Let's hear it for Wal-Mart!

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Let's hear it for Wal-Mart!

Postby Rob Richardson » Mon May 19, 2003 2:19 pm

People are screaming "Censorship!" because Wal-Mart is not going to sell certain magazines. Where is it written that retailers must sell things that violate their ethics??? If a company's values are strong enough that they will not accept money that comes to them through violation of those values, more power to them! I am likely to go out of my way to patronize a store that acts like that. If Wal-Mart's values lead them to forego profits from objectionable products, its values will probably also cause it to forego profits from other objectionable sources, such as cheating its customers!

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Re: Let's hear it for Wal-Mart!

Postby Nicole Marie » Mon May 19, 2003 2:35 pm

The problem is that Wal-Mart, in many communities, is the only place to get music and books. So where can someone get another point of view? Plus it's pretty hypocritical that Wal-Mart worries about explicit lyrics when they sell shotguns. A Wal-Mart in the state of LA even sold a shotgun to an under age teen who then went out and murdered someone with it. Like they really care about who they sell products to. I will not give my money to a corporation that tells me what they think I should and should not buy. I'll go to my local bookstore and give my money to a local business that thinks I'm smart enough to make a decision for myself on what I want to read and hear.
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Re: Let's hear it for Wal-Mart!

Postby Rob Richardson » Mon May 19, 2003 3:45 pm

Nicole,

Perhaps Wal-Mart is the only source for some products in many areas. Does that mean that Wal-Mart has an obligation to sell those products? I don't see how it can. Wal-Mart has the right to determine what it will or will not sell, and nobody outside that organization has a right to make any demands about its choices, no matter what reason there was for those choices. That is not to say that you don't have a choice. Of course you do. You can write to management to complain, and you can take your business elsewhere. Even if there is no elsewhere, you have no right beyond that.

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Re: Let's hear it for Wal-Mart!

Postby Jeff Dutton » Mon May 19, 2003 4:09 pm

Wait a minute, Nicole. You can't have it both ways. You think it is bad that Walmart DOES sell shotguns. What if they are the only source in a community for shotguns?

You say shotguns are bad because people might them. I say explicit lyrics are bad because they are already an abuse of the language and of morals and they do damage to society, and children in particular, just by the fact that they are available. Do you believe that that same underage teenager is not affected in anyway by the explicit lyrics in that are available to them today? I believe that those SAME lyrics MAY have contributed to the moral vacuum inside that teenager that allowed him or her to murder another human being.

If Walmart sold that shotgun in LA illegally, then they should be prosecuted. There are laws regarding the sale and use of firearms. When those laws are obeyed, murders, such as the one you described, do not happen. When the laws are disobeyed, they should be enforced. Do you honestly think that Walmart was the ONLY source of weapons for that teenager? Do you honestly believe that the manager of that store DOESN'T CARE that someone used a product from his or her store to murder someone?

Yes, do go to your local bookstore and ask them if they carry every piece of literature that is available. Of course they don't. They make choices as well. You just like their choices better. That doesn't mean the bookstore is better or worse than Walmart.

Jeff

<small>[ 05-19-2003, 05:10 PM: Message edited by: Jeff Dutton ]</small>
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Re: Let's hear it for Wal-Mart!

Postby Nicole Marie » Mon May 19, 2003 4:11 pm

My point is I don't think Wal-mart correctly represents the communities they are located in and I believe responsible business should do that. Of course you have the choice not go there. But I think business should be aware of the community they are located in and be sensitive to those needs.

Wal Mart builds stores in areas where there is not much local business. As an example, my parents live in a small New England town and one-day Wal Mart showed up. They became the only place in town to buy a book, without having to travel to another town. Now in this same Wal-Mart they sell guns and other products that are not accepted on a large scale by the community. They market these products but won't carry products the community may want, like a book by Salmon Rusdie. Doesn't make sense to me. It seems to imply they are putting their belief and view on the community. I'm lucky I live in an area they can't stand Wal Mart to the point that the town folk asked the town to tell Wal Mart NO when they wanted to build a store.

Sure no one has to shop there, but wouldn't they want to support local communities? And be aware of who is in the town and try to market to them? That makes better business sense to me.

And Jeff I have an issue with the store that sells illegal firearms to underage kids and then says, well we think it's best for the community if we keep explict lyrics off the selves. They can't have it both ways. And that store sold illegal fireares 4 times that resulted in deaths, and that's just the ones police know of.

<small>[ 05-19-2003, 05:14 PM: Message edited by: Nicole Marie ]</small>
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Re: Let's hear it for Wal-Mart!

Postby Parrothead » Mon May 19, 2003 4:13 pm

It doesn't bother me if Wal-Mart sells or doesn't sell things their management finds objectionable. What I don't like about Wal-Mart (and all the other "super stores") is that I can find a lot of junk I'm not interested in, but have a hard time finding the things I'm really looking for. I would much rather go to a "Mom and Pop" specialty shop (books, music, hardware, etc.) than try to weave my way through the overly crowded (both people and merchandise) aisles at a super store. Most of the people who work in the specialty shops also own the store. Much better for customer satisfaction, I've found.

