The Wal-Mart Dilemma - To Shop Or Not To Shop?

by golbguru on June 26, 2007

I am opening up this question for discussion in the spirit of “what have you got against Wal-Mart?” - along the lines of similar (but unrelated) questions in the past: what have you got against personal finance bloggers? and what have you got against credit cards? However, I have some musings to share before you proceed to make your case.

First, let me tell you why we shop at Wal-Mart.

  • Some things are just outright affordable at Wal-Mart and if we buy them from other retail stores, it’s going cost us a significant amount of extra money.
  • The Wal-Mart store we general use is really clean - most people find it hard to believe, but that is true - so we don’t have any *cleanliness* barriers that stop us from going there. I think the cleanliness of a store (any store, not just Wal-Mart) depends on it’s manager and it’s staff and probably the guys in our Wal-Mart are good.
  • There is an awesome variety of available choices, so we don’t feel restricted when we shop.
  • It’s easily accessible (not too far from where we live), and it’s open 24 hours.
  • For fresh fruits and vegetables, we shop elsewhere (a local farm market), but for most packaged items (perishable and non-perishable), we drive down to Wal-Mart (except when thrift store is an option).

However, every time I mention our Wal-Mart purchases on this blog, I get emails and/or comments about how Wal-Mart is evil and why I should stop shopping at Wal-Mart. Those comments momentarily make me wonder if I am hurting the economy in the long run by shopping at Wal-Mart; however, in spite of such thoughts, I have been unable to come up with any substantial reason that I would use to convince myself to stop shopping at Wal-Mart.

It’s probably because I don’t really understand how not using Wal-Mart is going to benefit us (or other people) in any way - right now, or in the foreseeable future. If I stop using Wal-Mart and instead start using JC Penny for my clothes, and Kroger for my groceries, how are things going to change? As far as I know, JC Penny (and other similar stores) imports their merchandise from the same countries as does Wal-Mart, and most brands of food items in Kroger (and other similar stores) are the same as available in Wal-Mart. So, except for wearing an “anti-Wal-Mart mask“, I would be probably buying my supplies from the same original sources … and just paying higher prices for them.

Along these lines, I have a few more unanswered questions which I will throw open to my readers here.

  • At the present time, how would not shopping at Wal-Mart improve the US economy?
  • If the masses stop shopping at Wal-Mart, wouldn’t it encourage Wal-Mart to start indulging in even drastic cost cutting measures - which has the potential to put the entire country into a recession? In fact it’s quite possible that we might have a recession and high inflation at the same time (no more “always low prices”) - an undesirable condition which economists refer to as “staflagation“.
  • Wouldn’t thousands (probably hundreds of thousands) of people at Wal-Mart loose their jobs in this case?
  • Wouldn’t the stock market fortunes of millions of people dwindle in such a case and cause more misery than good?
  • If you are thinking beyond the US, from a global point of view, and are worried about the long hours, poor working conditions, and low wages of people in poorer countries who manufacture goods for Wal-Mart - how is not shopping at Wal-Mart going to improve their condition from this point on?

I am seeking some earnest answers here - so if you have the time and the patience, please feel free to drop a line. I am sure people who go at lengths to explain how Wal-Mart hurts the local and global economy have some smart answers for these questions.

While we are at it, what are your reasons to shop (or not shop) at Wal-Mart? What reasons do you cite when you encourage or discourage your friends/family to use Wal-Mart?

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{ 101 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Brian 06.26.07 at 6:49 am

I just wanted to say to this that I agree, WalMart is not bad. People view it as the end of an era IMHO and fear the change.

For consumers it is pretty much a good thing, almost all negatives involve the suppliers and the employees. The only negative I can even remotely think of for consumers is that certain products will NEVER be carried in WalMart and Walmart controlled everything we would eventualy loose some choice. I think we are a long way from that expecially in a culture where people dont shop based completely on price whichis what WalMart has positioned itself on.

Suppliers: Well, it is hard to be a supplier at WalMart. I agree 100%. They are constantly asking for more and wanting it for less… So does EVERY business… and doing business with WalMart will get you more business, it is the big dog in a lot of cases for getting new contracts.

Workers: I dont get this one… this is the same argument that I have heard for unions for years. Yes, if you are union you will make more and have better benefits. BUT… it is at a cost to society… bottom line. There is a reduced sum available because 1. there is the administration of the union that most be taken into account, 2. a unionized work force will not operate as efficiently as possible, 3. Using tenure versus contribution for meassure is against the american way of life, again IMO. I think that when people think about WalMart they are seeing a globalization of work force. They are seeing the results of what other countries experience and are GRATEFUL for… it is always amazing to me that people say shut down sweat shops… I mean is it ideal no… BUT it is providing income to those families… people make choices based on what is best for them out of their available options… dont force your ideals on someone else.

Anyway…

PS about the unions… i see the strongest anti-WM sentiment from the NE which is the strongest unionized area. I think in prior times management could get away with too much and unions may have been needed for protection, I do think however they have lost their way and with today’s media it would be much harder to perpetuate regardless of unions.

2 Jeremy 06.26.07 at 7:04 am

The bottom line is that as long as people want the cheapest possible price for something there will be a company to fill that need, whether it is wal-mart or not.

People can argue the ethics of the company all they want but the desire for convenience and low prices will continue to fuel the companies that can provide what consumers want.

3 Jared 06.26.07 at 7:15 am

We shop at WalMart because it’s close (we try to walk there whenever possible), it’s open 24 hours a day, it’s relatively cheap (we still always shop around, especially for big ticket purchases), and because, for the most part, it’s one-stop shopping. Oh, and praise the gods, they added self-checkout lanes!

We never buy any produce or bakery items there, though - they seem to go bad awful quick compared to other stores (probably because of how long they’re sitting in trucks being shipped).

@Brian: I am in agreement with you about unions.

4 Dancinghawk 06.26.07 at 7:22 am

When people ask, I tell them that I don’t shop at Walmart for the labor-related reasons. The truth is, though, that I am not very good at boycotts. I’m philosophically in favor of the boycott of Thai imports until the child sex-trade in Thailand is eliminated, for example, but I still buy Thai goods and Thai food because I’m very fond of it. Walmart is sort of the opposite for me. The real reason I don’t shop at Walmart is two-fold.

1. Their products — particularly clothing — are sub-par.

2. I hate how they’re laid out. They’re too big, too bright, too stark, and it’s like shopping in a maze. It’s asthetically unapealing. I feel uncomfortable there.

I don’t know, maybe that’s a dumb reason to not shop at a store. This sort of thing probably makes me a hypocrite, but it’s not like I tell other people they shouldn’t buy Thai or shop at Walmart. (I just tease my friends about it.)

5 Brett McKay 06.26.07 at 7:51 am

My wife and I don’t shop at Wal-Mart because of the labor and environmental abuses Wal-Mart has taken part in. Also, like Dancinghawk, we hate how Wal-Mart is laid out. They’re getting bigger and bigger and more and more crowded. I get a headache when I go into one.

Something my wife and I noticed is that we actually have been spending less on groceries ever since we stopped shopping at Wal-Mart. Many of the products we buy can be purchased for about the same or less at other stores.

6 Moneymonk 06.26.07 at 7:57 am

I cannot deal with the crowds!!! I know you can almost get anything in the world at Wal-mart from a computer to fruits or a plasma TV.
But that store stays so busy, no matter what state I’m in Walmart stays busy, long lines.

I like Target the prices are the same and Target is more organize and neat.

7 BAMAToNE 06.26.07 at 8:11 am

If you have some time, try to find the Walmart episode of Penn & Teller’s “Bullsh*t,” which airs on Showtime. They asked the very same question as you: “What’s with all the Walmart haters?” In the end, they are on your side. There’s nothing inherently wrong with shopping at Walmart, and nothing particularly evil about Walmart’s practices.

8 Tyler K 06.26.07 at 8:33 am

I shop at Walmart all the time, mostly for the convince. Ya, the crowds are annoying so I usually go right after work or late at night. Avoid the weekends if possible.

I do try to avoid most of the raw meat at Walmart and go to the local grocery store or butcher. I have a friend who restocked the meat coolers, and he would only eat their chicken. He claimed the red stuff in the packages was dye and not blood. He never fully explained how he determined this, so take it with a grain of salt. It’s probably perfectly fine to eat.

9 Gaming the Credit System 06.26.07 at 8:35 am

I’m right with you, golbguru. I have no qualms about shopping at Wal-Mart.

People talk about sweatshops. Well, sweatshops are just a stage on the path of progress. The original sweatshops were in England in the 1800’s. Some of my ancestors were there. Somehow they managed to survive, and now England is one of the leading economic nations in the world. It’s a necessary first stage in industrialization. People move in to the cities from rural areas and work in dangerous factories. It’s how it’s worked since the beginning of industrialization. I’m not saying that I don’t feel somewhat sorry for the workers, but overall I don’t see what else can be done about it. They seem to prefer working in sweatshops to whatever they were doing before.

People also talk about the death of the mom-and-pop store. This is just unwarranted nostalgia for a bygone era. There is nothing inherently noble about being a middleman, buying at wholesale and selling at retail, keeping inventory and having a storefront. Really, it’s a way of life that is dependent on inefficiencies in the system. I don’t see how that’s worth preserving.

10 broknowrchlatr 06.26.07 at 8:43 am

I don’t know how one person can affect the economy by not shopping there, but who in their right mind values the miniscule ammount they can affect the economy over the effect on them? Stuff is cheaper there, so I shop there.

If Walmart is soooo terrible, people should stop working there. Fact is that when a walmart has 5 jobs open, there are 50 people to fill them and there is no motivation to increase pay or benefits. Its a free market. If you are one of the 5, be happy you have a job and don’t whine about benefits. The other 45 would be happy to work instead of you. If there was no minimume wage and Walmart started paying $4.50 an hour, I garauntee you they would still get fully staffed. I’m sure there are thousads of illegal immigrants that would work at Walmart for $4 per hour or even less.

The market drives wages and benefits. If you are an unskilled worker, you get an unskilled wage. Fair or not, that is the way of th world.

11 anon 06.26.07 at 9:04 am

“The market drives wages and benefits. If you are an unskilled worker, you get an unskilled wage. Fair or not, that is the way of th world.”

Truth is, there are plenty of skilled workers who have immigrated to the United States and end up having “unskilled wages” because their past experience and education is overlooked.

12 MillionDollarJourney.com 06.26.07 at 9:04 am

I read an article that Walmart has single handedly kept inflation in check.

FT

13 Jeremy 06.26.07 at 10:09 am

“Truth is, there are plenty of skilled workers who have immigrated to the United States and end up having “unskilled wages” because their past experience and education is overlooked.”

So? If a company has an open position and is offering $6.00/hr and there are dozens of people applying for that job then there is clearly a market for that type of work. The company shouldn’t have to artificially inflate wages if there are people willing to fill the spot for a lower wage.

The market is efficient. If ABC Corp. makes Widgets and needs 10 people to man the assembly line to produce the product and can continuously find employees to do the job at $6.00 an hour the company will continue to offer that job at a rate that keeps the position filled.

As soon as the ABC Corp. begins losing employees in this position and cannot find enough people to fill the position at that rate they have to become more competitive by increasing the wage and/or benefits until they can keep those positions filled.

It doesn’t matter where you’re from, skilled or not or anything. A company is in business to make money and they will pay employees the amount that is sufficient to keep the positions full and to produce the quality of product or service that makes them profitable.

14 Family Savings 06.26.07 at 11:31 am

I seriously doubt that one consumer can make any difference or changes to how Wal-Mart operates. I saw this show that said that Wal-Mart is making companies shut down and loose money because they either don’t put some of their products on the shelves and they don’t pay them enough to produce their products. The only way that Wal-Mart keeps their prices so low is because they don’t pay enough to the suppliers. They bully them and say if you don’t use Wal-Mart you will loose a lot of money because we are one of the biggest stores in the country. It’s a very scandelous way of doing business. But really, the only way to stop it is to have everyone in the country stop shopping there. That will never happen because their prices are so darn cheap. So it’s a never ending cycle.

