One of my sisters is one of the greatest Walmart shoppers in the country. She and my late mother have gone to dozens of store in the southeastern United States. I remember a visit they made to Albany a few years back – probably just after the Daughter was born – and they wanted to go to the local Walmart EVERY SINGLE DAY they were in town. And this was the previous Walmart, NOT the one expanded in 2008 to be the largest Walmart Supercenter in the United States.
Whereas I’m not quite as enthusiastic. I rather like the success story of Sam Walton, going from a single store to become the largest private employer in the world with over two million employees. But some of the company policies have made me wary.
I recall reading in the 1990s about Walmart entering towns in the Midwest, driving out the local hardware store and other merchants. When it found a Walmart store was not profitable enough, it would pull out of the market, leaving the towns much worse off than they were when it arrived. Now that Walmart is having declining sales, this seems like a scenario that could be replicated. Its aggressive price challenge is aggravating its competitors, who claim Walmart has misrepresented the facts.
I find it odd that it has banned music with explicit lyrics, yet carries a full complement of assault weaponry that has recently included the Bushmaster AR-15, which was used in the Sandy Hook (Connecticut) Elementary School shooting, and several other high-profile mass killings.
Walmart, many claim, is the epitome of economic inequity, when they could easily afford to pay their employees better, which led to the largest employee strike ever last autumn, and more actions in the spring, and again around this Thanksgiving. It’s clear that Wal-Mart’s low wages cost taxpayers money. By comparison, Mark Evanier and the Daily Kos tout Costco as a much better corporate entity.
Those Walton billionaires, sons and daughters of Sam, are bankrolling a number of controversial actions such as school “reform” efforts in Los Angeles.
Still, my personal antipathy has less to do with any of that than the one and only time I went to Walmart willingly. It was the autumn of 1994. I had just had a painful romantic breakup, and I needed a bunch of household items. Someone said that I should go to Walmart, which had opened only the year before in our area.
I took the bus out to the locale, and started filling the shopping cart. I went home with several bags of stuff. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized that I was missing a bag. I called Walmart, and they found my missing merchandise at the register. It was too late to take the bus back to Walmart, but I said I would return the following day.
The next afternoon, I arrived at Walmart and waited for someone to get my bag from the manager’s office, where I was told my stuff would be. After at least a half hour, I was told they couldn’t find my bag. But I could go back through the store and get the stuff again.
Now I hated going through the store the first time. Going through a second time, trying to find the SPECIFIC items I had purchased the day before was really difficult. First time, I was just going up and down the aisles; this time, I had to try to match my previous purchases in terms of size and brand and price; what a pain! I’ve never shopped there, or any Walmart, willingly since, as I find it too big for my taste.
And to answer the question of hyphen or no hyphen in the name: Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) [is] branded as Walmart.
A unified theory of shoving.
ABC Wednesday – Round 13