Recently I watched a documentary about Wal-Mart’s impact on local businesses and small towns in general. I highly suggest you watch Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price, if you have not already. It is a very intriguing documentary.
"I remember that like it was yesterday, to hell with it Wal-Mart buy the damn town, we'll shut them down." Weldon Nicholson, Wal-Mart store manager trainer. He even claimed that they used to drive through the towns guessing the amount of time before a business closed.
These small towns welcomed Wal-Mart with open arms but eventually the members of the community begin to see what the store was doing to their small town. Wal-Mart actually drives down retail wages $3 billion every year. And according to Fortune Global, Wal-Mart is the largest public corporation and they make approximately $475 billion annually.
"Anytime a Wal-Mart comes into town they knock the values down because sooner or later there are going to be a bunch of empty buildings and none of them are going to be able to sell,” said Jon Hunter, son of Don Hunter H&H Hardware Owner.
Many have referred to Wal-Mart as a monopoly, and as many of us know the United States has an antitrust law. Which is a collection of government laws that regulates business corporations, and ultimately should not allow monopolies. By definition Wal-Mart could never truly become a monopoly however it is close enough.
Wal-Mart’s dominating influence is so strong that whenever a Wal-Mart opens in one area, three other retailers close within two years and four close within five years. Within five years Wal-Mart is accountable for 250 jobs lost in the area where they are open.
Wal-Mart employs approximately 2.1 million people. I know a few people that work there and they had good experiences but according to the documentary many employees felt that they were lied to and used. Many worked at Wal-Mart with pride and worked overtime when asked but quickly caught on that Wal-Mart was taking advantage of their willingness.
Wal-Mart purposefully hires people part-time opposed to full-time to save money, even when they worked nearly full-time through out the week. It is not fair for them to make employees work nearly full-time when they only are paid part-time wages and receive part-time benefits.
Many Wal-Mart employees have reported to having low wages, no benefits, irregular schedules, and unreliable hours. This could be easily fixed since Wal-Mart is a multi-billion dollar company.
I strongly believe that Wal-Mart could be a good thing for the community if they worked to help local businesses and the community, and treated their employees better. It’s not as if they have to worry about going out of business anytime soon.
Wal-Mart could offer to sell some of the local business owners' products in their stores and tell Wal-Mart's customers where they got it or even donate some money to local businesses. I think they could part with a few thousand dollars in donations every once in awhile.