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STORE WARS: When Wal-Mart Comes To Town


Talkback Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Charles Vaughn
Your liberal/anti capitalism bias at PBS is no more evident than in the Walmart story. For example, you claim they are engaging in censorship for keeping out filthy books and records. Often those that denigrate women and minorities. They should be commended. And by the way, it is not censorship, it is their prerogative. Only government has the power to censor, not a business entity. It is their RIGHT to do so. This is America in case you forgot. You empahsize this and other issues, but not the MAIN issue: They sell cheap! Yeah, thats what we want. They provide a great benefit to America, cheaper cost. The least expensive products. Thats what everyone wants. Why do you think everyone abandons Joes hardware and their old buddy Joe for Walmart when they come to town. They sell to millions of people at the lowest cost. I dont care what they pay their employees or where the items are manufactured. If you are criticizing them for selling items made in sweat shops, which they cannot control, then you must blame every consumer who purchases those items. All those consumers who dont shop at Joes hardware anymore and poor Joe went under.

I used to live in a small town in the MidWest. Once the Wal-Mart came the small downtown went dry. Then the Wal-Mart store was shut down, and a Super Wal-Mart was built. Then the whole region around the town became dependent on the bigger WM store. It's disgusting.

What's more disturbing is that so many small town people show no evidence of intelligent behavior. Even the few who speak up against WM and understand how it sucks all the money and vitality out of the community are too weak to not shop there. But most of the people are completely mindless. They appear to be opposed to thinking about anything at all.

That's why it is so easy for a mega corporation to dominate their lives. They are like sheep looking for a sheperd. Wal-Mart is the sheperd for the mindless consuming sheep. Or you could say the people who shop at Wal_Mart are like lost children looking for a parental figure. As long as their is something to follow, they feel ok. When they are following they give uptheir freedoms to think and speak for themselves. Why think about anything, when you can go shopping at WM and then go to Taco Bell, or just eat at the junk food restaurant in the WM?

Some people have written that they are disgusted by the presence of corporate retail outlets in america, and I am too. But the more important issue is that why are the majority of Americans so eager to simply follow the herd, and not live their own lives? Someone posted a message saying that people are complaining about WM because they are jealous., I make 26.40 an hour and work for a company that focuses on health care. Why would I want to work for a company I despise for 6.00 per hour?

I can't blame Americans for being some ignorant, not totally, because I know from personal experience how horrifically bad public education is in the MidWest rural areas. I went to a high school where the sophomore English teacher didn't know what an adjective is.

It's that bad. It's tragic. There's another PBS special called The Children of Rocklin County. It's about the shocking ignorance of teens in Rocklin Country, Georgia. Many of the kids have sexually transmitted diseases because there is no sex education, and their parents either don't talk about STDS or the parents don't know anything either. There are many areas across the US where the citizens literally are not knowledgeable about any subject. Their lives are defined by a profound ignorance. They never read, they are very poorly educated. Their schools are very inadequate. Most of them never leave the areas where they are born and 'grow up'. It's no wonder they seem strangely unable to make any progress in their lives other than shopping at WM and working for minimum wage. Most of them never leave their home state, and virtually all never travel outside the US. The chances are not good that this group of the US population will'wake up' and come close to realizing their potential, mentally, physically, socially, culturally. You could say they simply have no goals, and no intention of doing anything except establishing some kind of comfortable routine where they experience no challenge.

They will simply eat junk food, and large quantities of meat, and beer. They will spend much of their life watching TV. They will not vote, or ever run for office. They will not pursue education, or participate in life long learning. They have no interest in learning about art, politics, or foreign languages. They are simply children and WM is like a candy store for them.

