Sunday, November 14, 2010

Shopping at Walmart

As a general rule I do not shop at Walmart. I do acknowledge that their prices are generally lower than average. However, I also realize that a large part of why those prices are low stems from the pressure Walmart puts on its suppliers to lower their prices in return for access to Walmart's stores- a huge slice of the market. One way many companies choose to lower prices is my closing American factories, firing their workers and setting up shop in a foreign country where wages are much lower.

The price, environmental impacts and long term availability of oil and its byproducts concern me just as much as the wholesale export of American jobs. I guess in general you could say that any economic activity that is obviously unsustainable gets my attention. For that reason I try to use as little gasoline as I can. One tactic I use to achieve that goal is by consolidating my shopping trips so I drive fewer miles. Today while driving from the bank to the grocery store I remembered the washclothes that were on my shopping list. My route took me directly past Walmart, so on this occasion I decided to stop there since it was the only store on my planned route that would have them.

While walking through the store I spotted some shelving units- another item on the list of things I wanted to buy. To my surprise, it was actually made in the US so I decided to buy it. I also remembered that I needed to pick up some 30-06 cartridges for my deer rifle. Walmart carries Remington and Winchester brands, which are both domestically produced, so a box of those went into my cart as well. Sadly, regardless of brand the washclothes, my original reason for stopping were not made in the US.

For Walmart, 2 out of 3 isn't bad. I am always hesitant to shop there, but in this case it was worth it. Walmart is a company that is clearly ruled by the bottom line and that bottom line is profits. They will sell whatever nets them the most money. Hopefully someday soon the sentiments expressed in this blog will become more widely felt and millions of people will actively strive to buy things made where they live. Hopefully when that day comes the managers at Walmart and stores like it will look at their sales numbers and think, "Wow, demand is really increasing for US made products. We should expand the number of US made options that we sell." That will be the day when we see our economy truly turn around.

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