Don’t blame Wal-Mart’s customers for Wal-Mart.

You'd think I'd agree with someone named "Liberal Momma," who writes a post entitled "WalMart really is the Fifth Level of Hell," but I don't (and it's not because I think it's the Ninth Level either):
So, I bowed to my poverty today and shopped at WalMart for the first time in 10 years…and I will NOT be doing that again. I did get diapers for 5 bucks, but it wasn’t worth my sanity, my cleanliness, or my SOUL. It was exactly what I expect WalMart to be - dirty, smelly, full of rude people, and generally yucky. My cart was sticky, the whole place smelled like pee and cheap plastic, the cashier sneezed in her open hand and proceeded to scan all my items with her germy hand, and in the 30 minutes I was in the place, I witnessed two women abusing their children. One woman said to her three or four year old, and I quote, “If you ask for your father one more time, I’m shipping you off to Iraq with him.” How pleasant. About 5 minutes later, I watched a young mother slap her 5 month old baby and tell her to “Quit whining!”
While I'm sure this story is 100% true (since I believe all terrible things about Wal-Mart on the internet without question), Liberal Momma is pointing the finger in the wrong direction. The same poverty that made her darken Wal-Mart's door is likely much worse for those other Wal-Mart customers she condemns. Certainly, I don't condone child abuse, but my rule (as Someone knows) is always "Try to put yourself in the other person's shoes." How many tours has that poor woman's husband had to do in Iraq? What are the economic forces that have that young mother so stressed out? We can all run to Target to avoid reality, but pretty soon stressed out ex-McMansion owners are going to make Target the Fouth Circle of Hell and KMart will be the Sixth. The hard question though is what can we do about this? I'm not entirely sure, but the first step is to remember which presidential candidate has trusted friends who think we're a nation of whiners and vote the other way.

24 Responses to “Don’t blame Wal-Mart’s customers for Wal-Mart.”

  1. Speaking of McMansions you might find this story amusing.

    When Big Becomes Too Big, a Dream House Goes to Auction

    The Cheslocks, who sold their previous home in Greenwich for $12 million, bought the property for $7 million in 2000, spent nearly $14 million and four years building the house, and put it on the market in 2006 for $31 million. No takers.

    So, borrowing a page from the foreclosure world, the Cheslocks on Friday opened a five-week auction with bids starting at $19 million.

    The upkeep, more than $200,000 a year, was part of what soured the dream.

    I’ve been predicting for a few years now that the high cost of living in exurbia is going to lead to homes being shared by multiple families, as was the case in the USSR when there was insufficient housing built.

    Young people in NYC have been sharing apartments for decades, but I’m predicting this trend will extend to those families with children.

    On Long Island’s Gold Coast most of the houses build during the first Gilded Age were torn down when they became too expense to own and the sites used for more reasonable development.

  2. UncleBob says:

    Well, since it’s Wal*Mart’s customers that allow Wal*Mart to continue doing everything it does… doesn’t it make sense to blame the customers?

    It’s like when people complain about the store being open for Thanksgiving. The way I look at it is there’s, what, maybe 100 people or so at Home Office who make the decision to have the store open on Turkey Day. Yet there’s thousands (if not millions) of shoppers who decide to shop there. Now, if no one shopped there on Thanksgiving, do you think Wal*Mart would be open? Hardly – payroll wouldn’t be worth it. So, do I blame the 100 or so people who are doing what a business is supposed to do – look for ways to make money – or do I blame the thousands who can’t seem to go one day without cheap plastic crap?

    And, by the way, I agree that we’re a nation of whiners. I’m more concerned about a presidential candidate who has a spiritual leader who likes to shout out “God Damn America” at his sermons. First, this candidate talks about how much his spiritual leader means to him, then, when the heat gets turned up on his campaign, he does an about-face and denounces the man that meant so much to him? Some may worry about how Obama flip-flops on the issues, but it’s more concerning to me to see him flip-flop on a a man that supposedly meant so much to him…

  3. It would appear that the WalMart corporation and the Walton family have flipped on MOST of Sam Walton’s priciples and practices….a founder and father that supposedly meant so much,not only to them,but many others.

  4. Jonathan says:

    Bob:

    Have you ever seen Animal House? You sound just like Kevin Bacon in the frat initiation seen, “Thank you sir. May I have another?”

    Somebody has to put that on YouTube for me someday. It might come in really handy this election season.

  5. UncleBob says:

    Jonathan: The problem with that statement is that I have no intentions of voting for John McCain either.

    Freude: Please take note – I have no intentions of voting for any member of the Walton family for public office.

  6. Jonathan says:

    Bob:

    If Obama loses, the result is the same.

  7. UncleBob says:

    Unfortunately, the result will be the same no matter if Obama wins or loses. Either way, I’m not going to vote for someone I don’t believe in.

  8. Jonathan says:

    If you can’t tell the difference between who’s trying to help and who’s swatting you in the butt, then there’s no hope for you.

    But come to think of it I already knew that.

  9. Well, that explains his choice of employer.

  10. UncleBob says:

    If you honestly think Obama or McCain are seriously trying to help the average person, you’re delusional.

    Additionally, someone “trying to help” isn’t very helpful if their idea of helping is taking what I’ve worked my ass off for and redistributing it to whomever they feel is more worthy without giving me any real say on how my money is being spent.

    Not to mention Obama’s literal raping of the Constitution with his vote for FISA.

  11. UncleBob says:

    Freude: My employer does exactly what they’re supposed to do. They give me a task to do and a pay check for doing it – I expect nothing more out of them.

    It’s a real shame our government doesn’t do anything they’re supposed to do.

