Friday, February 26, 2010


"Now I am become Death, the destroyer of communities." - Sam Walton
Do Americans still shop to fill that void within them or did that phase of our culture pass? Who knows. What I do know is that I once dated a girl who liked Wal*Mart. Not that she actually ever shopped there. At least I don't think she did. I mean she was from Santa Cruz so I'm sure she's never actually been into one, but she liked Wal*Mart a great deal. Like the business model. How could you not on the stand point of making money.

Everything inside Wal*Mart is made somewhere else. Not in a good way, like a Swiss coffee maker or a Japanese kitchen knife or a French Press, but in a bad, everything here is cheap and disposable and made in China or worse way. So feel free to throw it out when it stops working in 6 months because it sure isn't worth repairing, and we have to keep those landfill people in business, just come buy another one to replace it, because hey it's cheap.

Sam Walton, the founder of Wal*Mart's original plan was to support the whole "Buy American" mentality. Ha, how'd that work out for you, Sam? Once he died his family abandoned the buy American policy and it led directly to their massive expansion in the 90's. Wal*Mart is where America's peasantry goes to shop for American flag-themed clothing and food. I mean, where else can you get your kids styling new clothes from?

Be herself? Yeah and have a bitching new wardrobe from Wal*mart.

What a lie. Like there has been any group of females that would accept someone wearing something bought from Wal*mart. They know that target or generic department store crap a mile away. We all know the cool girls only allow others who shop at Forever 21, American Apparel and maybe.. just maybe the GAP.

Maybe I got this whole view point wrong here. Maybe the girl I was dating had a point. Darn that evil corporation for stimulating the local economy by creating jobs in construction first, then later within the store itself for the retail workers! How dare people with low incomes and poor mobility be able to shop locally for things normally found in the bigger cities for cheaper prices, increasing their shopping power and allowing them to maybe save a bit of money somehow!

I cannot believe those scumsuckers would open "stores" in smalltown REAL AMERICA!

How dare they tap a market!

God, it's not like the communities themselves invite Wal*Mart in because they understand that poor people not having to SOMEHOW get to the nearest city to go shopping for a fucking book or new clothes is actually a good thing. I mean come now, I've lived in small town Florida when a Wal*Mart opened in my town; without them, I would have starved to death, because the "local community grocers" all charged twice what Wal*Mart was charging for food.

Yeah, they're a huge corporation, and I'm well aware that if a corporation were a person, it would be a psychopath. SO WHAT? Maybe Wal*Mart genuinely does good things for people in the communities in which it arises... but you know what, I can't say any of that because in the end of things, Wal*Mart is a shitty company. Even if you're able to get all your shopping done in one place.

You have to factor in other things. Maybe things like worker's rights. It wasn't Unions who killed the American dream. No sir, I'm in one.. so clearly I can't talk shit about them.. but god damn those union fees really add up.

I think you can see where I would like to cut my fingers off for typing all that above pro-Wal*Mart bullshit. While most people toss the claim that Wal*Mart is killing small main street style stores and destroying the unique America that we're all so used to saying they actually kill in small town U.S.A., I do think it's far worse. Those stores were never really safe to begin with anyway.

And anyone who says that with a Wal*Mart coming in, all that now open storefront space that is dirt cheap will gather the potential of getting totally rad antiques stores, ethnic gimmick food and neat-o bars in there. Stuff that Wal*Mart can't really give to you, I have this to point out about those;

totally rad antiques stores

ethnic gimmick food

neat-o bars

Even "quirky" downtown's with cheap rents are sanitized and white as hell. When I was in Florida and in Georgia I would go days without seeing another Mexican. Let alone a Mexican restaurant that wasn't completely gross. Don't get me started on Chinese food. It was only when I got back to L.A. and went down to Monterey Park did I get that itch of Chinese food out of the way.

I think we do need to welcome in the fact that there is absolutely nothing special about where most of you people live because chances are everywhere you are, it's only a matter of time before the same carbon copy strip mall pops up with the same best buy, the same hip clothing store and the same upscale, but still shitty restaurant pops up. And believe me, Cheesecake Factory is not anything special or unique.

All those quirky local businesses are neat, until you figure out that they turn over and fail all the time and the same landlord owns the entire block.

But what's even more troubling about Wal*Mart is how much of a cult it really is like. You may have heard this if you're ever in a Wal*Mart early enough;
Give me a W!
Give me an A!
Give me an L!
Give me a squiggly!
Give me an M!
Give me an A!
Give me an R!
Give me a T!

What's that spell?

Whose Walmart is it?
It's my Walmart!

Who's number one?
The customer! Always!

That’s the Walmart cheer!
You shouldn't be surprised if you hear your local Wal*Mart associate shouting that enthusiastically. One would expect a blood sacrifice after all that but it's just that the employees like to take it seriously - it's the one way they show pride in their company and how much they value their customers.

