs over seas, thus creating more low er ecconomic customers by forcing more people to survive on the minimum wage part time employment that they offer?

Absolutely. If a supplier to any retailer can’t deliver at the lowest price then they need to rethink their business.

WalMart/Sears/Kmart/Target… Apple/HP/Dell/IBM… Ford/GM/Daimler …all outsource to China. Do we want a country full of factory workers that have no interest in bettering themselves?

In my town, after pressure from environmentalists, the city council rejected a building permit for WalMart for a store in an environmentally sensative area. Then weeks later, they granted a building permit to a giant grocery store for the same piece of land. WTF.

Big W, did you watch the show?

Big W,

It is not the fact that the suppliers are not offering the best price. In many cases it is the fact that Waly world agrees to a contracted price, and then after delivery descides they are not going to pay that amount. Or insisting that the suppliers rutinely cut costs 30%-50% each year. Or in some cases telling the supplier what they will pay, which is ussually less than what it cost the supplier to manufacture and deliver the product to the stores.

Look at the earlier Volasic Picle post, same thing with Minate Maid Ornge Juice, Pantone had an entire home office/collage line of products, but then never released it because they reniged on the amount they would pay for the merchandise, luckily Pantone had the financial stability not to be beholdent to wally.

They forcus on low-cost products, but at what cost to the ecconomy, and for design (we are designers are we not?). By forcing companies to compete on price alone, design (good well thoughtout and research proven) is totally left out of the picture focusing instead on “disposable” cosmetic changes to product with minimalistic durability and quality. “Make it cheap enough, and they will just replace it with a new one, thus driving more sales” mentality is enforced. This increases landfill type products, and reduces the already lacking respect and importance of our profession within product development.

Everything has a cause and effect pattern, this is no different. Look at the economic numbers unemployment may be down 4% from a year ago, however the average family income is down 15%. 1.4 million new jobs, 75% of which are part time $6.50-$7.50 an hour retail jobs. How is this good for America? How is this bettering one’s self? Just a question, but interested in hearing your explanation.

Yes but standard of living is not measured by what someone buys, or how much savings they get but by how they live and the cost of living their lifestyle in their environment.

Wal Mart does give them the oppourtunity to save on the basics which in theroy enables them to spend more on necessities and assets. but realistically few actually do. In fact people buy more volume when prices are low thus spending more.

(and around ten million chinese…)

Employing 1.45 million americans at lower wages than the average local wage rate. This is especially a problem in areas where the standard of living is higher and the cost of living is expensive. Which has the long term effect of depressing local tax rates and invetsment. But hey when you can spend at the company store everyone wins.

And Home Depot and Lowes. Infact Kmart and Sears have just announced their merger, effectively creating the third largest retailier in the US. All of these big box retailers have effectively crushed local competition and small business, which in the past has been responsible for a greater percentage of local employment, generated a larger tax base for the local community and has pumped more cash back into the local economy than your average big box retailer.

i’m on the fence in regards to the good/bad of Wal mart. I do think that the customer centered approach is a good one, you should give the customer what they need and desire. that is an economically sound way of doing business. But at what cost does this come? Wal marts search for the bottom line is economically unsustainable. Becasue it ignores the laws of diminishing returns. you can only dive so far before you hit the bottom.

Conspiracies abound that China is working with wal mart to actively dominate the retail market here in the US. Economically taking it over by crushing everything that is not related to its own economic interest creating dependence. effectively eliminating any competition and creating an environment of dependence on chinese cash and manufacturing. they don’t have to invade they just want to control the economic levers. like a dope dealer and their addict.

By the way, one of the buyers I used to deal with, mentioned that they are working on a system that will allow a standard distrobution center to be fully automated reduceing the workforce to @ 25. As well as a store system were all check-out will be replaced with smart-automated checkers equiped complete with low-density xray cmmeras to detect unpurcased items under clothing, intention is to reduce the 150 normal supercenter staff down to ideally 30-40 shelf stockers, cart pushers, and clearical staff. Rummers were ther already 5 yrs ago when I quit working my way through school that they wanted to automate the entire system, becuase “the only thing preventing astronomical growth is the high cost of labor in this country.” Quote from our reginal VP at the regional sales meeting March 1998.

both Pro and Con arguments dont match what Frontline reported. if they post the show its worth watching.

