February 23, 2007
No Love For Wal-Mart?
I know I'm a rare defector from the belief that consumers all shop at Wal-Mart out of a deep-seated ideological affection for the company's labor practices, but even I'm surprised to see them coming dead last in a survey of consumer satisfaction. They're below the insurance industry!
Relatedly, I was at an AEI event on Wal-Mart where Michael Barone sagely explained that voters didn't want Democrats to shut down Wal-Mart, and so all these Democrats attacking the company are pursuing the modern equivalent of the nuclear freeze campaign from the 80s. That's, uh, one interpretation. Of course, the question has never been an existential one. Search the landscape, there's no such thing as an "End Wal-Mart Now" campaign. There's a robust campaign to force them to pay higher wages and offer better health care, significantly safer ground for Democrats, but center-right pundit types tend to forget the word "wages" when they begin sniffing about all the class warfare.
A particularly hilarious example of why they ignore or distort the wage issue came when some AEI functionary stood up to forthrightly address the issues of Wal-Mart's $15,500 average full-time wage. That's probably a lot of money in Dayton Ohio, she said, and Wal-Mart hires single mothers who would -- I'm not making any of this up -- otherwise become prostitutes. In the next room, you could hear satire dying.
makes you wonder what AEI pays her to keep her on the job.....
Posted by: David | Feb 23, 2007 4:31:24 PM
Don't forget WM's role as community business destroyers, leaches on cities for traffic improvements when they build, and all-around anti-public services assholes.
Not to mention their wholly illegal (but tolerated by bush/Cheney LLP) anti-union posture and activities.
It isn't necessary to put WM out of business, but when a viscious male pit bull dog is allowed to wander the neighborhood, it isn't surprising that their are calls for its castration. That isn't anti-business, it is progressive reining-in of rogue corporations.
Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Feb 23, 2007 4:51:15 PM
Yeah David. I wonder how much AEI pays their prostitutes?
Posted by: d0n camillo | Feb 23, 2007 5:30:15 PM
"That's probably a lot of money in Dayton Ohio"
WTF? Who the hell are these people and why are they so stupid? And why do they seem to be on the same side as "red staters" here in Ohio who do know exactly the type of lifestyle 15K a year can get you in Dayton.
Posted by: NonyNony | Feb 23, 2007 5:40:25 PM
"but even I'm surprised to see them coming dead last in a survey of consumer satisfaction."
I guess you didn't see this, supposed unrecognized problem in the Wal-Mart garden center:
(make sure you click the vid)
"Page said he never expected to get bit by a rattlesnake inside a Wal-Mart garden center, but there he was with a 12-year-old rattler pumping venom into his hand....
Page said his hand is still getting worse and what upsets him just as much was discovering how many times rattlesnakes have attacked customers in Wal-Marts before. His lawyer has documented cases dating back 20 years, including at least seven other attacks and even more cases where rattlers were found before anyone was bitten."
Posted by: discreet87 | Feb 23, 2007 5:42:57 PM
I don't think nuclear weapons led to the closures of small businesses all over the country. (If they did, it was very subtle.)
I like to think that Republicans are hitting a limit at what a party can achieve when it's entirely based on propaganda. But I only think that on optimistic days.
Posted by: RickD | Feb 23, 2007 5:48:01 PM
That's probably a lot of money in Dayton Ohio, she said, and Wal-Mart hires single mothers who would -- I'm not making any of this up -- otherwise become prostitutes.
Wow, so glad those Republicans know more about "flyover" country than we silly liberals who live there.
Posted by: Magenta | Feb 23, 2007 5:57:05 PM
Is there a transcript or, better yet, a video of her saying this?
Posted by: eriks | Feb 23, 2007 6:32:20 PM
Who wants to shop at WalMart? Other stores with low prices, like Target, CostCo allow the shopper to feel like they discovered something. And the other shoppers are a mix of incomes/classes.
Shopping at WalMart just makes you feel like a loser. No one wants to shop there once they make a little more money. And the people who work there seem to feel wretched and that carries over into the shopping experience.
