Poll

Do you shop at Wal Mart?

Yes.
322 (55.5%)
No.
258 (44.5%)

Total Members Voted: 567

Author Topic: do you shop at walmart?  (Read 48936 times)

sol

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do you shop at walmart?
« on: October 01, 2013, 10:01:08 PM »
While this site is largely dedicated to better living through frugality, there's a definite undercurrent of trying to "save the world" through conscious spending patterns, a focus on simplicity and personal happiness, and community involvement.  Part of that ethos is opting out of the consumer culture that drives frivolous spending, and aligning your spending with your values.
 
Walmart is the world's largest retailer and has weathered significant criticism for the way it hurts local economies, perpetuates individual poverty, ships jobs overseas, and treats its employees.  Several people here have commented that they choose to shop elsewhere, even if it means paying more, in order to align their spending with their values.
 
My biggest beef with Walmart isn't so much about social justice, it's about crappy products.  Nobody needs another $2.99 set of craptastic plastic doodads in five different neon colors, so it's been easy for me to avoid ever going to Walmart because I don't want their cheaply made garbage turning into lowbrow clutter in my home.  But I've recently been swayed to revisit Walmart and similar outfits for several major purchases.
 
Anecdote:  I was recently in the market for new cookware.  Quality pots and pans are super expensive, and after reading a bunch of reviews about the various types I settled on a set of cookware that was ONLY available at Walmart.  The Tramontina 8 piece fully clad stainles steel cookware set was consistently ranked higher than cookware sets costing four to five times as much.  I'm philosophically behind the idea of spending a bit more to support locally made products from a reputable retailer, but I'm not about to spend 400% more than I need to in order to get what is by all accounts an inferior product.  I bit the bullet and ordered from Walmart, and I've not regretted it.  I've apparently identified the dollar value of my philosophical beliefs.
 
Do you shop at Walmart?  At what level of personal cost savings do you feel okay about supporting (what I feel is) an exploitive employer that hurts the economy?  Do you always buy the cheapest product available, regardless of business practices or larger social impact?

ichangedmyname

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Re: do you shop at walmart?
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2013, 10:05:33 PM »
I love The Mart!

I buy clothes on clearance and groceries are cheaper in most cases.

brewer12345

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Re: do you shop at walmart?
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2013, 10:53:41 PM »
Walmart mostly sells cheap crap, but they do have groceries cheap and there is one on my way home from work.  Consequently I sometimes find myself at the checkout with microwave popcorn, salsa, and shotgun shells (marveling that I am not going home to a trailer).  The biggest problem I have with ChinaMart is the freakshow clientele.  It does not seem to matter which store I am at, they all have candidates for www.peopleofwalmart.com.

N

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Re: do you shop at walmart?
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2013, 11:49:26 PM »
there isnt one that is really close so as to make it in my regular rotation of shopping. the one that is closest doesnt have  a good grocery section, so its not efficient to go there often.

I did buy my tramontina dutch oven from them for the same reasons you bought your pans, Sol, more than 5 years ago and Im still in love with it.
They also have a good canning jar in their generic housewares line that is less expensive than Ball/Kerr (the most commonly stocked) so if I need those, I will go there specifically for those, and then see if there are any deals to be had while Im there. Sometimes I go for their school supplies in the fall.

There is a different store further away that does have good grocery prices, so if I happen to have other plans in that area, I might stop by there for groceries or the canning jars.

Khan

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Re: do you shop at walmart?
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2013, 11:50:06 PM »
No I don't, although it can't be said that I'm doing much better when I buy off Amazon. That said, I make it a point to shop at Costco, as they pay their workers fairly well(~20$/hr), and I actively avoided Sam's Club for the reason that it is attached to WalMart and not nearly as good for it's employee's as Costco.

I don't think Walmart is the oppressive evil force it's made out to be, but I don't think it's a force of good*. I'd place it somewhere between true-neutral and neutral-evil.

*I think an argument can be made that Walmart even while destroying communities/shitting on it's workers, did a good job of racing to the bottom on costs and making the entire transportation infrastructure of a retailer, along with savings passed on to consumers was -some- amount of good. We might need an electron microscope to find measure it though.

arebelspy

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Re: do you shop at walmart?
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2013, 12:06:06 AM »
Poll added.
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vern

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Re: do you shop at walmart?
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2013, 12:32:07 AM »
I never darken that doorstep.

keith

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Re: do you shop at walmart?
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2013, 12:45:29 AM »
Walmart is the world's largest retailer and has weathered significant criticism for the way it hurts local economies, perpetuates individual poverty, ships jobs overseas, and treats its employees.

