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Wal-Mart: 50 Years of Gutting America's Middle Class?

~ The Rebel ~ 2012/07/06 04:06:16
Sam Walton opened the first Walmart store in Rogers, Arkansas, 50 years ago this month. Sprawled along a major thoroughfare outside the city's downtown, that inaugural store embodied many of the hallmarks that have since come to define the Walmart way of doing business. Walton scoured the country for the cheapest merchandise and deftly exploited a loophole in federal law to pay his mostly female workforce less than minimum wage.

That relentless focus on squeezing workers and suppliers for every advantage has paid off since July 1962. Walmart is now the second-largest corporation on the planet. It took in almost half-a-trillion dollars last year at more than 10,000 stores worldwide.

Walmart now captures one of every four dollars Americans spend on groceries.

While the big-box business model Sam Walton pioneered half a century ago has been great for Walmart, it hasn't been so great for the U.S. economy.

Walmart's explosive growth has gutted two key pillars of the American middle class: small businesses and well-paying manufacturing jobs.

Between 2001 and 2007, some 40,000 U.S. factories closed, eliminating millions of jobs. While Walmart's ceaseless search for lower costs wasn't the only factor that drove production overseas, it was a major one. During these six years, Walmart's imports from China tripled in value from $9 billion to $27 billion.

Read More: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/07/02-7

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Top Opinion

  • TheCouchF*cker 2012/07/06 04:29:26
    TheCouchF*cker
    +4
    Unions and taxes are the primary reasons that production jobs have been driven out of the country. It's too expensive to produce anything and make a profit inside of the United States of America that isn't a high-value product. Get the government to back off out of people's lives and wallets and they'll come flying back so they're then more concerned about the difference in shipping costs.

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  • erro 2012/07/07 03:22:29
    erro
    +2
    Every time you spend money at Wal-Mart, that money is sent to other nations like China and Taiwan. It costs the country billions of dollars in the process.
  • Leprachaun999 2012/07/06 20:06:11
    Leprachaun999
    +3
    They were h big problem in starting the part time work craze.
  • Bob S 2012/07/06 14:40:36
    Bob S
    +3
    Is that what you think of one of the most successful business in the world. Maybe you will say they are not fair and balanced. How then do you account for the 100's of millions of customers that seem to like their prooduct and serice. You've been listening to MSNBC and the unions for much too long. SUCCESS is rewarded by having customers to appreciate the product and service of WALMART.
  • Wolfman Bob S 2012/07/06 23:40:31
    Wolfman
    +3
    One can return any product with no problem. You can shop on-line and they will order it if they have to and have it waiting for you. The stores are clean. My store has premium-choice meat. I can always find someone to help me. I have no complaints.
  • Bob S Wolfman 2012/07/07 18:40:49
    Bob S
    +3
    We agree whole heartly on this one.
