Tuesday, January 18, 2011

People Who Hate Walmart

I happened to notice a story about protests against a new Walmart in Washington D.C. Here's a link to the protest website. As a regular Walmart shopper, I find hatred of the company silly and in some cases downright stupid. Since it's the largest retail chain, almost everyone knows people who hate Walmart and refuse to shop there. I break-down Walmart-haters into four broad categories. Some people fall into more than one.

1. Ideological haters. Although there are some on the right, ideological Walmart hate is found mostly on the left. For example, Walmart's anti-union stance is an obvious negative to the left, whereas it is a positive on the right. I find ideological dislike of corporations generally pretty irrational. If you look at most huge companies, you are probably going to find practices you don't agree with for whatever reason. Is that a good reason not to shop there? Not for me it isn't. I view people who make shopping decisions based primarily on ideology as naive and silly.

2. The well-off. By well-off I mean people who have enough money that they shop wherever they like best, without really caring about price differences. They regard Walmart and most discount retail stores as unnecessary to their lifestyle. They wouldn't be caught dead in Walmart because they think it's for poor people.

3. Snobs. These differ from the well-off in that their dislike of Walmart is based on their perception of who shops there. Unlike the well-off, these snobs could stand to save some money; but they'd rather pay more because they just can't stand the idea of shopping at Walmart.

4. The ignorant. These Walmart haters will tell you that it sells nothing but cheap junk. They claim they'd rather pay a little more for quality products. I laugh at these people who apparently don't know that Walmart carries name-brand products just like other retailers, if that's what you are looking for. But if you are dumb enough to pay more for toilet paper, paper towels, pet food and numerous other identical products, feel free. I'm sure the higher-priced retailers appreciate your ignorance.

Unlike Walmart-haters, I love Walmart and have to laugh anytime someone starts ranting about how bad the company is. I live in a small town with one grocery store. It's a very nice, well-stocked store. But it's expensive. About ten miles away is a regular Walmart, unfortunately not a supercenter. Within the past year it added produce to its selection, so it has pretty much everything but butchered meats and deli. The selection of grocery items isn't anywhere near as good as the supermarket, but it has many of the items that our family buys. Here's just a couple of examples of why I love Walmart.

Breakfast cereal. The cereal I eat costs about $5.50 at the grocery store. At Walmart it's $4.

Apples. I eat at least one apple every day. At the grocery store apples go for around $1.69 to $1.99 a pound. Apples are heavy. At Walmart I can get a bag of around a dozen apples from about 2.75 to 3.95 for the entire bag depending on apple variety.

I know there are many poor people in Washington D.C. They'd benefit greatly from having a Walmart to shop at. Hopefully they won't be stupid enough to join in union-organized protests.

37 comments:

  1. I disagree about not shopping at a corporation for ideological reasons. If my money is going to something I disagree with, I'm not going to give them my money. Think about it this way; let's say a new car company was started that produced BMW quality for Toyota prices. Seems great, right? Now let's say that the low cost was achieved through the use of slave labor. The company set up shop in sub-sahara africa and enslaved displaced persons and impoverished farmers. To make it legal, let's say they pay off the local warlords/government., so it's all legal. I have a feeling most people would be uncomfortable buying a car they knew was made with slave labor, even if the car was the deal of the century.

    The logic behind ideological shopping makes perfect sense. Company x engages in practice y. If I shop at x, the profits go to y. If I don't like y, I'm not going to shop at x.


    Walmart has a history of abusing workers that is well documented in court records. I see no need to give my business that practices disagreeably policies, even if it saves me a few bucks.

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  2. Anonymous: The slave labor example is weak. How many American companies *enslave* workers in foreign countries? And how would they go about this enslaving?

    And those "sweatshop" workers in foreign countries? They are the envy of all their friends who have worse, lower-paying jobs than they do! Emerging economies need jobs wherever they can get them. Look what India has accomplished.

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  3. If you haven't seen it, I recommend watching the Walmart episode (season 5, epsisode 2) from Penn & Teller Bullshit! series.

    They really blow the lid off of the anti-Walmart Crowd.

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  4. "Walmart has a history of abusing workers that is well documented in court records."

    I'd be willing to bet that you could find similar examples of what most would consider worker abuse at pretty much any major corporation close to the size of Walmart. The idea that Walmart is somehow uniquely bad as a corporation is left-wing propaganda in my opinion.

