Why I'm boycotting Wal-Mart

Well, apparently boycotts, and other forms of peaceful protest, do work or else Walmart wouldn’t have caved to the Christian Coalition on Preven and whatever else it has refused to carry because of the threat of a boycott.

In my town, it’s becoming a battle of the big corporate chains now. Walmart vs Biggs vs Meijers. Now, I’ve actually gotten to the point where I’ll sometimes shop at Walmart to protest Meijer’s because I think Meijer’s is even worse than Walmart. Biggs is owned by a European company and often has protesters in from of it with signs promoting American-owned stores.

I also think that selling things at cost or below to attract people does put the mom-and-pop stores at an automatic disadvantage.

Yeah. That’s the general reaction to Metallica’s “music” (censored or not)! <eg>

The fun starts here!

I am getting so sick and tired of hearing that the corporations that are destroying the country are what’s good about the country! If the Japanese sell us silicon ships at below cost, we call this an unfair trade practice and impose sanctions. If Wal-Mart comes into your town and engages in the same practice we call it free enterprise.

There is no Invisible Hand. Capitalism only works when the public sector is ready and willing to oppose its excesses. At the turn of the century the government began to step in to prevent capitalists from creating monopolies that take away market forces. In the middle of the century labor unions forced capitalists to treat workers like human beings rather than slaves. The stability of our democracy is due to a metastable equilibrium maintained between market forces and government regulation.

Now we’re at the end of the century an monopolies surround us. Not true? Look at the above posts – Frank and RTA have effectively no choices as consumers.

What can we do within the parameters of our political system? We can’t regulate corporate stores out of an area and we can’t require people to shop at Mom’n’Pops. We can make it tougher for Corporations like Wal-Mart to negotiate favorable deals with the government. We can decide, as a society that the constitution applies to individuals, not corporations – they do not have free speech rights and cannot contribute to political parties or campaigns. We can ban corporate lobbying in Washington. And we can boycott.

Frank and RTA and Gr8kat, just because you can’t actually boycott WM doesn’t mean you can’t write 'em a letter telling them that you are. And send a copy to the newspaper. They do respond to some outside pressure, otherwise the Christian groups wouldn’t have been able to get Preven banned.

Hell, it may be ultimately worse, but if Wal-Mart’s your only choice buy your books and music at amazon.com. At least currently they are not banning artists.

Jrepka, did you just come from the Pit? If you want to argue about the Invisible Hand, go to the Great Debates, and I’ll discuss it more with you there if you like. I believe the Invisible Hand works, and I’m being a part of it.

I’m just taking a moral stand against a specific company. I’m not setting myself up as the enemy of free enterprise.

Your Quadell

Although it is possible that Wal-Mart is refusing to stock Previn because of Mr. Walton’s personal beliefs, it seems more likely that, as Quadrell said in initial post, it is due to the activism of Christian groups…threatening to boycott, I presume.

Given that boycotting works in one direction, boycotting from the other direction may at least neutralize them.

(I wrote my letter, btw; thanks for the email address)

Designated Optional Signature at Bottom of Post

Anbody ever thought about the fact that many (not all!) of these little stores are run by merchants who aren’t exactly the greatest of citizens. In the deep south, the small town merchants were often leaders in fighting integration. Check out who was behind the opening of segregation academies. Just like many of the big farmers, the small town merchants paid for their big houses and sending their kids to private schools and Ole Miss off the back of poor working people who could barely eke out a living. Those merchants made a good profit off people and they usually had credit customers they charged very high rates to. I’m not a radical but the more I read about how things operated in the past, the more disgust I feel for the so-called upright, decent citizens who participated fully in exploitation of people for their own excessive profits. So when Wal-mart comes in & these stores get closed I don’t feel sorry for them at all. Now everybody has access to low cost goods and they have jobs available which may not be the best paying jobs–but they’re better than what was available from the local merchants–and if fulltime, the jobs have benefits.

I agree with smilingjaws. If the superstores provide a better selection at lower prices, well YEAH I’m going to shop there. I don’t agree with them censoring music, but just because I buy my Formula 409 at Walmart doesn’t mean I have to buy my CD’s there.

Have any of you ever lived in a town where there weren’t a lot of chain stores? Try it, and right away you’ll learn why they’re successful. As I’ve mentioned before, I grew up in a small town, and my family still lives there. When they go out of town for a vacation, they head to Media Play, Home Depot, etc. because the stores in the town they live in just don’t stock the selection they can get at the “big” stores. And if they do, they pay much more for it.

The town I live in now has a very quaint bookstore that’s been here for years. There’s also a Barnes and Noble. I read a lot, and I probably spend anywhere from $50-$200/month on books. I’ve given up going to the “quaint” bookstore because most of the times I go there looking for a particular book, they don’t have it. And if they do, they charge more than Barnes and Noble. My favorite place to buy books is Amazon, because they ALWAYS have it, and it’s ALWAYS cheaper, even with shipping and handling. 'course, there’s always those crisis times where you need the book today, so I run to Barnes and Noble.

Superstores are not the evil giants that they seem. If they were that evil, they wouldn’t be so successful.

O.K. I know this has nothing to do with the whole boycott Walmart thing but, Preven is not the only way to do the emergency contraception thing.
It can be done with regular birth control pills also. The exact same way Preven is used, within 72 hours. If that is your only reason to boycott, it’s not necessary. Just because it doesn’t carry one brand of emergency contraception, doesn’t mean the exact same results can’t be obtained from the Walmart pharmacy.
The difference is taking several birth control pills (any brand) as opposed to just one Preven.
My $0.02

Yep, Monty’s right. Just wanted to second the motion.