Pat Ellis
I live in Western North Carolina, in Waynesville. We are between the largest city -- Asheville -- and a smaller town -- Sylva. We have a small Wal-Mart and if we want to shop at one of their super stores we have to travel to either town. Asheville is up in arms because they don't want a super-store. I'd like to tell someone who is involved in the decisions to build to check out our town. We are the second largest city in the mountains and would welcome the chance to stay at home to shop!! Thanks.

billy joe
it's too bad more people won't see the broadcast. my guess is that most pbs people don't shop at wal mart anyway. our society is segmented enough, by education level, and economic class that much of the media that is about something real is never seen by the majority of the population. most people just watch the 3 networks abc, cbs, and nbc, which are owned by mega corporations like wal mart, and they too censor what information gets to the public. pbs is one of the very few enriching, trustworthy sources of information in today's world. wal-mart cares about nothing but $$$$ for the executives. how so many people don't understand that is beyond me.

it's like make real observations about the aspects of our society is not tolerated by the majority. it's bizarre, we have the most freedoms and we refuse to use them - the freedom to think, and express, and how many americans actually use these freedoms with any judiciousness at all? the wal mart crowd is basically a bunch of thoughtless, selfish, ignorami who care for nothing except saving a few cents on crappy products. congratulations to the producers of store wars who got a few people to think about something other than their next cigarette, hot dog, or crappy tv show. a lot of the ignorance in our society is due to the failing public education system. many americans can't even read. how are they supposed to understand something like consumer responsibility? how would they be able to recognize a corporate monopoly? or understand how their personal choices day after day influence the kind of culture we have? it doesn't matter if the beer from wal mart is cheap, it still kills brain cells. it doesn't matter if the cigarettes from wal mart are cheaper they still cause lung cancer and heart disease. cheap products is no way to run a society.

Lisa Carpenter
My community, Southbridge, Dumfries, VA, is beginning a fight to not have a Walmart built at the entrance of our development. Our developer, Legend Properties, advertises to prospective homebuyers as an upscale community. Legend, who still sits on our HOA board, is completely uninterested in residents' opposition. Can we get PBS interested? Any other suggestions on our fight? Our county supervisor, Maureen Caddigan, is behind us 100%. Thanks!

Please go to the RESOURCES section of this website for anti-sprawl groups and other organizations that might be of assistance.

all of you negatively bashing walmart are just jealous because you aren't employed by such a great company!!!

you talk bad about the company, but walmart continues to grow with great leaders!! not just the executives, but the associates working for this fortune 500 company. our associates should be extremely proud to be part of such an elite company. walmart doesn't ask any of you bashers to shop in their stores, but obviously a lot of shoppers like what walmart offers and continues to patronize the stores. as long as there are an abundance of loyal walmart shoppers, walmart will be around for a very long time!!! in other words, get over it!!! there are so many other topics to focus your energies on....hunger, the homeless, world peace, the on-going war in the mideast. you're wasting your time and will be around long after you've left this earth. it's time you opened your eyes to the obvious.

Wal-Mart is a business, with millions of stockholders. If you have any kind of retirement money tucked away in a 401k or other investment you probably own a bit of Wal-Mart. In the end they are in business to grow and make money for themselves and their shareholders.

Personally, I don't shop at Wal-Mart that much. The one north of town is a dump and the one south of town is too big and the employees aren't friendly. Whil the products and prices (including produce and other grocery items) are good, I have other favorite places to shop.

I'm sorry if you get paid $6 an hour, but it's that kind of job. It's a non-skilled job in a very comfortable, very safe environment... period. You don't need a college degree, or even a high school diploma, to do what is required at Wal-Mart. This is why the pay is so low.

If you are an EMPLOYEE of Wal-Mart and won't to tell them you're unhappy, quit and move on. If enough employees do this they will -- maybe -- raise wages. The problem, as I mentioned above, is that for $6 an hour the job is safe and comfy and clean. Very few employers offer that.

If you are a RESIDENT of a community that hates Wal-Mart, don't shop there. Get others to stop shopping there. If they lose business they will close and you win. People vote with their pocketbooks, though, and you can't blame Wal-Mart.

Kathy Stracener
Walmart opened in our town in the fall of 1980. Until that time, we were a viable community with several clothing stores, two hardware stores, several groceries, etc. etc., mostly all mom and pop businesses. We had drug stores that had been in town for nearly 80 years.