    Also, your example is exactly what I'm talking about when I say I think it is naive and silly. If the corporation is large and successful, it isn't hurt at all by the fact that you decide not to shop there. It's already a big, profitable success. By refusing to take advantage of its lower prices, you are punishing yourself for no return.

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  5. I might also add that for every case of worker abuse, there are huge numbers of workers who have jobs and health insurance because they work for the company. And there are large numbers of people with tight budgets who benefit greatly from their low prices. Those advantages massively outweigh some objectionable practices and incidents.

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  6. You forgot people like me who won't shop there because they're censorship fascists who won't sell anything remotely atheist (just ask George Carlin's ghost).

    What I'll never understand is why assholes who claim to love the "free market" feel they need to tell people where they should shop.

    Go suck an entitled Walton's cock.

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  7. I don't shop WalMart in my area because it is often cheaper for me to shop at other places. My groceries are cheaper at Kroger (for meat, I buy in bulk from a local butcher, and it is still cheaper). I have found that it is cheaper, in the long run, for me to shop at other places for clothing. The same goes for everything that WalMart sells. The funny thing is, I do shop at Sam's Club. By buying in bulk there, I save money and don't have to shop as often.

    Where WalMart comes into play is convenience. Most of them are 24 hours. So, when you need x at an odd hour, they are available. Also, if you are needing things that are not commonly found in a store together, it can save from you making multiple trips. Often, when I am going on a camping trip, I will hit WalMart just so I don't have to go to multiple places for everything I need.

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  8. Bret,

    "What I'll never understand is why assholes who claim to love the "free market" feel they need to tell people where they should shop."

    You mean like the people who condemn Walmart and say people shouldn't shop there? I'm not telling anyone where they should shop. People are free to make their own decisions. I'm simply pointing out why I think anti-Walmart types are laughable. Sorry it hit a nerve and you felt a need to respond to your own strawman.

    "Go suck an entitled Walton's cock."

    I know your logical reasoning and reading skills are minimal, but please refrain from posting those sorts of comments on this blog.

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  9. Tim,

    If your area has stores that are cheaper than Walmart for the same products, then there's obviously no reason to pay more at Walmart. That isn't the case here though. Even the Dollar General that we have in town is more expensive than Walmart on most items -- not by alot, but it adds up.

    I used to have a memberships to Sam's and other wholesale outlets, but unfortunately none of them are that convenient to where I live now. It also seemed like we tended to buy a whole bunch of stuff we didn't really need when we went to those places, just because it was so cheap.

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  10. "they're censorship fascists who won't sell anything remotely atheist"

    I don't think you know what censorship or fascism actually mean. But you might want to spend 2 minutes on Walmart's website. Do you think Richard Dawkin's books are "remotely atheist."? How about Sam Harris? Ayaan Hirsi Ali?

    http://www.walmart.com/ip/5908919
    http://www.walmart.com/ip/3918319
    http://www.walmart.com/ip/7895986

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  11. You mean like the people who condemn Walmart and say people shouldn't shop there?

    You mean like... people who don't believe in free markets?

    You're basically saying: other people don't follow my beliefs, so I won't either.

    It certainly didn't hit a nerve, it just made me question whether you suffer from irreperable brain damage.

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  12. UNRR: show me a pictures in a Wal-Mart.

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  13. "
    I'd be willing to bet that you could find similar examples of what most would consider worker abuse at pretty much any major corporation close to the size of Walmart. The idea that Walmart is somehow uniquely bad as a corporation is left-wing propaganda in my opinion."

    No doubt. All large corporations are corrupt in one way or another. The difference is Wal-mart seems to have a much higher incidence rate, at least based off of a few google searches. Though that could just be the bias you mentioned.

    As far as the base issue at question here; the free market relies on people being socially aware shoppers to restrain corporations from engaging in unethical practices. Otherwise the company that wins is the one willing to bend the most rules.

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  14. "You mean like... people who don't believe in free markets?

    You're basically saying: other people don't follow my beliefs, so I won't either."

    Hmm, I question your reading comprehension. I said what I wrote. Nothing I wrote has anything to do with not believing in free markets or in not following my beliefs.

    "It certainly didn't hit a nerve, it just made me question whether you suffer from irreperable brain damage. "

    It's pretty amusing when I dissect someone's nonsense and all they have is more nonsense and personal attacks.

    "UNRR: show me a pictures in a Wal-Mart. "

    Oh, so now the books have to actually be in the store itself to count. Nevermind that most of the books Walmart sells are not actually in the stores except when they are current. We can just ignore the huge business they do selling products on the web.

