Let's hear it for Wal-Mart!

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

Postby Shapley » Tue May 20, 2003 12:10 pm

Parrothead,

I enjoy the specialty stores when I'm in a community large enough to have them. My initial point was the Wal-Mart is moving in to the small communities, where music and literature were lacking, while Barnes & Noble is not. Thus, instead of the usual selection of tabloids and romance novels available at "Mom & Pop's Grocery", we have a more extensive selection available at Wal-Mart. It's still going to be a limited selection, and that seems to be the argument going now. Apparently, there are those opposed to the idea that corporate bigwigs are determining the limitations of the selection rather than mom and pop. I guess the question then becomes "does the local manager have much say in what items are stocked, or are all those decisions made in Bentonville?"

Starbucks only entered into the conversation because most of the Barnes & Noble stores in our area have Starbucks Cafe's attached, and I was suggesting that, should they decide to infiltrate the small community market as Wal-Mart has done, that they should bring the Starbucks with them. Thus, the small communities could enjoy a greater selection of coffee than just regular or decaf, or that machine-dispensed truckstop cappucino (which, to be sure, is better than no cappucino).

Granted, internet shopping and express delivery make the availability of good books, good music, and good coffee fast and easy, but also draws the anger of mom & pop. I order coffee beans by mail as well, although I prefer Lion Coffee's hawaiian selection. I probably buy more books online than at Barnes & Noble's store. I buy nearly all my music online, as the classical selection in our area is severely lacking. I recently ordered Presenter's albums, and I enjoy them very much (Thanks to Dan Maselli for giving us the ordering information on the air!)

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

Postby Parrothead » Tue May 20, 2003 12:47 pm

The original post dealt with censorship and values/morality (I think). The bottom line is that morality is a personal thing.

Censorship is the act of an individual (or group of individuals) to remove or suppress what they find morally objectionable. I am responsible for censoring what my kids see, hear and do. That is not always popular with them, but, I am not my kids' friend, I'm my kids' parent.

I don't care if Wal-Mart (or any Mom and Pop store for that matter) sells material that I find objectionable. I'm not going to buy it. My kids aren't going to buy it. If they do (for some reason), I'm going to find out and there are going to be consequences. They know that and understand that.

Anyway, I'll get down off my pulpit. I'm going to get a cup of coffee (black, no sugar).
I know one thing. Indecision may or may not be my problem.
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Re: Let's hear it for Wal-Mart!

Postby audiogirl » Tue May 20, 2003 12:51 pm

Wal-mart doesn't give a rat's red you-know-what about explicit lyrics. It just doesn't want to offend its main clientele---middle-to-low income families.

Rob, don't think for a minute that Wal-Mart wouldn't cheat its customers. Next time you go, watch when your items are scanned. See how many actually ring up at the price posted on the shelf.

I avoid Wal-Mart whenever possible because of its questionable practices that Barfle mentioned. I like service and variety, and most of all, quality. If we don't support small businesses and retailers, Wal-Mart is going to own everybody.

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

Postby larnett » Tue May 20, 2003 1:29 pm

Most of the comments against Wal-Mart have been anti-big-business sentiment. It reads as emotional whining. I didn't see any strong argument why Wal-Mart should be forced to carry additional music and magazines. It leads me to believe the "censorship" issue is just a tool to harass a successful business. Would that harassment be out of envy, or out of some other political agenda?
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Re: Let's hear it for Wal-Mart!

Postby Nicole Marie » Tue May 20, 2003 1:56 pm

The argument is not to force them to do anything. They can carry what ever they want to carry for products. But some of us see this as them putting their views into communities that do not always agree with their form of business. By not carring CD's with explict lyrics they are telling people that they think those items are bad and should not be presented to the public. Shouldn't the public make that choice for themselves? I would never tell a parent what they could and could not allow their kids to read and listen to, so why should Wal Mart tell me what I can and can not read or listen to.

The other point is many of us would rather give our money to a store that is local. I will give my money to Hal's Market (on Park St in West Hartford CT) or to the Record Exchange in CT. At least that way my money is going to a local family owned business. I am directly supporting my community instead of some big company with no name and no face owners. And if you do some price shopping the cost of a mom and pop and a big name is not that different, at least here in CT.
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Re: Let's hear it for Wal-Mart!

Postby barfle » Tue May 20, 2003 2:12 pm

I'm far from being anti-big-business. I am, however, pro-small-business. I'm fortunate that I don't find 10 or 20 dollars a week to be the difference between having dinner or not, so I can decide to support a small, neighborhood music store that charges an extra 50¢ for a CD just because I like the people who work there better, and because they call me by my first name.

