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Boycotting Walmart, Part One - Salvador Dali in a lawn chair.
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lost_angel
lost_angel
Boycotting Walmart, Part One
Many of you already know that zordac and I are boycotting Walmart. We've been doing so since about the middle of spring (six months or more). We're not in people's faces about it. We don't expect other people to do the same, but if people ask us why, we tell them. Usually people scoff and wonder if it's even possible to do so, how we manage to find all the things we need or how we deal with such an inconvenience.

But what's interesting, is that after more than six months of doing this, it feels like any other successful and worthwhile lifestyle change. Not only do I still think the decision is right, but I don't even miss the old way of doing things.

Jimmy and I spend less time and less money every month on groceries and household items than I did when I was shopping at Walmart. I am less inconvenienced now than when I was before. I don't positively dread going to the store anymore or put off shopping for weeks. I've saved money, time, and feel a hundred times better about my brief moments with necessary consumerism.

When I run into Kroger or Big Star or Winn Dixie (before it closed, yet another Walmart example), I'm out in about half the time that it took me to go to Walmart. What I can't buy at the grocery store or is too expensive, I buy at Fred's or Walgreens or any of the dollar stores.

I might be paying a few pennies more per grocery item I buy, but I'm buying significantly fewer items overall by cutting out a lot of the impulse purchases that Walmart seems to thrive on.

Have you ever walked into Walmart with a ten item list and come out with twenty-eight things, most of which were things you didn't realize you needed? Guess what? Most of those things you still don't need. If you did, you'd have put them on your list to begin with. Impulse buying isn't necessarily an issue of Walmart, but it's a problem that is only heightened by having to walk around a four acre warehouse store and stand for a half hour in the check-out line.

I'll explain in another post why we're boycotting Walmart, but right now I'm posting for a different reason. starflare and navydave borrowed the truck on Sunday night to go buy a television from Walmart. I don't normally tell people that they shouldn't shop at Walmart, but I suggested to Monkey (since he shares the same opinion about Walmart with me) that if it was his money, he should wait and buy a t.v. from somewhere else.

Well, it was starflare's purchase so he argued that there was no where else in Oxford to buy a television. I was a little stumped because we normally make bigger electronic purchases like that at places like Best Buy or shop online where we can price-compare. He argued that those companies are just as negative toward workers' unions as Walmart is.

But zordac made another suggestion later. Any number of televisions can be bought at the Sears major appliances store or the Radio Shack here in town, and they are both locally owned. And if the model that starflare wanted wasn't available, Sears or Radio Shack both would happily have ordered the model he wanted.

It's just sad that we've convinced ourselves that Walmart is the only place to find certain things anymore, from televisions to art supplies. Even when there are multiple store options right in the small town where you live, you still sometimes think that Walmart is the only place you can find it.

And that's terrifying.

mood: dirty dirty
music: hummmm

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Comments
everraven From: everraven Date: October 5th, 2004 09:46 am (UTC) (link)

*ponder*

I understand your desire to boycott Wal-Mart. And your not alone... however, I just can't seem to figure out why it would be benefical to me to do so.

First, I split my grocery shopping between Wal-mart, Win-Dixie and Brookshires - and as soon as the new Kroger is complete, I doubt I go anywhere but there for groceries. When I grocery shop at Wally world its for convience sake - get everything at one time and be done with it. However, I'm still not going to pay a stupid amount of cash for certain items, so I can get them later. But, when milk is 15 cents cheaper at Wal-Mart... it makes sense.

Second - Impulse shopping is going to happen unless you are my mother. She makes a list - she checks things off and does not go down every asile like my Bunny does. She gets her groceries/goods and leaves. But such impulse shopping happens in every store. You can impulse shop in Freds just as easy as Wal Mart.

And as for the TV problem - Instant gratification. Why go to Radio Shack and as them to order it for you... if the guy isn't willing to order it online and wait, he definately isn't going to wait around for Sears to get one in. Myself, I buy ANYTHING thats over 100 bucks with caution. I price shop, check around - and end up going to Best Buy and getting my TV set. I COULD do like my friend Andy - and go to the VERY local Cowboy Maloney's and pay cash to get it real cheap - but, again, convience of Best Buy wins the day... and ease of return if something goes wrong.

I understand why you say no to Wal-mart. But, many of the bad things Wal-Mart brings out in people are present at any other big chain store just the same. Besides, where else can I ride the bike through the store at 2 am before I buy it =)
alcamar From: alcamar Date: October 5th, 2004 10:45 am (UTC) (link)

Re: *ponder*

My favorite example of Walmart is from an old Readers Digest. Basically it covered the Vlasic Company story with Walmart.
In short....
Walmart said we wanna do business with you, Vlasic said Great, lets go.
Then Walmart said we want you to produce us a 1 gallon jar of pickles, Vlasic said ummm, well our money maker is the specialty stuff, we'd have to do this and that.
Walmart said do it or we'll find someone who will. Vlasic said ok.
Then Walmart said, that gallon o pickles, yeah we want about 3 times as much, and we want you to mark the price down again. Vlasic said damn man, we're barely making any money as it is, and canabalizing our big profit makers.
Walmart said do it or you're out. Vlasic said ok.