    Thanks for being a perfect illustration of the irrationality of most Walmart-haters. You appear to fall into categories 1 and 4. You claimed you won't shop at Walmart because they won't sell products by atheists. I point out that they do in fact sell products by atheists, and you attempt to move the goalposts to justify your irrational anti-Walmart stance.

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  15. "As far as the base issue at question here; the free market relies on people being socially aware shoppers to restrain corporations from engaging in unethical practices. Otherwise the company that wins is the one willing to bend the most rules. "

    The free market relies on a free exchange of goods and services. A discount retailers primary purpose -- from a customer standpoint -- is to provide a wide selection of products at a discount. Walmart does an excellent job of that, which is why it is tremendously successful.

    Anyone is free to shop wherever they want for whatever reasons they want, or not shop at places they don't want. But I am equally free to see their reasoning for not shopping at certain places as silly and in some cases financially harmful.

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  16. I shop at Walmart all the time too. It's very close to my home. I try to buy fruits and vegetables at Kroger, since I think it's better quality, but most staple foods we buy at Walmart. Can't beat $2.25 for a gallon of milk. It was often $4.50 up in Boston.

    That being said, I do have some qualms about it. The fact is that China is not a free country. Workers there have relatively few rights. Pollution there is terrible. Many of us would not buy products from companies producing in the USA if they acted like Chinese companies in these respects. Why do Chinese companies get a pass? The argument that workers there are better with jobs than without is pretty weak. The labor market (and every other market) there is not free. The Chinese government does not answer to its people and enriches an elite few with billions while the average worker makes peanuts.

    However, I second the recommendation of Penn and Teller on this. Here is a highlight

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KrjQqIXHdU

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  17. "The fact is that China is not a free country. Workers there have relatively few rights. Pollution there is terrible. Many of us would not buy products from companies producing in the USA if they acted like Chinese companies in these respects. Why do Chinese companies get a pass?"

    Probably because it's not up to us to decide what goes on in China. And again, Walmart is hardly alone in taking advantage of cheap foreign labor and workers who produce under conditions that would not be tolerated in America.

    I'm not saying that Walmart is run by angels, just that I don't believe there is anything in particular that warrants singling it out as a place to avoid when compared to other huge corporations. And the positives -- low prices, wide selection, convenience (and in the locations I go to, a good number of staffed checkout lanes)-- outweigh any negatives.

    I know I'm extremely cynical, but when I go shopping I tend not to worry about things that don't affect me. And I don't believe in pointless protest. Me choosing to do business elsewhere and penalize myself by losing the advantages of Walmart wouldn't hurt the company in the slightest.

    If someone chooses to do all their shopping at local small businesses, because they can get what they need there at reasonable prices; and they'd rather give their money to local people than a giant chain, I can respect that. But from what I've seen, most of the anti-Walmart crowd is not motivated by positive feelings for other businesses, but an irrational hatred of Walmart.

    I remember watching that Penn and Teller episode a long while ago.

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  18. No Walmart in Monroe! Sign the petition as well!

    http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/monroefirst/

    WalMart is bringing nothing we don't already have here in town, except sprawl. It will close local stores, it will cause traffic congestion on a nat'l by-way Stevens Pass Greenway. Shop local, keeps money circulating within community, positive thing to do for everyone.

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  19. YOU GUYS, CAN YOU QUIT COMPLAINING ABOUT THE BUTTCRACKER STORE WAL MART? JEEZ! STOP MAKING DUMB PETITIONS. PEOPLE NEED WALMART, YA FOOLS!

    WALMART MAY BE SEXIIST, TERRIBLE, AND EVERYTHING BUT AT LEAST I CAN GET SOME DECENT CUPCAKES OVER THERE.
    AND WHAT DOES CHINA AND INDIA HAVE TO DO WITH WALMART? YOU DONT NEED TO BRING ALL THESE DUMB TRIVIA FACTS IN! JUST USE UR DANG LOGIC! HOLY.

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  20. I found your post today after doing some comparison shopping at the Publix where almost EVERYTHING is priced higher, and I love your points.

    I have one category to add, though. I think some people are overwhelmed by the Walmart because it is so big. For those people, I will cut some slack, but I intend to stick to the Walmart, and I think a lot of people do think they are too high and mighty to go there. I tend to be very liberal, but I am pro-capitalism and have worked at several large corporations in America. Trust me, none of the big boys in the country, either government or corporate, put their employees first and their money second. That's just not how capitalism works. And as far as these small town small businesses go, I grew up in a small town, and Walmart is a huge help to a lot of the people living there who don't own one of those small businesses and can't afford their boutique prices.

