Rethinking Wally World

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Runners, Dec 5, 2003.

  1. Runners

    Runners A real Quack!

    Messages:
    327
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2003
    Location:
    Near Callands, Virginia
    After reading this article, and some of the discussions on this board about jobs going over seas, we're starting to rethink where is the great value at Wally World? A company that once touted "Buy American" seems to putting American's out of business. Here's the link:

    http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/77/walmart.html

    My wife *was* a big fan of shopping there... I'm *was* regular at Sams... Kroger & the local mom & pop stores are suddenly looking more appealing. The products / services my company sells are bought by locals (produced in America). If they get squeezed out of business, who will be left to buy OUR products / services?

    Speaking of bankruptcy... was that gallon of pickles REALLY a great deal in the long run?

    Bill
     
  2. Marchwind

    Marchwind Fiber Arts forum Mod. Supporter

    Messages:
    11,519
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Southwest Michigan by way of the Northwoods of MN
    Bill it is nice to se that people can change their minds about such things. We had a Wally World come to town about 1-2 yeras ago. I have never and will never set foot on their soil. Most of my friends think I'm nut and don't understand when I tell them things like this.

    Thanks for the affirmation
     

  3. little mom

    little mom Active Member

    Messages:
    39
    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    its not safe to go to malls they tell us,
    was thinking won't that give china mart more
    customers, even the ones used to be good brand names
    GE.ECT... its nothing but pure junk now
    was in there the other day to buy shells in WV that was the
    the only place in the whole county that had them
    all the other stores were closed down there
    looked like it was a ghost town ,main street looked scarry of things to come
    after wading though the huge stacks of junk trying to find
    sporting goods than waiting in line they didn't have a
    proper shell
    then we got some corn beef ect..at the deli
    the person there when she open the new package meats
    said make sure we ate it in 4 days first time they every told me that
    ate some that night ,sick for a week
    mom told me there meat wasn't anygood should of listen to her for once
    i hate that damn store if people don't start supporting the others
    they will be no others .
    buy true american
     
  4. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

    Messages:
    19,618
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2003
    Now a lot of people laugh at this but I still say a lot of this country is ran by the Southern Mafia in North West Arkansas,namely Wal Mart,Tysons,and J.B.Hunt.I know for a fact that it was going around that as long as Clinton was in office they would mop up and make all they could.

    big rockpile
     
  5. flutemandolin

    flutemandolin mark an eight, dude!

    Messages:
    721
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2003
    Location:
    MN
    I just read that same article today from a link on another board I frequent. Sounds like there is no such thing as a "free market" anymore. :(

    I gotta get my dh to kick the WM habit. Personally I can't go near one, and I just proved this last Friday when we stopped at Super Wally to spend a gift card my MIL had sent us. The store just makes me physically ill. I went in with a list and could not even think clearly after just ten or fifteen minutes. I started embarrassing dh by making loud comments about rude people following two inches behind me ramming their shopping carts into my heels, and employees that insisted on hauling out loads of stuff and blocking the aisles while they restocked the shelves. Sensing that I was really on the verge of losing it big time, dh steered us towards the checkouts before we could complete the list. From now on, I think he will know better than to try to drag me into Super Wally World! :haha:
     
  6. Ray_Scheel

    Ray_Scheel Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    81
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2003
    We have found our monthly budget is much easier to keep when we refuse to step into Wally World or only do so with a fixed list.
     
  7. RAC

    RAC Guest

    That was an excellent story link. However, what it fails to bring up is that as the rest of the world gets jobs, they also get the desire and the money to buy US products. For those who don't want jobs going overseas, does that mean we shouldn't be exporting our citrus, wheat, McDonald's and so forth? What's good for one side is good for the other.

    Also, when jobs go overseas, some jobs come back here. Japanese cars are assembled here. You need import/export people working the ports here, and so on.

    The only constant is Change. The job you have today may not be the one you have tomorrow. No one "owes" you a living, and people need to see that and plan accordingly to be one step ahead, or at least to be able to roll with the punches.

