No Ordinary Princess

...anything but ordinary...

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Wal-Mart IS Evil...Here's Why

I haven't had a terribly keen interest in blogging recently. Life was busy for a while before the election and I've been spending a lot of time reading political stuff since then. I've had even less interest in looking at the blog stats here. But today I went to Technorati to check links to NOP and found a new one, from Phawker. There's no "about" that I can find on the site but this seems to be a Philly-based journalist. There are some interesting items there...politics, culture, news, media...many of the things I hold near to my heart.

Though I'm proud of the fact that I actively do not support Wal-Mart and feel I have pretty valid reasons for boycotting them, I can't articulate my objections nearly as well as I'd like. While I was reading the Phawker post, I noticed a link to Wal-Mart, the High Cost of Low Price. This was a documentary released in 2005. It sounds so familiar, I'm sure I must have heard about it last year. I wish I'd seen it; I should keep an eye out on the Sundance Channel or Independent Film Channel. The official site for the film contains a page which outlines, with documentation, exactly why Wal-Mart is so bad for America and, ultimately, for the global economy.

Here's the trailer:

So, I rest my case. Wal-Mart is evil and is not good for America or the world, same as any other monopoly. And monopoly they will eventually become unless someone steps up to the plate to put the brakes on their unending expansion. Kudos to Maryland for taking legislative action to require corporations like Wal-Mart to be civically responsible.

tags: consumerism / corporate culture / culture / economic justice / Wal-Mart / social justice

8 Comments:

Anonymous Refugee from Reason said...

Boy is comment going to be unpopular. To say that Wal-Mart's flawed is certainly an understatement. However, at the end of the day, there are a helluvalot of persons employed there who might otherwise simply be out of work. Clearly, that's elemental and simplistic, but it is, in fact, true. And I would be remiss if I didn't point out that the $4 prescription program (which we use incidentally) is an extraordinary move, whether it's a loss leader, a marketing ploy, a public relations move or a socially responsible action makes no difference at all. It is, at the end of the day, a Godsend to many, especially in consideration of the fact that the script list comprises 25 percent of Wal-Mart's daily filled prescriptions.

And along that line, the prescription program is apparently forcing several large drugstore chains to rethink their pricing. Oddly, with the stroke of a pen, Wal-Mart has done what the government under either party, has not been able to do: lower prescription drug prices.

There are a huge number of companies that employ enormous numbers and provide few benefits and low salaries. It's the nature of business and the economy. My view, if one doesn't like Wal-Mart, shy away.

Target, K-mart, Costco and others are no great shakes for employees either.

In answer to the question, we use the prescription program because my wife's medications are "formulary" drugs and require a $50-$60 co-pay under our insurance. We used to get them from Canada. Now we're paying $4 per prescription. Can I afford the co-pay, sure. I can afford full price. But, in the vernacular, I'm not stupid.

18/11/06 10:06 PM  
Blogger sushil yadav said...

The link between Mind and Social / Environmental-Issues.

The fast-paced, consumerist lifestyle of Industrial Society is causing exponential rise in psychological problems besides destroying the environment. All issues are interlinked. Our Minds cannot be peaceful when attention-spans are down to nanoseconds, microseconds and milliseconds. Our Minds cannot be peaceful if we destroy Nature.

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment.

Subject : In a fast society slow emotions become extinct.
Subject : A thinking mind cannot feel.
Subject : Scientific/ Industrial/ Financial thinking destroys the planet.
Subject : Environment can never be saved as long as cities exist.


Emotion is what we experience during gaps in our thinking.

If there are no gaps there is no emotion.

Today people are thinking all the time and are mistaking thought (words/ language) for emotion.


When society switches-over from physical work (agriculture) to mental work (scientific/ industrial/ financial/ fast visuals/ fast words ) the speed of thinking keeps on accelerating and the gaps between thinking go on decreasing.

There comes a time when there are almost no gaps.

People become incapable of experiencing/ tolerating gaps.

Emotion ends.

Man becomes machine.



A society that speeds up mentally experiences every mental slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

A ( travelling )society that speeds up physically experiences every physical slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

A society that entertains itself daily experiences every non-entertaining moment as Depression / Anxiety.



FAST VISUALS /WORDS MAKE SLOW EMOTIONS EXTINCT.