Posted by: CParis | Feb 23, 2007 6:38:50 PM
Well on my $600 a month retirement social security I can't afford to shop at Target, maybe just once a year. I don't know anybody that works at WalMart that doesn't like it. One woman I know works exactly the days and number of hours that she wants. These are the same every week. I know they are awfully careful to make sure employees don't get overtime, as near as I have been able to figure out all the discount stores in SD pay roughly the same. It might flucuate a little, but not much. There are some people that work at WalMart because they live within walking distance. There are lots of people that shop at WalMart when they can afford new items otherwise they shop at thrift stores. However, I also see quite well-to-do people shopping there. At the WalMart where I shop it is nothing to see Hummers, Navagators, Escalades in the parking lot, this is while I am waiting for a cab or paratransit bus to take me home.
Posted by: Joan | Feb 23, 2007 7:03:48 PM
Sure Joan. Where is this wal-mart?
Like the bush administration, the damage wal-mart to this country isn't readily apparent but it's still there nonetheless, lurking under the surface.
Take one example. Many of the products wal-marts sells are specially packaged or produced to meet wal-mart's demands. In general, what this means is that items sold there are lower quality than similar products sold elsewhere (Levi's one example). Aside from the obvious issues of making most of this stuff in China, what it's done is established a new paradigm where quality or durability isn't an issue, price is. Once established, it slowly takes over the entire market.
Talk all you want about manufacturers intentionally making shoody merchandise or cutting corners to save a buck, wal-mart is a retailer that has driven this even further. Even if wal-mart disappeared tomorrow we would be left with this legacy, lower price, lower value.
Thanks walton family. We'll get right around to getting rid of that "death tax" very soon now.
Posted by: ice weasel | Feb 23, 2007 7:39:35 PM
You know, I'm from Dayton, OH. And let me tell you something.
The last time I was there there were houses missing windows. The several mile stretch of Main St. (no kidding here) leading up to my childhood home had NO OPEN BUSINESSES.
What has happened there is a complete abdication of the social safety net.
I'm intesely proud of my hometown, too. Guided By Voices and the Deal sisters (The Pixies, the Breeders) are from there, as was Paul Lawrence Dunbar.
But the only thing it should be used as is an argument in favor of a New New Deal.
Posted by: chimneyswift | Feb 23, 2007 9:49:56 PM
Satire made one feeble effort to rally, but Dinesh D'Souza walked over and kicked the crap out of it.
Posted by: Col Bat Guano | Feb 23, 2007 9:51:19 PM
None of this surprises me. Walmart "low prices" are usually for a few well-promoted items. I was not impressed by the prices the couple of times I've been in there, and most of the stuff that is really cheap is also flimsy. "Cheap is cheap," as everybody's mother says. As for the Dayton remark, that just goes with the elite right-wing fantasy that the peasants can really live on stone soup vs. the wealthy people who are being taxed to death. The prostitute part is just hilarious. It reminds me of the defense of polygamy made in some Muslim countries--that it prevents poor women from the shame of prostitution.
Posted by: ciocia | Feb 24, 2007 6:43:38 AM
Ezra...This SO-o-o quibble.
And then the inexorable 'BUT'....to say
"the question has never been an existential one"
in reference to whether or not not something actually IS, is incorrect.
'Existential' does not go to whether something actually exists but rather helps define or outlines a core principle of, feature of ...something.
Best used adjectivally. Think 'raison d'etre' which is close.
One could say, for example, that AEI is existentially obnoxious. That then works.
AND so that they invariably perpetrate existential insult [are existentially wrong in their mean-hearted Mani/chaean world-view]
on all of us is true and lives, embedded as fact, in a real world.
Sorry about that...I'm going out back now to flagellate myself bloody for being such a pedantic jerk.
Or, maybe, I am simply and existentially \deep-in-my- being\ wrong.
Posted by: has_te | Feb 24, 2007 12:59:15 PM
Let me be the first to promote the new line: "Walmart: Hey, if it weren't for us, you'd be a whore. No shut up about the inheritance tax and go smile at people."
Posted by: fishbane | Feb 24, 2007 4:20:32 PM
well...the poor stupid american loves to condemn the successful Walmart.why? because they are good for nothing,lazy moron
Posted by: fhfjyf | Apr 9, 2007 4:43:28 AM
I love Walmart, and plss... Stop hating Walmart! ok? Even if democrats put down Walmar, I still love Walmart. I love their walmart shopping online.
Posted by: Ryan | Jul 4, 2007 11:11:58 PM
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