15 Brian 06.26.07 at 11:50 am

I have to say I am amazed at the previous post. Should walmart protect the consumer or the producer? I mean another way of saying what you wrote above is… Walmart makes consumer products the lowest that the possible can, a producer can choose to either participate, or find another retail outlet? I dont see the scandelous… I see free market…

Don’t you want consumers to be able to afford more products and increase their standard of living?

When I lived in Europe I was amazed at how much I missed having a super store… some place to go where I knew I could find asprin, and garbage bags, and hangers… and walk out the door for less then 5 dollars…

16 Steve Miller 06.26.07 at 11:52 am

I don’t personally shop at Wal-Mart because I don’t like the crowds and if your smart you can shop elsewhere without spending much more. Examples Wal-Mart doesn’t double coupons where as most other stores do. They don’t have weekly specials you can cherry pick and so on.

I’m not an expert on the subject. My personal feeling is Wal-Mart is a target because it is the biggest baddest retailer on the block. You could probably bring forth many valid and similar complaints against other retailers that aren’t as successful as Wal-Mart has been. Plus Wal-Mart has driven down the costs of retailing in general so even when you shop at other stores you realize benefits from their aggressive pricing strategy.

17 Kevin 06.26.07 at 12:06 pm

I rarely shop at Wal-Mart, but I don’t avoid it for ethical considerations. I just don’t like it. The stores are generally crowded, much of the merchandise I want isn’t there, and I don’t find it to be the value they claim they are. Cheap, yes. Good value? Not so much since I find the quality is often a little lower as well.

When I have tried to shop at Wal-Mart I find that I then need to go elsewhere as well. I may save a little on some stuff, but the need to make extra trips elsewhere negates it. I’d rather just get everything for similar prices at a nicer store like a Super Target. The products are nicer. The stores are nicer. The selection better meets my needs.

18 golbguru 06.26.07 at 12:10 pm

Brian: “Well, it is hard to be a supplier at WalMart. I agree 100%. They are constantly asking for more and wanting it for less… So does EVERY business…” - I have also heard that Walmart infact pushes businesses towards being more lean and efficient. It’s a good thing to happen (in my point of view). And like you say, I am sure other stores also push their suppliers in the same way - may be not as hard as Walmart, but hard enough to make it viable for the big stores.

Jeremy: The very fact that Wal-mart has grown to such a scale is a reflection upon our consumerist tendencies and the want to get goods conveniently and at cheaper prices.

Jared, DancingHawk, MoneyMonk, and Tyler K: I can understand not shopping at Walmart for a particular product (because of individual preferences), and sometimes the crowd. These are very practical reasons not to use a given store and I am sure you will apply the same yardstick to any other store that shows similar characteristic.

Brett: “Something my wife and I noticed is that we actually have been spending less on groceries ever since we stopped shopping at Wal-Mart. Many of the products we buy can be purchased for about the same or less at other stores.” - that’s interesting; around here, there is no doubt that Walmart offers the cheapest goods. We also did some comparison shopping a few times and sometimes the differences turned out to be as high as 10% (with Walmart being the cheaper one).

Gaming the Credit System: “I’m not saying that I don’t feel somewhat sorry for the workers, but overall I don’t see what else can be done about it. They seem to prefer working in sweatshops to whatever they were doing before.” Yep, and when instead of addressing the real issues behind these sweatshops, people start talking about closing down Walmart, I wonder what will happen to those folks working at sweatshops. Although, it may have been a difficult and low paying job, but it may have been their only chance at progress.

Broknowrchlatr: “If there was no minimum wage and Walmart started paying $4.50 an hour, I guarantee you they would still get fully staffed.” - yep, that would happen. May be it would happen less if there were a lot of other better paying opportunities.

Anon: “Truth is, there are plenty of skilled workers who have immigrated to the United States and end up having “unskilled wages” because their past experience and education is overlooked.” - there may be some substance to that, but I don’t think it specifically applies to Walmart. Plus, such a blanket statement may not be valid if you consider a large pool of immigrants. For example, I personally know probably more than a hundred immigrant workers who are definitely way higher up in the salary chain than the average US worker. It’s like Jeremy said in response to your comment - companies will keep offering jobs at certain pay rate - whether a *skilled worker* wants to accept it or not is his choice.

MillionDollarJourney: That is sort of correct. Of course, there are other factors that were responsible, but Walmart apparently played a very significant role. In one of the references I listed above, it says this:

The giant retailer is at least partly responsible for the low rate of U.S. inflation, and a McKinsey & Co. study concluded that about 12% of the economy’s productivity gains in the second half of the 1990s could be traced to Wal-Mart alone.

Jeremy: “A company is in business to make money and they will pay employees the amount that is sufficient to keep the positions full and to produce the quality of product or service that makes them profitable.” - I agree with that. Plus, that’s not a Walmart specific strategy - it’s how a capitalist society operates.

Family Savings: “It’s a very scandalous way of doing business. But really, the only way to stop it is to have everyone in the country stop shopping there.” - that’s where my thoughts halt. I don’t think making people stop shopping at Wal-mart is going to change the scandalous way of business. Things need to change at a higher level that that.

Also, I am not so sure that Wal-mart is the only store that indulges in scandalous business practices - everybody does that; Wal-mart probably attracts attention because of it’s sheer scale - things sort of get magnified when it comes to Wal-mart.

19 dimes 06.26.07 at 12:14 pm

We never go there because it’s farther than the Kmart AND the Target. AND the people who work there have an IQ of a block of wood and won’t sell you anything without the UPC code.
When we lived in GA a few years ago we got a bunch of kitchen items there, and in the meantime, almost everything has had to be replaced because it was shoddy. I was cutting an onion with a paring knife one day when it came to pieces in my hand. Yikes. What good is buying cheap stuff that you constantly have to replace?

20 Kathryn 06.26.07 at 1:54 pm

On principal, I don’t shop at Walmart. The immediate reason is because the majority of the products in the store are of shoddy quality and I hate shopping in mega-stores. It’s true that if Walmart hadn’t been invented, some other company would probably have emerged to drive prices down. But now that Americans have learned to value price over all other factors–quality & customer service & living wages for members of their community–I find that my choices of where to shop and what to buy have been curtailed. That makes me angry. For example, it’s almost impossible to find high quality clothing _anywhere_ because everyone else has had to cut corners to compete on price. I know that my boycott of Walmart won’t make much difference in the scheme of things, but as a consumer I vote with my dollars and I choose not to give them to Walmart.

21 Family Savings 06.26.07 at 3:37 pm

Hey, I shop at Wal-Mart. If they figured out a way for suppliers to sell to that at such a cheap price then by all means go for it. yeah, it is scandalous but you’re right, for me it’s just a way to save money.

22 Mary 06.27.07 at 3:14 am

There are several other issues people cite when arguing against Walmart, and I think one of the most prominent is the economic effects on small towns and businesses. Walmart has the ability (through insanely low prices and business practices) to suck money out of local economies by having so little money go back into the community, whether through wages or whatnot, and having the vast majority of the money going to corporate headquarters. This argument generally applies primarily to areas in which there are no pre-existing “big box” chain stores. Other “big box” stores have the ability to do this type of thing as well, but Walmart has a particular notoriety for it.

There is a book out called “How Walmart is Destroying America (and the World)” by Bill Quinn which outlines some of the reasons why some people greatly dislike walmart. I own a copy and wouldn’t necessarily recommend it alone for its argumentation points, since it is hopelessly biased from a radical liberal perspective. Regardless of your political sentiments, I feel that it is so important to recognize who is writing a book and why, and how language is used to prove a point. However, since your initial question was “what have you got against Walmart?”, I think this book could provide perspective into the rhetoric and arguments used to convince people not to shop there. Again, if you decide to read it, just make sure to think rationally about Quinn’s arguments; it’s easy to get swept up in impassioned writing.

23 moom 06.27.07 at 4:04 am

Walmarts near me don’t sell fresh produce. I shop there for occasionally for branded, packaged goods like buying an iron or a clock-radio - you can get a good price on the same product available elsewhere. I also buy some hardware stuff. While I’m there I pick up shampoo, soap, cornflakes or whatever. Wouldn’t think of buying clothes etc. there stuff looks crap, store looks crap etc. I guess I’m too rich for shopping there mostly :)

24 mapgirl 06.27.07 at 5:53 am

1) Walmart destroys rural communities. Whereas you drove 100 miles to the local store, a Walmart moves in 200 miles away and drives the local store out of business through ruthless price competition. After a few years of unprofitable operation, Walmart pulls up stakes and now you’re stuck driving 300 miles to another town or another Walmart.

2) Walmart abuses their suppliers to the point where the workers of that supplier cannot afford the middle class lifestyles we Americans enjoy. (domestically and internationally)

3) Walmart is sexist. (documented in a class action lawsuit)

4) Walmart abuses their own employees by forcing them to work off the clock. (documented in a court case) They also claim to offer healthcare, but routinely make schedules so that no one qualifies to get it.

5) Their green practices are simply whitewash for the fact they sell plastic goods in plastic bags. They want to save money on energy in their stores because they can’t cut their prices any lower.

I, too, find Walmart stark and ugly. I literally once got lost in a store trying to find laundry detergent. I left, ran into a friend in the parking lot, and he went back into the store with me to find what I needed.

Walmart isn’t only about the domestic economy. They are so powerful they are an international force. I shiver when I think of how much economic this one company wields and the kinds of business practices it spreads globally.

As a denizen of the Northeast, I take issue with the claim we’re regionally opposed to Walmart because we are unionized. Actually, I think most communities here are opposed to Walmart because THERE IS NO ROOM LEFT FOR A SUPERSTORE. The Northeast, by dint of being the oldest part of the nation, does not have a lot of room to grow outward. It’s like Cinderella’s ugly stepsister trying to shove her big fat foot into a tiny glass slipper. The Walmarts in VA and MD are all in the outer suburbs or the exurbs where there is space to put them. Zoning radically changes when you have a large footprint requiring parking.

As far as Walmart’s anti-unionism goes, I think you ought to consider what unions have done for you. I work a 40 hour work week thanks to the unions. Read about Homestead and tell me you don’t think unions have done some good things for the US. Why are unions bad? Because they want to make sure there is healthcare for their members? Maybe you should take up the cause of universal healthcare with your government instead if you think unions are bleeding businesses dry. Unions are losing power left and right, but without collective bargaining, workers would have no rights at all.

Sorry for ranting, but I think sometimes people think that unions are evil without grasping the full picture of what they have done. No, I’m not crazy about union fat cats filling their pockets, but I don’t think workers should be abused by their employers either. Shopping for the lowest prices ultimately subverts the values of most shoppers and until consumers realize that, people will continue to shop there.

I avoid them as much as possible, but in some places I travel, they are literally the only game in town.

25 Lana 06.27.07 at 6:32 am

Walmart donates to the Republican party.

For me, that’s enough of a reason not to shop there. I’m a liberal. Even if toothpaste is twenty cents less, that’s twenty cents I’d rather spend at a store that supports my personal values. I know a lot of my liberal friends feel the same way.

26 Ellie 06.27.07 at 6:43 am

The best way to calculate the TRUE cost of shopping (or doing any other task) is to assign a value to your time.

For example, my time is worth $20 an hour.

If I go to WalMart, I have to spend time looking for a parking space, navigating the crowded isles and waiting in line to leave. For even 3-4 items, I may end up spending an hour at WalMart. These items may have cost $10, but I have to add in the $20 for my time, which means my trip to WalMart now cost me $30.

If I go to a smaller local business with less foot traffic and higher prices, I may spend $15, but I only spent half an hour there ($10 of time), for a total of $25.

I’ve saved $5 by not going to WalMart!

As the saying goes, time is money - and WalMart’s low prices do not mean you save time.

27 Brian 06.27.07 at 6:48 am

I will try and address point by point.

