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Friday, October 29. 2010
Readers might doubt me, but last Saturday was my first visit to a WalMart. It was the "Supercenter" in Mt. Vernon, Ohio.
What a place! Open 24 hrs/day. Humongous.
I realized one thing about this place: Sam Walton did not really have a new idea. He just took the old country General Store, expanded the hell out of it, and got big enough to control the prices of his suppliers.
I may be the last person on earth to learn these things. Why didn't Woolworth's do what Sam did?
Tracked: Nov 14, 22:09
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There's a lot you can say about Walmart, good and bad. But last November they put together a full turkey dinner for eight for $20. That included a frozen bird, Stovetop stuffing, cranberry sauce, veggies, rolls and a pie. I'd bet it will be available this year, too.
Even if you don't shop there, it has changed your life, Walmart has. There's more money in your pocket because of what they do.
I guess it depends on where you live. The walmart near me (california, where else?) is full of children running wild with not much adult supervision; people who don't speak english throwing merchandise all over the place and it doesn't look like the employees are putting things back. I won't set foot in the place.
Woolworth didn't do that, because the management were trying--not always succeeding--but, trying to behave according to a "Christian" ethic. Sam Walton never gave a moment's thought of those "ideals". He ran over whoever was in his way. Sorry, but he and others like him are the reason that the liberals lean farther and farther into never, never land. Pulling away from the power hungry fanatics that destroy countryside, small community economies, and don't give a damn! If it wasn't for Sam Walton, we might not have and Obama today!
Yep, we traded our middle class's manufacturing jobs for cheap goods from China. Walmart bulldozes any supplier that won't go along - i.e. offshore their production and cut price to the bone. The suppliers can't do anything about it, but we consumers can.
Sorry, free trading human labor isn't what it's cracked up to be. I'm just not so altruistic that I want to level the globe within my children's lifetimes, especially now that we've borrowed heavily on their futures.
I've never been in a Walmart and I ain't starting.
Love that pic of the 5 & dime store. Brings back some good memories that are much older than that particular store.
While Sam Walton was alive Walmart emphasized American-made goods. They found and pushed some excellent products made in the USA. I still have a flashlight from Walmart with the best focusing I've ever seen. It's great for my aging eyes.
I just found out that Walmart has a long loaf of white bread for $1. That's half the price of anywhere else near me. Peanut butter there's a great deal as well. Name brand for half the price per oz as elsewhere. That's important on my budget.
It's also important to my diet. The name brand peanut butter is tastier and much more filling than the generic I had been buying. Half a sandwich is just as satisfying as two full sandwiches of the cheap stuff.
Picked up a tea kettle for $12, which will pay for itself in a month by making tea instead of drinking soda water.
My Significant Other (from California) had never been in a Wal-Mart until she came to Nebraska to see me last Spring. She arrived with a negative bias but ended up being very impressed with the store and was very surprised at the size. In addition, she had not ever visited a Wendy's or Arby's and she is 50 something.
Woolworth went into the discount store business in the 1960s with the Woolco stores. They went broke.
I buy almost all my groceries from Wal-Mart as they are on average about 25% cheaper than the competition. For some reason they are generally not competitive on their fresh meat. I don't know why.
With teenage boys to feed, we sometimes shop the Walmart to pick up things we didn't get at Costco. It's for mass consumption items, not high quality. Sometimes good enough is good enough. One tip is to visit at low crowd hours. We've found Sunday mornings at 8 or so to be almost civil. No long lines at the 5 open regeisters, out of 30 present. No screaming kids. We usually save 25% off of our chain grocery.
We love Walmart. For those of you who've never been to one, I suggest that until you live with a slim budget and children rapidly growing out of their clothes and shoes, you suspend judgment.
Woolworths may not have, but, Kresge (K-mart) was 1st. Wal-Mart took K-Marts example and beat them at their own game. To the winner go the profits. K-Mart is dying.
Bird Dog, Here's what I love about it. They employ the unemployable and with them create a pretty efficient operation. When you consider the blessing the store is to the poor (its a veritable Disneyland in there with Subway, a bank, place to pay utilities, eye care, hair care, etc, etc) providing things they need and want at prices they can afford, liberal do-gooders should be ashamed about their opposition to Wal-Mart.
Looking Glass and Steve Boggs are right on target. After Sam Walton died things did change at WalMart and the chain started using more imported items. By the same token, remember that in the same time period almost every retailer started selling overseas products.