“In my town, after pressure from environmentalists, the city council rejected a building permit for WalMart for a store in an environmentally sensative area. Then weeks later, they granted a building permit to a giant grocery store for the same piece of land. WTF.”

i’ve seen other reports. doesnt sound like your telling the whole story. WM is known for demanding tax concessions. sometimes much more. beyond what a grocery store could ask. was this apples to apples? i’d be surprised.

“By the way, one of the buyers I used to deal with, mentioned that they are working on a system that will allow a standard distrobution center to be fully automated reduceing the workforce to @ 25. As well as a store system were all check-out will be replaced with smart-automated checkers equiped complete with low-density xray cmmeras to detect unpurcased items under clothing, intention is to reduce the 150 normal supercenter staff down to ideally 30-40 shelf stockers, cart pushers, and clearical staff. Rummers were ther already 5 yrs ago when I quit working my way through school that they wanted to automate the entire system”

i consulted on Telxon scanning equipment. did some custom stuff for Wal*Mart account in mid-90’s. wasn’t aware of big picture. projects not this far-reaching. but sounds like something they might have been chasing. are chasing.

Telxon is dead now. bought by Symbol. with Rubbermaid remnants just moved from Wooster to Telxon building in Akron suburb. irony in that if you saw the show.

Wow. This must not be Core77. I go away for 3 hrs and come back to see so many great replies and no name calling.

The arguments are all good and I’m not goiing to attempt to answer them, mostly because I can’t. You called me out, I’m just an IDer. In honesty, I voted against WalMart in my town.

I will, however, pose another question: Is there a market for a store that charges a premium for American made goods? Remember, WalMart used to pride themselves with selling US made goods in the '70s.

there is a market for american made; and may be in the near future if the dollar keeps going down, or stays down

But off of the top of my head companies who have been heavily involved in mail order and direct sales have really benfitted from American made products. Two names come to mind. L.L.Bean and Cabelas. both are outdoor product focused, both are regionally focused, both sell a diverse line of goods, and they are manufacturers as well as distributors of their own branded line of goods(note: not all of their stuff is US made but a pretty big part of it is).

I think there is a future for “american made” but its gonna be a niche and specialty market.

A good example is American Apparel Network. Manufatures shirts socks and underwear in downtown Los Angeles and has pulled in quite a profit while paying good wages and healthcare for its employees (no unionization though).

Also look out for “insourcing” potential–opening assembly factories in lower income areas or the midwest. while not able to compete on the same scale as chinese manufacturers or to compete with big box retailers, these companies can exist in niches such as simple assembly and apparel with a regional focus

WM does require minimum 5 yrs tax exemption on new supercenters and 2 yrs exemption when upgrading from standard store to supercenter in the same city. Also the city is resonsible for all cost to bring utilities such as sewer, water, electric, etc. to the store. In many cases, were state and local laws allow the city (or developer the land was purchased from) maintains rights to the parking lot, thus the city pays for the lights, electric, cleaning, and WM is not liable for any personal or property damage.

These factors are what usually are the deal breakers for small to mid sized communities.

guest I will call you out on the cabelas comment. They do the same as WM. There private label merchandise is simply namebrand merchandise imported directly from the factories, completely side stepping the main suppliers. For instance their fishing reels are shimano, diawa, and zebco copies. Their clothing are Carhart, Dikeys, Wrangler. The furniture might be, but only becuase some stores allow local vendors to display merchandise, like the cell phone kiosk in walmart (which by the way run the cell phone company 30-50k a month depending on the size of the WM store).

Just because it says Made in America does not mean it is. I wworked for a Hong Chong based lighting company who had on their boxes in bold red and blue lettering “100% American Made” but they ment the box not the product…and that is totally legal to do.

I’m not sure if they have a term for Wal-Mart is…what is a vertical and horizontal monopoly?