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View Poll Results: What do you think about Walmart
Walmart is good thing for Arkansas and for America. 15 16.85%
Good for Arkansas. Bad for America. 15 16.85%
It's where I work. Can't imagine where I(and family) would be without it. Thank you, Sam! 1 1.12%
That's where I have to work. The only game in town, unfortunately... 0 0%
Love Walmart, or leave my beloved Arkansas. 1 1.12%
Thank you, Jesus, for Sam! God bless America! 3 3.37%
The only place I can afford these days That's why I shop there. 13 14.61%
I shop there. Definitely would shop elsewhere, if there was a choice around here. 9 10.11%
I'm a loyal customer! Walmart bleeds Red, White and Blue! A great Americans business! 0 0%
Good price, fair quality - works for me! All you critics just shut up and move to a place that has a Target. 7 7.87%
I still remember Arkansas without Walmarts. And she was better that way. 6 6.74%
A close ally of China is the enemy of my country. 12 13.48%
Other(please share your opinion in this thread) 7 7.87%
Voters: 89. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 06-08-2008, 04:33 PM
 
331 posts, read 1,387,765 times
Reputation: 167

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This weekend I unexpectedly ran into several folks visiting from Arkansas. After some rather lenghthy conversation it turns out that their opinions about Walmart don't exactly support out-of-staters' common stereotypes. So this got my curiosity going and I came up with this poll. Thanks for participating!
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Old 06-08-2008, 04:35 PM
 
Location: Charlotte, NC (in my mind)
7,946 posts, read 14,636,748 times
Reputation: 4457
I used to hate Wal-Mart and would shop at Target or the corner grocery store, but with gas prices so high, I have to shop at Wal-Mart these days because its one stop shopping and it saves me money.
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Old 06-08-2008, 06:07 PM
 
Location: The Great State of Arkansas
5,981 posts, read 15,933,769 times
Reputation: 7531
Hate it and avoid it every chance I get. Sam Walton is rolling over in his grave. If Target ever comes to Russellville, Wally has seen my last nickel. Gotta admit the store here is nice, but Wal Mart has destroyed the little guys that built the country.
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Old 06-08-2008, 07:02 PM
 
350 posts, read 1,126,744 times
Reputation: 90
Count me in the "good for Arkansas, bad for America" category.

It has turned a rural corner of Arkansas into bustling suburbia and pumped a lot of tax dollars into the state and aided many Arkansas companies (such as Murphy Oil). It also left most of the state's downtown storefronts empty, including some in Benton Co itself. If Sam Walton hadn't done this, though, someone else would've. K-Mart, Target, Sterling, etc - it would've occurred. Sam was just the quickest at getting to the niche and the most efficient.
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Old 06-08-2008, 10:01 PM
 
Location: Roswell, GA
697 posts, read 2,569,630 times
Reputation: 499
My family has benefitted for the last three decades or so from having WalMart in NWA -- it's been good for them in that NWA is a growing, vibrant area with a much higher quality of life than many other parts of Arkansas.

But I intensely dislike the effect of WalMart's policies on both people and communities. I also generally find the experience of shopping there unpleasant -- the stores generally aren't cleaned and maintained as well as the Targets in my area, I like the mix and quality of merchandise better at Target, and checking out or dealing in any way with the store staff and other customers is almost alway less pleasant. In the ordinary course of my life, I'll typically find myself at Target at least once or twice a week (that may go up when the new SuperTarget under construction less than a mile from my house opens), but I go to WalMart maybe once every six weeks to two months, and then only when I have to -- I need something I haven't been able to find at Target or that Target's out of, or there's something on sale for significantly less, or whatever. My wife and I shop recreationally at Target, going there sometimes just because we can't think of anything better to do. I will look for ways to avoid going to WalMart.
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Old 06-08-2008, 10:37 PM
 
Location: Charlotte, NC (in my mind)
7,946 posts, read 14,636,748 times
Reputation: 4457
Quote:
Originally Posted by rackensack View Post
My family has benefitted for the last three decades or so from having WalMart in NWA -- it's been good for them in that NWA is a growing, vibrant area with a much higher quality of life than many other parts of Arkansas.

But I intensely dislike the effect of WalMart's policies on both people and communities. I also generally find the experience of shopping there unpleasant -- the stores generally aren't cleaned and maintained as well as the Targets in my area, I like the mix and quality of merchandise better at Target, and checking out or dealing in any way with the store staff and other customers is almost alway less pleasant. In the ordinary course of my life, I'll typically find myself at Target at least once or twice a week (that may go up when the new SuperTarget under construction less than a mile from my house opens), but I go to WalMart maybe once every six weeks to two months, and then only when I have to -- I need something I haven't been able to find at Target or that Target's out of, or there's something on sale for significantly less, or whatever. My wife and I shop recreationally at Target, going there sometimes just because we can't think of anything better to do. I will look for ways to avoid going to WalMart.
Wal-Mart has also ruined many small towns in rural Arkansas and throughout the nation. You no longer have Tim's Hardware and Connie's Grocery in the small towns throughout the state. Everybody does all their shopping at the giant Supercenter on the outskirts of town. Across from the supercenter restaurants like Applebees and Taco Bell replace Bob's Burgers and Ted's Cafe on main street (which is now boarded up). It really has destroyed the charming feel of many of these small towns bringing the worst the suburbs have to offer into them.
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Old 06-09-2008, 09:08 AM
 
1,703 posts, read 5,554,487 times
Reputation: 912
Wal-Mart is hideous. It's an awful company.