  • ~ The R... Wolfman 2012/07/07 19:00:29 (edited)
    ~ The Rebel ~
    +1
    I dunno about the meat... Thought it was ranked third out of three that were tested...
  • Wolfman ~ The R... 2012/07/07 23:33:32
    Wolfman
    +2
    I didn't read about it. I ate it. The premium-choice was very good.
  • Selkets... Wolfman 2012/07/08 15:21:04
  • Wolfman 2012/07/06 06:46:13
    Wolfman
    +3
    But, Walmart reduced the price of goods to consumers, stocked the things that people want to buy, made high quality consumer goods available to the people that live out in the sticks, and employ people including a few screaming children to give the place that Walmart ambiance.
  • Doreen Wolfman 2012/07/06 16:04:59
    Doreen
    +2
    Wal-Mart does not make high quality goods. The stores that were close to the people out in the sticks got driven out by Wal-Mart and the funny thing is that they were close to the sticks than Wal-Mart. For every ten people who lost jobs because of Wal-Mart only two got hired by Wal-Mart and got paid a lot less. No, Wal-Mart has not helped but only made things worse.
  • Wolfman Doreen 2012/07/06 16:23:53
    Wolfman
    +1
    Walmart does not make anything. They sell stuff. They do have store brands that have the same high quality as premium brands. They sell high quality electronics, guns, food, etc. The Mom & Pop stores that we had in the sticks could not match the variety, selection, quality or price of Walmart. If they could they would still be in business. Because Walmart has bigger stores they hire more people than the M&P stores. I challenge your 10-2 hiring ratio. I think you made it up. I live in the sticks. The Feed & Seed stores are still in business along with the lumber yards, tack shops, clothing and hardware stores. Walmart is a good thing for me.
  • Doreen Wolfman 2012/07/06 17:09:23
    Doreen
    +1
    They do have company towns where the procucts that are their brands are made from near slave labor ( who in the hell do you think makes their brand? ) hiring ratio. Their brand ARE NOT high quality and are NOT just like the quality brands. By the time the people living in the sticks have to drive all the way to Wal-Mart the gas they had to use has made up the so called savings. You do not live where I do and the 10-2 highering ratio stands here and when they do get hired they pay them a lot less. They sell high quality factory rejects as far as the electronics, guns, and car parts ( and their car service sucks ). I am glade that Wal-Mart is good for YOU but it is bad for many others. Wal-Mart ENCOURAGES their employees to get government help. Wal-Mart discourages having a second job ( I and other people that I know personaly who have and do work there is either told not to work elsewhere or their hours are made to make it impossible ). Your taxes are going to help these people with government supplement because your Wal-Mart wants them to. As far as the lumber yards, tack shops, hardware stores I will say DUH because they do not carry that stuff. The clothing stores here shut down.
  • Wolfman Doreen 2012/07/06 17:54:23
    Wolfman
    +2
    We have different experiences. Walmart doesn't manufacture anything except packaging. They buy thie products from the major manufacturers. Their brands are the sme quality as the national brands because it's the same stuff.

