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The Wal-Mart debate thread

1356789

Posts

  • ShaukShauk Registered User
    edited August 2007
    eh, honestly, I think if you hate wal-mart, you probably have some guilt trip issues, maybe even a little trouble looking in that particular mirror. Like maybe, because you shopped there, you put some poor shlub out of business.

    truth of the matter is, not everyone is cut out to be a retailer. Furthermore, who gives a shit, we're talking a dollar or 2 in most cases, if you want to see real savings, check out this thing called the INTERNET. It's zomgmazing.

    I hate this belly aching over a standard business model. They are successful because you've shopped there, plain and simple. You're still breathing, you're still making money in some form or another.

    Growth = change and people act like bitches at the notion of change for some reason.

    so listen up, when walmart starts MURDERING BABIES and then trying to sell thier corpses to me, i'm just going to continue to think of them as another typical employer/retailer that keeps having its name slandered due to a minority of bad managers who pissed off equally bad employees.

  • ege02ege02 __BANNED USERS
    edited August 2007
    madstork91 wrote: »
    I saw it, it doesn't actually address very much.

    The low prices set by walmart that a small business owner cannot match will eventually shut down the small business.

    In a lot of smaller towns where wall mart has moved in there are various vacant buildings that were made so because of the above mentioned.

    People lose their way of life, and we lose our sense of community, all to save a few bucks each trip to the store.

    All of this was addressed.

    Edit: They also tend to slightly raise prices after all the other stores close down.

    Yeah, no. Things like "way of life" and "sense of community" are bullshit reasons.

    Ways of life change. Senses of community get refined. It is asinine to argue against Walmart on such grounds because change is a good thing.

    Medopine wrote: »
    Fuck that woman going "oh god oh no!!"

    It's nature, bitch
  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    ege02 wrote: »
    Ways of life change. Senses of community get refined. It is asinine to argue against Walmart on such grounds because change is a good thing.

    Thank you!

  • DukiDuki Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Malkor wrote: »
    I think in England they have little stickers showing how far any goods needed to travel to get to your store. That's a damn good idea.

    In theory, but a lot of the time it's just used to fuck non-EU trading partners out of exporting more goods to England.

    "Oh, you're from New Zealand? Oh my, that's much to far away sir, the transport tanker must be destroying the environment. I'm sorry we can only by this much beef from you now. Quotas? What quotas? No quotas here, free trade, free trade!"

    Never mind the fact that the big boat that transports the meat emits around the same amount of gas as two guys taking a shit, they just want to be protectionist cunts.

    Yes, I'm fucking bitter.

  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Super Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited August 2007
    "Change is a good thing" is a nonsensical nonargument. A community with a sound economic base and an ownership class with equity in their own businesses is not worse off, either qualitatively or quantitatively, than one where everyone is a low-level employee of a distant firm. There are the psychological factors - how people tend to behave better when they have a stake in their surroundings - but also a town full of business owners is a town full of investors, people who can afford to stake some money on new productive ventures and civic improvements.

    Let me break it down for you: Wal-Mart wouldn't build a store somewhere if they didn't think they were going to get more out of it than they put into it. Can we agree on this? Think of it like thermodynamics, only with money instead of heat. What Wal-Mart and other businesses of that sort do is to decrease the "insulation" which allows the town to retain its capital, which necessarily reduces its ability to sustain itself. A healthy economy of people supplying goods and services for each other becomes, in essence, a fiefdom beholden to people thousands of miles away for their basic survival. What's so irrational about people not wanting to lose their economic autonomy? Are you all that epically tone-deaf to basic human psychology?

    But wait! There's more! The "savings" of a large retail business come, not through any magical increase in productivity, but by using their buying power to massively drive down suppliers' asking prices. Every time old Violet in Birmingham gets a nice deal on a cute picture frame of a kitty cat, it's coming at the expense of the guy working in the picture frame factory, or the guy driving the truck, and ultimately at the expense of the people and companies they buy things from. EDIT: that of course doesn't mean that things would be better if everyone made more money but was also paying more - I'm just saying that the savings are, by and large, an illusion, and a stalking horse for the capital concentration that is the real modus operandi.

    Until we invent cost-free teleportation the idea that centralization automagically equals efficiency will remain pernicious, errant nonsense. If my state has a kitty cat picture frame factory, but Wal-Mart decides not to buy our picture frames and instead ship them nationwide from the kitty cat picture frame suppliers up north, we'll eventually go out of business - and the net cost to the US economy of kitty cat picture frames will have risen by a value equal to whatever it takes to load them up on trucks and send them hither and yon to be stored in air-conditioned warehouses, rather than letting people produce and buy them in the same place.

  • DrakmathusDrakmathus Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Wal-Mart!

    Pro Wal-Mart
    The Ultimate Pro Wal-Mart Article

    I thought it was really funny that this article keeps making mention of Walmart's HIGH QUALITAH products. Please.