I dont shop at walmart, and haven't for several years - even before I "turned frugal".

Mostly for the reasons outlined there.

Left

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Re: do you shop at walmart?
« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2013, 04:36:55 AM »
The biggest problem I have with ChinaMart is the freakshow clientele.  It does not seem to matter which store I am at, they all have candidates for www.peopleofwalmart.com.
That's the top reason I shop there... But yeah, I don't go often, but it's easy when I need something quick, duct tape, electric outlets, filters, etc. Things that I'd dispose of/use up and not anything that lasts long.

jpo

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Re: do you shop at walmart?
« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2013, 05:09:09 AM »
Every time I've gone in a Walmart I've had a poor experience.

ketchup

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Re: do you shop at walmart?
« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2013, 05:36:19 AM »
Sometimes I will run in there these days for a few little things, but it's hardly somewhere I frequent.  My main beef is the cheap junk, and the zombie employees.  It's not uncommon to be in my local Walmart at 7pm on a weekday and have to wait in line for 45 minutes while the two checkouts are running at speeds so slow it's almost confusing how little they care.

ace1224

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Re: do you shop at walmart?
« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2013, 07:44:10 AM »
yep i do.  they have the cheapest groceries in town and cheapest electronics.  i don't buy knick knacky shit but only because i hate clutter. 

Spork

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Re: do you shop at walmart?
« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2013, 07:58:22 AM »

I live outside of a small(ish) town.  The choices here for groceries are:
1. Walmart
2. a locally owned chain that ... isn't great.  Over my lifetime (~50 years) this chain has managed to push out every other possible competitor other than Walmart.

Walmart has better selection and (usually) cheaper prices.  We do a bit of cherry picking at both, but definitely shop at Walmart.  Much like government: if a viable third party showed up, they'd probably get my vote.

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Re: do you shop at walmart?
« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2013, 08:07:29 AM »
No, I don't shop at Walmart for the reasons you stated. However, I've never been in your situation where I searched for something I needed, and Walmart was the only retail venue. I choose not to support Walmart (and I haven't had a reason to shop there yet), but I know that my electronics, for example, were likely (definitely) made in an exploitative work environment. So, I try not to buy new "stuff" from any retailers. However, there are times when I can't get something from a thrift shop or freecycle, so I make the best decision (based on price and values) that I can at the time.

Edit: Based on past behaviors, I would likely do without the item or get something comparable that is used, rather than shop there.

 
« Last Edit: October 03, 2013, 06:56:25 AM by Nancy »

Iron Mike Sharpe

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Re: do you shop at walmart?
« Reply #14 on: October 02, 2013, 08:45:10 AM »
Yes.  For stuff like cleaning supplies, toiletries, paper products, groceries that I can't get at Aldi, etc.

No to clothing, furniture or anything that can fall apart.

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Re: do you shop at walmart?
« Reply #15 on: October 02, 2013, 09:08:07 AM »
Admittedly, I still do. But I have greatly reduced the amount and try whenever possible/reasonable to take my business elsewhere.

I have a terrible experience 98% of the trips I take to Walmart and I hate the way they treat employees and their overall business.


kolorado

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Re: do you shop at walmart?
« Reply #16 on: October 02, 2013, 09:14:32 AM »
  I'm not philosophically against Walmart, not yet anyway. I almost took a job there once in the crafting department but when I met who would be my supervisor, I declined the job. The guy was as mentally unstable as the folks where I was last employed. I do wonder how many folks who claim that WM is unfair to their employees have actually known any of their employees or indeed worked in any low paying workplace for any period of time. It's been my experience that 90% of low income employees do not in any way deserve a higher wage. Their mental capacity and commitment to doing even the most basic tasks at work and even getting to work reliably is a D- at best. The ones who demonstrate an ability to deserve more wages usually move on to a more complex and rewarding occupation. I don't mind using a low-wage job as a stepping stone but in that particular case I decided the torture of the day to day job with those co-workers wouldn't be worth it. I much more concerned with how the production workers in China, India and elsewhere are being treated and paid for all the low cost items they produce that line our shelves in America. American WM workers earn more in two hours than a Chinese garment worker earns all day.
  I do agree with opting out of the consumerist rat race, but that goes for everywhere you can buy things you don't need. It's not just Walmart. That being said, I don't do a lot of shopping there. Just a few basic things once a month(like natural jam not available in the supermarkets here) and occasional household items like fans or lightbulbs. I also buy underwear, socks and -rarely- clearance clothes for the kids here.
Most purchases over $10 are handled online where I can compare consumer opinions, stats on origin, safety information and company profiles before making a decision.
  As far as the actual shopping experience in Walmart, it varies. The one near my home is on the outskirts of $300K home developments and not a low income neighborhood within 10 miles, so the clientele is very civil, even friendly, and decently attired. The one near my old home in NJ was like POWM. Mullets, pajamas, visible nether regions, hair curlers, bathrobes, tramps and just a general look of a zombie population was an everyday sight there.