    Just to add a point to my liberal-capitalist stance, I really, really wish Obama-care would get going. Currently I own a small business, one of the most challenging and daunting tasks I have on my agenda is health nsurance. I spend hours shopping for the best deal and pouring over the documents that go with our policy for the three households covered by this policy. I would love being able to hand that job over to the government to do for me AND for Walmart. If they took the $ I spent in insurance premiums as taxes and mixed it up with Walmart's, I think I'd get a better deal and a large task off my desk. See, you CAN be a liberal capitalist!

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  21. "I would love being able to hand that job over to the government to do for me". You are liberal indeed but certainly no capitalist. I would also like to add the category that you are a moron.

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  22. have you ever worked there? If not, then shut the fuck up cuz you don't know shit!

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  23. People, people, people... ...can't we all just kick back, smoke some pot, and observe the infinitely entertaining episodes of Family Guy?!

    P.S. Seth Mcfarland is a fuckin' genius.

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  24. I'm new to the Walmart is evil conversation. I've heard people reference it in the past but assumed it was all Anti-Big Buisness sentiment. After investigating a bit, I feel that it is all Anti-Big Buisness sentiment. People are mad because Walmart has a buisness plan... to make money... and to do so it involves going into small communities, importing products from other countries, bargaining to get themselves the best deals and in turn offering the best deals to their customers in order to... make money. Last time I checked we live in America, yes? Capitalism, free markets, freedom, etc... I hear people complaining about the poor workers who get minimum wage and bad benefits... then don;t work for them. I hear people complain about "the people" it attracts... then don't shop there, people say, oh they should give more to charities... I agree, but that's their decision. Like I said we live in America, nobody goes up to you and demands you donate to the Savation Army or else. We live in a land that gives us the freedom to choose what we want to do w/ the money we earn. If you don;t want to spend it at Walmart, then don't.

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  25. Walmart India is a known corporate terrorist that has reached to the top by kicking, and hurting all the people connected to their warped system. However, we should realise the fact that the people behind this corporate beast have been manipulating humanity for a long time.

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  26. Honestly I think your viewpoint is pretty short sighted. You don't have to be "pro union" to be anti walmart. Walmart routinely locks in retail workers at night without extra pay - a practice that has been well documented and is not standard for retail corporations. It is illegal and you don't have to love unions to have a problem with it.

    Second, yes your saving money now. Walmart lowers prices just long enough to kill off local competition, and then you will only have them as the controller of all prices.
    So in the long run you will pay more, at the cost of losing many local businesses.
    Monopolization is bad for the consumer in the long term.
    So you might get products for less now, but it's actually like paying 10 cents for a razor handle so you can then purchase $30 razor cartridges later to refill it.
    Same concept of so called "free trade", which really just means the freedom to outsource all our jobs.
    So yes, free trade appears to save you money in the short term, since you can buy a pair of sneakers for $10 now.. but it will cost you later since you will no longer be able to get a job since they have all been outsourced, which was really the cause of our great recession.

    Anyways I think you need to consider the big picture, not just the immediate price tag but the real cost to yourself and your community.

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  27. Wal Mart has been known to cheat their employees out of overtime pay and discriminates against people. Its a horrible economic parasite that I refuse to set foot in. I could buy groceries at Wal Mart but why not support my local ethnic market considering their prices are going to be good as Wal Mart and their a small business. Some people are anti-multinational corporation and pro small business. I detest Wal Mart, and I want to encourage everyone who likes a five finger discount to go there until they have to raise prices, can't remain competitive, and go out of business like they should. I hate them.

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  28. I think it's sad that you give Walmart so much praise. You are willing to sell out principles over a cheap gallon of milk and toilet paper. Is that all it takes for you to throw out what's right and wrong. I too used to shop there, but I just can't do it anymore. Walmart is about the all mighty dollar and yes I know that is what business is about but not in the expense of morality, human rights, and people's lives. When did YOU stop caring about others. Also, I hope you really love shopping at the almighty Walmart because someday that may be your only choice of stores, as they are killing off many other business in America. Very sad. What did you ever do before Walmart? There is more to life than $$$$ ! Does Walmart sell principles cheap there too? They must, seems to me that's where some of you are getting yours.