They closed the store in 1990 after they opened a super Walmart 20 miles away in a college town. All of our downtown businesses closed, including the oldest drug store, along with the two hardware stores, Western Auto, all the clothing stores, everything. The store Walmart built in a strip center west of the downtown has been vacant ever since. (last summer a Dollar General Store rented part of the building) We have vacant and delapidated buildings in our downtown. The ones that are occupied have insurance offices, storage, law offices and CHURCHES. Hardly any retail.

So, twenty years later, we have still not recovered. And we have never gotten anything from Walmart. They won't even make the empty building aff ordable to rent, or better yet, donate it to the town or school system.

I have had interviews with numerous concerned community leaders from around the world and even did a radio broadcast with the BBC, and everyone is concerned about this maggot corporation. Thank you Walmart, for killing our town.

I would like to add that we have seen mom & pop stores die because of Wallmart as well as destroying our market (paintball). They sell below msrp because they purchase such qty. there is little or no safety or product support. People get hurt or have poor product usage due to lack of support and the sport is blamed thus loosing a customer that now thinks the sport is to big a hassel. Here Wallmart tells the customer that the co2 bottles that power the marker come filled (NOT) sometimes you can get a little pressure out of a new bottle that is good for 20 shots or so.(from testing) a filled bottle good for 400 or so. We have had customers that have bought these from Wally and are told they are full and that they are not refillable ...both are wrong but the customer in mind bought and threw away 3- 20 oz bottles @ aprox 40.00 ea. before deciding to quit paintball because it was to expensive. Other are not told of the dangers of paintball velocity nor do the stores offer a radar check for safety or tell that the lenses are only rated to 300 fps.In the past protective eyewear was not supported. Many of the paintball guns that come in from Wally are set well above this or the customer changes the setting because they have not been educated. Wally needs to leave the small specialty product lines to those who are willing to take time with each customer for product support . A trip to Wally to find out pricing on the product lines we have in common left me talking to someone in sporting goods that had no idea or any answers about paintball equipment nor had he ever played. I hear that Wally has had several court visits over their paintball lines....I wonder why. Waco, Tx.

I live in SW Florida. There are 3 Walmarts within 10 miles of my home. There are over 100,000 citizens in the City I live in. There are vacant buildings from one end of town to the other. The long standing businesses are either speciality stores, restaurants or dry cleaners. Oh wait.... and banks :o|

Scott Kangas
I grew up in an urban enviornment. I can scarcely remember going to the local video store. The local hardware store is no longer existent. Local grocer, what's that? In case you aren't getting my point, I'll spell it out. Wake up small town America! You have something that I have always thought to be truly special, a small town. It may start with a Subway shop and then a Starbucks, soon a Blockbuster, but it doesn't stop there. Eventually you get where I live, a sprawling landscape of asphalt where no one knows their neighbors, but we have great prices. The even more depressing thought is that once these stores have the monopoly on your area, the prices mysteriously grow.

For example, when Blockbuster first appeared we were excited, but as soon as we no longer had a choice about where to rent movies we became wary. Then the prices rose, movies were due back by noon the next day, and controversial movies were no where to be found. I now drive twenty minutes past the Blockbuster on my street to rent at the only small video store I know.

What do you think Wal-Mart will do when it acheives the level of monopoly that Blockbuster enjoys?

Michael Jacoby
American's opposed to Wal-Mart, should oppose them in the only way that will cause them to reevaluate their corporate policies. Boycott their stores. Do not spend a dime in their stores anywhere they maybe located. A severe drop in revenue and their shareholders will require their management to change their operating methods.

Jessie Adams
As a child, I grew up in the seacoast communtiy of Hampton, NH a town of @35K in the off season and double that in the summer months. I remember well the small town stores and the peace that came with that. I recently went back to attend a family wedding, and drove throught from Portsmouth( the big city when I was a kid) to Hampton on Rte 1. There is no longer any demarkation between the two. Walmart and the big box stores have now taken over the landscape. The peace and quiet has been replaced by the cacophany(sp?)of traffic and the stress to keep the car moving as quickly as possible. It used to be a wonderful leisurly drive; now it's a whiteknuckled don't let your guard down for a second trip through the gauntlet of Big box malls and shopping centers. We are losing are uniqueness to Walmart and its ilk by the homogenizing of America. Why go anywhere in the country when it is all going to be the same? would anyone one go to the Pike Place Market in Seattle if it was just like the o ne back home? Of Couse not. we need to revel in our differences and support them or we will all be the poorer spiritually for it.

