With all the supposed evils that Walmart is accused of doing-
Driving small business out who can’t compete, offering sub-standard wages, offering sub-standard benefits, etc. etc.
why does Walmart succeed when opening in rural communities?
It would seem that if an entire community is against it then Walmart would have a tough time 1)Getting anyone hired in the first place 2)Getting anyone to shop there.
Is it that those opposed to it are in the minority and others in the community really welcome it and are ready and willing to take sub-standard jobs and are willing to turn their backs on small business owners in turn for a “deal” on their purchases?
It’s hard to blame walmart when the communities that are so up in arms against them are the same people who are so eager to shop and work there.
Are there any examples of failed walmart openings due to communities refusing to work or shop there?
I think the public image of Walmart has only shifted in the last 5 years or so. For most of their history, they were thought of as a nice family-owned retailer. That image certainly helped bring in customers. Especially because Walmarts (or other Walton stores) would often be built in smaller towns that were just beginning to grow. Sam Walton really changed the way business is done. Other people are only beginning to catch on.
Also, their prices are usually lower than most places (when compared to real mom & pop stores). In my experience, the only places that can compete are other huge corporations. Most people go where the prices are the best.
I live in a rural area, and although we only have a Wal-Mart Express in town I can reach two different Super Wal-Marts within 45 minutes. When I lived in D/FW I rarely ever shopped at Wal-Mart. I’d get my groceries from Kroger, Thom Thumb, or Albertsons and I’d get other items at places like Target, Best Buy, CompUSA, Sears, etc. (I also have Sears Express in town but they rarely have anything I want.)
The Wal-Mart Express here in town fulfills my needs for common household items. Cleaner, toilet paper, toothpaste, dishwashing liquid, hunting gear, and even throwaway clothing I wear while working on engines. My other options in town are Fred’s and another drug store type place. I have two grocery stores in town but they both have crummy produce and a piss poor selection of goods.
A Super Wal-Mart has even more stuff and it’s a one stop shopping experience. When you live in the big city and you’ve got so many different choices you might not understand why rural folks love Wal-Mart so much. In a lot of places there were no decent places to shop before Wal-Mart came to town.
Because it’s very hard to convince people to choose “morality” over low low prices. And the morality of it is pretty nebulous anyhow. I don’t believe that there is anything more inherently moral about small companies vs large corporations. I don’t really care how Walmart sqeezes their suppliers. All I care about is buying a years supply of pickles for $3.
I agree, I think Walmart was once thought as a way of bringing fair prices to the public and getting back at mom and pop shops for price gougeing. But I think things have shifted and now people are starting to view Walmart as a drain on society to the extent that new employees are given info on how to obtain gov’t benifits, to helping China (via buying products from them) on their war on the USA.
Wal-Mart is dogged by a small bunch of highly vocal protestors. But in the end, people vote with their dollars, and Wal-Mart is raking it in. And why? Because they provide what people want. Wal-Mart is a real boon to lower and middle class people, and they show it by spending big chunks of their disposable income there.
Communities WANT Walmarts for the most part. It’s really local business owners who have the problem. As already said, people vote with their dollars. You don’t stay in business long trying to buy your way into the marketplace.
It’s only a relatively small minority that violently oppose walmart. However, I’m guessing that people who spend significant time on the internet and especially on places like the SDMB tend to disproportionately hate walmart which could give rise to false impressions.
Lots of people hate Wal-Mart, though I think very few “violently” do so. Wal-Mart has grown increasingly concerned about this negative image and has gone on the offensive against its critics recently. The negative opinions of Wal-Mart are thought to be a drag on the company’s stock price as well. Look at how much better Target stock has done in recent years compared to Wal-Mart’s.
That said, Wal-Mart is still, by far, the number one retailer in the world. The fact is that if enough people like them, it really doesn’t matter how many people hate them. Only about half of Americans watch the Super Bowl, but it’s the biggest TV show of the year. Lot’s of folks hate Madonna, but hasn’t didn’t stopped her from selling a zillion records. Wal-Mart has the added advantage of being the only game in town in many of the places it operates. They tend to avoid competitive retail environments and instead concentrate on rural areas where the only competition comes from mom and pop places. Once those places have been driven out of business, they have the market to themselves.
The thing is, Walmart is often the only place where unskilled or moderate skilled people can find work, especially in this economy. I rarely find teenagers working at Walmart, instead it’s populated by middle-aged women/men, who need the work.
It’s hard to fight a Walmart when they promise and deliver jobs to a community that desperately needs them. This is one of the problems that America faces as it shifts more and more to a service driven nation. The jobs simply aren’t there anymore. When the local mechanic is doing lube and tires at Walmart, something’s wrong with the local economy. People just don’t have the money anymore. Combine that with Walmart’s prices, convenience and providing jobs…how can they lose?
We’re not a big Walmart people, mostly because I find the quality to be crap for many things; clothing for example. However for most disposible items and everything things, they can be quite inexpensive compared to the few local guys remaining. We needed a new battery and the local guy wanted $100 for one and I think Walmart had a special for $30 or something similar. Granted the local guy’s battery was most likely better quality, but for a savings of $70…I’ll jump it.
And what’s this about “substandard wages?” Mom and Pop stores in my experience pay as close to minimum wage as they can legally get away (you get a raise when Congress says so) with while WalMart (around here) pays eight or nine bucks an hour. To start. The clinic my wife works at loses clerical help to WalMart and its “substandard wages.”
We’re at war with China? I thought it was…errr…terror.
Yes, but a much higher percentage of the people in a community in that situation are business owners- which is a good bit of the American dream. Most small businesses only have an employee or two and a couple owners. Thats a much higher percentage of people “making it” and workers can have a reasonable expectation of becoming business owners themselves if they work hard.
I’ve heard that expressed before, but it doesn’t jive with what I see. Does Walmart have different strategy in the U.S. than in Canada? I’m in Canada and I see the exact opposite. Walmart stays out of smaller places and goes to the middle to big sized cities, where they have plenty of competition.
Does anyone know of a city in which Walmart has managed to drive out the competition? I’d think that any city small enough to do that, isn’t big enough to support a Walmart.
In the U.S., Wal-Mart has expanded within regions. The typical strategy is to move into less-populated areas where residents don’t have access to much retail shopping, then to areas outlying cities, where goods are available, but not convenient, and finally into urban areas. Then, they build a new distribution center in another area and repeat the process.
I personally have seen towns that could support one or two small clothing, grocery or hardware stores, where a nearby Wal-Mart has underpriced those businesses, forcing them to close. Local businesses that compete well against Wal-Mart tend either to have better selection (e.g., an auto parts store vs. the Wal-Mart automotive department) or higher mark-up items (like furniture) where the retailer can afford to lose lower-end sales to Wal-mart.