1. Hasn’t occurred in my small rural town in SC? How often has Wal-Mart pulled out when it has gone in?

2. Why do American workers “deserve” a middle class life style? Have you traveled at all? Do you appreciate that American middle class lifestyle is far ahead of other countries even European? Because of birth you deserve more?

3. No comment, as a male I could offer instances of reverse sexism, but no one cares about that so.

4. Again no comment, if they are breaking the law they should be brought to task.

5. Any green practices are better then none. I am always confused by people who seem to think they aren’t doing enough… they are doing something.

6. So… you are from the NE and in a union and against Wal-Mart but you don’t like that I draw that conclusion?

7. Unless you are from Boston, maybe… The south is as old as the northeast, SC and V especially. I don’t think it is because of space that most people in the NE are against Wal-Mart.

8. I wanted to address health care for a second. 1st whose health case system are you going to model after? Where do MOST of those countries send the patients that can afford it? Often times here. They have critical shortages of Dr’s and nurses there because they are hard jobs that require extreme education and updates and yet since public they don’t pay for it. The US health care system is broken. On that point we can agree. For me a big problem is litigation in this arena but is a whole different ball of wax. I think there are ways to provide affordable healthcare without making it public.

9. So let’s talk unions for a second…

Unions are a drain on society… there is no doubt on this. So is government, we may or may not need one or the other but they are DRAINS on society. This is econ 101. They create nothing and are administration. Charities work the same way… if they take in 100K they use 20k to advertise to get more money and pay salaries etc and then 80K to helping people (this would be a good charity). Wouldn’t we better off just giving the whole 100k to the people that need it? Didn’t we lose 20k to administration? Same thing.

Most of your statements involving a union are based in the past. What unions have done for people in the past, what they have done for me etc.

I guess I can honestly say that unions haven’t really affected my life. None of my family is in one and in the south we don’t really have them. If i ask did unions IN THE PAST keep management from perpetuating harm on employees then I think the answer is yes. Are they still doing this or necessary… well IMO no.

My major problem with the unions is the idea that seniority is the best metric of security. I think this breeds complacency in people and I HAVE observed that first hand. People with 40 plus years in a union who are unwilling to be trained, learn a new job, or work, but are secure in the fact that they cannot be fired. This is the minority absolutely but it is the impression that lasts… I know for a FACT that unions create less jobs…

I do not understand why unions feel that they are slighted if offered the exact same benefits package of management.

If a company would employee labor at 6 an hour and employee 100 people and operate they would. If a union comes in and demands 9 an hour do you think the company is going to be able to employee the same 100? No… and they are going to look to automate, off shore, etc to get their perceived labor rate back to 6 an hour.

My main complaint and unfortunately you displayed it, is ENTITLEMENT.

Why are you entitled to health care? Or a 40 hour work week? Or anything at all? Why do you DESERVE that?

I have actually been in collective bargaining meetings. It is not a negotiation, it is a very confrontational situation. All management is not out to take all workers rights they are not there to get everyone fired… who is stereotyping now?

I believe that what we are seeing with Wal-Mart is true globalization. The return to having a lower, middle, and upper class… A society CANNOT exist without all 3. What makes America great is the ability to move upwards through them. Our goal should NOT be to have everyone be in the middle.

28 Adam 06.27.07 at 7:03 am

Personally, I try not to shop at Wal-Mart because I don’t approve of many of their censorship policies. This is especially bad when it comes to music, what with them bleeped out the naughty words and all. They also don’t carry books, magazines, and video games that they don’t approve of. I understand that they’re trying to promote a “family” atmosphere, but it seems unfair and inconsistent.

29 Rob in Madrid 06.27.07 at 7:10 am

I don’t live in America so I can only comment on what I’ve read else where.

It’s really a philosophical argument. Frugal vs Cheap. Walmart is all about cheap cheap cheap. Other companies (costco?) is unionized pays above average wages and benefits and holds its own against Walmart.

A typical example (it was a podcast so I can’t provide the link) Walmart forced a local manufacturing concern to move all their production to China. Why to save 50 cents on a watering can. Gone 200 good paying factory jobs. Of course they can always work for Walmart, but at less money and no benefits.

Regarding unions, they are neutral. Jack Welch and GE the company Wallstreet loved is heavily unionized and that hasn’t prevented it from turning in record profits or a great return on investment.

Unions are neutral, I worked in a unionized shop for almost 20 years before moving to Europe and being unionized didn’t prevent the company from demanding and getting concessions.

Where to shop is really about convenience, I shop at the discounter and at the expensive store.

Where one can make a difference is in choosing what to buy. consumers have alot of power, witness the backlash against factory farming.

30 Rob in Madrid 06.27.07 at 7:19 am

as an aside. America has the best healthcare and the worse delivery system.

I can’t fathom going to the emergency room and being told we can’t treat you because you can’t afford it. I’m thinking of the guy I read about who cut off two fingers and was told it would cost X dollars to get them put back on, as he couldn’t afford it they didn’t reattach them. Sucks to be him I know.

More importantly are people who are stuck in jobs they hate because of health care. It’s one issue that I haven’t seen addressed much in the blogosphere. I can’t manage that.

31 Jaime 06.27.07 at 7:21 am

mapgirl - Really good points there.

I too live in the crowded Northeastern U.S., and thankfully so, because I have lots of choices on where to shop, unlike most of rural America. Wal-Mart has been able to thrive so successfully because it conquers and destroys so many small businesses and communities that have been powerless to stop it. Most people in the pro-Wal-Mart camp live in these areas, and are seemingly blind to the social and economic repercussions Wal-Mart brings to their town. Sure they’re saving some extra money in the short-term; but at what cost? Where did all the other businesses go? I have family in small towns throughout the midwest that have become completely dependant on their local Wal-Mart because there is simply nowhere else to shop anymore; no exaggeration. It’s extremely eerie. I feel bad for the people that simply have no choice.

To the people that use the “it saves us money, so it can’t be all that bad, right?” defense, this is typical laizzes faire. Wal-Mart relies on people just like you to stay in business and continue their completely unethical practices, which have been proven and documented to include racism, sexim, bribery, sexual harassment, pollution, and monopoly. It’s a pity that most people choose to look the other way just so they can save a couple of extra bucks when they shop.

32 Rob in Madrid 06.27.07 at 7:45 am

sorry can’t edit comments after they’ve been posted. Loblaws a unionized chain in Ontario (canada) has held it’s own quite well against the onslaugth of low pay non unionized competitors. Yes the workers took some concessions but ask anyone who’d they rather work for, the unionized Zehrs (the local Loblaws brand) or the non unionized Price club.

I think you know the answer.

Walmart also forced Zellers to vastly upgrade their stores and selections when they moved in the Canada several years ago. In general the shopper has been the big winner in the shopping wars.

Lastly the one and only store to unionize was in Quebec and it was shut down. It went union becuase of the way management was treating the workers. The union lost the first ballot but won the second when management not only gloated about winning but made sure to punish anyone they suspected of voting for the union. Unfortuaneatly Walmart then shut the store, losers, workers and consumers. Whose to blame, mostly walmart.

33 Rebekah 06.27.07 at 8:49 am

There were two points I wanted to address.

“Wouldn’t thousands (probably hundreds of thousands) of people at Wal-Mart loose [sic] their jobs in this case?”

Well, thousands of people lose jobs every time Wal-Mart moves into a town, and smaller businesses go out of business. Your choice is your own; however, whenever possible, I purchase from smaller or family-owned businesses, or via eBay (so that I am supporting an individual and not a corporation). That is my CHOICE and while I’d suggest it, I’m not telling you what to do.

I also wanted to respond to DancingHawk. I supported the Thai boycott enough to own a Don’t! Buy! Thai! T-shirt. I wanted to give you this link http://www.vachss.com/mission/dbt_update.html and suggest that. at this point, Thailand is about as bad as the rest of the world. (That’s NOT good! but it’s so much better than it was.)

34 Wendy 06.27.07 at 9:03 am

About 5 years ago I got to personally see the destruction of a local business due to a Walmart moving in. One of my coworker’s family owned a small local grocery store in WI. His father had worked his way up in the store from bagger to buying the store 20 years later. Enter a Walmart with Grocery department one block away. They could barely keep the store open for 8 months after that. I’m sure there are hundreds (thousands?) of stories like that, but this was one guy who I directly saw how hurt he and his family were by Walmart.

35 Consumer 06.27.07 at 9:55 am

I don’t see WalMart as an “evil company” or anything like that. I think they are very honest about what they are: low prices. With that comes lower-quality value, low wages, etc. That’s their model and for them it seems to be working.

I used to go there all the time but have been going there rarely now, if at all. There are several reasons for this… all of them may be issues that are just relevant to my local store. So this is not a indictment on all stores, just my local one.

1) The store is filthy. I’ve gone there all hours of the day and night and never seen anyone clean it. There’s trash in places, the floors are sticky, there are smells coming from some of the frozen food systems, etc.

2) They seem to have stock issues. They are out of stock of waaaay too many items. For a company that prides itself on inventory management, this seems kind of ironic. I end up having to go to another store to get half of the items I need, because WalMart is out of stock!

3) The lines/employees. The staffing is terrible. Sunday, in the middle of the day, out of the 30 or so check-out lines, maybe 6 or 7 are open. They are staffed by employees in which the term “rude” would be an improvement. They are beyond slow and incompetent. Plus, the self-checkout machines are either not working most of the time, or limited to 10 items or less. All of this leads to wait times in line that frequently exceed 30 minutes, during which all of my frozen food and what not is melting!

4) Despite the fact they have so few cashiers, there is never any shortage of managers walking around in red vests, controlling the cashiers. Perhaps a few of them could man a register from time to time.

5) Lastly, I could somewhat deal with all of the above issues if their prices were really that great. But honestly, they are only slightly cheaper on some items, and more expensive on others! Plus their prices seem to have been raised several times since January. I’ve found other grocery stores often beat their prices, even on non-sale items.

Now, this store is 4 miles away. They are currently building an additional store about 1/2 mile away. When it opens, I may start going there if I find conditions are better.

Oh, and in regard to Walmart shutting down small businesses, I agree it can be an issue but it just depends. In the city I used to live in, WalMart came to town and several small independent grocers had problems. However, one of them grew their business. Why? Instead of competing on price, they chose to compete on service, selection, etc. They really focused on old-time values such as knowledgeable butchers, very friendly employees, etc. Their business grew because people were willing to pay a little extra for those qualities.

36 Bill 06.27.07 at 10:34 am

I suspect the Penn & Teller show revealed a big reason why people don’t shop there.

They don’t want to be around poor people.

As much as don’t like to see it, that family of 5 who pull up in their 1990 Taurus still need to buy stuff on their household income of under $30,000.

And I can’t believe people are pining for the days of fewer choices.

The service at the local hardware store has improved drastically since the became an Ace store (same people for over 20 years)

The local family owned grocery store guy I knew was more than happy to see the family sell out to developers - he wasn’t too thrilled to be produce manager at age 49.

37 Anna 06.27.07 at 12:46 pm

I shop at Wal-mart because they’re cheap and because they seem to be the ONLY retailer that carries Aunt Michelina’s Zapems Mozzarella Lasagna (I don’t like any of the other Zapems, which is good because all of them have ridiculous amounts of sodium, including the lasagna =P). I don’t understand the people who shop at Target because they hate Wal-mart… just because Target charges you more because they have a cooler advertising campaign doesn’t mean their goal is different. Plus, they’re charging you an extra $2 / bowl or whatever because of the “cool” factor. pbbffft!!!

38 Flo 06.27.07 at 1:54 pm

Walmart is a corporation and a store. Walmart cannot be evil as it is not a person. Walmart’s business practices are all designed to keep prices as low as possible and profits as high as possible. Some companies have the opposite design. For instance, do people complain that Ferrari is illegally inflating prices by only producing a few cars per year?