SCIENTIFIC /INDUSTRIAL /FINANCIAL THINKING DESTROYS EMOTIONAL CIRCUITS.

A FAST (LARGE) SOCIETY CANNOT FEEL PAIN / REMORSE / EMPATHY.

A FAST (LARGE) SOCIETY WILL ALWAYS BE CRUEL TO ANIMALS/ TREES/ AIR/ WATER/ LAND AND TO ITSELF.


To read the complete article please follow either of these links :

PlanetSave

EarthNewsWire


sushil_yadav

18/11/06 10:21 PM  
Anonymous Refugee from Reason said...

Oh, please. While I generally believe pragmatism trumps all, I'm also a student of Buber, Kierkegaard and Heidegger. You'll have to be far more well founded than this to make an argument based in new age spirituality.

19/11/06 1:08 AM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

And maybe we'd be better as a culture if those people were simply out of work and out on the streets. Wal-mart provides an easy way to hide the growing numbers of poor in this country. I'm happy some states are beginning to address this through forcing corporations like Wal-Mart to provide health insurance for their employees or pay into the state coffers to cover the Medicaid expenses of those they refuse to insure.

And while a small minority of people might truly benefit from the low prices there and some would be unable to afford to shop anywhere else, is it not the perpetuation of working poor by companies like Wal-Mart that helps that to remain the case? They have artificially scaled down the wages of the lowest socioeconomic groups. Some of these people might never rise out of poverty and W-M wants to keep it just that way. If everybody who could afford to shop elsewhere did, think of the impact that might have. Then the only people shopping at Wal-Mart would be its employees and they couldn't keep the company afloat on their piddling wages.

As for discounted prescriptions, don't you think the federal government, if they're going to get into the business of seeing groups get their prescriptions (i.e. the Medicare recipients) has a responsibilty to seek out the very est value from our tax dollars? If Congress and the administration hadn't been so corrupt and the American public so asleep behind the wheel there might not have been a Medicare drug plan which does not allow the government to negotiate for lower prices from pharmaceutical corporations. I've been scratching my head over that one for two years, aside from being totally shocked and awed at the brazen contempt they showed for the people with that piece of tripe.

Don't get my socialist leanings showing here, RfR, because I strongly believe that insurance, healthcare, prescriptions, all of that should be provided by the government and afforded to every one of the citizens of this country. And the government has an obligation to the taxpayers to see that is administered fairly and with fiscal prudence.

I'm doing what I feel is my share by never buying at Wal-Mart. I did at first, only household products and such, but haven't shopped there at all in about three years. Not even a pocket comb.

Thanks for dropping by!

19/11/06 1:18 AM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

Thanks for stopping by, Sushil. I won't delete you now that RfR has commented on your comment.

Peace, love and chocolate.

19/11/06 1:27 AM  
Anonymous Refugee from Reason said...

"And while a small minority of people might truly benefit from the low prices there and some would be unable to afford to shop anywhere else, is it not the perpetuation of working poor by companies like Wal-Mart that helps that to remain the case?" Given Wal-Mart's revenues and customer demographics, it's far more than a "small minority."

"Wal-mart provides an easy way to hide the growing numbers of poor in this country." There are fairly accurate statistics denoting the "working poor," and it is a growing demographic. However, those statistics do comprise Wal-Mart employees, if they fit the profile and it's a dollars and cents profile. It's the only way to measure for the proffer of state or federal services.

"As for discounted prescriptions, don't you think the federal government, if they're going to get into the business of seeing groups get their prescriptions (i.e. the Medicare recipients) has a responsibilty to seek out the very est value from our tax dollars?...etc." I'm passionately in favor of a national healthcare plan, but at the end of the day, or recent one, including as you know the Hillary debacle under Clinton and earlier, Washington just hasn't taken care of this issue. We can "if" and "should have" as much as we want, but the fact remains that $4 for a prescription from a retail outlet is filling an important gap, whether you agree with the company's policies or not. If you want the corporate world to be socially responsible, you must accept the baby steps that world take, as well as the fact that it takes years to move a monolith.

"I'm doing what I feel is my share by never buying at Wal-Mart. I did at first, only household products and such, but haven't shopped there at all in about three years. Not even a pocket comb." That's your choice. And while I'm not a great fan of Wal-Mart, I'm still a kitchen economics kind of guy.

