W is for Wal-Mart, or Walmart

I find it odd that it has banned music with explicit lyrics, yet carries a full complement of assault weaponry that has recently included the Bushmaster AR-15.

One of my sisters is one of the greatest Walmart shoppers in the country. She and my late mother have gone to dozens of store in the southeastern United States. I remember a visit they made to Albany a few years back – probably just after the Daughter was born – and they wanted to go to the local Walmart EVERY SINGLE DAY they were in town. And this was the previous Walmart, NOT the one expanded in 2008 to be the largest Walmart Supercenter in the United States.

Whereas I’m not quite as enthusiastic. I rather like the success story of Sam Walton, going from a single store to become the largest private employer in the world with over two million employees. But some of the company policies have made me wary.

I recall reading in the 1990s about Walmart entering towns in the Midwest, driving out the local hardware store and other merchants. When it found a Walmart store was not profitable enough, it would pull out of the market, leaving the towns much worse off than they were when it arrived. Now that Walmart is having declining sales, this seems like a scenario that could be replicated. Its aggressive price challenge is aggravating its competitors, who claim Walmart has misrepresented the facts.

I find it odd that it has banned music with explicit lyrics, yet carries a full complement of assault weaponry that has recently included the Bushmaster AR-15, which was used in the Sandy Hook (Connecticut) Elementary School shooting and several other high-profile mass killings.

Walmart, many claim, is the epitome of economic inequity, when they could easily afford to pay their employees better, which led to the largest employee strike ever last autumn, and more actions in the spring, and again around this Thanksgiving. It’s clear that Wal-Mart’s low wages cost taxpayers money. By comparison, Mark Evanier and the Daily Kos tout Costco as a much better corporate entity.

Those Walton billionaires, sons and daughters of Sam, are bankrolling a number of controversial actions such as school “reform” efforts in Los Angeles.

Still, my personal antipathy has less to do with any of that than the one and only time I went to Walmart willingly. It was the autumn of 1994. I had just had a painful romantic breakup, and I needed a bunch of household items. Someone said that I should go to Walmart, which had opened only the year before in our area.

I took the bus out to the locale and started filling the shopping cart. I went home with several bags of stuff. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized that I was missing a bag. I called Walmart, and they found my missing merchandise at the register. It was too late to take the bus back to Walmart, but I said I would return the following day.

The next afternoon, I arrived at Walmart and waited for someone to get my bag from the manager’s office, where I was told my stuff would be. After at least a half-hour, I was told they couldn’t find my bag. But I could go back through the store and get the stuff again.

Now I hated going through the store the first time. Going through a second time, trying to find the SPECIFIC items I had purchased the day before was really difficult. The first time, I was just going up and down the aisles; this time, I had to try to match my previous purchases in terms of size and brand, and price; what a pain! I’ve never shopped there, or any Walmart, willingly since, as I find it too big for my taste.

And to answer the question of a hyphen or no hyphen in the name: Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) [is] branded as Walmart.
A unified theory of shoving.

ABC Wednesday – Round 13

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

26 thoughts on “W is for Wal-Mart, or Walmart”

  1. First Wal-Mart I ever went to was in my university town in Southern Illinois. I bought drinking glasses for my first-ever apartment. All of them broke within the first few weeks I had them, most when being washed (the glass was FAR to thin). I don’t know that I ever went to a Wal-Mart again until decades later, just to see what the new version was like (but I don’t think I bought anything, because, you know, their politics and all).

  2. You are a good storyteller. I can’t stand Wallmart but have gone there a few times unwillingly. Carver, ABC Wed. Team

  3. Living in the same town as the two Walmart daughters, I’m torn about them. On one side, I’m not sure about their policies. On the other, they do offer items less expensive than the specialty stores…which is valuable to be as a consumer. I like to patronize local businesses, but when the item is significantly higher, I choose to make my money go as far as possible.

  4. The Walmarts around here are very good with regard to stock and prices. We don’t sell guns in Canada, so no worries there. Their grocery prices are good as are the price of toys. So I do go there occasionally, but it’s so far out of my way that I do my main shopping elsewhere.

    abcw team

  5. I go to Walmart once in a while but only for a very quick trip very late at night when the 24 hr store is nearly empty of shoppers but is filled with workers stocking as fast as they can during their crappy 4 hour shift.
    I am disgusted by the censorship of goods, books, movies and more yet they sell food full of sugar where none is needed and artificial stuff alongside ammo…there is a poor plan or is it? They are part of the dumbing down of America.

  6. Great post. I was never a huge fan but there’s something wrong with them carrying such arsenals of weapons while banning and interfering with our rights for free speech (banning music with explicit lyrics (that kids get online anyway!!).

    Have a great week and wishing you and your family a very happy holiday!

  7. Walmart bought one of our supermarket chains called ASDA, happily it didn’t change much locally. Its employees were unionised (and still are) so it wasn’t as doomed as I thought it would become and still contains some of the cheeriest staff around.

  8. Walmart sells something like 45 percent of the groceries in this town. At least they’ve upgraded some of the drearier stores — or so I’m told, since it’s been at least a year since I got within a block of one.

  9. Well, dang it, Roger…all you say here about Walmart is so true…but their prices are very low…there are so many places and products to avoid for so many reasons…I guess i’ll have to rethink this all over again….

  10. Carol – the prices are low, but the government is essentially subsidizing theier substandard wages. It’s like an indirect tax. (True, too, of some fast food places.)

  11. We have no Walmart but a similar concern, called Hema. You can buy anything from sausages to furniture, clothes, crockery, you name it…
    A few hours ago we arrived here in Brisbane . At two o’clock.
    We haven’t slept for 32 hours, so we are a bit tired
    Have a nice day, Roger, and thanks for all you did for me.

  12. Well… I used to spend much more time in Walmart years ago than I do now. One Christmas I stopped in a Walmart across town (45 minutes away) and got home without the boots I bought my daughter. Even though it was late, I turned around and went right back only to find they’d re-shelved them. Talk about steamed!

  13. Wal-Mart is a happening place in a lot of the small towns here in the Midwest. My Sister can tell you what’s on EVERY isle, she could give your Sister a run for her money.

  14. Our small town has a Walmart. It is the only large store to choose from that carries such a wide variety of items. We have recently received additional big name stores like Staples. Fortunately, many of our smaller private stores have remained in operation. I’d hate to see everything go to the big buy. – Margy

  15. WalMart is often the ONLY place to shop in small towns. We have one here, but we insist on paying more and shopping at local retail stores. Our motto: FRIENDS DO NOT ALLOW FRIENDS TO SHOP AT WALMART.

    Did you know that Sam Walton’s do-nothing spoiled brat kids are ALL (four of them) included on the Top Ten Richest Americans List? That’s 40% of the list.

    Stop going for the convenience and “deep discounts,” people. They also raze wetlands to make room for a store, then “build” a wetland to replace it. Wetlands are filters for groundwater, and they cannot be placed where God did not provide for the system. It’s like having a kidney grafted to your face.

    Now I’m grumpy. But I’ll get over it, ha ha ha. Love, Amy

  16. I will not willingly shop at Walmart because of much that you have outlined in your post. I cannot in good conscience shop for anything in that store because of its economic policies. Kate, ABC Team

  17. Living in a relatively small community, we don’t have many choices. However, whenever possible, my family and I do choose to shop at the privately owned shops in town. We also never shop at Walmart when traveling. Thank you for your enlightening posts throughout the year. May your holidays be filled with love, joy and peace.

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