Walmart and what's wrong with our thinking?
Disclaimer: The following entry is nothing short of a rant about Walmart and American values. If you are easily offended or prefer to live in a world where everything is happy and cheerful, please DON'T READ.
After stopping at a local Super Walmart this weekend so I could go to the bathroom (hey, when ya gotta go, ya gotta go), I started thinking in depth about my issues with this superpower and the people who shop there.
These days we are all about patriotism and pride in being Americans. The cars in the Walmart parking lot were littered with yellow and American flag ribbons. "Support our troops." "God Bless America." It seemed like an oxymoron to me! How American and patriotic is it to shop at a store that forces American-owned companies out of business in favor of sweatshop labor in China?
I understand that many people are looking for the best deal and the lowest prices. So many Americans are struggling to get by these days and I am one of them. But I believe that many of the people who shop at Walmart are the very people who will end up losing their jobs when their companies are forced to close their doors because they can't compete with foreign labor.
It saddens me to think that we just don't think about the future. What are the future ramifications of my getting super low prices in the NOW NOW NOW? What cost will this have to my city, my community, my family?
It took months, if not years, to get the city council where I live to approve the buliding of a Walmart Supercenter here. There were MANY who were against it, but eventually the proposal passed. One of the arguments is "just think of how many jobs it will create!" Yes, but at what cost? They don't pay well enough for someone to support themself anyway, especially not with the cost of living in Boulder County. And how many small businesses in town will have to shut down as a result of it? :( What will these people do for employment then? Go work at Walmart?
I'm also concerned about all of the empty Walmarts that the Super Walmarts leave behind. I've seen it happen many times now. They close down one store to open a bigger, better store and leave a garish eyesore in the shopping center.
JibJab.com currently has a parody movie on their site called "Big Box Mart." It tells the story of a man who loves to shop at Big Box Mart because of their low prices. Eventually, however, the company he works for is forced to close down because they can't compete with the prices Walmart can get from the sweatshop laborers in China, so he loses his job at the age of 53. He files for unemployment and eventually ends up working for Big Box Mart. He's unable to afford to retire and will likely work there until he dies.
There's also a documentary coming out this week called "Walmart - The high cost of low price."
WAL-MART: THE HIGH COST OF LOW PRICE is a feature length documentary that uncovers a retail giant's assault on families and American values.There are thousands of free screenings being held nationwide.
The film dives into the deeply personal stories and everyday lives of families and communities struggling to fight a goliath. A working mother is forced to turn to public assistance to provide healthcare for her two small children. A Missouri family loses its business after Wal-Mart is given over $2 million to open its doors down the road. A mayor struggles to equip his first responders after Wal-Mart pulls out and relocates just outside the city limits. A community in California unites, takes on the giant, and wins!
If you'd like to get involved or spread the word about this movie, check out this link. There are many activism opportunities, from promoting the film by placing a button on your blog to signing a petition for Walmart workers' rights to boycotting Walmart to hosting a free screening of the film. Every little bit helps.
I'll end this by saying I'm not a huge fan of posting about such downer topics, but I do so every now and then when think the truth needs to be told. Thanks for reading.