Dan Pinzke
(This is partially a rebuttal argument for the one written by Joey Tackett)

I feel that the censorship (anti free speech as Tackett likes to call it) of material in Walmart stores IS wrong, especially for their music selection. I feel (contrary to what Mr. Tackett feels) that Walmarts affect on music companies is in effect infringing on a song-writers free speech. To have such a profound effect as to cause record labels to force their performers to change their songs in order to make the extra Walmart profits is ridiculous when you look strait at the situation. Once clouded by the series of laws it becomes a little bit trickier.

I do agree that Walmart is under no obligation to aid someone in promoting one's message. The thing that gets to me is that just because you are not obligated to do something does not mean you shouldn't do it! When a chain gets so big and monopolizes a community so as to be the only place within double digit miles that a person can pick up a new cd they want to buy, i feel that it is infringing on someone's rights. Even if you disagree, it still causes a person to go to a specialty store: completely the opposite concept than the one behind the "all you could want" chain-store. What are they going to do next, only allow christian related artifacts (no doubtedly made in China)in their stores? causing the expelling of all patrons of other religions to acquire all other religious artifacts to the larger town 40 miles down the road? They aren't required or obligated to sell other religious artifacts but I'm pretty sure that people would be up in arms if they did. Its a lot easier to throw out a bunch of apples if you find a worm in one of them. So goes the same with "unaccepted" music lyrics. Just because one is truly indecent should not cause the company to then open up the floodgates and start causing a prohibition of ANY true and pure thought put to words. Sometimes it isn't pleasing but we don't live in this perfect wolrd that is always a wonderland of conformist bliss. That's what Walmart wants you to think. They are so great with their advertising campaign. So friendly they all seem to be. but the executives, the control of the company, financially support companies that have sweat shop labor scaling from moderately horrible all the way to the worste I've ever seen or heard of: 90+ some odd hours a week. ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS. 7:30- 12 midnight (you will find this by looking through the links on this pbs website.

It seems that Mr. Tackett was trying to find some bone to pick so as to attack the "attackers". Why not focus on the real issues: Walmart is monopolizing the various markets they are acting on, they support sweatshops financially, they have horrible benifits for most of the humanity that makes their company work, they force major record labels to force their songwriters to revise their music, and are increasing urban sprawl at an increasing and increasingly alarming rate. Pretty soon we'll be able to step outside and see Walmart parking lots as far as the eye can see. Maybe we'll even get whole cities imbedded in a giant Walmart with low income husing right in the back. Thank God that some nature may eventually be created out of this mess: weeds may eventually grow in the cracks of the concrete contained in the abandoned Walmart Super-Giant Mega Gargantuan Stores property...


Oliver Willis
I think the show was an interesting study in a group of people who refuse to move forward into the 21st century. The retailer who commented on the "friendly service" someone would receive at his shoe store showed how irrelevant he was when he said a Wal-Mart employee would just point you towards the right aisle. That's what people want. This quaint idea of "small town America" is a long gone idea that was never as idyllic as its purported to be. If you can't compete with Wal-Mart, perhaps you should be in a new line of business. If your business is so great, if your customer service is down-home and friendly then it will survive Wal-Mart. People vote with their dollars.

David Hogg
WalMart coming to small towns is nothing more than our American system of free enterprise. If there are jobs lost, well it is time to get retrained and get a new job. Everyone is interested in the biggest bang for the buck. So the biggest and best run stores win out. That is just the way it is.

Steven Thornton
Of course, we in Prince William County, VA have a Wal-Mart next to Potomac Mills Mall, which is fine. BUT! Wal-Mart now plans to build another one LESS THAN 5 MILES AWAY in front of a beautiful, pristine neighborhood called Southbridge in Dumfries. Needless to say, our residents are up in arms over this, and we plan to fight tooth and nail, but alas, who are we but peons to be walked on by a multi billion dollar corporation whose only concern is the almighty dollar. The traffic, the crime, the declining property values, it doesn't matter to Wal-Mart, just as long as they get their low-paying jobs in place and make more people unhappy, what else do they want? Well, for starters, they would absolutely love to pass up the federal government as having the most people on their payroll...