Basically Walmart drove Vlasic into bankrupcy. They were selling loads and loads of pickles, but weren't making any money off of them. I mean, hell, I'd buy a gallon before I'd buy the little spears or whatnot. Early on it was a dream come true for Vlasic, because it meant that they were selling in a big market, almost guarenteed sales. Then Walmart decided to have gallon jar pickles as loss leaders, and it was Vlasic who paid the ultimate price.
It's understandable to want to get the lowest price out there to the customers. It's great that they are making companies shape up(i.e. Levis), but they are also hurting not only the local businesses, but also hurting major businesses all over by forcing them into certain practices or doing completely without. Alot of companies can't afford to work without dealing with Walmart, and those same companies are being eatten from the inside out due to the same sort of business practices.

That being said, I'm not in total boycott of walmart, but I have limited my exposure quite a bit. Some of the stuff I buy there, I notice I get cheaper than elsewhere. But I also noticed that some of the stuff I buy there, I can get cheaper elsewhere. Basically I'm of the mindset that it works out better buying elsewhere, I'll pay roundabout the same price, and not pitch my monies into the corp that's doing the Vlasic sorta deal.
Also, impulse buys happen anywhere, yes. However, due to the vastness that is Walmart, it makes those impulse buys so much moreso, due to finding a whole variety of stuff more than you would at say Kroger.
everraven From: everraven Date: October 5th, 2004 11:30 am (UTC) (link)

Re: *ponder*

Very true - one of the biggest things I hate about the Post-Sam Wal-Mart is the lack of "Made in America" - Sam Walton ran a great store, and he would pitch a hissy if he saw what happend to some companies. He was about providing the little guy a mass market, not about making the little guy produce what he wanted them too. However, greed capitolism tends to eat the little guy for lunch *sigh*

And Kroger for me is a big temptation - strawberries... *drooool* Their fresh produce section will pull me in everytime *laugh* But for Wal-mart, its usually as easy as "Shana, you don't NEED the ten dollar DVD, put it down and walk away" With Kroger its more a "Ummmm, strawberries good for me" Course, thats why all the candybars and drinks, gum and silly magazines are up front at the check out - stress those impulse buys.
lost_angel From: lost_angel Date: October 5th, 2004 11:43 am (UTC) (link)

Re: *ponder*

Eh, I was gonna wait and write my response for boycotting Walmart for another entry because the reasons are varied. I mainly wanted to discuss this time around that after six or more months of not shopping at Walmart, it's not impossible or inconvenient or troublesome as most people think it is.

Shana and I have several long discussions about Walmart. I didn't really form an overt opinion about Walmart myself until fairly recently when it seemed like one thing after another made me disgusted.

And Shana's right. The issue of impulse shopping will happen anywhere that the average person shops. But I know I'm making fewer impulse buys now. It might partially be because I'm conscious of what I'm buying and from where. But I don't get those thoughts of "hey, I could use a new towel rack or a pepper mill" when I'm walking through Freds because I'm not having to walk across the entire freakin' store to get my milk and my kitty litter.

It's not the normal impulse buys that I'm making less of like M&M's. It's the entertainment section and the housewhares and the medium density fiberboard desks that would be nifty to help organize things but I know are cheap pos's. I'm putting more thought into my purchases because I care about the quality and I refuse to let myself count presumed convenience (and that's what I'm douting in this post, that assumption of convenience that most people have about Walmart) more important than a higher quality purchase that's economically healthy for myself and for my local businessman.

And while I can't run through the toy aisle of Kroger at 2 AM and set off all of the singing Elmo dolls, I feel much better all around. :)
From: spiderknight Date: October 5th, 2004 05:43 pm (UTC) (link)
I remember back in MUN, Alan Manwaring was TOTALLY against Wal-Mart due to the effect it had on the mom-and-pop stores across the country...I didn't mind, but there were some funny moments when I was trying to get supplies or plan stops or things while we were on trips and he'd give me a glare if I, out of habit, suggested going to a Wal-Mart for an item.

Ultimately, we were able to eschew said trips to the store in favor of other alternatives.

My only real defense of Wal-Mart is due to my affinity for late-late night shopping, when said SuperStores are sometimes the only game in town for late night shopping. They certainly aren't the only option, but at 3 a.m., it's hard to find other stores.

The funny thing is, if other stores were open at 3 a.m., I probably wouldn't go to Wal-Mart at all.
lost_angel From: lost_angel Date: October 6th, 2004 04:55 am (UTC) (link)
I never knew that Alan Manwaring had an opinion on Wal-Mart. I guess I just never paid attention. I didn't travel too much with him anyway except to the MUN in Atlanta the first year we combined the teams.

I wonder where Alan is now. He was my favorite person in Croft, period, in terms of administration. Things were a bit shady about his leaving. I think he might have been asked to leave.
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