WalMart is castigated for selling Chinese products, yet Target, Macy's and other retailers are given a push by Americans. Take a look at the origin of items in any of the major stores and you see that they are mostly imports. (Based on her comments, Nancy may have to change her shopping habits) That is not because of WalMart or Sam Walton but rather the overwhelming rules that Uncle Sam has placed on American workers and developers.
WalMart is a great help to the average Joe in America.
Thank God my wife and I can afford to keep our principles and avoid Walton's small-business-killing emporia. It's undeniable that Americans are keeping the cost of living low at the low end, but it's also undeniable that the 1962 dollar is worth 7.23 of today's funny money - see the cpi calculator. Call us Quixotic, but we support American suppliers, even if they work in homecrafts. The Chinese are eating our lunches while we waste our time watching their video displays.
And best of all- you can think of yourself as morally superior to the rest of us! In fact, your probably more moral than God!
Well, I DO know what apostrophe's are for.
(Watch for hidden irony)
Doesn't that beat all? You're not only more gooder than me, your more edgumacated!
But I forgot to say I agree with you about liberal knee-jerk criticism of Wal-Mart. Just wanna say we wingnuts can criticize it, too.
By boycotting Wal-Mart, and bragging about it, you're doing nothing distinguishable from your left-wing friends (not a slam, I have them too). Find a way to make your political statement without hurting poor people and a corporation that's doing nothing worse than playing by the rules.
Thank God my wife and I can afford to keep our principles and avoid Walton's small-business-killing emporia.
- - - - - - - - -
Oh, boo hoo.
Most of these "emporia" added no extra value, and were made necessary by limitations - real or imposed - on distribution of goods and communication of information.
Those limitations are not coming back.
I now live in a small country straining to outgrow its socialist past (Israel). Folks here remember the "good old days" when there was one importer for many items - who closed the shop between noon and 4 for their siesta, and who could charge whatever they wanted. You literally had to take time off from work to purchase some items.
Now we have shopping malls, local versions of Ace Hardware and other chains - and it's easy to order stuff from overseas over the internet.
Talk about principles....
How about dumping that stupid law that makes most toys and books made in America "too dangerous" to sell to children? How about all the other laws that choked American manufacturing ability?
Israel is a Socialist paradise compared to its neighbors. And most of those who live in Israel by choice are guided by quite long-standing principles. If the country becomes more conservative it may survive longer.
BTW - I agree with Ben David's last sentence.
Saturday's (liberal) Washington POST ran a romantic article about old-fashioned hardware stores where the employees could actually help a customer find a needed article. Didn't say if the pay scale was over $9.82 per hour.
Claritis, who made your TV? Who made your car or truck? Who made the clothes that you are wearing? Where did the food that you eat come from? Who made the computer that you posted from?
All of us want to purchase items made here in the USofA, but that isn't a practical solution. That is unless you are watching the news on a Red and Green show TV; or you grew your own cotton, combed it, wove it and cut out your own shirts and pants. I'm sure that you tanned a cow's hide and made your own shoes. Of course there are some US clothes manufacturers but you are stuck wearing some pretty dull looking duds.
China isn't eating our lunch. They have their own problems and while the media may portray China as overtaking the US in the next few years, that is just not the case. China has some technologically advanced cities but they have more infrastructure problems than America has.
At WalMart you can purchase prescription drugs at a fraction of the cost from Safeway or Walgreen's. They buy in huge bulk. WalMart is actually helping Americans weather the economic storm that is sweeping our country. So please keep your convictions but don't lord them over those of us who must use our cash carefully.
If you think you get a lot of nonsense about shopping at WalMart from preening, self-congratulatory WalMart haters (who buy much of the same merchandise at Target), let a neighbor discover that you own a chunk o' WalMart stock. I was not prepared for the snarling attack I received from an adult male lefty down the road who got my proxy package in his mailbox. Of course he had the crust to open it, and lied that it was neatly opened in a postal mishap (obviously a mishap with a sharp, executive letter opener).
I got into WMT stock way, way back, and not only have I been financially rewarded, I believe that this this company has been just - if you define being just as what is best for the most, not what is best for decaying downtowns, disgruntled merchants and retail nincompoops who are unwilling to change with the times and offer goods WalMart does not offer in niche merchandising areas. Marketing 101.
Since you ask, only one of my TVs is American-made. All five of our cars are US makes - one is from 1948 (with a Truman sticker). We buy US-made clothes to the extent we can. I wear Minnetonka shoes, lately made in the Dominican Republic. And I absolutely dress like a slob and don't give a rat's patoot. Oh, and I buy medicines at Costo and through a service. Many are made overseas.
