What are your thoughts on Wal-Mart?

What are your thoughts on Wal-Mart?

Me and my family do a lot of our shopping at Wal-Mart, in fact we almost do all of our shopping at Wal-Mart.  Wal-Mart seems to be a very controversial store when it comes to its reputation.  Some people love Wal-Mart and other people hate it.  I have some family members who refuse to even step foot in the store, while other families members do most of their shopping at Wal-mart like me.

I was just curious what my readers thoughts were on Wal-Mart and whether they think it is a great store to find a good bargains or if it is the evil empire  and refuse to shop there.  The reason I ask is I know I have certain opinions about Wal-Mart the store/company (which I will discuss in a follow-up post), but I wanted to possibly get some insight into what people like and don’t like about Wal-Mart and how many people are on each side of the fence

So I got a couple questions for you.

  1. What are your thoughts on Wal-Mart (good,bad)?
  2. Why do you feel that way?
  3. If you have some insight into why they are good or bad where did you get this information?

If you have any preferences one way or the other I really would love to hear your thoughts.


  • bk

    I refuse to step foot into Walmart for no other reason than I don’t want to hang out with all the mullet wearing, Nascar watching, poor English speaking, low wage earning Hillbillys that frequent there.

  • Nick

    I refuse to shop at Walmart, but that doesn’t mean I believe they should be subject to special laws or health care requirements. Personally, I just can’t stand the ‘atmosphere’. The Walmart in my neighborhood is your stereotypical Walmart — entirely to crowded, too many out of control kids, hundreds of welfare queens with a baby on each hip screaming at their third and fourth kid who are destroying the aisles.

    I’ll stick to Giant and Target.

  • Wow bk, thats awfully prejudiced of you..

    We don’t shop there on principal alone, in that the discount price is not worth it to us in exchange for what Wal-mart does to its employees, vendors and the foreign labor force. Saving a few bucks is not worth knowing what we are contributing to. A great book to read more about this is Nickel and Dimed, about a reporter that went undercover and worked there…very interesting.

  • edenz

    Adding to what david said above, I also don’t shop at Wal-mart b/c in my experience most of their stuff is poorly made and butt-ugly. And their produce is disgusting (produce = 90% of my groceries).

  • Rhiannon

    I don’t shop at Wal*Mart for a combination of reasons:

    1. I don’t like what they do to their employees, vendors, and how they railroad communities into allowing them to build. You can probably find hundreds of articles on their gender bias lawsuit and possibly just as many on their getting communities to use Eminent Domain to have stores built.

    2. When I did shop at Wal*Mart, what I bought was never any cheaper than just buying it in another store.

    3. The store I did shop in was grossly understaffed and so was always a disaster.

  • I hate shopping at Wal-Mart, but I’m there at least once a week. I’ll buy most packaged things there, but usually not clothes or fresh foods… the clothes feel like they will fall apart, and my experience with produce and meat from War-Mart makes me run for Copps instead.

    The biggest benefit for me is that they are still open at 10:30 at night which is usually when I need to run there. I avoid shopping there during any daylight hours.

  • We shop there all the time. Never for groceries, but definately for diapers, cloths, and sometimes electronics. Sometimes, they are just the nest price. That is pretty much the onlt determining factor for my family.

    As for what they do to their employees? Let me first say that I do not believe in unions and I don’t believe that you are entitled to something just because you live in the USA.

    If you want more benefits or pay in any job, you improve yourself and get a promotion or get a better job. Walmart is not welfare. The fact of the matter is that when a walmart opens a store there are 3 people waiting in line for each job opened. Why should they be motivated to pay more than minimume wage.

    You want more pay with no skills. Go to the biggest city near you and work at a fast food place there. you will work hard and get paid $10-12 an hour.

  • I don’t get much of a chance to shop at Wal-Mart, because the nearest one to my house is 20 miles away. There aren’t too many of the them in the Bay Area (at least around the Peninsula).

    Anyway, Wal-Mart has gotten a lot of bad press in recent years, especially for the way that they treat their workers and the whole health insurance situation. I think that they probably earned much of that criticism.

    I also think that they got a lot of negative publicity over their massive trade with China, and paradoxically, over their low prices which supposedly push smaller competitors out of business. That criticism is flat out stupid. Economics is an evolutionary game where the stronger competitor typically wins out and competition benefits the general public.

    Recently I have followed with interest reports in the media about Wal-Mart’s efforts to make itself into a green company. I whole-heartedly support this effort, and if I could, would support it with my wallet. However, it would be a bit counter-productive to drive 20 miles to buy an energy efficient light bulb. Right?

