Sunday, March 16, 2014
IN DEFENSE OF WALMART
We buy most of our food locally, but we buy most products for the home from Walmart.
I recently purchased a pair of bifocal glasses at the Walmart store: the frames were $17.00 and the total, including Transition lens, came to $125.00 – less than half of what it would have cost at the local eye doctor – and they came with a one year warranty.
Our microwave, George Foreman grill, some of our dishes, some of my tools etc. came from Walmart. I get the toner for my printer, most of our paper products and cleaning supplies and even the windshield washer fluid for our car from Walmart. Many of these products I would have to go out of town to purchase.
The bad rap for Walmart is the wages they pay - and the way they treat their workers; but, have you ever asked a worker at the Dollar Store, or Save-a-Lot what pay and benefits they receive?
When my wife and I first came to town thirty years ago the unemployment rate was 15%: one out of six people were unemployed. The paper mills were the desired place to work; next came the shoe factories; then there were the wood turning mills ( seventeenth century sweat shops that never went more than three days without an work related accident); and finally the tanning mill ( you could always tell the tanning workers because they had fingers missing.)
Walmart employs a few hundred people in our small community. For the most part the people working at Walmart are untrained and would be unemployed if the company left town. Are there better places to work? You bet – but those jobs don’t exist here.
Before we get all high and mighty about the Chinese junk sold at Walmart check out where your cell phone was made; what third world country your clothes were made in; all the products, including fresh foods you purchase on a regular basis not produced in the
. United States
We liberals complain about global warming, yet we drive pickup trucks, heat our homes with fuel oil, burn wood stoves, buy our electricity from coal fired plants, and have a house full of plastic. We should be conscious of our hypocrisies.
Walmart, such as it is, forces local stores to compete – and for someone on a small fixed income cheaper products are important.
We buy local when ever we can, but we shop at Walmart on a regular basis – and we say hello to a number of our friends that work and shop there.
I will stand in a protest line with the Walmart workers for higher pay; but I don’t wish the Walmart store to go away. Their business plan is like every other big business in the country: designed to pay big bucks at the top while paying workers as little as possible. This isn't new. It is the way it has always been. It is the American free market way.