  12. I think UncleBob has brought up a facet of the libertarian delusion that hasn’t been discussed before – nihilism.

    The logic goes like this:
    1. Government is incompetent (or evil, or misguided or unnecessary, or whatever)
    2. I’m a superior person and can see what others can’t
    3. Since I see the problem and it can’t be fixed the best thing for me to do is – nothing. Well, not exactly, nothing. Complain about the state of things, but opt out of the responsibilities of citizenship.

    What might the responsibilities be?
    1. Become informed about how the world really runs
    2. Participate in electoral politics by voting
    3. Participate in the democratic process by getting candidates you favor nominated in the first place
    4. Participate in improving the state of the nation by being active in local, regional or national causes that you feel need change

    It’s so much easier to opt out and whine. There are several more of this type at Walmart Watch, Bob isn’t unique.

  13. Uncle Bob, John McCain cannot be accused of raping the Constituion. That requires physical presence in order to perpetrate the alleged crime. McCain,former P.O.W.,has been MIA on voting for both FISA and Jim Webb’s GI Bill. And to further clarify the record, McCain has not voted in the Senate since April 8 and has missed 367 votes (61.4 percent) during the current Congress.Yes,Bob its a shame our government and its officials-especially a candidate for president-don’t do anything they’re suppose to.

  14. Jonathan, maybe you shouldn’t have put that last line in there, it’s caused a frenzy of fighting about the election. I think I’ll stay out of it since my guy didn’t get his party’s nomination anyway. (Of course, that doesn’t mean I won’t be voting for the lesser of two evils in November).

    While I don’t think it’s appropriate to put down the customers as “Liberal Momma” does, I have to agree with Bob. How can you not blame the customers for the evils that the company allegedly commits? What the company is today is the result of what the customers have demanded in the past and what they continue to demand today. It is the customers that put Wal-Mart on top. I know you are going to say that people who disagree with the company’s practices may have no other choice today, but, even if that is true, Wal-Mart is the result of the path Americans have chosen to walk. It is the customers’ fault.

  15. WalMart-we have only our customers to blame for our success !

  16. UncleBob says:

    Freude: The issue with your entire statement is that I have no intentions of voting for McCain either. Someone and I will just have to disagree on this – I refuse to vote for the “lesser of two evils” – because you’re still voting for evil. But… if you want to look at a lack of voting record, let’s pull up Obama’s. He’s not voted more than a few times.

    Robert: Just so you know, I do vote – just generally not for “mainstream” candidates. Additionally, I’ve done a bit more than that (even so far as collecting signatures) for candidates that I believe in. I must say, though, it is nice to see you calling for others to take action and make change for themselves instead of your usual “sit back and let everyone else take care of me” mindset. 🙂

  17. Bob, I’m kind of torn on it. In this case, I believe that one evil is so much greater than the other that I strongly believe it needs to be defeated. However, had the race shaped up differently, I might have been more inclined to vote for someone like Barr.

  18. “Wal-Mart is the result of the path Americans have chosen to walk. It is the customers’ fault.” Oh, that the multitude of WalMart shoppers were availed of this commentary!

  19. Just I says:

    “The customers fault?”
    After about spitting my coffee out as I read this, and laughing, I had to stop and think about this..is it REALLY the customers fault? Or is it indeed Wal-Marts fault starting with that darn cheer…Customers ALWAYS Rule?

    I often wonder if Walton was alive today, and he saw just what his Statement has created, if he indeed would feel the same now as he did when that line was pegged? While it is the customers that keep Wal-Mart on top, it is also the customers that are helping to one day, tumble them down. Sadly,..Wal-Mart allows it, and all because of a line…

    No Someone,..it is also Wal-Marts fault for turning a blind eye to what is happening. While the Customers ARE important and vital to any business, that doesn’t mean that Wal-Mart should allow them to abuse the store, the employees, or the system. That is Wal-Marts fault.

    Sadly,..when Sam Walton first opened his store,..it was another generation, a different time and era…people today, are nothing like they once were.

  20. Surely everyone noticed that my use of “fault” is quite loose. Never did I assert any wrongdoing on Wal-Mart’s part. From where I sit, the customers are to blame only for giving the company an opportunity to save them money so they can live better.

  21. Just I says:

    Nice save… (Grins)
    But you and I know better.

    I never claimed that it was wrong on the companies part to want to make money, that is afterall, why they are in business. But at the same time, because of the mindset that customers are always Right, on a daily basis, in every store, they are being robbed.
    I know of no other store where it is viewed acceptable to eat food that is unpaid for,..I know of no other store that will accept returns on items that are clearly marked with another stores name and brand. Because the customer is ALWAYS right, customers seemingly can walk all over WalMart and it’s employees, and not think anything of eating or drinking and leaving without paying.
    Though the items are small, they add up, costing the company in the end.

    Can we place the full blame on the customers? Yes and No.
    Wal Mart has a right to make money,..one can not fault any company for that. But it amazes me on the length of what this company will allow it’s customers to do and get away with. AS I Said,..The Customers always Rule was pegged in a different time, in a different generation. I do not believe Sam Walton would have agreed that it should include stealing.

    Either way,…I DO like the..”It’s the Customers fault”.. lol, that was actually good to see.

  22. Interesting take…not at all where I expected you to go with that. I can’t wait to see JR’s response.

  23. Jonathan says:

    I wanted to avoid this thread, but since I got a specific request…

    My original point 20+ comments ago was that in a horrible economy, everyone is going to be nasty, particularly in a store like Wal-Mart where the employees aren’t paid to care. In short, I think it’s the Republicans’ fault.

    But I still liked reading “Just I”‘s comments above. They remind me of my good friend BBCAmerican.

  24. Just I says:

    # Someone in USA Says:
    July 14th, 2008 at 2106

    Interesting take…not at all where I expected you to go with that. I can’t wait to see JR’s response.

    Curious,…Just where did you think I’d go with this?

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