If a company does not want Walmart to sell its products, it is not forced to. And unlike Rob of Madrid seems to think, they cannot “force” any companies to do anything. They give them the option of doing it or not supplying Walmart any longer.

The thing about workers at Walmart is that they don’t have a lot of other options. I have had family members that worked there who’s other choices were slightly higher paying manufacturing or service jobs with the possibility of more layoffs and no room for advancement.

As for the small businesses that it drives out of a town: make yourself a viable alternative. Differentiate in some way. Have superb service, sell niche products, etc. People don’t know that most Grocery stores (family run or not) are a relatively new thing. In the past people went to a different place for each product. Butcher, baker, candlestick maker. I personally enjoy going to one place to get it all done, and at any hour of the day.

Lastly, as for unions, they were necessary in the earlier parts of this century, but as of today, I think they are just a way for people to become compliant. I have personally lost jobs twice (as a part time college teacher) because someone who had been working for the school was hired again because rules instituted due to unions. This was despite the fact that school administration did not want to keep hiring the same people. They had gained unofficial tenure by just working there, so unless major complaints were brought against them, they had to be retained despite their poor performance.

39 Super Saver 06.27.07 at 4:01 pm

Golbguru,

Personally, I don’t shop at Wal-Mart because I don’t enjoy the experience - i.e. time to find things, (lack of) service, and long lines.

However, lots of other poeple seem to like Wal-Mart. I think the had $340 billion in revenues last year. Looks like I’m in the minority:-)

40 Rebekah 06.27.07 at 4:59 pm

I wanted to make a small correction to Flo’s comment “People don’t know that most Grocery stores (family run or not) are a relatively new thing. In the past people went to a different place for each product. Butcher, baker, candlestick maker. I personally enjoy going to one place to get it all done, and at any hour of the day.” The concept of the general store goes back Colonial days. (I first read about it as a child in “Little House in the Big Woods,” which takes place well after that!) Quick online searches show general stores in Europe and Asia as well. The difference in size has much to do with the products available, and with mass production.

I also wanted to point out that, in “Walmart’s business practices are all designed to keep prices as low as possible and profits as high as possible,” Walmart would gain my loyalty, and could still keep very high profits, if it raised employees’ wages even by a small percentage. Flo also wrote “The thing about workers at Walmart is that they don’t have a lot of other options.” WalMart could raise its reputation considerably with a relatively small concession to profit by treating its employees better. They re-took the top spot as a Fortune 500 company, and their profits were up over 11% last year. In MILLIONS they made over $336,000 (add half a dozen zeros to that!) - http://tinyurl.com/27azne will bring you directly to CNN’s article.

Again, I believe that whether one shops there or not is one’s choice. I just cannot respect, or give any of my very hard earned money to, a store that makes so much and gives so little.

In response to the original post: If I can only afford something by going to Walmart, I’ll give up something else or do without it. I don’t have very much money due to physical problems unrelated to your post - so I usually have to choose the latter.

41 Jeff Hess 06.27.07 at 5:10 pm

Shalom Golbguru,

The report out this week from the Economic Policy Institute provides a good over view why I think people, if economically possible, ought not to fuel the Bentonville-Beijing access of evil.

And for those who must shop at Wal-Mart, there’s always My Little Wal-Mart Toothpaste Buycott.

B’shalom,

Jeff Hess

thewritingonthewal.net
havecoffeewillwrite.com

42 Laurel 06.27.07 at 10:51 pm

We had no problem shopping at Wal-Mart and even supported the new Super Wal-Mart project, until this incident.

I know it’s not a usual reason for a Wal-Mart boycott, but hey - you asked. :)

As for my experiences since giving up Wal-Mart… I’ve actually enjoyed exploring my shopping options in our community, and haven’t noticed any significant hit to my pocketbook at all. In fact, I am probably saving money, because instead of going to Wal-Mart for “just one thing” and walking out with half a dozen, I do a lot more specialty shopping.

A good example is that our vacuum drive belt went out a while back, and that’s an item I’d purchased at Wal-Mart in the past. This time around, I headed for a small vacuum and sewing machine repair shop I’d only passed by before. Inside, I found the sweetest little elderly couple, excellent customer service, and frankly - pride in my community. I know that sounds cheesy, but part of my idea of the capitalist experience is self-gratification. It factors into my cost-benefits, and since I felt better about shopping at the Vac-U-Mart (real name) than at Wal-Mart, it was worth the few extra cents the belt might have cost me.

For those looking at a purely monetary bottom line, Wal-Mart might save them some money… sometimes. That’s even iffy, from what I’ve now heard.

43 JM 06.28.07 at 6:10 am

“1) Walmart destroys rural communities. Whereas you drove 100 miles to the local store, a Walmart moves in 200 miles away and drives the local store out of business through ruthless price competition. After a few years of unprofitable operation, Walmart pulls up stakes and now you’re stuck driving 300 miles to another town or another Walmart.”

This doesn’t make any sense. An honest question — Do you even live in a rural american town? I do. We have a population of 30,000 and 2(!) 24 hour walmarts. We are also going through an amazing growth period, being one of the few counties in my state to actually experience any economic growth at all this year. The reason why I ask if you live in a rural town is because nobody I know, having lived in small towns my entire 31 years, drives 100 miles to do regular shopping, let alone 200 miles to go to Walmart to save a few pennies on shampoo. Secondly, in all of my 31 years, I have never, ever, not even once, heard of a Walmart becoming unprofitable and shutting down, leaving people for hundreds of miles around in the proverbial lurch. I have never heard of a walmart shutting down period. I’m not saying it can’t or doesn’t happen, just that I’ve never heard of it. And even if it did happen, then somebody would come in to fill the void anyway.

As I said, in my town of 30,000 people we have 2 Walmarts, and not a single storefront on our main street goes unoccupied. Competition to open businesses is actually quite fierce.

44 Jeremy 06.28.07 at 6:25 am

Rebekah, you said: “Walmart would gain my loyalty, and could still keep very high profits, if it raised employees’ wages even by a small percentage.”

Why should WMT pay their employees more if they have no problem finding people who will work for the wages they are providing? My guess is the old standby “because they can afford to”.

That is the same as if you went into the grocery store to buy a loaf of bread that cost $1.50 but when you get to the checkout the cashier says “oh sorry this will be $3.00, since you make more than X dollars per year you can afford to pay more than $1.50″

The day that they can’t keep employees or their (lack of) service begins to reduce profits will be the day that they increase wages or benefits. They won’t just do it for the sake of doing it, it has to benefit the overall company in some way.

45 Consumer 06.28.07 at 6:35 am

Speaking of WalMart’s wages…

After Hurricane Katrina, many stores were struggling to reopen due to a lack of employees who returned to New Orleans. Therefore, many stores had to raise their wages. Most fast food places, and other stores, had to pay $9 - $10 per hour in order to get enough employees to open and stay open. WalMart refused to raise their pay rates. Therefore, they could not find enough labor to get all of their stores reopened. The ones that did reopen were only open from 7 am - 330 pm each day - because they could only find enough employees to fill one shift.

People kept telling them they were going to have to raise their pay if they were going to get any more employees. WalMart refused, saying that is not in their business model.

Finally, after about 6 months… WalMart raised their pay to about $10 an hour I believe, which was the going rate in the city for that type of work. What happened? A bunch of employees came back, and now all of the stores are open, some of them back to 24 hours.

However, I know at least twice they have tried to cut the pay back down to what it was before Katrina, and both times it backfired as many employees threatened to quit, since they could just go somewhere else and make the $10 per hour.

So to me this just proves market economics at work. If the market demanded more pay, WalMart would eventually have to give in. However, if the market only needs minimum wage, then that is what they will get.

46 Jackie 06.28.07 at 11:12 am

WOW. I cannot believe how the number of people who posted on here that still shop at Wal-Mart even after learning about all of their bad qualities. I live in a fairly small town and personally enjoy shopping at the locally owned stores. It makes me feel good to keep my money local and know that it will stay in the community. Plus the experience is far better than one could ever have at a Wal-Mart. I realize that I may be in the minority because I live in a very liberal town (people gather downtown every weekday to protest George W.) where it is strongly encouraged to buy groceries at the local natural food co-op.

I hope that people who are against Wal-Mart’s values but still shop there for their low prices realize that there are many affordable ways to live without supporting Wal-Mart. Buying good quality local produce and MAKING your own lasagna is much more satisfying than going to Wal-Mart to buy your favorite pre-packaged lasagna. You can stretch a dollar many ways if you just take the time. Make your own soap, detergent, shampoo, food, especially in the summer time, gardening is a great past-time. Buy a few quality items of clothing at a local consignment shop or thrift store instead of wasting your money on poorly made garmets at Wal-Mart that won’t fit well only so you have to go back again next month to buy some more.

I really feel very strongly that we need to support our local businesses and learn to appreciate quality over quantity. The jobs are there, Wal-Mart is not the answer.

47 golbguru 06.28.07 at 11:43 am

A quick aside - for those who feel strongly against Walmart on a philosophical level - are your feelings consistent with Walmart’s wholesale branch (SAM’s club) too? For all I know, the local shops in my area are probably happy that a SAM’s club is around - they all shop there. So a thought that follows is - shopping at local stores finally encourages Walmart practices, doesn’t it? I just thought this was interesting.

Coming to the quality issue. Whether it’s Walmart or JC Penny or Thrift shop down your alley - in all probability, the goods all come from the same source. It’s all made in China, Taiwan, India, Cambodia, Mexico, etc. I know for a fact that there are contractors in India and Bangladesh that supply the same product to multiple chain-stores here including Wal-mart. That “brand” sticker - that some of these products carry is just a naming label and not a guarantee of a distinct quality. So, just because someone is buying from Target instead of Walmart, it doesn’t mean that person is getting higher quality goods.

48 cactusrose 06.28.07 at 3:49 pm

Wal-Mart helps my family to save money. We don’t buy everything there but we have a lifestyle our parents did not. We live within our means and WM helps us do that well. Not living on beans and rice. Target is French owned and no one ever talks about that. “Viva the French guy”
Unions just want a piece of the pie and look how well they serve NY schools?

49 Bloggrrl 06.28.07 at 5:57 pm

Hey, thanks for making that math question easy!

Anyway, love your post. Hate Walmart. The thing that disturbs me the most about it is that if it were a country, using GNP, it would be the 32nd largest country in the world. That is a lot of economic power in the hands of a company is not held to the accountability standards of a country.

That said, I end up going there anyway, because otherwise I would waste a lot of gas going back and forth to the other three stores in town that have what we need, and as you pointed out, get things from the same suppliers.

I do miss the mom and pop days of my town. We no longer have the community that we once had, and that makes me sad.

50 Prince of Thrift 06.28.07 at 9:01 pm

The biggest problem with wal-mart (the Anti-Christ) is the way the treat their suppliers (not to mention their employees). They pressure their suppliers (who want to sell in Wal-mart, because it is so big) to sell bellow that particular manufactures costs often times. The result the manufacture has to redesign the clothes (especially) so they can make money and have their clothing in wal-mart. This results in inferior product, for example, I but several pairs of jeans over the course of time and every time and every pair, the pockets developed holes in them after wearing them just one time.
So the cost of repairs to the jeans eats up the savings. If I just paid more for quality then they would have last longer with fewer repairs. Of course if I can find my size (33waist 32long) and in good shape at the thrift shop, I will buy there.

as for the anti-christ bit, the Bible talks about a one world government and one world marketplace. So some have refered to wal-mart as that one world store. Whether it is or some other store will fill that role, I call them that tounge in cheek, but if they had their way, it could very well be the truth.

51 DB 06.29.07 at 6:26 am

I might shop in WalMart 1 or 2 times a year, but in principle I avoid shopping there unless there is a strongly compelling reason, and its usually only for a DVD or household items like towels or cooking utensils.

I refuse to buy food at WalMart — I don’t think they have any business trying to be a grocery store (e.g., I think they’ve overstretched their limits) and I simply don’t trust the quality of their food products.