Cheryl, I am, indeed, old and you've heard me say that "we become our parents." We can rail against the ills, the morals, the ethics and the behavior of corporate America until the proverbial cows come home. And there are many of them, not the least of which is the remarkably widening salary gap between senior executives and salaried employees and simply the growing epidemic of extraordinary poor management and judgement.

To repeat the caveat: I am a liberal Democrat. However, there must be an understanding of corporate America. Public companies have shareholders to whom they must answer, increasing costs, and so forth. It is a very delicate, but defined balance. As great as Ben and Jerry's is, even it's had it's issues; Microsoft similarly so, as well as IBM, GE and so forth.

I am wholly in favor of companies providing health insurance. But there's another side to that argument. Consider, if you will, the vast numbers of homeless in the nation, many of whom are working while living out of their cars; or for that matter, the working poor. Does this mean companies should also provide housing? It is a very tough debate, and one that exists in virtually every free nation in the world. It's a matter of policy or lack of policy. And it's a matter of priorities.

This post is far too prolix, so suffice it to say, if the Dems get a new minimum wage through with great dispatch and little debate, we might be seeing the watershed change many of us anticipate. If not, it'll be more of the same.

19/11/06 8:55 AM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

By a "small minority" I meant people for which the savings they receive at Wal-Mart give them the ability to have a better quality of life...maybe they can afford the soccer equipment for their kids or can afford to have a computer where they might otherwise not. I don't mean people who just save a little money when they could have shopped elsewhere but their life isn't really made better by that. I should have been more specific. The fact is, most of us have the money to shop elsewhere. Many of us who could afford to shop elsewhere choose to shop at Wal-Mart only for the savings.

It's not just Wal-Mart that hides the growing working poor. Bush touts job growth on the campaign trail but there's no mention of what kind of jobs these are. The growth in jobs is probably mostly in the lower level service positions like Wal-Mart and other retail establishments, fast-food places, convenience stores, etc. Jobs which pay minimum wage or $7.00 an hour, not a living wage. I saw somewhere that Wal-Mart is the "largest company" in the world. As such, it could hide a lot of working poor.

Hey, it's a chocolate and vanilla thing, RfR. I choose not to support them and that's my right. You choose to shop there and that's your right.

I guess I really am more of a socialist than anything else, though I know socialism as a political model would never work in the real world. I understand the drive to produce for ones stockholders but it strikes me as really wrong when corporate executives are making money hand over fist of the backs of employees who take the bus to work because they can't afford a junker car and filll up the state's Medicaid rolls because the corporation does everything within its power to avoid providing healthcare coverage. Seems to me there needs to be a little more balance between the wealth of the CEO's and shareholders and the $5.15/hour slugs whose sweat makes that possible.

Thanks for your thoughts. Don't think I'm trying to make you feel guilty...I'm just expressing my own beliefs.

19/11/06 12:29 PM  
Anonymous Refugee from Reason said...

"Bush touts job growth on the campaign trail but there's no mention of what kind of jobs these are. The growth in jobs is probably mostly in the lower level service positions like Wal-Mart and other retail establishments, fast-food places, convenience stores, etc. Jobs which pay minimum wage or $7.00 an hour, not a living wage. I saw somewhere that Wal-Mart is the "largest company" in the world."

In many respects, you're correct here. However, while Bush touts job growth (and I suspect the recent elections confirm that most have caught on to this issue), much of the problem here is that the media simply doesn't report fully on the employment situation, which is why I encourage people to either sign up for or visit Federal agency sites, in this the Department of Labor or the Bureau of Labor Statistics. We're at a point in our culture now where if one is to make an informed decision, it's tough to rely on the media, so why not go to the primary source.

With regard to employment, those monthly news releases are free and you can sign up via email. They're an eye opener every month.

As to your socialistic views, I've got no issue with them. My perspective is simply one of dollars and cents. No matter how you slice it, I believe consideration still must be given to a nation without Wal-Mart or a Wal-Mart like entity and think about where those employees would be working. Yeah, that's far-fetched, but jobs are jobs and if you've not got one, it's any port in a storm.

By the way, I never feel guity.

19/11/06 2:08 PM  

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