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Thread: Re: Walmart hard choice

  1. #1
         
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    Re: Walmart hard choice

    Yes, even I, myself, consider Walmart the nemesis of good planning practices, and yet at times I continue to shop there. The prices are unbeatable.
    But, perhaps even that is bad. Instead of accumulating a lot of stuff, and encouraging the waste of resources by creating a demand for producers to made even more stuff, it would be better for products to cost more.
    If it costs more, it is probably of higher quality, and if it costs more, people have to ask themselves if they really need it. And more often than less, we don't need the cheap things that they are selling.
    I have been living in Italy for the past 6 months, where the concept of a Walmart or even a super grocery store is beyond comprehension. Life is lived on a smaller scale. And Italians seem to get along just fine.
    So, Walmart really is the culprit, and we should shop at the smaller stores with higher-prices, but buy less and things of higher quality. Eventually we will learn that we are not getting more for our money, but are paying a different price-one that will be much more difficult to fix in the future, and one that is compromising our quality of life.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by crgre
    So, Walmart really is the culprit, and we should shop at the smaller stores with higher-prices, but buy less and things of higher quality. Eventually we will learn that we are not getting more for our money, but are paying a different price-one that will be much more difficult to fix in the future, and one that is compromising our quality of life.
    That's where it gets tricky. What I buy from wal-mart is things that I can get at almost any store....it's just cheaper there.

    Electronics, many of Wal-Marts electronics can be found at the local Best Buy, Radio Shack or other chain electronic store. Often Wal-Mart is underpricing these stores by as much as $30! These are not top of the line or even above average electronic devices, but they'll last quite a while and technology changes quickly. By the time the device breaks, it'll be time to upgrade to the newest standard anyway.

    Groceries and Home Products: Wal-mart may not have all groceries that I want, like good produce and meat, and ethnic or unusual products, but for my general shopping it's hard to beat. Plus for the same cleaner. detergent etc it's usually much less.

    Clothing: For kids clothes, kids who outgrow outfits before you get them home, Wal-Mart offer predictibaly good prices for average stuff. If I go to the department stores, I may get lucky and find clearance or sale items of better quality for the same price. Otherwise, I won't buy clothes from Wal-Mart.

    I'm not going to find higher quality local diary products at local stores because Wal-Mart already offers the same product. I'm not going to find a higher quality duracell battery at a local store because Wal-Mart offers the same. Wal-Mart is achieving massive success not because they offer low-quality goods at low prices, but because...for me.. they offer me great prices on the same or nearly equivelent goods I can get anywhere else. But I'll admit for many of the low-income people in my area, without Wal-Mart they'd be much worse off.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    I am a planner and I do shop at WalMart. Why? Two reasons: 1) the prices are lower than elsewhere, and 2) I really, really, really hate to shop and usually everything I am going to need is right there. It is one stop. I get it and go. I don't want to blow my Saturday going from one mom and pop store to the other getting hardware, groceries, linens, office supplies, shampoo, etc.

    I do go to the local stores for somethings. We commonly will buy our good meat from the smaller chain stores (County Market and Safeway). There is a regional chain that has a very good meat selection, including buffalo.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian SGB's avatar
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    So, Walmart really is the culprit, and we should shop at the smaller stores with higher-prices, but buy less and things of higher quality.
    IMO, it would be more accurate to place the blame on consumer spending choices rather than on the retailer that apparently is very good at meeting a demand.

    Quote Originally posted by otterpop
    There is a regional chain that has a very good meat selection, including buffalo.
    Off-topic:
    MMMMMMMmmmmmmm - buffalo! Suddenly that salad I had for lunch just ain't doin' it for me. B-)
    Last edited by SGB; 08 Jul 2004 at 1:45 PM.
    All these years the people said he’s actin’ like a kid.
    He did not know he could not fly, so he did.
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  5. #5
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    I just read the article on Wal-World and it made me wonder what if Wal-Mart does get that big. Look at what it has done over the past 10 years. They are everywhere and can go into just about any town and bully their way to the top.

    Do you feel that we are partly to blame for not proposing legislation that would limit the side of potential retailers locating on vacant properties?
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  6. #6
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    Really not such a hard choice after all

    I made a conscious choice not to shop in Walmart anymore, and I do not miss it at all. I used to justify shopping there because (1) prices are so much lower and (2) some things you can't get anywhere else.

    *** WARNING - STRONG OPINIONS TO FOLLOW ***

    Guess what? If I can't get it anywhere else, I do without and so far our family has been just fine. Regarding prices - I probably do spend a little more on things like cat food, paper towels, etc. but I haven't gone broke yet. Also, I find I now buy less - Walmart seems to encourage impulse shopping (I might go in for paper towels, but I come out with a couple of cheap toys for the kids, a new bathroom organizer, cat toys and some film) - so it all works out in the end.