When I go, I don’t find that the price difference is terribly compelling. I DO find that the quality difference is terribly against shopping at WalMart. Any clothing you buy there is a) extremely tacky looking and b) incredibly prone to falling apart quickly.

I’d much rather spend my clothing money at a regular department store for higher quality clothing. I buy fewer clothes, but they last longer. I have clothing that I’ve worn for 10 years and more because its clothing I’that ve bought in a department store and has a higher quality.

I also don’t shop at Sams (or Costco for that matter).

DB

52 Jennyjinx 06.29.07 at 6:50 am

Wouldn’t thousands (probably hundreds of thousands) of people at Wal-Mart loose their jobs in this case?

According to the Economic Policy Institute, Wal-Mart has already cause significant job loss in America.

Between 2001 and 2006, this growing deficit eliminated 1.8 million U.S. jobs (Scott 2007). The world’s biggest retailer, U.S.-based Wal-Mart was responsible for $27 billion in U.S. imports from China in 2006 and 11% of the growth of the total U.S. trade deficit with China between 2001 and 2006. Wal-Mart’s trade deficit with China alone eliminated nearly 200,000 U.S. jobs in this period.

Specifically jobs that pay an actual living wage- whereas WM is not only cutting wages for it’s employess, but capping wages (no more raises after a certain amount of dollars per hour, no matter how long you’ve worked there) and doing away with full time status (they are cutting hours on their full time employees, effectively taking away their opportunity for the very meager benefits that Wal-Mart offers).

I used to work for WM and can attest to the fact that they treat their employees like crap. Many of these folks worked for companies that WM eventually forced to shut down, and they lost their good paying jobs and were forced to take jobs stocking shelves. These a very specific reasons that I will not shop there.

For me it’s not about where the merchandise comes from, specifically (though forcing companies to move overseas to be able to stay in business is something that WM is very good at) but about how the store management treats their employees, especially their long time employees. I cannot in good conscience spend my money at an establishment that shoves their most loyal, long time employees out the door so that they can hire new staff at an entry level wage. I strongly believe that company loyalty should be rewarded by management and WM’s only consideration is the bottom line. That hurts my community and my country.

About this point:

# Wouldn’t the stock market fortunes of millions of people dwindle in such a case and cause more misery than good?

What millions of people have fortunes in WM stock? Please cite your evidence for this. I know that WM offers stock options to employees (to keep their numbers up) but those people are most definitely not making “fortunes”. WM does not pay the minuscule dividend directly to the employee, but reinvests in more of it’s own stock. Not only that, but employees may think they get a vote at the annual shareholders meeting (laughable)but their votes are summarily discarded for issues benefiting WM.

are your feelings consistent with Walmart’s wholesale branch (SAM’s club) too?

Absolutely. And Lowe’s too (owned by the Walton family). I suggest BJ’s Wholesale Club for those that like bulk items. In my area BJ’s is directly across the street from Sam’s. And the Home Depot has started hiring more experts at higher wages, so they are actually helping their communities.

I will say, though, that it’s very difficult in Northeast Ohio to drive a hundred miles and not see a dozen or so WM. In Canton, OH alone there are 6 within a ten mile radius. But I can attest to the fact that mom-and-pop shops in my corner of Ohio are dwindling at enormous rates. And with the recent Supreme Court ruling I’m sure that discounters such as Value City and Big Lots are going to suffer because of deals between manufacturers and Wal-Mart.

Have no worries, though. When the small shops and discounters in your particular area fall to WM’s obscene competitive practices, then you’ll see a rise in prices and a sudden lack of employees staffing your local WM (leading to unhappy employees, a dirty store, and unstocked shelves). Count on it.

Perhaps you should visit the WM employee forum at Walmart Blows to see how WM treats it’s employees.

here

53 Mer @ Living Behind The Curve 06.29.07 at 7:12 am

I just wanted to drop a little note about unions, unholy or blessed as they may be. Mapgirl makes some excellent points that unions have accomplished great things for workers and working conditions. Brian also insightfully observes that labor unions don’t age gracefully. They’re both right.

I think unionizing walmart would be a good thing in the short run. Wages would go up, and walmart can afford it without raising prices more than they already do (their amazing prices end at the endcaps, by the by) and a union would help curb any poor treatment of employees, which is well documented, and is also chronic throughout the industry. It’s never going to happen, though, because the people who most need the union are the folks who are making 8 bucks an hour or less. Unless some benevolent angel floats out of the sky and funds walmart store unions, nobody is going to pay that money. Either they can’t afford to, or they don’t want to give up a percentage of their paycheck.

54 ahanet 06.29.07 at 2:55 pm

Here are the reasons I don’t shop at Walmart:

1. The prices might seem low, but actually they often use tactics such as placing one low-priced item at the front to catch people’s attention and then raising the prices on the things surrounding it. Often you can get the same things for the same or lower prices elsewhere.
2. Walmart costs a lot of tax-payer money. Businesses that give their employees health benefits are punished because Walmart doesn’t pay benefits to most of its workers and instead instructs them in how to get state benefits for low-income families and individuals funded by tax-payers (and why are they low income? Because they work at Walmart). What you don’t pay in the store is made up in your payments to the government.
3. Their produce is gross. I would rather buy locally grown organic food at the small grocery store or farmers’ market. I don’t usually buy much processed food.
4. Most of their products are shoddy. Due to the forces of capitalism, it is more profitable to sell poorly constructed products for a seemingly “low cost” up front than to spend the little extra to make quality products that last longer (and dry up the market). Most of this junk ends up in a landfill–not that Walmart headquarters cares, since they don’t have to pay for little negative externalities like that.
5. Walmarts often demand tax breaks that other already entrenched businesses don’t get. Cities concede because they want Walmart to build a store there. When the tax breaks go away, often the Walmart will skip town.
6. Walmart is vindictive. If a city does not give it tax breaks, it will sometimes move to a location right along the border of that city so that people will shop there and the city will lose revenue from sales tax.
7. Walmart is able to get people to work for low wages because it causes other local stores to go out of business, thus raising unemployment. That is why jobs at Walmart are apparently in such high demand–that very demand is created by Walmart’s presence in the town.
8. Walmart is good for the consumer–but only if that consumer was not laid off from their job because of Walmart. Otherwise, it sucks for the consumer. If you move from a $40,000 job elsewhere to a $20,000 job at Walmart, it doesn’t matter if you save 10% on goods by shopping there.
9. Walmart is inefficient. Billions of dollars are ciphoned off to Sam Walton’s kids, who surely can’t take credit for their dad’s achievement.
10. Walmart often makes its employees work off the clock. If I’m not mistaken, that constitutes stealing.
11. Walmart is sexist, as someone mentioned. I am opposed to all forms of sexism, including reverse sexism.
12. To me, a Walmart store feels like a big machine sucking out all genuine human interaction and replacing it only with the paltry compensation of cheap plastic goods and rude service from bitter, underpaid employees. The illusion of frugality encourages people to indulge themselves in a mindless consumerism which maximizes the production of goods while contributing to environmental destruction, waste, and inner emptiness.

I am not going to knock someone who shops at Walmart because they can’t afford to shop anywhere else. But seeing as I can afford to comfortably live without shopping there, I cannot bring myself to shop there, for all the reasons I mentioned.

Cheers.

55 sf area 06.29.07 at 3:30 pm

I just moved from Boston to the SF bay area for a public interest fellowship. Because my SO is still looking for work, we’re supporting 2 of us on my VERY tiny salary that really only covers rent + my student loans (our savings were decimated for relocation and the rest is in the bank for future rent).

I cried when I first went grocery shopping here. I am frugal and shop cheaply. It cost me about $70 for a week of groceries for two people (and that was without buying any “pantry” items). I noticed many of my co-shoppers spending double that for a paltry number of items. The funny thing is that all these California products are about half as expensive in the Boston metro area…

We are now driving to a walmart supercenter 40 miles away (Gilroy) every 6 weeks for our groceries (produce + fun stuff bought at an Indian store near our home, restock bread + milk 2 times between trips, and I’ll cherrypick sales occasionally [like whole chickens]). My first trip was approx 6 weeks of food, plus ALL the pantry supplies needing to be replaced (spices, flours, etc etc) cost me about $250. Regular trips are about $150. This includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

The Gilroy Walmart is REALLY nice (I’m from the south and have been to WM more times than I can count). What is spent on gas is negligible compared to our grocery savings. The real bonus for me is that I don’t spend hardly any time running errands around town - all the food is in the house!

56 Beth 06.29.07 at 6:28 pm

I don’t shop at Walmart because I have a lot of problems with the way they treat their workers; the way they pay workers very little and then encourage them to use taxpayer-funded systems such as food coupons and emergency health services; and because they sell shoddy merchandise that needs to be replaced very quickly.

I came across this article that applies directly to this conversation. It’s interesting reading!
http://news.bookweb.org/features/4829.html

57 tsacgiv 06.30.07 at 12:31 pm

Walmart is a great store but is a little expensive for me.
i think is a lot of controversy about big
stores like Walmart,Jc Penney and others.
i dont agree that is only big stores abused employees.
MIAMI have a lot of employees with no overtime,no insurance and they dont pay taxes either.
people dont complaint because they need their jobs.

58 Eric Freeman 07.01.07 at 9:59 pm

I think it’s a great thing that we have large department stores that give us a one stop shop to get everything we need. I just don’t like how Wal-Mart does it.

WM is terrible to it’s suppliers. They make suppliers meet prices that leave low profit margins or else they won’t sell their product. Suppliers can’t afford to not be selling their product at the nations largest retailer, so they move manufacturing overseas to meet price demands of WM. I’m not going to say it’s all WM’s fault. I feel that suppliers need to take have the back bone to say no to WM and continue operating a business that isn’t a slave to WM. Here’s an example oI stole from some article I read.

WM convinced the Vlasic pickle company to sell them gallon sized pickle jars that they would sell for $3 a pop. After a while the low profit margin gallon size pickles were cutting into their bread and butter of sliced pickles. Who wants to buy a small jar of sliced pickles when you can get a gallon of unsliced ones for only three bucks. Young, a former executive of Vlasic, begged Wal-Mart for relief. “They said, ‘No way,’ ” says Young. “We said we’ll increase the price”–even $3.49 would have helped tremendously–”and they said, ‘If you do that, all the other products of yours we buy, we’ll stop buying.’ It was a clear threat.” Eventually the pickle company had to file for bankruptcy.

What else bothers me is the way they treat their, what they would call, Human Resources. They don’t seem to see them as humans. Employees at WM have abusive managers, few benefits, and little chance of advancement within the company. I don’t have a problem with their wages. WM is not a job store, it’s a business. People choose to work there. But you need to have the decency to help out your fellow man by being nice in the way of giving raises out more frequently and giving benefits. I think this is a problem with the Walton’s themselves.

I don’t understand why people choose to work there. Some say they have no choice but I have a hard time believing that. I understand why the mentally handicapped work there. They may honestly have no other choice. But these other peopel that work there that are perfectly capable people, why do they work there. They can’t be such bad people that they can’t find jobs, can they? In my town in rural Wisconsin theirs always jobs at Target.

Target from what I’ve heard from friends, is a great place to work. They encourage diversity in their work place and offer benefits, even health benefits to same sex couples.

Compared to WM, Target is a much nicer place to shop. In WM, the aisles are normally pretty darn plain, metal, and often untidy and dirty with cardboard and other debris. Target designs its stores to be more attractive than WM by having wider aisles, drop ceilings, a more attractive presentation of merchandise and generally cleaner fixtures. I like to shop there because Target is the nation’s biggest philanthropist based on percentage, so if you want your money to go a bit farther, give Target a try.

The employees at other stores tend to be a lot friendlier. When is the last time you were smiled at or greeted by a random WM employee just because your the customer? I can’t remember. In other stores this is common. Even the mangagers and WM always make you seem like your the bad guy. Why? You should always be able to go shopping and feel like your very welcomed and that the people working there are happy your there.