GuitarStv

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Re: do you shop at walmart?
« Reply #17 on: October 02, 2013, 09:17:24 AM »
I don't really like anything I've read about Wal-Mart's business practices . . . but the biggest reason I don't shop there is that it's a miserable experience.  I have other options, so I use them.

Joshin

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Re: do you shop at walmart?
« Reply #18 on: October 02, 2013, 09:23:32 AM »
There is a Walmart 3 blocks from my house. I shop there about six times a year when I need to get toilet paper, dish soap or trash bags. I hate going to Walmart, it's just not a pleasant experience.

I don't need them for cleaning supplies (we make our own due to fragrance allergies). Winco has the best grocery prices in town, and they are an employee owned company with an awesome bulk section. Sure, it's six miles away, but I take my mom out there every weekend and we do our shopping together. We don't buy housewares new, for example, my lovely enamelled cast iron pots and pans came from a garage sale.

Nothlit

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Re: do you shop at walmart?
« Reply #19 on: October 02, 2013, 09:25:59 AM »
Growing up we shopped at Walmart frequently. There was one around the corner from our house, and in fact in that area (metro Atlanta) you can't go more than about 15 minutes in any direction from anywhere without running into a Walmart.

Now that I live in the Boston area, there aren't as many Walmarts around, so I haven't shopped there much at all in the last few years. On the rare occasion that I have popped into one (or even Target, for that matter) I've found that most of what they sell is cheap junk that wouldn't last very long or provide a quality experience under normal use, and their prices are not really that much cheaper than Amazon, especially when you factor in the hassle of driving to the store, not finding exactly what you're looking for, returning things that turn out not to be any good, etc.

Similar to your example of the pots and pans, if I was in the market for a specific product and I did the research and found that Walmart sold a quality product in that category at a competitive price, especially if I needed the item right away vs. ordering online, I would have no problem buying from them. But I rarely find that to be the case.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2013, 09:29:53 AM by Nothlit »

livetogive

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Re: do you shop at walmart?
« Reply #20 on: October 02, 2013, 09:47:31 AM »
I'm ashamed to say yes, but when I'm near a walmart I buy select things like prepaid cell phone cards and target ammo.

I recently heard a great argument about how Walmart's low prices are a result of taxpayers getting duped.  They don't pay employees a living wage and instead help them enroll in social welfare and entitlement programs.

A new definition of corporate welfare?

Bank

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Re: do you shop at walmart?
« Reply #21 on: October 02, 2013, 10:40:56 AM »
I don't shop there because most of it (not all) is cheap crap and there isn't one convenient to me.  I have friends who avoid Wal-Mart on principle that Wal-Mart is Evil, and therefore shop at Target instead.  This amuses me.

KulshanGirl

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Re: do you shop at walmart?
« Reply #22 on: October 02, 2013, 10:42:06 AM »
I choose not to (regularly) shop at Walmart for the reasons you've listed.  Also, I live in a border-ish town and our Walmart is located in an area that I go to great lengths to avoid because of traffic and craziness. 

That said, every now and then, I go there if I'm looking for a specific thing that I can't get elsewhere, or things that are reeeeaally cheaper there.  Last time I was there was about a year and a half ago, and I was after the 99 cent rubbermaid shoebox sized storage things with lids.  It feels like being on another planet when I'm in there.  Just a shock to the system. Hehe. 

Frankies Girl

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Re: do you shop at walmart?
« Reply #23 on: October 02, 2013, 10:43:40 AM »
I haven't set foot inside one in close to 8 years.

I don't like the cheap crap they sell, I don't like their policies on treating employees like cattle (and especially don't like how they discriminate against women and have a major lack of them in management roles) and I don't like that they pollute the environment and destroy small communities... and they do all of this with complete contempt.

http://www.catawbariverkeeper.org/our-work/wal-mart/


Jamesqf

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Re: do you shop at walmart?
« Reply #24 on: October 02, 2013, 11:00:09 AM »
How about adding a "Sometimes, but it's not my primary source" option on the quiz?