On your facts page, you state that fulltime employees make from $6 to $7.50 per hour. Well, in the Mountain Home, Arkansas, superstore, starting pay is only $5.40 per hour, and the typical raise of 25 cents per hour after 90 days only increases that starting wage to $5.65. (After the 90-day review, an employee must work another year before the next opportunity for a raise presents itself at the annual review.)

As you noted, many employees are below the poverty level. A number are on food stamps and other government assistance programs, while Wal-Mart's stock continues to increase in value and its management gets richer and richer. Their most important policy seems to be that of holding costs down by paying employees the smallest wages possible in order to increase store profits.

Chris Hattery
What I don't understand is how Wal*Mart can be #1 of the Fortune 500 Companies, and pay us employees like we're not anywhere in the Fortune 1000. On top of that, My walmart is a manager training store, so hourly associates are training them in some areas of the store, more specifically, Sporting Goods, and we get paid like we're teenagers working our summer jobs. New Philadelphia, Ohio WalMart also had the best inventory that our district manager had ever seen, and 2yr associates are barely breaking $6.50 an hour. I would rather get paid more all year round than a little extra on our shareholders check which is conditional upon our whole stores' work, and not my own personal contribution.

L. Anderson
I understand when people don't want to change from the norm, but at least they're getting a Wall-Mart. Here in the LA area, they won't even think about putting one here. LA folks have to drive to Santa Clarita, Lakewood, and the Torrance area just to shop. Instead of the scenic route to low prices, how about paying for the high price of the gas I need to get there.

How is Wal-Mart the largest retailer in the world, if they are the least contributors to the community?

Ashley Sharpton
I have worked in two facets of the Wal-Mart corporation, the distribution center and the store. The distribution center pays fairly well, but the work is extremely back-breaking (I was an order-filler) and it's not worth the money. The store on the other hand, is very different. They started me out at $6.00/hr. Who can live off of that ? I'm not a high-school kid that lives at home with their parents, I'm a grown man trying to make a living. And as for Wal-Mart's good benefits (they're NOT totally free), well who can afford them at $6.00/hr. ? You need all your "take-home" pay (and then some) to pay bills. The last time I made $6.00/hr. was back in 1992. Wal-Mart is a greed-driven machine that only pretends to know how to treat employees. The only ones getting treated right are the top executives who have never had a sore back or a blister on their hand.

The Miller Family
Having visited beautiful Watkins Glen many years ago on a family camping trip I'm saddend to hear that they are now being subjected to the Wal-Mart bullies. Our small community in NW NJ tried for years to keep a Walmart out - only to loose like so many other towns. It has now been open 2 or 3 years - more big stores have sprung up around it - including 2 new grocery stores which led to the closing of the one smaller grocery that was convienently located IN town and which most of our seniors relied on. Our Kmart in our local mall is now closing I believe they have been drivin into the ground in an attempt to compete - we have even been told by folks that work there that over the holidays Walmart came and bought out popular kids items - not because they didn't have any - simply so that people in the are would ONLY be able to get them at Walmart. They have since opened yet another store only 6 or 7 miles away - and now there is talk of closing the store in our community with in the next year for under performance - on the rumor of that - both of the large new food stores are also planning to close - which will leave 3 newly constructed HUGE empty spaces - not to mention our soon to be vacant Kmart.... all the palaber about adding jobs and tax revenue has cost this community in many ways.... We represent 2 main street family business in our community and see first hand what Walmart has done to our community - business and personal.... I weep for Watkins Glen.... those that can still fight - PLEASE DO! Those that have lost - actions speak louder then words - take your money somewhere else.... They are single handedly consuming the retail sector.... I wonder if someday there will be only one place to shop?!? Pay a little extra if you have to - keep the $ out of the hands of Walmart - and China!

I bought my first shares of Wal-Mart in 1986. That investment made a lot of money for my investment. In all, I bought the stock on three different occassions and since then it has split several times.

