Walmart Celebrates It's 50th Birthday - Has Their Influence Been Positive?
Walmart turned 50 today - are we celebrating this achievement, or are we in utter dismay? That seems to be a pretty hot topic as of late. I think it's safe to say that the company has certainly changed the way "big box" stores do business, and they have definitely affected they way consumers shop. But has the influence been positive, or negative?
Everday Low Prices – But What’s The Real Cost?
We all know that Walmart offers everyday low prices on everything from produce to electronics, but is that a good thing, or bad? Certainly for the consumer it's a positive - but what impact does this have on other local stores. Some would say that Walmart's buying power hurts local businesses, and puts them out of business. That means zero competition, and generally leads to job loss. In towns where Walmart stores were opened sales in general merchandise declined immediately. After only ten years of being open, sales declined by a cumulative 34%. [Kenneth Stone at Iowa State University, "Impact of the Wal-Mart Phenomenon on Rural Communities"]
Product(s) Made In China
If you're an individual that takes pride in our country and its products, then you may be a little disappointed to hear the next statistic. 70% of the commodities sold in Wal-Mart are made in China. [China Business Weekly, November 2009] With an economy as tough as ours, it’s almost heartbreaking to know that we’re buying and selling products that have never touched American hands, save putting them on the shelves.
Wal-Mart continues to pay poverty-level wages, forcing many of its workers to rely on public assistance programs. Wal-Mart fails to provide health care to over 775,000 workers and their families. Nearly 1 out of every 2 children of Wal-Mart workers are either uninsured or on public health care. Wal-Mart costs taxpayers as much as $1.4 billion a year, and is projected to cost $9.1 billion over the next five years, because so many Wal-Mart workers and their families are forced onto public health care. [ www.wakeupwalmart.com ]