Your Quadell

Of course Wal-Mart sucks, but what are you gonna do? It’s the best place to buy groceries, bar none. Cheap and convenient. As for running people out of business, that’s capitalism. Wal-MArt doens’t give a hoot if we boycott - try as we might, it won’t put a dent in their bottom line.

What the hell, I’ll add my 2¢

As someone said before, it is nearly impossible for smaller stores to compete in price with WalMart. When a chain store buys in that sort of volume, they can easily get a bottle of dishwashing soap for 32¢ that Bob’s Dry Goods has to pay 55¢ for. Furthermore, WalMart has such buying power that they simply set their own price for buying goods. “We’re willing to buy your dish soap for 32¢ a bottle, take it or leave it. If you don’t want to sell it to us at 32¢ that’s fine, we just won’t stock it and see how much you sell at that smaller store we’re running out of business.” I say nearly impossible because in some areas, independants have have taken to forming co-ops in order to get volume discounts. Needless to say though, this takes a concerted effort by the entire community of retailers in a town.

On a slightly related note: at a recent seminar for landscape centers, the speaker said one of the first questions he asks people who want to start a store is “Do you have a WalMart or other large chain store in the area?” If the answer is no, then ironically he tells them not to bother. If the area doesn’t have the economic strength that attracts the big guns, then your little store doesn’t have a chance.

“I guess it is possible for one person to make a difference, although most of the time they probably shouldn’t.”

Wal-Mart is the end result of capitalism. The system is based on competition, and Wal-Mart has competed with everyone and won. They can’t be matched. They’re the Michael Jordan of retail.

For this reason, I think they should have to retire. The government should just declare them the winner and put them in the Hall of Fame. Then we start over.

Same goes for Microsoft, by the way.

Dr. J

PS: Isn’t it illegal–or at least a violation of antitrust laws–to sell items below cost to attract people and drive down the competition? Isn’t there a name for this practice?

It’s called dumping, I think. And yes, I believe it is illegal. IMO, if WalMart can offer better price and selection, then the small stores need to offer something that WalMart can’t. Perhaps better service due to a lower customer to employee ratio. Maybe they can offer a closer store to people’s houses. I know that when I’m looking for something technical I always go to Radio Shack b/c even if they can’t beat WalMart’s price I can talk to a saleperson, who knows about all the stuff they sell, for as long as it takes to figure out what I need. Also in the morning when I need OJ or milk I ride down to the corner store instead of going 15 minutes to the cheaper supermarket. I think that if a store cannot stand the competition from WalMart than they were obviously lacking something they should have had and I don’t feel very sorry that they went under.

Here’s why I hate Wal-Mart:
They have this huge store–hundreds of square feet…but it still seems they need even more room. Every item of merchandise is crammed in there. The things on the shelves are all out of order --what do the employees do?
Plus the 2 in my town have filthy bathrooms.

And I hate the way they censor music, too.

“Any major dude with half a heart surely will tell you, my friend–
Any minor world that breaks apart falls together again…”
-Steely Dan

The word we used in the music industry was “lowballing”

Never regret what seemed like a good idea at the time.

Topolino says:

Topo, sorry you don’t like Meijer’s. Actually, they aren’t even close to the size, corporately, of Wal-Mart. They are based out of Grand Rapids, MI and only have stores in Michigan and some in Indiana, Ohio, and I think your store in Louisville is the only one in Kentucky. Having lived away from Meijer’s for 3-1/2 years and being forced to go to Super WalMart for the same effect, I’m more than happy to go back to Meijer’s. I really do not like Wal-Mart, though I couldn’t tell you exactly why. Bad memories? OTOH, I’ve had a lot of friends who’ve worked for Meijer’s and HATED it. Can you say “slave labor”? Anyway, happy shopping. :slight_smile:

…it has never been my way to bother much about things which you can’t cure.

  • A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court-Mark Twain

If you folks really want to do something about the evils of Wal-Mart, here is a suggestion. In a rural Northeast Texas town, the members and leaders of the community got togeather and collectively decided to write the exec’s at Wal-Mart and tell them basically, “Don’t come to our town. We don’t want you. We would like to preserve our Main Street and its ‘small town’ atmosphere and economics. If your looking to build in our area, don’t look here.” You’ll never guess what…there is no Wal-Mart in that community or surrounding area. And the community itself is Very alive and well.
Now what to do when Wal-mart has already landed and you want to get rid of it…Something about Raid Bug Spray comes to mind. Maybe, Maybe not.

Nope, Bunnygirl, there is now a Meijer in Lexington, KY. It’s been around for less than a year. I don’t like it because it’s way out on the edge of town, and because their prices aren’t really that good when stuff isn’t on sale. But if I’m out that way anyway, it’s not so bad.

There are several of them in Louisville and I guess one in Lexington now. They’re spreading :). Actually, tho, I was referring to their politics. I believe they’re even more right-wing and swayed by the Christian Coalition than Wal-Mart is. That’s what I’ve heard anyway-both from ex-employees of Meijer and elsewhere.

Top and DoctorJ, they’ve spread more than I’d thought! I wouldn’t doubt they have a strong right-wing influence (eventhough I guess I’ve never heard anything around here about it); Grand Rapids is an extremely conservative Dutch Reformed city. Amway is headquartered in the same town if that says anything. Nice city, though.

…it has never been my way to bother much about things which you can’t cure.

  • A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court-Mark Twain