Wal-Mart, Always Low Expectations, ALWAYS

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Though the Help and I are in the same profession, our jobs are different. There are plenty of tasks where I can go on auto-pilot, however since he does more reference, he needs his full brain. While I'm engaged in very important mission centered tedious work, I listen to music or podcasts or audiobooks. The last audiobook I listened to was "The Wal-Mart Effect" by Charles Fishman. As an audiobook it wasn't half bad, and was quite informative. Towards the end there is some mention about Wal-Mart opening stores in innercity urban communities, which Wally World sees as a positive for the communities they are moving into. I chuckled and thought of one of my neighbors who's involved with the Wal-Mart Respect DC thing.

I've never really had any great expectations of Wal-Mart. I don't expect people to find their way out of poverty into the middle class by working there. My second-best friend worked there with her now ex-husband for a few years in our hometown years ago, back when Sam Walton was still alive. Of all her problems, the job at Wal-Mart didn't seem to be it. As far as jobs go I have the same expectations as I have for Bed, Bath & Beyond. What DC residents need is more education that provide them with real marketable skills in a knowledge economy, not unskilled stock jobs from Wally World.

Wal-Mart has apparently oversaturated the rural and suburban market and are heading into the cities. Cities, like our fair District. Since the stores would be smaller it would be interesting to see how these proposed DC stores would impact the grocery market. In Fishman's book the most interesting thing was that the second largest group of people shop at Wal-Mart, after people who really LOVE Wal-Mart, are conflicted shopppers. If you don't like Wal-Mart, don't shop there. But apparently Wal-Mart's magnetism is so friggin' strong even haters shop there.

Seriously, if you want the urban Wal-Mart idea to be considered a bust, don't. shop. there. Don't even drive to the suburban supercenter. Listening to the book, I heard the testimony of women whose American factory jobs were lost due to pressure from Wal-Mart who grudingly shop there, adding to the system that put them out of a job. This reveals something ugly about us Americans, we'll push our own grandmothers under the bus for lower priced crap.

I sure as heck don't shop at Timor/Field to City or the farmer's markets for low prices. I enjoy shopping there and get a few things. For the cheap stuff I head to Capital City Market on Florida Ave NE and Costco for that. My own Wal-Mart interaction is done once a year at most, mainly because I'm with a person who really likes Wal-Mart, and they're driving. I don't go out of my way for them. One can bad mouth Wal-Mart all one wants to but even the conflicted shopper, the shopper who goes to Wal-Mart hating them but not resisting their low prices, is a Wal-Mart supporter in deed.

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