    P.S. Ege02, I will be buying a Dyson vacuum soon. The only reason I didn't buy it is because I had to make rent that month.

  • KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Duki wrote: »
    Malkor wrote: »
    I think in England they have little stickers showing how far any goods needed to travel to get to your store. That's a damn good idea.

    In theory, but a lot of the time it's just used to fuck non-EU trading partners out of exporting more goods to England.

    "Oh, you're from New Zealand? Oh my, that's much to far away sir, the transport tanker must be destroying the environment. I'm sorry we can only by this much beef from you now. Quotas? What quotas? No quotas here, free trade, free trade!"

    Never mind the fact that the big boat that transports the meat emits around the same amount of gas as two guys taking a shit, they just want to be protectionist cunts.

    Yes, I'm fucking bitter.


    Speaking of which, a scientist recently won an award for refuting the food miles argument, so far as it related to NZ/Britain.

    Freedom for the Northern Isles!
  • The CatThe Cat Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited August 2007
    ege02 wrote: »
    Yeah, no. Things like "way of life" and "sense of community" are bullshit reasons.

    Ways of life change. Senses of community get refined. It is asinine to argue against Walmart on such grounds because change is a good thing.

    I think its pretty silly to argue for "sense of community" for preserving culture (as if it was ever static) and such things, but change is patently not always a good thing, so I don't think that's a great justification.

    tmsig.jpg
  • The CatThe Cat Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited August 2007
    Jacobkosh wrote: »
    "Change is a good thing" is a nonsensical nonargument. A community with a sound economic base and an ownership class with equity in their own businesses is not better off, either qualitatively or quantitatively, than one where everyone is a low-level employee of a distant firm. There are the psychological factors - how people tend to behave better when they have a stake in their surroundings - but also a town full of business owners is a town full of investors, people who can afford to stake some money on new productive ventures and civic improvements.

    Let me break it down for you: Wal-Mart wouldn't build a store somewhere if they didn't think they were going to get more out of it than they put into it. Can we agree on this? Think of it like thermodynamics, only with money instead of heat. What Wal-Mart and other businesses of that sort do is to decrease the "insulation" which allows the town to retain its capital, which necessarily reduces its ability to sustain itself. A healthy economy of people supplying goods and services for each other becomes, in essence, a fiefdom beholden to people thousands of miles away for their basic survival. What's so irrational about people not wanting to lose their economic autonomy? Are you all that epically tone-deaf to basic human psychology?

    But wait! There's more! The "savings" of a large retail business come, not through any magical increase in productivity, but by using their buying power to massively drive down suppliers' asking prices. Every time old Violet in Birmingham gets a nice deal on a cute picture frame of a kitty cat, it's coming at the expense of the guy working in the picture frame factory, or the guy driving the truck, and ultimately at the expense of the people and companies they buy things from. EDIT: that of course doesn't mean that things would be better if everyone made more money but was also paying more - I'm just saying that the savings are, by and large, an illusion, and a stalking horse for the capital concentration that is the real modus operandi.

    Until we invent cost-free teleportation the idea that centralization automagically equals efficiency will remain pernicious, errant nonsense. If my state has a kitty cat picture frame factory, but Wal-Mart decides not to buy our picture frames and instead ship them nationwide from the kitty cat picture frame suppliers up north, we'll eventually go out of business - and the net cost to the US economy of kitty cat picture frames will have risen by a value equal to whatever it takes to load them up on trucks and send them hither and yon to be stored in air-conditioned warehouses, rather than letting people produce and buy them in the same place.

    you are absolutely my favourite forumer right now.

    tmsig.jpg
  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Super Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited August 2007
    The Cat wrote: »
    you are absolutely my favourite forumer right now.

    Will this change if I point out that I accidentally wrote "not better off" in the first sentence when I meant "not worse off"?

    I hasten to add that it was a crime of passion

  • The CatThe Cat Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited August 2007
    it works either way, i'm in the throes of fangirlism :P

    tmsig.jpg
  • Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Jacobkosh wrote: »
    A healthy economy of people supplying goods and services for each other becomes, in essence, a fiefdom beholden to people thousands of miles away for their basic survival. What's so irrational about people not wanting to lose their economic autonomy? Are you all that epically tone-deaf to basic human psychology?

    I can totally understand small towns not wanting to "lose their way of life", or more substantive things like economic autonomy.

    My issue is that I don't like small towns and I want them all to die, so the desires of the inhabitants aren't high on my list of cares. Small towns, at least in the U.S., are bastions of backwards fundamentalists and conservatives, and the inhabitants tend to have much larger ecological footprints than city-dwellers. There's generally not a lot of good coming out of rural folk.

    Go Wal*Mart. Kill the small towns. Make that life unsustainable and undesirable. Make the people move to larger cities.

    2ezikn6.jpg
  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Jacobkosh wrote: »
    A healthy economy of people supplying goods and services for each other becomes, in essence, a fiefdom beholden to people thousands of miles away for their basic survival. What's so irrational about people not wanting to lose their economic autonomy? Are you all that epically tone-deaf to basic human psychology?

