Wednesday, June 29, 2011


I dislike Walmart. I refuse to shop there. 10 years and counting so far. I don't dislike them for the usual reasons.

Sure, small pharmacies and clothing stores and local operations go out of business when Walmart comes in to town. That's business. But it might have been wiser, politically, to offer store space to pharmacists instead of just crushing them. They get rent and don't have to futz with selling product directly.

Sure, Walmart destroys lots of forested area and farmland with their stores and parking lots. They make others build the stores and rent them. Then, years later, they move out and leave a wart on the countryside that the landlord can't find use. The world is full of McMansions and other stores that clear out areas so they can have their place. And Walmart has recently started trying to do something about their poor environmental image, if not actually for the environment. They make some vendors start making flat noodles so their boxes will be smaller and use less cardboard. They try putting solar panels on their vast store roofs. Plus a number of other efforts to reduce waste and preserves wildlife areas they're not personally building on.

Recently they've gotten some very blatant sex discrimination charges dismissed. That's what got me to write about Walmart in general. I really dislike them for this behavior. I'm not very happy with the Supreme Court's reasoning for dismissing the case. Among other things, the conservative judges said it's OK because Walmart has a documented policy behind their poor treatment of women. What the fuck? Walmart not only practices sex discrimination but makes it part of their official policy and this is somehow legal?

No, my long term dislike of them is for their deliberate efforts to drive jobs to China.

If you're a company and Walmart starts selling your stuff sales go through the roof. You've made it big. You've also lost the ownership of your company. If Walmart tells you to do something you have to do it. If you don't do it then Walmart dumps your product for your competitor and your sales drop. Often by more than 50%. Rarely less than 30%. So when they tell you to cut prices you look to see what staff you can cut and what benefits you can remove. When they tell you to cut prices again, you try that again. The next time you have to look at your executive salaries and bonuses. The time after that you really have nowhere left to go. When you tell Walmart you've cut everything, that's when they tell you to move production to China. They don't suggest. They tell you. Fire everyone and move their jobs to China. Or we dump your product. Then what kind of cuts will you have to make? Maybe even cut you from the NYSE. Bankruptcy is pretty much certain.

When Walmart sells your product Walmart owns your ass.

Sure, Walmart didn't start the exporting of jobs to third world nations. But they have become the single biggest driving force doing so. And they don't let their vendors come to the conclusion of moving jobs overseas on their own. They tell them "move to China".

Sure, we get stuff cheap, but who can afford it without their jobs? Henry Ford may have been immoral scum but he made sure his employees could afford to buy the cars they were making. Walmart is driving hard in the other direction.

When you hear about China in relation to our imports or their increasing power or their heavy pollution with 1.5 billion people all getting cars or anything like that it's largely because of Walmart. All those foreigners taking our jobs? They aren't the mexicans.

But not every company is willing to roll over for Walmart. This article tells why my next lawnmower is gonna be a Snapper. You know, if I decide to get a lawn some day. [link]

I can't find the article about this that I want. Of course, it was some time back that I read about it. This isn't the article about Walmart and China that I was looking for, but it's still worth a read. [link]

Your dollar is a vote. If you spend a dollar on a product or in a store you're voting for that product or store and everything associated with them: the quality of their products, their business practices, how they treat their staff, etc. I'm voting against Walmart every chance I get. It may cost me more dollar/votes, but it's worth it if it helps someone else keep their job.


wstachour said...

Hear, hear. My wife and I have been boycotting Walmart for a decade; it's just too expensive ultimately to pay that little.

I'm a little surprised at how difficult it can be to make this argument, tho. Lots of people start with a (very legitimate) need to save money and work backward from there--without any digressions or detours.

Anonymous said...

Fuck walmart