There are some things I buy there - ice cream & frozen yoghurt, their multigrain ciabatta rolls, apple cider in the fall - simply because no other store I know of has them, but I do most of my shopping at WinCo.  Their prices are better (my neighbor works at WalMart, and even with her employee discount WinCo is cheaper), they have lots of stuff in bulk (like about 20 different kinds of rice...), and best of all, I don't have to endure effing Muzak while I shop.


Walmart is the world's largest retailer and has weathered significant criticism for the way it hurts local economies, perpetuates individual poverty, ships jobs overseas, and treats its employees.

I have to say, though, that I pretty much disagree with this.  I like the basic idea of WalMart: that is, having just about everything in one place so I don't have to waste my time & fuel driving all over town (or walking, biking, taking a bus...).  And I like the idea of consistently seeking out lower prices, even if it means things are imported (why does nobody object when Trader Joe's does exactly the same thing?), and continuously working for efficiency, doing things like daylighting stores and trying to reduce excess packaging.  I do think some of their employee policies are shortsighted, as is their willingness to sacrifice quality.

gimp

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Re: do you shop at walmart?
« Reply #25 on: October 02, 2013, 11:46:03 AM »
Only when I have to.

When travelling and there's no other choice, or if I live right next to one and absolutely need a cable right now, I'll shop there. Otherwise, never.

When I go into one I'll know what they have. If I'm driving through some God-forsaken desert somewhere between California and Louisiana, or some corn field between Oregon and Ohio... I know they'll have a cheap 36-pack of water, or something else that I forgot to buy before I life.

arebelspy

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Re: do you shop at walmart?
« Reply #26 on: October 02, 2013, 11:49:13 AM »
How about adding a "Sometimes, but it's not my primary source" option on the quiz?

Why?  The question is about if you shop there or not, not how frequently you do.

Should we add other "sometimes, rarely, daily, weekly" options?

I don't see what that would add.

It's rather a binary question.  You either do, or you don't.
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Tyler

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Re: do you shop at walmart?
« Reply #27 on: October 02, 2013, 11:49:25 AM »
I absolutely shop at Walmart. Not for everything, mind you, but for whatever makes the most financial sense. I appreciate them for what they do best - providing inexpensive everyday items.

I always laugh at my friends who (rather smugly) brag of never shopping at evil Walmart, but throw all their money at a place like Whole Foods or buy all the China-made iProducts as possible.  They're all multinational corporate conglomerates, which doesn't seem to bother them in specific cases.  Ultimately, for some it just comes down to Walmart being "white trash" or somehow uncivilized. Which is, for me, rather petty.






sol

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Re: do you shop at walmart?
« Reply #28 on: October 02, 2013, 12:06:14 PM »
It's rather a binary question.  You either do, or you don't.

Except for people like the OP, who don't shop there except in special circumstances, so would have to answer "yes" while still maintaining a philosophical opposition to doing so.

Walmart embodies the supply-side economic theory of the 1980s: increase corporate profits by selling tons of cheap goods and standards of living will increase.  The prevailing economic theory today, by contrast, posits that you increase corporate profits by raising consumer demand (usually by paying higher wages, but also by advertisising).  In this case, the two are mutually exclusive because Walmart can only sell cheap goods because it pays low wages.

For people who have already have high incomes, Walmart is a great deal.  You get all of the benefits of a ruthlessly efficient corporate retailer without any of the negative consequence of having to work for a ruthlessly efficient corporate retailer.  But when looking at the economy in aggregate, I think it's clear that the benefits and the negative consequences are not separable on the macro level.

Spork

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Re: do you shop at walmart?
« Reply #29 on: October 02, 2013, 12:46:20 PM »

For people who have already have high incomes, Walmart is a great deal.  You get all of the benefits of a ruthlessly efficient corporate retailer without any of the negative consequence of having to work for a ruthlessly efficient corporate retailer.  But when looking at the economy in aggregate, I think it's clear that the benefits and the negative consequences are not separable on the macro level.

I would think "inexpensive groceries" has some positive influences for both high and low income shoppers.  Sucky place to work?  Probably.

gimp

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Re: do you shop at walmart?
« Reply #30 on: October 02, 2013, 12:50:20 PM »
I've never lived in a place where walmart groceries were cheaper than the alternative. Having said that, I've been asked to look for cheap food in a lot of zip codes and the more rural ones were often better served by walmart than anyone else.

I agree that it's not an entirely binary question. I answered yes, but I buy something there maybe once or twice a year, and I don't like it.

grantmeaname

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Re: do you shop at walmart?
« Reply #31 on: October 02, 2013, 12:51:49 PM »
I don't have any moral problem with Walmart, and I don't try to avoid it, but I don't shop there because the nearest one is hella far away.

