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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

How Big is Wal-Mart

There is an email circulating on the web that I would like to respond to. My comments are in red:


This should boggle your mind!! - Granted
And scare you as well! - Scare me? I should be frightened by Wal-Mart?

1. At Wal-Mart, Americans spend $36,000,000 every hour of every day.
This is Wal-Mart's fault? What - are the Wal-Mart greeters running out into the streets, dragging unsuspecting consumers into the store, loading up their shopping carts with merchandise, and forcing them through the check-out lines?

2. This works out to $20,928 profit every minute!
Uh, yeah...profit for the stockholders. Have you checked your 401K or other retirement investment portfolio lately? Chances are your retirement account feeds on the profits of Wal-Mart - along with the profits of Exxon, Goldman Sachs, Boeing, Pfizer, and many other retail, energy, financial, and defense giants.

3. Wal-Mart will sell more from January 1 to St. Patrick's Day (March 17th) than Target sells all year.
For this they should be ashamed? See item #1.

4. Wal-Mart is bigger than Home Depot + Kroger + Target + Sears + Costco + K-Mart combined.
For this Wal-Mart should be ashamed? See item #1.

5. Wal-Mart employs 1.6 million people and is the largest private employer. And most can't speak English.
It's now 1.9 million. What is bad about being the largest private employer? "Most can't speak English" - not in my experience. Although I must say that there are plenty (PLENTY!) of customers who can't speak English.

6. Wal-Mart is the largest company in the history of the World.
Explain to me why we don't want a US company to be the largest in the world? We were proud of Ford, proud of Edison, proud of U.S. Steel, proud of F. W. Woolworth. Why can't we be proud of Wal-Mart?

7. Wal-Mart now sells more food than Kroger & Safeway combined, and keep in mind they did this In only 15 years.
Remarkable! (Not scary.) I wonder how they do that...send their greeters out into the street...? (See item #1.)

8. During this same period, 31 Supermarket chains sought bankruptcy (including Winn-Dixie).
This is Wal-Mart's fault? If Wal-Mart could sell for less, why couldn't Winn-Dixie?

9. Wal-Mart now sells m ore food than any other store in the world.
This is dangerous? Should Wal-Mart quit selling food so Winn-Dixie can thrive? Would you rather pay more at Winn-Dixie? If so, why didn't you? Then they wouldn't have gone bankrupt.

10. Wal-Mart has approx 3,900 stores in the
USA of which 1,906 are SuperCenters; this is 1,000 more than it had 5 years ago.
This involves a very simple concept called growth. It is based on success, which is in the hands of the consumer. When more shoppers shop at Wal-Mart, Wal-Mart's business grows.

11. This year, 7.2 billion different purchasing experiences will occur at a Wal-Mart store. (Earth's population is approximately 6.5 billion.)
What is the connection there? Maybe the 6.5 billion people on Earth shopped at Wal-Mart 1.0001 times per year?

12. 90% of all Americans live within 15 miles of a Wal-Mart.
That's because Wal-Mart is smart enough to locate their stores within 15 miles of their customers. Not exactly rocket science. Too bad our government is not smart enough to locate schools with 15 miles of the students they serve. Then maybe our 8 year olds would not be standing in the pre-dawn darkness waiting for the school bus.

Let Wal-Mart bail out Wall Street!
Be careful what you wish for. The bailout will be paid for with your children's taxes, and your grandchildren's taxes, and your great-grandchildren's taxes - money out of their pockets, money they won't have to spend at Wal-Mart buying food, clothing, housewares, cleaning supplies, toiletries, Mother's Day cards, Christmas decorations, cough syrup, bedding, dog food, camping equipment, and shoe strings.


Charles (a concerned citizen) said...

I think you may be missing the point of this list Kathy. Also, whether the list evolved recently or you simply chose which points to comment on, there are other points in the email to discuss:

14. Of the 1.6 million employees, only 1.2% make a living above the poverty level.

Wal-mart reaps huge profits and yet pays most (almost all) of it's workers at or below the poverty line. This is a good way to ensure that most employees HAVE to spend most of their money at wal-mart, because they are the cheapest place in town. Why is everything so cheap?

17. 92% of everything Wal-Mart sells, comes from China. Another 4% comes from Chinese owned companies.

It seems weird to brag about this "American company" when it sells VERY little (anything?) that was actually made in America. There are very relevant reasons why 'sane' people worry about mega-companies like wal-mart. It is easy to say, "Wow, how grand and (inexpensive)! I'm glad they're American!" But we must look at the larger picture. Why are the goods so cheap? Because they buy everything from China (often HEAVILY exploited labor and shoddy environmental practices) and pay their employees next to nothing. Community businesses close down when wal-mart moves in. Money then leaves the community at a rapid pace and is funneled to billionaires and to China. It's really about exploitation and the move towards Monopoly (which we have laws to protect against, but these are hard to enforce).
So why do people shop at wal-mart? Well, we live in an addiction based consumer culture where nine-year-olds feel the NEED for cell phones and people want that flat screen TV at any cost (as long as it's $cheap$). But really many people feel the need to shop at wal-mart because they live in poverty, a position wal-mart obviously tries to encourage. Many people in poverty (have to) focus their energy on "getting by", not on issues of consumer conscience. It's really a vicious cycle. Wal-mart is not going to change anything, so we the consumers have to...hence, the circulating email. Raise awareness, act from your conscience, and don't shop somewhere that promotes poverty in your community and across the world. See how just a little critical thinking shed light on this "confusing" issue. I hope your questions are all cleared up.