Had I held on to all of my Wal-Mart shares, I would be far better off financially today than I am. But, I started selling the stock when I became angry about the way Wal-Mart builds their employees up and then treats them like peons.

I disagree with the poem on the opening page. Sam Walton is not coming to town, the bastard off spring of his creation is invading America. During his lifetime, he demonstrated concern for his employees and his customers. Now, the company is in the hands of hired guns who are only concerned with growing the size of the company and fattening the bottom line and their own paychecks and benefits.

Management tells employees how great they are and then are not treated as though they are only numbers. Wal-Mart pay is low compared to other low p aid jobs. I have known Wal-Mart people to quit for a McDonalds or other fast food job that pays better. Benefits are almost non-existent. Hours are limited to keep employees from obtaining benefits. Some store managers are mini tyrants who fire employees on trumped up charges. Ambitious empoyees who want to advance to management positions are faced with two problems: local management does not give them a chance, perhaps for fear of the competition, and managers must agree to take jobs wherever Wal-Mart may want to send them. The later problem is a real deterent to employees whose spouse must also work to support the family because of the low wages paid by Wal-Mart.

Since learning many of the things outlined above, I have been selling my shares. Those sales have cost me money because the share prices just seem to keep on going up. Today, I still own about 20% of the shares I once owned. I own them because tax planning dictates that I cannot sell them all in the same year. If I did, I would be in a higher tax bracket. But, I plan to be entirely out of my Wal-Mart investment in the next year of two.

I would advise protestors to buy a few shares of Wal-Mart and then go to stockholder meetings in Fayettville. Tell management to their face, just how you view Wal-Mart. Tell them that employees deserve better treatment. Tell them that family stores are being devastated. Tell them you would like to see more American made products on their shelves. Tell them that your community should have the right to determine its future rather than a giant corporation from Arkansas. I have gone in the past and have expressed many of my concerns. As long as I own stock I probably will do so again.

Shareholders usually don't have a stake in most communities. So those Wal-mart shareholders should not make money off communities' backs. Anything you can do to keep their share prices stagnant, do it.

Reno, NV, listed as opposing the building of WalMart now has three WalMarts (one regular and two big Wallies). The second big Wallie was fought against by the neighborhood but they lost (as usual).

I went to wall-martin farmville va on feb 3-4 I saw a young lady work there i know about three year or four year she was real nice .If every body nice she is .I dont mine go to a store shop there like a lady like her work there .I think you should more respectin your work then you do .They give they whole life wirk with a complance like wall-mart every day they life driver there and back at home every day .It would be then lind of people were would wall-mart be at today like this young lady i meet at in farmville va wall-mart like i said first time i seem her along time it feel good some body like her turn round saw me stand there it make you feel good see some body like that talk to you and hug you to i tell it make me feel good i miss her now because she care people in the world wake up let get to gather now wake up look the people who work at wall-mart and many more of the store in the world .I mike be up there one day need help who i got turn to no one let start be friend people ever you go you dont know went you need help wake up now america

Wal-Mart prides itself on their employee benefits. What they don't tell is that they limit most employees to less than 30 hours per week so they are not eligible for any!

Wal-Mart has just begun to [victimize] another village that will eventually discover very little good coming from it. Construction has started, after some occasionally heated controversy, in the once beautiful, historic little town of Watkins Glen, NY.

What a bunch of ignorant morons!!! Walmart is America at it's best. Good stuff for great prices. Only a damned Democrat would be stupid enough to say anything bad about one of the greatest corporations in the world. You damned hippies probably dont like Microsoft either. I'd be willing to bet you are also scared of the stock market as well. Quit smoking so much reefer and go spend you welfare checks at Walmart to help my portfolio continue to grow.

This country is headed for oblivion. I don't shop at Wal Mart because it's obvious to me they're a despicable company. The information outlined in this website about the company's practices are enough to support this, but I only need to look at any of their stores to realize how much I don't like them. The ugly building, the unsightly parking lot, the other sprawling development related to the store, how can anyone not find this aesthetically insulting?