Jamesqf

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Re: do you shop at walmart?
« Reply #32 on: October 02, 2013, 12:53:20 PM »
Why?  The question is about if you shop there or not, not how frequently you do.

So if (hypothetically) I bought something at WalMart one time back in 1999, I would have to say yes, I shop at WalMart?

Quote
It's rather a binary question.  You either do, or you don't.

But as above, the binary question doesn't really supply much information, since it doesn't distinguish between people who do most or all of their shopping there, and those who rarely go there.

Walmart embodies the supply-side economic theory of the 1980s: increase corporate profits by selling tons of cheap goods and standards of living will increase.

I don't really think that's an accurate statement of supply-side economics.  Besides, you have two distinct factors in "cheap goods".  One is to sell lower-quality goods, the other is to reduce overheads.  Now if WalMart reduces their costs by e.g. reducing waste packaging, making their stores energy efficient, and so on, isn't that a good thing?  And likewise if they increase my shopping efficiency, by making it possible to spend less time getting whatever stuff I happen to want?

Quote
The prevailing economic theory today, by contrast, posits that you increase corporate profits by raising consumer demand (usually by paying higher wages, but also by advertisising).

Carried to even a moderate degree, isn't this the antithesis of Mustachianism?  We should all go out and spend, spend, spend on consumer junk, because that will create jobs and increase corporate profits?

Quote
In this case, the two are mutually exclusive because Walmart can only sell cheap goods because it pays low wages.

That is not the only way WalMart (or any other retailer) can sell goods cheaper.  If they reduce waste, have more efficient manufacturer->store logistics...  All that cuts their costs, allowing them to sell more cheaply, and thus presumably increase total sales and profits.  And I'd argue that those sorts of things also create a public benefit.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2013, 12:55:20 PM by Jamesqf »

sol

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Re: do you shop at walmart?
« Reply #33 on: October 02, 2013, 01:24:05 PM »
I don't really think that's an accurate statement of supply-side economics.

What, my two sentence explanation didn't do justice to the dominant capitalist theory of the late 20th century?  Shocking.  It wasn't meant as an affront, just a pathetic oversimplification.

Quote
Carried to even a moderate degree, isn't this the antithesis of Mustachianism?

Mustachianism is very much a microeconomic movement.  When talking about macroeconomics, as Bakari and others have occasionally done when thinking about the net impact of everyone adopting the philosophy, things get more complicated.

Quote
We should all go out and spend, spend, spend on consumer junk, because that will create jobs and increase corporate profits?

I wasn't so much advocating consumerism as I was encouraging corporate profits by meeting demand for desired products, rather than by flooding the market with undesirable products.

Here, this TED talk makes the case a bit more eloquently, in six minutes:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBx2Y5HhplI

Quote
That is not the only way WalMart (or any other retailer) can sell goods cheaper.

Agreed, and the cookware set I bought is a good example.  Walmart found a way to manufacture and deliver a product clearly superior to all of the high end cookware sets that cost three to five times as much.  They're using the same quality materials, so it must be some combination of reduced manufacturing, labor, transportation, and retailing costs.  While I may not like the economic harm done to realize those cost savings, I've discovered that I'm apparently okay with supporting that harm in the interest of personal gains, in this case not paying more for pots and pans.

Which is why I started the thread.  Everyone has a price.  I'd rather buy from another retailer, even if it means paying a bit more for the same good.  But if it means paying WAY more for crappier products?  Apparently I'm a Walmart shopper.

livetogive

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Re: do you shop at walmart?
« Reply #34 on: October 02, 2013, 05:13:46 PM »
I would think "inexpensive groceries" has some positive influences for both high and low income shoppers.  Sucky place to work?  Probably.

Inexpensive in price only.  Walmart is ground zero for fake and poorly regulated foodstuffs entering the US from less discriminating countries of origin <<cough>><<china>>, like fake organics, potentially toxic honey, seriously questionable seafood, etc.  If it's cheap and says "free range", "organic", "grass fed", "local", etc. at Walmart and similar I just assume it isn't.  Since I personally don't trust any food from China I choose not to buy any food at Walmart.


Tyler

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Re: do you shop at walmart?
« Reply #35 on: October 02, 2013, 06:00:45 PM »
Since I personally don't trust any food from China I choose not to buy any food at Walmart.

To be fair, that's not limited to Walmart.

http://www.naturalnews.com/036584_Whole_Foods_organic_produce_China.html#
« Last Edit: October 02, 2013, 06:03:49 PM by Tyler »

arebelspy

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Re: do you shop at walmart?
« Reply #36 on: October 02, 2013, 08:18:01 PM »
It's rather a binary question.  You either do, or you don't.