    I can totally understand small towns not wanting to "lose their way of life", or more substantive things like economic autonomy.

    My issue is that I don't like small towns and I want them all to die, so the desires of the inhabitants aren't high on my list of cares. Small towns, at least in the U.S., are bastions of backwards fundamentalists and conservatives, and the inhabitants tend to have much larger ecological footprints than city-dwellers. There's generally not a lot of good coming out of rural folk.

    Go Wal*Mart. Kill the small towns. Make that life unsustainable and undesirable. Make the people move to larger cities.
    Or you know, go-go town planning? This is the thing which bugs me about the Wal-Mart argument in the end - I think it's targeting the wrong thing. I don't want the US people (and other western nations with similar establishments) pissed at the companies just for being big - I want them pissed at the governments which are getting fat of kickbacks via boys clubs and campaign donations - which aren't doing their damn job of regulating properly.

    I mean, it's not like Wal-Mart is dumping toxic waste in estuaries, they're just really good at working the system. The negative outcomes means someone in government should be looking at the problem and saying "right, what should we be discouraging?" among which should probably be heavily oil-specific transport (trucking) as opposed to switchable things like trains etc.

  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Super Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited August 2007
    When I'm feeling cynical, Loren, I agree with you, but people should have the choice to live where they choose. My folks have a small summer place in the Ozarks and it's a fabulous place to decompress
    Spoiler:

    and the people are by and large transplants from all over the country, not stereotypical hillbillies at all. I think the Internet means small towns now have a chance to become less retrograde, pleasanter places if they aren't leeched dry first.

  • Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
  • Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Jacobkosh wrote: »
    When I'm feeling cynical, Loren, I agree with you, but people should have the choice to live where they choose. My folks have a small summer place in the Ozarks and it's a fabulous place to decompress
    Spoiler:

    and the people are by and large transplants from all over the country, not stereotypical hillbillies at all. I think the Internet means small towns now have a chance to become less retrograde, pleasanter places if they aren't leeched dry first.

    I know that not all country-folk are not hicks of course- hence the peppering of qualifiers in my original statement. But... I should have put more emphasis on the ecological portion of my argument.

    People should certainly have a choice as to where they want to live (within certain limits, of course), but I think we shouldn't cater to people if they want to live way the fuck away from the supply chain by shutting down the prospects of businesses who want to set up shop where they please (within certain limits, of course). I don't see why they shouldn't feel the economic impact of their choices.

    2ezikn6.jpg
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Regarding the whole "it does the job" mentality: A cheap vacuum cleaner generally takes roughly the same amount of natural resources and creates roughly the same amount of pollution to make as an expensive one. It also takes up no less space in a landfill. So when somebody goes through three vacuums in ten years rather than one, I'm not seeing this as a good thing.

    This applies to a lot of other products from Wal-Mart than vacuum cleaners, too.

    Of course, this also applies to the same products when sold at Target, or any other store. The difference is that the factory creating those products sets their quality standards largely based on the price Wal-Mart demands, as the largest player in the market. If Wal-Mart decides it wants vacuums to cost $1 less, now you're getting a vacuum that lasts three years instead of four.


    And beside all that, their recent commercial regarding gas prices made me want to punch a kitten.

  • TigressTigress Registered User
    edited August 2007
    I think Wal-Mart is just like any other major retail chain. It could be a good place to work or not. It largely depends on the people one works with. Some Wal-Marts lock their employees in and don't let them leave at night. Some have forced employees to work off the clock. Some have created severe OSHA violations. Most of these stories don't necessarily point to "ZOMG! EVIL CORPORATION!" It just points to some of the managers being complete asshats that think they can get away with it.

    Kat's Play
    On the subject of death and daemons disappearing: arrows sure are effective in Lyra's universe. Seems like if you get shot once, you're dead - no lingering deaths with your daemon huddling pitifully in your arms, just *thunk* *argh* *whoosh*. A battlefield full of the dying would just be so much more depressing when you add in wailing gerbils and dogs.
  • GoslingGosling Looking Up Soccer In Mongolia Right Now, Probably Watertown, WIRegistered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Jacobkosh wrote: »
    When I'm feeling cynical, Loren, I agree with you, but people should have the choice to live where they choose. My folks have a small summer place in the Ozarks and it's a fabulous place to decompress
    Spoiler:

    and the people are by and large transplants from all over the country, not stereotypical hillbillies at all. I think the Internet means small towns now have a chance to become less retrograde, pleasanter places if they aren't leeched dry first.

    I know that not all country-folk are not hicks of course- hence the peppering of qualifiers in my original statement. But... I should have put more emphasis on the ecological portion of my argument.

