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Wal-Mart signifies all that is wrong in America

 
 
PDiddie
 
Reply Tue 9 Dec, 2003 05:04 pm
Rather than ask, "Do you shop there?", I'd like to know if given the choice would you shop at Wal-Mart, Sam's, etc. or elsewhere...

This editorial, in light of Wal-Mart's many headline-producing stories this time of year, speaks volumes about what's wrong with a lot in the US:

Quote:
Bentonville, Ark., is home to Wal-Mart Corp. Wal-Mart, referred to by some as the ''Beast of Bentonville,'' is ubiquitous. We all shop there, even liberal employment lawyers who cannot say anything of a salutary nature about the place. Wal-Mart pays substandard wages, aggressively opposes union organizing efforts, prevents most of its employees from working full time and enforces tough labor policies in its stores. It dominates and saturates markets and unflinchingly squeezes out competitors. And, as a series of nationwide raids by federal agents suggests, it may have something of an illegal immigrant problem, as about 250 who worked cleaning Wal-Mart stores were seized.

Despite all of this, Wal-Mart is your headquarters for good old-fashioned Americana, served up in oversized plastic containers. It is the last retail stop on a long train ride to the end of what used to be known as the American dream. Its bright corridors are crammed with merchandise churned out in the sweatshops of Central America or Southeast Asia. While in a Wal-Mart, one encounters little yellow ''happy-face'' signs, busily engaged in ''price rollbacks.'' It is a multibillion dollar enterprise that, manifesting no sense of irony, fancies itself to be a champion of ''Christian values.''

At the same time, it censors artistic material, refuses to sell certain music CDs and bans ''risque'' magazines like Maxim, FHM and Stuff, apparently believing that pictures of pretty girls pose a grave danger to the purity of our souls.

Having said this, I still find myself shopping there on occasion. A few months ago, I was walking through a Wal-Mart store on Route 309, on my way back to Bethlehem after a day in court in Philadelphia. What I saw there could conceivably, depending upon the eyes of the beholder, be viewed as an affront to one's sensibilities. It was an enlarged color photograph of President George W. Bush standing on that aircraft carrier in the Pacific Ocean off San Diego. It was taken on May 1, and it depicted Mr. Bush dressed in a flight suit, holding a jet pilot's flight helmet. On that day, he announced an end to major hostilities in Iraq. It has become an officially famous picture. At the time, I was reminded of Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart's concurring opinion on the definition of obscenity in Jacobellis v. Ohio: ''I know it when I see it.''

After selling this photo of the President, Wal-Mart then decided to cover up the covers of certain terribly naughty women's magazines like Elle, Cosmopolitan, and Vogue, because of racy or suggestive images allegedly appearing on their covers. It would be fascinating to interview the Wal-Mart magazine censor to find out what sort of pictures would have to grace the cover of a magazine to warrant a plain brown cardboard cover. I wanted to place a plain brown wrapper over that aircraft carrier photograph of President Bush, but obviously that would not have pleased Wal-Mart's security officers.

Incredibly, Wal-Mart's pseudo-Christian, true-blue, patriotic-American, moralizing-crusader mindset blends well with its vigorous gun and ammunition sales and gun magazines, not to mention its glossy photographs of presidents striking faux warrior poses.

Wal-Mart likes to show off its smiling employees in advertisements. Meanwhile, it continues creating harsh working environments. Behind those smiles, we can see a company pursuing a policy of intolerance and censorship, listening too closely to certain elements of the religious right, such as the Rev. Donald Wildmon's Mississippi-based American Family Association.Wildmon's minions are gravely concerned about sexy pictures, naughty words and any form of misbehaving. Wal-Mart, which is far too solicitous of the opinions of people like Wildmon, is making sure that when little Billy waits in its checkout lines with Mommy, he won't have to see Sarah Jessica Parker's cleavage.

Just when I thought that Wal-Mart's ambitious journey into the heart of censorship darkness couldn't get any more intriguing, I learned that Playboy magazine is planning to do a photo shoot entitled ''The Women of Wal-Mart.'' The boys in Bentonville are going to be utterly horrified by such sinfulness on the part of their female employees who participate in Playboy's endeavor. Someone at Playboy must have a good sense of humor; but I hope the magazine pays these women well. They are going to need the money. Their futures at Wal-Mart, to put it delicately, might be somewhat in doubt. Self-expression, fully clad or not, doesn't play well in the face of corporate heavy-handedness.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 27,404 • Replies: 538
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Dec, 2003 06:12 pm
I hate wal-mart. It's on a par with SUVs in my mind. Actually, wal-mart is worse than SUVs are.
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Dec, 2003 06:21 pm
Nothin wrong with SUVs . Its the damn drivers who act immortal.