Live in Peace,

open your eyes said...

Good points, Charles! Kathy, Kathy, Kathy...when will you wake up and smell the exploitation? Here's a science project for you: google "dead peasant life insurance policy". Some interesting reading about a policy loved by your favorite store!

P.S. - if you don't cringe after those articles, check your pulse...

Kathy said...

Dear Charles,

I would ask you why Wal-Mart is selling Chinese goods? Could it be because America no longer produces goods for Wal-Mart to sell at prices Americans are willing to pay? Could it be that American labor unions demand wages and benefits that make it impossible for American-made products to compete with foreign-made products in a free market?

Could it be that those same labor unions infiltrate American industries for the sole purpose of confiscating union dues to support the politicians they collude with?

Wal-Mart is an American company, regardless of the products they sell. Community businesses close down because their government makes it impossible for them to compete. Not because of Wal-Mart.

Money spent at Wal-Mart does not "leave" the community. It pays the wages of the Wal-Mart employees. It pays the property taxes on the real estate Wal-Mart occupies.

I am dumbfounded that you would suggest that Wal-Mart promotes poverty. They provide goods at lower prices, goods that people are eager to buy. How is that a bad thing?

Perhaps you should direct your diatribe toward Wal-Mart shoppers, rather than the Wal-Mart corporation. If Wal-Mart had no customers, they would soon disappear.

I suspect, however, that you simply want to trash Wal-Mart, rather than address cultural issues, such as consumer greed class envy, and the condescending attitude some have about people who shop at Wal-Mart.

No one is forced to work or shop at Wal-Mart. The fact is many people do work there; many more people shop there.

You would do well to study the precepts of liberty, as they apply to workers, and also as they apply to consumers.

In my mind, liberty trumps equality. Liberty allows you to shop/work elsewhere. That's how the free market works.

Anonymous said...


You just don't get it....the word "willing" is a purposeful deception by you and should actually read "able" as in afford within the limited funds they have due to them being underpaid.

"Wal-Mart to sell at prices Americans are willing to pay?"

Barney Trader said...

Dear Anonymous,

You are an idiot. People are paid what they are worth, unless they are paid Government mandated "minimum wage" in which they are paid probably more than they are worth.


You are wise to see beyond the smear campaign of the anti-capitalist, who will rail against evil corporations and evil profit in one breath, and whine about their falling 401K in the next.

Anonymous said...

Kathy, your support of Walmart and their cheap goods is tantamount to supporting Chinese sweat shops and human rights abuses which are really little more than slavery. While many unions are not my favorite entities, your criticism of unions in support of Walmart is simplistic and facile. You are essentially supporting the new type of slave labor Walmart supports overseas and pretending that American workers, unionized or not, can compete with slave wages. Remember when Walmart used to advertise how nearly everything was made in the USA? Well, that ended when they captured the market, destroyed existing businesses and effectively exported American jobs overseas to be done at slave wages under communist dictators.

Barney, I am afraid you are the idiot. You think you are supporting capitalism when you are actually promoting its destruction in favor of a monopoly built on slave labor and totalitarianism.

Kathy said...

Dear Anonymous,

So Wal-Mart "captured" the market? What did they do, send their greeters out into the highways and by-ways, dragging consumers into their stores?

How did they "destroy" existing businesses, and what jobs have they "exported?"

Your argument should be directed against consumers who want the best value for their dollar; against government regulations that stifle local business; against unions whose thirst for power cripples the job market; and against globalist liberal agendas that seek redistribution of wealth over fair trade practices.

Anonymous said...

You need to get another issue to rant about. Walmart helps more people than it hurts.

Anonymous said...

@ Cathy

You use the term Liberty and free markets. As has been asserted wal$mart relies upon "slave" labor in China. You and your fellow traveler apologists for the billionaire class are evil personified.. You are analogous to a cancer cell.

Kathy said...

Dear Anonymous,

First of all, it's Kathy (with a "K"), not Cathy (with a "C").

Thank you for keeping this thread going and growing. (The original post is from January 2009.)

I am happy to defend liberty and free markets. I am also happy to promote capitalism, which has produced more prosperity throughout the world than any other system of commerce.

You should explore ways you can help to unionize the Chinese labor force. That might alleviate the "slave labor" conditions in that country.

I'm sure they will welcome your thoughts as much as I do.

Kathy said...

Dear Anonymous Posters,

Just for the record, I think it's rather cowardly to post anonymously.

If you don't believe in your convictions strongly enough to claim them (even under a pseudonym), then you're pretty much wasting everyone's time, including your own.