There are circumstances where dealing with a nation-wide retailer pays off. I haven't paid for a set of disc brake pads for my car in over 10 years, but I go through them about every 9-12 months. The lifetime guarantee works at all the stores, and I can change them myself in about an hour. But when it comes to parts for my VW, the big chains couldn't care less. Air-cooled bugs aren't a big enough market for them, and believe me, a 30 year old car goes through parts pretty quickly. I have a privately owned auto parts store that gets me what I need in about an hour, if they don't already have it in stock. That's what's good about the smaller places. They tend to realize that they need every one of their customers. Wal-Mart doesn't have a clue that I don't shop there, but Fairfax Auto Parts knows that I do shop there.
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Re: Let's hear it for Wal-Mart!

Postby OperaTenor » Tue May 20, 2003 9:06 pm

I think certain flavors of Starbuck's coffe should be censored, and I'm mad as hell about it!! :mad: :mad: :mad: Ow! Another ice cream headache.....Rats!.....nothin' left but tylenol....<drool>... :eek:
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Re: Let's hear it for Wal-Mart!

Postby treebeau » Wed May 21, 2003 10:19 am

Originally posted by barfle:
...But when it comes to parts for my VW, the big chains couldn't care less...
Speaking of which, did you ever get those headlights for the one you had pictured in your profile once? ;)

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

Postby barfle » Wed May 21, 2003 12:54 pm

Ahh, the race car! I only had that car for three years. I spent the first year building it up and two years racing it.

Headlights? Who needs the extra weight? Besides, the car didn't even have a generator on it, so I also didn't need the extra drain on the battery (which had just enough capacity to get me solidly through a good night of racing).

These days I have a street bug (it's really my wife's car) that's a white on white '79 convertible. I've done a few things to improve it, which you can find if you go to my personal web page, then go to the car page.

<small>[ 05-21-2003, 01:57 PM: Message edited by: barfle ]</small>
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Re: Let's hear it for Wal-Mart!

Postby treebeau » Wed May 21, 2003 1:27 pm

hee hee, something the vintage of a '79 would usually be two tone...rust and primer paint gray.

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

Postby Selma in Sandy Eggo » Wed May 21, 2003 2:27 pm

With patches of Bondo...
>^..^<
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Re: Let's hear it for Wal-Mart!

Postby Gaby » Thu May 22, 2003 3:42 pm

Originally posted by operatenor:
I'll bet I'm the last Wal-Mart "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 competition 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:
I'm with you OT! Although my virginity has been taken, I still dislike the store. I live on the outskirts of Billings in something we call "The Heights". Well, to make a long story short, 3 grocery stores which I really liked and the local K-Mart had to close. True K-Mart already had problems, but Wal-Mart's opening didn't help.

We now have the choice between Wal-Mart, one grocery store, or driving 20 minutes to a different part of town.

'nuff said! :mad: :mad: :mad:
If not today, then tomorrow...maybe!
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Re: Let's hear it for Wal-Mart!

Postby barfle » Thu May 22, 2003 4:21 pm

Actually, the bug's in pretty good shape. We had a new top put on it just before we moved from California to Virginia, about a year and a half ago. I rubbed out the paint a month or so ago, and the sides and back look pretty good, although the nose looks a little like chocolate chip ice cream. The interior isn't bad for a car of that age (and 150,000 miles). No rips, but some of the piping has fallen off, and naturally the driver's seat is scuffed.

The wheels look like heck (can I use that word?), but we're planning on getting EMPI style mags so I'm not putting any effort into tidying them up. And, of course, we'll be getting nice wide white-wall tires. It's still a head-turner when we drive it around!

When we get the front parts repainted, I'm going to put one of those "bras" (can I use that word?) on it. I'd like to find a white one that matches the top, but so far I haven't been able to.

Although we use the car regularly, we try to take good care of it. We don't take it out when there's snow (and salt) on the roads, and it's garaged when it's at home. Even when we were living in an apartment in VA, we made sure we had a covered spot for the bug.
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Re: Let's hear it for Wal-Mart!

Postby grudolph » Fri May 23, 2003 1:15 pm

I admit to not having read every post regarding Wal-Mart. However, I do see a misunderstanding by many regarding why Wal-Mart censors certain music, books, magazines, etc. It is not that this marterial is objectionable to the Wal-Mart management. Rather, Wal-Mart market to a basically conservative group of people. Wal_Mart had started in smaller towns and still have the strongest market share in the smaller towns. Management could care less about the content of the items they. Rather, management is concerned this material may be offensive to much of their conservative market base. This censorship is done strictly to keep their customer base coming back. It simply is money and Wal-Mart knows how to make more money than any retailer in the world. Wal-Mart has done a lot of damage to the retail markets throughout the USA and is now doing so as well in many other countries. I will provide a hint of their methods. Does anyone that reads these boards have a privately owned pharmacy in their market? There use to be thousands of privately owned and operated "Mom and Pop" pharmacies. Selling below cost until the competition is gone did them all in. Wal-Mart's pharmacies no longer sell below cost. There is no need now. That is only one product category but I hope my "hint" is well taken. Thank you for listening.

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

Postby dkm32 » Fri May 23, 2003 3:21 pm

Originally posted by operatenor:
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:
Must be something in our local water, OT. I haven't set foot in a WalMart either. Same reason. Now we're going to have two in escondido. Fun! :mad:
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Re: Let's hear it for Wal-Mart!