    BTW, I have actively hated Walmart for years and for many reasons, but the reason I finally gave up the Walmart habit was that I read an article about the Etch a Sketch company, which finally shut its doors in this country to move to China a year or two ago. The company claims that one of the major deciding factors was that Walmart required the basic Etch a Sketch to be priced under $10, and the only way to meet that price was to move the factory to China where production costs would be less. One could argue that Etch a Sketch could choose not to sell to Walmart, but I am sure you have all heard the recent predictions that Walmart will account for something like 22% of all toy sales by next year, so giving up Walmart may not be feasible if a toy company wants to survive. Anyway, the result of Etch a Sketch moving was that a small town in the midwest lost its major employer and now there are lots of people without work. Because Walmart feels it is necessary for my kids to get a Etch a Sketch for under $10 this Christmas, the children of the former Etch a Sketch factory workers may not get anything at all. I like to save a buck as much as the next person, but at what cost?

    So next time you consider an improbably inexpensive product at Walmart, take just a second to think about WHY it is so inexpensive? Who is paying the difference and how?

    *** OKAY, I'M DONE NOW ***

  7. #7

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    Wal-Mart Land

    I love Wal-Mart
    I know many towns are fighting them because they can under-sale most other stores and Wal-Mart pulls customers away from age-old downtowns.
    I vote for a compromise...Make Wal-Mart pedestrian friendly by adding apartments around the parking lot enstead of resturants, gas stations, etc.
    I'd live next door to a 24-hour grocery store any day!

  8. #8
    Cirrus's avatar
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    In the city WalMart is a cheap department store. If you can get them to build a responsible, walkable store then there's nothing wrong with them. Unfortunately, I don't know of anyone who has actually succeeded in getting them to do that. Target has been much more willing to build urban.

    In the suburbs WalMart is just another big box. No different from Home Depot, Costco, etc.

    In small towns WalMart is the bane of a sustainable economy. It destroys business districts only to move to a new, bigger store a mile down the road and destroy the entire new suburban business district it created a few years earlier surrounding its previous store. It sucks money out of the local economy by replacing store owners who invested their entire lives and savings in the town with minimum wage, no benefit labor. It’s in small towns that WalMart does the most damage, by far.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally posted by Cirrus
    In the suburbs WalMart is just another big box. No different from Home Depot, Costco, etc.
    Some activists would argue that WalMart is almost unique in its predatory policies towards its employees. You gotta squeeze the margins from somewhere-and that means "off-the-clock" work, illegal immigrant subcontractors, etc. etc.

    Not denying your basic point, though, which is the ability of modern capital flows to overwhelm local economies. This has been true for over a century, though-it's just exacerbated.

    Didn't Karl Marx predict that Capitalism would first destroy the "petty bourgeoisie"?

  10. #10
    Cyburbian ICT/316's avatar
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    I haven’t seen the inside of a Target since December 2000. Even though they built 3 NEW ONES IN TOWN SINCE THEN. Kmart? Wal-Mart has everything you need under one roof! I hate going at night and there’s like one, maybe two lanes open. And everyone has $100-$250 dollars worth of stuff!

    Bill

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  11. #11
    Cyburbian RandomPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Main Street Maven
    I made a conscious choice not to shop in Walmart anymore, and I do not miss it at all. ...So next time you consider an improbably inexpensive product at Walmart, take just a second to think about WHY it is so inexpensive? Who is paying the difference and how?
    Here, here!! I've read way too many reasons why NOT to shop at Wally World to even give it a second chance. I don't go there, and haven't for several years, so I don't miss it. I prefer the little guy, still shop a bit for a good price, and don't buy what I don't need. And I certainly haven't felt budgetly challenged because of my choice to avoid this big box (heck, I try to avoid all big box if I can help it!)
    But I agree that it's not all Wal-Mart's fault. I've said it before and I'll say it again - if consumers put more thought into where their money is going, Wal-Mart wouldn't be the giant it is today. We, as a society, have put money at the top of our priority list -- unfortunately at a much higher cost than we are prepared for.
    How do I know you are who you think you are?

  12. #12
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Wow, there are a lot of good points in here. Not too long ago some friends of mine and I were discussing this topping and we realized that Wal-Mart is part of a cycle, and they realize it, but they are doing things to prevent them selves from getting phased out. They put just about nothing into their buildings (even though some have phenomenal architectural style), so when it comes time to tear down the building or add a super center onto it, then they can build as cheaply as possible. They often have absolute minimum landscaping and have set sign and site plan requirements. It cost them money every time they have to change something. I personally will not shop at Wal-Mart because there are still so many other options, and when you break it down the price difference is not enough to make me want to shop there.

    The only reason that Wal-Mart is so successful is because people allow them to be. If everyone stopped shopping there, if us planners demanded more in the way of architectural design, site plan, mixed use, landscaping, lighting, signs, it would cut into their profit margin.

    Here is a question... are their Wal-Marts in very wealthy areas?
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  13. #13
    Up here in Charlevoix MI Wal Mart wanted to come into town and the citizens said NO. Wal Mart left town. I do not shop there because the prices are not lower than other places. The Wal Mart in Petoskey is like going to a giant FREAK SHOW! Sometimes ya just havta do whats right. I'll skip on Wal Mart.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian
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    I don't shop at wal mart, for many of the same reasons already mentioned, plus I get absolutely overwhelmed by the layout (thefew times that I have been there). Trying to find a particular product in that place drives me nuts. I also hate the circular bagging. What's up with that? What if I wanted paper instead of plastic. For the things that I consume on a regular basis, I don't see much savings. I'll pass.

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