I draw little Hitler moustaches on the smiley faces. Pass it on.
0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Dec, 2003 06:24 pm
I avoid shopping at Walmart mostly because I just don't like their stores. I can't really say much here because I do shop at both Target and KMart which are probably not any better.
0 Replies
 
littlek
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Dec, 2003 06:33 pm
In some respects, Targets are better. They tend to go into pre-existing malls (though not always) and they have better hiring and packaging practices.
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Acquiunk
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Dec, 2003 07:11 pm
Walmart moved into my home town in Connecticut and the down town business district, over 150 years old, immediately shriveled.Some of these stores were second or third generation owners and there was more than simply a commercial relationship between owner and customer. One phenomena that I found interesting is that the reputation of Walmart is such many of these stores did not even try and compete but simply closed up shop in anticipation of Walmart might do to them. The faux pieties of Walmart set my teeth on edge.
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MichaelAllen
 
  0  
Reply Tue 9 Dec, 2003 07:50 pm
It's easy to attack anything in this world as long as you can write some pretty drastic hype in the article you create. Anything can be seen as wrong with its geniusely disguised/worded reasons. Failing to see the other side of it or ignoring the other side because it might actually make sense are the ways some people find satisfaction with their outlooks.

WalMart is symbolistic of Americana because in it are the principles that built America. Hard work, ingenuity and the spirit of fighting beaurocracy are what built America. It's funny how we turn it all around somehow. The fact that WalMart made the "Gifford" mistake is understandable if you try. WalMart is a collection of vendors. It's not one store pushing WalMart brand stuff. Vendors with the "Gifford" line approached WalMart and were put through the same process every other vendor goes through. But, WalMart doesn't expect to have to check the entire world and know all that is bad in it in order to do business. That's the part of the activists who are more than ready to expose the wrongs of this world. Having brought the "Gifford" details to WalMart's attention, the line was dropped. But, rather than see it that way, people are bent on hate. Go fight the actual factories that employee children and make them work long hours for nothing not the store for selling the stuff. That's like beating up the vending machine operator for filling up the machine with a soda that provides funds for anti-gun control legislation and I'm assuming you might be against that.

Quote:
Wal-Mart pays substandard wages, aggressively opposes union organizing efforts, prevents most of its employees from working full time and enforces tough labor policies in its stores.


-WalMart commonly pays above minimum wage
-Offers great benefits comparable to most other employers
-Employs a high rate of college students who don't have time for a full-time job, which contradicts the statement of enforcing tough labor policies except when you discuss matters of actually showing up for work or not being on drugs when you are at work.
-Most WalMart workers I've known have actually made a good living, been promoted and enjoyed their work.
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Dec, 2003 09:01 pm
another, less passionate opinion

http://www.nynewsday.com/news/ny-livit263509782oct26,0,2144071.column?coll=nyc-topnews-short-navigation
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Acquiunk
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Dec, 2003 10:27 pm
0 Replies
 
xifar
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Dec, 2003 10:35 pm
I dislike Wal-Mart and I know business owners who despise them. But Wal-Mart is convenient and is open 24 hours. People use it because it is the best. I think that it is simply an evil that is not necessary, but we put up with it anyway.
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Dec, 2003 10:50 pm
it isn't 'the best' it's the easiest and cheapest. It's comparable to eating processed cheese and McDonalds' drive throughs. It's emblematic of the lazy, fat American. When will we learn? What will the price be for walmart? The price for being lazy and fat is bad health in a short life as well as higher health care costs for all.
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Dec, 2003 10:50 pm
I'm not meaning to dis people who are over-weight. I am dissing people who are lazy.
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Brand X
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Dec, 2003 11:07 pm
Wal Mart is the scurge of retail hell.... it is retail hell.
0 Replies
 
MichaelAllen
 
  0  
Reply Tue 9 Dec, 2003 11:36 pm
WalMart gets blamed for Etch-A-Sketch moving to China? I find it interesting how a company can lose its integrity and move to China to drive its own costs down and someone can find WalMart to blame. WalMart is under attack and we'll blame everything on it. After all, the topic of this thread is that WalMart signifies all that is wrong with America. Not a few things that are wrong, but everything.

WalMart says they're not paying that much for a certain product, everyone needs to start doing that. The company should say, OK we can't sell it to you. You either take our price or not. That's America. But, we'd rather shift the blame and focus all of the blame we can on the one company that a biased media is attacking for some reason. Where did we learn that? That's not American! What is it? Did they get too good for us that they have to be taken down a couple notches like The National Enquirer does to celebrities when they get too popular?

No, the little company that loses its integrity in this game escapes blame. He's not our enemy after all. And it won't do any good to attack Etch-A-Sketch. You'll lose all your credibility with your reader base in a heartbeat because we all grew up with an Etch-A-Sketch. This is so not American. We want to talk about what America is?
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Gromit
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Dec, 2003 11:43 pm
In my opinion, it has little honor, and is a corporate fascist.

It exploits any way to drive all other competition out of business. I have seen it put family businesses that couldn't compete with it out of business, essentially forcing everyone to buy from them. After they run out all other business, they then raise their own prices slowly. (I know their pharmacy does this.) It also does not like to pay local taxes and support the local communties, often locating themselves(if they are allowed to) just outside of the city limits. So they really couldn't care about supporting the local communty even if they say in commercials how "caring" and involved they are. That is just hype and propaganda.

