Friday, November 18, 2005

Wal-mart the Movie

Wal-mart the Movie

I haven't seen the movie yet, but I have watched many clips from it on the above website. I have long been aware of how Wal-mart devastates small community businesses when they move into town and build a store along with all of the complaints they have against them for how they treat their employees.

Many people argue that Wal-mart is great because they bring low prices to communities and provide products not currently sold in these areas and that they offer jobs to people who are unemployed and so forth. What I think this movie does is illustrate the fallout from these things. Yes, they employ people, but at abysmally low wages and they are treated very poorly and often cheated out of their wages. Yes, they offer low prices, but they drive small family owned businesses into bankruptcy and that affects many lives.

This it a typical example of how corporate greed is ruining this country. Wal-mart is the largest corporation in the world and they regularly abuse that position. Low prices aren't always the answer. Selling low means putting incredible pressure on the organization itself to cut corners, shave payrolls and find the cheapest quality merchandise from the lowest bidder. Personally, I don't mind paying a fair price for a quality product. Of course, I like a deal when I can find one, but if the item is important, I don't mind paying a little more for it as long as it's good quality.

I think it's important for people to see this film so that they can get a better idea of what corporate greed does to this country. At a grass roots level, we should be careful as to where we spend our money because it's a powerful weapon to have the ability to "choose". If we choose to buy our products from somewhere other than Wal-mart, I guarantee that Wal-mart will suffer. Utlimately, we hold the power to determine whether or not Wal-mart survives and I think we have to evaluate our positions on these issues carefully.

An example is what has happened in my hometown. I have a friend who once lived in a quiet subdivision with an empty field behind it. It was on the edge of town but far enough away from the interstate to still be quiet and peaceful. Along came Wal-mart and decided to relocate their existing store from a boxed in strip mall to the area behind his house. I am sure that enormous pressure was placed on the owner of this land to sell it to Walmart so they could build a new Super Wal-mart on the land and bring other businesses to this area. I say this because I am sure he was offered a handsome price for this land and it would be difficult for any of us to turn down the kind of money that Wal-mart can offer for a few acres of land. It is this buying power which has made them into a huge worldwide corporation.

Now, my friend can sit on his deck around back where it never gets dark and listen to the noise coming from this Super Walmart. Foot traffic by immigrants and others through his property was non-existent before this, but now his dogs regularly bark each night at trespassers traversing through his property. In an attempt to mediate the constant flood of light, he planted trees at the edge of his property to block as much of the light pollution as he could. During the building of some of the structures, dynamite was used and there are now cracks in the foundation of his house, even though seismic monitors were placed in his yard to measure the effects of the blasting. He has never received any compensation for damages from anyone.

We should all think about these things and ask ourselves if these kinds of issues are worth the cost of Wal-mart's low prices. I encourage everyone to see this movie and to comment about your reactions here. I think this is a good topic and I look forward to hearing your thoughts and opinions.


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