Except for people like the OP, who don't shop there except in special circumstances, so would have to answer "yes" while still maintaining a philosophical opposition to doing so.

Ah, but in the case of the OP, the answer is clearly "yes" - the philosophical objection clearly doesn't matter, when the rubber meets the road, you do shop at Wal Mart.  As you point out in the OP:
I've apparently identified the dollar value of my philosophical beliefs.

So that's a clear "yes."  I don't see how you say "people like the OP .. don't shop there" - that's exactly the type of case where it makes sense to be a yes, and not have an option for them to weasel out with a "rarely" or "I do but I don't like it!" - they have to own up and admit yes, they shop there, despite any philosophical objections they claim to have.

There's a million ways to ask about people's feelings of Wal Mart.  Another potential one: Are you philosophically opposed to Wal Mart and its practices? Yes/no.

That would be a different question than if you shop there, and give some insight into who shops there but is opposed, who doesn't shop there but isn't opposed (see Grant's answer, for an example of this), etc.

Why?  The question is about if you shop there or not, not how frequently you do.

So if (hypothetically) I bought something at WalMart one time back in 1999, I would have to say yes, I shop at WalMart?

I suppose that depends if (hypothetically) you are an idiot or not.  Good thing none of us here are, right?  (In other words, if you can't read between the lines, I know you certainly aren't, so why are you asking these inane questions?)

I'll go ahead and answer it, once, in case you actually genuinely can't figure out that obvious case.  Beyond that, I'd rather not argue about it, and if you want to start your own fun happy Wal Mart poll with lots of options, be my guest.  :)

To answer your "So if (hypothetically) I bought something at WalMart one time back in 1999, I would have to say yes, I shop at WalMart? ": The question does not read "Have you shopped at Wal Mart?"  It reads "Do you shop at Wal Mart?"

It is up to the voter to decide what "shop" means.

I'd argue that someone shopping there one time 14 years ago who - since then - hasn't had a chance, but would shop there may want to put yes (or could put no, and say they don't live by one, I'm good with either answer), while someone who purposefully in the meantime actively decided not to go there again would put no.

That's the beauty of letting people be intelligent.  Most of them can handle it. 

Some just nitpick though.

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It's rather a binary question.  You either do, or you don't.

But as above, the binary question doesn't really supply much information, since it doesn't distinguish between people who do most or all of their shopping there, and those who rarely go there.

Okay?  It also doesn't establish, as above, who loves it or hates it, and shops there or doesn't despite that.

Grant, who doesn't have a problem with it, still puts "no" as he doesn't live close.  Sol, who does have a problem with it, may have to put "yes."

It doesn't distinguish a lot of things, because it is only getting at one thing: the bottom line of if you do or don't shop there.

Then the comments section lets one get more detailed about why the do/no not.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2013, 08:19:42 PM by arebelspy »
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Re: do you shop at walmart?
« Reply #37 on: October 02, 2013, 08:35:36 PM »
How about adding a "Sometimes, but it's not my primary source" option on the quiz?

+1.  When canning season comes, it's off to Wal-Mart to stock up on the supplies.  I'd buy them at Costco if I could, but I can't, so why would I pay more for the exact same brand somewhere else?  That's pretty much my typical Walmart experience.  I probably go once every two or three months for things I cannot get at Costco or someplace similar.  Not because of the politics, but because they are typically not the best bargain for me.  I'd guess I spend about $300 a year there total.  We don't grocery shop there.  I can bike to my local store, but not Wal-Mart.  After I factor in the 16 miles I drive round trip to Walmart vs. a bike ride the savings at Walmart aren't really there. 

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Re: do you shop at walmart?
« Reply #38 on: October 02, 2013, 08:53:18 PM »
While this site is largely dedicated to better living through frugality, there's a definite undercurrent of trying to "save the world" through conscious spending patterns, a focus on simplicity and personal happiness, and community involvement.  Part of that ethos is opting out of the consumer culture that drives frivolous spending, and aligning your spending with your values.
 
Walmart is the world's largest retailer and has weathered significant criticism for the way it hurts local economies, perpetuates individual poverty, ships jobs overseas, and treats its employees.  Several people here have commented that they choose to shop elsewhere, even if it means paying more, in order to align their spending with their values.
 
My biggest beef with Walmart isn't so much about social justice, it's about crappy products.  Nobody needs another $2.99 set of craptastic plastic doodads in five different neon colors, so it's been easy for me to avoid ever going to Walmart because I don't want their cheaply made garbage turning into lowbrow clutter in my home.  But I've recently been swayed to revisit Walmart and similar outfits for several major purchases.
 