    I go to Wal-Mart on average once a year, if that. Ours just recently added the grocery section, and sorry, it is now a worse zoo than before. I hate shopping in general (except at a bookstore or yarn shop), and value my time more than waiting in line forever to "save" a few dollars. I have never seen all the checkstands open when it is crowded, and have actually just put down items and left when I see long lines and too-few clerks.

    I can get in and out of my local grocery quickly, and if I want help putting the bags in the car (I like getting my exercise, though), they will do it. There are express lanes for people with just a few items and they take credit. If I want I can order online and have it delivered for a small extra charge--that would certainly stop a lot of "impulse buying" when you think about it.

    I was at one of the larger cash-only grocers the other day because it was on the way to another appointment. If you watch for sales at the local grocery, this place was not a lot cheaper, especially factoring in the drive to get there and I have to remember either to transfer money into the checkbook (and bring it, lol) or go to the ATM first, and they not only didn't have an express lane, when I asked the clerk who was going to open "after she finished her other work" why not, she said they weren't going to get one because it means an extra clerk. She also said that the regular grocery chains would love to get rid of their express lanes. This store had only had half their checkstands open, and people with carts filled to bursting in them! Of course I just put the stuff down and left. I think service is where the stores will be competing next, especially as the population gets too old to be running around chasing bargains from this store or that.
     
  8. birdie_poo

    birdie_poo Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,308
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Our local PBS station showed a segment on Wal-Mart. It was not nice.

    Basically what it said is most WM's make special deals with the cities that they go into. They get free taxes for a certain period of tims in exchange for building int certain locations. I can't remember what town it was in CA that made the deal of no taxes, and even subsidized the building. It was agreed that WM would not have to pay those taxes for 10 years. 10 years later, they closed that store and moved it to a neighboring town that gave them the same deal...only no one knew that it was going to close the first store, they assumed it would just be opening a new store. That town's mayor said they were pretty much kicking themselves inthe butt for that.

    They pay their employess just above minimum wage, they have little to no health benefits, are not allowed to unionize, forced to work holidays w/out overtime, forced to work overtime on regular basis, etc. San Marcos, CA is fighting big-time to keep WM out of their community. After what we saw on that program, and the recent grocery store strikes here in our area, I will not shop there again. WM is going to effectively undercut everyone, and treat their employees like third world countries do...why, because they can get away with it.

    Act for Change, I think is the name of a group that is circulation petitions over the web. They want everyone to stop shopping at WM.

    WM is also sueing MC to stop taking signature based debit cards...effectively telling some customer that they wont take their money unless it's pin based. I don't have a pin to my MC debit card,simply because I never wanted to use it like an ATM Card.

    WM is bad ju-ju. I don't know if anyone has noticed, or not, but most of their stuff isn't even Made In America,any more, either. Personaly, I think Sam Walton must be rolling in his grave. His famioly has taken $$ over quality, which is just so typcla.
     
  9. marisal

    marisal Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    319
    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2003
    Those commercials they have for Wal-Mart are a bunch of BS. I don't know about where anyone else is, but the workers there are RUDE!!! I don't think I have been there once when someone was nice to me, said hi to me when I go to the register, you know, basic customer service....

    Also, they opened one of those "superstores" near us, so I thought I'd check it out, it SUCKED! The shelves were sparse, the veggies we not very appealing...again, the workers rude....IT drives me crazy to go in there any more.

    So, I don't.

    ~Marisa
     
  10. RAC

    RAC Guest

    Birdiepoo,

    "They get free taxes for a certain period of tims in exchange for building int certain locations. I can't remember what town it was in CA that made the deal of no taxes, and even subsidized the building. It was agreed that WM would not have to pay those taxes for 10 years. 10 years later, they closed that store and moved it to a neighboring town that gave them the same deal...only no one knew that it was going to close the first store, they assumed it would just be opening a new store."