Prices at WM I don’t feel are all that great. Yea, you can get things like $3 jars of pickles, but you could also get that when your local grocery store runs one of it’s many weekly sales. I always like cutting out the coupons from the news paper and getting a great deal on something at my grocery store. WM doesn’t have weekly sales. They may have some pretty low prices on select items, but most of the time you can get the same thing at different store if you wait for a sale.

I can’t say that I don’t shop at WM ever. The one thing they do get my kudos for is being open 24hrs. Other than that, I would say WM is a store that has very little to offer it’s employee’s, suppliers, and most importantly, us, the customer.

59 Rebekah 07.02.07 at 1:27 am

My apologiesWhen Eric Freeman wrote:

WM convinced the Vlasic pickle company to sell them gallon sized pickle jars that they would sell for $3 a pop. …Eventually the pickle company had to file for bankruptcy.

it had the smell of an urban legend, so I looked it up. Eric’s data is correct. May I direct you to:A Bully to Employees and Suppliers by Robert Solomon, Clinical Professor of Law and Supervising Attorney and Director of Clinical Studies at Yale Law School, and NPR : Wal-Mart Prices Put Onus on Suppliers - an NPR article to which you can listen.I chose these out of the 671 available links for the Google search “vlasic bankruptcy walmart” because they are more likely to be taken seriously than (no offense) a blog.

Golbguru wrote:

I am seeking some earnest answers here - so if you have the time and the patience, please feel free to drop a line. I am sure people who go at lengths to explain how Wal-Mart hurts the local and global economy have some smart answers for these questions.

I’m wondering whether we’ve answered this for you?I’ve said before: shop where you want; it’s not my business. I don’t shop at Walmart because I was raised to NOT be unkind to other people, and NOT to steal, and, by shopping at Walmart, I’d be going against what my parents taught me. Shopping at Walmart offends my core values, and I’d rather do without something and be able to sleep at night with a clear conscience.

ETA: I didn’t realize (according to the Yale Professor’s article) that Walmart also put Huffy bikes out of business. Those of us who are now parents probably rode those bikes. A piece of our childhood has been stolen - not to mention jobs and a business.

60 golbguru 07.02.07 at 2:25 am

Jennyjinx: When I said “Wouldn’t the stock market fortunes of millions of people dwindle in such a case and cause more misery than good?” .. I am not stating any facts, I am just wondering; so there is no such thing as evidence for that.

When I say that about the stock market, I am not just talking of the Walmart share. Believe me, when Walmart starts consistently issuing profit warnings, it’s going to affect a lot more people than just those who own a share in the company.

Rebekah: “I’m wondering whether we’ve answered this for you?” - well, let’s just say that I now have broader perspective of looking at Walmart than what I had before this discussion.

61 bluntmoney 07.03.07 at 6:13 am

I don’t shop their because I don’t like the way they demand price cuts every year from their suppliers. They’ve put suppliers out of business.

62 Rebekah 07.04.07 at 10:21 am

A quick comment on something I only just got around to looking up:

“And Lowe’s too (owned by the Walton family).by Jennyjinx

Lowes is traded independently of Wal-Mart on the NYSE, therefore it is not a subsidiary, division, or otherwise owned or controlled by WalMart.

Lowes is ranked #43 on the Fortune 500. Walmart are not even major shareholders of Lowe’s.When in doubt, please go to a Google-based search engine, type in a few key words and then site:snopes.com to look within Snopes. I’ve kept myself from embarrassing myself multiple times with that simple search.

63 JCE 07.13.07 at 6:38 am

Everyone is focusing on the symptoms of the Wal-Martization of America. Few bother to ask how or why its happening beyond looking at the superficial.

Instead, folks should be asking, what is wrong with the U.S. economy — specifically its business environment –that the most efficient market model to deliver what consumers want most is Wal-Mart’s. Let’s not forget that Wal-Mart is, in then end, consumer driven. It is there job each day to find the best possible price and deliver it to their clients. Lower and lower middle income workers prefer — and now are very dependent upon Wal-Mart, hands down.

At any rate, the real issue at hand is that the U.S. business climate, which is grossly dependent on the pressure release of global trade to make up for its inefficiencies. If the economy were forced to close, we’d find ourselves with immediate hyperinflation. The problem is that in early 1980s during our last bout of hyperinflation and business rot, Congress’ answer was to punt rather than reform. They opened up global trade, which has since provided cover for the slowly degrading business environment and inflationary money supply policies of the U.S. Thanks to cheaply manufactured goods from abroad, politicians have benefited from the financial alchemy of turning lousy economic policy (one that would have killed our economy if it were closed to Wal-Martization) into into lower prices.

Problem is, that honeymoon period has exhausted itself and we’re seeing the consequences: tons of lost jobs / jobs converted into lesser jobs; zero wage leverage; inflating commodity and food prices (don’t buy the highly fictional CPI figure as your real inflation rate.)

The question now is, will we blame the messenger that is Wal-Mart, or will we demand that Congress reform the system? WE have wayyyyy to much arbitrary regulation. Our tax system is wayyyy to complicated. We have swarms of people’s whose careers contribute NOTHING productive to the economy except assistance with compliance to the hyper complex regulatory structure (think CPAs, Attorneys, Financial Planners, etc. etc.) — wasting $billions.

Then there is the banking system, which is hyper inflating the currency with the Fed and Congress’ approval. Well, at least up until recently thanks to globalization, but that cannot go on forever (think: oil and gas prices, etc.) and is winding down. We have seen that money end up in the credit markets and in housing prices and stock valuations — where people don’t mind so much, but it IS still inflation! But those prices are artificially high — as we see with housing breaking down along with the mortgage market.

I know that’s a bit long-winded, but don’t let the Wal-Mart symptoms(right or wrong) distract you from the fundamental causes.

Those interested in learning more about those structural problems and how they’re messing with the economy should check out this 20 page piece (.pdf) — which details this further:

http://www.vigilantinvestor.com/group/?p=30

64 MadCat 08.03.07 at 10:41 pm

I recently had to do a market study on Wal-Mart for my marketing class, and let me just say I definately refuse to shop there. So, with that being said, I am not at all surprised by the numerous posts about how great Wal-Mart is. The thoughtfulness of society as a whole has shocked me. The general consensus of as long as THE GREEDY AMERICAN CONSUMERS recieve the lowest prices who cares who it effects. Wal-Mart is the largest retailer in the world, it takes in over 220 billion dollars a year and banks over 7 billion dollars in profit, at the expense of not only its under paid over worked, nonunion employees, but poverty stricken countries that force women and children to work their fingers to the bones for cents a day. If you do the research you will find the facts on where Wal-Mart imports it products, and who their intermediaries truly are. Believe me I think you may be shocked! I definately was.

65 Rebekah 08.04.07 at 7:41 am

I wasn’t sure if I’d follow through with spending a large sum more to avoid Wal-Mart, but I’ve stuck to my values - possibly to my own surprise. I just purchased my first bike (OK, it’s a trike) and even though Wal Mart advertised it for less, I used their price as a base and went to the small, privately owned local business. Wal Mart-s price didn’t include assembly or additional assistance post-purchase. I might have saved CASH in the long run but, as I told the store owner, I still have my soul. AND my bike - I’ve been out every day, going farther each time, and I supported a local business with local residents as the owners. I feel great, and it’s not just my conscience.

66 Jackie 08.18.07 at 12:24 pm

My husband and I are both on SS. We have to watch our money very closely. We do not have the extra money to go elsewhere. Prices and gas it takes to drive to the other stores. Also Wal-Mart does price match the ads from the other stores. This is a one stop shopping for us. Groc., hair, auto service and nails. Thanks Wal-Mart for saving us money.

67 Jay 08.22.07 at 6:01 am

Walmart exploits gaps in the health care system by employing a lot of part time and short term workers. Yes, they’ve made a token effort to give longer term employees incomplete coverage. Essentially, their lack of comprehensive and universal coverage for their employees puts employed people in your local emergency rooms. Health care is but one obvious–but hardly the only–way Walmart has gotten big by pushing their costs onto the government and society in general. Soooooo, if you feel great about paying for the existence of Walmart (and like companies) via your tax dollars and the environment, shop away.

68 Marsha 09.29.07 at 11:24 pm

My policy is not to shop at Wal-Mart, but it’s a policy - not a hard and fast rule.

Wal-Mart’s wages and benefits are so low that it pushes employees onto welfare. The end result is cost-shifting to the public coffers.

I prefer not to implicitly sanction this by giving Wal-Mart my $$, but I do shop there occasionally. I do not find their prices always lower than Target or K-Mart, and sometimes I can’t even find what I want to buy there.

Of course, I always find their stores dirty, messy, and crowded. This is not just an aesthetic appraisal; it means it takes me longer to find what I want.

I’m not a fan of Wal-Mart.

69 Online shopping junkie 10.04.07 at 12:05 pm

Wal-Mart has great clothing lines and I find I can get almost everything I need for the home in one stop. The only problem I have is with the lack of staff. Long lines are something I don’t want to deal with.

70 Pancho 11.15.07 at 6:07 pm

I have made the choice that I will not spend my dollars at Wal-mart. There are several reasons for this.

They kill small business owners/towns. They will put up a new store, and undercut on pricing until local businesses are destroyed, and then can do what they like on pricing.

They use your tax dollars to make a bigger profit. They actively try to avoid paying medical benefits to as many employees as possible and then those employees are forced to use government medical programs which you and I pay for.

The way they deal with suppliers is horrible. To the point that if I made a product and sold it, I am not sure I would even want to sell to them. They will take a product, and force you to sell it for less and less each year. There is an account of this with lawnmowers from I think Snapper, who finally said forget it, we aren’t selling our mowers in your stores anymore rather than destroy their reputation by lowering quality in order to meet Wal-Mart’s price demands.

Compare them to Costco who pays far better wages, and even has a far more reasonable compensation program regarding their higher ups. Costco still has great prices.

So I am not going to crusade against Wal-mart, but I choose not to spend my money there. By nature most corporations are “evil” Wal-mart is just one of the worst offenders out there.

71 Wendy 11.19.07 at 9:09 am

I’m just starting this battle with myself.

http://debtfreedomfighters.blogspot.com/2007/11/tale-of-2-grocery-stores-and-then-2.html

Why I may have to bite the bullet and do the Super Wal-Mart.

1. Rising prices at the newly remodeled store I currently shop.

2. Changes in coupon policies where I currently shop.

One of our in-town grocery stores has gone out of business because of Super Wal-Mart going in. They had a remodel as well that raised their prices. Ultimately, they couldn’t compete - even with their double coupon Tuesday.

Wal-mart is a monopoly and definately throwing mom and pop stores to the wayside. I haven’t liked grocery shopping there, but after making a quick little price book to compare differences between my current store and Wal-Mart - more times than not, Wal-mart is cheaper.

So, I guess I get my battle gear on and brave the SuperWalmart to go grocery shopping. Amidst all the kids running around (unless I go at midnight …then all I have to do is battle the floor washing zamboney.

72 yorkie 12.17.07 at 2:39 am

There is a documentary on walmart that is on the frontline website.
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/

I shop at walmart, but there are things that I would definitely not buy at walmart. Walmart brand packaged food and fresh meat or vegetables. I don’t want to eat food that is grown or packaged in countries where there is no regulation on their farming practices.

I’ll pay extra and buy some my produce somewhere else

73 jessejames 12.23.07 at 6:32 pm

How can people who must work and provide for themselves and possibly others defend an outfit like Wal-mart. One momo spoke of a free market that sets wages while referencing illegal immigrants as eager takers of available jobs. How about being concerned with 12 million illegal Mexicans as a deterent to free market wages. If you can hire a third world workforce with its coresponding wage in a developed world economy why wouldn’t you. To make matters worse,unions in this country have been systematically dismantled along with our manufacturing base. Soon there will be no liveable wage paid to any working stiff in the good ole USA. How about you knuckleheads showing the same self interest that these multinational corporations show. Worry about yourself and your descendants realizing the American dream, instead of becoming economic slaves to multinationals and their bottom lines. Give me a break with your free market talk. You unforgivable idiots should worry about yourselves.

