What's The Real Price of Wal-Mart?

february 1, 2004

So, I have been saying this for a while now. What is "this"? That Wal-Mart is a cancer to our economy, our community, and our retail market. But, has the media finally overlooked the marketing dollars that Wal-Mart pays and started looking at how the company really affects us in as a whole -- and more importantly, how it is affecting the future of this country? It looks like it is happening now as more and more media news agencies are taking a closer look at Wal-Mart. There is an interesting article in today's San Jose Mercury talking just about the stuff that I mentioned a year ago. Dan Gillmor writes, "I don't like the giant retailer's robber-baron business practices, or its treatment of employees. I don't like the small-town wreckage it has left in its wake, or the way it has forced suppliers to move jobs offshore." And he continues about the other Wal-Mart tactics that are affecting all over us indirectly, "[i]The virulently anti-union retailer pays low wages and offers poor benefits for a company of its size and profitability. When employees who can't afford its health insurance have serious health problems, the public ends up footing the bill for their care, the Los Angeles Times reported in a recent series about Wal-Mart's oversize impact. In effect, our taxes subsidize the Wal-Marts of our nation.[/i]" And Gillmor says that he does what I do: "[i]I can afford not to shop at Wal-Mart, and I don't. I'd rather pay a little bit more from a retailer that at least seems to possess more of a social conscience.[/i]" Maybe we all should reevaluate what "low prices" really mean to us now and in the future. And does really saving that one dollar now help out in the future as you end up paying for someone else's health care through tax dollars and end up losing your job? As consumers we need to be more informed about where we shop and how we spend our dollars, the low price mentality of shopping is ultimately buying our jobs out of the country. Now, is that a smart move or what?