    Every business large enough to do so negotiates for no taxes if they can get it. The big sports teams (like the Oakland Raiders), they threaten to move the franchise unless they get a new stadium--financed by taxpayers, of course. WM is no different from other businesses in that regard, only bigger.

    "They pay their employess just above minimum wage, they have little to no health benefits, are not allowed to unionize, forced to work holidays w/out overtime, forced to work overtime on regular basis, etc."

    Employees of WM have consistently voted down unionizing. Most retail businesses with similar jobs pay as little as they can legally get away with. Why is it okay for some other business to do it but not WM? Also, most part-time jobs have no benefits, again, no different from other businesses. As to the overtime issues, I think there have been lawsuits over it, and it will be resolved one way or the other depending on the evidence. And how many small businesses offer stock options to their employees?

    "WM is also sueing MC to stop taking signature based debit cards...effectively telling some customer that they wont take their money unless it's pin based."

    What WM was trying to do was lower the fees MC charged (just as WM does with every supplier as the article showed) and MC didn't like it. Apparently signature verification is more time/cost intensive than using pin numbers. I don't understand the benefit of using a debit card when I can use a credit card that gives me some sort of benefit for doing so, so this doesn't affect me as much as it might others.

    I'm not a fan of Wal-Mart, but mostly it is because I just don't like the store itself, layout and such, compared to other stores.
     
  11. RAC

    RAC Guest

  12. SteveD(TX)

    SteveD(TX) Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,373
    Joined:
    May 14, 2002
    I would love to be able to completely walk away from Wallyworld because of their corporate greed, etc., but I won't. Because:
    1) 3 lb. can of my favorite coffee at WW - $4.29; same at Albertsons = $6.99; savings of 39%.
    2) 1 lb. of talapia filets at WW - $2.68; same at Tom Thumb - $6.79; savings of 59%.
    3) 1 lb. box of artificial sweetener at WW - $1.59; same at Kroger - $2.99; savings of 47%.

    I would say that my average savings is at least 40%. Now, if I spend in the neighborhood of $3,000 per year at the grocery store, I don't feel like spending $2000 more just to say I did my part to knock out (or make a statement against) the biggest co. in the world. I can put that $2,000 to pretty good use. How in the world can the average homesteader afford to do that? As far as rude workers, shoppers, etc.; I think that may have to do more with where you live than where you shop. I just haven't seen it around here.

    In my neck of the woods, we have Walmart Neighborhood Markets. They are small, fairly uncrowded, clean, well-stocked, and convenient, with the same prices as Super Walmart. I enjoy shopping there. When I can, I will avoid WW when I see sales at other markets, and I buy most of my produce from local farmers and vendors; and grow what I can. But I will be happy to swallow my pride and take the difference to the bank. The main people I look out for: my family.
     
  13. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

    Messages:
    1,265
    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2003
    Location:
    Zone Unknown
    I stopped going to Walmart a long time ago. The quality of everything was bad and it was so difficult to find anything that it just wasn't worth the time or trouble to go there.

    I divide my grocery shopping now between two tiny local stores (one with a great butcher!), a couple of groceries in the closest large city (I shop there every month to two months), and buy tools at a small farm place about 10 miles away. Now I do frequent Lowes' sometimes, but they're no different than Walmart, as far as I'm concerned.

    My point is, since I stopped doing any of my shopping at Walmart, my grocery and other bills have dropped substantially. It is not only good for local economies to avoid them - it's good for your pocketbook!

    Walmart sucks the green weenie! :grrrrrrrr:
     
  14. Laura

    Laura Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,223
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    OlyPen
    I've quit Walmart, too.

    The first time I went in a super Walmart, Ponca City,OK, 1992, I was totally bedazzled. WOW! I'd never seen anything like that before!

    Walmart was never on my shopping route until about 6 years ago. Our local WM, 80 miles away, employed former mill workers and displaced homemakers who were interested in customer service. There were really nice small town folks working there and I enjoyed the bargains. Much of the stuff stuff had American Made labels.

