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The War on Walmart: Who's afraid of cheap groceries?

Retail giant Walmart is planning to open its first stores in New York City and Washington, D.C.

That's got local politicians and activists up in arms.

"Walmart, keep your plantation because there are no more slaves," says New York City Councilman Charles Barron.

Walmart will make criminals of our children, argues Washington D.C. commissioner Brenda Speaks, because "kids are kids" so they'll shoplift and then "security will grab them."

If we're tricked into welcoming Walmart through our city gates "wrapped up in a shiny package," explains New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, it will take over and destroy us.

So what's getting anti-Walmart activists so riled up?

The answer: cheap groceries.

Written and produced by Jim Epstein, with help from Joshua Swain. Narrated by Nick Gillespie.


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I avoid Walmart at all cost.

First, they receive subsidies. Well over a billion dollars so far. Check out www.walmartsubsidywatch.org for more info( while one could argue this is a biased site, do your own research, it's real). So they are not playing a fair game compared to local business.

Second, they treat their employees terribly, especially women. While "legal", to me, it is inexcusable. What our money touches, we touch. While not always possible, I try to support businesses that see their employees as valuable community members.

Third, when one shops at Walmart instead of a local business, the profit leaves the community. When one shops at a local business, much more of the money stays local, and is hopefully spent at another local store. While it does usually cost more to support local businesses, I gladly do it, just like I buy American whenever I can.

Fourth, every job that Walmart "creates" is arguably not created. It is exchanged for the job at a local business that closes down. Walmart adds very little to the market other than convenience. The retail transactions were largely already happening, just elsewhere. As the local businesses shut their doors, the community is down net jobs. And now the jobs pay less.

I'm not saying Walmart is the devil. And I'm not saying you're terrible if you support them. What I am saying is that I believe it is short sighted to choose cheaper groceries now over supporting one's community over the long haul. It will pay itself back many times over.
Buy local. Buy American.

I shop at Walmart. I recently

I shop at Walmart. I recently read this article about a grocery chain called Winco based in the northwest U.S. and wonder if Walmart couldn't be a better company if they really wanted to be: http://business.time.com/2013/08/07/meet-the-low-key-low-cos...

And by better I mean treat their employees better. If Winco can have lower prices and better benefits and salary for their employees on a small scale, I don't see why Walmart couldn't, with their national and international heft, do something similar on a large scale.

the only reason i don't like walmart

is because they participate in fascism and lobby both stat and fed gov.

Walmart is NOT cheaper on everything...

In the South, Dollar General and Family Dollar beats the pants off WalMart on clothing, cat litter, baby wipes and, particularly, candy.
Kroger is frequently cheaper on cold cereal and its ice cream is better than any major brand. Food Lion has better meat and cheese and prices are competitive. Sam Walton deserved his success. However, now, WalMart simply "sucks" and I buy very little from them.

I Just know

That when I have to go to one its a bad day.
Always a mad house.


I go if I have to, but I am not happy about it when I do.

Bag of catfood, a lawn chair, and a bike

While getting your tires rotated and oil changed. All for less than $150 (that you can get when you cash your check there). C'mon. Walmart is popular because it's great. Sure, they don't pay their employees much and they get tax credits for coming to town, but anyone who can guarantee over 100 jobs in a new business can get the same treatment. I don't think walmart hurts small businesses because the stuff walmart sells is the stuff big stores always sold way before walmart came along. In my town, k-mart had walmart's business and the hobby shop down the street just celebrated 40 years in business last year. No businesses have gone under in my area because walmart has been around, in fact, a bunch of small businesses have opened all around it.
I would keep going, but I honestly need to go to walmart and get trashbags.

as a cyclist

I cannot commend you on buying a bike that cost less than $150.

However, when I look at your complete shopping list, I get a better impression of what you could do with it. I suggest you set up the lawn chair in front of the kitty litter you bought, and then ride your wally world bike through it in front of your friends. You can charge them a fee to watch your bike disintegrate at the first bump or cat turd. You can invent a new extreme spectator sport! Wally world turd-riding!

"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the the universe."-- Albert Einstein

There are Walmarts right

There are Walmarts right outside of DC, like in Arlington. So perhaps someone living near the center or something wouldnt readily go to one because of the distance, but otherwise, they are there.

To climb the mountain, you must believe you can.

Walmart and Kroger are Federal Reserve Members.

They didn't start out and become successful that way.

Free includes debt-free!

Say what?

Last time I checked, Walmart and Kroger weren't banks.

Recommended reading: The Most Dangerous Superstition, http://www.amazon.com/Most-Dangerous-Superstition-Larken-Ros...

It's not about banking but joining special money club (cartel).

Granted an audit of the US Treasury would be needed to verify my odd claim.

The US Comptroller of the Currency collects the payment of $10 million in gold and issues the stocks according to the original Federal Reserve Charter.

Preferred stock paying 6% dividend and a company that seems to spare no expenses are the clues I use.

In the Charter Congress promised Federal Reserve members 6% profit annually after expenses on the paid in reserves.

Anything over the 6% is paid to the US Treasury as a franchise tax. Congress regulates potential competitors to maximize the franchise tax.

Believe it or not.

Free includes debt-free!

won't buy from them

their value brand food is all made in Mexico or China, no thanks.

China Mart

More Like Gov-Mart. They

More Like Gov-Mart. They benefit the most from govt food programs.
I never shop there.

Southern Agrarian

tasmlab's picture

Capitalism and Walmart, Starbucks and others

Interestingly, Walmart and other big chains can split a market with local competitors making it unprofitable for both businesses for a period of time, i.e., they each take half the market and operate at a loss.

The big chain can survive a year of losing money, though, and the local mom and pop shop can't.