    People should certainly have a choice as to where they want to live (within certain limits, of course), but I think we shouldn't cater to people if they want to live way the fuck away from the supply chain by shutting down the prospects of businesses who want to set up shop where they please (within certain limits, of course). I don't see why they shouldn't feel the economic impact of their choices.
    FUN FACT: The supply chain is fueled by raw materials. Many raw materials are located in places where sizable towns are impractical. For example, coal can commonly be found in the West Virginia mountains, where geography (i.e. those same mountains) prevents most towns from growing past a few thousand people.
    FUN FACT: Farmers are part of the supply chain. By definition, they need lots of land that only rural areas can provide.
    FUN FACT: Some people like doing those things.

    I have a blog. Read it. Blog-reading makes you pretty and popular.
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    I think Wal-Mart is just like any other major retail chain. It could be a good place to work or not. It largely depends on the people one works with. Some Wal-Marts lock their employees in and don't let them leave at night. Some have forced employees to work off the clock. Some have created severe OSHA violations. Most of these stories don't necessarily point to "ZOMG! EVIL CORPORATION!" It just points to some of the managers being complete asshats that think they can get away with it.

    Except that those store-level managers are being driven by district and corporate level policies that demand they meet labor goals or various other goals that are impossible without such shenanigans. Sure, if anybody actually points out what's taking place higher up heads tend to roll, but that's only because they've taken away the plausible deniability from the district/corporate level.

    I just don't think you can set policies saying that "your store will achieve X" without putting some thought into how X is to be brought about. Even if you do so, I'd still say you're partially responsible for whatever shenanigans take place.

    I mean, when you want an across-the-board cut of 5% in hours, while still maintaining the same or higher floor response times and checkout rates, how the fuck do you think that's gonna happen? You might as well provide the whips. ;-)
    FUN FACT: The supply chain is fueled by raw materials. Many raw materials are located in places where sizable towns are impractical. For example, coal can commonly be found in the West Virginia mountains, where geography (i.e. those same mountains) prevents most towns from growing past a few thousand people.
    FUN FACT: Farmers are part of the supply chain. By definition, they need lots of land that only rural areas can provide.
    FUN FACT: Some people like doing those things.

    He doesn't care. He's getting his irrational rural hate on.

  • poshnialloposhniallo Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Jacobkosh wrote: »
    A healthy economy of people supplying goods and services for each other becomes, in essence, a fiefdom beholden to people thousands of miles away for their basic survival. What's so irrational about people not wanting to lose their economic autonomy? Are you all that epically tone-deaf to basic human psychology?

    I can totally understand small towns not wanting to "lose their way of life", or more substantive things like economic autonomy.

    My issue is that I don't like small towns and I want them all to die, so the desires of the inhabitants aren't high on my list of cares. Small towns, at least in the U.S., are bastions of backwards fundamentalists and conservatives, and the inhabitants tend to have much larger ecological footprints than city-dwellers. There's generally not a lot of good coming out of rural folk.

    Go Wal*Mart. Kill the small towns. Make that life unsustainable and undesirable. Make the people move to larger cities.

    I usually respect what you have to say, Loren, but this is just silly. I know the tone is jokey, but the assumptions/arguments behind the joke are inordinately dumb. The ecological impact makes some sense, but you should give us some numbers on how significant it is. As for the rest - did some grass scare you once? Did a rabbit steal your lunch money?

    I live in the countryside - the place with trees and animals. Surely there must be some positive ecological benefit to not chopping down all the trees and destroying the habitat of the animals? Or should we just abandon natural terrain to the lesser pandas and kookaburras and try and cram together for a potential unquantified ecological efficiency?

    Ah, probably I'm just being silly because that was all a joke - you can't be that dumb.

    I figure I could take a bear.
  • werehippywerehippy Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Regarding the whole "it does the job" mentality: A cheap vacuum cleaner generally takes roughly the same amount of natural resources and creates roughly the same amount of pollution to make as an expensive one. It also takes up no less space in a landfill. So when somebody goes through three vacuums in ten years rather than one, I'm not seeing this as a good thing.

    This applies to a lot of other products from Wal-Mart than vacuum cleaners, too.

    Of course, this also applies to the same products when sold at Target, or any other store. The difference is that the factory creating those products sets their quality standards largely based on the price Wal-Mart demands, as the largest player in the market. If Wal-Mart decides it wants vacuums to cost $1 less, now you're getting a vacuum that lasts three years instead of four.

    While this is certainly a problem, it's not Walmart's fault it's a problem. People clearly want it cheaper as opposed to better, at least in large enough numbers to move the market that way. Unless the system as a whole imposes the costs of "wasting" resources like this on the consumer, it's clear they'll never take the bigger picture into account when making their choices.

    Put another way, the fundamental rule of economics might as well be people are stupid and/or short sighted. Any plan that rests on people acting otherwise is doomed to outright failure or at least irrelevance. If you want to bitch about how consumers aren't acting properly, bitch about the fact the economy (in terms of regulations and so on) isn't designed to force them to do so, not the fact people aren't playing by rules that exist exclusively in your head.

  • templewulftemplewulf Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Most of these stories don't necessarily point to "ZOMG! EVIL CORPORATION!" It just points to some of the managers being complete asshats that think they can get away with it.

