Many people continue to support Wal-Mart because they do not think they can afford to shop anywhere else. There is an element of truth to this, and of course, it is part of Wal-Mart’s plan — kill off every low-cost competitor. In short, Wal-Mart creates poverty and then it becomes the store of last resort for victims of poverty. ” (Sprawlbusters) Big-box stores like Wal-Mart are detrimental in many ways to our quality of life. In 1998 Home Depot and Wal-Mart built more than 250 new stores, adding 33+million feet of retail space to America. Here’s the argument against sprawl, made by the website Sprawlbusters: Sprawl” is defined by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as “poorly planned, low-density, auto-oriented development that spreads out from the center of communities. “
The 10 sins of retail sprawl * It destroys the economic and environmental value of land * It encourages an inefficient land-use pattern that is very expensive to serve. * It fosters redundant competition between local governments, an economic war of tax incentives. * It forces costly infrastructure development at the edge of towns. * It causes disinvestment from established core commercial areas. It requires the use of public tax support for revitalizing rundown core areas. * It degrades the visual, aesthetic character of local communities. * It lowers the value of other commercial and residential property, reducing public revenues. * It weakens the sense of place and community cohesiveness. * It masquerades as a form of economic development. http://www. sprawl-busters. com/caseagainstsprawl. html Wal-Mart is not alone in contributing to sprawl, but Wal-Mart is far worse in its evil practices and ill effects than any other retail company.
Wal-Mart is not just the world’s largest retailer. It’s the world’s largest company–bigger than ExxonMobil, General Motors, and General Electric. The scale can be hard to absorb. Wal-Mart sold $244. 5 billion worth of goods last year. It sells in three months what number-two retailer Home Depot sells in a year. And in its own category of general merchandise and groceries, Wal-Mart no longer has any real rivals. It does more business than Target, Sears, Kmart, J. C. Penney, Safeway, and Kroger combined. http://www. fastcompany. com/magazine/77/walmart. html
But Wal-Mart is not worse merely because it is bigger; it is bigger because it is worse. An annual list of the most ethical companies in the world includes some Wal-Mart competitors. Target, Trader Joe’s, Wegman’s, Gap, Best Buy, and IKEA are on it this year, but Wal-Mart has never been on it. Costco is another Wal-Mart competitor that keeps prices down while treating workers decently. “Costco CEO Jim Senegal pays workers more and himself less (this is a CEO who can live on just a half million bucks a year! ), allows some workers to be unionized, and still runs a profitable business. http://webhost. bridgew. edu/jhayesboh/badbusiness. html In contrast, Wal-Mart’s CEO made more than $19 million last year (after a $7 million pay cut), while keeping employee wages and benefits at poverty levels. Wal-Mart’s pay forces tens of thousands of employees to apply for food stamps and Medicaid. “Some larger Wal-Mart stores have welfare offices in the store — for the people who work there. ” http://webhost. bridgew. edu/jhayesboh/badbusiness. html Wal-Mart’s pay and benefit policies are costing US taxpayers billions of dollars. On April 26, as part of a campaign called ‘Love Mom, Not Wal-Mart,’ five members of Congress joined women’s advocates and labor leaders to assail the company for not paying its female employees more,” according to a NY Times article. In December Wal-Mart agreed to pay $40 million to settle the largest wage-and-hour class-action settlement in Massachusetts history –after fighting it for eight years. The case is one of many: “in December, the merchant agreed to pay up to $640 million to settle 63 federal and state class-action wage-and-hour lawsuits.
Wal-Mart also damages the American economy by pressuring the companies who supply it. On basic products it demands “profit-killing concessions from vendors,” paying less each year. Suppliers have been compelled to lay off employees and close US plants if they want to keep Wal-Mart’s business. “Sure, it’s held inflation down, and it’s great to have bargains, but you can’t buy anything if you’re not employed. We are shopping ourselves out of jobs. ” http://www. fastcompany. om/magazine/77/walmart. html One supplier closed his factory because of Wal-Mart’s demands. “In January, he lost money on a Wal-Mart order. A few months later, he was asked to make 10,000 intricately worked cardigans for the retailer within a week. The sample already bore a Wal-Mart price tag: $8. 47. ‘You can’t make it here at that price,’ Reed said at the time. ‘Not legally, anyway. ‘” http://www. pulitzer. org/archives/6831 Other than supplying increasingly cheap and crappy products, Wal-Mart does little to serve its customers. Here’s one rant:
On any given day I can go to my local Wal Mart and buy a box of bullets, a pack of smokes, a movie full of swearing with either some killing or fucking in it and a video game that has a lot of killing in it… but I can’t pick up an unedited Eminem CD? What’s up with that? Do I even need to get into the recent censoring of books? Both America the Book by the people from the Daily Show on Comedy Central and George Carlin’s new book When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops? were pulled from the shelves of Wal Mart across the US because they were found to be objectionable. http://www. disgruntledhuman. com/wmrtnf. htm