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Do You Love or Despise Wal-Mart?

Aug 17, 2007
Wal-Mart has become the largest corporation in the world employing hundreds of thousands of people in the United States and over a million world-wide. The big retailer posted revenues of $351.1 billion and profits of $11.3 billion in 2006. Wal-Mart has topped the Fortune 500 list five out of the last six years. Its sales are bigger than the GNP of over 150 countries. It employs more people than anybody expect the US Post Office.

Over the years as Wal-Mart has continued to grow, Wal-Mart has become a bigger and bigger target of the media, union groups, consumer groups, etc. Wal-Mart is one of the most watched companies in the world. Union groups claim Wal-Mart pays below average wages. Other labor groups claim Wal-Mart discriminates against women. Whatever side of the fence you reside on, no doubt you have an opinion.

Those who love Wal-Mart love it for the low prices and one-stop shopping. With Wal-Mart Super Center stores consuming nearly 200,000 feet of space, thus the name "Big Box". There is plenty of room for product variety. Super Centers carry clothing, building supplies, furniture, groceries, a pharmacy, etc. Many smaller business co-host inside the store such as McDonalds, banks, etc. In one trip, you can buy almost anything you want.

The folks who hate Wal-Mart say that Wal-Mart has an unfair competitive advantage and is squeezing out the small mom and pop stores. They also believe that Wal-Mart pays below average wages, mistreats their employees and discriminates against women. One such claim states that Wal-Mart pays such low salaries that many of its workers have to go on welfare and food stamps in order to survive. Since our taxes support these services, it means that while we may be saving money on the goods we buy there, it is costing us tax money every time we shop there. For example, another statistic states that 46% of the children of employees' children effectively have no health insurance, because the health insurance that Wal- Mart provides has a deductible so high that parents can't afford to take their kids to the doctor. Instead, like most of the poor, they rely on local hospital emergency rooms, which is an inefficient waste of taxpayer dollars.

It seems everybody has an opinion on Wal-Mart. Senator Obama recently stated, "I won't shop there" at a union rally. US Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton refused to accept a donation from Wal-Mart to her election campaign. Already in November last year, she returned a 5,000 USD donation to the Big Box Mart Store. Ann Lewis, Senator Clinton's assistant, says the money was returned as there are "serious differences with current company practices". During her Arkansas years in the 1980's, Hillary Clinton served on the Wal-Mart board.

In many towns, Wal-Mart building requests are turned down as supporting Wal-Mart has become political poison. In Hernando, Florida, county commissioners voted against allowing Wal-Mart to build its fourth Super Center there. During an open meeting, nearly everybody there expressed concern against Wal-Mart and did not want another monster store. The politicians listened and voted against it. They expect Wal-Mart to sue them.

How popular is hating Wal-Mart? Books upon books have been written on the subject. Books such as How Wal-Mart is Destroying America, and What You Can Do About It are best sellers. PBS did a documentary about the store and its practices.

Wal-Mart used to advertise "Made-in-America" merchandise. No more. Contrary to its "all-American" advertising hype, Wal-Mart sources over 80% of its products from overseas. In 2004, almost 10 percent of everything imported to the United States from China was imported by Wal-Mart -- making the company, if it counted as a sovereign nation, China's eighth-largest trading partner. Because of this, Wal-Mart is criticized for causing US job loss. The claim states that Wal-Mart can push suppliers so hard, suppliers are forced to lower costs by outsourcing to China and offering lower quality items.
What do you think?
About the Author
Keith Scott is a successful Webmaster and publisher of Wal-Mart Forum. His website provides a place for people to express their opinion on Wal-mart. Good or bad, give us a visit and express your opinion on what you think of Wal-Mart
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