But outside of what's obvious to me is the fact that millions of people still patronize the store. Why are people so dumb? Is there really any way to address this issue when it's so tremendous, when so many people blindly buy into the idea? To me, this entire issue with Wal Mart, despite it's enormity, is only a small sign that this country is hell-bent on destroying itself.

Live fast, die young; that's the American way. God help us who are so painfully aware of it.

Having had personnal problems with Wal Mart, I can tell you that they are a different Company once they get built and in business. I have found that they are not too Civic minded or neighborly once established.

One good thing that I can say about Wal Mart, they usually have what you want and it might be a little cheaper. One example of how you will be treated as a customer, is this. If you have a package in your hand when entering their store, they will not let you enter the store and carry it around. Once in Dublin, Ga. for instance, I had been down to Winn Dixie food store and bought some bananas and then stopped by Wal Mart on the way home, (walking distance) and they made me leave the bananas at the front door on a table. It does not matter if they know you or not or how many times you visit their store. It seems that every customer is treated like a shop lifter. You can check out in eye view of a exit door person, and they will still check your bags and ticket. I have witnessed this time after time. I shop at Wal Mart fairly often now, but a customer is only a warm body to them, I feel.

I am writing this in support of real jobs,that support and sustain communities across North America! NOT Walmart jobs that tear communities apart. Real jobs provide a standard of living that only Walmart Managers have the privilege of enjoying. Oh Walmart does provide minimum wage jobs. But in order for any of its employees to be able to contribute to our society and attain the necessities of life that is enjoyed by an average person; they would have to work 7 days a week 24 hours a day to attain this. I am sure that walmart would not have any problem with these employes doing this provided that the labour laws were changed to allow these indivduals to work the 24 hours at straight time. The point is that every time you take jobs that provide a sustainable living and replace them with ones that ensure poverty everyone loses. The communtiy,through its tax base,its people through the ability to adaqatly provide for our families. Family life has changed substacially over the last few decades. Very few families (even those with an education) can afford to provide the necessities without both parents working full time. So Walmart would rather you work both parents @ 2 jobs for minimum wage just to make ends meet. Than allow them to be paid wages and benefits that would provide for a life were parents; were actually able to enjoy their children and their activities without the worry of how they were going to cover the bills!!


Paul Pace
The problems we face with Wal-Mart and its ilk are no different than the other problems we face in our lives; they are caused by ourselves. Governments and large corporations share the same goal; to usurp our power and herd us. This is among the few failures of the free market system. The way to balance this is to educate people. I know of no high school that requires a course in economics for a diploma. Yet a basic understanding of this subject can have a greater impact on our stanadard of living than any other while giving a greater appreciation for what we have here in the U.S. I generally shop sole-propieters instead of chains or franchises. Their service is unbeatable and their accountability is higher. I also take comfort in the fact that my money is staying in my community. However, a macroscopic look at our economy shows me that it is best to purchase the lowest price goods that meet my requirements, so their place of origin is not important to me. I believe everybody IS already shopping their consciences, they are just un-, under-, or misinformed about what effects the decisions they are making have on their lives and the lives of others.

Is there going to be a follow-up film on what the "real" results are on Wal-Mart's move into Ashland?

It would be nice to see the results in total after the fact.

Only then could one point to a factual piece on "PBS" that proves their point of view - pro or con.

Not having a before & after documentary on this question to point to - that I've seen, I would like to see a follow-up on Ashland.

John Torrez Add Los Lunas, New Mexico to the list of towns getting a Super Wal-Mart. This new Supercenter will be just about 10 miles from another Wal-Mart Supercenter in the town nearby so I don't see the point of building it. For those interested the link will be at the bottom of this message.

Alissa Bird
Has anyone even noticed what is happening?? Wal-Mart routinely builds a store, then decides they need a SuperStore so they tear down some more trees to build the SuperStore and vacate the "old" space, leaving it empty with very little luck of another business filling that empty space! I have done a great deal of cross country driving and it doesn't matter where you go, Roswell, Georgia or Cody, Wyoming, you see it in every town that Wal-Mart occupies. Will no one stand up and say, "No!! You can vacate your space only after you have leased it to someone else!" Maybe this will slow down the needless development and get some control over our society that can't seem to drive more than 2 miles for groceries, gas, etc. It makes me sick!! So much for what Wal-Mart does for the community. Maybe Wal-Mart needs to look in their own backyard first!