I'm not against large corporations. I think they serve a purpose. I have my insurance through Allstate rather than Bob's Insurance (for example).

Wal-Mart can sell what ever they want in their stores (that which is legal, of course). They can sell guns (I don't own a gun), cigaretts (I don't smoke), alcohol (I only drink on days that end in "y"), etc., I don't really care. The individual consumer must choose what goods they want and where they want to get them. I prefer the smaller, more personal stores.

Just my 2 cents worth.
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Re: Let's hear it for Wal-Mart!

Postby Shapley » Mon May 19, 2003 4:26 pm

Nicole,

If I understand your complaint, it is that Wal-Mart sells books and records in areas where none were available, but they don't make all books and records available when they do. It seems to me that you should celebrate the fact that they have brought music and literature to an area that was lacking, rather than decry the fact that some literature which was not available before is still not available despite Wal-Mart's presence.
Apparently Wal-Mart has filled a void, and chosen to do so as it sees fit. If and when Barnes and Noble decide to move into the small communities, they will, no doubt bring the "alternative viewpoints" with them. I just hope they bring the Starbucks along. I am incensed at the number of communities where freedom of espresso is limited.

Honestly, Nicole! Sometimes I think you have "the" attitude!

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Re: Let's hear it for Wal-Mart!

Postby Nicole Marie » Mon May 19, 2003 4:29 pm

Funny Shapley, I never personaly attacked anyone but you seem to find the time to add in a low comment towards me. I attacked Wal Mart, I doubt it's feelings are hurt. But on the other hand you may want to think about the person you just tossed a personal gab towards. I thought this conversation was going fine up until now.
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Re: Let's hear it for Wal-Mart!

Postby Shapley » Mon May 19, 2003 4:35 pm

Nicole,

It was meant in a humorous vein. Beethoven.com is the station without "the" attitude, but they never explain what "the" attitude is. I'm sorry I didn't use one of the little icons to denote humour, but I don't use them very often.

One thousand pardons if my feeble attempts at humour have fallen flat.

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Re: Let's hear it for Wal-Mart!

Postby Nicole Marie » Mon May 19, 2003 4:39 pm

My apologies as well, your beheading has been rescheduled until further notice. ;) (That's a joke) As for the "without the attitude" we mean NPR. They have a stuffy classical attitude that we do not take. We like to have fun and participate with the audience. Something that NPR "with the attitude" does not do. But that doesn't mean we don't have an attitude, it's just not theirs. (Now I confused myself)

<small>[ 05-19-2003, 05:40 PM: Message edited by: Nicole Marie ]</small>
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Re: Let's hear it for Wal-Mart!

Postby Shapley » Mon May 19, 2003 4:43 pm

But what would life be like if we had no attitude?
Personally, I have an attitude, but I like to think of it as a pleasant one.

Thanks for postponing my beheading, I've grown accustomed to my face, I would hate to lose more than I already have.

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Re: Let's hear it for Wal-Mart!

Postby Jeff Dutton » Mon May 19, 2003 4:43 pm

Originally posted by Nicole Marie:
And Jeff I have an issue with the store that sells illegal firearms to underage kids and then says, well we think it's best for the community if we keep explict lyrics off the selves. They can't have it both ways. And that store sold illegal fireares 4 times that resulted in deaths, and that's just the ones police know of.
I think those are two completely different issues, Nicole. As I said, if the store sold weapons illegally they should be prosecuted. If the buyer used the guns illegally, they should be prosecuted. You are implying that the store intentionally sold firearms to underage teenagers. Do you believe that? You are trying to paint the store as being evil. If you disagree with the law, then speak out against the law, not against law-abiding merchants.

I understand your feelings about firearms even though I don't agree with you. However, alcohol and cigarettes also kill, but it is much more difficult to track. Should Walmart be forbidden from selling them as well?

What if Walmart sells a shovel to a teenager who beats someone to death with it? Is Walmart evil for knowingly selling the shovel? Of course not. Selling shovels, like selling shotguns, is legal. But it is just as illegal to beat someone to death with a shovel as it is to shoot them.

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Re: Let's hear it for Wal-Mart!

Postby Nicole Marie » Mon May 19, 2003 4:55 pm

And I understand your point. I just think the store should market to the community it's in. I think large companies have a harder time doing that, but an effort should be made. I want my hard earned money going to a place where the store understands my community. I don't do Barnes and Noble, Wal Mart and NOT Starbucks! I shop in mom and pops and I shop in co-ops where I know I am directly helping my community. I think in this age of big business that the belief of a community is lost. If a big business makes sure the needs of the community are reached through product placement, this to me is best instead of making that choice for a community.
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Re: Let's hear it for Wal-Mart!

Postby Selma in Sandy Eggo » Mon May 19, 2003 5:09 pm

Aw, c'mon Nicole! Don't frown at my caramel mocha latte! I need my Starbucks fix!

And B&N just sent me a "additional 10% off" postcard, to go with the 10% discount card I bought last fall.