74 Allie 01.01.08 at 3:29 pm

Why does anyone shop at Walmart? They are unfair to their employees, their managers and to small businesses. They have hundreds of law suits pending that state these facts very clearly. Walmart outsources a lot of its labor (products) to China. Those factory workers live in horrific conditions and not respected- represented in pay- for their work. What does the Walmart family (the owners) give back to the community?
It amazes me that we can afford to shop purchasing items that give an overall expense greater that what can be purchased on Rodeo Drive! Be true to yourself, don’t shop at Walmart!

75 JP 02.11.08 at 12:23 am

Plenty of reasons to not shop at Wall Mart. Here are a few:

1) Wall Mart tends to drive local and smaller shops out of business. I wouldn’t worry about JC Penny, I would worry about the small and medium-sized businesses that drive your community’s economy.

2) Rarely are you going to find knowledgeable and truly helpful employees at Wall Mart. Their employees don’t care and have no vested interest in the company, nor should they considering how little they are paid.

3) Wall Mart is overly aggressive with their suppliers, accepting only the lowest bidder, thus forcing many suppliers to lower quality and/or outsource to foreign countries that have much lower standards. Wall Mart cheapens everything. Remember that cheap does not mean good value.

4) A Wall Mart building, no matter how clean, is often a huge eyesore surrounded by a over-sized parking lot. There are aesthetic aspects to consider here. Also, Wall Mart tends to build on the edges of town, creating additional suburban sprawl. There are environmental, traffic, aesthetic, and quality of life characteristics to consider here.

I used to think I was saving money by shopping at Wall Mart, then I considered the big picture. It is simply not worth it to me. After all, you get what you pay for.

76 An insider 02.25.08 at 10:35 pm

The reason why wal-mart food is cheaper is because it is 1. subsidized by our taxes for shipping 2.subsidized by our taxes for food waste. 3. Bought in mass from long term contracted vendors 4. Food waste (cold items)fresh meats go bad then becomes tax deductible. 3&4 conflict because stores receive product that is not consumer driven in sales amounts only by purchase inventory sent via distribution center forced upon stores because D.C. makes bonuses on how much can be shipped out per truck. Thus an unbalanced equalibrium that causes pain for the store and the consumer and taxpayers.
see Heritage foundation organization and search “agriculture lobby new farm bill”
http://www.heritage.org/Research/Agriculture/BG1534.cfm

77 LEO 04.16.08 at 2:23 pm

Walmart Claims to Have lower prices when i go to best buy and it cost me $249.99 for a 360 I go to walmart and it costs $249.98 oh yea i just saved a ton of money… i bet that one penny wont really make a difference this is not penny textin people thats what free texting is for, Metro!! Thats why walmart ticks me off

78 Ron 04.26.08 at 5:11 pm

I just posted an article on my blog about Wal-Mart. My wife and I are saving $80 - $120 a month shopping at Wal-Mart.

79 monica day 10.10.08 at 3:55 pm

Walmart has put many “mom and pop” stores in my area that always had what i needed out of business.Walmart moves into my area and had everything you need and more. For prices that could’nt be beat. My old and reliable stores that knew their products and my name to boot are squeezed out of business . Walmart now are under stocked and under staffed. They down size so they just carry the “mainstream” trends that the are setting. The craft dept. stinks, I can’t get my yarn and paint there anymore and my old store is gone. Anybody try to get help in the electronics dept.? Honey you better know what you need before you go in. Honestly, can’t they afford to pay someone more than 5.$ an hour to know something about electronics. Well, I am just a pepple in a ocean but maybe it will turn into a large surge.I have boycotted Walmart last wednesday the 8th of October. I will not go back. I an on a fixed income but I am committed to find other options.

80 Kristina 11.10.08 at 10:34 am

I’m writing a speech on reasons to shop at walmart for my agricultural communications class. I’m kind of nervous of how it is going to go over. I was just wondering what your conclusion on the issue was after receiving feedback. Do you still feel the same way?

81 paula 04.08.09 at 4:24 am

I can give you 2 million 1 hundred thousand reasons why you should not shop at Wal-Mart. That number is how many children that are poisened a year from toxic products that are sold there and other places like them. I know it is important that we are concerned about children in other countries but let us not forget the children in your own homes. Every time you walk down the aisle of the cleaning products and smell them you are breathing in poisoning fumes. This is called out gassing . When you take these toxins into your homes ,now you have endangered your whold family. If I was a fast typer ,which Iam not , I am just a concerned Mom and Grandmom , I could fill up pages of proven studies from the EPA , FDA, Ameerican Cancer Society, AMA,and many universities through out the world, just to mention a few. Tere is no reason that we as a educated people ,in the greatest country in the world , would let these products be made and sold here. If you want all the sources I have found you can contact me at paulab0444@live.com A very wise person said MY PEOPLE PARISH FOR LACK OF KNOWLEDGE

82 Shal 07.26.09 at 8:40 pm

I don’t shop at WalMart simply because they don’t carry the things I want, and even if they did I doubt they’d have people with the expertise on those items.

I speak, of course, of Anime, Manga, and Bandai Models. They few they do sell are always the most common, I’ve never seen a respectible choice in books, let alone Manga at a WalMart, and it’s exceedingly rare that they’ll stock the models.

This is due by the very nature of the industry. A lot of the producers of Anime, Manga, and Models don’t actually PRODUCE it, they simply translate it. And since it only comes from a few companies, competing to license a few titles, it means they’re actually able to argue for higher prices.

Bandai especially for the models, since they make pretty much ALL of the models worthwhile.

But this brings me to another point, the expertise. Even IF they were to carry these things, evidence shows that the workers themselves wouldn’t know enough to help you.

I know this from dealing with their games section. Very rarely can you fine anyone who’s able to help in a way OTHER then opening the cabinet for a game.

At least in other big stores (IE Best Buy/EB Games), when I ask about, say, computer requirements, they’ll tell me what I need to have, or whether I can run it at all. I asked a WalMart employee this and they gave me the glass eyes.

Yes, I realize that I’m a niche market, but given that last years Anime North pulled in over 13000 attendants, who do spend a lot, it means that a lot of money is being put into specialty stores instead

83 Linda 08.12.09 at 4:13 pm

I don’t shop Wal Mart. Will never again. Their meat is terrible. They have none (maybe prepackaged pepperoni) that is worth buying. And that is not cheaper. The double coupon deals at Kroger and other stores are much better for most other products. I find that my grocery bill is lower because I am shopping in a food store for mainly food products, and even my other purchases turn out to be cheaper. It is called watching the sales. It may be more convenient to shop under one roof, but it is more bland. Their clothing line is terrible. Anyone is much better off going to one of the discount places for inexpensive QUALITY clothes (Rosses, TJMaxx, etc.. And Wal Mart may say they are discount, but they are anything but. I first noticed it when a tv went out and I went to buy another one. KMart tv’s were better and cheaper. I bought the tv at KMart. Needed a laptop - Better and cheaper at Staples. Would have been even cheaper online. Baby things - they target certain lines only, limited options. Better to find a mall. The one printer bought at Wal Mart - cheaper, but a very short life. I would rather have had a person talking to me about options that making the incorrect and costly guess. And that is another thing - employees? where do you find them? I don’t blame it on them, it is Wal Mart employee structure. If you want a pair a shoes, there is no one to tell you if there is any left in your size not on the shelf. The only place there are bodies are at the deli area, the pharmacy, the guns, and electronics. And there is no service in electronics. Pharmacy? I want someone who will know that I can’t mix this medicine with that medicine and who will be concerned enough to tell me. A local pharmacy can and does. Oh, I forgot some of the check out lines -notice I said some. Oh, and lets talk about their ‘fresh’ fruits and vegetables. None are local produce in a rural area- of course it is much higher! and poorer quality. Wal Mart has sold people a bill of goods- and instead of people taking a little time to plan better shopping. And yes, they treat their employees like trash.

84 Dave 09.07.09 at 10:22 am

Wal-Mart is just another company competing for business in the world. It started as a small family store and the Waltons grew it to what it is now. No store can have everything and no store can be everywhere, so there is still tons of opportunity for other retailers. Connect with people, that’s what Wal-Mart has done. They deliver value, which is something people care about.

85 Camera warehouse 07.31.12 at 9:41 am

we don’t have the time or the desire to make our daily or weekly visit in the closest supermarket, so what our options to purchase in discount prices in the least amount of time - Walmart

you know every product location, so you have your routine - i like Walmart.

86 sfcasun 11.26.12 at 11:18 pm

“Wal-Mart workers’ reliance on public assistance due to substandard wages and benefits has become a form of indirect public subsidy to the company. In effect, Wal-Mart is shifting part of its labor costs on to the public. We estimate the cost of the subsidy to Wal-Mart in California for state taxpayers to be $86 million a year.”

~”Hidden Cost of Wal-Mart Jobs: Use of Safety Net Programs by Wal-Mart Workers in California” by Arindrajit Dube, Ph.D. and Ken Jacobs, UC Berkeley, August 2, 2004

87 sfcasun 11.26.12 at 11:20 pm

“ ‘Ohio taxpayers spent more than $67 million “for the year’ on food stamps and Medicaid for Wal-Mart workers, Hagan said.Hagan made clear he does not wish to reduce public assistance to those who need it. But he questioned why so many workers at Wal-Mart — which boasted $405 billion in sales last year — live in poverty and need Medicaid and food stamps.

“We checked with his office and were told the claim was based on a report the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services generated last year at Hagan’s request.

“The report listed companies on a monthly basis who employed the most workers receiving various forms of public assistance, including Medicaid and food stamps, from July 2008 to August 2009.

“Hagan zeroed in on June 2009 for his attack on Wal-Mart, which topped the Medicaid and food stamps lists in the report nearly every month.”

http://www.politifact.com/ohio/statements/2011/jan/12/robert-hagan/rep-robert-hagan-slams-wal-mart-over-workers-needi/

88 sfcasun 11.26.12 at 11:22 pm

“Many Wal-Mart employees make up for their low wages and poor benefits by relying on government programs like Medicaid and food stamps. Wal-Mart employees receive approximately $2.66 billion in government help each year, or $420,000 per store. Without this assistance, workers would likely demand higher wages and better benefits. Some Wal-Mart workers already are as numerous strikes have popped up across the country over the last week.

“This is not the only way Wal-Mart and other companies benefit from the government. Many states and localities pass special incentives to get these businesses to open stores. According to Walmartsubsidywatch.com, Wal-Mart alone has received over “$1.2 billion in tax breaks, free land, infrastructure assistance, low cost financing, and outright grants.” Wal-Mart often receives very large tax breaks from small towns, such as a $1.75 million in government assistance to a Wal-Mart supercenter located in Monett, Missouri. Monett has a population of just 8,824, meaning each citizen within Monett paid at least $100 for the privilege of having a Wal-Mart in their vicinity.

“The point is, Wal-Mart could not get by with selling its products so cheaply if it was not being indirectly aided by the federal government. So these “low low prices” and “unbelievable deals” on flat screen televisions and smartphones are only made possible by the government of the people.”

http://www.examiner.com/article/how-the-government-helps-fund-low-prices-on-black-friday

89 http://tinyurl.com/supebuck46890 01.23.13 at 5:25 am

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90 Angel 02.13.13 at 10:45 pm

[Although this post is old, I wanted to give my thoughts]
I live in SC and there are 16 Wal-Mart stores within a 46 mile range around us where I live. There are 5 stores close to us to choose from; driving time ranging from 5 minutes to 23. There is 1 that is 34 minutes away and I up until about 4 or 5 months ago, I would rather drive to it, than go to the one that is 5 minutes away or even the other ones around here.
We live in a mid-class income city (although low income flows over into our town because “we have the best things here”).

