Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Walmart Bashing Revisited

I've noticed that this post has been getting a lot of google search hits lately.  And I also found a Penn and Teller episode chiming in with me -- so I've added them at the end of the post.

In case you missed that link above, it's here.

1 comment:

Cylar said...

I was reminded of this when I read your anti-anti-Walmart post. It's pretty much the very sort of thing you're talking about:


I'm with you, for the record. Don't give a hoot about the company; sick of hearing people whine about it, particularly with the "running mom and pop out of business."

I was a business major in college. During my final semester, I read Sam Walton's autobiography for a class. The store was already a retail giant when Walton died in 1992, and it's probably multiplied five-fold since then.

In the book, (among other gems), Walton actually gives away the secret of how small businesses can successfully compete with Wal Mart. He said that while it "makes no sense to go head-to-head with Wal-Mart on something like toothpaste), what Mom and Pop need to do is come at the consumer from one of the angles on which Wal Mart is weak.

He gave some examples, a few of which I can recall: highly specialized merchandise, superior customer service. And he's right on that second count - Wal-Mart's customer service SUCKS! The employees there are useless at anything besides stocking shelves and ringing you up. And MAYBE they can tell you where to find something, on a good day.

That's all they are good for. Half of them don't even speak English, and you had damn sure not ask them anything about the products they sell.

Plenty of small stores are still in operation years after a Wal-Mart opened nearby. Even if the critics were right - that Wal-Mart really does put Mom and Pop out of business - my response has always been, "So what? That's capitalism. Capitalism destroys jobs and businesses all the time, eve as it creates others. (It's just like Mother Nature, really.) What do you think happened to buggy whip makers back when Ford and GM got started? And what do you think RedBox,Pay-Per-View and Netflix are doing to Blockbuster and Hollywood Video?"

Then again, I guess I'm one of those greedy heartless swine who think businesses should succeed or fail based on how well they meet market demand...and nothing else. Shame on me, huh?