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  29. Also, I am not telling you were to shop. Just stating why people have the choice just like you to explain why they don't like Walfart. By the way, for the 20 miles out of your way for those "extra savings" how much are you actually saving? That always makes me laugh! You said it yourself that their produce is of lesser quality than you supermarket yet you still shop there. Quality of the products you buy and of people's lives seems to share some sort of equality for you. I think that part of you problem is the out of sight out of mind concept. If you don't have to see and talk to people that Walfart effects badly then that makes it ok. You know of the terrible things they do but you make excuses for them. Hmm.....

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  30. I am a pharmacist that was terminated by Walmart for "gross misconduct". A tech in the pharmacy claimed I slapped her so hard her teeth hurt. In reality it was a harmful and even playful pat on the face as we all closed down the pharmacy. This person filed a claim of violence in the workplace. I told my side of the story but was never given a real chance to defend myself or confront my accuser. I hate Wal*mart and so should you.

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  31. I tend to shop at Walmart if it is closer to me than any other store. Distance is a consideration because I am not really saving money if I have to drive 20 miles to a store. There are many factors that go into my decisions about where to shop. Price, convenience & distance all play a part, as well as what items I need. If I only need a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread, the Dollar Store across the street is my best choice. If I need to do a weeks worth of shopping then I drive 4 miles to Walmart. Sometimes I go to Kroger because they have the Private Selection brand and I like their ice cream. Once in a while I have a little extra spending money and treat myself to some items from Whole Foods or Trader Joe's. Why limit myself to one place?

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  32. you wanna know why i hate walmart? you ever try and buy a cd youve been looking forward too, getting in your car, tearing open the shrink wrap excitedly, popping it in your cd player...only to discover the whole cd has been destroyed by censoring. walmart pretended to be a family company when the parental advisory stickers were created by selling only clean cds. guess what happens if you get screwed over and by a edited cd? (which can easily happen as the word "edited" is on a tiny black bar sideways next to the barcode)you cant return it because you cant return any opened cds because "you could have just taken it home and copied it to your pc" (thats an actually response when i tried to return it) but you know what really finishes it? ive seen walmart sell GTA V with no problem, sell unrated versions of movies like the human centipede(no lie) and Pulp Fiction. walmart is just a cash whore. burn it to the ground.

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  33. I just one thing to say: Fuck this guy, and fuck Walmart. Thank you. That will be all.

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  34. If you wanna pay more for your food and clothes so that you can tell others you're so morally high and mighty, or because you're too stuck up to be seen at such a discount store, then go right ahead. In this country you are free to be stupid.

    I've never worked at Walmart, but as a teen I worked at Winn-Dixie and Publix, and gee guess what they treat employees like crap too. When you have no skills and are doing a flunky job anyone can do, guess how much they love you? They sure do love their schmuck customers who are willing to get shafted at the checkout line because Walmart is so damn evil.

    For all you rainbow-farting libs know, those horrid sweatshop jobs in China and India might be considered choice work over there. I know it's gotta beat being unemployed over there...they don't have America's cushy welfare system to coast on. They don't have the luxury of workplace choice.

    The only personal statement I care about is my bank account statement. Same for most other normal people.

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  35. I don't fall into any of your four categories. I refuse to shop at Walmart because I live in a large urban market in Florida where Walmart has plenty of competition, therefore, Walmart are only able to hire the worst employees. Every time I think I might find what I need at Walmart (it's usually after my preferred stores have closed), they have a big empty space where the losers who work there didn't stock what I need. In fact, just tonight, I noticed that in the section in which I shopped, about a third of all the slots for merchandise were empty. They are only out of the items that people buy all the time. They have plenty of other crap for sale, though. It just isn't anything I need or for which I went to the store. As an older person, I just don't want to waste any more of my precious time hoping to find what I need at Walmart, when I can easily go to a store which I know will have what I need, in stock. I'm sure in your rural market, the employees at Walmart are good and the shoppers are polite, but where I live, the opposite is true. I refuse to shop there, simply out of convenience.

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  36. Walmart thinks they are god. If you don't believe me, start talking to a few vendors. Walmart knows they have suppliers/vendors by the short hairs, and subsequently, they tend to treat these other companies sub-human. Possibly they are attempting to become their own distributor of many a product. As the old saying goes, shit runs downhill - walmart management is a perfect example of this. Walmart upper echelons care about their pocketbooks and shareholder pricing. That's it.

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