Day By Day Cartoon

Friday, February 24, 2006

The devil you know...

It's not hard these days to find stories or movies on how Wal-Mart is evil, bad for small businesses, and horrible to it's workers. Why? Well, the health-care issue is a legitimate gripe, but I remember during my time as a prole at Sears, I worked part-time, as did all my co-workers, just so Sears could avoid paying us benefits. Hardly something unique to Wal-Mart.

If I'm reading this right, though, it seems one of the main complaints that the anti-Wal-Mart people have is the negative effect that a Wal-Mart store has on small businesses. When a Wal-mart store comes to town, it tends to dominate the local economy and send the locally-owned stores running.

So when a large chain store moves into an area, it's a bad thing, as it sends all the local stores packing, and the neighborhood/town loses the local flavour that a small business brings to the community.

Funny, but the people who oppose Wal-Mart seem to ignore that Starbucks does the exact same thing when they move into area. I've lost track of the number of local coffee shops that have gone out of business since Starbucks have arrived here. Fortunately, a few stay on, like The Coffee Rush and The Coffee Plantation, and given the choice, I go there.

Why is it that Wal-Mart, known and loved by the working class, is a threat to the working class, but Starbucks, known and loved by, well, let's say "Not The Working Class", isn't? Why is having a big blue box store on every corner a threat, but never being 20 paces away from a caramel macchiato isn't, despite what it does to local coffee shops?

We fear what we don't know. And to the elites of the world, whose idea of low-price shopping is the 3 day sale at Nordstrom's, Wal-Mart is as foreign to them as the Kamchatka penisula. But for the heartland of America, Wal-Mart's become a trusted partner, and not something to be feared.

Personally, given a choice, I prefer Target, myself.


At 9:28 PM, Blogger Doug Adamavich said...

What everybody seems to forget is that Wal-Mart started out as a small store in rural Arkansas. The big retailers at the time were Woolworth, K-Mart, and Montgomery Wards. Everybody knows what happened next.

Wal-Mart did this by executing better and by doing a better job at handling information. They heavily invested in IT back in the 80's and it paid-off BIG TIME. To think, a company from Podunk, USA came in and kicked the snot outta the big retailers.

Maybe Wal-Mart's opponents don't like the fact you can buy ammunition there for a good price...


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