    Except that those store-level managers are being driven by district and corporate level policies that demand they meet labor goals or various other goals that are impossible without such shenanigans.
    Man, I said this three pages ago. Am I fucking invisible?

    As to the vacuum thing, my wife and I apparently can't keep a vacuum longer than a year or two from the $40-$100 range. We just bought a Dyson since our last vacuum went up in smoke (very literally), and it's the best vacuum ever. I did have a mild heart attack when we paid for it, but as long as it lasts for at least 6 years, I'm still getting the same $ per year ratio as I was before but with a better vacuum.

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  • templewulftemplewulf Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    And fucking lamps too! Goddamn it, every lamp I've bought from Wal*Mart has gone to Hell in under 2 years, but they were only $1-$5 cheaper than stuff at Target. The $80 lamps at Sears are still going strong in year 3, though.

    Honestly, I think we ended up spending more money replacing Wal*Mart products than we spend making one expensive purchase of something worth having.

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  • RoanthRoanth Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Jacobkosh wrote: »
    "Change is a good thing" is a nonsensical nonargument. A community with a sound economic base and an ownership class with equity in their own businesses is not worse off, either qualitatively or quantitatively, than one where everyone is a low-level employee of a distant firm. There are the psychological factors - how people tend to behave better when they have a stake in their surroundings - but also a town full of business owners is a town full of investors, people who can afford to stake some money on new productive ventures and civic improvements.

    Let me break it down for you: Wal-Mart wouldn't build a store somewhere if they didn't think they were going to get more out of it than they put into it. Can we agree on this? Think of it like thermodynamics, only with money instead of heat. What Wal-Mart and other businesses of that sort do is to decrease the "insulation" which allows the town to retain its capital, which necessarily reduces its ability to sustain itself. A healthy economy of people supplying goods and services for each other becomes, in essence, a fiefdom beholden to people thousands of miles away for their basic survival. What's so irrational about people not wanting to lose their economic autonomy? Are you all that epically tone-deaf to basic human psychology?

    But wait! There's more! The "savings" of a large retail business come, not through any magical increase in productivity, but by using their buying power to massively drive down suppliers' asking prices. Every time old Violet in Birmingham gets a nice deal on a cute picture frame of a kitty cat, it's coming at the expense of the guy working in the picture frame factory, or the guy driving the truck, and ultimately at the expense of the people and companies they buy things from. EDIT: that of course doesn't mean that things would be better if everyone made more money but was also paying more - I'm just saying that the savings are, by and large, an illusion, and a stalking horse for the capital concentration that is the real modus operandi.

    Until we invent cost-free teleportation the idea that centralization automagically equals efficiency will remain pernicious, errant nonsense. If my state has a kitty cat picture frame factory, but Wal-Mart decides not to buy our picture frames and instead ship them nationwide from the kitty cat picture frame suppliers up north, we'll eventually go out of business - and the net cost to the US economy of kitty cat picture frames will have risen by a value equal to whatever it takes to load them up on trucks and send them hither and yon to be stored in air-conditioned warehouses, rather than letting people produce and buy them in the same place.

    Are you positing that absent Wal-Mart these small/rural towns would be thriving, self-sufficient economic communities? Here I thought that rural America and small towns were dying out because of population flight to larger urban centers were individuals could get better jobs. Guess I was wrong. Also, your point that Wal-Mart only builds a store in places where it believes it can get more out than it puts in is true of 99% of the businesses in the U.S. The reality is that the U.S. is part of a global economy and to believe that keeping Wal-Mart out of a town is magically goint to keep a community together is utter nonsense. The more lucrative, attractive jobs are almost universally in larger, urban areas that also happen to be the location of large corporations and businesses. This trend is driven by increasing globalization and technology, not Wal-mart. Your views that small-towns "retain" capital and keep it "local" is also seems a bit far-fetched. This statement in particular really made me scratch my head:
    A healthy economy of people supplying goods and services for each other becomes, in essence, a fiefdom beholden to people thousands of miles away for their basic survival. What's so irrational about people not wanting to lose their economic autonomy? Are you all that epically tone-deaf to basic human psychology?

    Are you speaking of Amish communities or something? All the goods sold in town come from vast distances, whether it is Wal-Mart or Ye Olde General store selling them. Almost every single community in the U.S. is connected via trade that comes from many different locations. Maybe you can explain what you were trying to say here because it might have made sense in the 19th century but given how capitalist economies work today it is completely irrelevant (unless you are suggesting a sort of return to the land where we all become quasi-amish).

    EDIT:

    I also have no idea what this statement is supposed to mean.
    Until we invent cost-free teleportation the idea that centralization automagically equals efficiency will remain pernicious, errant nonsense. If my state has a kitty cat picture frame factory, but Wal-Mart decides not to buy our picture frames and instead ship them nationwide from the kitty cat picture frame suppliers up north, we'll eventually go out of business - and the net cost to the US economy of kitty cat picture frames will have risen by a value equal to whatever it takes to load them up on trucks and send them hither and yon to be stored in air-conditioned warehouses, rather than letting people produce and buy them in the same place.