    As soon as the Kmart across the road closed down, the friendly customer service oriented workers at WM were gone, replaced by -don't give a snot- employees who were afraid of management, management that seemed way too predatory shark like and were prone to lying, and displays filled with cheap china crap and substandard stuff. It became a very unpleasant experience. Then I just started hating WM. I haven't been in one for over 6 months.

    I've been able to replace Walmart as a shopping stop with very little impact upon my budget, and I get great service, too. Reading this article just reenforces the good choice I made.

    My worse WM experience was the last time I bought feed there, right after the good employees were gone. I asked a young punk for a flat cart for feed. He claimed they didn't have any. (BS) I stacked feed sacks across the top of my cart instead of putting them in the basket as I knew it was impossible to get someone to unload into my car and I didn't want to lift 50 lb. sacks out of the cart. The cart fell over at the checkout and feed went everywhere. No employees were available to help, the checker asked me to clean it up, I said NO. It took forever for a manager to get up there, with a flat cart, reload my feed and replace the broken bags. I STILL couldn't get help out to my car with my puchases, a flat cart of feed and a shopping basket of stuff, a little kid and a baby.

    Yeah, I don't miss WM at all!
     
  15. Bonnie L

    Bonnie L Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,736
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Eastern WA
    I guess we're lucky. We hava a WM, which I don't shop at tho others in my family do - it's the only place in town to buy computer paper! But our locally owned grocery store has great prices & an excellent meat market. They buy local fruits & veggies whenever possible.

    After all the things I've said about WM, I'd have to wear a paper bag over my head if I went there!

    God bless,
    Bonnie
     
  16. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,808
    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2003
    Location:
    Dysfunction Junction, SW PA
    well if it isnt wallyworld, it would be superk mart... or some other. I,m poor, I have to buy what I can afford, so if a pair of good boots at walmart cost me 40 bucks and the same pair cost me 60 bucks down the road, sorry, I cant afford to be that patriotic. I dig stuff out of the trash because its reuseable, am i taking the jobs away from americans who make that stuff new to sell to me when I need it?
    when china gets po'ed at us enough, wallyworld will perish or their prices will go up. Till then i'll atke advantage of the savings.

    when wal marts quality drops below whats desired, they will lose business. thats why ames and kmart are going under, their stuff is crappy. when WM gets that crappy, they will fall under also.
     
  17. Runners

    Runners A real Quack!

    Messages:
    327
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2003
    Location:
    Near Callands, Virginia
    I hadn't even addressed the "Quality of the Merchandise" issue - just where it's being bought from and sold to. However...

    We have returned drinking cups 2x to Wally World, because they cracked from being washed in a dishwasher. .72 seemed pretty cheap - but in both cases they didn't last 3 weeks. How long should $14.40 of cups last? We went to the local resturant supply store, paid .92 per cup 4 months ago. Haven't lost a one.

    My father said, "Buy the BEST quality you can afford." For the most part, I've pretty much stuck with that, tools for example. I could have bought an Ahrens chain drive rotortiller for $550., but bought a Troy Built for $1200. - 22 years ago... and other than wearing out tines, it paid for itself in one spring of custom tilling. I could have saved money on tool after tool, "for the sake of my family" - yet in case after case spent more time fixing and money replacing worn out & broken equipment in the long haul. If I saved a bundle on a shotgun, but it fails or jams when I need it to get meat or defend my livestock - what did I really save?

    SteveDtx - "The main people I look out for: my family." - you're right, I guess I just take a look at the long haul... If I get in a jam, maybe need a few groceries or parts from the hardware store to get me by for a week or two - I think, if I build a good relationship with the local guys, they just might cut me a deal, give me a break, maybe even put it on account. Would Wally World do that for me and my family? Things might not always be like they are today - eh?

    When I walked in Wally World yesterday, I couldn't help noticing a bunch of boxes stacked up my the customer service desk. Those $29 DVD players... cheap junk, throwaway stuff that lasted a week were among them. Oh, the customers got their money back, but not a bit of the time, gas and headache of finding out they 'got what they paid for'. Meanwhile the local appliance store is running some special to compete - the place that employs the guy that knows how to FIX what they sell - and struggling to keep the lights on. The local guys ... people that with families, people with the ability to service what they sell.