And where besides WalMart can I buy a spool of red quilting thread at eleven o'clock at night? The quilting shops I normally go to (small, non-chain, locally owned) aren't open then.

WalMart, as a corporation, never decided to sell shotguns to the underaged. I agree that the management at such stores needs some corporate attention and retraining, but still, Sam never told 'em to sell shotguns to minors.

BTW, small, locally-owned, non-chain stores also occasionally sell guns to folk who shouldn't buy them. It just doesn't make the national news, because they're small, non-chain, locally owned stores.

Small stores have more local "flavor", but the big chain stores have the generic stuff I also need, which local specialized stores often do not.

Gotta get a MochaLatte and a new book on the way home...
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Re: Let's hear it for Wal-Mart!

Postby OperaTenor » Tue May 20, 2003 12:33 am

I'll bet I'm the last WalMart "virgin" left on the planet. I have yet to cross the threshold of one. Having heard stories of them going into a small town and running all of the potential comptetition out of business by undercutting their prices, I tend to look on them as another "evil empire", so as of yet they haven't gotten any of my money. :cool:

<small>[ 05-20-2003, 02:12 AM: Message edited by: operatenor ]</small>
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Re: Let's hear it for Wal-Mart!

Postby barfle » Tue May 20, 2003 7:08 am

And here comes the libertarian point of view...

Wal-Mart has every right to sell any legal product they want to, or not to sell any product they don't want to. It's also the right of any resident near a Wal-Mart to patronize the store or not. It's also the right of any resident near a Wal-Mart to believe the company is run by wackos and idiots, and to be irked by their policies. It's also the right of any resident near a Wal-mart to open a store that sells stuff that Wal-Mart doesn't want to, or even to be in direct competition with Wal-Mart.

I personally don't patronize them much because I believe they use predatory marketing techniques - underprice all the competition until they are a monopoly. I also generally prefer the mom & pop stores, but that's just me (and maybe Nicole Marie) because I find those huge stores so full of crapola that it's too hard to find the good stuff (kinda like I feel about rap and hip-hop). I've bought a few things at Wal-Mart, but it was usually when I was in an unfamiliar town and didn't know where else to go.
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Re: Let's hear it for Wal-Mart!

Postby Shapley » Tue May 20, 2003 8:16 am

Actually, I like Wal-Mart, I like Barnes & Noble, and I like Starbucks. I'm a big corporation kind of guy.

I don't like the fact that you cannot develop brand loyalty at Wal-Mart, because they change brands so often, and discontinue items with astonishing speed. However, the fact that, when I walk into Wal-Mart, I can choose from 20 different brands of an item rather than the two or three different brands that "mom & pop" carried means a lot to me. To argue that Wal-Mart is limiting selection, while complaining about the difficulty in manuevering through the vastness of that selection, seems strange to me.

"Mom & Pop" stores always limited selection to a greater degree than Wal-Mart ever could. Often enough, their limitiations were financial, but they also limit availability due to their prejudices. The Mom & Pop Stores were already suffering due the automobile, as people would drive fifty miles to a community with a greater selection of product. If Wal-Mart is developing a monopoly, they are really only replacing the smaller monopolies that "Mom & Pop" enjoyed in their communities. And if the corporate monopoly means lower prices and greater selection, then I say "Hey, bring it on!"

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Re: Let's hear it for Wal-Mart!

Postby Parrothead » Tue May 20, 2003 11:08 am

Wal-Mart is great for finding 57 different brands of tooth paste or shampoo. However, their selection of books, music, pet supplies, etc. still does not (at least not at the local Wal-Mart here) match up to the specialty stores. The thing I don't like is having to wade through the 57 brands of tooth paste, 20 brands of toasters, patio furnature, and the "seasonal" crap to get a bag of dog food.

This is why I prefer going to the "Mom and Pop" stores for these items.

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

P.S. I also enjoy Starbucks coffee. But, we get the coffee beans by mail order and make our own lattes at home. $3.50 for a "cup of coffee?" :)
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Re: Let's hear it for Wal-Mart!

Postby larnett » Tue May 20, 2003 11:57 am

Don't be picking on Wal-Mart! That store helps to cloth and feed my family. We can count on finding the stuff we need at the best price. I say a prayer of thanks for Sam Walton every time I have to buy windshield wipers, dog food, yard fertilizer, garden plants, etc. They have mastered getting 80% of what people want at the lowest price.

Do I shop for music at Wal-Mart? No, and I also don't shop for business suits there. If the NY Times doesn't like their selection of music, they can go elsewhere. But NOOOOOO... They want to force their morality on the store chain. I am far more sympathetic to Wal-Mart's morality than the NY Time's morality.
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Re: Let's hear it for Wal-Mart!

Postby Nicole Marie » Tue May 20, 2003 11:58 am

I don't think mom and pops are a monoploy but I do think Wal Mart is. If my local mom and pop doesn't have an item I want, they'll order it for me. But ask Wal Mart to order you a product and you'll get funny looks. You're stuck with what they have on the shelves.
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