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Sunday, September 02, 2007

Wal-Mart Anti American Invasion of America

Picture courtesy of BattleMart

Across America small town leaders drool whenever Wal-Mart comes knocking on their doors in regards to placing a store in their community. In the real world if it were any other retailer it would be like hitting the lottery for the small towns. Potential future tax dollar revenue from the store could ultimately fund the towns schools, police and fire departments. That is the dream situation for many small town leaders. The reality of what actually happens is very different.

Corporate Wal-Mart sends in the specialty teams to negotiate local tax breaks for the new store that can run into the millions of dollars for the small communities. Common sense, you would hope would have your elected leaders thinking pro and con during the negotiation process but the con part of the equation gets stuffed under the table while the wheel of pro’s is loaded up and spun.

All the while the corporate negotiators have already won no matter what the small town leaders think because the double edge sword of the process is that the same offer is on the table for surrounding cities and towns. Pitting one community against the other is the Wal-Mart way and time after time they ultimately walk into the community with the small towns paying millions for the privilege.

That it seems is just the beginning of the Wal-Mart small town of America invasion process. Once the mega retailer has opened their doors, many of the family owned business will close within months. Family run businesses that have been a part of the small town’s success for decades can not compete and are forced to close. Mind you, not one of the closing businesses had ever received tax incentives to open, expand or simply stay.

As the communities that Wal-Mart sets foot in find themselves embraced by the corporation, the jobs that they offer come with yet an even higher price. Low wages and little help with health care costs traps the workers and many of those employees of Wal-Mart have to apply for public assistance like WIC, Medicaid, State health care and more. It reminds me of the old song from the old days of coal mining where you owe your soul to the company store.

There is a great movie out that has been around since 2005 that is a must see for anyone that thinks that Wal-Mart is just another store to shop at. You can check the link to it by clicking here. It’s called “Wal-Mart, The high cost of low prices”. While the billions of dollars go into Wal-Mart’s profit statement, billions are coming out of the local, state and federal governments to pay for Wal-Mart’s practices as the nation’s largest retailer.

My condolences to the family of Harvey Ball of Worcester, MA who was the original creator of the Smiley Face that has now become synonymous with Wal-Mart.


The best resource for becoming active and informed about a Wal-Mart invasion near you is to join BattleMart.

Let me know what you think about Wal-Mart!

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Anonymous Tom said...

I don't care for Wal-Mart's business practices. But you do have to admit, their prices are affordable for poor rural families. And they do offer a wider selection of items than you generally find in small towns.

Heck, as an undergraduate in Carbondale a few of my neighbors and I spend 3 hours in a local Super Wal-Mart. Of course, there wasn't much else to do there except drink, hike, and go on the occasional mushroom hunt (no, not "shrooms" ;) )

7:57 PM  
Blogger Papamoka said...

I can't argue that the prices are cheap but I can wonder at what cost and to whom did it take for all of the prices to be so low?

9:19 PM  

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