    What happens to all the stuff that gets returned to Wally World? Is it hitting the land fills? Auctioned off in a heap of junk? Does Wally World have a real Service/Repair department - or is it just, "bring it back, we'll replace it, Sir..." There's something to be said for people that understand what their selling, how it works and how to care for it. To be honest, I find little help in most of the big chain stores. The intelligent salesman has been replaced with the curteous, ignorant button pusher & stocker. :p

    My biggest concern is choice. I don't mind spending a little more when I see quality - but when the stores start closing because they can't compete - I have fewer choices. :( To me, that means lower quality, eventually to the throwaway mentality... Is that really how I want to raise my kids? "If it breaks, just toss it!" Instead of teaching them how to take something apart, clean & fix it, like I learned from my Dad...

    I think part of homesteading is to become as locally self-sufficient as much as possible among yourself and neighbors - I'm trying to figure out where Wally World fits into this picture.

    Bill
     
  18. SteveD(TX)

    SteveD(TX) Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,373
    Joined:
    May 14, 2002
    I agree with buying for the long haul. Cheap off-brand junk will always be cheap off-brand junk. But a can of Folger's coffee is a can of Folger's coffee, no matter whre you get it. The same with other name brands. And I find that there are other stores that sometimes do have better prices than Wallyworld, and service. For instance, I would never buy a computer there, or shoes, or any $29 DVD no matter where it is sold. But they have Black and Decker tools and lots of good national brands. I bought a B&D rechargeable circular saw at Wallyworld after seeing the same one $20 higher at Lowe's, and $35 higher than the locally owned hardware store. When I want product expertise, I will nearly always go to a specialty store with trained sales people. But if I know the product pretty well, the best price wins every time.
     
  19. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,808
    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2003
    Location:
    Dysfunction Junction, SW PA
    i used to buy wholesale tools to sell at flea markets.. sorry to pop yer bubble, but black and decker and other big brands use "cheap wholesale clones" as I used to call em for the cheap sale at wm or wherever... look around youll find a good b&d something and somewhere there is one for half the price, but its a weeeee but different. some clones are so good you cant tell unless you rip one apart.

    Ive pointed this out to my brother he didnt believe me either... everytime we go someplace I compare the clone and the HI-Q real deal...
    mom said if its too good to be true it is.. she was right.

    I used to be able to get campbell hausfield compressors cheap, but a CH compressor from sears or a tool shop is made with way better parts, but the thing is ALMOST identical. just because its got a brand name on it dont mean squat.
    once you bust a few tools, you get to know just what I mean.

    I dont buy LOTS of stuff at wal mart, because I know better can be gottan for not much more, you have to look around.
    but they do have some good top quality stuff... its mixed in there, you have to open the boxes, compare. they hate that.... :haha:
     
  20. MaKettle

    MaKettle Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    416
    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2003
    Our WM opened several years ago--Same deal. City just about gave them the land and the parking lot and voided taxes because, according to the newspaper article, "it would create jobs". The small stores had to close down because they could not compete. An entire chain of supermarkets has closed. Lots of people and tax base shops are affected. Have been in WM 2 times. 1st time was a check it out visit. Never went back until last week when I had to see if they had a movie dh wanted--they didn't. It was packed, noisy, and very off-putting.

    Go to the local hardware/paint store, and I'm met at the door by someone I know who will not only locate the whatsit I need, but tell me the best way to use it. Clothes are purchased at sales, where I can get good quality for the same as WM prices. Or Goodwill, which is even more fun. Grow most of our veggies, and our big food expenditure is for the little four footed friends.

    WM was mentioned in a popular consumer magazine when it was stressing the buy American logo. Seems the product was made in 3rd world country, but the PACKAGE was made in USA, so it sported the little flag logo.

    Boo WM