    If the cost of manufacturing and transporting frames to a location is higher than the cost to make the frames locally, the local frames will be cheaper and sell more. If it is cheaper to manufacture them elsewhere and ship them, then the cost to the U.S. economy is cheaper. Outsourcing products around the globe has been a major trend for years and has resulted in goods being made cheaper to the U.S. consumer. Companies like Wal-Mart and others that source in China would go out of business if it was more expensive to produce abroad then locally. Your example doesn't make any sense.

  • MalkorMalkor Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Every piece of furniture I've bought from Wal-Mart has fallen apart in under a year.

    14271f3c-c765-4e74-92b1-49d7612675f2.jpg
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    templewulf wrote: »
    And fucking lamps too! Goddamn it, every lamp I've bought from Wal*Mart has gone to Hell in under 2 years, but they were only $1-$5 cheaper than stuff at Target. The $80 lamps at Sears are still going strong in year 3, though.

    Honestly, I think we ended up spending more money replacing Wal*Mart products than we spend making one expensive purchase of something worth having.

    Yeah, it's not hard to figure out. But part of it is that if you only have two nickels to rub together, long-term thinking isn't exactly a priority. Also that even when we have money, human beings tend to be short-sighted animals (as werehippy pointed out).

    As to that, I agree with you werehippy. It is largely a market/consumer problem, not a Wal-Mart problem. That's why whenever I get into discussions with people about how everything is made in China (which was constantly pointed out to me by customers when I worked at JC Penney, where everything is made in Asia) the first thing I'd point out is that it's largely consumers' choice; they'll choose the Chinese made product over the American one, even at as little as a 5% difference in price. The market is brutal in that regard.

    So yeah, you have a great point. The funny part is (while this may not be you) that it seems a majority of people who claim (accurately) that it's a market/consumer problem also bitterly oppose any sort of government regulation of that market, if only to help ensure that consumers are paying to cover some portion of the negative externalities of their choices. It's like they claim that things are only fucked up because of the market...but somehow the market will fix itself on its own? Or, even better, it's all those other regulations that are causing it, and if we opened it up into an economic thunderdome suddenly everybody would choose the more expensive vacuum that lasts longer. Or something.

    Which I don't buy. Because my economic education taught me that there are some cases where the market does simply fail.

  • FencingsaxFencingsax Bondage Discipline Spider-Man Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    It's the Vimes' Boots school of economic thought.

    It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it
  • templewulftemplewulf Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Yeah, it's not hard to figure out. But part of it is that if you only have two nickels to rub together, long-term thinking isn't exactly a priority. Also that even when we have money, human beings tend to be short-sighted animals (as werehippy pointed out).
    You don't have to tell me. I spent years working retail, because I didn't have any better job prospects. It wasn't so much that I was short-sighted as much as I couldn't afford a vacuum cleaner for more than $40. Do you really think consumer long-sightedness is that rare?
    Which I don't buy. Because my economic education taught me that there are some cases where the market does simply fail.
    You mean the invisible hand of the market doesn't give everyone handjobs and ice cream? One thing that always bothers me about free-market libertarians is that they make the same mistakes as communists: assuming all actors are fair and rational and that their economic policies are full of fairies and unicorns. The general public is retarded and kind of a jerk? What a shock!

    Really, I'm not railing against Wal*Mart itself so much as the race to the bottom philosophy they embody. They're just the most often cited example, because they have the largest impact.

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  • LiveWireLiveWire Registered User
    edited August 2007
    I have this idea for a short story, where in the future humanity is divided into two civilizations, clashing among the stars for dominance in the galaxy. The Microsoft faction and the Wal-Mart faction.
    Spoiler:

  • Irond WillIrond Will Dragonmaster Cambridge. MASuper Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited August 2007
    mcdermott wrote: »
    FUN FACT: The supply chain is fueled by raw materials. Many raw materials are located in places where sizable towns are impractical. For example, coal can commonly be found in the West Virginia mountains, where geography (i.e. those same mountains) prevents most towns from growing past a few thousand people.
    FUN FACT: Farmers are part of the supply chain. By definition, they need lots of land that only rural areas can provide.
    FUN FACT: Some people like doing those things.
    He doesn't care. He's getting his irrational rural hate on.
    Well let's be fair here. Most of the Wal-Mart Defense Corps seems to come from benighted little rural areas. If they want to vocally support the ruination of the economic viability of their little hamlets for the next few generations so that they can get a wider variety of discounted NASCAR coozies, and regard minimum wage cashier jobs with no benefits as "the best damn thing that's happened to this town in yadda yadda," I don't really see it as the responsibility of urban liberals to waste political capital trying to turn the guns from their own heads.

