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July 30, 2007


Josh Strupp

I enjoy reading your blog every week, especially regarding the "Shoppes" project. That being said, I'd like to offer a quick comment on your Wal-Mart post.

I hate Wal-Mart. I never shop there because my time is worth more than the 2 bucks I'll save by standing in line for 30 minutes while someone writes out a check for 3 dollars instead of pulling out 3 singles from their pocket. I CHOOSE not to shop there. What's great about capitalism is that the consumer has the power to influence the profitibility of companies like Wal-Mart. Likewise, the sprinkler manufacturer has the ability to tell Wal-Mart to go pound sand when they are told to sacrifice quality to meet Wal-Mart's demand. Maybe the sprinkler manufacturer shouldn't be so dependant on one low-margin customer like Wal-Mart. Unfortunately for the mom and pops, (and the sprinkler manufacturers) of the world, they need to adapt, innovate, and be "proactive" instead of "re-active" in order to survive. Afterall, how do you think Wal-Mart got where they are today? The demise of the mom and pops is a sad story. Guess what. It's not going to change unless the market CHOOSES to change. We have on one to blame for Wal-Mart but ourselves.


ummm as the article nicely points out this isn't just the "market" at work. Clearly Wal-Mart subsidizes its profits on the back of tax-payers via greenfield TIFs (never should happen but does), health care costs and not even mention environmental recklessness that costs us all money.

Bryan Maersch

While I totally agree with your WalMart post. As one pro-WalMart person has told me "WalMart is so entrenched in the US economy that if WalMart closed up shop for a month, it would have a devastating effect on our economy". Unfortunately, I think this person is right also. Just look at the stock market plunges when WalMart posts a bad quarter.

Josh Strupp

Who grants the greenfield TIF's? They don't drop out of the sky for Wal-Mart to grab folks. I don't like Wal-Mart's corporate policy on health care either. That why I don't work there. Wal-Mart has no responsibility to provide health care to it's employees. We can picket Wal-Mart, beg them to provide insurance to all employees and we will end up where we started. Don't like'em? Don't shop there. As for Wal-Mart's impact on the U.S. and global economies, I agree that Wal-Mart is without a doubt the single most influential company in the world. But I don't understand the relavance of saying that if Wal-Mart suddenly stopped doing business, that they would have a devastating impact on the American economy. Look, if Japan stopped buying dollars to keep the Yen from rising against the dollar or if the Chinese government stopped it's companies from shipping to the U.S. it would also have a devastating impact on the U.S. and global economy. None of these cases will happen because the result would be devastating to EVERYONE involved. Wal-Mart is a reality. Hypothetically removing them from the global economy is a good way to demonstrate Wal-Mart's amazing size but using a hypothetical to show what kind of "damage" Wal-Mart could do to the American economy if they somehow "pulled the plug" isn't practical.

Dawn Lowen

I happen to think that Walmart is an excellent tool when it comes to fighting poverty! Kevin Price wrote a really interesting blog on Walmart’s war on poverty. Check it out at www.bizplusblog.com.

John Michlig

Dawn, you directed me to a naive and shallow analysis, to say the least. "Kevin Price" did not impress me.

Alas, Price's Wikipedia bio - which looks like he wrote it himself - says:

"Much of Kevin Price's early career was in politics and public policy. He was an activist for Students for Reagan in 1980, which led to job offers that took him to Washington, DC. He is a former Aide to a United States Senator (Gordon Humphrey, R-NH]) and worked as a policy analyst for the National Center for Public Policy Research and other think tanks."

A perfect Wal-Mart shill.

Jack Wade

I've read Price's work for quite some time. I personally think his analysis offers a fairly unique perspective. Meanwhile, what is really "shallow" are those who want to dismiss Walmart without recognizing its important and positive economic impact.

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