This is what I think about Wally-world(wal-Mart).I worked at Wal-Mart Optical Lab for 8years and I first thought it was a great place to work at. My last year there I was on medical leave and not one in management called me to see how I was doing. Wal-mart does'nt care about there associates they care only about making money.I would'nt buy a pair of glasses from them if someone gave me the money to. I know alot of times they did'nt send out good quality. They are money hungry and they don't care about up rooting small towns like Ashland. All small towns keep on fighting and keep them out.

Joey Tackett
I find it utterly amzing that you classify the values of WAL-MART as "censorship". It appalls me that you thinly disguise your attempt to outline WAL-MART as anti free speech. The Constitution of the United States guarantees every citizen the right to free speech, it doe NOT promise that any other party will be required to subsidize or aid you in your attempts to promote your message. WAL-MART or any other store is under no obligation to carry any material that they do not wish to sell. ANy artist is free to make any type of album that they so choose, but how is nto carrying that album censorship. WAL-MART does nto carry pornography. Is that censorship? Under your definition of censorship any and all products would have to be carried by any and all stores. If an artist does not wish to create a "sanitixed" version of his or her work then they can feel free to market their items elsewhere. If I don't purchase an album am I guilty of censorship? If the government told an artist that they can not say the word "sex" on an album, that would be censorship. Private "censorship" is an entirely different issue. Would you argue that a town which does not allow a picture of a woman having sex with an elephant to be poste don a billboard is guilty of censorship?

Peter F Arzani
As a result of 911 we in America have become acustomed to looking over our shoulder, no longer are we safe in our home.I work in a wholesale retail related industry with all of my customer's being in family owned store's located in what we call the intermoutian west.As I travel around the rocky mountian's I see the super WalMarts springing up like weeds.As a result we start to lose our idenity of who we are because the guy we bought from down the street is NO longer there,even though we've known him and his family for years.We talked about world power's China Russia and the USA but these are not to be concerened about, a company whoses goal is to have .33 to.49 CENT'S of every retail dollar spent in the world NOW THIS is A world power to fear.Think about it...!You will either work for them manufacture for them or be luckly to do something else.WAKE UP AMERICA it's starting in your own back yard! 911 was indeed a terrible event of great impact in our live's but we can not lose sight of what is going on with WalMart.I like the song by Alan Jackson The Little Man.We still have a small town Pharmacists I have his pager # and his home phone# try getting that from your WalMart,this tuly is a global power that should be put down.IT IS TIME TO TAKE A STAND boycott any and all WM's WAKE UP AMERICA the small town store will soon become a myth.

Great website and a fascinating discussion. I find it sad that cities in my home state of Oregon, where we pride ourselves on our landmark land use regulations, have yet to say "no" to building a Wal-Mart. The drastic decline in the timber economy has led to huge economic problems for Oregon's smaller towns. The offer to build a Wal-Mart undoubtedly looks like manna from heaven to small towns, desperate for tax revenue and employement. But, they are hollow promises and ultimately do nothing to better the community. They just suck the life out of downtown, force people into crummy, minimum-wage retail drudgery, and cause traffic congestion. I can only hope that someday we'll wise up.

Wanita Sears
I helped create by participation in a citizen's action group in'92 enough controversy on WalMart's effects to small towns that the Greenfield MA Town Council was split on the rezoning vote. Petitions sent it to town referendum and defeat by 9 votes in '93. Issues at this site were not only the usual small town impact and traffic. This site has Native American historic, cultural and geological significance. There have been three others I know of that had Native American significance and two were defeats like ours. Didn't end there. The land was purchased this year and is finally protected from development. Can be defeated. It depends on state laws and people. Hard work.
Right now Wal Mart's owner is the richest man in the world. Its made from the labor of some of the poorest of the world.
Our group's slogan said it all " Wal-Mart: Values without Values"


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