  • k

    Please do not shop at Wal-Mart. In the long-run, shopping at Wal-Mart means pushing down your wages, sending US jobs overseas, and supporting the worst global corporate practices. It’s not worth the low prices, and as you will read below, shopping at Wal-Mart may not actually save you money in the long-run.

    Wal-Mart’s low prices cost us all a lot more than you might think. Wal-Mart pays its own workers poverty wages, provides substandard benefits, hires part-time and transient workers to keep down wages, and has forced employees to work off-the-clock. Numerous lawsuits accuse Wal-Mart of deleting overtime on timecards, denying workers breaks and mealtimes, and breaking a host of other basic labor laws. Wal-Mart currently faces lawsuits in over 31 states for abusing employees by violating wage and hour regulations.

    A full-time hourly worker at Wal-Mart currently earns less than the federally defined poverty level! And Wal-Mart relies on taxpayers (you and me!) to subsidize its low wages! In 2004 in California alone, reliance by Wal-Mart workers on public assistance programs cost taxpayers approximately $86 million. In fact, Wal-Mart has been caught giving its employees publications showing them how to apply for welfare, food stamps and healthcare assistance. Should taxpayers really subsidize the operating costs of one of the most profitable companies on the planet? As if that weren’t bad enough, studies show that when Wal-Mart comes to town, it drives down overall wages in the area, causing an annual loss of at least 4.7 billion dollars to all retail workers each year. Wal-Mart also receives over $1 billion per year from cities in tax breaks and other incentives when it opens a store. Cities subsidize massive, profitable Wal-Mart while local, family-owned business go bankrupt and are pushed out of town by Wal-Mart. For every Wal-Mart that opens, multiple local supermarkets will close.

    The average hourly sales employee at Wal-Mart earns $13,861. Meanwhile, Wal-Mart’s CEO earns over $27 million per year and each member of the Walton family is worth over $18 billion! The Walton family and Wal-Mart stores make comparatively meager donations to charity. The donations the Walton family does make go largely to conservative politicians and conservative causes.

    Wal-Mart discriminates against women, minorities and immigrants. It has been found guilty of hiring and exploiting illegal immigrants. A current lawsuit, Dukes v. Wal-Mart, involves 1.8 million women suing Wal-Mart for severe gender discrimination. Women were (and continue to be) paid less than men, denied promotions in favor of less qualified men, and sexually harassed on the job. When one woman told her manager she learned she was being paid less than a male coworker who had less experience and had been at Wal-Mart for less time, the manager told her it was because “he has a family to support.” And this woman is a single mother! Apparently her family doesn’t count. Women who applied for promotions and managerial positions were told they should “be at home with a bun in the oven.” You can read more, including all of the court documents, at http://www.walmartclass.com.

    Wal-Mart spends tremendous resources on union busting to prevent its employees from improving conditions. Wal-Mart invests millions of dollars in a 24-hour anti-union hotline, cameras to monitor employee’s actions, and a corporate jet that allows executives to swoop in on a moment’s notice to squelch union activities. Over 59 complaints have been filed accusing Wal-Mart of using illegal surveillance to prevent union formation!

    Wal-Mart’s business model is a primary reason that US jobs are going overseas. And once those jobs are overseas, Wal-Mart’s practices promote gross human rights violations in countries like China where employees who make products for Wal-Mart toil in factories for 12-18 hours a day earning poverty wages. Many are mere children, and some even sleep in the factories. Wal-Mart’s overseas practices defy the very logic of our economy. Consider inflation, which means that on average, the cost of living goes up over time. Wages should also rise to keep up with this. Wal-Mart distorts economies to change this equation. It produces products overseas where employees are more vulnerable, cheap, and easily controlled. Then it dictates the prices it will pay to these producers, and year after year, Wal-Mart insists that the products be produced for cheaper and cheaper prices. Unlike any other company, Wal-Mart also dictates every other product specification you can imagine to its producers. This is not how our economy normally functions. Typically, sellers and buyers come together and negotiate on prices, volume, product details, etc. Wal-Mart’s behemoth size has distorted the power balance and allows it to dictate prices and conditions, creating false economies.

    Finally, if you are concerned about the environment, be aware that Wal-Mart is regularly fined by the government for a range of environmental violations.

    Want to learn more or confirm the claims made above? Check out the following websites:


    http://www.walmartmovie.com (you should watch this movie – it’s fantastic!)


    Finally, who needs Wal-Mart when TARGET (and other similar stores) have reasonably cheap prices, happier employees, and much cuter clothing and other products??!! If you have one in your area, Costco is also fantastic (avoid Sam’s Club, which is owned by Wal-Mar)

  • MFJ

    Thank you k – that is what I was looking for.

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