    Wqdwp8l.png
  • GooeyGooey Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Someone tell me why it's a bad thing Wal-Mart has put mom-and-pop stores out of business. And structure it in a way that doesn't apply to every other retail chain in history. Or go against the basic concepts of business in a capitalist environment.

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  • Irond WillIrond Will Dragonmaster Cambridge. MASuper Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited August 2007
    Roanth wrote: »
    Are you positing that absent Wal-Mart these small/rural towns would be thriving, self-sufficient economic communities? Here I thought that rural America and small towns were dying out because of population flight to larger urban centers were individuals could get better jobs. Guess I was wrong. Also, your point that Wal-Mart only builds a store in places where it believes it can get more out than it puts in is true of 99% of the businesses in the U.S. The reality is that the U.S. is part of a global economy and to believe that keeping Wal-Mart out of a town is magically goint to keep a community together is utter nonsense. The more lucrative, attractive jobs are almost universally in larger, urban areas that also happen to be the location of large corporations and businesses. This trend is driven by increasing globalization and technology, not Wal-mart. Your views that small-towns "retain" capital and keep it "local" is also seems a bit far-fetched.

    Small rural areas have a lot of problems, it's true. Wal-Marts exacerbate a lot of them, mostly by pulling money out of the local economy and by offering an overall worse employment situation than it would be without a Wal-Mart.

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  • Irond WillIrond Will Dragonmaster Cambridge. MASuper Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited August 2007
    Gooey wrote: »
    Someone tell me why it's a bad thing Wal-Mart has put mom-and-pop stores out of business. And structure it in a way that doesn't apply to every other retail chain in history. Or go against the basic concepts of business in a capitalist environment.

    Some retail chains are franchises, which tend to keep more money local. Wal-Marts are generally centrally owned or owned by subsidiaries.

    But really, the same arguments apply to most large retail chains. The reason for Wal-Mart's greater impact is that they aggressively target small rural communities with an eye to establishing local monopolies, and they extract local capital much more efficiently than many of their competitors.

    Wqdwp8l.png
  • madstork91madstork91 Registered User
    edited August 2007
    ege02 wrote: »
    madstork91 wrote: »
    I saw it, it doesn't actually address very much.

    The low prices set by walmart that a small business owner cannot match will eventually shut down the small business.

    In a lot of smaller towns where wall mart has moved in there are various vacant buildings that were made so because of the above mentioned.

    People lose their way of life, and we lose our sense of community, all to save a few bucks each trip to the store.

    All of this was addressed.

    Edit: They also tend to slightly raise prices after all the other stores close down.

    Yeah, no. Things like "way of life" and "sense of community" are bullshit reasons.

    Ways of life change. Senses of community get refined. It is asinine to argue against Walmart on such grounds because change is a good thing.

    Just because you hate these things and are afraid of making connections with vast amounts of people outside of this online community does not mean that they are going anywhere, or that they do not matter.

    I go to school in a smaller town than where I am from, it is big enough that we have almost every major regional restaurant. The managers in these places know me by name. I get often get my food comped just because they can. (when I let them mind you... I don't like taking things for free. Plus you can only draw water from a well so many times.)

    Even in the larger town that I am from the managers and employees know me. They still try to get me free stuff.

    Why? Because I talk to them. They are a part of my community and I a part of theirs. (One from the larger community even started to sponsor my football team when I went and asked, he started bringing his family to games.)

    Change is good. Disconnection and losing our humanity and sense fo community is not.

    tg2po0.gif Tech reviews, another forum to talk in... w/e.
  • FellhandFellhand Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Gooey wrote: »
    Someone tell me why it's a bad thing Wal-Mart has put mom-and-pop stores out of business. And structure it in a way that doesn't apply to every other retail chain in history. Or go against the basic concepts of business in a capitalist environment.

    If they had a Wal-mart built here in Middlebury it would kill the downtown mom and pop shops. It would only make getting specialty or higher quality goods harder. While it would put those businesses out, it would give job oppurtunities to a lot of people (albeit low paying, but the current stores are also low paying) since the mom and pop shops rarely ever hire.

    I think a superstore would look awful in my town. I like the look of a lot of small buildings because it gives it that quaint feel, but it would be nice to have a selection of goods and also to be able to not be ass raped on the price all the time just because we want to buy local.

    Incidently, there's a comic book shop in northern VT near the border that resells action figures from Wal-Mart. That is, the guy goes to Wal-Mart, buys the figures for shelf price, brings them to his store and then increases the price. His argument is that he can't get them in as cheap as he can buy them at Wal-Mart. I still think it's pretty dick to do that though.