*All* the Wal-Mart stores here are filthy, full of rude people and employees (you can always tell the new employees from the older ones; the newer ones are smiling and upbeat - the older; just beam them across the head already and they won’t feel a thing, and will most definitely thank you) it’s very disorganized and they have over 40 check out lanes and only open 3 at a time, 5 the most I’ve seen at one time, and they are always closing down lanes when they see it full. Only one store here (in the 5 to 20 min range) has self checkout lanes (4) and they never allow you to use them because they’re “always closed down”. I believe it’s not always the management - unless it’s the same dude that does all the stores around here; or it’s his brothers/sisters that run the other stores… whichever the case, it can’t be the same management.

Every single store here, has had at least 1 murder, rape, kidnapping and/or robbery (sometimes in the same freaking week). The security cameras don’t work and security doesn’t exist. You can walk outside to go back to your car and find it damaged due to a parking lot wreck (on purpose) or carts being slammed into your car and when you report anything, the managers do not care and security cameras are ‘never on’ due to ’saving electricity’ and man power.

The shopping carts are older than the store itself. They only stock what they want you to have (what I’m guessing is what they eat/use themselves in their own home). In 4 of the stores close to me, they don’t even carry all the colors in the hair color area - only blonde!!! No browns or reds! They only have a small place for those of African descent.

I’ve noticed that over time, they slowly move out other products and move in their own, like they do at Sam’s Club. You could go one week, then go back the next month and they don’t carry it anymore and don’t plan to. Shoplifting runs rampant. We find things open, have eaten, used and even deodorant used. We made it known to check everything, to make it wasn’t used and open. We’d bring it to the managers attention, if it were something huge, like milk being gone and almost all open, but still in the cooler and they shrug it off.

The people that shop at the Wal-Mart’s here are just so rude, shop in pj’s, barefoot, half dressed, low class (and I don’t mean poor - I mean those that need to at least look in the mirror once, before stepping into public). We usually see those that overweight and ride around in the motorized carts while yelling and screaming at their kids to stop doing whatever it is they’re doing - they can walk, they just prefer not to (case in point, why they’re overweight)

We don’t purchase clothes from them, at all, due to the treatment overseas and their clothes aren’t worth even the dollar they sale them for. The produce area only contains a few items and are usually rotten and spoiled. Rarely do we find anything worth even looking at. We purchase our fruits at Kroger - much better choice. Even Wal-mart’s potatoes are smaller than the palm of my hand, like they were pulled from the ground before they should of been. I’ve even seen some oranges like that, and with Kroger, I’ve actually purchased oranges bigger than a softball and fresher, and the same price. With as many Wal-Marts around here, other stores have to stay in pricing competition, so prices are almost the same, but much better product.

There is so much wrong with the Wal-marts around here, even though we don’t live in a low poverty area, it’s sickening.. and saddening. There is one Target here and they don’t have anything like this, wrong with them. Even the parking lot is a lot smoother and there are lights so you can see where you’re going when you’re out there at night, unlike Wal-Mart, you need a flash light to go from the door to 25 feet out… and then, it’s like luck if you make it to your vehicle without being killed, raped and kidnapped.. yes, in that order.

Anyway……
I prefer [Super] Target Wal-Mart. Their carts are much better (remind me of being small when you had those tiny carts to play with, while mom shopped), employees are [seem] happier, refunds are a breeze, check out and the lines are faster, and the store is much cleaner and organized <which is a major plus for me. Just better quality of items. The prices are set at a competition setting so things are priced almost the same, if not less. The produce area is small, but worth it. Whatever I need, that they don’t have, I’ll just go the extra 12 to 15 minutes away and go to Kroger; it’s worth that, then paying crap at Wal-Mart and getting sick. If I don’t do that, I just go down the road to Food Lion.

I think Wal-Mart, around here, is for those that can’t afford rubbing two pennies together - it’s terrible. :\

- Angel

91 Deborah 04.05.13 at 2:12 pm

I don’t shop at Wal-Mart because they exploit their workers - and their workers are members of my community. Besides, when Wal-Mart workers need food stamps or can’t afford proper health care, who do you think pays? All of us.

Insisting that we have to support Wal-Mart so their employees won’t lose their jobs doesn’t make sense: if we all shopped elsewhere, then those other stores would hire more people.

92 Carpet Cleaners HK 07.10.13 at 3:04 pm

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I’ve been using {Movable-type|WordPress} on {a number of|a variety of|numerous|several|various} websites for about a year and am {nervous|anxious|worried|concerned} about switching to another platform.
I have heard {fantastic|very good|excellent|great|good} things about blogengine.net.
Is there a way I can {transfer|import} all my wordpress
{content|posts} into it? {Any kind of|Any} help would be {really|greatly}
appreciated!|
{Hello|Hi|Hello there|Hi there|Howdy|Good day}! I could have sworn I’ve {been to|visited} {this blog|this web site|this website|this site|your blog} before but after
{browsing through|going through|looking at} {some of the|a few of the|many of the} {posts|articles} I realized it’s new to me.
{Anyways|Anyhow|Nonetheless|Regardless}, I’m {definitely|certainly} {happy|pleased|delighted} {I found|I discovered|I came across|I stumbled
upon} it and I’ll be {bookmarking|book-marking} it and checking back {frequently|regularly|often}!|
{Terrific|Great|Wonderful} {article|work}! {This is|That is}
{the type of|the kind of} {information|info} {that are meant to|that are supposed to|that should} be shared {around the|across the} {web|internet|net}.
{Disgrace|Shame} on {the {seek|search} engines|Google} for {now not|not|no longer} positioning this {post|submit|publish|put up} {upper|higher}!
Come on over and {talk over with|discuss with|seek advice from|visit|consult with} my
{site|web site|website} . {Thank you|Thanks} =)|
Heya {i’m|i am} for the first time here. I {came across|found} this board
and I find It {truly|really} useful & it helped me out {a lot|much}.
I hope to give something back and {help|aid} others like you
{helped|aided} me.|
{Hi|Hello|Hi there|Hello there|Howdy|Greetings}, {I think|I believe|I do believe|I do think|There’s no doubt that}
{your site|your website|your web site|your blog} {might be|may be|could be|could possibly be} having {browser|internet browser|web browser} compatibility {issues|problems}.
{When I|Whenever I} {look at your|take a look at your} {website|web
site|site|blog} in Safari, it looks fine {but
when|however when|however, if|however, when} opening in {Internet Explorer|IE|I.E.}, {it has|it’s
got} some overlapping issues. {I just|I simply|I merely} wanted to {give you a|provide
you with a} quick heads up! {Other than that|Apart from
that|Besides that|Aside from that}, {fantastic|wonderful|great|excellent} {blog|website|site}!|
{A person|Someone|Somebody} {necessarily|essentially} {lend a
hand|help|assist} to make {seriously|critically|significantly|severely} {articles|posts} {I would|I might|I’d} state.
{This is|That is} the {first|very first} time I frequented your
{web page|website page} and {to this point|so far|thus far|up to now}?
I {amazed|surprised} with the {research|analysis} you made to {create|make} {this actual|this particular}
{post|submit|publish|put up} {incredible|amazing|extraordinary}.
{Great|Wonderful|Fantastic|Magnificent|Excellent} {task|process|activity|job}!|
Heya {i’m|i am} for {the primary|the first} time here. I {came across|found} this board and
I {in finding|find|to find} It {truly|really} {useful|helpful} & it helped me out {a lot|much}.

{I am hoping|I hope|I’m hoping} {to give|to offer|to provide|to present} {something|one thing} {back|again} and {help|aid} others
{like you|such as you} {helped|aided} me.|
{Hello|Hi|Hello there|Hi there|Howdy|Good day|Hey there}!

{I just|I simply} {would like to|want to|wish to} {give you a|offer you a} {huge|big} thumbs up {for the|for your} {great|excellent} {info|information} {you have|you’ve got|you have got} {here|right here} on this post.
{I will be|I’ll be|I am} {coming back to|returning to} {your
blog|your site|your website|your web site} for more soon.|
I {always|all the time|every time} used to {read|study} {article|post|piece of writing|paragraph}
in news papers but now as I am a user of {internet|web|net} {so|thus|therefore} from now I
am using net for {articles|posts|articles or reviews|content}, thanks to web.|
Your {way|method|means|mode} of {describing|explaining|telling} {everything|all|the whole thing} in this
{article|post|piece of writing|paragraph} is {really|actually|in fact|truly|genuinely} {nice|pleasant|good|fastidious},
{all|every one} {can|be able to|be capable of} {easily|without difficulty|effortlessly|simply} {understand|know|be aware of} it, Thanks a lot.|
{Hi|Hello} there, {I found|I discovered} your {blog|website|web site|site} {by means of|via|by the use
of|by way of} Google {at the same time as|whilst|even as|while} {searching for|looking for} a
{similar|comparable|related} {topic|matter|subject}, your {site|web site|website} {got
here|came} up, it {looks|appears|seems|seems to be|appears to be like} {good|great}.

{I have|I’ve} bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

{Hello|Hi} there, {simply|just} {turned into|became|was|become|changed into} {aware of|alert to}
your {blog|weblog} {thru|through|via} Google, {and found|and located} that {it is|it’s} {really|truly}
informative. {I’m|I am} {gonna|going to} {watch out|be
careful} for brussels. {I will|I’ll} {appreciate|be grateful} {if you|should you|when you|in the event you|in case you|for those
who|if you happen to} {continue|proceed} this {in future}.

{A lot of|Lots of|Many|Numerous} {other folks|folks|other people|people} {will be|shall be|might
be|will probably be|can be|will likely be} benefited {from your|out of your} writing.

Cheers!|
{I am|I’m} curious to find out what blog {system|platform}
{you have been|you happen to be|you are|you’re} {working with|utilizing|using}?
I’m {experiencing|having} some {minor|small} security {problems|issues} with my latest {site|website|blog} and {I would|I’d} like to find something more {safe|risk-free|safeguarded|secure}.
Do you have any {solutions|suggestions|recommendations}?|
{I am|I’m} {extremely|really} impressed
with your writing skills {and also|as well as} with the layout on your {blog|weblog}.
Is this a paid theme or did you {customize|modify} it yourself?
{Either way|Anyway} keep up the {nice|excellent} quality writing, {it’s|it is} rare to see a {nice|great} blog like this one
{these days|nowadays|today}.|
{I am|I’m} {extremely|really} {inspired|impressed} {with your|together
with your|along with your} writing {talents|skills|abilities} {and
also|as {smartly|well|neatly} as} with the {layout|format|structure} {for your|on your|in your|to your} {blog|weblog}.
{Is this|Is that this} a paid {subject|topic|subject matter|theme} or did you {customize|modify} it {yourself|your self}?
{Either way|Anyway} {stay|keep} up the {nice|excellent} {quality|high quality} writing, {it’s|it is} {rare|uncommon} {to peer|to see|to look} a {nice|great} {blog|weblog} like this one
{these days|nowadays|today}..|
{Hi|Hello}, Neat post. {There is|There’s} {a problem|an issue} {with your|together with your|along with your} {site|web site|website} in {internet|web} explorer, {may|might|could|would}
{check|test} this? IE {still|nonetheless} is the {marketplace|market} {leader|chief} and {a large|a good|a
big|a huge} {part of|section of|component to|portion of|component of|element of} {other folks|folks|other people|people} will {leave out|omit|miss|pass over} your {great|wonderful|fantastic|magnificent|excellent} writing {due to|because of} this problem.|
{I’m|I am} not sure where {you are|you’re} getting your {info|information}, but {good|great} topic.
I needs to spend some time learning {more|much more} or understanding more.

Thanks for {great|wonderful|fantastic|magnificent|excellent} {information|info}
I was looking for this {information|info} for my mission.|
{Hi|Hello}, i think that i saw you visited my {blog|weblog|website|web site|site} {so|thus} i came
to “return the favor”.{I am|I’m} {trying to|attempting to} find things to
{improve|enhance} my {website|site|web site}!I suppose
its ok to use {some of|a few o\

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