They use intimidation and fear to control it's wage- slave, "goosestepping" work force, which can be made up of illegals because they are cheaper, work harder, and they don't have to provide benefits. This is not Christian in ideology. So they are not a Christian company regardless of what they hype. That is pure smokescreen.

They treat the customers like common criminals at the Sam Clubs by inspecting everything people take out of the stores, which is funny since they are "criminal-like" themselves in many of their meanspirited corporate policies.

Supporters are probably people who benefit from them in some ways (higher up in the company?) and are therefore biased. We usually support what fattens our wallet, regardless if it is wrong. We have our "price", and often will sell our souls to the highest bidder (no honor= with everything reduced to a commodity which can be bought and sold.)

But if it gets new management, it could change? There is always hope. But the new managament can't come from traditional American business schools, or managment training, or from advancement from within the company. You just get more of the same ideology as that is what they are taught, and it's "business as usual".
0 Replies
 
SealPoet
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Dec, 2003 05:29 am
They can run their store any damn way they please.

But they can't force me to shop there.

It's a store for the sheep that make up a scant majority of this country. (but not the majority of a2k members).
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Dec, 2003 07:05 am
I went to Wal MArt once when I was shopping for a dig camera. Wal Mart only had a few brands and were not the cheapest. Further,the people who worked in the camear dept had no idea which end of the canera you pointed at the subject. I, like Seal Poet dont go there. However, I have to admit, when we are on the road with our RV, Wal Marts welcome overnighters to park and rest on their Rhode Island sized parking Lots. Theyre all over the place, except in Vermont, where the "Up against the Wal" organization has been successful
i have to agree with Michel Aleen in that Wal Mart is every bit as American as the mafia
0 Replies
 
MichaelAllen
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Dec, 2003 12:59 pm
Saying the mafia is American is saying you don't know much about the mafia.

This argument is really about capitalism versus socialism or maybe even communism. Fine government systems of themselves, but we didn't come to America to have another one of those. We came to America to have freedom from tyranny and have something new. We developed a free society and capitalism was the answer. In this world, these various government systems exist in other places. But, people want to change this one. The greatest experiment turned out to make it. And make it big. America is a superpower because of the principles it was built upon. And while no system starts out perfect, this one started out with perfect ideals. We just had to learn what they were along the way. We dismantled segregation laws when we realized that wasn't what America was about. We allowed women to rise above the glass ceiling when we realized that's what America is about. We made the right changes, but we need to remain a capitalist society because it is what got us here in the first place. But, no. For some reason some people want to dismantle us from inside out. Attack Walmart. I could really care less whether you shop there or not. But, quit trying to challenge America on every single one of its principles and then sit back and act self-righteous as if you don't have your own little inconsistencies. Remember, your Etch-A-Sketch was made in China no matter if you bought if from Walmart, Toys R Us or online.
0 Replies
 
MichaelAllen
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Dec, 2003 01:00 pm
Saying the mafia is American is saying you don't know much about the mafia.

This argument is really about capitalism versus socialism or maybe even communism. Fine government systems of themselves, but we didn't come to America to have another one of those. We came to America to have freedom from tyranny and have something new. We developed a free society and capitalism was the answer. In this world, these various government systems exist in other places. But, people want to change this one. The greatest experiment turned out to make it. And make it big. America is a superpower because of the principles it was built upon. And while no system starts out perfect, this one started out with perfect ideals. We just had to learn what they were along the way. We dismantled segregation laws when we realized that wasn't what America was about. We allowed women to rise above the glass ceiling when we realized that's what America is about. We made the right changes, but we need to remain a capitalist society because it is what got us here in the first place. But, no. For some reason some people want to dismantle us from inside out. Attack Walmart. I really couldn't care less whether you shop there or not. But, quit trying to challenge America on every single one of its principles and then sit back and act self-righteous as if you don't have your own little inconsistencies. Remember, your Etch-A-Sketch was made in China no matter if you bought if from Walmart, Toys R Us or online.
0 Replies
 
MichaelAllen
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Dec, 2003 01:01 pm
Saying the mafia is American is saying you don't know much about the mafia.

This argument is really about capitalism versus socialism or maybe even communism. Fine government systems of themselves, but we didn't come to America to have another one of those. We came to America to have freedom from tyranny and have something new. We developed a free society and capitalism was the answer. In this world, these various government systems exist in other places. But, people want to change this one. The greatest experiment turned out to make it. And make it big. America is a superpower because of the principles it was built upon. And while no system starts out perfect, this one started out with perfect ideals. We just had to learn what they were along the way. We dismantled segregation laws when we realized that wasn't what America was about. We allowed women to rise above the glass ceiling when we realized that's what America is about. We made the right changes, but we need to remain a capitalist society because it is what got us here in the first place. But, no. For some reason some people want to dismantle us from inside out. Attack Walmart. I really couldn't care less whether you shop there or not. But, quit trying to challenge America on every single one of its principles and then sit back and act self-righteous as if you don't have your own little inconsistencies. Remember, your Etch-A-Sketch was made in China no matter if you bought if from Walmart, Toys R Us or online.
0 Replies
 
 

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