Since they can survive the year, the chain comes out victorious even if the consumers don't prefer them or if quality is lower, etc. Meaning that the ideal of capitalism to have the consumers decide the winners breaks down a bit, as they only got to fund two 'losers' in the sense of profit and cash flow.

I think it is a valid free market strategy. I'm not sure it makes us all happier or wealthier by any stretch. I don't particularly like Walmart but every so often I do need a plastic garbage can or cheap box fan or package of batteries.

Currently consuming: Harry Browne, Free Domain Radio; JT Gatto and Holt; Wii U

Walmart prices are fairly even around the country.

Walmart is cheaper because they buy in HUGE quantities and they have better logistics, better management, better marketing, better stuff in pretty much every aspect. Hell they are even nice, which is almost unimaginable these days. When Walmart came to my town, it didn't lower prices and then raise them, the prices just stayed low. If they didn't, then someone else would see an oportunity and open up a store to compete.


Walmart, like Monsanto, bribes polticians to pass laws that end up putting mom and pop stores out of business. The polticians and the executives at Walmart need to be prosecuted for bribery and corruption. I think that will go for 90 percent of politicians and many corporations. lol

I like to shop at Walmart,

I like to shop at Walmart, but that is so true. They got politicians in AR to pass collecting AR taxes if another state's customer buys something from an Arkansan. So they are taxed with no representation and Walmart pushed it or bribed people. But, I was in a town where the local hardware store was almost put out of business by Walmart, and then they decided to sell flooring, and carpet, and appliances that Walmart does not sell. They came out of it fine. Walmart does not sell everything, and certainly not a lot of different brands. There are ways to survive in business. The days of the small local grocer have pretty much passed.

Walmart sells unlabeled GMO corn.

And I shop elsewhere.

I'm not saying government should deny permits to new Walmart stores. But it wouldn't break my heart if irate consumers sued the bastards out of existence.

"Cheap" isn't scary, but the reason it's cheap may be.

Recommended reading: The Most Dangerous Superstition, http://www.amazon.com/Most-Dangerous-Superstition-Larken-Ros...

I don't trust any of the low price food at Walmart!

They have made their allegiance with the GMO devil and I refuse to support them. Cheap toxic food is jut that, cheap toxic food. No thank you, I'll gladly pass.

"A vote for the lesser of two evils is a vote to keep things the same", Buckminster Fuller..
A choice for liberty is always a choice for liberty.

Unlabeled GMO corn is everywhere...

not just Walmart. In fact, I think even Whole Foods may not label GMO yet.


They say they'll do it in 5 years....I'm not holding my breath.

Whole Foods and Trader Joe's are cool

Both chains do NOT use GMOs in their house brands. I am fortunate to be within 1.5 blocks of both stores, at my job. Trader Joe's rocks.

Recommended reading: The Most Dangerous Superstition, http://www.amazon.com/Most-Dangerous-Superstition-Larken-Ros...

You are so insensitive!

People on the east coast and mid west don't have a trader joe's! ;) hehe.

egapele's picture

I will not buy groceries on the backs

of McCain's immigrants. Period.

Walmart does not sell groceries that are being produced humanely.

Humanely and environmentally conscious grown groceries are being sold by the likes of Whole Foods.

Those chains and the likes of them are a threat to Wal-Mart and this is what this thread is about.

scawarren's picture

You do realize that Whole

You do realize that Whole Foods also sells GMO products don't you? If Wal-Mart is getting tax breaks or some other perk that their competition doesn't enjoy then that's wrong and should be stopped but to restrict them because of the union's fear of losing power is BS. As far as "McCain's immigrants"...you would rather they starve?

To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.
e.e. cummings

It's been two years

Any follow-ups?

Nothing to see here...

Walmart is great! No worries...

Just keep on buying cheap, disposable crap from China so they'll continue to finance our debt, so we can buy more cheap disposable crap from them. After that, go jump on a forum and complain about the economy. Be careful going out like that though, it looks like you have some free market on your nose.

In reality, it's not the fault of any company but we the people who can't see the forest through the trees. For capitalism (and our Republican form of government) to function properly we need informed consumers (voters).

Today, we're willfully ignorant. Our government didn't fail. The free market didn't fail. We failed.

NOTE: I am not advocating violence in any way. The content of the post is for intellectual, theoretical, and philosophical discussion. FEDS, please don't come to my house.

100% spot on. The fact that

100% spot on. The fact that 85% of Walmarts products sold are produced in China shows they could care less about the American industrial sector which, as we all know, is in a state of disrepair. But as you point out, this is not really the fault of Walmart, or any other large business, but of the people being so willfully ignorant. $8 trillion has been lost to the Chinese through our uneven trade imbalance over the last 20 years. No one can expect to send that much of our hard earned wealth over to foreign countries and actually think it won't effect us. It's actually really easy to see. Just look at pictures of Shanghai from 1990 and 2010.

egapele's picture


men, brother.

Maybe it's a form of fear, fear of creative destruction?

Wal-Mart made it's early success in the market by going into rural, semi rural areas. When Walmart came to those towns it drove the smaller retailers, local wholesalers and producers out of business. They can't compete with the purchasing power of the giant retailer that sources most of it's products from overseas. So Walmart is destructive to the local business community, companies close and people working there lose their jobs. In return, the consumer gets a lower price and the convenience of one place that has most everything they would need.

If this is good or bad is immaterial, it's just the way it is.


Isn't the point of the "Free Market" that the company that provides what the people want, wins? Sounds fine to me. I have always been "Anti-WM" based on the idea that WM is always accelerating the "race to the bottom" in wages, quality, service, etc. But if that is what people want...

On the other hand, I LOVE that its the Unions rallying against Behemoth! Let them both get bloodied up. Unions... another entity ensuring that quality suffers... in all the same ways!