China isn't literaly eating my lunch, but they are buying US debt at a rapid rate. Does that bother anyone else?
Today I heard Jon Stewart say "We live in hard times." Sorry to tell some of you, but these times are not like the 'thirties. Ask a disabled vet about today's hard times; he or she might have an opinion to share.
The thing is the expensive stuff is made in China so you may as well go to Wal-Mart and pay less for it.
You know why we buy so much stuff from Asian countries? Over-regulation drives the price of American made goods up until the company either outsources their production out of the country or goes out of business. Over priced union labor is also a problem. If you want to pay for their lavish benefits, go ahead.
Lots of superficial thinking today. I put it down to a couple generations of people who were shortchanged of being taught analytical thinking because of too much time spent in Alpha in front of TV sets (both American and foreign-made).
Unions were a great idea for protecting working people against greedy bosses. I'm pro-union for that reason. Unfortunately, we now have greedy union bosses AND greedy fat cat bosses. In China the unions ae apparently absent or weak. We shall see what happens if a strong union movement arises over there.
Similarly, market and consumer regulations sprouted in great profusion for good reasons and now have become encrusted with micromanagement and political correctness, not to mention special interest loopholes (if one can encrust anything with a loophole).
Wat is it - two-thirds of our population? - receives a green check from Uncle Sam these days. I call that a probable benefit. The 1937 Social Security program was a safety net benefit that has been enlarged and bloated over the years by politicians reaping votes. But the voting population has agreed to all that. Lavish? Besides retired fat cats and politicians, who receives lavish benefits? Some retired entrepreneurs? Not this one.
I have three sons in the automobile business, and they tell me that foreign cars are generally more expensive to repair than American makes. Where's the economy there?
Claritis, you are missing the point. With the exception of your '46 car, the rest were probably made with parts made overseas or assembled there and sold as a US automobile. You uphold your high standards by wearing DR shoes which were made by slave labor there. The same type of slave labor that you deplore in China.
Yes, China holds a good portion of our US Treasury Bonds. Twenty-five years ago, Japan held huge amounts of US debt and hard assets such as commercial and residential real estate. It didn't get them very far. China is as extended as the US is. I'm there on a regular basis and they are not as solid as our media portrays them. Is it a problem -- yes. Will it get fixed by staying away from WalMart -- no.
In fact, if you are really interested in destroying Chinese communism, buy Chinese products. Shanghai ten years ago did not have potable water in the 4 and 5 star hotels. The rooms were nice but you drank bottled water. People about town on their business looked like poor folks. Now that is not the case and it is because Shanghai is one of the economic free zones.
In the economic free zones the standard of life improved so rapidly that at great risk Chinese workers violated their internal passport regulations just so they could get a job in one of those areas. Now, with the downturn in European and American markets, workers are being forced to return to their villages to live with their families. Of course that isn't going well with them or with their families.
Unions don't work in China. You work or you don't eat. If you cross the communists you end up in jail or underground.
My point is that you are in the same boat we are. If you want to keep your standards by shopping at a different store purchasing the same materials that WalMart sells then please don't get upset at people who shop at WalMart. That doesn't make logical sense.
If you want to march to DC and get after the yahoos who sent all of our work overseas, then please let us know. The dirty work was done with help from both sides of the aisle. The overwhelming regulations and mandates killed manufacturing here not the businesses.
My Toyota 4x4 has almost 518,000 miles on it with the original engine and drive train. Now that's economy.
Sorry for the long post. Blessings to you and the others readers on Reformation Sunday.
Woolworth's went out of business because they were downtown, and didn't move. Wal-mart was not the force that drove that, they just rode it. Downtowns are now for live entertainment, restaurants, and financial services. The romance of smaller, cozier stores is something we all appreciate, but not enough to actually go there and buy their goods, apparently.
I am thinking, BTW, that the opposing arguers here, who amke some good points, wish they could go back and not start with oversimplifications. It's a hard thing on comment threads. If there are only going to be 3 comments, you don't necessarily want to put in a lengthy comment that captures the nuances of your thought. One oversimplifies for impact. But if it goes to 30 comments, you wind up having to defend a pithy overstatement.
Yall never been to Walmart is a stiff one, Bird Dog.
Walmart is okay with me 24/7 but it's service needs some work and groceries, suck.