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Irond Will wrote: »
    mcdermott wrote: »
    FUN FACT: The supply chain is fueled by raw materials. Many raw materials are located in places where sizable towns are impractical. For example, coal can commonly be found in the West Virginia mountains, where geography (i.e. those same mountains) prevents most towns from growing past a few thousand people.
    FUN FACT: Farmers are part of the supply chain. By definition, they need lots of land that only rural areas can provide.
    FUN FACT: Some people like doing those things.
    He doesn't care. He's getting his irrational rural hate on.
    Well let's be fair here. Most of the Wal-Mart Defense Corps seems to come from benighted little rural areas. If they want to vocally support the ruination of the economic viability of their little hamlets for the next few generations so that they can get a wider variety of discounted NASCAR coozies, and regard minimum wage cashier jobs with no benefits as "the best damn thing that's happened to this town in yadda yadda," I don't really see it as the responsibility of urban liberals to waste political capital trying to turn the guns from their own heads.
    Really? Most of the Wal-Mart defenses I've heard come either from people living in moderate-to-large cities in "red" states (rather than actual rural areas) or from people who've taken a few economics classes and became libertarians yelling "the market! the market!" left and right...these people also don't necessarily live in rural areas, and often live in these nice liberal urban areas you talk about.

    I've not heard a lot of defense of Wal-Mart from actual rural dwellers.

  • Mom2KatMom2Kat Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Okay so we are talking about mostly American Wal-Marts, right?

    Cause I have not seen any of the things you are tlaking about in Canadian Wal-Marts. But then medical is not tied to employment here. Sure if you get full time you get extended medical (dental, chropratic and other not covered by provincial health plans, as well as group rates on your provincial health care) but other than that Wal-Mart is the same as any other employer here. I only have annecdotal evidence from friends who work "on teh front lines" as it were and one is a store manager. The night guys in Okotoks Alberta are starting at $14.50/hr so they can compete and keep crew. I have 2 floor lamps that are going on 6 years working now, both computer desks are over 3 years old. The clothes I buy for my daughter have lasted at least 3 different children. And yes Wal-Mart is the only large store in my town. Well now we have a Staples too but Wal-Mart doesn't really compete with them for more than school supplies.

    I see that alot of the things most complain about are not problems with Wal-Mart persay, but more with doing business in teh states. The fact that alot of the abuses are either illegal here or not an issue (part time vx full time for healthcare) to me makes me seperate Wal-Mart in canada and the States. And yes I will continue to shop there.

    Oh and by the way what do you mean by Wal-Mart customers? My "spawn" is never running around and I have not encountered a lower class of shopper in a Wal-Mart than in any other store, including The Bay.

    Another thing where are you guys finding these Targets that are not depressing? Mind you it has been 5 years since I have been in target and that was in Spokane, but the store always reminded me of Zellers up here. So damn depressing to be in. Sad, broken, poorly lit and the staff, if you could find them, seemed broken in will.

  • GoslingGosling Looking Up Soccer In Mongolia Right Now, Probably Watertown, WIRegistered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Thing is, though, I think that the Wal-Mart problem is a uniquely American thing. The reason being that Wal-Mart has never really gotten a grasp on how to handle itself once it leaves American soil, and as a result is stifled enough to where they are relegated to the status of just another competitor.

    Example: Once, Wal-Mart opened a store in Sao Paulo, Brazil. They tried to sell footballs.

    No, not as in the international 'football'. American footballs. Pigskins. Needless to say, baths were taken.

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  • RoanthRoanth Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Irond Will wrote: »
    Roanth wrote: »
    Are you positing that absent Wal-Mart these small/rural towns would be thriving, self-sufficient economic communities? Here I thought that rural America and small towns were dying out because of population flight to larger urban centers were individuals could get better jobs. Guess I was wrong. Also, your point that Wal-Mart only builds a store in places where it believes it can get more out than it puts in is true of 99% of the businesses in the U.S. The reality is that the U.S. is part of a global economy and to believe that keeping Wal-Mart out of a town is magically goint to keep a community together is utter nonsense. The more lucrative, attractive jobs are almost universally in larger, urban areas that also happen to be the location of large corporations and businesses. This trend is driven by increasing globalization and technology, not Wal-mart. Your views that small-towns "retain" capital and keep it "local" is also seems a bit far-fetched.

    Small rural areas have a lot of problems, it's true. Wal-Marts exacerbate a lot of them, mostly by pulling money out of the local economy and by offering an overall worse employment situation than it would be without a Wal-Mart.

    I don't get this concept of pulling money out of the local economy. For this to be true, the local mom and pop stores would have to be plowing their profits into other local businesses through investment lending, etc. to make a difference. Guess what, mom & pop aren't venture capitalists and probaly invest most of their profits in the market, mutual funds, etc. I am just not seeing the money drain that occurs from having a Wal-Mart in the town. The fact that a local business owner has the profit vs Wal-Mart's HQ doesn't mean anything unless the local business owner is proactively investing in other businesses locally, which I doubt is typically the case. The employment situation is not all one way. I am sure there are cases where the Wal-Mart helps the local economy and creates more jobs (we have heard some anecdotal ones on this thread). Plus you need to weigh consumer savings from Wal-Mart against any potential wage deflation. Not surprisingly it is a very complicated issue and cannot be summarized in a catch-all statement that Wal-Mart always creates a worse economic condition for small rural areas.

This discussion has been closed.