    I live in the sticks. I had to drive to the Mom & Pop stores. Now I drive the same distance to Walmart. There is no difference.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with the guns and ammunition at Walmart. If you don't like the electronics go to Best Buy, but I buy my printer cartridges at Walmart because they are cheaper. Walmart sells the best batteries in the business. Don't believe me, check Consumer Reports. I buy tires elsewhere, but I have found their vehicle maintenance work acceptable.

    The Walmart here employs many people. There is no one working there who is forced to work there. Walmart pays them and they keep showing up so I guess they find it acceptable.

    As far as the lumber yards, tack shops, hardware stores I will say DUH because they do not carry that stuff. That's my point. They don't sell that stuff or they have a limited selection and they didn't put anybody out of business. There are two women's clothing stores, two western clothing stores, and a Levis and an Adias outlet in my area.

    But nobody forces you to go to Walmart. If you don't like the go to Target.
  • Doreen Wolfman 2012/07/06 18:26:13
    Doreen
    +2
    As I said their brands are not better or just as good than the quality brands. The people living in the sticks here do need to go further. When Wal-Mart is the only place that is around to hire then yes people are forced to work there. The odd thing is if someone refuses to apply they are called lazy then if they do apply and get the job they are for some reason not forced. That argument about not beng forced or chance being called a moocher is two faced. When that is the only money that is there to work for of course people are going show up for work even though they are extremely underpaid but hey they fill the gap with your hard earned money so what the hell! I am glade that you have those clothing stores and it is really nice that people are forced to wear the same clothes ( western ). I forgot that we DO have a couple of clothing stores but they are meant for the few rich people in the county and not for the higher poverty level population. I will not shop at Wal-Mart and have not for years. I do not shop at Target very often ( I think I purchase three things from them ever ) because they are to far away and I do not really like the store that well ( to bright ). The only thing Wal-Mart is good for is training service dogs to do well in busy stores but Wal-Mart...
    As I said their brands are not better or just as good than the quality brands. The people living in the sticks here do need to go further. When Wal-Mart is the only place that is around to hire then yes people are forced to work there. The odd thing is if someone refuses to apply they are called lazy then if they do apply and get the job they are for some reason not forced. That argument about not beng forced or chance being called a moocher is two faced. When that is the only money that is there to work for of course people are going show up for work even though they are extremely underpaid but hey they fill the gap with your hard earned money so what the hell! I am glade that you have those clothing stores and it is really nice that people are forced to wear the same clothes ( western ). I forgot that we DO have a couple of clothing stores but they are meant for the few rich people in the county and not for the higher poverty level population. I will not shop at Wal-Mart and have not for years. I do not shop at Target very often ( I think I purchase three things from them ever ) because they are to far away and I do not really like the store that well ( to bright ). The only thing Wal-Mart is good for is training service dogs to do well in busy stores but Wal-Mart is the most popular across the nation for being nasty to service dog and owner teams ( when you are involved with service dogs you know this ). Except for a couple of places I shop local mom and pop and mom and pop's further away also. It is not finacilly in our favor to do so but we do hold on to our personal standards. I agree to disagree and if you like Wal-Mart then that is your right just as it is my right to not like Wal-Mart because of what they do that is horrible.
    (more)
  • Wolfman Doreen 2012/07/06 18:40:52
    Wolfman
    +3
    I do most of my shopping on-line because I don't like going to stores. But I go to Walmart every couple of months or more often if I need something right away. Since they are open 24-hours they are pretty handy.
  • Selkets... Wolfman 2012/07/06 22:01:09
    Selketskiss
    +2
    I agree..I do most of my shopping of regular stuff around 3am and for me it is great having a 24 hour store. For hardware, lumber etc. I go to other stores.
  • Wolfman Selkets... 2012/07/06 23:31:39
    Wolfman
    +2
    3 am is a nice time to shop. Here they have a religious sect all woth beards but no mustaches unloading trucks and stocking shelves at that time, but there's a checkout open. No crowds.
  • Selkets... Wolfman 2012/07/07 02:56:46
    Selketskiss
    +2
    LOL...I like it, there is 0 traffic on the road where I live and by 3am all the fresh meats, veggies etc. are put out. We have a policeman that stays at the store outside till 6am..there has never been a problem and that is why. You are right I never have to wait in line..
  • ~ The R... Selkets... 2012/07/07 20:49:11
    ~ The Rebel ~
    +1
    Most people just gave them a pass on “If You See Something, Say Something”
  • Selkets... Doreen 2012/07/07 13:25:20
    Selketskiss
    +2
