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The End of Everyday Low Prices

The End of Everyday Low Prices

When Wal-Mart closes a store it raises an eyebrow or two. Afterall, aren't they the one store supposed to be gaining customers in a weak economy? Committed to everyday low prices and often slammed by critics because of their less than altruistic nature, they're the one store you'd think was immune. But let's not be sad, because besides assurances that the workers will find jobs in other locations the closing of a Wal-Mart store is a cause for celebration in some respects.

For those of you who haven't read The Wal-Mart Effect, it's a book written a couple of years ago by Charles Fishman that details how the pursuit of savings to pass onto the customer results in a decrease in the quality of what you buy as well as many other unsavory practices. Here is some of what Fishman had to say:

How does Wal-Mart do it? Not by focusing on profits, but rather on cost containment. Relentlessly driving pennies out of the dollar: driving jobs overseas (without much concern for how those jobs are fulfilled, so long as the result is a lower cost), driving costs of its own employees (locking them in its stores overnight, forcing them to work overtime without pay, skimping on their wages and health insurance, etc.), and driving its suppliers out of business."

For example, Wal-Mart has proved exceptionally adept at externalizing costs to its suppliers. Wal-Mart "charges many of its vendors with keeping product in stock on its shelves; Wal-Mart cascades data about its sales out to its vendors...but it gives those vendors the responsibility of analyzing those waves of data and reporting the insights back to Wal-Mart." (94-95)

So, while Wal-Mart may be a place to find great deals, they're not necessarily a company that adds to the overall health of our nation.

How do you feel about Wal-Mart? Do you think they should be more responsible as the largest private employer?

Posted: 12/3/08

I started at Wal-mart 4 years ago after a bitter divorce. My experience as an associate has been positive. I started out with nothing! No medical insurance! ect... My dream is to go to nursing school. Im about 1year closer to my dream. Sure I started out as a cashier part-time but then I worked with personnel on my career preference. I am now a full-time employee working in the pharmacy division as a Tech. They are paying for my certification cost too! I am heading in the right direction. Today I can take better care of my diabetes because I have health insurance. The store I work at has generous hard working americans. I understand the issues people have with Wal-mart. I just thought everyone would like to hear something positive. Wal-mart gave me the opportunity to build a new life for myself.

  • By momxtwo
  • on 7/8/10 12:34 PM EST

Wal-Mart=ugh. I don't shop there, but then again, there ISN'T one in New York City so I don't have to think about it.

  • By aliciak
  • on 12/4/08 8:51 AM EST

I try to avoid Wal-Mart, but I admit that I do shop there occasionally. (I'm very excited that a Target is on its way to our town!)


Perhaps these closings will help boost the coffers of nearby mom-and-pop shops that have been closing/struggling because of the retail giant. Wal-Mart certainly engages in poor practices...I say good riddance.

  • By kristen
  • on 12/3/08 2:19 PM EST