I chose 'good for Arkansas, bad for America'. Unfortunately, 'bad' is not a 'bad' enough word.
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Old 06-09-2008, 10:45 AM
 
39,078 posts, read 23,221,001 times
Reputation: 12158
I like Wal-Mart. I think because it is the biggest retailer it gets targeted as an example of all that is wrong with retail, and there is certainly a lot of truth to the claim that people in this economic sector who work as retail employees on the store floor are more likely to be paid low wages and have poor benefits. I think because Wal-Mart has grown to be so big and has such an impact on local economies and the global economy, that understanding that impact, working to offset the negatives and promote the positives is a good thing.

It's important to note, though, that there aren't any unbiased studies of Wal-Mart's impact out there. The documentary about the High Costs of Low Prices was heavily promoted and distributed by pro-union supporters. Many of the organizations that are so critical of Wal-Mart have a political agenda that goes way beyond Wal-Mart's shortcomings. Wal-Mart has responded to these movements by trying to put its own message out there, complete with political spin, and now the discussion has devolved into a whole he said/she said debate without any independent, substantive studies to really further either side's arguments.

Does Wal-Mart hurt or help a local economy? It depends on the local economy. The romantic downtown that the Anti-Wal-Mart camp espouses to support is mythical. Many of the rural, Midwestern downtowns that Wal-Mart has been blamed for destroying were already severely stressed long before Wal-Mart came along. Cars and highways that got consumers to more urban markets, catalogs and more recently, the internet, have all taken a toll. The costs of updating the wiring and HVAC in these old buildings, of replacing single-panes with double-panes, of making the buildings handicap-accessible, the maintenance and upkeep is astronomical. It's simply not worth the investment unless the local economy is thriving. The inadequate parking issues that need to be addressed by city governments and local tax bases were simply beyond the reach of local administrations. Many of these downtowns weren't build around pedestrian-friendly town squares, they were stretched along railroad tracks, clustered by the depot, and the farm people these downtowns served were already well-accustomed to having to travel 30, 40, 50 or even a hundred miles to the nearest big city to go shopping. The feed store, the butcher and the barber aren't hurt by a Wal-Mart opening in the neighborhood. But the hardware store and the small appliance repair shop probably will be. When Wal-Mart moves into more urban settings, the bars and restaurants will probably benefit, the bookstore probably won't. I don't like to see the bookstore go, or the little shop that sells high-end kitchenware, or the pottery shop that mostly sells small potted plants. But the people in the neighborhood who read are still buying and reading books, and the kitchenware store was probably not going to make it anyway, since that's a very limited market niche. The pottery guy closed up his shop, but he sells on the internet now, and he makes his pots in the shed behind the house, and he gets to stay at home with the kids, and makes even more money than he did before.

I've been to Wal-Marts that were disorganized and dirty, and I've been to Wal-Marts that are spotless and thoughtfully laid out, with fantastic displays and always-stocked shelves. I've been to Wal-Marts in Mexico and in several states. Wal-Mart stores are not uniformly identical, the lay-outs vary, the products vary. The housewares manager in one store may order different products than the housewares manager of another store just down the road. The ladies department in a store in New Mexico may have a completely different apparel mix than the ladies department in a Minnesota store. So the shopping experiences of someone who lives in California might be completely different than the experience of someone in North Carolina. I think judging the entire chain based on one shopping trip to a single store may not be entirely fair. Even Mickey D's changes up the menu a little from region to region. The variations in Wal-Mart stores is substantially more.
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Old 06-09-2008, 11:45 AM
 
Location: The Great State of Arkansas
5,981 posts, read 15,933,769 times
Reputation: 7531
How in the world are the butchers, barbers and feed stores not affected? Maybe not so much the feed stores, but there are hair cutting places in Wal Mart - the supercenters have food...it IS easier to go one place, but why not do it in the downtown area like we did for a gazillion years?

The recent switch to Chinese products is just the icing on the cake...
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Old 06-09-2008, 11:51 AM
 
1,661 posts, read 4,367,994 times
Reputation: 1288
My wife works for Wal mart, and has for a while.

One of my degrees is in retailing.

So....I look at this from a different perspective than a lot. If I had someplace else to shop, I would, but in the rural areas, unless you want to drive over an hour away, that's it. With the exception of an occasional trip to Batesville or the *really* occasional trip to Jonesboro (1 1/2 hours), it's Wal Mart.

Our Wal mart has a mom & pop hardware store in it's shadow that thrives. Why? Because they give *service*. When one walks through the door, you're immediately asked, "Do you need help finding something?", and you say what you need and a knowledgeable employee leads you to it and answers questions.

Try that in a Home Depot or Target.

As far as working there, my wife enjoys it very much with one big exception. She started by stating that she wanted 18 hours a week, but her work ethic makes her stay in the top of the production list every month, so she gets 30+ hours. However, the hours are crazy. 6:00 A.M. today, 5:30 P.M. the next, 10:00 A.M. to 6:30 the next.....etc.

When she's asked various managers why the crazy swing in hours, she gets one word, "Bentonville". I don't buy for a minute that Bentonville does their scheduling for all employees, and my best guess is to hinder comradarie between employees to discourage union growth.

I admire what they've accomplished from a retail point of view, don't really mind shopping there, but I shake my head at a lot of their practices both from the employer status, and some of their decisions pertaining to stocking, inventory, and display.
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