    Others really try to blame some one else for their woes when it is usually the people themselves when trends change and convenience is all people really care about..
  • Doreen Selkets... 2012/07/07 15:49:42
    Doreen
    +1
    This really has nothing to do with blame it has to do with the facts. Yes, there are people who do not care about why the prices are low and just go there and those people are also to blame if one wants to play the blame game. For some it is a matter of being forced because everything else is gone or to far.
  • Selkets... Doreen 2012/07/07 19:15:56 (edited)
    Selketskiss
    +2
    People make or break a business. There were 2 gas stations across the street from each other next to my house and none for quite a few miles. After 9-11 Mr Arab owner of station #1 which was a huge full store, ice, propane, water and air outside for your car and many pumps lost business..people in my area refused to get anything at his gas station... there was a silent boycott because of "those" people in general, the people wanted to strike out, it did not matter if it was right or wrong. Station #2 which was a very tiny store and a few pumps and that was it was over run and could barely keep up with demand. Station #1 closed went out of business in less than 3 months.
  • Selkets... Doreen 2012/07/07 20:08:27 (edited)
    Selketskiss
    +2
    I live less than 1/4 of a mile next to Publix, my Wal Mart is 3.6 miles away. I live in a major country like upscale housing area. Publix is packed everyday..so much so they opened another new one 4.5 miles away or I can go to the older one 3.3 miles away. These stores are always packed now how did Wal Mart effect them..it didn't. I use Publix but if I want to shop in the early am I use WM.
  • ~ The R... Selkets... 2012/07/07 16:47:22
    ~ The Rebel ~
    +1
    Do you realize the price/tax breaks foreigners get to run businesses here? That's why you see so many of them buying up the hotels/gas stations/restaurants. And when the first buyers nifty little packages run out a 'cousin' buys from them and the deal starts all over. Friends of mine in different areas of the country were interested in buying some of these businesses and couldn't swing all the extra costs and were really ticked when foreigners came in and took the businesses over and got all these extras that weren't available to US citizens...
  • ~ The R... Selkets... 2012/07/07 20:49:53
  • Selkets... ~ The R... 2012/07/08 15:13:39
    Selketskiss
    +1
    Thanks for the link..Target could be doing the same thing...
  • Selkets... Wolfman 2012/07/07 19:56:31 (edited)
    Selketskiss
    +1
    Have you noticed no one makes a big stink about Target..Target is exactly
    like a Wal Mart so what is up with that. No one out there protesting, holding big town hall meetings refusing Target to build..it closes down mom and pop stores too...
  • Doreen Selkets... 2012/07/08 00:54:48
    Doreen
    +2
    I do not shop at Target either for the same thing.
  • Selkets... Wolfman 2012/07/06 22:12:53
    Selketskiss
    +2
    LOL..on the screaming kids..
  • ~ The R... Wolfman 2012/07/07 18:15:02
  • Wolfman ~ The R... 2012/07/07 18:31:36
    Wolfman
    +2
    Everybody has to shop somewhere.
  • Selkets... ~ The R... 2012/07/07 20:19:21
    Selketskiss
    +2
    funny pic...I see these pictures people post of these Wal Mart people in crazy outfits and such and they even have a whole website but I have never seen these types of people in my Wal Marts ever. It must be certain areas where these Wal Marts are located...
  • ~ The R... Wolfman 2012/07/07 20:47:58
  • Wolfman ~ The R... 2012/07/07 23:43:32
    Wolfman
    +1
    Where's the problem?
  • S. Gompers 2012/07/06 05:11:20
    S. Gompers
    +3
    Yes, and the middle class is helping it.
  • Doreen 2012/07/06 04:31:39
    Doreen
    +2
    Wal-Mart is not happy just preying on the poor the also took the middle class down so they would have more to prey on. I watched them take the already poor county that I live in down to poverty. My county used to have a lot of awesome mom and pop shops were the owners and employees worked together like a tight knit family and the employees got paid decently. Wal-Mart came in and 98% of mom and pops went out. I miss my old county. They also treat their employees like criminals and with no respect.
  • Bob S Doreen 2012/07/06 14:41:31
    Bob S
    +1
    What have the UNIONS done for you recently. Ask Govenor Walker in Wisconsin.
  • Doreen Bob S 2012/07/06 16:00:26
  • Bob S Doreen 2012/07/06 16:11:45
    Bob S
    +2
    tell me what you really feel about Wal-Mart. Please don't hold back for me. I can understand your feeling but are millions of people wrong or do they shop there for ???what reason?
  • Doreen Bob S 2012/07/06 17:24:11
    Doreen
    +1
    If millions of Americans want to get "so called" good deals off the misery of others and not give a damn good for them. If these people do not mind that Wal-Mart out sources the jobs that they do not have good for them. If millions of Americans have no problem with others losing their jobs and maybe if they are extremely lucky Wal-Mart will higher them at more than less than half that they used to get ( underemployed ) I worked for Wal-Mart at one time and learned the truth first hand. I know several people who worked and do work for Wal-Mart and their lives were/are misrable. If millions of people approve of paying millions of their hard earned money to the people on government assistance that Wal-Mart encourages then good for them.

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