Postby Shapley » Fri May 23, 2003 3:49 pm

Mom and Pop are being forced out of the market by the dynamics of the economy, and not by Wal-Mart per se. If it weren't Wal-Mart, it would be someone else. Do you lament that Mom's Diner is being driven the way of the whale by Cracker Barrel, or that the Drive-In has lost out to the mega-cinema.

With Cracker Barrel conveniently located across this nation, I can walk in and get a fine breakfast anywhere in the country. I don't have to worry that it will be clean and healthy, Cracker Barrel's corporate management will see to that. Not because they care about me, but because they care about the bottom line, and they know that the bottom line will suffer if they allow their restaurants to deteriorate into something less than what the public expects them to be. Wal-Mart and the mega-cinema are the same way. They have to live up the requirements set by the corporate offices if they want to keep the corporations sign over their doorway, and they know without that sign they loose patronage.

Reading the posts here leaves one with a somewhat glossy image of Mom & Pop's store. My best recollection was that they were small and crowded, usually smelt of smoke and cat-hair (they always seemed to have a cat, presumably to keep the mice at bay), and carried a limited stock. Nor were they handicapped accessible. For this reason, The ADA would likely have put them out of business if Wal-Mart didn't.

With regards to the stock issue, they could, and would, be happy to order for you anything that was not in stock. However, with internet shopping, I can do the same, and have the product shipped to my home, saving me a trip to their store, and usually aquire it at lower cost. I do not owe it to Mom & Pop to pay them a little more to keep them in business.

Mom & Pop's payroll usually consisted of Mom & Pop, and sometimes the cute girl they hired to work after school and on Saturday mornings. With the exception of Saturday morning, their hours were the same as mine, leaving me only Saturday morning to visit their store. Wal-mart hire 12-30 people, so that they can stay open long after I'm home from work (24-7 in many areas), so I can shop on my schedule, not theirs.

Also, since Wal-Mart carries all types of merchandise, I can buy lawnmower blades, food, a battery for my automobile, and a pair of shoes in one stop. Before, I had to vist Mom & Pop's grocery for the food, Uncle Ralph's dry goods for the shoes, Uncle Floyd's Hardware for the lawnmower blades, and Uncle Joe's garage for the battery. A whole day spent shopping replaced with a thirty minute stop. That's efficient.

And, in case your wondering, I don't work for Wal-Mart.

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

Postby OperaTenor » Sat May 24, 2003 5:37 pm

Hi Shapely,

I don't think Cracker Barrel drove competition out by selling cheaper meals until the other local restaurants went out of business. Try again! :p
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Re: Let's hear it for Wal-Mart!

Postby grudolph » Sun May 25, 2003 7:40 am

Shapley,

Your comments regarding the hours for large chains operations have merit. So does a greater selection of product in one stop shopping.

Wal-Mart has not reduced the cost of items most of us buy; rather, they have reduced the quality of the items we buy, which is commensurate with the price. Take a look at the thickness of any one of the few brand name pots and pans they sell. Those brands are sold in other stores as well. Go look in a Sears at that "same" pan made by the same firm. You will find that pan in Sears is thicker. This is an issue with many items Wal-Mart sells. Black and Decker is another manufacturer that has to cut quality to meet the price Wal-Mart is willing to pay them for their products. The number of items that that have reduced quality is huge. In fact at times now, one cannot locate a quality product in many categories.

The next major missing component is service. Service ads a value to your purchase. You may be buying an item that you do not buy often and you would like to know which model best suits your needs. It is quite likely the employees at Wal-Mart or most chains know little if nothing about that product.

I am not necessarily a fan of Sears or any retailer for that matter. I was just nicely trying to make my point. To put my “angle” in perspective, I own a small chain of retail jewelry stores as well as a very successful on-line jewelry site. I can tell you with certainty on-line pricing is not always less expensive. In many cases, it is more or less and in many cases quality suffers to provide lower pricing. Many products in my industry that are now sold by larger chains have qualities that would not have even been considered “gem quality” twenty years ago. That “junk” was not even available. You are still going to find many independents businesses around that sell a product that needs service and the buyer needs assistance with their purchase. Jewelry is one of them. Good quality furniture is another. I am sure there are many others but they just do not come to mind at this moment. Old age, etc. must be setting in<G>

Also, I do not believe we perceived the same kind of stores when I made reference to “Mom and Pops.” I was referring to independently owned businesses that are located in large shopping malls, strip centers, etc. The independents will almost always provide you with better quality and service than any of the “discount chains.”

Thank you for your input.

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

Postby OperaTenor » Sun May 25, 2003 4:09 pm

Hi Glenn, I'm gonna get my micrometer out & go measure some stuff.... :mad: :mad:
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Re: Let's hear it for Wal-Mart!

Postby grudolph » Sun May 25, 2003 6:54 pm

LOL. It is not even that close<G> :mad:
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