Monday, June 16, 2008

Wal-Mart

As you probably know, I am a Wal-Mart shopper. It seems that more and more people start to dislike Wal-Mart everyday, which I guess I can understand. It is always crowded and it is very large. It is frustrating to remember that you need deodorant when you are in the laundry section and you have to make your way through a sea of people, including many unattended children, and shopping carts to get to the other side of the store. Of course, it is that way at the other grocery store I occasionally visit, but I never hear quite the same moaning and groaning when I mention that store.

For a few moments, I would like to challenge you to clear your mind of all opinions that you may have or that you may have heard about Wal-Mart. Below are some observations that I have made and some research that I have done about Wal-Mart. When you are done, it will be okay with me if you don’t want to shop at Wal-Mart…I just wanted to share a few of the many, many, many reasons why I choose to shop at Wal-Mart.

I have lived in a neighborhood where Wal-Mart moved in, so I can tell you what it looked like before and after.
Before Wal-Mart moved in:
Many people in the neighborhood did not have jobs. They felt stuck in their situation because they also did not have cars to get them to their jobs. Many of the people’s houses were in ill repair. There was one medium-sized grocery store in the neighborhood that took advantage of the fact that residents traveled by walking and could not buy groceries at other stores. The prices at the grocery store were around 50% higher than Wal-Mart’s prices. The overall situation in this neighborhood was not good.

After Wal-Mart moved in:
Many people were hired on at Wal-Mart. This helped. Wal-Mart’s low prices helped the whole neighborhood by not taking advantage of those who walked everywhere…no more price gouging! People started buying cars and fixing up their houses. Other needed businesses popped up around Wal-Mart; businesses like barbershops, shoe stores, and many others. More and more jobs were available every few weeks. Old buildings that had been vacant for years were cleaned up and were filled with new businesses and a new police station. The neighborhood was definitely on the incline and still is to this day (4 years later).

After doing quite a bit of research, I have found out many interesting facts about Wal-Mart:
• The mission statement is: “Saving people money so they can live better”
• They provide financial and volunteer support to over 100,000 charitable organizations
• Their statement of ethics to their employees is twenty-five pages long
• Has received numerous awards with a small fraction of them being:
o Top 50 Companies for Diversity, DiversityInc, 2007
o Best Company for Multicultural Women, Working Mother, 2007
o Top Companies for Female Executives, National Association of Female Executives, 2007
o Top U.S. Companies for People with Disabilities, poll sponsored by CAREERS & the disAbled, 2004
• They work with several charitable organizations to ensure that communities in need receive critical health information and treatment
• They have recently increased the fuel efficiency of their trucks to reduce carbon emissions
• They save Grant and Amanda between $50 and $100 per month on groceries alone. I have not calculated the amount they have saved us on clothes, home furnishings, electronics, or most importantly, camping equipment.

3 comments:

Pryncss Briana said...

Walmart and I have a love-hate relationship. I used to love to shop there, probably still would if I could walk into one without nightmarish flashbacks of working there. Yup, a year and a half of being on their payroll is what has turned me against them. I am glad of the good they do and sad of the bad things about them. I will never tell anyone else not to shop there, in fact more power to you for all them money you can save there! I just can't. :P

Amanda said...

I could say the same about most of the places I have worked. Why is it that a person gets a sour taste in their mouth towards a company once working there? It's like asking how many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie roll pop. The world may never know.

James Cogburn said...

I also have a love/hate relationship with Wal-Mart. I also worked there, over 1 summer when I was an undergrad, and I had a bad manager and a good manager. I like that WM made many products more affordable and revitalized some areas as Amanda mentioned, but I have also seen WM destroy beautiful downtowns and people's lives. I personally know of one case, and have heard of others where a WM manager laid off a worker just before her 7-yr anniversary when her company stock options would have vested. 7 years of hard work with the intent to work more and retire, and some manager decided she was too expensive at $7-something an hour. She now works for a competitor. WM is not known for taking care of its employees.

WM brings a great distribution system and affordable products previously unavailable, but what happens if that distribution system ever breaks down for some reason??

All this to say that I sometimes shop at WM and often don't like it when I do, a love/hate relationship at best :S