Either that or I bet the Kool-aid is just really dee-lish!

I also find it stupid that Wal*Mart still pays its American workers (unlike its Mexican workers) in real dollars rather than in Wal*Mart gift cards. The motto should be
Save Money. Live Better. Unless You Work For Us, Then Fuck You
People who work at Wal*Mart are paid terrible wages and have shit benefits and have to deal with Wal*Mart claiming that their anti-union polices are okay because "Associates don't need unions to represent them" and Wal-Mart has an "Open door policy" Not to mention that their employee discount doesn't apply to most of the food. That cherry FUCK YOU on top of that sundae is that they purposefully schedule employees to just under 40 hours in order to avoid giving them full time benefits.

But hey, why limit it to just poor people who can't get jobs anywhere else? It's not a common practice for Wal*Mart to treat high schools as training centers as you can see from the fine folks of Detroit trying to recruit some greeters.
The Detroit Public Schools have teamed up with Walmart Stores to provide job training and entry-level, afterschool jobs to students at four high schools.

The training program was kicked off today at assemblies held at Frederick Douglass Academy for Young Men and at Western International High.

Detroit International Academy for Women and Henry Ford High will also participate.

Students will get 11 weeks of job-readiness training during the school day and 10 high school credits for the class and work experience.

Sean Vann, principal at Douglass, said 30 students at that school will get jobs at Walmart. He said the program will allow students an opportunity to earn money and to be exposed to people from different cultures - since all of the stores are in the suburbs.

Donna Stern, a national coordinator for the activist group known as BAMN, attended the assembly at Douglass and objected to the program.

“They’re going to train students to be subservient workers,” she said. “This is not why parents send them to school, to learn how to work for Walmart.”

The scary thing here is that not one Wal*Mart is in the city limits of Detroit. The closest one being in Warren, which is a fair distance away. But you see, Detroit is currently living through 50% unemployment.. due to other companies outsourcing their manufacturer jobs overseas. So people desperate for any kind of job, even minimum wage slave labor, are more than willing to make a deal with Satan.

I don't think this is what they meant by career pathways in the curriculum development department. But hey, at least conservatives are enjoying the idea of using high school as a way to train children to enter the unskilled workforce. I once heard a radio host mention that he expects a return on his investment in public schools. That's right kids, Aim low. Really, really low.

Here's a protifp if you're not making enough at your job. Wal*Mart is such a huge company, if you steal something worth less than $25, they wont bother calling the cops in and prosecuting you, they'll just ban you from their stores forever. Hint Hint.

It's not like you're not owed this. Want some justification for such behavior? Wal*Mart is actually costing Taxpayers millions in the form of Medicare and Medicaid benefits paid to employees since they don't pay their workers enough, or cover health care costs.

Back to the subject of quality of goods. Most goods in Wal*Mart that are available elsewhere are manufactured in two grades, one cheaper and Wal*Mart bound, one more expensive and everywhere else bound.

Take two black and decker power drills of the exact same model number. One from a home improvement store and one from Wal*Mart. The Wal*Mart one will be about 20% cheaper and will be a physically different unit from the other one, more cheaply made with lower profit margin.

This is the only way that many manufacturers can stay alive, by complying with Wal*Mart's demand for tons of shitty products while still somewhat keeping a shred of their own build integrity intact for some of their products so their reputation and mindshare doesn't go down the drain.

I mean, why buy a $90 ratchet that will continue to work long after you die when you can buy a $10 one that will break in a year. Do you see how this short sightedness comes into play when it comes to Wal*Mart in general?

But hey, at least Wal*Mart respects the history to a place, right? It's not like they tried to build over a priceless archaeological treasure that can never be replaced if damaged, right? Oh wait, they did.. and they succeeded.

Wal*Mart built a store on the site of Teotihuacan, an ancient classic Meosamerican city, and basically the inspiration for every civilization that followed it. Easily the 1st or 2nd most important site in central & north America. The city is literally miles across so it's not like the whole thing is now a parking lot, but there's pretty much a 100% chance they built over some temples or house or graves or something.

You know what happens when a Wal*Mart does close? And believe me, many of them have because of the economy or they just expanded too fast in one area that couldn't maintain it. Those shells of a building are hard to rent out or use for anything else because they are too big. Most of them just turn into a church or a community center. Many of which just sit there to be urban exploration down the line.

Finally the last piece of Wal*Mart news that just scares the hell out of me is that Wal*Mart has been trying to set up a consumer banking division for years and they were just about to launch one when the financial crisis hit. Not to mention that they had some problems with the FDIC and state licensing. But still it's only a matter of time though, as soon as the right legislators are in office they'll try again and the people will rejoice.

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