Anecdote:  I was recently in the market for new cookware.  Quality pots and pans are super expensive, and after reading a bunch of reviews about the various types I settled on a set of cookware that was ONLY available at Walmart.  The Tramontina 8 piece fully clad stainles steel cookware set was consistently ranked higher than cookware sets costing four to five times as much.  I'm philosophically behind the idea of spending a bit more to support locally made products from a reputable retailer, but I'm not about to spend 400% more than I need to in order to get what is by all accounts an inferior product.  I bit the bullet and ordered from Walmart, and I've not regretted it.  I've apparently identified the dollar value of my philosophical beliefs.
 
Do you shop at Walmart?  At what level of personal cost savings do you feel okay about supporting (what I feel is) an exploitive employer that hurts the economy?  Do you always buy the cheapest product available, regardless of business practices or larger social impact?

Online kitchen supply stores are the best for pots and pans. You likely will never need to buy again, and tramontina is a god brand, but in your next life, try that route. Also, most clad pans are overkill. Sauciers and frypans are improved by clad sides, but saucepans, saute pans, and stock pots are better served with thick disc bases.

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Re: do you shop at walmart?
« Reply #39 on: October 02, 2013, 09:20:01 PM »
I don't really think that's an accurate statement of supply-side economics.

What, my two sentence explanation didn't do justice to the dominant capitalist theory of the late 20th century?  Shocking.  It wasn't meant as an affront, just a pathetic oversimplification.

I understood that.  But a simplification - yes, even an oversimplification - should try to abstract the essential features of whatever you're trying to simplify.  Yours didn't, IMHO anyway, and I freely admit that I am not an economist :-)

I'll just note that it's pretty hard to discuss things if 1) Everybody has to accept your assumptions to participate; and 2) You see disagreeing with them as being affronted.

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I wasn't so much advocating consumerism as I was encouraging corporate profits by meeting demand for desired products, rather than by flooding the market with undesirable products.

But if WalMart didn't have desirable (to some part of the market, anyway) products, wouldn't they soon go out of business?  Even I find some things there that I can't find elsewhere: the frozen yoghurt, the 0W20 synthetic motor oil that my Insight requires, generic nasal decongestant...

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Here, this TED talk makes the case a bit more eloquently, in six minutes:

Thanks, but I don't do video (on principle).  If there's a transcript around, I would willingly take a minute or two to read it.

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While I may not like the economic harm done to realize those cost savings...

Though I think you're starting from the assumption that there IS harm.  I've heard most of the standard arguments, and think that most of them are misguided.

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Re: do you shop at walmart?
« Reply #40 on: October 02, 2013, 09:27:58 PM »
I suppose that depends if (hypothetically) you are an idiot or not.  Good thing none of us here are, right?  (In other words, if you can't read between the lines, I know you certainly aren't, so why are you asking these inane questions?)

Just possibly because I don't think they're inane? [/sarcasm] 

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It is up to the voter to decide what "shop" means.

Meaning that we have a pretty useless set of answers, no?

As for the extreme case of someone who shopped there years ago, but not since, that's simply trying to define those lines I'm supposed to be reading between.  That's one way to test things: look at extremes.

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Re: do you shop at walmart?
« Reply #41 on: October 02, 2013, 10:00:28 PM »
Meaning that we have a pretty useless set of answers, no?

No.
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Re: do you shop at walmart?
« Reply #42 on: October 02, 2013, 10:01:25 PM »
I don't particularly care what corporations do in terms of "social justice", provided they don't use slave labour or have ridiculously unsafe working conditions. I sure as hell don't care if they want to pay their employees minimum wage - minimum wage in Vancouver BC is REALLY high anyways(10.25/hr), more than enough to live comfortably on if your head is attached properly to your body.

That said, I find the layout/decor/colour schemes in the stores to be depressing, and the only one around is really far from my neighbourhood, so I don't go there myself. The only thing they sell that I would buy is groceries, and they're no cheaper than anywhere else here for the type of food I buy.

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Re: do you shop at walmart?
« Reply #43 on: October 02, 2013, 10:25:24 PM »
I will NEVER darken Wal-Mart's door again! Originally, I stopped going there because they were often out of whatever I wanted and the employees were downright hostile.   Now I won't go there because of their unethical business practices - most recently they were fined for taking kickbacks from the exorbitant fees their 401K plan administrators charged.  In addition, they have such power over suppliers that manufacturers make cheaper-quality products specifically for Wal-Mart to meet their price demands.  for example, the quality of a name-brand appliance purchased at Wal-Mart may not be as high as the same appliance purchased elsewhere.  I've noticed the opposite is true of merchandise at Costco.

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Re: do you shop at walmart?
« Reply #44 on: October 02, 2013, 11:15:22 PM »
Thanks, but I don't do video (on principle).  If there's a transcript around, I would willingly take a minute or two to read it.

Transcript, as requested:  http://lybio.net/nick-hanauer-ted-talks-the-inequality-speech/people/

You don't get the graphs which illustrate the points he's making, but I think you can still get the flavor of it.

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Re: do you shop at walmart?
« Reply #45 on: October 03, 2013, 05:25:24 AM »
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For people who have already have high incomes, Walmart is a great deal.  You get all of the benefits of a ruthlessly efficient corporate retailer without any of the negative consequence of having to work for a ruthlessly efficient corporate retailer.

This is very true.

But I do also think that Walmart has many aspects on the plus side, and there are so many unethical ruthless companies operating that I find it interesting that so many people single out Walmart as others have noted.

Many other posters have pointed out some of the positive aspects of Walmart (hire people who might otherwise be unemployable, good source of lower priced products in rural areas, some of their products are actually rated highly (I found that their brand of house paint was rated extremely highly a couple of years ago), open long hours which is helpful if you work weird schedules, etc.)

Maybe the rudeness of employees is store and perhaps manager dependent?  Some stores are definitely newer, nicer, better organized that others.  I've found the employees at my local WalMart to be extremely friendly.  A couple of people look unhappy, but for the most part they are nice.  Is part of it that I am friendly to random people I meet?  Probably.  That store is also particularly clean and well organized, so I'm guessing the store manager plays a role.

Particularly when I was hurt enough that I was temporarily disabled, WalMart employees went way out of their way to help me.  At that point I just decided to only shop at WalMart until I was healed.  They had the motorized cart I could use because I couldn't walk, and they even let me drive it all the way to my car out in the lot, which I don't think they were supposed to do.  They would follow me out to bring it back.  Sometimes someone would come by while I was getting groceries to ask if I needed help reaching anything on a high shelf.  So, your grandma only wants to shop at WalMart?  I get that.

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Re: do you shop at walmart?
« Reply #46 on: October 03, 2013, 05:53:42 AM »
It has been years since I have stepped foot into a Walmart.  I formerly helped out a single Mom without a car by doing things like providing a ride to the grocery.  She loved going to Walmart which was as much a social outing for her as well as a place to shop. 

In general I spend little at grocery or warehouse stores.  I live in an area with two growing seasons (and those with hoop houses have a third) so almost all of our produce is from local farms.  We eat seasonally.  I buy most of our "ingredients" (I buy little processed food) at a co-op.  My co-op is currently facing a rough patch as it is no longer the only show in town--Whole Foods and Trader Joes have arrived. 

Confession:  I own Whole Foods stock--have for years--but rarely shop there.  My husband and I went to London this summer courtesy of gains made on Whole Foods stock.

But I don't own Walmart stock nor will I buy it.  And I don't shop there.

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Re: do you shop at walmart?
« Reply #47 on: October 03, 2013, 05:59:18 AM »
No.

1) There aren't any around me.
2) Even if there was, I would try to avoid shopping there at ALL costs.
3) I prefer to buy quality items when I have to shop and most things I have purchased at Wal-mart in the past, especially clothes, do not last.
4) I hate shopping there because the stores are generally disorganized and it is hard to find what you are looking for.
5) I am not a big fan of their business practices.

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Re: do you shop at walmart?
« Reply #48 on: October 03, 2013, 06:51:50 AM »
Walmart is the cheapest and most convenient place to shop for most people, so it is the logical choice, particularly for staples.  We even go to Walmart abroad.  I was delighted to find Walmart brand hot salsa sauce on the shelves here as it is the only salsa available in town for under $20/bottle.

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Re: do you shop at walmart?
« Reply #49 on: October 03, 2013, 08:00:27 AM »
I don't shop at Wal-mart for a variety of reasons, but the one I haven't seen mentioned yet is the political actions and contributions of the company and its owners.  I don't shop at a variety of stores, or buy certain brands, for the same reason.  Wal-mart isn't singled out for this and I generally practice what I preach.  If I need something of the cheap random category variety (recent shower curtain purchase for example) I will venture into Target but I dislike the experience and they are also on the avoid list. 

Sadly, that list gets longer every campaign seasons.  On the plus side, I have discovered quite a few competitive local vendors as a result and my overall purchases declined greatly when I started looking at more than just price. 

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